Thursday, February 9, 2017

Wild Rice 'n Ham Soup

I originally shared this post for Wild Rice Soup back in 2012. I've wanted to get a better picture of this and update the post, but it seems I always make this on a weeknight, in the middle of the winter, and its just dark, dark, dark! This soup is still a favorite, and even my husband who insists soup is just an appetizer, not a meal, can eat this soup as a meal! 

This is not a "fussy" recipe. Just eyeball the ingredients. Do you have one sad little carrot left in the fridge after you grated your 1/2 cup?  Make that last carrot happy and throw him into the pot.  Just have a chunk of ham left over from the holiday dinner, skip the measuring and just add what you have.  A little extra, or a little less will be just fine.

It's hard to explain, to people that aren't from the St. Paul/Minneapolis area, how my favorite soup comes from a grocery store! Byerly's was always that higher end grocery store that had foods that were just a step above the rest.  Of course, they had all the normal foods as well, but they had the super yummy ones that you just craved. Waaaayyy back in the day, when my friend Stacey and I had our first apartment, we were in walking distance to Byerly's so we were fortunate enough to do a lot of shopping there.  In more recent years, I would love stopping there on my way home from work and picking up special meats for grilling.  Now, it is just a treat to stop at when I am in the cities, and get their pasta sauces, bakery treats, soups....  this list goes on, but you get the idea.  I guess they don't go by the same name anymore, I think they were bought out by the store from the other side of town. I believe their name is Lunds now.  Ahhhh....  the memories!

One of the best soups found at Byerlys', locally famous, is their Wild Rice Soup.  You could order it in their restaurant or purchase several different size containers in the store.  I would always try to have a container on stand by.  Feel a cold coming on?  Wild Rice Soup. Bad day at work?  Wild Rice Soup. Raining out? Wild Rice Soup.  See how I am?  I got even more spoiled the year that my mom bought the Byerly's cookbook.  Oh, life was good! Mom would always make a big batch so she had enough to share with me.  She still makes it often, and she usually serves it for Christmas Eve when we celebrate at their house.  

When making this, you can use Half and Half in place of the milk for the most indulgent version of this recipe. Just to lighten it up a bit, I use milk. 

Wild Rice Soup

1/2 c. finely diced onion
6 T. butter
1/2 c. flour
4 c. chicken broth
2 cups cooked wild rice
1/2 c. finely grated carrots
1 c. minced ham
3 T. chopped slivered almonds
1/2 t. salt
1 c. whole milk (Half and Half is the rich way to go)

In saucepan, melt butter; add onion and saute till tender.  Blend in flour; Cook for two minutes.  Gradually add broth.  Cook, stirring constantly until mixture comes to boil.  Boil while stirring, for 1 minute.  Stir in rice, carrots, ham, almonds, and salt.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Blend in milk.  Heat thoroughly.  

Serve with crust bread and enjoy :) 

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Weekend Potluck

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Cherry Kiss Cookies

I really wanted to make these Cherry Kiss Cookies for Christmas, but since we already had so many cookies in the house I decided to hold these over until Valentine's Day. And, what a perfect cookie to Fill the Cookie Jar for February!

I thought these were just the cutest cookie ever. And, while I do recommend using a Hershey's Kiss for them when you make them, I did use Hershey Hearts. The hearts were a little to much chocolate in my opinion. But, that didn't stop my husband for going crazy for them. We did have Truffle Kisses in the house at the time of my baking, and while they tasted fantastic on the cookie, they melted into a pile of chocolatey goodness. So, unless you are going for the cute factor, stick with the traditional Kisses! 

These are a perfect fun treat for your Valentine. If you want a little more of a cherry "pop" in the flavor, add another half teaspoon of the cherry juice. I think that would be really tasty.

If you are interested in joining Fill The Cookie Jar group on facebook, fill out the form that can be found at Fill The Cookie Jar. Each month we bake a different theme for the cookie.
We bake, we share and we enjoy our cookies!

Cherry Kiss Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoon maraschino cherry juice***
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4-6 drops red food coloring
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, chopped
36 Hershey Kisses, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside. In large bowl, beat butter and powdered sugar. Once combined, add cherry juice, almond extract, and food coloring. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add flour, mixing until completely combined. Add chopped maraschino cherries, mix until cherries evenly distributed.

Using small cookie scoop, roll into 1" balls. Place on lined cookie sheets 2 inches apart.  Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until bottom of cookie is just turning golden. Remove from oven, and immediately press a Kiss into each cookie .  Cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.

** Add an additional 1/2 teaspoon of juice for more cherry flavor

Sources:  Platter Talk & Taste of Home

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Thinking About the Garden

The garden and seed catalogs started making their way to our mailbox over the last couple weeks. 
The perfect time to start thinking about what we want to do with the garden this year. Things we will do differently, things we will do the same, and new things we will try. 

I started by making a list of "everything" we have ever planted in our days together here at the farm. Out of that list, I pulled out what we will not raise again. On that list we have the following:

  • Eggplant - we tried and just don't care for it. Regardless, we try a "new to us" vegetable every year. 
  • Spinach - we try every year and have no success. We'll save that for farmer's market trips
  • Watermelon - Neither of us care much for it, we just wanted to see if we could raise it. Mission accomplished. 
  • Artichokes - To much space, for to little yield.  
  • Brussel Sprouts - Until I learn a way to cook them that we enjoy, they are in the same category as eggplant. 

Then, there is the exciting part of the list. What new things we are going to try.

  • Pea's that aren't a snap pea - Each year we raise pea's, but get a very low yield and really struggle getting them to grow. Every year, we raise snap peas. This year we are going to try something new.
  • Sweet Potatoes. I've looked at the plants at the green house, and think about adding them to the garden. This year we will follow through with trying them!
  • Broom Corn. My friend Carla, from The River, shared some of the broom corn they raised last year, and I am so excited to plant some ourselves this year.
  • Alpine Strawberries. This is a challenge, as we don't know where we will plant these, but Jessica from Oregon Transplant has me so inspired to try these little berries.
  • Shallots. Why not?
  • Beans for drying. Again, why not? Something fun to try for one summer.
  • And...... Fooled You Pepper. For my husband, a jalapeno that isn't hot! Our jalapenos were so blazing hot last year, I couldn't bare them. 

And, what I am most excited about is blueberries! My husband has a lot of research to do on how we need to prepare our soil, but I think this will be fun. My parents tried and were successful, until the deer made the blueberries come to an end. We don't have as many issue with deer, and what we do have, I think Mr. C. is going to be good at helping out with. 

Are you planning your garden yet? Are you trying anything new?