Thursday, January 31, 2008

Basmati Rice Oh So Nice

Basmati Rice Oh So Nice

This technique for cooking up a dish of non-sticky naturally nutty basmati rice can be used with any type of rice, but I am now completely hooked cooking rice this way along with only using Basmati rice - I haven't had plain rice since my boyfriend turned me this technique of cooking rice of course, just like his Greek Jewish Mom does.

  • 1 cup basmati rice (we use the basmati rice from the Himalayan area - you can get a huge bag from BJ's for $12- much more affordable than the smaller bag amounts you typically find at the grocery store.)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon "Better than Bullion Chicken" (optional but really makes it extra great)
  • 2 stalks fresh scallions minced/chopped small (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly minced cilantro (optional)
  • Juice of one lemon (optional when wishing a rice pilaf taste)
  • 1/8 cup white wine (optional - but minus 1/8 cup water of total 2 cups of water)
  • 2-3 paper towels - you will see why in a moment...
  • wood spoon or wood spatula (spatula best)
  • fork for fluffing the rice when its time
  • Equipment Needed:
  • 1-1/2 quart pot with tight lid.
  • Hungry people craving rice but bad!

  1. Measure out all your ingredients and have ready.
  2. Slice onion if you haven't done that already and heat up pot on stove.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and let heat up in pot.
  4. Add onion and let cook on medium till translucent, stirring often.
  5. I prefer my onions to brown and caramel a little, but try not to burn your onions.
  6. Once onions are cooked through, add garlic and cook for ONE minute - you do not wish to burn garlic.
  7. Add rice (yes without any water), using wood spatula, stir rice until each rice has a little of the remaining olive oil on it.
  8. (This is the little secret of his mom, in creating rice that does not stick)
  9. Continue stirring rice for 2 minutes, put heat on low if you have to.
  10. Add wine first if using that, stir then add the water, stirring again.
  11. Add salt and pepper and any other optional ingredients except for the scallions - it's their turn at the end)
  12. Put on lid and turn heat up.
  13. Pay attention till when rice starts to boil, turn down heat at once and put on low.
  14. Let cook and simmer on low for 10 minutes or until water has been absorbed.
  15. To check for water absorption - take a spoon or knife and gently pull a little of the rice aside looking for any water - is water all gone?
  16. Great! Once water has evaporated, turn off the heat and grab those paper towels.
  17. Fold up paper towels, and place just under lid and let rice "sit" for 5 minutes.
  18. Put lid back on pot sitting on top of paper towels.
  19. The paper towels will soak up any of the extra steam that the rice will give Remember that the heat is off under the rice at this point.
  20. During this time, it's great to plate your main dishes, call your peeps to the dinner table, etc. while the rice is "resting".
  21. When ready, taking a fork, "fluff" up your rice, using a fork is essential. Serve with sprinkled diced scallions on top - and voila.
  22. Basmati Rice Oh So Nice - time to eat!

Basmati Rice Oh So Nice @ Group Recipes

In A Hurry Moo Shu Chicken Stir Fry

In a Hurry Moo Shoo Chicken Stir Fry

Quick and slightly different stir fry chicken tastes a lot like Moo Shu Chicken - I added broccoli - but grab those crepes from your local Chinese market/restaurant to make it completely authentic at home.

I made this up last night and was happily impressed with its similarity to one of my favorite Moo Shu dishes -swap out chicken for beef or pork..choice is yours...serve with rice...enjoy! And get yourself real Hoisin Sauce from an Asian market to make it completely authentic - it really affects the end results!

  • 1 whole chicken breast (both sides, skin removed, bone removed) - sliced into 1/2" strips

  • 1 cup fresh broccoli cut up into bite size pieces

  • 1 large onion sliced into strips

  • 2-3 scallions minced

  • 1-1/2 cups of sliced thin savoy/Chinese cabbage

  • 1/2 cup slices of green and red peppers (frozen strips ok)

  • 3/4 cups of alpha bean sprouts

  • salt & pepper to taste

  • 3 dashes/shakes of red chili flakes

  • 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic minced

  • Oil for stir frying (preferably use Chinese typed cooking oil or vegetable oil - olive oil will smoke too quickly)

  • 1 cup water plus 2-3 tablespoons of water

  • 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoons sesame oil

  • 1/3 cup soy - sodium reduced

  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce (in your grocer's market - but it is best to get the real thing from an Asian store or your local Chinese restaurant - the difference is really amazing - get the authentic stuff, really and makes a big difference in the taste of this dish!)

