January 29, 2015

Soup for the Super Bowl...

Good Morning!  Can you believe another week has flown by?  It's the Super Bowl on Sunday, and we'll all be tuning in for the game, and, of course, the commercials.  
I was perusing one of my favorite cookbooks and this struck me as a good game-day recipe to try. Best Ever Beer Cheese Soup sounds like a good Super Bowl idea, right? Add a crusty loaf of warm bread, and I think we'll be all set. If I keep it on low heat in my giant Le Creuset pot on the stove, everyone can help themselves.
 The New Midwestern Table is quite a cookbook; and if you like to "read" them as well as cook from them, this is defiantly one to check out.  Author Amy Thielen weaves great backgrounds and history into every recipe in this book.  

Best-Ever Beer Cheese Soup
8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter
1 to 1 1/2 large carrots, diced (about 3/4 cup)
3/4 cup small-diced piquillo peppers, or 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock, low-sodium store-bought or homemade
One 12-ounce bottle beer, preferably a mild-flavored blond or pale ale
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
12 ounces aged yellow cheddar (aged at least 2 years), grated
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash hot sauce
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Mustard oil or extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
Fresh goat cheese, for garnish
Fresh thyme leaves, for garnish

In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the carrots, peppers and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until well incorporated, about 5 minutes more.

Add the chicken stock, beer and half-and-half and cook, whisking often, at a very slow simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.

Add the cheddar to the soup by the handful, whisking each batch until smooth. Add the Worcestershire, hot sauce, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, the nutmeg, mustard and lemon juice, and stir to combine.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender (holding a thick towel over the lid to prevent overflow) until very smooth.

Just before serving, reheat the soup until steaming and taste for seasoning, adding salt as necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each bowl with a swirl of mustard oil, a dollop of goat cheese and a sprinkle of thyme.

May the best team win on Sunday!!!

P.S. Here are two quick links for you:

Click this link to see a short video about cookbook author Amy Thielen from Midwest Living Magazine...


And please check out the book on our website here:
The New Midwestern Table

January 23, 2015

Time to Read....

Winter Greetings, Clever Girls!
By now, hopefully, you've packed away all your Christmas decorations for another year, and are settling into the winter routine.  Certainly we are not enduring a season like last year, but the dreary days are definitely here.  The silver lining is this affords us some time to be cozy with cups of tea, stacks of books and a snoozing cat or two, as happy diversions.
I was grateful to receive many lovely books this holiday, and have delved into them with gusto.  A vintage copy of The New Yorker Early Works of Humor has been fabulous, as has War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love.  The Art of Eating, by M.F.K. Fisher, a collection of essays that are often more autobiographical or historical than anecdotal musings on food preparation and consumption by one of America's best known food writers.  Did you receive a tome you are loving right now?  Please share in the comments section if it's something you think your fellow Clever Girls should know about.

Downton Abby has started again, and I really look forward to Sunday evenings with the Crawley family.  So much action and drama all with a stiff, British, upper lip, and always while wearing the most perfect attire.  Case in point: Just look at what's coming up on this Sunday's installment (1-25).  As Edith's access to Marigold slips away, news about Gregson arrives. An unwell Thomas returns, Mary meets her match, and police suspicions narrow. Can you stand it!?!  
We have a book at the shop called, A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey;  and it's full of photography and brimming with traditional British recipes for each calendar month, such as Eton mess and sloe gin.  This beautiful book takes us on a fascinating journey through a year in the life of Downton Abbey. I highly recommend it!  Speaking of all things British, be on the lookout for a new series, called, Wolf Hall, coming soon.

A belated Happy New Year to you all...

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