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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gazpacho Salad

I'm baaaaack!  Yes, I had a lovely time in Europe, and yes, I'll post a few pictures as soon as I can, but can I just tell you that after almost three weeks in Central Europe, I am totally craving vegetables!  Our food was delicious as we traveled, but our veggies were limited to making appearances in soups and almost always as the side of potatoes to our meals.  By the end, I just wanted a giant plate of salad. 

Last night, I wanted something simple to go alongside the Spanish tortilla I was making, and I initially thought of making a gazpacho soup.  But then I remembered that we're in Kentucky in the middle of winter, and gazpacho is best made with off-the-vine tomatoes.  So I settled for a gazpacho salad.  Best in the summer, but totally worth the extra money for those red, red grape tomatoes in the winter. And best of all?  My kids loved it!  Score! 

Gazpacho Salad
Cook's Notes: To tone down the onion flavor a little, soak the chopped onion in ice water for at least 5 minutes.  Drain and use.  This salad would also taste great with fresh herbs, such as cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, thrown in.

1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved (or any other ripe, tasty tomato, cut into chunks)
1/2 English cucumber, cut into quarters lengthwise and then into chunks
3/4 large green bell pepper, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/4 small red onion, peeled and chopped finely
1 large clove garlic, smashed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sherry vinegar (red wine vinegar would work too)
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the olive oil and garlic in a small pan and heat gently until the garlic just starts to brown.  Remove from the heat and strain the olive oil into a heat-proof bowl to cool.  Discard the garlic.

Combine all of the vegetables in a large bowl.  Add a couple of teaspoons of vinegar and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the salt and pepper and mix.  Taste and adjust the seasonings, oil or vinegar to taste.  Let stand for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.  Serve with crusty bread to mop up the dressing!

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

[Guest Post] Quinoa Salad Recipe Kentucky Style

Our last guest blogger is Joyce from Friends Drift Inn.  I haven't known Joyce for long, but I think everyone who knows her would agree that she's quite a spitfire and knows her way around the kitchen, both her own (in her barn!) and of chefs around the state.  She hosts a regular column in the Appalachian News Express and has been published in several regional magazines.  She also loves bourbon, like a true Kentucky gal!  Joyce is going to share a winter quinoa salad made with Kentucky (yes, Kentucky) soy sauce.  Thanks, Joyce!


When Mindy sent out the S.O.S. for guest bloggers, I was quick to respond.  Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew.  Some exciting developments at Friends Drift Inn Farm-to-Table have had me so distracted that I almost forgot my hat!  [Giggles]  Mindy, hope this post is better late than never!

As a farmer, I am always intrigued by heirloom vegetables and grains.  Where did they come from?  How did they survive into modern times?  What can we do to preserve their unique genetic markers in the purest way possible?

Quinoa, pronounced keen-wah, is one of the most ancient of grains.  Actually, it’s not a grain at all being more closely related to beets and spinach by family ties.  My cousin Jennie introduced me to the “exotic” offering last year.  Because it is grown in a remote area, the genetic material is believed to be very pure.  Your "vote," by purchasing quinoa, can keep this remarkable "super grain" in our contemporary lexicon and hopefully into the next generation.

Quinoa was revered by the Incas as “The Mother Grain.”  In modern times it is treasured by those pursuing a gluten-free lifestyle.  The taste is similar to a rice or couscous.  The mild flavor lends itself to palate pairings from around the globe.  In the summer I favor a quinoa salad with tomatoes and a Mediterranean-style presentation.  In the depths of winter when the only tomatoes available are grown in greenhouses, I change up the menu adding depth and dimension with Soy Sauce and Asian-inspired dishes. 

Quinoa is found on my grocery shelves here in remote Appalachia, so I assume you can find it anywhere.  In our stores, it most often is found in the gluten-free section.  I use a processed Quinoa which does not require a pre-soak to remove the bitter saponin seed coat.  Read the cooking directions on your product to be clear on pre-soaking instructions. 
Quinoa Salad Recipe Kentucky Style
Friends Drift Inn

1 cup quinoa
2 cups stock (I use chicken)
1 cucumber peeled and finely chopped
¼ cup of mint leaves finely chopped plus some left intact for garnish
¼ cup of toasted almonds
1 teaspoon orange zest
¼ cup of Bourbon Barrel Foods Soy Sauce

In a heavy saucepan, add quinoa and stock.  Bring up to a rolling boil.  Reduce to simmer and cover with lid.  Cook about 15-20 minutes until liquid has been absorbed.  The “grain” will look like little “C’s” as it expands.