  • ****Equipment Needed"

  • Wok/or deep skillet, three bowls and hungry people ready to chow down, literally.

I noticed that if I did my vegetables first and removed them prior to doing up the chicken, the colors remained in the vegetables and were crisp, so we will be cooking them in that order.

  1. Have all your ingredients out and ready.

  2. Slice/dice/mince up all your ingredients.

  3. In one bowl, place your chicken and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, one dash of chili flakes, one tablespoon hoisin sauce, stir till combined and set aside.

  4. In second bowl, place one cup of water along with cornstarch, stir till well incorporated, and set aside.

  5. Heat wok with one tablespoon of cooking oil. Make sure it's super hot and ready by taking one piece of broccoli - if it's jumping around, your wok is ready.

  6. Put broccoli in wok and add two tablespoons water. Stir and cook for 4 minutes, till almost done and water has evaporated.

  7. Take out broccoli and put in bowl that you have the sliced cabbage in.

  8. Next grab that sliced onion, add a little more oil as needed. Stir fry till nice and brown. Place this along with cabbage and broccoli you had set aside earlier.

  9. Add chicken, stir fry till pink color is gone. Add garlic and let cook one minute.

  10. Bring back the cooked onions, broccoli and uncooked cabbage.

  11. Add all other remaining ingredients.

  12. Let cook for three or more minutes, stirring frequently, sauce will thicken slightly.

  13. Call hungry troops to table and serve with rice - voila and enjoy!

In A Hurry Moo Shu Chicken @ Group Recipes

Monday, January 28, 2008

Superb Touch Down and Score Chicken Wings - A How To by Divaliscious

Here's my take on delicious and crispy chicken wings which are not hot but have a savory and complex taste that will keep people guessing what your secret ingredient is...mind you there are many!
If you are up to the chore -and who isn't well here it is...and have your self one heck of a super bowl party!


  • ***The list of the ingredients is as long as I could make it (just kidding) though it is longer than anticipated – but it is surely worth all the ingredients as the chicken wings marinade over this great marinade
  • ***I also created the recipes for the required spice mixes for those that are handy in your cupboard and for those who might not make it to the store in time...
  • ***btw - I was going to call this recipe "Everything in your Fridge and Cupboards Chicken Wings" - rofl
  • Here goes anything and everything:
  • 1 large package of chicken wings (24 wings in total) cut up removing tips (reserve to make broth see separate recipe for wing tip gingered chicken broth) OR your choice chicken parts and do this on the grill
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar (white or brown)
  • 4 tablespoons soy – reduced sodium
  • 3 tablespoons fresh scallions minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh garlic minced (3-4 cloves)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic syrup or vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger minced/grated (dry would be fine I am sure)
  • 2 tablespoons jerk seasoning (if you don’t have it, measure out roughly and use equal parts of the following: allspice, paprika, cumin, red chili flakes, pepper, turmeric, celery salt, thyme and celery salt)
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of Zahatar - see recipe for this at: my page
  • 1 tablespoon freshly dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon freshly dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (freshly grounded would be prefect)
  • Zest and juice of one lemon (try and not let seeds get into bowl)
  1. The real trick to having juicy delicious chicken wings with any recipe is to not overcook them, I prefer not to par-boil them nor fry them prior to baking, but simply roasting them in the oven on a cookie sheet or in a roasting pan than had been lined with tinfoil and placed on top of a cookie cooling rack that's placed inside the roasting pan to allow them to crisp and let fat drip away.
  2. Also, do you want a dipping sauce for later when serving up your chicken wings? Then make extra marinade (without putting raw chicken in it of course) and set aside to heat up later for 10-15 minutes in a sauce pan. Add a little more ketchup if you would like.
  3. Cut up all the chicken wings – reserve tips if you would like to make my “winging it gingered chicken broth”
  4. Rinse all cut up chicken wings and set aside momentarily.
  5. In extra large bowl, place all ingredients listed above.
  6. Mix marinade till all in combined.
  7. Place all the chicken wings into the bowl with the marinade and using hands which is best or spoon, move chicken all around coating all chicken pieces with the marinade.
  8. Let marinade for at least four hours or even over night for best flavor. Stir a couple times during the marinating time to ensure all chicken parts have been well coated.
  9. Preheat oven at 375 degrees, using either a deep roasting pan lined with tinfoil for easier cleaning or “coated” cookie sheets and spread out chicken wing parts.
  10. Place in oven and let bake in oven for 20-30 minutes.
  11. Open up oven door, with potholders of course, take out pan or cookie sheets and using tongs or fork, turn over each chicken wing, and return to oven.
  12. Let bake for 30-40 minutes more and then set them up on a plate to be devoured by your friends and family.
  13. Serve with blue cheese dressing, carrots and/or celery - and enjoy!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Eggplant Spread Three-ways Recipe

