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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Soups

FOOD HOLIDAY: Easy Gumbo Recipe With Swanson’s

Gumbo is a Creole soup from Louisiana, thickened with okra pods. “Gumbo” is an African word for okra.

Okra came to America with the slave trade and was introduced to the Southern white population by African cooks. As with all recipes, there are regional variations and different styles of gumbo.

You can toil for many hours to make your gumbo, or you can make this one quickly to celebrate National Gumbo Day, October 12th.

Made with Swanson Louisana Cajun Flavor Infused Broth, it delivers the taste of New Orleans when combined with your chicken, sausage and vegetables.

Prep time is 25 minutes, total time is 1 hour, 25 minutes. Serve it at your next get-together.

RECIPE: EASY CAJUN GUMBO

Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 pound fresh andouille sausage links*, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 extra large onion, diced (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced (about 1-1/2 cups)
  •    

    gumbo-with-andouille-sausage-swanson-230

    It’s gumbo time! Photo
    courtesy Swanson.

  • 1 carton (32 ounces) Swanson Louisana Cajun Flavor Infused Broth
  • 8 ounces (1/2 of a 16-ounce package) sliced frozen okra (or fresh if you can find it—about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • Optional: hot chile sauce to your desired level of heat
  •  
    Serve With

  • Hot cooked rice (traditional) or other grain
  •  
    *To save time, you can substitute 1 package (12 ounces) fully-cooked andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, for the fresh sausage. Then, skip Step 1 below, and stir the cooked sausage in with the broth in Step 3.

     

    swanson-louisiana-cajun-broth-230

    A great starter to make easy gumbo. Photo
    courtesy Swanson.

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT 2 tablespoons oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until well browned, stirring occasionally. Remove the sausage from the saucepan and drain on paper towels. Do not pour off the drippings from the saucepan.

    2. REDUCE the heat to medium-low. Stir the remaining oil and the flour in the saucepan. Cook for 30 minutes or until the flour mixture is dark brown, stirring occasionally.

    3. Stir the onion, celery and pepper in the saucepan and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the broth, okra, chicken and sausage and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
     
    MORE GUMBO RECIPES

  • A gumbo recipe from Chef Emeril Lagasse
  • A gumbo recipe from Chef David Venable
  •  

    CAJUN VS. CREOLE: THE DIFFERENCE

    Some people think of Creole cuisine as “city food” and Cajun cuisine as “country food.” But to eyeball the dish and tell its provenance, here’s a simple trick:

    Creole cuisine uses tomatoes and Cajun food typically does not. That’s how to distinguish a Cajun gumbo or jambalaya from a Creole gumbo or jambalaya.

    “Creole” referred to people who were born to settlers in French colonial Louisiana, specifically in New Orleans. In the 18th, century Creoles were the descendants of the French and Spanish upper class that ruled the city.

    Cajuns, on the other hand, emigrated from the Acadia region of Canada, which consisted of present-day New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. They settled in the swampy region of Louisiana that is today known as Acadiana; their name, “les Acadians,” became shortened in the vernacular as “Cajun.”

    Enjoy a deeper discussion at LouisianaTravel.com.

     
    CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SOUP IN OUR SOUP GLOSSARY.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Gazpacho & Beer

    This gazpacho has a surprise ingredient:
    beer! Photo courtesy Frontera Foods.

     

    Here’s a fun idea that can be a soup course, a main course or pass-around party fare, served in small glasses.

    This idea was developed at Frontera Foods, a Chicago-based Mexican foods company headed by Chef Rick Bayless, in partnership with Bohemia Beer. You can serve “beer gazpacho” or turn it into a Martini.

    The tip isn’t just to add beer to gazpacho, but that you can season gazpacho with the addition of prepared salsa.

    The soup can be made ahead and even tastes better when allowed to sit overnight. The recipe makes about 3 quarts.

