Moriarty’s Mug

Moriarty's Mug

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner.  Of course I start saying that around August as it’s one of my 2 favorite “sort of” holidays of the year.  I am giving you this recipe so that you have plenty of time to try it and have it ready for the big day.  I am not sure why I associate this soup with Irish celebrations except for that my favorite Irish pub in Lansing served this soup.  It’s so simple yet satisfying.  I slurp up the whole pot when I make it.  I love a good savory salty broth and this is one.

I made this soup for lunch today.  I imagine it would be even better if using homemade stock, but I have none in the freezer right now.  Cans of Swanson low sodium did just fine.  You want the low sodium as you want to add plenty of seasoned salt.  The pub uses Lawry’s but I use Penzeys.

I am still working out the best use of lighting in our new house with our camera.  One thing I do know is that you shouldn’t attempt photos of something while it is hot and steaming.  Our Nikon D90 picks up all of that steam.  It might help if I actually were to read the booklet it came with one day.  While waiting for the soup to cool, my cheese sunk and melted, which is what you want for eating.  So I dredged a spoonful up for you to see:

Ingredients (makes 2 large soup bowl’s worth):

1/4 lb Bacon (6 slices?)

1 large or 2 smaller russet potatoes (prob 8 0z or so)

1/2 medium onion

4 cups chicken broth – low sodium or homemade

4 dashes of hot sauce – I used Crystal, but Franks or any would do as long as you use some.

3 shakes of seasoned salt (Lawry’s or Penzeys are recommended for the flavor profile)

2 green onions – just use the green stalks, finely sliced or use chives

shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese

Step one.  Chop the bacon and saute it in the pot you plan to make the soup in. I typically chop up a half a package of bacon at a time and freeze the bacon bits for things like pizza or other soups.  That said, we have a lot of bacon around our house as we have our pigs raised nearby and butcher the entire pig, giving us about 30 pounds of bacon.

Step two.  While bacon is frying, dice 1/2 an onion and 1 large or 2 small russet potatoes (of course any will do but I like our russets from the farm here).

Step three.  Remove the crisped bacon and drain on a paper towel.  Pour almost all of the bacon grease into your bacon grease jar that you store in the fridge – why would you ever throw one drop of this decadent smokey salty fat away?  It’s great to put a spoonful in your pinto beans.

Step four.  Briefly saute the onion and potato.

Step five.  Add 4 cups of low sodium chicken broth or stock.  Scrape up all those little browned bacon tasties, they make the broth delicious.

Step six.  Shake a healthy amount of hot sauce into the stock and a couple of good dashes of seasoned salt in too.

Step seven.  Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are cooked and broth reduces a bit.

Step eight.  Slice up some green onion green tips for garnish while potatoes are cooking.

Step nine.  The moment you have waited for.  Assemble the soup.  Pour as much soup as you want into a bowl.  Place a good amount of shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese in bowl, top with a couple good sized pinches of the chopped crisped bacon and finally sprinkle those lovely green onion tips on top for a splash of crunch and color.

Nine steps but really it takes only 15 minutes.

Sigh deeply and slurp.

ok, Moriarty's bowl, you want to eat more than a mug's worth...

i’m out

Menu of the week May 4th

What’s cooking at the urban farm this week:

Sunday:  Grilled mock porchetta, grilled asparagus (picked that morning), cheesy dill potatoes, smoked purple cabbage slaw

Porchetta

Monday: Shells stuffed with Parmesan, ricotta, spinach and turkey sausage with homemade marinara and mozzarella

Tuesday: Kung Pao with Tofu and  purple cabbage with sambal oelek

Wednesday: Smoked pork and potato soup with marjoram (I smoked the ham hocks myself on Sunday) and chives, lemon kissed sauteed asparagus.

Thursday: Indian shrimp curry using paneer for Eby instead of shrimp, dal and dosa’s.