Remove from heat and let cool.

In a cute salad bowl combine all ingredients and toss.  I generally let this stand overnight for best flavors.  Garnish with mint leaves.  I serve this on our appetizer table quite frequently.  Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike enjoy the unique texture and taste. 

Photo courtesy of the guest blogger.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

[Guest Post] How to Host a Soup Tasting Party

To round out the soup posts from the previous week and a half, Deanna of Mirabelle Creations has graciously offered to give you some tips on hosting a soup-tasting party!  Deanna is the maven of entertaining and always offers inspirational ideas on throwing parties and events.  A soup-tasting party is a great way to bring friends together during these cold winter months.  Make sure to read to the end...Deanna has offered us some free downloadable files to help make your party easier to host!  Thanks, Deanna!


Hello readers of The World in My Kitchen!  I'm Deanna, of Mirabelle Creations, and I'm thrilled to be here sharing some party ideas during Soup Week.  Over the past couple of weeks, you have been treated to some wonderful soup recipes from a few of my fellow Kentucky Food Bloggers.   Now that you have all of these great recipes, it would be the perfect time to host a Soup Tasting Party, a fun, casual way to warm up a cold winter night.   I have a few tips for you to make any Soup Tasting Party successful.

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup
Cream of Walnut Soup
Mini Soup in Disposable Cups
First, you will want to have at least three or four varieties of soup for tasting.  If you plan on making all the soups, you can make some of the batches ahead of time and freeze them. Soups generally freeze easily, so are the perfect make-ahead dish.   If you plan on hosting a potluck, you can ask each guest to bring a pot of their favorite soup.  Since you will have several varieties of soup, you will need multiple serving dishes for the soup.  Guests will be tasting several soups, so smaller portions are a good idea.   Small cups of soup are also convenient because guests can carry them around and spoons aren't necessary.   If you have numerous shot-glass sized glasses, that would be a perfect serving size.  Also, my go-to individual serving container is actually mini glass candle holders.  I purchase mine at Walmart for $0.60 each.   For example, if you are serving three types of soup for a party of eight, you could buy enough glass cups for under $15.00.  Another option is clear plastic cups, which you can find in a variety of sizes at any party supply store.   Small cups of soup are also convenient because guests can carry them around and spoons aren't necessary.

Sweet Potato Soup in a Mug
If you want a more substantial serving size, you could gather all the mugs you have.  Since soup tasting parties have a casual feel, there's no need to have all your mugs match.   In addition, you may want to have bowls on hand in case someone wants a larger portion of their favorite soup.

Soup Toppings
A few days before the party, you can make a list of any toppings you might need for the soups you are serving.  Gather up a few small coordinating serving dishes for the toppings.  I love how the toppings in this picture were served out of small jars.  I have a collection of several different sizes of inexpensive mason jars, which would be perfect for soup toppings.  If your guests are bringing their own toppings, you might want to have a few extra containers on hand for any additional toppings.

Mini Pumpernickel Grilled Cheese with Pickles
Mini BLTs
Mini Italian Clubs
Mini Crudites
Snack Mixes
In addition to soup, you may want to provide a few finger foods.  Different types of mini sandwiches go well with soup. They can also be made ahead of time.  Crudités can be served in small cups, with dip poured in the bottom of the cup.  This will eliminate the need for a plate, but will allow guests to mingle and not have to stand right by the dip.  Another great accompaniment for soup is a crunchy, salty snack mix.

Chocolate Stout Cupcake
Finally, for dessert, a good plate-free option is the cupcake.  A Chocolate Stout Cupcake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting is a hearty cupcake that would pair well with most types of soup.  

