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Mary’s Memo – January 6th

BEST RECIPES OF 2013


There were a lot of winners last year and one that I personally made many times was Potato-Fennel-Leek Soup on the February 11 (#2304) memo. During Lent I used vegetable broth and other times chicken broth. Either tastes fine!

POTATO-FENNEL-LEEK SOUP WITH SMOKY CHEDDAR CHEESE


• 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
• 1 cup sliced leeks
• 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
• 3 cups Swanson brand vegetable broth
• 1 cup shredded smoked Cheddar cheese
• Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, heat butter or olive oil (or an equal amount of the two) over medium-high heat. Sauté leeks and fennel until softened (about 6 minutes). Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Add potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Puree in the pan with an immersion blender. To do in a food processor or standard blender, strain soup, reserving solids and liquid. Puree the solids, using a small amount of liquid; then recombine the puree with the remaining liquid, return the soup to the saucepan and reheat if necessary. Off heat, add smoked cheese and stir to melt. Season with salt and pepper. Recipe makes 4 servings.
Source: I Love Trader Joe’s Around the World Cookbook by Cherie Mercer Twohy via Mary Ann Thaman.

Food Network star Ina Garten is still my favorite and her Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes taste like they’re made with sour cream. Instant potatoes can’t compare! A ricer, Foley or OXO food mill will make them even creamier!

BUTTERMILK MASHED POTATOES


• 3 lbs. Klondike Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1.5-inch cubes
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 stick unsalted butter
• 3/4 cup buttermilk
• Kosher salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot bring 4 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil. Add potatoes. Bring water to a boil again, lower heat and simmer uncovered until potatoes fall apart when pierced with a fork. Meanwhile, heat milk and butter in a small saucepan, making sure it doesn’t boil. Set aside until potatoes are done. As soon as potatoes are tender, drain in colander. Place a ricer or food mill over heat-proof bowl. Process potatoes through ricer or food mill. As soon as the potatoes are mashed stir in hot milk and butter mixture with a whisk or rubber spatula. Add enough buttermilk to make potatoes creamy. Add kosher salt and pepper to taste.
Source: Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa)

I have never seen an asparagus stalk I didn’t like and Sara Moulton’s Raw Asparagus, Mushroom and Parsley Salad is wonderful! Bryan Chief tasters also gave this unusual combination a “thumbs up.”

RAW ASPARAGUS-MUSHROOM-PARSLEY SALAD


Dressing:
• Kosher salt and pepper to taste
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 1-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salad:
• 1/2 lb. asparagus, tough ends trimmed and discarded (peeled if stalks are thicker than 1/3 inch) and sliced diagonally into thin slices
• 1 cup flat leaf Italian parsley leaves, stems removed
• 4 oz. firm white button mushrooms (no gills showing), thinly sliced
• 1/3 cup salted pistachio nuts
• 2 oz. shaved Parmesan cheese

Whisk salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil until a thick emulsion forms. Combine remaining ingredients and toss with dressing. Serve immediately.
Source: Adapted from Sara Moulton recipe.

Spicy Sausage-Endive-White Bean Soup, in the November 11 (#2344) memo, will get your engine roaring on a cold winter day. For more kick, use spicy Italian sausage.

SPICY SAUSAGE-ENDIVE-WHITE BEAN SOUP


• E xtra virgin olive oil
• 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon dried basil
• 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
• 2 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian parsley
• 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and diced
• 1 small zucchini, diced
• 1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
• 1 head curly endive, core removed and chopped
• 2 cans Bush white beans (Navy or Great Northern), drained
• 12 cups chicken stock
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper
• Grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add sausage and cook until crumbled. Add the onion and carrots and cook about 5 minutes. Add garlic, basil, oregano and parsley. Cook another 2 or 3 minutes. Add squash and again cook another 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, endive, beans and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer for 30 minutes to blend flavors. Add salt and pepper. Before serving garnish with a generous amount of Parmesan cheese. Recipe makes about 16 cups. Leftovers can be frozen.
Source: Adapted from a Dorothy Lane Market recipe.

Other 2013 best recipes included Betty Crocker Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch, Pumpkin Snickerdoodle and Glazed Cranberry Cookies (on the annual Christmas recipe sheet).

PS: Regarding Christmas recipes, a sentence was missing from the recipe for stuffed dates. A strip of lean bacon is cut into 3 pieces and each date is wrapped with a piece of bacon and secured with a tooth pick before baking.

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