Fall is here, meaning that it’s hot soup season! Robert and I love enjoying a warm bowl of soup alongside a delicious sandwich for a casual Sunday supper. I particularly love this Zucchini Soup because it is actually healthy (low in fat and carbs), a snap to put together – and, best of all, scrumptious! We recently enjoyed it together with a Turkey, Chutney and Cheese Panini. Both recipes are below – enjoy!
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
2 pounds zucchini, sliced
3 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup evaporated skim milk (can also use evaporated whole milk)
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. When hot, add chopped onion and cook, stirring, until onion is limp. Add zucchini, broth, basil, nutmeg, pepper and garlic powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for around 15 to 20 minutes or until zucchini is very tender when pierced with a fork. Cool slightly. Puree with an immersion blender, or put half of mixture into a blender and puree until smooth; put puree in same sauce pan and repeat with second half. Stir in the milk and heat over medium heat until hot. Crumble one slice bacon into each serving; serve immediately.
Note: this soup is better served hot than at room temperature or cold.
Make ahead: Soup can be made up to 2 days ahead, cooled, covered and refrigerated. Reheat over medium-low heat.
Turkey, Chutney and Cheese Panini
1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
4 8-inch flour tortillas
1/4 cup mango chutney
12 ounces sliced deli turkey
8 tablespoons shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Preheat panini maker, or spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray.
Spread 2 tablespoons cream cheese on each tortilla. Spread 1 tablespoon mango chutney over the cream cheese on half of each tortilla. Place turkey on top of the chutney. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons Cheddar cheese over turkey. Fold tortilla in half over the cheese is melted and tortillas are lightly toasted. Cut in half and serve immediately.
As promised in my last post, below is our family recipe for a Kentucky Hot Brown – an open-faced sandwich that combines ham, turkey, tomato and bacon that is topped with a bubbling hot cheese sauce. I shared this recipe in my column on www.gabbygourmet.com in May of 2010 as part of a Derby Day menu – but it is good to eat all year round!
The Kentucky Hot Brown has its roots at the Camberley Brown Hotel in Louisville (where we stayed and also tasted this delicious dish!). It was developed several years after the hotel opened when the supper dance business was declining. To boost business, staff decided to introduce something new. Chef Fred Schmidt had an idea for an open-faced turkey sandwich that featured a Mornay sauce. At that time, turkey was typically eaten only around Thanksgiving and Christmas, so turkey on a sandwich was something new. To add a little pizzazz, pimiento and bacon were added.
Kentucky Hot Brown
This delicious recipe is known simply as a Hot Brown (never a Hot Brown “Sandwich” according to Kentuckians). Considered by many to be a Derby Day staple, this version uses a cheese sauce and tomatoes in place of the pimientos. While delicious on Derby Day, the dish also makes a perfect Sunday-evening meal served alongside a nice green salad.
Photo of Hot Brown sandwich courtesy of Kurtz Restaurant, Bardstown, Kentucky, USA
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (can substitute Gruyere cheese)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 slices toasted bread (we like multigrain)
8 slices cooked turkey or chicken breast
4 slices baked ham, preferably Kentucky
8 slices tomato
8 slices cooked bacon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a large baking sheet with sides.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking, for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk, raise the heat to medium, and continue cooking, stirring, until thickened. Stir in the cheese and continue cooking, stirring, until the cheese melts. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn heat down to low.
Place toast slices on a prepared baking sheet. Put 2 slices of turkey and 1 of ham on each piece of toast. Pour cheese sauce over the top. Place 2 slices of tomato and 2 slices of bacon on top of each. Place in oven and cook until sauce bubbles, around 8 to 10 minutes.
Note: These sandwiches can be prepared in a large casserole or in individual gratin dishes.
Secrets from “A Well-Seasoned Kitchen” – Making a basic white sauce
A basic white sauce is one of the most versatile recipes in cooking. A white sauce can be transformed in a number of ways with various cheeses, wines and spices to enhance a dish. Here’s a basic recipe with tips for getting a smooth and delicious sauce. The recipe takes about 15 minutes from beginning to end and yields a white sauce with medium consistency.
- In a small, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat.