Need a new way to serve eggplants? My fellow made this last night for me – we ended up eating it for dinner though it is meant to be an appetizer. Perfect spread for bringing to parties since it’s vegetarian and is used pretty much like a spread but will please anyone who enjoys garlic…

But before he left, I made his sit down and tell me all his eggplant spread secrets, we gave them interesting names and voila, I share with you now these great eggplant spreads. Though I will NOT tell you who Leelushka is – that’s our little secret.

It’s really three recipes in one – so feel free to make only dish if you like, though they look great in three bowls placed together on the table letting people pick and choose as they like. Serve with warm grilled pita bread if you can – or heat in the oven for only 3-5 minutes or even the microwave though I don’t recommend the microwave since the pita can get dried out too quickly. (We used garlic-flavored pita which were sensational) or serve with crustini or good sliced Italian bread or even crackers – what ever you got in the cupboard!

If you like Mediterranean flavors, then you will simply adore these dishes. See Check out more of my own recipes at! for grilling "how to's" with the eggplant.

Leelushka's Red Sea Eggplant Spread


  • 1 large cooked eggplant (yield roughly 1-1/2 cups of eggplant) chopped up into small bits – it will be mushy looking – so hang in there.
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic – minced
  • 1/3-1/2 cup of tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • Juice of one fresh lemon
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil drizzled over final product
  1. Take rinsed eggplant and either grill (like when you are roasting green peppers) on your outside grill or inside grill pan (like I did - see photos) turning it over every so often, till it seems very mushy inside.
  2. No grill pan or outside grill? No Problem! Place eggplant in tinfoil loosely wrapped onto a cookie sheet and bake in oven for 20-30 minutes say at 350 degrees.
  3. Let eggplant cool, you can also put plastic over it (see photo the way I did) to help skin loosen from the "fruit" inside. That was the hardest part of this dish!
  4. Gently remove skin from eggplant, and chop into small bits, it will be very mushy but keep seeds in and set aside.
  5. In bowl, put tahini, 2 tablespoons water – start stirring till the color of tahini gets lighter and stir till smooth.
  6. Take juice of one lemon and put into bowl and stir with tahini.
  7. Add all other ingredients including chopped eggplant and stir.
  8. Taste-test and add more salt and pepper if you would like.
  9. Drizzle good olive oil over final dish just prior to serving.
  10. Chill till ready to serve.
Leelushka's Spicy Eggplant & Tomato Spread/Dip

  • 1 large cooked grilled eggplant (yield 1-1/2 cups) Chopped up into small bits with skin removed – it will be mushy looking – so hang in there. (You will want a 50-50 ratio of tomatoes and cooked eggplant)
  • 1-1/2 cups of fresh really red tomatoes - cut up and diced into small cubes
  • 1 large pickle or 3 small pickles all diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar or more to taste
  • 2 or 3 cloves fresh garlic – minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper minced for heat – keep seeds in for an even hotter flavor (totally optional)

