BEEF VEGGIE SOUP

This is one of those soups that everyone of a certain age has had! During a simpler, more frugal era this type of soup was a staple on the dinner table, especially in the fall/winter months.

Ground beef was the lesser expensive meat choice and the soup was a great way to use up veggies at the end of the week. Once the flavors meld together no one cares that they were the former beauty queens that were now the  less than pretty wilting ones from the crisper bin.

BEEF VEGGIE SOUP serves 6
1 pound ground beef
1 LARGE Vidalia onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, diced
1 LARGE carrot, diced
1 can Green Giant white shoepeg corn
2 cups frozen green beans
15 ounce can stewed tomatoes, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped Basil
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped Parsley
FRESH ground sea salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup DRY red wine
8 cups beef bone broth**
1 cup diced potatoes, optional
1 cup prepared pasta, optional
1/2 cup raw rice, optional
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced, optional
Grated cheese, as a topping

  • Brown ground beef over medium high heat in a large soup pot.
  • When beef is just about browned, drain off most fat and add onions, carrots and celery, sweating for 4-6 minutes.
  • Add garlic, garlic salt and onion salt, stirring to blend.
  • Add chopped stewed tomatoes with their juice, Basil, Parsley and FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper. Simmer 3-4 minutes.
  • Add broth, wine and potatoes or rice if using.
  • Simmer for 1 hour.
  • Add corn, green beans and mushrooms if using, simmering for 15-20 minutes more.
  • If using pasta add prepared pasta and simmer 5 minutes until heated through.
  • Serve with Honey Beer Bread.

**I made this broth with beef bone marrow bones and end of the season tomatoes.

HONEY & SEA SALT RANCH STEAKS & ROASTED CARROTS

We’re trying a new butcher delivery service, Butcher Box, since good cuts of meat are getting harder to find around here. Even my go to butcher just isn’t what it used to be 🙁

The “RANCH” steak sounded interesting so we added a couple to our order and were pleasantly surprised. Here’s their recipe with very few adjustments.

Just a bit of trvia – The ranch steak is one of the most flavorful and tasty cuts of meat and is very underrated, with many butchers and beef buffs claiming it makes a great alternative to the more expensive cuts such as Sirloin Tip or Flat Iron steak.

It comes from the shoulder area of the cow and is somtimes referred to as an arm steak. Because the muscle is worked a little more it can lack the tenderness of some other cuts. But what it lacks in ease of eating compared to others, it makes up for in its full beefy flavor.

In order to earn the moniker of ‘Ranch’ steak, it needs to be trimmed of all excess fat, silver skin, and connective tissue so that it’s very lean. It must also be free of the strip of gristle running through the middle.

CONCLUSION: The flavor was excellent! BUT, the leftovers have been cut up to use the next time I make chili. The steak just wasn’t tender enough for us, but will make excellent chili parts.

I also LOVED the flavor profile of the carrots, but didn’t want to mess with the oven and the grill so I microwaved the carrots for 5 minutes to cook the centers and then tossed them with everything finishing them off on the grill along side of the steaks. I also minced the thyme leaves directly into the marinade.

HONEY & SEA SALT RANCH STEAKS
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

4 each Ranch Steaks
8 tablespoons QUALITY honey
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt (I added a touch of garlic salt also)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Preheat grill with 2 zones. One high heat and one low heat.
  • Rub steaks with honey, sea salt and black pepper. Set aside and bring to room temperature.
  • Place steaks on hottest part of grill and cook for 4 minutes on one side with a quarter turn after 2 minutes.

  • Flip steaks over, grill for 2 more minutes on the hottest part.
  • Move steaks to the cooler side of the grill and continue to cook until internal temperature reaches 110℉.
  • Remove steaks from heat when finished and let rest 8-10 minutes before slicing steaks against the grain and serving with roasted carrots.
  • Enjoy!

ROASTED CARROTS
12 each carrots, washed and cut into ½” pieces
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 cloves garlic minced
1 each orange, zested
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon raw honey
2 tablespoons avocado oil
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Toss cut carrots with all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • Place seasoned carrots on baking sheet in a single layer and roast in oven for 40 minutes, or until for tender.
  • Discard thyme sprigs before serving.


ASIAGO PASTA PEAS

ASIAGO PASTA PEAS
16 ounces ditalini pasta
2 cups FRESH hulled peas
2 green onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon onion powder
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded Asiago cheese

  • Cook pasta per package directions.
  • Drain well and return to pot.
  • Whisk together the heavy cream, salt, pepper and onion powder.
  • Add cream mixture, garlic and peas to pan you cooked the pasta in and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.
  • After 2 minutes add in pasta.
  • When cream begins to thicken fold in cheese, stirring to melt.
  • Season to taste.
  • Serve immediately.