    To serve gazpacho as a light main course, consider adding:

  • A large salad
  • Crostini, perhaps with olive tapenade
  • Tapas
  • Platters of Spanish sausages, Serrano ham, tortilla Española (Spanish omelet, served at room temperature), Spanish cheeses (look for Cabrales, Idiazabal, Mahon, Manchego and Murcia al Vino), and rustic bread
  • Instead of wine, chilled dry sherry
  •  

    RECIPE: FRONTERA’S SALSA GAZPACHO

    Ingredients For 6-8 Main Course Servings

  • 5 pounds ripe red tomatoes (16 to 20 medium-sized plum or 12 medium-small round)
  • 2 seedless cucumbers, peeled
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 bottle (16 ounces) Frontera Habanero Salsa or substitute
  • 1/2 cup Bohemia beer (or substitute)
  • 2 cups torn (½-inch inch pieces) white bread
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • Salt to taste, about 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1½ cups home-style croutons
  •  

    Preparation

    1. CHOP enough of the tomatoes into a ¼-inch dice to a generous 1½ cups. Chop enough of the cucumber into ¼-inch dice to yield a generous 1 cup. Stir in the cilantro. Cover and refrigerate for garnish.

    2. ROUGHLY CHOP the remaining tomatoes and cucumber. Mix with the salsa, beer, bread, olive oil and vinegar. In a blender, purée the mixture in 2 batches until smooth.

    3. TRANSFER to a large bowl. Stir in just enough water to give the soup the consistency of a light cream soup, about ½ to 1 cup. Taste and season with salt. Chill thoroughly.

    4. SERVE: Set out the tomato-cucumber garnish mixture and croutons. Ladle the soup into chilled soup bowls. Pass the garnishes.

     

    spanish-cheeses-artisanal-230

    Serve a green salad and plate of Spanish cheeses after the gazpacho. Photo courtesy Artisanal Cheese.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: White Gazpacho, The Original Recipe

    A specialty of Spain and Portugal, gazpacho is a cold raw vegetable peasant soup originating in Andalusia, the southernmost region of Spain. Originally made from old bread, olive oil and garlic, the recipe was in use when the Romans conquered the Iberian Peninsula (218-19 B.C.E.).

    The name is of Arabic origin, and literally means “soaked bread”; the original recipe came from the Arabs who occupied much of Spain from the 8th through the 13th centuries.

    Although gazpacho is traditionally a textured soup—made in the days before food processors—today the term has become generic for any cold vegetable soup. But early on, it was a way for field workers to make lunch from the vegetables at hand, and stale bread was added to the recipes.

    Today, an Andalusian recipe typically includes stale bread, bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, onion, tomato, wine vinegar and salt. This “red gazpacho” is a relatively recent addition: The tomato, a new world fruit originally the size of the cherry tomato, was brought back to Europe from the New World by the Spanish conquistadors as a houseplant. It was not eaten until the 1800s*; the first documented tomato sauce recipe in Italy is from 1839.

    There are many variations of gazpacho, depending on local preferences. American recipes tend to leave out the bread, although some may garnish the soup with garlic croutons. White gazpacho is made with olive oil, sherry vinegar, bread, garlic and salt, and substitutes green grapes and almonds for the vegetables. We’ve included a white gazpacho recipe, ajoblanco, below.

    Gazpacho is a warm weather dish. In Spain it can be found in any bar or restaurant from May to September.

     
    *A member of the Nightshade family of plants, the tomato was deemed poisonous until it was eaten out of desperation during a famine in the early 1800s in Italy. The original tomato was the cherry tomato, which made an attractive house plant. History of the tomato.

       

    gazpacho-addsomelife.com

    Tomato-based gazpacho. Photo courtesy AddSomeLife.com.

     
    GAZPACHO HISTORY

    According to Foods From Spain, Empress Eugenia (Eugenie) de Montijo was the first to popularize gazpacho outside of Spain. She insisted on serving it at her wedding banquet when she married Napoleon III in 1853.

    While we don’t know which recipe she requested, it was no doubt one of the many evolutions of the original gazpacho recipe.

    Flash forward to medieval times: Moor invaders (711 C.E.) added almonds to the recipe, giving birth to ajoblanco, the forerunner of modern gazpacho. Before tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers were brought back from the New World, gazpacho was white. (Ajoblanco means white garlic.)