Friday: Homemade pork tamales with red chile and a cucumber salad and off to Crunchy’s or Reno’s for the birthday man.

pork tamales with red chile and cheese

Saturday:  Some sort of eggplant dish, perhaps Moussaka with grass fed beef or Maqluba or Imam Bayildi

Happy eating!

i’m out

Menu of the Week April 18th: Rhubarb

Oh rhubarb, how I love rhubarb.  My rhubarb is just starting to gain a few leaves but is weeks away from any sort of harvest :(.  However, I do have some rhubarb that I froze last year to use during a rhubarb craving that I never had, so, time to use it.  I am thinking a nice rhubarb martini sounds tart and refreshing as well as a rhubarb crisp.  Eby doesn’t care for rhubarb (surprise) so it will have to be a mini crisp as I don’t like dessert leftovers.  Manda of Asparagus Thin is our menu swap hostess this week, so please check out her blog and all the creative rhubarb dishes being served around the country.

rhubarb

In an effort to eat less meat and more veggies Eby has been perusing the Moosewood Restaurant’s Simple Suppers cookbook.  I think they over do it with the tofu substitutes a bit, but never the less we are trying several of their recipes (and I will probably unsimplify some of them) this week.

We have signed up for a CSA for the first time ever and I am super excited to see what arrives in our box every week, as long as it is not beets, but they said they would keep the beets from my half thankfully.  Our pickup day will be Tuesdays, so I will probably have to leave the Monday menu swap or post a week late, as my menu plans will soon have to be from Wednesday to Wednesday and designed with what arrives in the box.  Perhaps we call all start a CSA menu swap.  That will probably go over as well as my deep fry Fridays attempt!  So, I will still be posting our menu, but it will just be out of sinc with Monday’s GF swap, unless they tell me ahead of time what is coming every week.

Since we have signed up for the CSA, I can focus our large backyard garden on items that we want to raise to can, store or freeze for the winter usage.  We will be growing lots of tomatoes, broccoli, broccoli rabe, greens (collards, kale and chard), leeks, onions, shallots and green and red chiles.  The red we dry and the green we roast and freeze.  I have about 60 tomato plants and 36 green chile plants that will be graciously delivered by my brother (on Wed) from my favorite green house at home, Plant Masters.  Lansing doesn’t offer the volume or variety that I seek. I didn’t get mine started on time, so to Plant Masters we turn.  We have a little greenhouse system set up in our dining room and in our basement to keep the plants growing and happy until we can plant them in MI – maybe around the 3rd week of May.  I will transplant them to larger containers in a few weeks.

As usual, we try to use as much local (or raised by us) produce and meat as possible.  The pork and beef in the meatloaf is all local, the chicken was raised by my brother, the potatoes are local, our garlic and shallots are local and tomatoes, although I am almost out of tomatoes and homemade tomato paste. Most of the fresh herbs I use I grow in pots in the house with the exception of the dill this week, no dill yet.  I need to get cracking on the cheese making.  My first few attempts haven’t been as successful as I had hoped.

Our menu for the week:

Sunday: Ginger’s meatloaf ( I love this recipe that I have developed over time so much I can’t event think of trying others, I should try to write it down, but I don’t measure anything)  with a tangy tomato sauce on top and a side of  roasted fennel, potatoes and saffron.

Monday:  Asian braised salmon with bok choy and soba noodles (i finally found some pure buckwheat noodles).

Tuesday: Creamy lemon fettuccine with garlic roasted broccoli.

Wednesday:  Moriarty style potato soup and a romaine salad with toasted pecans, red onion and orange wedges, homemade tarragon vinaigrette.  Our local pub makes this addicting brothy potato soup that we just love – the broth is key and I will concor it.

Thursday:  Buttermilk fried chicken, Southern cooked collard greens and maybe some smashed potatoes.  Rhubarb crisp – my bro is in town to help me eat it, wait, I don’t think he likes rhubarb either.