Soup Tasting Card
Soup Tasting Labels
Soup Recipe Card

I've also created these FREE, downloadable files for you to print for your Soup Tasting Party.  The first is a Soup Tasting Card, so your guests can take notes on their favorite soups.  Second is a sheet of fancy labels that can be used to label the types of soup and/or toppings.  Finally, I have created a recipe card, so guests can take home the recipes for each soup. 

Thank you so much for having me, Mindy. You can check out my other entertaining and party ideas at Mirabelle Creations.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

[Guest Post] Vegetarian Mulligatawny Soup

I met Melissa from My McDonald Meal back in February of this year when a group of us toured the local butcher shop and meat processing plant Marksbury Farm, and soon thereafter she became one of the first members of the Kentucky Food Bloggers Association.  Her blog is filled with tons of family-friendly and healthy recipes, and I've had a great time getting to know her and her cooking style.  Go over and check her out!  Thanks, Melissa, for offering this guest post while I'm away in January!

Mulligatawny! Nope, I'm not the soup Nazi from Seinfield. Instead I'm the coaxing mother trying to convince her daughters that this time they will like the soup!! Honestly, it would be kind of nice, though, to have the power of that guy from those episodes! His deep voice, stern eyebrows and intimidating demeanour. Hey- whatever it takes to get your kids to eat sometimes--right?

Anyway, I took what I thought was the base flavor of the Mulligatawny soup from our favorite Indian restaurant in town and added some other ingredients. If you look this soup up in Google you'll find many talking about a "peppery" based soup with some heavy ingredients and some saying that the real thing has to have chicken. Well--see what you think of this one instead. A little lighter, still peppery, and plenty healthy! Vegetarian and vegans will enjoy.

Vegetarian MulligatawnySource: My McDonald Meal

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 small white onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
4 carrots, cleaned and diced
1 cup diced green pepper
1 small tart apple, peeled and diced
1 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 cup canned chickpeas
6 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp coriander
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper, or to taste
1 cup light coconut milk

Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large stock pot. Add the onion, and celery and saute until softened. Then add garlic, ginger, curry, turmeric and cayenne and briefly stir for to season the oil. Add the carrots, potato, and apple. Allow to cook until softened, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the broth and chick peas; season with a salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, cover and simmer the soup, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and either lower heat and gradually add small batches to a food processor or carefully use immersion blender to smooth out the texture. Bring back to a low heat and serve. Enjoy with cooked brown rice as a side or stir in with a tad of plain yogurt!

**Photos courtesy of the guest author.

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Friday, January 6, 2012

[Guest Post] Hearty New England Corn Chowder for a Winter's Day

Please welcome my second guest blogger, Catherine from Farmwife at Midlife, GROW Casey County, and In the Pantry.  Yes, folks, you read that correctly!  She maintains three different blogs!  In addition, Catherine is the author of _In the Pantry--Its History and Modern Uses_.  You can find more information about this book and her other endeavors at her website.  Today she is going to introduce us to a New England inspired Hearty Corn Chowder.  Thanks, Catherine!


The first time I made corn chowder, I was a sixteen-year-old exchange student in England in 1979. As a gift, I had brought my home-stay family a copy of a quintessential New England cookbook, published by Yankee Magazine around 1976 (my own copy is kicking around here somewhere), called Yankee Magazine's Favorite New England Recipes (compiled by Sarah B.B. Stamm and "the Lady Editors" of the magazine, one of whom would have been my future mother-in-law, although I did not know it at the time and, sadly, never met her).

My fellow Americans and I had to put on a program for the Mayor of Lincoln and his large retinue and our collective home-stay families, and I thought, "Why not cater an American dinner?" Yes, why not? After all, my catering experience thus far had been limited to a meal prepared for my Girl Scout Cooking badge, various dishes for a Medieval dinner in high school (fried oranges, anyone?) and numerous attempts at playing "restaurant" for my poor, suffering family at home.

The meal took place in a small church hall, and the only dish I remember making that evening was the corn chowder from this particular cookbook (but I know there were other items, too). Perhaps the reason it was so memorable is because, whilst serving the chowder, I accidently dumped some in the Mayor's lap. He was gracious, but I was reddened by embarrassment and beyond mortified! [It was a good thing our talent show following the meal included our wearing big sacks over our torsos to emulate large faces.] And thus ended any prospect of a catering (or waitressing) career!