    Spaniards then made that recipe their own by adding grapes, both blended into the soup and as a garnish.

    Over the centuries, gazpacho has evolved in many directions. The blender and food processor have enabled versions with creamy textures. The common ingredients remain olive oil, garlic and salt.

    You can find gazpacho in shades of green, red, white and yellow. You can find it made thickly, with the texture of a dip rather than a soup. The classic gazpacho of Seville is made with tomato, cucumber, garlic, onion, green pepper, bread, salt, a dash of sherry vinegar and olive oil, and is usually seasoned with cumin.

     

    ajoblanco-almond-garlic-foodsfromspain-230

    Ajoblanco, white gazpacho. Photo courtesy
    Foods From Spain.

     

    RECIPE: AJOBLANCO, COLD ALMOND & GARLIC SOUP

    In this recipe from Foods From Spain, prep time is 20-30 minutes, plus chilling time. For a wine pairing, consider a dry white Muscatel from Spain.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Pepper and salt to taste
  • 7 ounces/.875 cup almonds, peeled
  • 7 ounces/.875 cup white breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-1/4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • 7 ounces/.875 cup white grapes
  • Garnish: 2-3 green grapes per person
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CRUSH the garlic cloves with the pepper and salt, preferably with a mortar and pestle (you can use a processor).

    2. SOAK the breadcrumbs in water, then drain and add with the almonds to the garlic mixture.

    3. CONTINUE to crush (or grind) as you gradually pour in the olive oil, working the mixture until it is is fluid and smooth. Gradually add the water until you achieve the desired density.

    4. ADD the vinegar and any extra salt if necessary. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
     
    MORE GAZPACHO RECIPES

  • Avocado Gazpacho Recipe
  • Melon Gazpacho Recipe
  • White Gazpacho With Grapes & Sour Cream Recipe
  • Yellow Bell Pepper Gazpacho Recipe
  •  
    Plus:

  • Gazpacho Sandwich Recipe—serve it with the soup!
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: Tart Cherry Fruit Soup

    tart-cherry-soup-choosecherries-230

    Tart cherry soup can be a starter or dessert.
    Photo courtesy ChooseCherries.com.

     

    Here’s a follow-up to our recent recipe tip on fruit soup, which included a recipe for chilled blackberry soup.

    This recipe is easy as can be, using tart cherry juice. You can serve it as a starter; we like it as a dessert, with an optional scoop of fruit sorbet: blueberry, lemon, lime, raspberry or strawberry, for example.

    If you’re not adding sorbet, consider a garnish of fresh or dried cherries.

    Prep time 20 minutes plus 2-4 hours chilling time.

    RECIPE: TART CHERRY SOUP

    Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

  • 2 cups tart cherry juice
  • 24 ounces frozen tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • Optional garnish: crème fraîche, fresh cherries, dried cherries, Greek yogurt, sorbet, sour cream
  • Preparation

    1. GENTLY WHISK together tart cherry juice, red wine, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice in a medium pot. Add frozen tart cherries. Heat over medium to high heat until mixture comes to a boil.

    2. REDUCE heat to medium to low and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
    (Optional: Spoon tart cherries out and blend in a blender until smooth; add back to soup)

    3. ADD vanilla and sour cream to cooled soup; stir to combine and chill for 2 to 4 hours in the refrigerator. Serve chilled with optional garnish.

    Check out more cherry recipes from the Cherry Marketing Institute, ChooseCherries.com.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Fruit Soup

    You don’t have to turn on the stove or the oven to make this refreshing dessert: fruit soup.

    Made from fresh or dried fruit, served hot or cold, fruit soups are underrepresented on American menus. Yet, they offer variety year-round.

