Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Had the yummiest dinner tonight. Want to know the recipe? There isn't one. I'm not that kind of cook. I love to cook, and I cook yummy foods. But recipes are for sissies. OK, not really, but I try a recipe once by the book and if we like it, I'll make it again, but all bets are off as far as following the recipe exactly. Baked goods are an exception :) Here's what we had tonight:


Get a loaf of good quality rye bread, any style you like. Grandma Marilyn (my husband's paternal Grandma) always made them on those tiny rye bread loaves. They are pretty cute. I like the "Natural Preferences Cocktail Rye Bread" which I found at Whole Foods. I'm a nut for natural food. But any good rye bread will do, and if you don't care about living past 60, by all means, get the bread they have in regular supermarkets ;) Mix in a big bowl the following: 1 little can of diced olives (4.5 oz.), the kind that's chopped up reeeeally small, about a cup of shredded cheddar (maybe more), and about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of finely diced onions. Mix and add approximately 1/3 cup of mayonnaise, just enough to wet it up and hold it all together. Adjust as you see fit, but it can't be too sloppy, no matter how much you may like mayo :) Spoon about a tablespoon on top of those little rye breads and pop under broiler for a couple minutes, till they are golden brown and bubbly. Or bake at 375* until they look golden and bubbly, or you can't stand it anymore. If you baked these on regular sized bread, use a pizza cutter to cut them in quarters. Plan on about 6 per person, if served as an appetizer or with soup. Plan on eating the entire loaf if you have nothing else as a side dish.

We had this with MOMMY SOUP, also made without a recipe. This is fun, huh?! This soup was first introduced to me by my dear friend Shirley (Hi, Shirley!), who brought it to homeschool park day and doled out little samples to everyone. That was so nice of her! That's just the kind of sweet person Shirley is. Well, we all loved it and showed our appreciation for her kindness by almost trampling her trying to get to the tureen for more. She gave the recipe to everyone, but to be honest, it was a bit too much work for me. I soon memorized the ingredients I really cared about and made it my own, hence the incredibly well-thought-out name. The beauty of this soup is it's versatility. If you don't have something, it works well without an ingredient or two, and doesn't rely on measurements overmuch, as you can see. Here goes:

Assemble: A bunch of carrots (tonight I used only 3, but they measured 8" at the large part so they were pretty significant carrots, as carrots go). A bunch of broccoli (I cheat and buy it pre-cut in the bag from Trader Joe's). A bunch of cauliflower (same thing about the bag). A couple russet potatoes, peeled and chopped. A box of stock (I use vegetable), or several cups of your own homemade. First, I toss a large chopped onion (or 2) in some olive oil and cook it over medium heat till it's nice and translucent, perhaps a bit brown. I also toss in some garlic cloves, chopped in half. Then I put in the stock, starting with about 2 cups and adding more if necessary. You want the stock to cover the veggies so they cook thoroughly, but not so the veggies are completely floating. Next, add the diced carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, all chopped up. Put it on "high", cover the pot, and walk away for a little while, and let the vegetables cook and get soft--perhaps 15 minutes, depending on how many vegetables you have. After they are soft, the stock should be diminished. If it isn't, leave the lid off the pot for a few minutes till the stock decreases a bit. You want to see stock, but not have the vegetables covered by it. Then, pour in a cup or two of cultured buttermilk. This is really important, since it imparts a lot of flavor, and buttermilk is good for you :) Here's where it gets fun: get out your stick-blender (if you don't have one of these, get off the computer, go to Bed, Bath and Beyond or Target and get yourself one. You'll wonder how you lived without it). Blend all this good stuff right up in the pot. What could be simpler? Add more buttermilk if you need to to make it soupy. I like to season with salt, pepper and dried dill. Yum. The best thing about this "recipe" is that it's almost fool-proof. Tonight, for instance, I didn't have any cauliflower or broccoli. I made it with just carrots and potatoes, and loads of onions. It was beyond delicious. Serve with crusty sourdough and real butter if you don't have the Rye Bread Thingys. Remember to say Grace before eating.

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