Thursday, May 21, 2015

Vegetable Soup With Egg

  I had a fun outing with my two dear friends yesterday.  Lunch and shopping were on the agenda.  While I wasn't keeping time, I believe we managed to spend almost two hours at the lunch table.  No, we weren't eating all that time.  We were talking.  Afterwards, we popped into the newly relocated Artful Garden where I managed to purchase a few "needful things".

It's hard to plan dinner when one is sated with good food (and friendship) from a day out.  Add to that the fact that it was 48 degrees outside!!  Soup weather!!  I remembered this recipe that Andrew had clipped from the Polish newspaper.  He had loosely translated it for me and it sounded delicious.  I checked the refrigerator and found what I needed and asked for a more detailed translation.  We thought it was delicious.  I hope Grandma Felice (whoever she is/was) would approve.

Grandma Felice's Vegetable Soup With Egg

For two servings:

2 handfuls mixed vegetables (used green beans and carrots)
1 smallish onion, chopped
2 cups chicken broth or beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Mushrooms are optional.  2 oz sautéed if fresh; or a small amount of dried with the water used in
   soaking them.
2 eggs

1.  Cut vegetables in approximately half inch pieces and steam them until tender.  Add the vegetables to the hot broth and puree them with an immersion blender.  Bring the mixture to a boil, add the mushrooms and reduce the heat to simmer for about five minutes.
2.  Break eggs into a measuring cup, one at a time, and carefully slide them into the broth trying to keep them separate.  This isn't too hard.  Simmer until the whites take good form but the yolks are still slightly liquid.  Remove from heat and ladle into heated bowls, making sure that each bowl gets one of the eggs.

NOTE:  Amounts of vegetables and broth may vary depending on preference for thickness of the soup.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Brunch in Newport, RI

No trip to Rhode Island would be complete without my waxing poetic about the food.  This trip there were a few new eateries to try.  It's hard to focus on one but I'll try.  Stefan and Elyssa invited me to brunch at Tallulah's on Thames in Newport.  It was a perfect choice.  Located in a beautiful old building on Thames Street in Newport, the Tallulah team makes one feel special the minute you set foot in the door.  I'm not sure I've had better service in any restaurant anywhere.  Without being intrusive, your every need is met seemingly before you know you need anything.

That beautiful blue sky belied the fact that, closer to the shore (a few blocks away) a heavy fog hung about.  

Steaming cups of excellent coffee and a house-baked biscotti arrived along with the menu.  

This complimentary concoction arrived soon after we made our food selection.  The egg shell held one of the finest scrambled eggs I've ever tasted.  It was laced with herbs and light as air.  As we slowly enjoyed it, Chef Rojas busied himself preparing our entrées.

I had met the chef the day before in Providence where he has a small restaurant a few blocks from the Rhode Island Historic Society.  Tallulah Taco is the place and, oh my, the tacos were wonderful.  We ate them before they could be photographed.  I'll have to go back....and back...!

Here are our choices for brunch.
Each one was beautiful and delicious.

Cured salmon toast
pickled onion/creme fraiche 
quail egg/crispy capers

Sweet potato waffle
foie gras/maple butter
fried chicken/jalapeno jam

Croque Tallulah
avocado/prosciutto/slow egg
gruyere cheese/onion/cilantro

We were deliciously fortified to head out for more "doings" around Newport before heading off to a nearby winery.  We thought we might even catch a glimpse of the Volvo Yacht Race.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

An Evening at the Rhode Island Historic Society

Part of my Mother's Day treat was attending the opening of the Golden Age of Radio exhibit and fund raiser at the Rhode Island Historic Society's Aldrich House.  My very talented daughter-in-law, Elyssa,  is the Director of Education and Public Programs for RIHS.

This particular exhibit is a collection of early 20th century radios and other memorabilia from that era of radio and showcases the pieces from two private collections.  As we toured the exhibit, music from my grandparents era followed us. I was so taken with all the sounds and scenes around me that I completely forgot I had a camera.  

The back garden was partially covered by a huge white tent where tables were dressed in long white cloths and center pieces of beautiful garden flowers scented the entire area.  There were tables laden with delicious food and drink.  It was a magical evening!

The side garden of the Aldrich House was "dressed" with flowering trees.



Many shades of green

The whole city of Providence was filled with flowering trees, azaleas, rhododendron, phlox and many more flowers that I can't identify.  It was hard to imagine how many feet of snow covered this city only a month or so ago!

If you're in the area, check out the exhibit and then stroll about the neighborhood on sidewalks strewn with fallen petals.  

Friday, May 15, 2015

New England in Spring I

Last week, I left on a jet plane
now I'm back home again.