  • Cold soups tend to be made with seasonal fruit and are thus served in warmer weather.
  • Soups made of dried fruits, such as Norwegian fruktsuppe (made of raisins and prunes), can be served hot or cold in any season.
  • Fruit soups can be cream soups or purées with or without the addition of fruit juice, and can include alcohol such as brandy, champagne, Port or wine.
  • Sweet fruit soups can include meat; and in at least one instance, a fruit soup can be completely savory, like \Chinese winter melon soup.
  • While fruit soup can be served for dessert, it also can be a first course or an intermezzo between fish and meat courses.
  •    

    blackberry-gazpacho-driscolls-230sq

    Fruit soup in a footed bowl. Photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

     

    Here’s a no cook light summer dessert dessert recipe from berry king Driscoll’s. Made primarily of blackberries, it adds red wine for a sophisticated layer of flavors (some red wines are often described to have hints of blackberry flavor).

    Prep time is 5 minutes. Serve with a piece of shortbread on the side.

     

    http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-blackberries-image11753307

    Fresh blackberries. Photo © Ninette Luz |
    Dreamstime.

     

    RECIPE: BLACKBERRY FRUIT SOUP

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 packages (6 ounces each) blackberries
  • 1 cups dry red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir, or substitute a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar)
  • 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cups sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 package (6 ounces) Driscoll’s Raspberries
  • 1 package (6 ounes) Driscoll’s Blueberries
  • Fresh mint for garnish
  • Optional topping: crème fraîche, thin lime slice, mascarpone, sour cream, toasted sliced almonds, vanilla yogurt or frozen yogurt
  • Optional: shortbread or other cookie
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PURÉE blackberries, wine and sugar in blender or food processor until smooth. Press through a strainer to remove the seeds. Discard solids.

    2. STIR in lemon juice; season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover and chill several hours or overnight.

    3. LADLE soup into chilled bowls, footed glasses or wine goblets. Drizzle or spoon sour cream on top, and scatter with raspberries and blueberries.

    4. GARNISH each serving with a mint sprig or coarsely chopped mint.
     
    MORE FRUIT SOUP RECIPES

  • Chilled Papaya and Watermelon Soup Recipe
  • Chilled Raspberry Yogurt Soup Recipe
  • Diet Fruit Soup Recipe
  • Simple Fruit Soup Recipe
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Tortellini En Brodo

    Tortellini en brodo (often misspelled in the U.S. as tortellini in brodo) is a classic Italian dish. Some Americans call it tortellini soup.

    It is served as a first course—chicken broth with a few tortellini—or as a main dish packed with tortellini. It’s a cousin of dumpling and chicken soups from Jewish chicken soup with kreplach to Chinese wonton soup, not to mention American chicken-noodle soup.

    While most Americans eat tortellini with a red or white sauce and grated Parmesan, en brodo is a lighter way to enjoy the little loops of pasta.

    The dish, which originated in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna (more about that below), is warming in cold weather, but light enough to be summer fare. You can make it from scratch or purchase the components. Both the tortellini and the broth can be made ahead and reheated.

    While a flavorful bowl of chicken broth and tasty tortellini are comfort food in any season, if you don’t add veggies and herb garnishes, you’re leaving a lot off the table.

  • Add lots of fresh herbs. Parsley will do; but you can pick your favorites, from cilantro to dill. They may not be authentic Italian herbs, but this is your show (and they taste great with the dish).
  •    

    http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-tortellini-soup-delicious-vegetable-image30876662

    Tortellini en brodo in its simplest form, with fresh herbs. Photo by Aas2009 | Dreamstime.

  • Root vegetables add fragrance and flavor the broth. Also consider spinach or kale.
  •  
    Customize your recipe:

  • Combine both white and green tortellini. Mixing up different fillings offer a pleasant surprise with each bite.
  • In spring, add fresh peas or other seasonal vegetables such as asparagus.
  • Make it a heartier dish with strips of poultry or pork, or tiny meatballs.
  • Spice it up with a garnish of sliced fresh jalapeño.
  • Go fusion with a garnish of tortilla or wonton strips.
  •  

    sauces-tortellini-230

    The next time you make tortellini, try it en
    brodo
    instead of with traditional sauces.
    Photo of Randazzo’s tortellini and sauces by
    Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    THE HISTORY OF TORTELLINI

    Tortellini are made by filling long strips of pasta, rolling them into tubes and cutting individual pieces, which are pinched together with the thumb and forefinger. The famous “loop” shape is said to be based on the belly button of the Venus, the Roman goddess of love.

