Thursday, November 27, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup

This month's first Barefoot Blogger's Challenge is Ina Garten's Mexican Chicken Soup, as selected by Judy's Gross Eats. Her eats don't appear at all gross to me, so note to self, ask her later why she has that blog name. Surely there is a family story in there.

A pox on canned soup. Soup is probably the easiest and most satisfying thing you can create at home. It lets you play alchemist and for whatever reason (probably due to the poxed canned soup), guests, friends and family are always impressed by a big pot of homemade soup. My speciality is braised collard greens and bacon in ale. I guarantee, it will cure what ails you.
I expected to really love this month's recipe for the Barefoot Bloggers, but honestly, I just didn't. It wasn't complicated. It wasn't nasty. It wasn't terrible. It was fair. It just wasn't great.
I suppose this is best judged by one simple fact. My mother and I sat down to the finished soup, each ate a bowl, pronounced it fine, and then put the rest in a container in the fridge, and never touched it again. We never once said "Ooh, let's finish that soup." A week later, it was down the drain.
The woman who taught me to make good soup is my mother. Her soups are legendary. She was having soup and bread night, as a dinner party, long before it was ever popular. "A soup party? Really?" This was in the 1970s.
If my mother and I, soup maker and her apprentice, never once gave the soup another thought, it just wasn't interesting enough to blow our skirts up.
Now, if anyone at all can get the recipe for the White Chicken Chili with Cilantro Cream, served at La Brea Cafe in some Macy's stores in California, THAT blows my skirt up. I'd love to recreate that "soup."
About this challenge: The Barefoot Bloggers join forces and cook or bake recipes by Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten each month, chosen in order by members, and present them for discussion on two Thursdays each month. Hungry? Please join us at the table!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Homework: The 100 List

CakeSpy created the list you see, which is a convenient way for me to waste a bit of time on this Friday lunch hour. Here are your instructions:

Copy this list into your site, including these instructions:

Bold or Colour all of the sweets you've eaten.
Cross out any you'd never eat.
Consider anything that is not bold or crossed out your "To Do" List for the future.
Optional: Comment on any items you particularly love or hate!

1. Red Velvet Cake
2. Princess Torte
3. Whoopie Pie
4. Apple Pie either topped or baked with sharp cheddar
5. Beignet
6. Baklava (hated it; I don't like desserts rich with honey or overly sweet)
7. Black and white cookie
8. Seven Layer Bar (also known as the Magic Bar or Hello Dolly bars)
9. Fried Fruit pie (sometimes called hand pies)
10. Kringle
11. Just-fried (still hot) doughnut
12. Scone with clotted cream
13. Betty, Grunt, Slump, Buckle or Pandowdy
14. Halvah
15. Macarons
16. Banana pudding with nilla wafers
17. Bubble tea (with tapioca "pearls")
18. Dixie Cup
19. Rice Krispie treats
20. Alfajores
21. Blondies
22. Croquembouche
23. Girl Scout cookies
24. Moon cake (Just the description alone, makes me shudder).
25. Candy Apple
26. Baked Alaska
27. Brooklyn Egg Cream
28. Nanaimo bar
29. Baba au rhum
30. King Cake
31. Sachertorte
32. Pavlova
33. Tres Leches Cake
34. Trifle
35. Shoofly Pie
36. Key Lime Pie
37. Panna Cotta (Mmmm. I confess I love the Trader Joe's frozen version, also).
38. New York Cheesecake
39. Napoleon / mille-fueille
40. Russian Tea Cake / Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies
41. Anzac biscuits
42. Pizzelle
43. Kolache
44. Buckeyes
45. Malasadas (My family lives in Hawai'i where hot malasadas are popular)
46. Moon Pie (Meh).
47. Dutch baby (links to my recipe)
48. Boston Cream Pie (Meh).
49. Homemade chocolate chip cookies (Seriously? Has anyone not tasted or made this?)
50. Pralines (Mmm, the speciality of the house at El Cholo restaurant in Los Angeles. They bring you several with your dinner check. Screw the mints. Restaurants should always bring you pralines).
51. Gooey butter cake (I've been meaning to try one of these. I think I'll make one with pumpkin).
52. Rusks
53. Daifuku
54. Green tea cake or cookies (I'm one of those who thinks everything "green tea" flavored is overrated. Blech.)
55. Cupcakes from a cupcake shop (Seriously? Has anyone not tasted or made this?)
56. Crème brûlée (One of my favorite desserts, but I've never made it).
57. Some sort of deep fried State Fair food (Actually no. I've never even had a funnel cake).
58. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting (Most Sunday nights, growing up).
59. Jelly Roll (One of my first assignments in high school Home Economics).
60. Pop Tarts (Much ado about nothing).
61. Charlotte Russe
62. An "upside down" dessert
63. Hummingbird Cake
64. Jell-O from a mold
65. Black forest cake
66. Mock Apple Pie (Ritz Cracker Pie)
67. Kulfi
68. Linzer torte
69. Churro (Eaten at Disneyland and from the freezer aisle, would like to try to make these).
70. Stollen
71. Angel Food Cake (Meh)
72. Mincemeat pie (Just say NO to anything with that many raisins).
73. Concha
74. Opera Cake
75. Sfogliatelle (Ooooooh, that looks so goooood!)
76. Pain au chocolat
77. A piece of Gingerbread House (No. Just NO.)
78. Cassata
79. Cannoli
80. Rainbow cookies
81. Religieuse
82. Petits fours
83. Chocolate Souffle
84. Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)
85. Rugelach
86. Hamenstashen
87. Homemade marshmallows (SO not worth the effort).
88. Rigo Janci
89. Pie or cake made with candy bar flavors (Snickers pie, Reeses pie, etc)
90. Divinity
91. Coke or Cola cake
92. Gateau Basque
93. S'mores (My mother was my troop leader. We made these in Scouts).
94. Figgy Pudding
95. Bananas foster or other flaming dessert
96. Joe Froggers
97. Sables (Links to my chocolate sables, a Nigella recipe, probably the best cookie I've ever made, and since I'm not a chocolate fiend, that's saying something)
98. Millionaire's Shortbread
99. Animal crackers
100. Basbousa

Friday, November 14, 2008

Roasted Butternut Squash with Crispy Sage and Italian Sausage

I was inspired by Dragon's incredibly easy dish of Roasted Butternut Squash with a Sage and Balsamic Glaze, and had all the ingredients on hand. Always a nice moment when you know you can get up, go to your kitchen, and recreate someone's recipe. I wanted to add a bit of protein and make it a full meal, rather than a side dish, and after oven roasting a piece of Italian Sausage, and dicing it onto the dish, I had it. Delicious! Thank you Dragon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Heirloom Current Tomatoes

It's California -- mid November -- cold and rainy one day, warm and sunny the next. You never know if you should wear that turtleneck sweater (I did) and carry an umbrella, or a pair of capri's and sandals. It's an odd time, but it also means my heirloom current tomatoes are still growing strong in my community garden plot. These tiny beautiful tomatoes are as sweet as candy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Sister's Coleslaw


I've had non-stop family members visiting me, since late September, and you'd think, with all those people, restaurants, and meals being cooked and served, I'd have a ton of blog posts, but it's actually been the exact opposite. Too busy yakking, laughing, running errands, moving suitcases from one area to another, and pooping out at the end of every day.

I did manage to capture a close up of my sister's cole slaw recipe. She said when she brings this to any potluck or luncheon, the bowl is scraped clean. It's good -- not knock your socks off good, but good -- and better than your typical coleslaw, that's certain.

Weezie's Cole Slaw

1 bag of coleslaw with dressing packet*
1 bunch of diced green onions
1 handful of pecans
1 handful of dried cranberries
1 thinly shaved apple

*I had a bag of shredded cabbage, but no dressing package. I made my own coleslaw dressing.

Toss all together, dump in a bowl, and serve.