However, I have made corn chowder many times since for my family and always without benefit of a recipe. When I made it before Christmas so that I could also record the ingredients for this blog post, my husband said, "This is your best yet!" I hope you'll agree, even if I can't find the original Yankee cookbook, still in a box from our move, that prompted this version many batches ago.

This is a hearty milk-based New England soup, or chowder––perfect on a cold winter's day with a loaf of crusty bread (or better yet, oyster crackers). You can also use this recipe, with minor changes, to make any number of chowders.* In about an hour, from start until serving, you will have a big vat of chowder to feed many appetites––and, if you are lucky, you'll even have leftovers for the next day. Chowder is even better once the flavors have had a chance to meld.

Here is my latest incarnation:
Hearty Corn Chowder
Catherine Seiberling Pond

12 oz. (3/4 pound) diced bacon (we prefer using smoked bacon** and usually our own)
1 heaping Tbsp. minced garlic
1 large sweet onion, chopped (you can add a bit of red onion, if desired)
1 cup celery, chopped (include some leaves)
1 cup diced red bell pepper (OPTIONAL: I did not add this because my husband does not care for red peppers)
1/3 cup chopped parsley
4 large baking-sized potatoes, peeled and diced
1 quart chicken stock (if not, McNess*** is a great substitute)
1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
lots of fresh ground pepper
liberal dashes of sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 - 3/4 cup flour
6-8 cups whole milk (you could use other kinds of milk but whole works best)
8 cups fresh, frozen or drained canned corn
1 cup heavy cream (or half-and-half, if you must)

On medium high heat in a Dutch oven, large skillet or heavy-duty stock pot, cook bacon, with garlic, until almost done and starting to crisp up a bit. Stir frequently and do not drain! Add onions, celery, parsley (and red bell pepper, if desired) and cook until translucent, stirring regularly. Add salt and pepper. Stir. Add diced potatoes. Stir for several minutes.

Add the flour (3/4 cup if you want a slightly thicker chowder) and stir well. Add 1 quart chicken stock and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add paprika (about one large teaspoon).

Set to low, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are done, but not too soft (about 15 minutes). Transfer your chowder "roux" to a large 2-gallon kettle.  Heat roux on low, with 6-8 cups whole milk until just before boiling (do not boil!). Stir well as mixture will start to thicken somewhat from the roux. Add 8 cups corn (frozen is fine, or canned, but drain canned corn first––and fresh corn off the cob is even better!). Cook on low, stirring frequently, until nicely heated.

Shortly before serving, add heavy cream and stir in. Serve with homemade croutons, a good crusty bread or old-fashioned oyster crackers.
I like to turn off the kettle when the chowder is done, cover it, and take it off the burner. This will keep it warm until supper but will assure that the soup doesn't boil. You can also freeze this. It makes almost two gallons, too, so perfect for a crowd or for a stretch of easy winter meals for your family.

And remember, you can take the girl out of New England, but you can't take New England out of the girl!

~ Catherine Seiberling Pond

*The wonderful beauty of this chowder is, with a few minor changes, you can readily make it into a New England Clam ChowderFish Chowder or Seafood Chowder. Here's how:

  • For CLAM, substitute 1 quart clam broth for the chicken stock and 1-2 quarts fresh shucked clams (or canned) for the corn;
  • For FISH, substitute 1 quart fish stock for the chicken stock and 2 pounds chopped up fresh (or frozen) fish (Cod works best as it holds up well in the soup);
  • For SEAFOOD, substitute 1 quart fish or lobster stock for the chicken stock and 2 pounds assorted fresh (or frozen) seafood: scallops, shrimp, tilapia, clams, lobster, etc.
  • **Another New England aside, as that is where we lived for many years (my husband and children were born and raised there and I spent childhood summers and much of my life there until age 45), is that there is socialite named Smoki Bacon who still lives in Boston's Back Bay. How can I not think of her whenever I open a package of bacon?