  1. Take rinsed eggplant and either grill (like when you are roasting green peppers) on your outside grill or inside grill pan (like I did - see photos) turning it over every so often, till it seems very mushy inside.
  2. No grill pan or outside grill? Place eggplant in tinfoil loosely wrapped onto a cookie sheet and bake in oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Let eggplant cool, you can also put plastic over it (see photo the way I did) to help skin loosen from the "fruit" inside. That was the hardest part of this dish!
  4. Gently remove skin from eggplant, and chop into small bits, it will be very mushy but keep seeds in and place in bowl.
  5. Mince all other ingredients and place in bowl.
  6. Add salt, pepper(s) and vinegar and stir all together.
  7. Taste-test and add more salt or vinegar if you would like.
  8. Cover and chill till ready to serve with warm pita bread cut into triangles (I preferred grilled pita bread - and in fact we used garlic-flavored pita just last night and it was delicious!)
Leelushka's Creamy Eggplant Spread

  • 1 Cooked large eggplant (yield 1-1/2 cups) Chopped up into small bits – it will be mushy looking – so hang in there. See how to's below.
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic – minced
  • 1 stalk of minced scallion or several chived minced
  • 1/3 cup of mayonnaise – we used “light” mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil drizzled over final product

  1. Take rinsed eggplant and either grill (like when you are roasting green peppers) on your outside grill or inside grill pan (like I did - see photos) turning it over every so often, till it seems very mushy inside.
  2. No grill pan or outside grill? Place eggplant in tinfoil loosely wrapped onto a cookie sheet and bake in oven for 20-30 minutes say at 350 degrees.
  3. Let eggplant cool, you can also put plastic over it (see photo the way I did) to help skin loosen from the "fruit" inside. That was the hardest part of this dish!
  4. Gently remove skin from eggplant, and chop into small bits, it will be very mushy but keep seeds in and place in bowl.
  5. Grab bowl and place all other minced ingredients and seasonings into bowl.
  6. Stir and taste-test to see if you would like to add more salt or pepper.
  7. Drizzle a little amount of good olive oil on top just before serving.
  8. Chill in fridge till ready to serve.
Want even more dishes and recipes? Check out more of my own recipes at!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Artisian Asparagus Quiche

This dish wowed even myself as it was made with eggs that were literally laid that day - not all of us have that advantage or luck let alone chickens in their yard, but it's an easy twist to everyday quiche that pleases the vegetarians to real men who eat quiche. Perfect to bring to a potluck as well. Light tasting yet rich, airy and cheesy, it's oh so tasty!...


  • 1 bunch of fresh baby asparagus (you'll need about 18 stalks depending upon size)

  • 1/3 cup: chopped scallions (2 or 3 stalks) or 1/3 cup fresh sliced chives

  • 4 slightly beaten eggs

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons flour

  • 1-1/2 cups of half-n-half, light cream or milk

  • 1 cup shredded cheese, use a combination of two or more cheeses such as goat, swiss and gouda or swiss, cheddar and monteray jack for some pizazz.

  • 1 pie crust (pre-made ok to it's ok to cheat on this step my peeps)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg (preferably fresh if possible)

  • Equipment Needed: One working oven at 450 to start, fresh chicken eggs just laid (just kidding), bag of dried beans out of their plastic, tin foil to help with baking pie shell blind (not you but the pie shell of course), steamer for asparagus, couple of bowls to make work easier and a cookie sheet to make clean up easier by placing cookie sheet under pastry shell when baking quiche in avoiding any spills that may occur.

The How To:

  1. Preheat oven at 450 degrees and take pre-made pastry shell, and prick bottom with fork all over. Either use blind cooking method (bag of dried beans inside tin foil and place inside pastry shell to help prevent pastry shell from puffing up on bottom) or take empty pie shell and place on top of pastry shell.

  2. Bake pie shell for 5 minutes till pastry shell is set slightly.

  3. Take out of oven and let cool.

  4. If you have a steamer, steam asparagus for five minutes - keep them whole at this point - or blanch them in boiling water for three minutes then place in cold water bath to stop cooking. Reserve up to twelve pieces whole and chop up rest to have up to one cup of chopped asparagus.