Southwest whisks me away from Chicago to Providence
in about two hours.  In fact, it takes almost as much time to get to the airport
as it does to travel to Providence.

This was my seventh trip to Rhode Island/New England
in the past five years.  Each trip brings a new adventure.

This "Ocean State" bridge welcomes one with art rather than graffiti.

The steeple of First Baptist Church 
has long been my focal point "guide" when I'm driving
about Providence.  Click First Baptist Church for an interesting 
history of the church.

I'll be back to share more of my visit out east.  I'm looking forward to catching up with each of you.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

When I pass the shop aisle that displays the Mother's Day cards, I always want to stop and select one for my mother.  She always loved receiving cards for any reason.   She loved sending cards and always had a box of assorted ones for when an occasion arose.  I'm like her in that way.

For some reason, this morning I'm thinking about a present that I gave her one Mother's Day.  Still in elementary school, I saved money until I had enough to walk the few blocks to People's Drug and select a gift.  I found the loveliest wallet of pale blue plastic.  The front of it had a pink flower with a "diamond" in the middle.  Even at my young age, I knew that my fashionable mother would love that wallet....and, she did!!  For a long time, it was always in her purse.  I don't think she actually put anything into it ever and probably never drew it out of her purse.

I'll be spending Mother's Day in Rhode Island making memories and sharing memories.

Wishing you all a happy Mother's Day surrounded by your loved ones.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Swiss Cheese and Onion Quiche

A friend served this delicious quiche at a recent brunch.  She added a fruit salad and homemade rolls. I couldn't find any nice fresh fruit so ours was accompanied by a salad of mixed lettuces and cherry tomatoes.  Later, melons will be a nice addition.

Swiss Cheese and Onion Quiche

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup very cold butter, cut in chunks

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a food processor, combine the flour, salt and butter until mixture is the consistency of coarse bread crumbs.  Add ice water (3 to 4 Tbsp) and process until the dough comes together in a ball.  Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
2.  Roll out into a 12-inch circle.  Fit into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Cut off the dough at the top of the pan.  Bake the empty shell for 20 minutes--just until the crust begins to brown.

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Grating of fresh nutmeg
1 cup milk (2 % or whole)
4 large eggs
3 ounces swiss or gruyere cheese, shredded
2 tsp chopped chives or green onions tops

1.  Place rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350.
2.  Heat oil in large, non-stick skillet over high heat.  Add onions and cook until just beginning to lightly brown, stirring often, about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and add flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Stir in the milk.  Place over medium heat and cook, stirring until thickened and creamy, about 20 seconds.
3.  In a large bowl, whisk the whole eggs until light and fluffy.  Add the onions mixture, a little at a time, stirring after each addition.  Pour the mixture into the crust.  Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top and garnish with the chives or green onions.  Place the tart pan on a cookie sheet.
4.  Bake until puffed and browned.  About 30 minutes.  Let rest for ten minutes.  Remove the collar from the tart pan.  Cut into wedges.  This is also quite good at room temperature.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Polish Sausage Stir Fry

We had a windy and rainy start to the weekend.  There was a chill in the air.  It was a soup sort of day but.....would you believe there wasn't the right combination of ingredients around to stir into the soup pot?  The freezer has slowly been emptied of chicken and beef stock.  Empty!!  So empty that, if I speak while the freezer door is open, there's an echo!  I did have all the ingredients for this pseudo stir fry except the cabbage.  A quick stop at the grocery store took care of that.

This recipe actually came from my Hungarian friend, Judith.  The first time I prepared the dish, Andrew said his mother made a similar one.  When I mentioned it to Judith, she said it was more Polish than Hungarian.  It could even be a southern U.S. dish since the dash of vinegar is my own addition.  Whatever the nationality, it is stick-to-your-ribs good!!

Polish Sausage with Cabbage, Potatoes and Onions
For four

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, cut into fourths and thinly sliced
6-8 fingerling potatoes, unpeeled and thinly sliced
1 pound ring of fully-cooked Polish sausage, sliced in 1/4 inch slices
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups of Savoy cabbage (or another of your choice) cut into approximately 1 inch chunks
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1.  Heat the vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
2.  Add the onion and saute until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.
3.  Add the potatoes and saute until they start to soften, another 4 to 5 minutes.
4.  Add the sausage and saute for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
5.  Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute.
6.  Add the cabbage and stir well.
7.  Add salt and pepper to taste, stir,  cover, reduce the heat to medium low and cook for another five minutes.  Stir and check to see if the cabbage is done.  We like the cabbage to have a little crunch left.
8.  Stir in the balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute.