Its been a couple of frustrating days here in the kitchen, but Flo’s Carrot Soup is a keeper. I have created and tested recipes for stuffed mushrooms and queso blanco cheese dip (thinking about Super Bowl food). Neither are worthy of sharing yet. But, this carrot soup, well I just spent the last few minutes scraping every last bit of it out of the cooking pot. YUM! The flavors are very subtile. No one flavor jumps out at you but the combination is intriguingly delicious. This soup is gluten free, dairy free and vegan if you leave out the butter.
One of the many things I love about Germany is the breakfasts. Whenever possible we stayed at privately owned Bed and Breakfasts partly so we could sample all the different breakfast choices. One of the simplest and yet one of my favorites is muesli. It’s slightly different everywhere you go. This German Muesli is inspired by my favorite German store-bought variety.
Yesterday it was cold and blustery. A perfect day to hang out by the fire with a good book and have a nice hot bowl of authentic New Mexico Green Chile Stew. Ground beef, green chile, and potatoes in a hearty broth. Top it with a bit of shredded cheese, add a flour tortilla along side, and you have a culinary electric blanket on a cold winter evening.
I love a good pot pie. I know, the crust is flour and butter. But, I love a good pot pie. Boston Market, Kentucky Fried Chicken and once upon a time Banquet or Marie Callander Frozen Pot Pies. The frozen ones of late have changed though. They are mainly crust and gravy. What happened to all the vegetables and meat?
My favorite holiday is coming up. New Year’s Day! A fresh start, a brand new year brimming with possibilities. One of my resolutions for 2018 is to take the time to make special days special. So, for New Year’s I am making Posole, a dish that is traditionally reserved for special occasions. It is the perfect winter stew, hearty, spicy, done in the slow cooker. If you can’t find Posole, you can substitute canned hominy.
This Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Dip is inspired by an appetizer we recently had at the La Fonda in Santa Fe. We had company from out of state here, so we took a day trip to Santa Fe. Yes, we did the touristy stuff at the Plaza, but it was lovely. The Christmas lights and decorations were up. After a long day of art galleries and shopping, we stopped in to La Fonda’s La Fiesta Lounge and had a drink and some delicious appetizers. Everybody’s favorite was the Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Dip. So, here is my version of it, perfect for a New Year’s Party.
This is what you will need. A package of fresh spinach, a jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil, garlic, asiago cheese, cream cheese, lemon juice and a dash of nutmeg.
This only takes about 30 minutes to make start to finish. La Fonda serves their’s with little garlic toasts. I used some bagel chips. Since it is mainly made out of spinach, I think it is one of the healthier dips to have in your back pocket for the holidays and parties – can you say Super Bowl. Don’t forget the squeeze of lemon juice. It really makes a difference.
If your Asiago cheese is not pre-shredded, break it up first in the processor by pulsing it a few times. Then add your spinach and garlic. I did half the spinach first with the cheese. Then added the rest of the spinach, pulsed it until it was almost like a pesto. Add the tomatoes and pulse again. Don’t over process it. You don’t want a puree, it should look like a pesto.
Dump the mixture out of the food processor into a non-stick skillet. Bring it to a low simmer until the garlic no longer tastes raw. It should take about 10 minutes. Then add in the nutmeg and cream cheese. Stir to combine. Add in a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Don’t leave out the lemon, it rounds out the taste.
Spinach and Sun Dried Tomato Dip
Serve this healthy dip warm with garlic toasts, pita or bagel chips.
- 1 10 oz package fresh baby spinach
- 1/3-1/2 cup Asiago cheese shredded
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh garlic or about 3 cloves roughly chopped
- 1 6.7 oz jar sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
- 3 tbsp cream cheese
- dash nutmeg
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice or to taste
In the large bowl of a food processor, pulse together 1/2 of the spinach, Asiago cheese and garlic. Scrape bowl and add the rest of the spinach. Pulse a few more times.
Add the sun-dried tomatoes with some of their oil and pulse again a few more times until mixture is the consistency of a rough pesto.
Pour mixture into a medium size non-stick skillet and bring to a simmer. Cook about 10 minutes or until the garlic no longer tastes raw.
Add cream cheese and nutmeg. Stir to melt the cream cheese and combine. Cook another 5 minutes or so until cream cheese is completely incorporated.
Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Stir and serve warm with toasts, crisp pita or bagel chips.
Our cousins came to visit this past weekend. Well really Andrea is the accidental cowboy’s second cousin. But let’s not split hairs. I now consider Andrea and her husband both my cousins. Andrea is an extraordinary baker and cook. It was such a delight to cook with her while they were here. We, well, mainly she made this amazing salad. Why so amazing? It is so good it could possibly replace Pringles. A little salty, tangy and crunchy. Just like Pringles but healthy! Just vegetables and this really yummy dressing. I call it Andrea’s Confetti Salad because it is full of all these bits of color.
It has been a busy week. We finally got around to hanging pictures and cleaning out the last of our moving boxes. It’s been a little over a year since we moved out here and we just haven’t taken the time to finish all those little decorating touches. I have to let those decisions marinate for a while, see how we actually want to use the living space. So after a long day of decorating decisions, I need a quick, easy dinner. Since ordering a pizza delivery is not an option, this is one of go to’s when I am too tired to cook. Ham and Asparagus Pesto Pasta.
When we lived in Texas we shopped at Kroger. They had the best bran muffins. Back in my airline days, they were my go to breakfast. Portable, filling, perfect on a 15 minute break.
I like mine really plain. No raisins, no nuts, not too sweet, no crunchy topping and not too heavy. This recipe is very, very close. The addition of speculoos spice mix adds a subtile zing that you will miss if you leave it out. In a pinch substitute a bit of cinnamon. You can by all means add all that stuff if you like but I am a bran muffin purist. Make a batch over the weekend and keep them in the fridge for breakfast all week. I think they actually taste better after the first day.