Sunday, June 4, 2017

Summer Corn Chowder

I know what you’re saying…."Another soup, Rhonda?"  There is nothing like a good soup for a quick dinner when you’re tired of eating fast food or at random restaurants.  So I make sure my freezer has plenty of plastic freezer bags filled with a variety of soups.  In the past I would freeze soup in plastic containers, but they make the freezer fill up pretty fast.  Lately, I freeze single or double servings in plastic freezer bags and stack them in a pile.  This has revolutionized my freezer capacity.

You can’t open a magazine this year without seeing a recipe with Turmeric.  I discovered this spice several years ago when I was developing this recipe for Summer Corn Chowder. Turmeric not only adds a delicious citrusy flavor but also adds a vibrant color.  I had forgotten about this recipe until I visited one of my go to soup and sandwich restaurants recently and saw Summer Corn Chowder on the menu.  Mine is slightly different from theirs, but in all honesty, I believe it’s better.

§     3 tablespoons unsalted butter
§     1 tablespoon olive oil
§     1 large onion, diced
§     4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
§     5 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
§     2 large russet potatoes, diced
§     4 cups corn (fresh or frozen)
§     1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
§     1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
§     1 can petite diced tomatoes (or 2 ripe plum tomatoes, diced)
§     1 – 2 teaspoons turmeric
§     1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
§     1 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
§     1/4 – 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
§     1/4 – 1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley
§     1/2 – 1 cup finely ground corn chips or dried corn tortillas (this will thicken the soup and add flavor)
§     Salt and pepper (a soup with this many vegetables and potatoes requires a good amount of salt.  Be sure to add at least 1 tablespoon or more)

In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, add the butter and oil and cook until butter melts.  Add the chopped onions and sauté, stirring occasionally until soft and translucent.  Stir in flour and cook, stirring for about 2 – 3 minutes to cook out the raw taste of the flour but not long enough to brown the flour. 
Pour in 5 cups of broth and whisk constantly until the soup begins to thicken. 
Reduce the heat and add the diced potatoes.  Allow the soup to simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender. 
Add the corn, red and green bell peppers, tomatoes, turmeric, cayenne pepper, half-and-half, cilantro, parsley, salt and pepper.
In a food processor, chop dried corn tortillas or corn chips until finely ground.  
In a cup, combine the 1/4 or 1/2 cup of ground dried corn tortillas or tortilla chips with the cream/half-and-half and mix with a fork.  While stirring the soup, add the mixture of corn tortilla and cream.  This will thicken the soup and add a delicious flavor.  To control the thickness, add more broth if desired.  I typically add 1/2 cup as I like my soup thicker. 
Cook the soup for approximately 20 minutes allowing the flavors to marry. 
This soup can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for several months.  For a printer friendly copy of this recipe go to Summer Corn Chowder. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Tarragon Chicken Salad

Tarragon is an herb that gets no respect. Maybe because the dried version doesn’t do justice to the fresh. There is something about the anise undertone of Tarragon that makes my salads, creamy soups and casseroles memorable.  So much that my friends ask, “What am I tasting?”  From the beginning of April until the first frost, I have plenty of Tarragon in my herb garden, and I have perfected the art of freezing it for the colder month’s hot recipes.  But for my chicken salad, there is nothing like Tarragon, picked fresh from the garden.  My Tarragon Chicken Salad is a staple on afternoon boating trips from our backyard, and I have turned many a friend into raving fans of this simple, yet delicious staple. Whether on crackers or served between two great pieces of bread, every time I serve it people fall in love.
Most herbs can be frozen immersed in water or olive oil and placed in an ice tray, but I like to freeze fresh, leafy herbs like Basil, Parsley, Tarragon, Sage, Cilantro and Oregano without liquid.  Frozen herbs can be used in the same proportion as fresh herbs but they will be limp when defrosted, so although they are great used in recipes, they cannot be used as garnish.

Your first step is to harvest and rinse herbs in clear water.  Let dry.  Once dry, strip the leaves off the stems and coarsely chop.  Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and place in the freezer.  Once frozen, place them in a plastic container or freezer bag.  Make sure to label the container since once frozen, you may not be able to tell them apart.

§     2 cups cubed or shredded chicken
§     1 cup celery, finely chopped
§     3 - 4 tablespoons freshly chopped tarragon leaves (Not dry or frozen tarragon)
§     1/2 cup or more mayonnaise (to taste)
§     1/2 cup slivered almonds
§     Kosher salt


In a large bowl, combine chicken

Add chopped celery

Add finely chopped, fresh tarragon

Add almonds, salt and mayonnaise. 

Fold ingredients and adjust seasoning.  If you prefer a moister salad, add more mayonnaise.  

Serve on a sandwich, in a bowl with crackers or in phyllo or pastry cups as an hors d’oeuvre.  For a printer friendly copy of this recipe, go to Tarragon Chicken Salad.  Enjoy!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

My Most Requested Recipes Collection

With friends and colleagues repeatedly asking for my recipe for Bacon Candy, I introduced this blog, My Most Requested Recipes, to share my most treasured treats. That first post in March of 2012 attracted over 7,000 views.  Now, 5 years, 7,000 subscribers and over 500,000 views later, I often receive emails requesting recipes I have previously posted. 

In honor of our 5th anniversary and for the benefit of those arriving late to the party, I’ve decided to make providing a complete list of links to all of the mouth-watering recipes I have previously posted an annual tradition.  I will still be posting new and popular recipes, starting with next month’s Tarragon Chicken Salad, as my newly planted herb garden begins to grow.

Appetizers and Hors d’oeuvres
§     Bacon Candy
§     Hot Corn Dip
§     Hot Artichoke Dip
§     Sweet Onion Dip
§     Nuts, Nuts, Nuts
§     Cheese Ball Pops
§     Shaved Ham Rolls
§     Texas Salsa
§     Classic Reuben Dip

§     Creamy Tomato Soup
§     Pumpkin Soup
§     Autumn Squash Soup

§     Vegetable Frittata
§     Breakfast Basket
§     Breakfast Burritos
§     Breakfast Pizza

§     Chicken Francaise
§     Chicken Marsala
§     Shrimp and Grits
§     Shepherd’s Pie
§     Pot Roast
§     Basic Risotto
§     Lasagna Roll-Ups
§     Tuna Melt
§     Pan Fried Chops
§     Warm Potato Salad
§     Croque Madame
§     Flatbreads
§     Mushroom Lasagna

§     Praline Sweet Potatoes
§     Corn Soufflé
§     Potato Latkes

§     Berry Cobbler
§     Pumpkin Mousse
§     Bananas Foster

§     Mama Marko’s Frozen Dough Cookies
§     Shortbread Cookies

§     Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Truffles
§     Chocolate Salami
§     Peanut Clusters

§     Dill Caper Sauce
§     Corn Muffins
§     Hot Pepper Jelly