Monthly Archives: November 2015

Recipe of the Day-Creamy Soups without Cream

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You bet.  Low cal creamy soup is at your fingertip with any flavor profile you choose.  Here’s how…..

Make any soup profile here is a basic sample recipe.

1 Quart                  Wild mushrooms chopped ((chanterelles, Shitake etc.)

1 Quart                  Button mushrooms chopped

2 Quarts               Vegetable Stock or Chicken Stock

1 Quart                 Water

1 tsp.                     Sea Salt

1 tsp.                     Cracked Black Pepper

1 Tbsp.                  Fresh Basil chopped

1 tsp.                     Celery Seed

1 tsp.                     Minced Garlic

2 (1 In. )slices     Italian loaf cubed (or other artisan bread)

1/2 tsp.                  Paprika

1/2 tsp.                  Cumin

3 Tbsp.                   Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

1 Tbsp.                  Salted Butter

Place all ingredients in a large stock pot and bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 1 hour.  Turn off the soup and use your emersion blender to emulsify.  Add  Extra Virgin Olive Oil as you blend to assure the creaminess and that the emulsification holds.

You can do this same basic recipe for a tomato soup, celery soup, cream of broccoli, cream of spinach, cream of chicken soup (add 1 cup of diced chicken to the pot).  For other vegetables you will need 2 large packages of frozen vegetables instead of mushrooms or chicken.

The flavor profiles are endless but the basic recipe is the same.

 

 

IS IT JUST ME? Holiday Traffic

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Is it just me or do drivers get dumber and more aggressive before the holidays?  Today I was going through a megastore parking lot the correct direction for my vehicle.  Suddenly I see some nutter flying across multiple lanes and suddenly in my lane head-on.  He blows the horn in anger and flips me off.  I stopped and put an old gypsy curse on his appendages so they should fall off before the holidays begin.  No flipping off; I mean business.

Just kidding…I certainly don’t want a karmic kick back on my bad behavior over a retread that could care less about human life.  But it still amazes this crone, after all these years, that the stupidity of the masses increases exponentially with any holiday.

Please be careful out there.  People with armloads of packages are walking barely able to control their little ones in these parking lots.  It only takes one rude, angry  person to devastate an entire family because of thoughtlessness just to gain access to a store to buy the “latest thing”!

We wish you a Merry Christmas and hope you behave to live and see it.

Namaste,

The Queen Cronista

 

THANKSGIVING HACKS TO SAVE TIME!

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Thanksgiving is upon us and there are several things we can do as cooks to make our lives easier.  Here are a few reminders to keep us on track. I think it will take a lot of pressure off the cook time wise.

If you do not have a fresh turkey thaw your frozen one in the refrigerator 3-4 days in advance

Make mash potatoes 1-2 days ahead. Just add 1/2 cup sour cream and one 8 oz. brick of cream cheese softened to your mixture and mash as usual. They will stay light fluffy and fresh up to 2 days.

Most desserts can be made 1-2 days  in advance and kept in airtight containers or plastic wrap tightly sealed.  Obviously some need refrigeration.

Now the turkey itself…our family usually cooks it overnight on slow roast. Remove Giblets. Cover the bird with foil in a large roasting pan. Place in a 250 Degree oven all night (I usually put mine in at 9-10 PM).  Before placing in the oven, stuff cavity with 1 Lg. rough chopped onion, 5 cloves of garlic, 4 large sprigs of rosemary,  1 lemon quartered.  You may place this in cheese cloth bundle if desired, for easy removal.  Place a tear in the skin between the leg and breast and stuff under the skin with a compound butter of garlic powder.  Rub surface with salt and pepper to taste.  Bake until morning under foil tent;  then keep on 200 degrees to keep warm.  30 minutes before serving bring oven to 400 degrees, remove foil and brown and heat throughout .  Done!

Gravy can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator.   You don’t have to wait for your turkey to be ready.  How to:

INGREDIENTS:  Oven to 400 *  Serves 8

1 Lg.                  Onion Chopped

2 Lg                   Carrots Chopped

2 ribs                 Celery Chopped

2 tsp.                Vegetable Oil

2 Lg                   Turkey Wings or 1 Turkey Leg

4  Cups             Turkey Stock

4 Cups               Water

4 Sprigs            Thyme

3 Cloves            Garlic

3 Tbsp.              Butter

1/2 Cup             All purpose flour

1/2 tsp.             Salt and Ground pepper (or to taste)

One or two days before roast 2 turkey wings or one turkey leg in an oven safe pot.  Shake the vegetables in a zip lock bag with oil to coat.  Place the meat over Carrots, celery, onion, in canola oil. Roast at 400* for 55 minutes until meat is brown and vegetables caramelized.

Place the roasted mixture in a large stockpot.  Place the roasting pan on the stove top on medium heat and pour 4 Tbsp of the chicken stock in to deglaze the browned bits. Now transfer this mixture to the stock pot and add the water and rest of the stock, thyme and garlic.