Friday:  Grilled lemon herb tofu with spinach artichoke risotto with dill.

i’m out


Menu of the Week: Chickpeas

a little onion goes great with pork

I do love chickpeas, they are so versatile and packed with protein.  It won’t be hard to use them in our menu this week.  Cheryl of Gluten Free Goodness is our gracious host this week and I am sure there will be some unique chickpea dishes posted, so make sure you swing over and check them all out.  I don’t have any chickpea photos that I can find, but I do of course have some piggie photos!  These guys are eating an onion cause onions go great with pork!

Sunday: Sichuan peppercorn chicken along with a spicy cabbage stir fry over rice.

Monday: Meatballs in marinara and spaghetti.  I really love a good meatball and I love the meatballs I make, so I am making my meatballs with our pig share pork.  Marinara sauce will come from the tomatoes in the pantry.  I think a spinach salad will go nicely too.

Tuesday: Grilled pork tenderloin (not sure which rub I will use yet) with baked potatoes and broccoli gratin

Wednesday: Keema with our grass fed beef and tomatoes, palak aloo (local potatoes) and a chickpea curry.

Thursday:  Grilled Mahi Mahi with a mango salsa and a a toasted chickpea salad with red onion, parsley, and lime juice.

Friday – Sunday we are off to Chicago for the weekend for fun, food and friends!

i’m out

February 16th: Comfort Food, a menu and a plan

flank steak

It’s Mid-February.  Is there a better time for comfort foods?  Probably not.  The winter doldrums have not been as dark this month.  The earth must have tilted or perhaps it is global warming, but we have had far more sunlight than any winter I have spent in Lansing.  It really lifts the snow spirits.  But it’s not sunny everywhere and even if it is, comfort foods will always be something we turn to.  Comfort foods can be so many things and below I have listed what they are this week for us.  Wendy of Celiacs in the House is the gf menu swap host this week and comfort foods are the theme.  This week I am drawing from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook, The Breath of a Wok, Fish Without a Doubt, imagination and memory.  Libraries are terrific resources for cook books!

On a side note I feel very guilty for not actually posting anything but my menus lately.  So look forward to a couple of recipes this week, I promise.  I am hoping to revamp this blog and actually have a link for recipes eventually.  Currently they are not easy to find on here when I do post them.  My IT guy is in charge of the blog lift.  As usual, any pork, tomatoes, dry beans, garlic or potatoes featured in the menu below are local.  I am anxiously awaiting my own greens and veggies from the garden, but until then, we are breaking our rules and splurging a bit on asparagus.  Don’t hate me.  At least it is from California, not Peru.

Sunday:  Enchiladas Verdes with chicken and cheese, Frijoles de Olla, guacamole with red onion and cilantro, locally made corn tortilla chips, salsa

Monday: Grilled flank steak with a salsa verde and wilted escarole bread salad, grilled asparagus.

Tuesday:  Georgian Pork stew with cornmeal pudding and roasted brussel sprouts (comfort food for Georgians I’m told)

Wednesday:  Poached Salmon with scallop mousse, sauteed broccoli rabe and purple potatoes roasted with duck fat and rosemary.

Thursday:  Sichuan YuXiang Pork with wood ears mushrooms, water chestnuts and bamboo,  rice and maybe some shrimp toast.  Shrimp toast is definitely comfort food.  I am not sure who invented it, but I would like to thank them. Any thing spicy is comfort food to me come to think of it.

Friday: Italian sausage sauteed with broccoli rabe tossed with penne and shaved Parmesan, then drizzled with a tomato vodka sauce.  The store had broccoli rabe this week, so we stocked up on it as I love it!

Lunches this week: Beans and greens with escarole, hopefully a Rueben sandwich or two with Karina’s rye bread and out for Thai food or sushi one day.  I love weeks when I don’t have to be on the road most days!

Happy eating!

i’m out