" I truly think it is best to be a robin lightly dressed concocting soup inside my nest" ~Maurice Sendak


 It seems like the minute Thanksgiving and Halloween are over we are bombarded with Christmas.
I'm still trying to get through the Halloween candy and leftovers from Thanksgiving in the freezer. I just came across two cans of pumpkin pie filling that never got used this Thanksgiving so, not wanting to make pie I searched the Internet and my cookbook library for a recipe for soup.
I came up with nothing as all the recipes called for pumpkin purée which is unsweetened (my cans contained sugar).
I decided to wing it and make my own creation. We were all really pleased with the end result. 
The sweet pumpkin really paired well with the middle eastern spices. 
Really quick to prepare this would be perfect after a long day rushing to do get Christmas shopping done in the cold.

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Splash of olive oil
Small onion diced
1 minced garlic clove
 6 cups chicken broth
2 cans pumpkin pie filling 
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot.
Add onion and garlic and sautée until soft.
Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Bring to low boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to purée onion if you wish.

Serve and enjoy!

Wine suggestion: Gewürztraminer 


Learning Curve

We are on holidays this week and getting a lot done around the house. Today was rainy so we ran errands and then I found myself puttering around the kitchen afterwords. A visit to our local Italian bakery and deli inspired me to try making my own olive tapenade, something I've never done before.
I am pleased with the result and plan on making different variations.
By the way I installed blogger on my iPad.  This is my first posting using it. It may look different..please bear with me while I get the hang if it! 

Black Olive Tapenade

I cup pitted sliced black olives
2 tbs parsley
1/8 cup of olive oil
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs capers
1 garlic clove minced
2 anchovy fillets
1tsp Dijon mustard 
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse until blended.
Serve on bread or crackers. Will keep in fridge in a jar  for about two weeks.


Real Men Do Eat Quiche

Although its been around forever..quiche had its heyday years ago back in the 80's and 90's. It was popping up in cookbooks and restaurant menus everywhere.

I must admit I have forgotten about it until last weekend when I was looking for something different to make for brunch, instead of my usual frittata.
I created this hearty layered version using leftover potatoes from the night before.
It took no time to assemble.
I know I should have made my own crust but I had a ton of yard work to get too so I cheated and used a store bought I had in the freezer.
This could be served for supper as well with a salad.
My husband loved it and asked for it to be served more often.
So there you go...contrary to that popular 80's book, real men do eat quiche!

Layered Ham and Potato Quiche
  • pie crust
  • cold sliced potatoes
  • sliced cooked ham
  • shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • sliced green onions
  • 5 beaten eggs for each quiche with cream and parsley mixed in. 
Preheat oven to 425F
Layer ingredients in pie crust in order given.
Bake for 15 minutes at 425F
Reduce oven to 350F and cook until golden and eggs are set (about 20 to 30 minutes)


Buried Treasure

While rooting around in my deep freezer the other day I found a bag of small packages of roasted tomatoes  from last fall. I was very pleased as I thought they got all used up.  I thawed a bunch and created this Mediterranean inspired dish.
If you don't have any on hand you can roast any type of small tomato in the oven quicker than I did previously...just turn the oven up to 375F and roast for about 30 minutes.
They will be a little more moist but that is fine for this recipe.

I chose quinoa for my starch here however, couscous, rice or a short pasta would work well here too.
It  really does pay off to tuck things away in the freezer to enjoy when certain vegetables or fruit are out of season.

Roasted Tomato Chicken over Quinoa

  •  ~olive oil
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups of roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 4 green onions sliced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
In a large deep skillet heat a bit of olive oil and brown the chicken.
Remove to plate and set aside.
Over medium high heat deglaze the pan with the red wine vinegar.
Add remaining ingredients except quinoa and combine.
Arrange the chicken breasts on top of the mixture in the pan.
Bring to a low boil then reduce to a medium low.
Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thickened a bit.
Meanwhile cook quinoa or starch of choice according to package directions.

Serve chicken over quinoa.

Wine Suggestion: Chianti


Life as we know it...

Life has been a bit crazy so I took a bit of hiatus from Hall in the Kitchen..but wow... four months go by fast don't they?
The hot topic of conversation these days is the long harsh winter we are having. Has anyone heard of the term Polar Vortex until this year? I know I haven't!
All I want to do is either sit in front of my warm fireplace or cook comfort foods in the kitchen.
That said here are two hearty dishes to help us get through the last few weeks of the "Polar Vortex" winter we are having.

Savory Veal Scaloppine
Over Rice
  •  ~olive oil
  • 1 pound of thin sliced veal
  • 1  can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup of hoisen sauce
  • 1/2 cup of beef broth
  • rice

In a large deep pan  heat a few glugs of olive oil and brown the veal lightly on both sides.
Add remaining ingredients except rice ,cover and cook on medium low heat for about 45 minutes to an hour. Veal should be fork tender.
Meanwhile cook rice according to package.
Serve veal over the hot rice.

Sausage Penne
  •  ~olive oil
  • 1 lb of mild Italian sausage
  • 1 orange pepper chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1 cup each of  milk and cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • penne
In a large deep pan  heat a few glugs of olive oil and cook the sausages until browned.
Remove and slice. Add the vegetables to pan and cook until softened.
add the sausages back to pan with Italian seasoning and toss together.
Cover and cook on medium low until sausages are cooked through and no longer pink in center.
Meanwhile boil the pasta according to package directions while you make the cream sauce.
In a small saucepan  heat the olive oil.
Add the flour whisking until smooth .
Add the milk or cream whisking until the cream sauce is to your desired consistency. Add the cheese and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
You can add oregano or basil if you wish.
Drain the pasta.
Add the sausage mix and then the cream sauce, toss together and serve with fresh ground pepper and Parmesan cheese on top.

Wine suggestion for both dishes: Malbec