    One of the most famous versions of the legend, written in the 14th century, tells us that that Bacchus, Mars and Venus came down to earth to intervene in a 12th century war between Bologna and Modena (in Emilia-Romagna). They spent the night at an inn in Castelfranco, a small town located between the two cities.

    In the morning, Bacchus and Mars arose early to visit the battle site. When Venus awoke and could not find her companions, she called for the innkeeper, who arrived to find the goddess of love naked. Inspired by her navel, he created a new shape of pasta. (Seriously, Mr. Innkeeper—her navel inspired you?)

    Tortellini are made in a size that fits easily onto a soup spoon. There is a recipe for tortelli, larger tortellini, that dates back to the 12th century. The first recipe for tortellini alla Bolognese, tomato and meat sauce, appeared in Bologna in 1550 and became a signature dish in that city. (Note that Tuscans also claim tortellini as their regional pasta.)

     
    Tortellini en brodo was the traditional Christmas soup, made with capon broth, which was favored by the ruling classes. The broth was made rich by cooking all the meat in it. The meat was then turned into a stuffing with Parmigiano-Reggiano, prosciutto crudo and/or mortadella.

    Today you can find tortellini filled with everything from cheese blends to meat and cheese to pumpkin.
     
    THE CULINARY LEGACY OF EMILIA-ROMAGNA

    If you love great Italian food, consider a trip to Emilia-Romagna. It’s the birthplace of, among other culinary pearls:

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano cheeses
  • Prosciutto di Parma
  • Pasta cuts including cappelletti, garganelli, gramigna, lasagne, strozzapreti, tagliatelle, tortellini and tortelli alla lastra (ravioli)
  • Wines such as Lambrusco, Sangiovese and Trebbiano
  • Zuppa inglese, a trifle-like custard dessert
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cheese In Your Soup 2 ~ Mozzarella

    Sure there’s Parmesan in minestrone, Cheddar cheese soup and other varieties featured in our article, Cheese In Your Soup.

    Here’s an idea from Puglia, Italy for a garnish of cubed mozzarella—and anchovy, for anchovy lovers. (No lovers, just leave it off.)

    RECIPE: ZUCCHINI SOUP PURÉE WITH FRESH MOZZARELLA

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into
    1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
  • Fine sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 small white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium zucchini (courgettes), quartered and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  •  

    Mozzarella: It’s not just for pizza and parmigiana. Photo courtesy PugliaShopPnline.com.

  • 3 cups vegetable broth, heated to a simmer
  • 4 flat anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
  •  
    Preparation

    1. TOSS together cheese, 1 tablespoon oil, oregano and a pinch of salt in a bowl.

    2. HEAT the remaining 2 tablespoons oi in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes.

    3. ADD zucchini, stir to combine and cook for 1 minute more. Add broth, bring to a simmer and cook until zucchini is tender, about 10 minutes.

    4. CAREFULLY PURÉE mixture in a blender until smooth; season with salt to taste. Cool soup to just warm. Serve topped with cheese cubes and some chopped anchovies.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: 7 Uses For Broth Or Stock

    Digging in the back of the pantry, we found several cartons of beef, chicken and vegetable broth and stock stock nearing expiration. We grabbed a pencil and created this list of how to use them:

    Braise & Glaze. Braise meats, glaze vegetables. Any savory recipe that calls for the addition of water can probably be improved by substituting stock.

    Cook Grains. Substitute chicken or vegetable stock for the cooking water and your grains will taste so much better. Use two parts stock to one part barley, couscous, rice, quinoa or other favorite grain.

    Drink A Cup. Beef and chicken broth are protein-packed alternatives to a hot cup of coffee or tea. Enjoy a cup plain or with cracked pepper, minced herbs and/or a tablespoon of grated Parmesan. Spice it up with a splash of hot sauce or minced chiles.

    Make Pasta En Brodo. An Italian classic, soup pasta or tortellini cooked in broth and served in the cooking broth with generous amounts of pasta. You can substitute barley, quinoa or other nutritious grain for the pasta. (Add spaghetti to chicken broth and you’ve got chicken noodle soup.)

     

    swanson-chicken-broth-carton-230b

    A versatile pantry sample. Photo courtesy Swanson.

     

    imagine-vegetable-broth-carton-230

    For recipes or a cup of pick-me-up. Photo
    courtesy Imagine Foods.

     

    Make Polenta. While we typically save time by purchasing premade rolls of polenta, the homemade version is so much better—and even better when made with stock instead of water. (In cooking school, which followed French techniques, we were instructed to make it with cream. Nope!)

    Make Risotto. We love an excuse to whip up a risotto. You need arborio, carnaroli or vialone nano rice (these starchier varieties create risotto’s creaminess—see the different types of rice). While plain risotto with Parmigiano-Reggiano or other Italian grating cheese is delicious, wild mushroom risotto or seafood risotto is submlime. Seasonal vegetables are another fine addition. Here’s a recipe for asparagus and shrimp risotto.

    Make Soup. Add pasta and veggies for homemade chicken noodle soup; use as a base for anything from minestrone to hot and sour soup.

     
    STOCK & BROTH: THE DIFFERENCE

    The difference between a stock and a broth is the seasoning. Stock is not seasoned; it is an unfinished product that is an ingredient in another dish. For example, stock is used to make gravy (beef stock is use used for au jus), marinades, risotto, sauces and other soups.

    So, if you’re using stock, you’ll need to add salt to your desired level. Broth already contains salt.

    Broth is a thin soup is made from a clear stock foundation. The terms bouillon and broth are used interchangeably. However, a bouillon is always served plain (with an optional garnish), whereas broth can be made more substantive with the addition of a grain (corn, barley, rice) and vegetables.

    Here are the related types of soups, including consommé and velouté.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Leftover Ham Recipes

    white-bean-ham-soup-qvc-230

    Use leftover ham in a delicious bean soup.
    Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    You can just enjoy so many ham sandwiches and ham scrambles with the leftover Easter ham. Here are two recipes from QVC’s David Venable, that take a different approach.

    RECIPE: WHITE BEAN SOUP WITH HAM

    This recipe uses the ham bone, hock, or shanks.

    David comments, “Though it may officially be spring, there are still plenty of days that call for a recipe that takes out the chill. This broth-based soup is a great way to use leftover ham: It’s light enough for spring, but hearty enough to be filling.”

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry Great Northern beans*
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 meaty ham hock or 2-3 lbs of ham shanks
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups ham, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Garnish: fresh parsley
  •  
    *A mild, white, oval bean, similar to the white kidney bean.

    Preparation

    1. RINSE the beans, sorting out any that are broken or discolored.

    2. BRING a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt and the beans and remove the pot from the heat. Let the beans sit in the hot water for at least 60 minutes.

    3. RETURN the pot to high heat and place the ham bone, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, mustard and bay leaves in the pot. Stir well, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 60 more minutes.

    4. REMOVE the ham bone and discard. Stir in the chopped ham and simmer for 30 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley (if desired).

     

    RECIPE: SMOKED HAM & CHEDDAR HASH

    David advises, “This hash recipe works just as well with ham that hasn’t been smoked. Try serving it as a breakfast item by throwing some fried eggs on top. Like a little spice in your hash? Add some hot sauce to the pan!”

    Ingredients

  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (preferably smoked)
  • 6 cups smoked ham, diced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 10-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup coarse breadcrumbs (such as panko)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  •  

    smoked-ham-cheddar-hash-qvc-230

    Yummy smoked ham and Cheddar hash. Photo courtesy QVC.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. In a large sauce pot, boil the potatoes until fork tender. Drain the water and set aside.

    2. ADD the butter to a 10″ or larger, deep nonstick skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until slightly colored.

