Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Recipe #310: Bacon-y Potato Soup

Oh man this one is just perfection.  I made a couple changes, marked in red.  It makes a LOT of soup (serves 7-8) and is perfect for this cold weather we're having.  This is another winner from

1 pound bacon, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups chicken stock, or enough to cover

3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
3 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro  (I used green onion instead)
salt and pepper to taste
1.In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until done. Remove bacon from pan, and set aside. Drain off all but 1/4 cup of the bacon grease.
2.Cook celery and onion in reserved bacon drippings until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes. Add cubed potatoes, and toss to coat. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Return bacon to the pan, and add enough chicken stock to just cover the potatoes. Cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender.  (about 25 minutes or so- test with a fork)
3.In a separate pan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the heavy cream, tarragon, and cilantro. Bring the cream mixture to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir the cream mixture into the potato mixture. Puree about 1/2 the soup (I used a potato masher to lightly mash the entire thing, but leaving plenty of potato chunks), and return to the pan. Adjust seasonings to taste.  Top with shredded cheese.

Recipe #309: Sausage, Peppers, and Pasta

I was craving this for several days before I found a recipe and tried it myself.  I'd only had it in restaurants previously, but now this is going to be a staple in my own kitchen.  So easy, but restaurant quality.  This one is from


  • 4 Italian sausage links (sweet, hot, or a couple of each)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into 2 to 3 inch long strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into 2 to 3 inch long strips
  • 1 bell pepper of another color (yellow or orange or purple), sliced into strips 2-3 inches long
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced into slivers
  • 1 large sweet or yellow onion, sliced into 1/4-inch half-moons
  • 1 small (15 ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp of dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup Marsala or red wine (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt to taste.


Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pan that has a lid. When the oil is hot, add the sausages and brown them slowly. If they sizzle and crackle too much, turn the heat down. You want a gentle browning, not a sear. Cook for several minutes, turning them occasionally so they brown on all sides. When the sausages are browned, remove from the pan and set aside.

Increase the heat to high and add the onions and peppers. Toss so they get coated with the oil in the pan and sear them as well as you can, stirring every so often. You want some blackening. Once the onions and peppers soften, sprinkle some salt on them. Once you get some searing on the onions and peppers, add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

Add the Marsala or red wine if you are using, and with a wooden spoon scrape the bottom of the pan to release all the browned and blackened bits. Let the wine cook down by half.

Add the tomatoes, oregano and red pepper flakes (if using) and stir well to combine. Add the sausages back in. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the peppers are soft the sausages are cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Serve over polenta, or with penne pasta, or load up in a hoagie roll. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Recipe #308: Baked Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks

I LOVE this recipe.  Just a little kick to it, nothing too spicy, super easy to make and cheap.  I made a dipping sauce on the side by melting blue cheese with a little bit of milk and adding flour to thicken it up a smidge.


8 drumsticks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Spicy Sauce:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup hot sauce
1 tablespoon BBQ sauce


For the chicken: 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse and pat dry the drumsticks. Mix the oil, chili powder, garlic powder, and some salt and pepper in a medium bowl or resealable plastic bag. Toss the drumsticks in the seasoned oil to coat well. Bake the drumsticks on a wire rack placed on a baking sheet (so air circulates around chicken) until very tender and the skin is crisp, 50 minutes.

For the spicy sauce: 

Mix together the butter, hot sauce and BBQ sauce in a large bowl.
Toss the drumsticks in the spicy sauce until well coated. Place the drumsticks back on the rack and continue baking an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Recipe #307: Summer Corn and Lobster French Onion Chowder with Gruyere Toastets

I wanted to make something fantastic to celebrate (or lament) the end of a nice long vacation, so I went to to see what looked interesting.  I saw this recipe and was smitten.  Super easy to make but tastes fancy.  Heavy, flavorful, perfect for cold weather.  If you don't want to spend the money on lobster, crab meat or shrimp would be fine substitutes.

(copied from
  • 3-4 (8 ounce) lobster tails (optional and interchangeable)
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine or beer (12 ounces)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 ears fresh corn, kernels removed
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil or parsley, chopped (I used basil)
  • 1 french baguette, sliced
  • 4 ounce gruyere cheese, shredded
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Once boiling drop in your lobster tails. Boil for 5-10 minutes or until your tails turn bright red. Drain the water and allow the tails to cool.
Heat a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove bacon from the pan and set aside on a paper towel to drain.
To the pot add the butter, onions, thyme and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
Continue cooking and scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan frequently, until the onions are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Once the onions are caramelized, add the flour and garlic. Stir the flour with the onions to make a roux, cook about 1 minute. Slowly pour in the wine and chicken broth. Add the corn.
Bring the soup to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile cut down the back and front of the lobster and pull the meat away from the shell. Dice or shred the lobster meat.
After the soup has simmered about 10 minutes add the cream and simmer another 5 minutes. Squeeze half a lemon over the soup, season with salt and pepper. Stir in the lobster and fresh basil. Preheat the the broiler to high.
Ladle the soup into oven safe soup crocks. Top with a slice or two from the french baguette and a handful of shredded gruyere cheese. Place under the broiler until browned.  Garnish with bacon. Eat hot. Enjoy!!