Soup

New England Clam Chowder – Go Pats!

Are you ready for some football? Can I say that? It’s probably trademarked but I’ve been “getting ready” all morning…well sort of! The 7 layer dip is prepped, the buffalo wings are pre-cooked, guacamole will most definitely be on the table for halftime and  in honor of my New England Patriots I also made New England Clam Chowder! The funny thing is, we are not even having a Superbowl party but we always watch the big game and it is just so fitting to have well; party food.
img_4951This is the first time that New England Clam Chowder has been on my Superbowl Sunday menu but I felt it was very appropriate being that New England is in the big game this year; Go Pats!!!
img_4944If I wanted to do a full New England spread I would have to have more seafood represented; maybe some fish and chips and definitely a lobster roll plus some Boston Baked Beans. I opted for more of wings, chips and dips kind of menu for the fam.
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Clam Chowder

6 slices bacon diced
1 large Onion diced
2 ribs Celery diced
4 potatoes diced
1 tablespoon flour
2 Bay Leaves
¼ teaspoon Thymes
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
1 cup water
2 cups Clam Juice
1 can whole belly Clams
2 cans chopped clams
2 ½ cups Milk
1 tablespoon butter

In a stockpot fry up diced bacon till crispy; remove from pan to drain on some paper towels. Reserving 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat, saute the onions and celery till translucent. Add the flour and cook for 1 -2 minutes. Add water slowly creating a roux and cook for another minute or two. Add broth, thyme and bay leaves.  Add potatoes and simmer until they are cooked through.  Add milk and clams and finish off with a tab of butter.

Prime Rib Leftover Soup

Happy New Year!

Depending on what you did on your last night of 2016 you might be looking for a nice and greasy hangover breakfast; maybe bacon & eggs along with some pancakes might work or if you can find it a cheeseburger and fries – I am open to either plus I wouldn’t say no to a slice of cold pizza. Or if you are a better person than I you could be going for a light but filling kind of way to start 2017; maybe some nice and creamy oatmeal, or and egg white omelet; I honestly have never had an egg white omelet but I love oatmeal.
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We are spending the weekend with friends in Montreal so I am writing this before we head out. I can’t be sure but I think there might be some pancakes & bacon in my future on Jan 1
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My Christmas Prime Rib had me dancing in my seat, literally I’m not kidding.  It was SO delicious and cooked to perfection I wish you all could have tasted it. When I ordered it I mentioned there would be 4 to 6 of us as I wasn’t sure if a couple of people were going to come. They guided me to order a 3 bone roast and they would remove the bones but tie them back on so it was easier for me to carve and serve. When I went to pick it up; it was HUGE (11 pounds) I almost traded it for a 2 bone but the butcher talked me into it. There were only 4 of us so we had plenty of leftovers.

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I wanted to share at least one picture of my masterpiece

I recall making a quick soup out of the very last piece of beef from last years roast so I figured that was in order again for this year. I still had one of the bones so I threw that in while it was simmer to add to the flavor of the soup – well worth it.
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My husband doesn’t have as good a memory as I do; or at least when I told him I was making Prime Rib Soup he was like; “well that sounds different”. Ignoring him I kept on cutting up my veggies and started sautéing the onions, celery and carrots. It comes together very quickly and it is totally worth using a slice or two of your leftovers.
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Prime Rib Soup

1 small to medium onion diced
1 or 2 stalks of celery diced
2 carrots peeled and diced
1 sprig of fresh rosemary chopped – or use whatever herb you flavored your roast with
3 potatoes peeled and diced
1 or 2 pieces of beef chopped
Beef Broth – homemade or use your favorite
leftover gravy – add so much flavor if you have any use it
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Sauté the onion, celery and carrots till translucent. Add rosemary cook another minute or two. Add gravy, broth and potatoes.  Once the potatoes are soft add the beef and let simmer to let everything meld together.  Serve with bread to sop up the wonderful broth

Easy delicious turkey stock / soup

I hope everyone that celebrates Thanksgiving had a wonderful day! As usual I made more food than anyone can consume in a 4 day weekend and now I am looking for room in my freezer so nothing goes bad. I also broke the unwritten “don’t stress out and make something new rule” well it actually might be written somewhere, I heard it all over the TV; every cooking show, morning news show etc. and to make it even funnier, I forgot I even bought them to make. We were scheduled to eat at 2pm. Everything was SO on time that I even said “damn I am going to make it for 2 not bad”

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Around 1:30 I opened the fridge to get a stick of butter for the potatoes and saw the package of brussels sprouts – ugh should I make them? Everyone except my husband said yes, he still raves about the only way he likes them broiled steak over brussels sprouts Click here for that post https://wordpress.com/post/cookingatclarktowers.com/2736

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My daughter was quick with a “let’s put maple syrup and bacon on them”. Thankfully I had already cooked up a pound of bacon that morning, with another intention but we didn’t need anymore food to eat; or me to make ONE MORE THING to snack on.