- Blend 2 tablespoons of flour into the melted butter.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
- Cook over low heat, stirring for 3 minutes. It is important to cook it for the full 3 minutes in order to get rid of the floury or pasty taste.
- Slowly, whisk in 1 cup of milk (you can also use light stock, cream or a combination of the two in place of the milk).
- Continue cooking slowly, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened.
Note that the butter and flour may be doubled with the result being a thicker sauce, as is in the Kentucky Hot Brown recipe, or halved for a thinner sauce.
As many of you know, my husband Robert and I are on a road trip adventure. We are introducing the cookbook to retailers in the Midwest and South as we we work our way to New Jersey to pick up our new airstream trailer!
We’ve now been on the road for 5 days; here is a synopsis (I will try to post more often so the posts aren’t as long as this one!):
Day 1 (Wednesday) was all about driving – 10 hours, including stops for gas and lunch – to get from Denver to Kansas City. I posted a few pictures on Facebook yesterday, from Eastern Colorado and mid-Kansas. Both looked pretty much the same – flat, straight road (I-70) with fields as far as the eye can see. In CO, it was fields filled with cattle (and towns with names like Bovina) and in Kansas it was field after field of corn.
We arrived in Kansas City just in time to have dinner at a fabulous restaurant called Room 39. Small space, wonderful atmosphere, excellent service – and outstanding food. We originally wanted to go for BBQ (after all, isn’t that what Kansas City is known for?) but then we stumbled across this place and decided to go for it. First, we had to have a martini –we had read that the GM Andrew made “one of the best”. At Andrew’s recommendation, we chose a local “earth friendly” vodka, 360 (brewed in Missouri) and we weren’t disappointed. Definitely add this one to your list, as it was delicious!
We opted for the 4-course tasting menu, for a whopping $39/person and we could pick what we wanted for each course. Our favorites: the Pan Roasted Duck Breast with wild rice pilaf, sautéed Tuscan kale, and roasted beets (see photo below); and the Alaskan Halibut with spring onion flan, local corn and squash with fine herb beurre blanc (it was so good I consumed it before I could photograph it!).
Day 2 (Thursday) began in Kansas City with a delicious breakfast at Classic Cup Café with good friend Rich Fickle (who was nice enough to let us stay at his apartment for the night). Another great KC restaurant – loved the eggs benedict. The rest of the day was spent calling on retailers. The first place we went was Rainy Day Books – a fabulous independent bookstore that is nationally known as one of the best. The owner, Vivien Jennings, was extremely kind and helpful and provided me with several great promotional ideas – and she is going to carry A Well-Seasoned Kitchen! So if you live in KC – or know someone who does – tell them to go there!
Evening of day 2 we arrived in St. Louis, late and tired so a simple dinner at Chilis in our hotel was all we were up to.
Day 3 (Friday) was spent calling on retailers in St. Louis and the main independent bookstore, Left Bank Books, is going to carry A Well-Seasoned Kitchen. Tell your friends!
That afternoon we drove to Louisville, KY and arrived just in time to have a yummy dinner at our hotel, the Brown – a historic establishment known for creating the Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich. I wrote about this Kentucky delicacy in my column on www.gabbygourmet.com around a year ago and will repost that article again so anyone who missed it can have the recipe! We didn’t opt for Hot Browns for dinner, saving that for lunch the next day. Dinner in the English Grill in the hotel was very good – my favorite was George’s Bank Cod served with sweet potatoes, corn, brussel sprouts and Kentucky ham ragout with a red curry sauce. Delish! Their Derby Pie was just so-so – mom’s is much better (recipe in the book)!
Day 4 (Saturday) was a combination of calling on retailers and touring Louisville. I have to start by mentioning our Kentucky Hot Browns at lunch, which were delicious but oh, so filling. Urp!
My mom (and co-author of A Well-Seasoned Kitchen) grew up in Louisville, living there until she was 18. Mom’s childhood friend Doris Southworth (who lives in Denver now) told me where to find the house mom grew up in – and we went there! It’s in a neighborhood called Highlands, which is very similar to the neighborhood of the same name in Denver. Lots of fun and funky boutiques, great restaurants, older pretty homes. Mom grew up on “Ivanhoe Court” where the houses faced onto a double-sidewalk rather than a street. She always talked about how much fun it was as she had her brothers and friends could play all up and down the street without worrying about cars.