  5. Take shredded cheese into a bowl and stir in flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder, stir till well incorporated.

  6. In other bowl, place eggs and whisk. Add half-n-half , chopped asparagus, chopped scallions and shredded cheese mixture in with eggs.

  7. Turn oven down to 325 and place entire mixture into pastry shell.

  8. Take remaining whole steamed asparagus stalks and place on top of of unbaked quiche having the top part of the asparagus pointing towards pie shell rim (see photo).

  9. Take nutmeg and sprinkle it on top of quiche evenly as possible.

  10. Place unbaked quiche on the center of cookie sheet and place in oven on the middle rack.

  11. Bake quiche at 325 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. It's ready when a knife inserted comes out clean.

  12. Let quiche set for at least 10 minutes prior to serving.

  13. Call troops to table - serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy telling your troops how you stole the fresh eggs from the local farmer.
See this recipe and more of my Divaliscious Recipes at Artisian Asparagus Quiche @ Group Recipes

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Everything but the Kitchen Sink Surprise Cookies

  • One Hungry Sports Team Enthusiasts or peeps that love cookies

  • 2 cups flour

  • 1 -1/8 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temperature

  • 3/4 cup white sugar

  • 1-1/4 cup dark brown sugar

  • 2 large/jumbo eggs at room temperature

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 3/4 teaspoon pure almond extract (secret ingredient #1)

  • 3 dashes/shakes of cinnamon (secret ingredient #2)

  • 2 dashes/shakes of nutmeg (secret ingredient #3)

  • 3/4 cup MILK chocolate bits

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal

  • 3/4 cup sweetened coconut or 1/2 cup packed

  • 1/2 cup or more of raisins (secret ingredient #4)

  • 1/2 cup toffee bits (secret ingredient #5)

  • Equipment needed: Mixmaster such as KitchenAid or hand held mixer, greased Cookie sheets, One working oven at 375 degrees, cookie cooling racks, spatula

  1. Measure and sift flour once.

  2. Remeasure and sift one more time with adding salt and baking soda for final sifting.

  3. Do not cheat this step (I know extra steps but....) Even pre-sifted flour can give an extra 1/4 cup of flour which results in a heavier baking product. I actually had an extra 1/2 cup of flour left over from my first sifting today when I made these cookies despite me being careful not to pack down the flour- so measuring after the first sifting really does help your final product. (OK enough of baking lessons and back to the how to!)

  4. Cream butter first, then add sugars. Cream till light and fluffy.

  5. Stop mixer and add 2 eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract and mix again till well incorporated. The color of dough should have lightened slightly.

  6. Stop mixer on occasion to scrape down dough that may have crept up sides of bowl.

  7. Stop mixer and add half of flour mixture, start mixer again slowly at first to avoid flour puffing up in your face...

  8. Scrape bowl as needed before adding remaining flour, mix well then at high one minute until all incorporated.

  9. Stop mixer and add all of the remaining ingredients: milk chocolate bits, coconut, raisins, etc. Hand mix or beat slowly to all incorporated.

  10. Chill dough mixture 1/2 hour or more before baking.

  11. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and on greased cookie sheets, place spoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart.

  12. Bake 11 minutes and (very important!) Let cookies stand two minutes cooling on cookie sheets prior to removing them onto racks for further cooling.

  13. ##############

  14. These are hardy cookies, that freeze extremely well and are perfect for sending out to college kids who need something from home. Great to keep in lunch boxes in helping kids trade their lunches for something they might prefer than their plain cheese sandwiches.

  15. ##############

  16. Enjoy Your "Everything but the Kitchen Sink Surprise Cookies"!!!

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Surprise Cookies @ Group Recipes

Monday, January 21, 2008

Wacky Ingredients but Tender Pork Chops with Gravy - Divalisciously Delicioso!