    3. STIR in the paprika and ham. Add the broth, cream of mushroom soup and scallions. Stir well to combine and bring to a simmer.

    4. ADD the parboiled potatoes and stir carefully to evenly incorporate all ingredients. Season the hash, to taste, with salt and pepper.

    5. COMBINE the Cheddar cheese, breadcrumbs and parsley in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top of the hash. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until evenly browned.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: April Fool—It Isn’t Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

    We’re cooking up some food fun for tomorrow, April Fool’s Day. This year, it’s trompe-l’oeil food.

    Trompe-l’oeil (pronounced trump LOY), French for “deceive the eye”, is an art technique that creates the optical illusion that a piece of two-dimensional art exists in three dimensions. You may have seen some amazing sidewalk art that fools you into thinking you’re about to step into a hole, a pool, etc.

    We’re adapting the “deceive the eye” reference to “food trompe-l’oeil”—food that looks like one thing but is actually another. Serve this “grilled cheese and tomato soup” dish, which is actually orange pound cake and strawberry soup.

    Thanks to Zulka Morena sugar for the recipes and fun idea. If you’ve got a great palate or simply preferred less processed sugar, try it. The top-quality sugar is minimally processed and never refined. You can taste the difference!

     

    strawberry-soup-orange-pound-cake-zulkasugar-230

    April Fool’s food: Standing in for tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich are strawberry soup and pound cake. Photo courtesy Zulka Sugar.

     

    RECIPE: ORANGE POUND CAKE

    Ingredients

    For The Pound Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  •  
    For the Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract or juice
  • 2-5 drops natural orange food color
  •  

    zulka-morena-cane-sugar-2-230

    Zulka makes less processed, better tasting
    sugar. Photo courtesy Zulka Sugar.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a standard loaf pan.

    2. CREAM together in a medium bowl the butter, sugar and orange zest until fluffy. Add the eggs in 3 parts, combining well after each addition. In a separate small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture until just combined. Add the sour cream and orange juice and mix well.

    3. POUR into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top, and bake for 1 hour or longer, until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean. If the top starts to brown too much before the cake is done, tent with a piece of foil.

    4. REMOVE from oven; cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

    5. MIX the frosting ingredients together until well combined. Add more food color as needed to reach desired color.

    6. ASSEMBLE: Slice the pound cake into 1/2 inch slices. Spread a small amount of butter on one side and grill on a griddle or skillet until toasted looking, being careful not to burn. Let cool completely. Repeat with remaining slices. Once all are cool, cut them each in half to make the two halves of each “sandwich.” Spread about a tablespoon of frosting on a non-toasted side of the cake, spreading some to the edges to make it look like melted cheese, and then top with the other half. Repeat with remaining slices.

     

    RECIPE: CHILLED STRAWBERRY SOUP

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 2 pounds strawberries, stems removed and hulled
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 1-1/2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt
  • Optional: yellow food color
  • Optional garnishes: 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream, fresh basil leaves
  •  
    Preparation

    1. DICE the strawberries, sprinkle the sugar over the top and let sit for 15 minutes. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth. Let chill completely. If you want the color to be more orange, like tomato soup, add a few drops of yellow food color.

    2. DIVIDE among 6 bowls. Drizzle a little heavy cream over the top and garnish with basil leaves.

    APRIL FOOL’S DAY HISTORY

    The origin of April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day, is obscure. The most accepted explanation traces it to 16th century France.

    Until 1564, the Julian calendar, which observed the beginning of the New Year in April, was in use. According to The Oxford Companion to the Year, King Charles IX then declared that France would begin using the Gregorian calendar, which shifted New Year’s Day to January 1st.

    Some people continued to use the Julian Calendar, and were mocked as fools. They were invited to bogus parties, sent on a fool’s errand (looking for things that don’t exist) and other pranks.

    The French call April 1st Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish. French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying “Poisson d’Avril” when the prank is discovered.

    What a fish has to do with April Fool’s Day is not clear. But in the name of a kinder, gentler world, we propose eliminating this holiday. (Source: Wikipedia)

      

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