Walking down the court, just as I found mom’s house a little girl came down the sidewalk on her scooter. She said her name was Eleanor and she was 5. She pointed to my camera and asked if could she be in the photo I was taking. What surprised me was how much she looked like the photos of my mom at that same age – slender, tall, fair skinned and blonde. She is in the photo below of mom’s house:
Next we went to Churchill Downs as neither Robert nor I had been there.
While it’s off-season, we were able to tour the track and museum. In one part of the museum we were able to try on jockey’s clothes. Given that jockeys are all 4’11” and weigh around 105 lbs, I was pleasantly surprised that only the hat was too small for me!
After a quick nap we went back to mom’s neighborhood to eat dinner at Lilly’s. I had read about this restaurant in Food & Wine magazine, and opentable.com ranked it as one of the best restaurants in Louisville. We weren’t disappointed! The owner Cathy (Lilly is her daughter) is delightful and focuses her menu on fresh, locally sourced and sustainable foods. My two favorites were the heirloom cherry tomato salad with buffalo mozzarella and basil sauce (photo is 1/2 serving), and the bourbon-pecan ice cream with bacon bits. Too die for!
Day 5 (Sunday) was spent in Henry County, KY, about 45 minutes north of Louisville where my mother’s family are all from. In fact, my relatives’ presence in the county dates back to the 1700s! I was able to track down my Aunt Frankie and we spent the day with her. She was married to the son of my maternal grandmother’s first cousin – so I have no idea how to describe our relation. She is just my Aunt Frankie!
I was interested in learning more about my relatives, so we toured a few cemeteries where they are buried (in New Castle and Campbellsburg), with Aunt Frankie filling us in on what parts of the family history she knew. We had a great, traditional Kentucky lunch at the Science Hill Inn in Shelbyville where they are known for their hot cornbread, cucumber mousse, fried chicken and bread pudding with bourbon sauce. It was all scrumptious! The inn was a girls boarding school for many years, and now in addition to the restaurant houses several antique stores (which unfortunately were closed!).
It’s nap time now, then we’re off to the trendy 21c Museum Hotel for dinner at their restaurant, Proof on Main!
It’s easy to prepare a delicious barbeque without having to light a single coal. Here are two recipes that result in a finger-lickin’ good barbecue but rely on either a slow cooker or the oven. Each of them features a spicy sweet Oklahoma Barbecue Sauce that is not only perfect for these chicken and beef recipes but for pork and ribs, too. What’s even better is that once you make this sauce (you get more than a quart from this single batch!) you can keep it refrigerated and it’ll keep almost indefinitely.
BBQ Beef Sandwich
(Serves 8 to 10)
4 pounds chuck or arm roast
4 cups Oklahoma Barbeque Sauce, divided (recipe below)
Place the roast and 2 cups water in a slow cooker; cover and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours, or on low for 8 to 10 hours. Take meat out of cooker, reserving around 1/2 cup water. Shred the meat with two forks and place back in the cooker. Stir in 2 cups barbeque sauce and reserved water. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. Taste and stir in more sauce if needed. Serve on brioche buns or onion hamburger buns, passing remaining sauce on the side.
8 bone in, skin on chicken breast halves (or other pieces to your liking)
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups Oklahoma Barbeque Sauce, divided (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil.
Place chicken on prepared cookie sheet and brush liberally with 1/4 to 1/2 cup barbeque sauce. Bake for around 45 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Serve remaining sauce on the side.
Oklahoma Barbeque Sauce
(Makes just over 1 quart)
I found this recipe in mom’s recipe box after she passed away. It is from her friend Ann Reed, who said this about it on the back of the card: “Delicious with ribs, beef, ham or chicken. I have been making this for 20 years and it is special in our house.” It is very easy to make, with just the right balance of spicy and sweet.
2 1/2 cups tomato juice
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons cinnamon
In a large saucepan, bring the tomato juice, onion, celery seed and garlic powder to a boil. Reduce to medium and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted, then stir in remaining ingredients.
Make ahead: According to Ann, the sauce will keep indefinitely, covered and refrigerated.