24 Carrot Soup

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When I asked my students and faculty if they had tried carrot soup….the answer was a unanimous…. No! So since we are now in the soup unit of my adventures in Food Class, I thought I would demo some delicious Carrot-Ginger Soup. First time I tasted this combo was from Trader Joe’s, and it was pretty good for a soup in a cardboard type box. I was then on the search for a CopyCat of the recipe, and I think I’ve come pretty close.

In the directions you may some a couple of things that may sound unfamiliar to you, such as: “Dutch Oven”…which is a 2 handled, 5qt stock pot with a lid. And Immersion Blender…which is a long electric mixer with a spinning blade on the end, allowing you to puree your saucy type items in the pan, without putting them in blender or food processor. It may become your best friend once you have used it.

CARROT SOUP 

Ingredients
1 medium onion chopped
1/4 cup butter, cubed
4 1/2 cups sliced carrots
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Directions
1. In a Dutch oven, saute onion in butter until tender. Add carrots, potato, broth and ginger. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Cool for 15 minutes.
2. Using the amazing immersion blender, process until smooth. Stir in the 1/2 and 1/2, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat until heated through.

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Run, run, It’s the Gingerbread Man!

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As you can see, I am a gingerbread man fan. I’ve collected vintage cutters for years. I even dress up a small tree each year with them. I will not let a holiday season go by with out baking up some of these spicy delights.

This is what you call a lot of gingerbread men. I cut out and bake them, then line them up on the bar to decorate and dry over night. The red hot candies are added just as they make their way out of the oven. Nothing is more traditional than these at holiday time!
GINGERBREAD CUT-OUTS 
Ingredients
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
Directions

*Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla; beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. *Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread men shapes with 5-inch cookie cutter. *Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
*Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Decorate cooled cookies as desired. Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days.
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Happy 4th and Patriotic Desserts!

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Today is July 4th – a big Day here in Boston! Craig Ferguson and Toby Keith are set to go on at 10 pm EST on CBS. The 4th of July in Boston is not only a great family day, but can be completely budget friendly. All of the concerts and displays are free, and if you don’t fall into the pitfalls of paying for parking, buying those silly glow necklaces, and purchasing your meals from a variety of fried dough and hot dog vendors, then the day can cost practically nothing, while providing priceless memories.

Top Row: New York Cheesecake With Blackberry Coulis, Patriotic Parfaits,
Bottom Row: Blueberry Napoleons With Creme Fraiche, Berry Pudding Cakes, Summer Shortcake

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But, of course if your staying home and having a crowd over for BBQ……Here are a few crowd pleasers fancied up just a bit. The Napoleon and Cheesecake recipes come from two fabulous food bloggers. Martha gets credit for the parfaits and shortcake, and Better Home and Gardens shares their berry pudding cake in a 4th of July slideshow. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I’m leaning towards the Cheesecake of course!
Enjoy the 4th, we will be BBQ and watching the Boston Fireworks from the hillside in town. It’s way too crowded to go into Boston today….:)

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Corn Chowder on a Chilly Day!

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We’re off for the week, and it’s windy and chilly. We need something warm after a day of skiing. So I thought I would throw together a quick easy meal that everyone will eat…My Famous Corn Chowder! Even all the kids love it!
I had some roasted Chicken pieces in the freezer left over, and precooked bacon, that I do up and freeze. That is the key to easy cooking is pre-cook items and store in freezer, when you have the chance or leftovers from something you made before. It makes for quick easy meals.

CHICKEN CORN CHOWDER
Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 red pepper , minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breast halves)
5 strips Turkey Bacon, chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (about 3 ears)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn

Preparation
**Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.

** Add onion, celery, and bacon; cook for 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.

**Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

**Stir in milk and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook until thick (about 15 minutes).

NOTE: You can throw everything into a crock pot and forget about it for 4 to 6 hours. Great for ski weekends at the lodge………

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The Baking Fiesta continues….

2383384789_ebee55c674_mWe all love sugar cookies here at our house, and usually I do them around each holiday, in shapes and decorate them. This time I decided to try without frosting. I chose a recipe from one of my new favorite books, America’s Best Lost Recipes“. Check out this book it has great old fashioned recipes from days gone by.

They are very soft, and not too sugary. Nice to have with tea. So give it a try…

Iola’s White Sugar Cookies


1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. buttermilk
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1. In your mixing bowl, cream together until fluffy the butter and sugar. Reduce speed and add egg and vanilla, until combined.
2. Combine the dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. NOTE: If you have no buttermilk, take 1/2 c. of milk and add in 1/2 tsp white vinegar.
3. Wrap the finished dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled. At least 2 hours or overnight.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking pans with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough about 1/4 inch thick and cut with 2 1/2 inch circle cutter. Space them an inch apart on baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 12 to 14 minutes , let cool 20 minutes before storing. You can reroll any scraps you have and cut. Store in air tight container and they will stay moist for awhile.

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