PICKLED CARROTS

PICKLED CARROTS
Scant 2 cups baby carrots, cut into small sticks
1 SMALL red chili,
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 LARGE clove garlic, FINELY minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds, (optional)
2 teaspoons sea salt

  • Place carrots and chile in a pint size mason jar.
  • In a saucepan bring the vinegar, water, garlic, sugar, coriander seeds, sea salt and mustard seeds (if using) and bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Pour vinegar mixture over carrots.
  • Cool 15 minutes.
  • Seal and refrigerate.

GERMAN BRAISED RED CABBAGE

GERMAN BRAISED RED CABBAGE
1 medium head red cabbage, shredded
1 LARGE red onion, THINLY sliced
2 Granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Spray a large dutch onion with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Cook onion and apple over medium heat 5 minutes until onion is tender.
  • Add cabbage, stirring to combine.
  • Generously sprinkle with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Sprinkle with sugar and drizzle with vinegar.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally until cabbage is tender.

ZESTY GARLIC GREEN BEANS

ZESTY GARLIC GREEN BEANS serves 8-10
2 tablespoons oil from oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup sliced Vidalia sweet onion
1/2 cup chopped or julienned sun dried tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
2-16 ounce packages french style green beans

  • Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion, sautéing 2-3 minutes until tender.
  • Add tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper, cooking 2-3 minutes longer.
  • Stir in frozen green beans, cook, simmer 7-9 minutes.
  • Uncover and continue to simmer 2-3 minutes until the liquid is mostly evaporated.

TOMATO SCALLOPED POTATOES

This is another 1930’s-40’s recipe box find written in a stenographer’s shorthand and old cursive on old yellowed scrap paper. It took me a bit to decipher it, but it was well worth it. 😀

TOMATO SCALLOPED POTATOES
1/2 cup chopped onion I used 2 shallots
2 tablespoons butter I used herbed butter
2 tablespoons flour I used WONDRA which is extra fine
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt I used FRESH ground, to taste
1/8 teaspoon pepper I used FRESH ground, to taste
1 cup water I used chicken broth
8 ounce can diced tomatoes I used a 14 ounce can
2 chicken bouillon cubes I only used 1 since I was using broth
5 cups peeled sliced potatoes I used tricolor baby potatoes

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add onions and saute 2-3 minutes until soft.
  • Sprinkle with flour, paprika, salt and pepper, blending well.
  • Add water, tomatoes and bouillon cubes, simmering over medium heat until thickens.
  • Spray 2 quart casserole with non-stick spray.
  • Layer 2/3 of the potatoes loosely on the bottom
  • Sprinkle with a fine flour and some FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Top with half of the tomato mixture followed by the layer of thin baby Swiss cheese slices.
  • Follow with remaining tomato sauce mixture over top.
  • Bake 1 hour or until cooked through and tender.

NOTES:

  • I have made a few changes that are indicated in red above and find they are tastier than ever.
  • I also use herbed butter cubes for additional flavor, usually rosemary or tarragon.
  • I also added a layer of ULTRA thin sliced baby Swiss cheese under the last layer of potatoes.

SWEET & SOUR BROWN BEANS

This is one of the recipes I found in a recent vintage recipe box find. The recipe box dates back to the 1930’s or 40’s and the recipe is a very yellowed scrap of newspaper with no date, but based on the World War II Russian newspapers I found used as wall insulation of one of our old houses I’d say this scrap is also that old!

The Swedish brown bean is a relatively small pale brownish colored bean known for being extremely tender with a nutty flavor that holds together well, even through extended cooking.

SWEET AND SOUR BROWN BEANS
2 cups Swedish Brown Beans
4 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 brown sugar or molasses (or half of each 😀 )
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar for more flavor)

  • Wash beans.
  • Cover with water and let stand overnight OR bring beans and water to a SLOW boil, boiling for 2 minutes. Cover and let stand 1 hour.
  • Add salt, recover and bring to a simmer for 2 hours or until tender and most of the water has cooked away. You may need to add a bit more water as they simmer.
  • Stir in brown sugar, molasses and vinegar and SLOW simmer uncovered 15 minutes more.

NOTES:

If Swedish brown beans are hard to find in your area, pinto beans make an adequate stand-in for this Scandinavian native bean.