  • 4 pork chops (1 or more per person depending upon hunger-meter and size of pork chop)(Can be bone in, or boneless pork chops)

  • Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Ground Pepper

  • 3/4 cup flour

  • For Sauce: here goes anything wacky in your fridge

  • 5 tablespoons ketchup

  • 5 tablespoons grape jelly (yes jelly - can be strawberry or any jelly you have in fridge)

  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons mustard

  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 3 fresh garlic cloves minced

  • 2 tablespoon Herbes de Province

  • (if you don't have herbs de province then add 1/2 teaspoon dried time, 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon, 1/4 teaspoon rosemary and up your pepper)

  • 1/2 to 1 cup water

  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil & 1 tablespoon butter

  • Equipment needed: Deep skillet with lid, 2 bowls: one for sauce and one for mixing up season flour.

  1. Take pork cops out of fridge, let come to room temperature and sprinkle generously on both sides with salt and ground pepper - set aside for now.

  2. Take one bowl, add dry mustard and a dash of salt and pepper to 3/4 cup of flour and mix till incorporated. This is to be used to dredge your pork cops in.

  3. With other bowl, add ketchup, grape jelly, soy sauce, wet mustard, worcestershire sauce, minced garlic and all herbs as listed.

  4. Add 1/2 cup water to sauce and mix till blended well. It maybe that some of the jelly didn't break down - that's ok, it will while cooking.

  5. Grab the heavy-duty skillet of yours, turn on the heat to a medium-high beneath the skillet and let get quite hot.

  6. While skillet is getting hot, grab those pork chops and dredge in seasoned flour, shake off excess.

  7. Put olive oil in skillet first, then add butter. If pan is ready, place pork chops into skillet.

  8. Do not move, (no, not you, the pork chops of course, let them get caramelized on one side - it may take up to five minutes)

  9. Turn pork chops over and let them brown for three minutes.

  10. Take 1/2 cup of wine and carefully pour into skillet to deglaze. If not using the red wine (or instead simply drinking it, just skip this step and go to next - no one will know)

  11. Then add sauce from bowl directly into skillet, turn down the heat from under skillet to be on low heat and let simmer at least 45 minutes

  12. Put lid on skillet while your dish simmers. This dish only gets better as the more time you simmer the dish, the more tender your pork will be. I usually let it simmer for 1.5 hours.

  13. When ready, serve over egg noodles (1st choice) or penne (2nd choice) or rice. Reserve sauce for when you may reheat dish for the next day - delicioso!

Wacky Ingredients But Oh So Good Pork Chops With Savory And Tangy Gravy @ Group Recipes

Terrific T-bone Grilled Steak With Cilantro Over Balsamic Salad Recipe

Need an alternative to your average grilled chicken over salad? Easy and quick, this great steak and salad dish is ideal for when your man needs to trim down - it won't leave him hungry! It's also great for summer dishes.

Click here for the recipe

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Top Notch Creamy Tomato Soup

This is a very satisfying, old fashioned styled yet easy to make Tomato Soup: tasty simple, delicious, gratifying, and yeah, better than grandmas - ssh - but don't tell her ok?

Easy to make and oh so satisfying, I made this in advance of oral surgery when I knew I wouldn't be able to cope the next day. And was I ever glad I did. It kept my head afloat, and more. This one is a keeper and of course it goes great with rustic grilled cheese sandwiches. Great on a cold day. I also made the soup the day before, but blended it the next day. This soup is also great to make when you think you have nothing is your kitchen cabinets, since usually we have all the ingredients needed in the cupboards - just look and wow - you really do have them - so why are you wasting time, get cooking!

The Ingredients:

  • 2 large cans of whole plum tomatoes in their juices

  • 2 stalks celery-diced

  • 2 carrots-diced

  • 1 med. onion-diced

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 5 slices of bacon chopped up

  • salt and fresh ground pepper

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon parsley (optional)

  • 1 cup cream, yes cream - half-n-half is ok to use as well as other substitutes like skimmed milk, but try and use the cream if you can - hey quick no one is looking!

  • freshly ground Parmesan cheese to top it all off once ready to serve

  • Equipment Needed: blender, soup pot with cover

The Directions:
  1. In a large bowl open up cans of tomatoes and put into bowl.

