Archive for December, 2005

Chicken Broth

A great soup begins with simple ingredients — some meat, vegetable or seafood with water and salt. Today we start with a chicken broth and then enhance it to prepare a family of delicious soups. Happy New Year!

Here are the recipes involving chicken broth.

Here is the recipe for a rich vegetable broth that can substitute the chicken broth.


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Scalloped Potatoes with Milk, Cheese, and Garlic (Gratin Dauphinois )

A short while ago, I met a friend in a store. When I learned that she just bought a box of scalloped potatoes for her family, I volunteered to give her a recipe for this dish that did not include preservatives and artificial flavors that the box version contained. My friend confessed that she was not a good cook but I assured her that I was going to draw the recipe so that she could follow it.

Here’s the recipe, in drawing form. I hope that you can take a look at it and let me know if it is easy to follow.

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Flaming Banana Dessert

Alton Brown is one of my favorite cooking teachers. After watching his “Good Eats” episode on bananas, I was inspired to make this showy dessert. Here is the recipe.

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Vegetable Gumbo

Gumbo is a chunky tomato-based soup full of flavor. This recipe was given to me in a sealed envelope marked “Top Secret” by Bill Poynton, a member of the Just Food Coop. Thank you, Bill, for sharing your secret.

Gumbo is derived from the West African word “gombo” which means okra. The name implies that okra is a necessary ingredient. The other necessary ingredients are a dark brown roux (flour cooked in oil) and gumbo filé (pronounced fee-lay), which is the powder form of sassafras leaves.

Okra evokes both affection and aversion. Those who hate it cite the vegetable’s slimy texture. In this recipe, the okra is sautéed before it is added to the rest of the ingredients to reduce its sliminess.

The demonstration was a resounding success. The only unpleasant experience was taking 3 hours to cook the flour. I need help to learn how to get this done faster. Suggestions, anyone?

Here is the recipe.

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American Chestnuts

Our Co-op is very fortunate to offer rare food items, like American Chestnuts. Once abundant, American chestnuts almost went extinct in the early 20th century.

roasting chestnuts

Besides roasting, chestnuts can also be used in soups and preserves.

Here are the recipes.

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Leek and Potato Soup (Soupe de Poireaux et Pommes de Terre)

Thomas Keller is another one of my favorite French cooking authors. This soup shines with organic vegetables that our Co-op carries. Start with a home-made chicken stock enriched with carrots, leeks, onions, and herbs.

Andi leeks and potatoes

Here are the recipes.

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Mushroom Soup and Appetizer

One evening, a desperate looking lady came to the Co-op clutching a can of soup from a conventional national brand. She had just visited her doctor and was told to avoid several of the ingredients found in her favorite conventional soup. She asked me if our store carried a similar soup that did not have the harmful ingredients. Naturally (no pun intended), we did.

The experience inspired me to cook popular soups using wholesome ingredients and classical methods. The result was a Cream of Mushroom Soup (Potage Veloute Aux Champignons). Since I was using mushrooms, I also prepared a marinated mushrooms.

mushroom soup

Here are the recipes

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