 

I quickly cut the brussels sprouts in half and covered them with olive, salt, pepper and some maple syrup and while the turkey was resting; put them on a sheet pan to roast for about 15-20 minutes. Transferred them to a platter and crumbled bacon on them. YUM!!!! Said everyone but my husband – can’t win them all!

So with all the leftovers and turkey stock I vow to eat & make things from the fridge/freezer till Christmas – yup I am saying it out loud; there is no need to buy anything except bread, milk, eggs, fruit and veggies. See how quickly I clarified what I meant.

Today is going to be turkey soup day! It’s cold out and I have no more room in the freezers. After the turkeys (I always make 2 smallish birds) were picked clean I had a pot on the stove for the carcass’ and added the pan drippings, leftover gravy and some fresh celery, carrots and onions; brought it to a boil and then left it to simmer for about an hour.

I didn’t have time or the energy to “deal” with it so I put the whole pot outside on the back deck. It’s quite cold here so it is fine. Now comes the fun part of skimming off the fat and throwing everything but the stock aka “liquid gold” away and storing in the freezer (when I find room) what I don’t use for soup.

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depending on how much soup you want to stock you have on hand.
3 carrots – peeled and diced
2 celery stalks – diced
8 +/- cups of stock
3/4 cup rice

throw everything into the pot and bring to a boil them simmer for 30-40 minutes till the rice and veggies are cooked.

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Soup is On! Cheeseburger Soup

Soup is on and I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it – sorry you’ll be humming that for the rest of the day…hehehe

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Earlier this month we were invited to a soup party. This is our second time attending; last year I brought lobster bisque; only because my husband was bragging about it to the host. Unfortunately I am sworn to secrecy with the bisque recipe. I received it from an ex-employee from a now closed restaurant that we used to frequent.
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This year I decided to bring my gnocchi soup; which is delicious and always a hit; I shared the recipe for that soup last year gnocchi soup July 2015. There was one soup at the party that is made and brought every year because of how popular it is. It is a cheeseburger soup. This is the only place I have seen and tasted this soup. It is delicious and I should have asked for the recipe but I didn’t. I decided to try making it from recipes I saw online. This one might not be exactly like the one from the party but I still like it and wanted to share it with you here.

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I didn’t wait for my homemade chicken stock to thaw from the freezer


I just finished making my second cheeseburger soup in the last 3 weeks. I think I like this one a little better than my last. It asked for cubed potatoes and I think I made the cubes too large last time, so I made them super small this time. I even contemplated shredding them but couldn’t bring myself to do it.
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Ingredients
1 lb ground beef
1 onion diced
¾ cup shredded carrot
¾ chopped celery
1 tsp dried parsley
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups potatoes, cubed
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
4 TBS butter
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
In a large pot, brown the ground beef and onions
Add broth, celery, carrots, parsley and potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes
Making the roux


In a small saucepan melt the butter and flour, boil for a minute or so. Add the milk stirring until smooth, simmer for 2-3 minutes until it thickens.
Gradually add the roux to the soup stirring constantly,
Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Stir in the cheese until melted and then serve. Make sure that you don’t boil the soup once the cheese is added.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

The last couple of weekends have been busier than even my normal busy schedule. I had a bachelorette party in Rhode Island and a wedding for a childhood girlfriend in Connecticut. Both weekends were so much fun and I am very happy for the bride and groom!


My usual grocery shopping day is Sunday; I know; not the best day of the week to spend time at a grocery store; sometimes it’s downright painful. I decided since I was out; well actually on my way home and going right by my “normal” grocery store I thought it would be smarter to stop and get what we needed for the week. Then having to run out again; especially since it’s 20+ minutes away from my home. I do try to have some sort of plan for meals and make my list off of what I need to make them happen. With the change in the weather it has been a great time for cooking all day. It not only heats up the house a little and helps with lunches during the week, it warms the soul and makes me smile.
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So I was coming back from RI and I had all kinds of ideas of what we; I mean me; should make for the week. I had been craving chicken tortilla soup, Mexican pork stew, and a roasted chicken. I guess I must have been super hungry on that ride home huh!
Since I didn’t want to run out again I sat in the grocery store parking lot; googled my blog for the soup and stew recipes and made out my shopping list it was so cool!

Chicken Tortilla Soup – originally posted Sept 14, 2014 but worth repeating

2 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion diced
2 Tbs minced garlic
2-4 Jalapeno’s (depending on how spicy you want it) seeded and finely diced
6 cups chicken broth (homemade if you have it)
1 28 oz. can San Marzano peeled tomatoes–while pouring out the tomatoes squeeze them into the pot to help break them up.
1-2 cans black beans – rinsed and drained
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 limes juiced
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Cilantro leaves
1 flour tortilla grilled and cut into strips or use tortilla chips crumbled
1 avocado, pitted, sliced – optional
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Dollop of sour cream

In a large saucepan heat the oil till warm, add the onions until they softened; about 3 minutes. Add garlic and jalapenos cook for another minute. Add broth, tomatoes and beans and bring to a boil.
Lower heat to a simmer and add the chicken breast. Cook the chicken for about 20-25 minutes. Once chicken is cooked remove from the pot.
When cool enough to handle; shred it and set aside. Add lime juice and the cilantro to the pot.
In a bowl add a mound of chicken. Ladle soup over chicken and with tortilla strips, avocado slices, cheese and sour cream.

Easy Homemade Ramen Noodle Bowl

For those of you who know how a traditional ramen bowl is made the title might scare you away from trying or even reading this post but I hope you can bring yourself to keep going and I promise you that the recipe alone is worth the couple of minutes it will take you to listen to my little spiel and be rewarded with not only a delicious broth bowl of noodles, it was so easy I will be making it again very soon!

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So my husband has been on a “we need to find a noodle restaurant” kick of late. I’m fairly certain he hasn’t done any research on the subject, and I know I haven’t but I am not opposed to making a noodle bowl. However making a traditional ramen bowl can take many days to make the perfect broth and while I have done it once, yeah only once. I am kind of a instant gratification kind of person and while I have made my fair share of crazy long tedious recipes. They are usually a one and done kind of thing for me. I can appreciate why there are such recipes out there, and again I might even try them, but I much prefer to eat what I am making sometime that day.

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This is also a great way to use up some of those packages of ramen noodles that have been lying around in the pantry, or at least my pantry; minus the salt packet that is included with them of course. But the noodles are wonderful, easy to use and oh so cheap to buy.

 

Dinner for two

2 chicken breasts boneless skinless or whatever kind you have on hand
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Olive Oil or 1 Tbs unsalted butter for browning the chicken

2 tsp sesame oil or vegetable oil
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
3 tsp fresh garlic, minced
3 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs mirin
4 cups chicken stock
1 oz dried shiitake mushrooms or ½ cup fresh

2 large eggs
½ cup scallions, sliced
2 – 3 oz packs dried ramen noodles

Chicken – preheat your oven to 375’ F. season generously both sides of the breast with salt and pepper. Either melt your butter over medium heat or if you are using oil; once hot place chicken skin (unless using skinless) and leave for 3-4 minutes or until it releases from the pan and is nice and browned. Cook on the other side for the same 3-4 minutes and then transfer to the oven to finish cooking through.

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Broth – heat the sesame oil in a large pot over medium heat, until shimmering. Add the garlic and ginger cooking till soft; without burning. Add the soy sauce, mirin and stir to combine. Cook for another minute or so. Add the stock, cover and bring to a boil. Remove the lid and let it simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. If using dried mushrooms add them now and gently simmer for another 10 minutes. Check for seasonings and add salt to taste.

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Eggs – soft-boiled eggs start with leaving them in the fridge and in a medium sized pot put enough water to cover the eggs; noting that you can reuse the water for the noodles in a bit. Once the water is boiling gently drop the eggs in and boil for 7 minutes, removing to a ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Once you can touch the eggs gentle peel and slice in half

Noodles – in the same pot you used to cook the eggs drop the noodles a boil just till soft; 2-3 minutes. Drain set aside.

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Assembling the bowls – slice the chicken into thin strips. Slice scallions. Divide the noodles and broth between two bowls, place chicken slices and eggs on top of the noodles and sprinkle with fresh scallions.

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Ham Hock and Lentil Soup

I have been trying but failing to eat some things out of the fridge/freezer the last couple of weeks. I am in desperate need of some serious real estate in both the fridge and freezer’s not only for our annual Christmas party coming up this weekend but this past Friday was mine and my girlfriends cookie making day. I have several dough’s and some cookies that need to be frozen or we will eat WAY too many of them you know just so they don’t go stale.

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I have a drawer full of various sized carrots from my garden

Yesterday I also picked up some party supplies that needed to go into the freezer.  You can only rearrange so many times before things start making closing the doors a chore.  Some things just had to come out and either be dealt with or throw away and the Yankee in me has a real hard time throwing out perfectly good food well technically what I took out needed to be made into a meal. One of the bags I wasn’t even sure what it was. Note to self label bags before storing. Apparently one of our World Wide Wednesday: we prepare and eat a meal from a different Country each Wednesday also affectionately known as WWW that required some ham hocks and we put the remaining two in the freezer.