Simmer on stovetop uncovered for 3 hours. Reserve 2 Tbsp fat skimmed of top for later.  When done strain for 6 cups of stock  to remain.

In a large sauce pan heat butter, reserved turkey fat in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Sprinkle in flour and cook, whisking continuously, until a golden roué forms, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly pour in turkey stock, whisking continuously.  Increase  heat to high and simmer until thick. Check for salt and pepper to taste.  Will keep safely in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Tip Of The Day-Product Dates

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Are you as confused as I am by what the dates on certain products mean?  Well here’s a tip we picked up in Prevention Magazine. Dates Translate as follows:

Sell by:   The date retailers should sell or remove the product from the shelf.  Typically, this indicates when a product is two-thirds of the way through its shelf life, so there’s still plenty of time for you to use it.

Best By:   The date at which quality starts declining, although the food might still be safe to eat.

Use By:   The date when the product quality begins decreasing and a rapid pace and safety could be a concern.  In other words, do not eat beyond this point.

RECIPE OF THE DAY-Chicken Vegetable Soup

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More soup time…comfort food with cornbread.  What could be better?  This is a recommended method of several European Grandmothers I know. Always sauté dry vegetables no matter what kind. The caramelization adds an amazing pop of additional flavor to all soups.

INGREDIENTS:  Serves 8

2 Sm. Cans                     Diced Tomatoes

1 Lg                                   Onion Diced

1 Lg Bag                           Frozen Brussel Sprouts Halved

1 Sm Bag                          Baby Carrots

4 Lg                                   Russet Potatoes Chopped (skin on)

3 Lg                                    Celery Stalks Diced

4 Lg                                    Garlic Cloves Minced

1 tsp.                                  Himalayan Pink Salt ground or Sea Salt

1 tsp.                                  Ground Black Pepper

1/3 Cup                              Flat Leaf Parsley

1 tsp.                                  Dry Basil

2/1 Qt boxes                     Chicken Stock

4 Cups                               Diced Roasted Chicken

Bring a large cook pot up to medium high heat.  Add 4 Table spoons of peanut oil or canola oil swirl to coat. Sauté/Brown Onions,  Brussel sprouts, carrots, potatoes.  Add remaining ingredients except stock.  Cook another 5 minutes for flavors to develop. Add Stock simmer for 2 hours.  If it cooks down too much add one cup of water as needs.  Prepare Grandmas’ best corn bread and serve hot.  Freeze any left over soup or cornbread for lunches later.

VARIATION: For vegetarian …omit chicken add 1 pt of sliced mushrooms and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

 

 

 

IS IT JUST ME? WHO IS THEY

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Have you ever noticed in this modern day of NOT wanting to be accountable for their actions and decisions people will often say ….“well THEY say”….WHO THE HELL IS THEY?????

I once took one of my sick children to the best pediatrician in a large metropolitan area.  I told him the toddler was having repeated sore throats and ear aches.  I wanted his tonsils and adenoids  out.  Our old family doctor always recommended this and so did all the old mountain grandmothers.

This renown doctor says to me..”well THEY say THEY don’t like to do that anymore”!!! To which is replied who the hell is THEY?  If you are the best and you are giving me a decision based on THEY then why am I paying you to be quoting THEY?  I need to get this baby to THEY immediately.  He was not amused. He left the room and crawled back up on his self build pedestal to lick his wounds. I took my son back to the mountains and had them removed.  No more constant ear infections and sore throats.  What a surprise! P.S. I sent the doctor a bill for the 2.0 hours he made me and other mothers wait trying to keep a sick child calm in a room full of shiny implements.  I never got a bill on that one.

Be informed; think about it.  When you hear THEY say herbs and spices are not documented as medicinal and you should only do what a traditional doctor says. Follow the money. Who is paying the doctor to say that?  What large pharmaceutical company is giving that medical practice trips to the Caribbean and fur coats for the wife this year to hawk their products?

Always find out who paid for the grant THIS YEAR to support the current nonsense?  Don’t eat eggs…oh now THEY say you should eat eggs suddenly it has good cholesterol .  Don’t eat dark meat of the chicken…now  THEY say OK to eat dark meat of chicken promotes HDL..(good cholesterol).  Suddenly every chef on the cooking channels is now using dark meat again.

The list goes on and on but always follow the money. See who paid for the research, and read multiple sources to verify.   Personally I go to an old mountain grandmother or herbalist. They will support good medicine and tell you why.

 

IS IT JUST ME?-UNIVERSAL LAWS

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There are many Universal Laws/Truths… Gravity, Combustion, Propulsion, God, Good/Evil, Yin/Yang too many to list. But am I the only one noticing that the chaos of modern times is creating new “Laws/Truths” regularly?

For example:

There are twenty-four hours in a day; seven days in a week…why it it no one, anywhere, has any time? Has time run out and I didn’t get the memo?

Why does it take exponentially longer to deplane than to board when we fly?

That a chip in a tiny cell phone has single handedly created the Zombie Apocalypse.