PAN SEARED CHICKEN with WILTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

PAN SEARED CHICKEN with WILTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
3 strips bacon
4 thin chicken steaks
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 LARGE bunch green onions, sliced
2 cups (1/2 pound) Brussels sprouts, trimmed and chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth

  • In a large skillet fry bacon crisp and set aside to cool on paper toweling.
  • Pour off all but 1-2 tablespoons of the bacon fat.
  • Season chicken breasts with the FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Add chicken breasts to bacon fat and sear on each side 2 minutes.
  • Remove chicken breasts and let rest.
  • Add oil and butter to pan and allow to melt and heat up.
  • Add onions and Brussels sprouts, sauteing 1-2 minutes until soft.
  • Add broth and nestle chicken breasts in the veggies.
  • Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through and veggies are crisp tender.
  • Sprinkle bacon pieces on top and serve immediately.

SMASHED SUNCHOKES with TARRAGON BUTTER

SMASHED SUNCHOKES with TARRAGON BUTTER
1 pound sunchokes, rinsed, peeled and trimmed of any dark spots
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon avocado oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon FRESH tarragon leaves
Finishing salt

  • 
In a medium saucepan, cover sunchokes with 1 inch cold water.
  • Season generously with salt. The water should taste nicely salted, as if you were seasoning soup.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
  • Cook until paring knife inserted into a sunchoke meets little resistance, about 10 minutes; DO NOT OVERCOOK.


  • Drain sunchokes in a colander.
  • When cool enough to handle, place sunchokes on work surface or cutting board and “smash” enough to flatten, but not break them apart with a heavy skillet. 


  • In a large cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering.
  • Add sunchokes in a single layer and cook without moving until well browned, about 3 minutes.
  • Flip sunchokes, then add butter to the pan and allow to melt.
  • Add half of the tarragon leaves to the melted butter and continue to cook, spooning butter over sunchokes, until browned on the second side, about 3 minutes longer.

  • Transfer sunchokes to a serving plate and spoon the tarragon butter on top.
  • Garnish with remaining tarragon leaves and sprinkle with flaky salt.
  • Serve immediately.

SALMON TERIYAKI and SALT & VINEGAR CUCUMBERS

SALMON TERIYAKI adapted from JET TILA

SAUCE
2 ounces sake
3 ounces mirin
4 ounces Bragg’s liquid aminos
3 tablespoons (45 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch combined with 1 tablespoon water

  • Mix all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat; whisking 1 to 2 minutes until the sugar dissolves and the sauce bubbles and thickens slightly.
  • Set it aside to use on the salmon and store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

SALMON
2 pounds salmon filets, deboned and scaled
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons avocado oil
3 scallions, sliced on the bias, for garnish
Steamed white rice, for serving

  • Pat the fish dry with a paper towel, cut into four 3-inch pieces, and season it with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Once you start to see white smoke, lay the fish flesh-side down in the skillet. Move the fish around constantly while cooking to keep it from sticking. When the fish is medium, 4 to 6 minutes, turn with a spatula only once.
  • Cook the other side for another minute.
  • Add the teriyaki sauce to the pan and reduce the heat to low. The sauce will begin to simmer and reduce.
  • Tilt the pan around a few times and turn the fish until it’s well coated with the sauce.
  • Serve with rice on the side. 

This quick and easy salad is essentially just a big ol’ bowl of quick-pickled cucumbers, which is exactly why it’s so tasty. It makes a fresh, crunchy and acidic side to any main dish. Assemble it the night before and it will be even more perfect.

SALT & VINEGAR CUCUMBERS

1/4 cup rice wine or white vinegar
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons flaky sea salt, plus more as needed
FRESH ground black pepper
4 medium cucumbers
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill 


  • Place the vinegar, oil, sugar, salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl and whisk to combine. 
Slice the cucumbers into 1/8-inch-thick rounds.
  • Place them in the bowl, add the dill, and toss to combine.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Taste and season to taste with more salt and pepper as needed before serving.

CREAM SPRING SOUP

CREAM SPRING SOUP
2 cups chicken stock
4-6 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery rib, cleaned and diced
2-3 green onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped chives
1 teaspoon FRESH chopped rosemary leaves
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon mushroom umami herb (I get Simple Organics at Kroger)

  • Combine the above ingredients, bringing to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 5-10 minutes until vegetables are tender.

1 cup cooked macaroni
1/2 cup heavy cream or 1 SMALL can of evaporated milk

  • Stir in heavy cream and macaroni, heating through.