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This morning I made a Fridge Frittata with half a pepper, some left over mushrooms, a few cherry tomatoes and some leftover ham and some chives that were on their way out. One drawer down and several to go! Back to the ham hocks I personally have never cooked with them; my daughter comes up with the WWW meals and I help her when she needs it. So I don’t even remember what she made with them. This last week we ate a meal from Syria and it was a lentil soup and we didn’t use all of the lentils  so abg of those were in the fridge. I currently have on the stove a Ham Hock and Lentil Soup Tada more space in the fridge; we will be eating the soup and any left overs I will send over to my in-laws.

This soup was really easy to put together and has great flavor – if you have never had lentils they are nutty and earthy in flavor and pretty healthy for you. So maybe the lentils will balance out the salty flavor of the ham hocks.

Ham Hock and Lentil Soup

2 tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion diced
2 stalks of celery diced
2 carrots diced
Kosher salt
Freshly crack black pepper
2-3 cloves garlic chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme or 4-5 sprigs of fresh
2 quarts chicken stock
2-3 smoked ham hocks
1 cup Lentils soaked

In a large saucepan or medium sized stock pot, over medium heat add the olive oil. When hot add the onions, celery, and carrots. Season with salt and pepper saute for 4 minutes; add the garlic, bay leaves and thyme saute for another minute.

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Add the ham hocks and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about an hour or until the ham hocks are tender.Add the lentils and continue cooking for another 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Remove from the heat and check for seasonings. If needed add a little salt and pepper; mine did not need anymore.

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Remove the ham hocks and remove the meat from them, add the ham back into the soup; discard the rest of the hocks. Serve warm with some crusty bread!

 

Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse

Carrot Soup

I was initially going to start this post with I hope you all had a very nice Thanksgiving with your family and friends; I literally had to backspace over the statement because it donned on me that this is a North American holiday and not everyone celebrates it and I actually do have a few readers out of the US that I am sure were doing something else all-together this past Thursday; probably working??? So for those of you who gathered with friends and/or family I hope your turkey was moist, your stuffing/dressing had an amazing crust and there was some room for the yummy pies that were sitting on the counter.

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My day started off pretty relaxed at first sitting at the island with a nice cup of tea with my hubby. Since we were not eating till 3 and we prepped all the veggies, made the pies and set the table the night before this should be a breeze right! For how organized I think I am and all the lists and yes I even make a timeline of sorts just so things have enough time to cook and kind of show up at the table somewhat warm.

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I started making my dinner rolls; easy – then I focused on the dressing and it went downhill from there just a bit; I forgot to pick up a fennel bulb, really Donna one of the main ingredients for your dressing, so I double checking I had everything else I needed for the day and off to the store I went. Oh did I forget to mention that I woke up ridiculously early and sat in bed convincing myself I didn’t buy a big enough bird. While at the store I also picked up a little 3 pound ham – just in case.

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I’m back at home and my nice relaxed feeling is fading fast, I make the dressing and it tastes awesome. I start to prep the bird; an hour later than I wanted to.  Once seasoned and filled with chopped up apples and onions into the 350’ oven it went. While I was cleaning off the stove top I must have hit the oven knob because when I looked over at the stove 30 or so minutes later the oven was set at 250’ UGH here we go! Long story short thanks to my convection oven; which I turned on when I took off the tinfoil to brown; did the trick. Though I was really hoping to let the bird rest for at least an hour it ended up being closer to 30 minutes and we ate a little later than 3.  But it was gorgeous brown and very moist I wanted to take a picture to share but it was a little hectic in the kitchen and I had made people wait a little longer than I had envisioned so you are going to have to take my word for it.

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Oh and I need to share one more little misstep I made this year. My daughter had made a whole 3 quart pot of sliced carrots that I cooked but they never made it to the table. I put them up on the shelf above the stove top to get them out the way to make my gravy and never found them again till I was cleaning up. This is the first time ever there were not carrots on the Thanksgiving table and no one said anything.  My son thought to himself that it was kind of weird there weren’t any but I would have thought my daughter would have remembered she peeled a boat load of something not on the table, I am all for leftovers but what to do with SO many cooked carrots… I’ve always wanted to try and make carrot soup so that is what I did on Friday.

 

Carrot Soup

½ stick of butter
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 Tbs fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
3 cups carrots peeled, chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 Cups chicken stock or use turkey broth if you made some
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice – I added the lemon zest but felt it was too much
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Melt butter in a heavy stock pot over medium heat. Add onions; saute for 4 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; saute for another 2 minutes. Add chopped carrots (I added a few fresh ones and kept the cooked ones out until everything else was done) tomatoes and stock; bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and puree with either an immersion blender or in batches in a blender. Return soup to the pot and add lemon juice to taste, just enough to brighten the dish, not over power it. Season with salt and pepper; top with a dollop of sour cream.