That in spite of all the efforts to create the ultimate antiperspirant there are more people than ever we just cannot be around!

People ask more and more stupid questions…i.e. they see a puppy pad on your floor…Them “Oh, do you have a puppy”? Me…”No, my toilet is broken you’ll have to use that as the guest toilet!” Employment applications…they ask Sex…I always put as often as possible.

The phenomenon that I witness daily; the WalMartian and the bizarre attire required to clothe them? We have been invaded; Fact.

Manners…no one even seems to know what that means anymore.  I doubt that Emily Post or Miss Manners are even remotely familiar to the last two generations.  Does anyone remember what Please and Thank You is all about?

I could go on and on but it tires me to think about more than these right now. In the world of science two negatives create a positive.  In this scary world of new Laws/Truths two negatives make a black hole in humanity that cannot be fixed.  That leaves an even bigger question….where’s it all leading?  Whew!  Brain Fry…Let’s have tea and stick our heads in the sand some more.

Namaste,

The Queen Cronista

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY-VOLUNTEER

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I’m volunteering at a community fund raiser auction today.  I try to do some volunteer work at least 15 hours a week now that I am semi retired.  I get a lot out of helping people and a community with such a great need as the one where I live.  I actually do it because I get so much out of it myself.

My son and my beautiful daughter-in-law volunteer with at risk teens. Mentoring, lecturing on ethics, etc.   My daughter is an entertainer and volunteers for many charitable events in Hollywood where she lives.  She also travels overseas with the USO to entertain troops all year round. You have mad skills of some sort. Use them to help and make a difference in your world.

Find out where you can make a difference in your community.  Volunteer, donate time; resources, money anything you can to keep charity here at home.  Who knows the life you impact may cure cancer someday!

Namaste,

The Queen Cronista

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY-AWARENESS

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We could blog on this every day.  I can’t say enough about it.  If we are not tuned in, turned on to our surroundings we miss so much.  If we are tapped in, turned on we get so much.  When we are Aware we see all of the wonder about us. We see God in all of His glory in every moment of our day.  We tend to be much more grateful for the blessings we receive each day from family, friends, and the Universe in general.

Awareness also serves to keep us out of danger and in the light of protection from our angels and all of the cosmic good forces that we have at our disposal.  Care enough about yourself every day to become more and more aware.  You won’t regret it.  Meditation is one of the best tools for helping to start the day fully tuned like a fine race car as we wiz through our day.

Have you given yourself an Awareness Tune Up lately?

Namaste,

The Queen Cronista

RECIPE OF THE DAY-CRISPY CHICKEN WITH CAPER SAUCE and COUSCOUS

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SERVES 4 (double for 8); Oven 250 (to keep warm)

1/2 Cup             Flat-Leaf Parsley chopped

4 Tbsp.              Olive Oil divided

2 Tbsp.              Lemon Zested

1 1/2 Tbsp.        Fresh Lemon Juice

4 Tbsp.              Capers drained

4 (4-6 Oz)           Chicken Breasts Bone in

1 tsp.                  Sea Salt or Kosher Salt

1 tsp.                  Ground Black Pepper

1 Tbsp.               Garlic powder

1 Med.                Lemon sliced for garnish

Combine parsley, 2 Tbsp olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice and capers in a small bowl and whisk.

Combine salt, pepper and garlic powder in a small ramekin and mix.

Heat a large cast iron skillet to medium-high heat.  Add remaining oil swirl to coat.  Coat chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Place chicken skin side down in skillet and cook for 5 minutes until brown.  Turn heat to medium and continue to cook chicken for about 15 minutes.  Turn and cook for another 5 minutes until juices run clear.  Remove chicken from pan and place on parchment in oven to keep warm.

Place  caper mixture in skillet drippings and cook for 30 seconds. Spoon caper sauce over chicken and garnish with lemon slices.

SIDE DISH:  Serves 4 (double for 8)

ASPARAGUS-ASIAGO COUSCOUS

1/14 Cup            Water

1 1/2 Cup           Asparagus diagonally cut

2 tsp.                  Lemon Zest

1 Tbsp.               Butter

1/2 Cup              Asiago Cheese grated

1 Tbsp.              Flat Leaf Parsley chopped

1/2 tsp.              Kosher Salt

1/2 tsp.              Cracked Black Pepper

1 Cup                 Uncooked Whole wheat Couscous

Bring water to a boil with asparagus. Stir in Couscous and butter.  Remove from heat and cover. Let stand 6 minutes fluff with a fork.  Stir in grated cheese and parsley.  (You may substitute jasmine rice for couscous cook rice to directions).

TIP:   I make up many of these recipes as I go from good recipes I’ve already tried. Then later I want to try my new variation at home and I have to search the blog for it. Suggestion, I now copy and paste the recipes I like from the blog onto a word document. I print it and put it in my recipe box I keep at home. I have a 3 ring binder where I organize them by entre, sides, desserts etc. I also save the recipe in a folder to have to send friends when they need a good recipe and don’t have time to blog.