    ***McNess Chicken Soup Mix is a secret ingredient in many of my recipes, including our creamed spinach, served several times a year with roast lamb or beef. I get it at the Amish stores in Crab Orchard, Kentucky. You can also order it from www.McNess.com.

    Photos courtesy of the guest blogger.

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    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    [Guest Post] Broccoli Cheddar Soup

    Today is the first in my series of guest posts while I am traveling with my husband and 16 college students in Europe.  I'd like to introduce you to my first guest blogger: Danielle at A Day in the Life.  Her blog focuses on her life as a mother, travel, crafts, and most of all...food!  Go check her blog out and read on for her post about Broccoli Cheddar Soup!


    A few months ago, I posted about a group I had proudly become a part of, the Kentucky Food Bloggers. One of the creators of this group, Mindy, helped organize our first outing in conjunction with the Incredible Food Show and did an incredible job, I might add. When she asked for help filling in the blanks while she went overseas, I jumped at the opportunity to help!

    Perfect for the cold months ahead, Mindy decided to steer her guest posters in the direction of warm soups. There's nothing that sounds more enticing to me in the winter than a warm bowl of soup. I'm more of the wholesome, throw-as-many-vegetables-in-as-you-can type of soup lover but I try not to discriminate.

    One of my favorite food blogs is Annie's Eats because I've loved everything I've ever made from her site. Batting a thousand at any one site is practically unheard of for me, but with Annie I feel fairly confident that if she liked it, I will too.

    I have had her Broccoli Cheddar Soup bookmarked for quite some time, but because neither of my boys' young stomachs were able to tolerate broccoli, I haven’t had the chance to try it. Well, now that I have graduated from being their sole source of nourishment, I practically crave broccoli after going without it for so long. This was the perfect opportunity for me to get to try this recipe.

    This is such a wholesome and delicious soup! I enjoyed how you could taste so many various flavors in every bite. The broccoli was certainly present, as were the richness of the butter and the creaminess of the sharp cheddar. With broccoli having a rather pungent flavor, the sharpness of the cheese really helped to cut that and make it a very mild tasting soup.

    The only thing I might consider doing differently next time would be to let the cheese sauce get a little thicker, or add less chicken stock. In all fairness, I didn't actually measure the chicken stock before pouring it in, so I might have been a little heavy handed in my pouring. The flavor is so good though--it really doesn't matter what the consistency is, you'll still want to lick the bowl!

    I hope you enjoy and I hope you'll visit me at A Day in the Life. Happy and safe travels, Mindy!
    Broccoli Cheddar Soup
    Source: Annie's Eats 

    6 tbsp. butter, divided
    ¾ cup onion, chopped
    1 cup carrot, chopped or shredded
    4 cups small broccoli florets
    3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    ½ tsp. onion salt
    ½ tsp. garlic powder
    4 tbsp. flour
    2 cups milk (I used a combination of skim and almond milk)
    2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste

    In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the onion to the pan and sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the carrots to the pan and cook a couple minutes more. Stir in the broccoli, chicken broth, onion salt and garlic powder. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.

    In a medium saucepan, melt remaining butter. Add the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden brown, whisking constantly. Whisk in the milk and cook until the mixture thickens and bubbles, about 5 minutes. Once the mixture has thickened, whisk in the cheese until completely melted. Remove from the heat and add the cheese sauce to the soup pot. Allow to simmer until warmed through and broccoli is tender. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. If desired, puree the soup with an immersion blender for a smooth texture.
    Photo courtesy of the guest author.

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    Monday, January 2, 2012

    A World in My Kitchen's European Vacation

    Hi everyone! I'm going to be gallivanting across Europe with my husband and his class of 16 college students during most of January, so I won't have a chance to post here. I'll try to catch you up on my travels through Vienna, Budapest and Prague when I return, but in the meantime, I'd love to introduce you to a few of my fellow Kentucky Food Bloggers who were gracious enough to volunteer their time, writing and recipes to help keep this blog going while I'm gone. During the first two weeks, we'll focus on soups, and then we have a lovely winter salad to round us out.

    I'll see you again in January, but while I'm gone please make my guest bloggers feel welcome!  :-)

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