Sunday, July 22, 2007

Cheese and Beer Soup with Garlic Croutons and Kielbasa Sausage

In my quest to master all kind of soups, I bring you another winner.

This recipe is courtesy of Emeril Lagasse and it turned out fantastically!

Cheese and Beer Soup with Garlic Croutons and Kielbasa Sausage

8 pieces kielbasa sausage (get from a butcher or locker if you can to get the nicest quality…actually, do that with all meat you cook with if possible instead of the mass produced grocery store stuff)

3 T. olive oil

1 1/2 C. chopped yellow onions

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

2 bay leaves

3 T. minced garlic

6 T. flour

6 C. chicken stock

2 C. lager beer (I used non-alcoholic and it tasted just fine)

4 sprigs thyme

2 C. cubed Gruyere cheese (save some grated Gruyere for garnish if you wish)

2 T. minced flat-leaf parsley for garnish

8 hot dog buns

Garlic Croutons (see recipe)

Saute the kielbasa until golden brown on all sides in a large, hot soup pot, about 4 minutes per side. The sausage will not be cooked through, it will finish cooking in the soup. Remove from the pan and set aside. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, salt, pepper and bay leaves, and cook, stirring, until the onions are slightly carmelized, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the stock and beer. Add the thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring constantly, for 1 hour. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the kielbasa and cook until the sausages are cooked through. Remove the sausages from the soup. Add the cheese 1/3 cup at a time, stirring until nearly all melted and smooth after each addition. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Serve kielbasa with hot dog buns and serve soup hot, garnished with garlic croutons, parsley and finely grated cheese (optional).

Garlic Croutons

8 T. butter

2 T. minced garlic

2 C. diced day-old French bread (crusts removed), cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium ovenproof skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the bread cubes and salt and toss to combine. Transfer to the oven and bake, stirring occasionally, until the croutons are golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. (If you do not have an ovenproof skillet, I mixed everything than placed it on a foil-lined cookie sheet, the results were just fine).

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Spinach Salad

I almost weep when I think of all the years wasted eating iceberg lettuce exclusively for my salad needs. Stupid picky childhood eating habits!!

This isn’t a recipe for spinach salad as much as it is for the dressing. For the salad, get some spinach, slice up some strawberries and get some slivered almonds (toast them or not, doesn’t matter) then add this lovely dressing (don’t overdo, the entire amount will create a soggy mess, just a light drizzling is plenty)


1 C. sugar

1 C. oil

1/2 C. white vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. celery salt

Whisk together and pour over salad just before serving. Can be made ahead and refrigerated until need it (shake well, ingredients will separate).

Monday, July 2, 2007

Grilled Crab and Cheese Sandwich

As more time goes by, the more I enjoy cooking. Maybe because I’m just getting really good and recipes don’t fail me and now I’ve evolved to the point where I can read a recipe and “taste” it in my head and know if it’s going to be good.

This evolution in going from a decent cook to a pretty darn good cook has been about four years in the making. And I’m addicted to Food Network and there are about half a dozen people on Food Network that I use their recipes.

One of them is Sandra Lee, because her stuff tastes good but since it’s “semi-homemade” it goes pretty fast when prepping.

This sandwich hubby declared his favorite sandwich of all time. I think he’s full of it, he’s been saying “favorite of all time” a lot lately, but it went over big, I ended up making them twice in one week.

Grilled Crab and Cheese Sandwich

2 T. mayo

1 T. lemon juice

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 C. shredded Gruyere

salt and pepper

1 can crabmeat (I used two packets of Chicken of the Sea Premium Lump Crab)

4 slices sourdough bread (I bought a loaf of sourdough organic that I sliced myself)

2 T. butter

In a small bowl, combine mayo, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, grated cheese, and salt and pepper, to taste. Add crabmeat to mayo mixture and stir to combine. Spread crabmeat mixture on bread. Cover with a second piece of bread. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat (it also works to spread butter or margarine on the bread instead of putting it in the skillet). Add sandwich and brown for 2 minutes; flip and continue to brown for 2 to 3 more minutes. Repeat with second sandwich. Serve warm.