Friday, October 30, 2020

Baked Potato Soup

I made this Wednesday night because it was such a cold and rainy day I had been dreaming of creamy soup.  It was SO delicious we had the leftovers on Thursday.  Very rarely do we eat leftovers the very next day.  This soup is that good. Add a slice of buttered crusty bread on the side and you have a hearty dinner.

Baked Potato Soup

 4-6 strips of Bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 small onion, diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

5 Cups of Yukon Gold Potatoes cubed

14 ounces Chicken Stock

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon chipotle or regular chili powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 12 ounce can evaporated milk

2 1/2 Cups of cheddar cheese shredded


Fresh chives and sour cream

In the bottom of your Dutch Oven or other large pot, saute' your bacon and onion until bacon is crispy.  Remove bacon and drain off bacon grease.

Add garlic, potatoes, chicken broth and seasonings.  Stir and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until potatoes are tender.

Add milk and cheese, saving about 1/2 cup for garnish. Bring back to a simmer and remove from heat.

Garnish and Enjoy!!

Friday, October 23, 2020

My new go to Bread recipe

With the temperatures falling I am back to baking bread.  So far, I've made this bread three times and it has been delicious all three times.  The crust is amazing and the crumb is moist with a tang hitting you in the back of your mouth.  It is good room temp, for sandwiches and reheated with butter and garlic.  It's never lasted more than three days, but it was still very good on day three.

3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 Cup warm water (around 105degrees)
1 package of yeast

Combine the yeast and water and give it about 5 minutes to bloom.

Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix until all flour is incorporated.  The dough will appear to have a rough texture.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel and let sit room temperature for 18-24 hours.

When the dough is ready use floured hands to gently press down the dough.  Lightly dust the top of the dough and gently work it into a large ball.  You do not need perfection here and remember to treat your dough gently.

Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered.

For the right crust and chew this dough does need to be baked in a Dutch Oven or similar oven safe pot with a lid.  Everything I have read says that preheating the pot along with the oven and then adding the dough creates the perfect steam yielding an amazing loaf of bread.  I do not do this ecause I have read it is very hard on your Dutch Oven if it is enameled. I preheat the oven, lightly oil the pan and then transfer the bread to the pot, cover and put the pot in as the oven preheats.  I start the timer once the oven is preheated.  

After baking remove loaf to cool on a wire rack.  

I have an enameled Crock Pot Dutch Oven and I love it.  This is the 5 quart.  The large spaced out handles make it super easy to move around even when it is hot.  

Monday, October 12, 2020

Chili Fritos

It's really beginning to look and feel like Fall here in Southern Illinois so it's time to change the menu up. One of the first things I like to make is a big pot of beef chili. Sorry purists and Texans but I love beans in my chili. I also love that it freezes so well making it a quick weeknight meal. We like chili with oyster crackers or cornbread but every now and then I love Chili Fritos. I had never heard of Chili Frito until moving here 15 years ago. As with most dishes there is some debate on where the recipe originated. New Mexicans claim it was invented in the 1960's at a Woolworth (now Five and Dime) in Santa Fe by Teresa Hernandez. Texans trace it back to 1930's San Antonio resident Daisy Doolin who was the mother of the Frito company founder C.E.Doolin. However,in the book Fritos Pies, Stories, Recipes and More written by Kaleta Doolin the daughter of C.E. Doolin, writes that in 1932 her father actually purchased the recipe for a fried corn chip product and a device used to make them for $100.00 from Gustavo Olguin who was in San Antonio and needed money to return to his family in Mexico. From Kaleta Doolin's research she believes the recipe is actually a creation of a corporate test kitchen in 1937. The recipe on the bag says to make a slit down the personal size bag of fritos and add a large laddle of Hormel Chili. This is apparently sold at most sporting events in Texas and the Midwest. In the Midwest it is often referred to as "Walking Tacos". The first time I encountered it was in the hospital cafeteria and they labeled it Chili Frito Pie. Anthony Bourdain actually did a segment of Parts Unknow at the Five and Dime that claims to have first served the dish. In true Bourdain fashion, he claimed to enjoy it even though he remarked it was like holding a 'warm crap in a bag'. When I make it I simply fill a bowl with my homemade chili and add a handful of Fritos to the top with shredded cheddar cheese and diced green onions. Have you ever had Frito Chili? Grrr...this new blogger is killing me. Anyone else struggling with it?

Saturday, October 10, 2020

A really nice Saturday

Happy Saturday! It was a LONG week of work and I am so happy it is finally the weekend. The big guy and I do most of our shopping every other week in a larger town about 40 minutes west of us. We've been shopping there for years and even though their population is much larger than ours, their Covid numbers are shockingly lower there than here in our little town.

The leaves are all changing here and it was a beautiful drive.  I usually read the entire way there but today I found myself just staring out the window in awe of the amazing colors. 

We did our shopping at our two favorite stores and I spent a ridiculous amount of money on candy for the little beggars on Halloween.  If ever there was a year to go a little overboard, this is the year. We were getting ready to leave when we noticed a new restaurant. If anyone was going to build a new place to eat during uncertain times with a pandemic, this is the model to go by.  It is totally open air concept on three sides.  It's visually very cool looking.  With very attractive heaters on the ceilings and two large fireplaces I can see it will be comfortable well in to the winter. I also liked how they took your temperature before allowing you to enter and cleaned everything on a table when people left including the menus.  This is only the second time we have eaten out since March and I felt pretty comfortable. I chose the beer cheese bacon burger and it was very good.

The big guy commented as soon as we sat down how good it felt to kind of feel human again.  I have to agree. It was a really nice Saturday.

                                                            My Beer cheese, bacon burger.

Friday, October 2, 2020

October is Here

 It's October!  I do enjoy spring and summer but October - February has always been my favorite time of the year.  I think it's because of all the holidays, evenings by the firepit, snuggling up with a book and being able to bake without feeling bad about heating up the house while the A/C is on.

I started making my own corn taco shells or tortillas awhile ago because we enjoy them so much.  I bought a couple sets of the taco holders and I LOVE them.  Well today I found another use for them.  We only have hot dogs once or twice a year and today was the day.  I bought a package of Nathan's Best all beef dogs and they were so good.  The holders make it so much easier to get all of your toppings on without struggling.  Love a gadget that has more than a couple uses.

The tomatoes and peppers are still growing but it won't be long before frost ends this years growing season. I stopped by the farmers market this morning and picked up some more. He said we'll be lucky if we get two or three more weeks without a frost.   My basil grew so well this year so I have enough pesto in my freezer to get us through to next year.  Between pickling, canning and freezing I'm stocked on enough summer goodness to get us through the winter so that is something to be thankful for.  I've eaten my weight in BLT's, Jalapeno Poppers of all kinds and fried green tomatoes.  The Poblano peppers have been amazing too.  I love charring them on the grill, remove the skin and stuffing them.   

 I honestly didn't enjoy this summer as much as I usually do.  I guess with everything going on in the US politically, racially, then Covid still looming over us and whatever heathen little creature ate a lot of my garden didn't help matters. I'm hoping the next 5 months bring some much needed happiness.