  2. Slice up bacon and place with a little olive oil into the cold soup pot. On medium heat, let bacon slowly crisp up.

  3. While bacon is cooking, with own hands, carefully crush up tomatoes in large bowl - do your best not to squish onto yourself the tomato juices.

  4. Once bacon is done, strain out bacon, but leave fat in.

  5. Take diced up celery, carrots, onion and fresh ground pepper and let sweat in bacon fat till onion is translucent. Mmm getting there already! Sweat vs. sautée which means low to medium heat.

  6. Add garlic, continue sweating (not you, but the vegetables) for two minutes, add "hand-crushed" tomatoes to pot.

  7. Let simmer at least 45 minutes with cover on soup pot.

  8. Taste and add salt as necessary. Let soup cooled down considerably before attempting to putting it into blender to liquidfy all soup in order to avoid blender popping its top and making a mess in your kitchen. Using a hand blender is great too and you can do it while it's still hot.

  9. Next add cream while heat is low. It's now ready to serve.

  10. Serve with rustic bread grilled cheeses if you like, sprinkle fresh parsley, the grated cheese, sprinkler with bacon bits and voila - the perfect top notch creamy tomato soup!
Want to print this out in various forms such as a recipe card, etc? Then click here:
Top Notch Creamy Tomato Soup @ Group Recipes By Divaliscious

Last Month's Dinner and Jam Menu & Recipes (December 2007)

So as promised to you peeps out there in cyber land, here is the menu along with related recipes from my successful December Dinner and Jam Party.

Now, I had created this menu based upon its proximity to Christmas, and since the party was obviously just recently after Thanksgiving, serving Turkey was out. I had also several parties planned, literally one for each weekend three weekends in a row. So I make sure the recipes didn't clash or duplicate themselves.

Come back often as I will add a few more recipes form this menu every day.

This is important for all you party people, in fact I had several non-drinking and vegetarian guests at this last party and they mentioned and applauded me more than once while patting me on the back for NOT doing onions & peppers or lasagna (as they were used to seeing only these dishes lately at parties) and having available several non-alcoholic drink specials.

A word to the party-giving wise, always have a couple of vegetarian dishes - even if their are appetizers and one side available, along with one non-alcoholic specialty drink. Your designated drivers, and vegetarians will love you for it! You want your guests and yourself for that matter to enjoy themselves.

I had one guest who mentioned (after he said he was a chef for a local Private Country Club) that I was brazenly brave to attempt to do soufflés for the main entrees. I say hogwash, in fact soufflés which are truly easy to make, leave you as the Host to mingle and talk with your guests. It's also a huge wow factor when you bring it out. Your guests will think you took hours to make it and that you took several professional cooking classes, when you simply did not spend almost anytime in the kitchen making them up. By the way ,this chef was amazed at the taste of my soufflés along with the other dishes.

So enjoy reading recipes

December's Party Menu:

The Appeteasers:

The Main Meal Dishes
  • Corn Souflee
  • Crabmeat and Parmesean Souflee
  • Baked Smoked Ham
  • Salad with Mixed Greens and Balsamic Dressing
The to-die-for Desserts
  • Holiday Toffee
  • Grandma Nelle's Fudge
  • Holiday Butter Thin Cookies
The Holiday Beverages
  • Mulled Cider
  • Mulled Wine
  • Sparkling OJ

A New Year..starting with some old favorites and new recipes too!

So Happy New Year Everyone! I have been so busy lately, but here I am starting, well ok at least attempting, to start and sharing with you my recipes from my most recent Dinner and Jam Parties.

If you love reading recipes, and I mean reading them - and I have talked to a lot of you lately, it seems then you would really enjoy reading my recipes, as always, I have to add a 'funny" in them now and then just to make sure you are paying attention. But more importantly, these recipes work. Even for the novice!

But to get you started, I have placed a few of my recipes up on such as Grandma Nelle's Lump-free Mashed Potatoes. Reading the recipe is half the fun. And here's the link to my lump-free kick-ass pan gravy. So do enjoy!

I will also be adding many others as I go ahead. I have many plans for this blog -so do please stay tuned.

And contact me especially If you need a special recipe or wish to know about my version of one you might need. I am here for you foodies out there in cyber land!