Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
My friends back in North Carolina are still sweltering in 90 degree weather.
This evening, the kids and I headed down to the park, and saw this.
Do you recognize that stuff on the water?
Yep, it's ice.
Lots of it.
We were spending some time enjoying the ice, when we suddenly heard the sounds of ice breaking a few yards away. We looked, and there was a beaver coming out of its dam, breaking through the ice.
It's a good thing we got our winter gear yesterday, and winterized our van earlier today. Now we are ready.
For more of this.
So when my grandmother would offer me potato soup, I quickly declined every time.
As I got older, my tastes changed, and while I am still not a huge fan of mashed potatoes, I do like lots of potatoes now. One day I was in a restaurant with my hubby for a date/lunch, and tried some potato soup.
I died and went to heaven.
And I wished I had tried my Grandma's Potato Soup.
After that, I started trying out recipes, and came up with a basic recipe that we all liked.
Well, yesterday someone asked me for a potato soup recipe, and I gave her both of mine. This one and the German Potato Soup. That put me in the mood for potato soup, so guess what we had last night for dinner?
So I made it last night, but with a couple further alterations, and this is my final, favorite version.
First, you need to bake 4 lbs of potatoes. (Wash them, poke them with a fork, and stick them in the oven for about an hour at 400 degrees. They are done when a butter knife can go in rather easily.)
Let the potatoes cool so that you can handle them. I cut them in half down the middle so they cool faster.
Now, dice up a large onion. You want about 1 1/2 cup.
And finely mince 3 cloves of garlic.
In a dutch oven or large pot, melt 1 tablespoon of butter.
Saute the onion and garlic until they are soft, and just about to turn golden on the edges.
Pour in 2 cups of chicken broth.
Now peel 2/3 of your potatoes.
Add those peeled potatoes to the pot. The rest, peel and cut into chunks, and set aside.
Just a note here, I apologize for the poor coloring. It is getting dark much earlier here, so no natural lighting, and the light above my stove stinks!
Now with a potato masher, mash them up. You aren't going for mashed potato texture here, just a chunky mush. Jack was helping me in the kitchen.
Now add 2 cups of milk.
And this is the kicker. Add 1 cup of half & half.
This makes it extra creamy. You can use all milk, but I think this was the perfect touch.
Now add salt & pepper to taste, and about 1 1/2 tsp parsley.
Bring the soup up to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
Now add the remaining potatoes that you cut into chunks.
Cook it until the potatoes are heated through. And that is it!
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls.
And what do you do with baked potatoes? You top them.
Crumbled, cooked bacon
And sour cream.
You can add whatever toppings you like. Anything you like on baked potatoes. Jack added black olives. Whatever floats your boat.
Baked Potato Soup
Monday, September 27, 2010
I'm looking forward to that.
This week, with highs in the 30's, and the chance of the first snow of the year, it is time to go through the clothes, pack away the summer clothes, and assess the clothing for winter. Forget Autumn. It is my favorite season, but only lasts about a week up here.
We all need boots. So we will begin the search for good boots for everyone. We also need good gloves. We already have coats and hats.
Something else I'm going to need to get, is a snow shovel. Didn't really need one of those in North Carolina!
And of course one of the most important things to get to prepare for winter, we absolutely can't go with out. To do so would be detrimental.
This family is very shy, and they don't much care for having their pictures taken, but if I am sneaky, I can snap a few.
Here is the mother and child.
The little one saw me and swam off into their home, but Mom kept on munching.
This beaver was busy, busy, pulling branches and continually working at the dam.
In another part of town, not far from here, is a place called Creamer's Field. This farm is a migratory bird sanctuary, and is simply amazing this time of year (last month especially) with the THOUSANDS of birds traveling south for the soon-coming winter.
There are many species of birds coming through, but you really see lots of Canadian Geese and Sandhill Cranes. It is so cool seeing the many V's of birds flying overhead. Sandhill Cranes in particular are very vocal birds, and you can't miss their passing.
Just a few of our neighbors. These are the best kind.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
This is the time of year I start cooking lots of apple recipes like an Apple Bundt Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze.
And pumpkin recipes, like Pumpkin Bread and Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Cookies.
How about a Pumpkin Cheesecake?
Be on the lookout for that soon!
What are your favorites to fix this time of year?
Saturday, September 25, 2010
I made these with the last of my North Carolina Wild Blackberries. I went through these photos and was I ever sad that for the first time in years, I have no blackberries just waiting for me in the freezer.
I'm going to have to go to the store and actually BUY blackberries! The horror!
In any case, I am finally getting around to posting this pictorial.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
In a small bowl, place 1 cup of frozen blackberries. Sprinkle them with 1 TB of flour, and set them back in the freezer, so you don't have mush.
Now, in a mixing bowl you need 2 cups and 2 TB flour, 1 Tb baking powder, 3 Tb sugar and 1/8 tsp salt.
Stir it all together.
Now you are going to take 6 TB of cold butter, and slice it up, and drop it into the bowl.
With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until there are no pieces of butter left larger than a pea. Here I was using the old-fashioned method of criss-crossing knives because my pastry blender had broke, and I couldn't find a new one in a store, ANYWHERE! (I have one now....bought it when we were on the road)
Next, you are going to measure out 1 cup of half & half.
And you are going to add to it, 1 Tb of vanilla.
Stir it in. Mmmm...that smells heavenly.
Pour the creamy mixture into the mixing bowl, and stir everything together until just mixed.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.
Now you are going to pull the blackberries out of the freezer, and gently work them into the dough.
Pat the dough into a square shape, about 3/4 inch thick.
Using a knife, cut the square in half twice, making 4 smaller squares.
And cut each square in half diagonally.
Place the scones onto a baking stone/sheet.
Now you are going to take another half of a tablespoon of cold butter, and cut it into 8 little pieces.
Put a litte piece of butter on each scone.
Put them in the oven, and bake for 15-17 minutes or until the are a lovely golden color.
Take the scones and place them on a cooling rack that is over some foil, wax or parchment paper. You'll see why in a minute.
Now these scones are wunderbar!...but this is what puts them over the top.
You need 1 cup of powdered/confectioner's sugar.
and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice...
Using a whisk, combine the two until they are smooth.
Now, try not to swoon. Take a spoon, and drizzle the tangy loveliness all over the scones.
Now they are complete.
Printable Version: Blackberry Scones with Lemon Glaze