Friday, January 15, 2010

Potato Soup and Cornbread

Wes's mom, Vill, used to make potato soup and cornbread on a regular basis. His family would eat it on a plate...crumble up the cornbread, pour potato soup over, devour. I coluld never get into the idea of eating it as a plate of mush (don't worry, Wes knows I call it this), but I did like both the potato soup and the cornbread. I've tried to make cornbread a million times, but it never turns out quite right...I think I've finally figured it out though! I also looked at a few recipes for potato soup, and think I've come close to Vill's recipe. Wes was in the den when he took his first bite (all mushed up on a plate!), and I heard him from the kitchen say, "Wow! This is it! It's good!" Yay for making one of his favorite meals his mom used to make him!

Cornbread (and next time, I think I'll try it in a preheated cast-iron pan, but I didn't this time)
1 1/4 c. self-rising cornmeal
3/4 c. self-rising flour
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c. milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in another. Add the egg/milk/butter mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring only until just moistened. Pour into a greased 9" pan, and bake for 25 minutes at 425*.

Potato Soup
*if you'd like to top with bacon (I do!), cook some until crispy, crumble, and set aside
*you may also cut up some scallions and grate some cheddar cheese on top
About 3 lbs. Idaho potatoes (I think I used 5 med. to large potatoes?)
1 c. sour cream
1 stick butter
2 2/3 c. milk
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Rinse, peel, and cut the potatoes into 1" chunks. Put into a large pot, and add just enough cool water to cover. Heat to a boil, reduce and simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender, approximately 35-45 minutes.
Drain the potatoes, and return to the pot and mash (Vill didn't really mash the potatoes in her soup, so I didn't mash it a ton...left some chunks). Stir in the sour cream, butter, milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer to heat through, and serve however you'd like--mushed up on a plate with cornbread (yuck!), or in a bowl, topped with shredded cheese, scallions, and bacon (yum!) with a side of cornbread.

**And leftovers are great--Wes ate most of them, so I stirred about 1/2 c. of the leftover soup with about 1 c. of frozen broccoli and heated through for Wesley and my dinner. YUMMY!

Disclaimer: I didn't say either of these recipes was healthy ;)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's Day "Lucky Lunch"

Happy 2010, ya'll!
I wanted to post what I cooked for the traditional NYDay Lunch before I forgot how I did everything! It was so much fun...Sallie and Isabelle, and Maggie, Barry and Davis came over to eat with us. I was a little concerned that I'd cooked WAAAAY too much...but either everyone was starving or everyone was being polite, because the majority of the food got eaten!
So here it goes...we had black eyed peas, collard greens, macaroni and cheese (posted previously), and pork tenderloin. Oh, and the ladies enjoyed some seriously amazing pink champagne ;)

A great thing about this meal...I did 3 of the 4 dishes in crock pots (yup, I am the proud owner of 3 crock pots..more on that later). So, I was able to get everything prepared in the morning, veg on the couch for most of the day, then once everyone got here, I quickly cooked the pork and everything was good to go!

Black Eyed Peas:
6 or so slices of bacon
1/2 a large onion, diced
3 c. water
Glory vegetable base
1 can of RoTel tomatos, drained just a bit
2 10-oz packages of fresh (local!) black eyed peas
Salt and pepper

Cut the bacon into 1-inch (or so) pieces, and brown until crispy. Drain about half of the bacon on a paper towel, and add the onion to the remaining bacon, cooking in the bacon fat (those diet resolutions shouldn't kick in until the 2nd or later!) until very translucent. Put this mixture in the crock pot, along with the water, a heaping teaspoon of the vegetable base, the tomatoes, peas, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on high for approximately 4 hours, checking the seasoning and doneness of the peas often. Crumble the reserved bacon over top of the peas just before serving.

Collard Greens:
1 T. butter
1/2 a large onion, diced
1 pack of Turkey Jerky
6 c. hot water
1 beer
Glory vegetable base (approx. 2 T)
2 bunches of fresh (again...local!) collard greens, washed and trimmed
1/3 to 1/2 c. cider vinegar
1 T. brown sugar
2 T. soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion in the butter until translucent. Put in the crockpot along with the next 5 ingredients, and some salt/pepper to taste. Cook over high heat, stiring with tongs frequently to ensure all the collard pieces spend ample time submerged. About 1 hour before serving (once collards are very soft and yummy!), add the cider vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce, and s/p if needed. Serve with cider vinegar to be sprinkled on top if desired!