Sunday, January 19, 2014

Vermont Cheddar Cheese Soup

Several years ago I found this recipe for cheddar cheese soup while wasting time reading blogs.  It turned out that I wasn't wasting my time after all.  I love this soup!  And there is a big pot of it on the stove right now.

A few thoughts and tips....You could make it vegetarian by using olive oil  to cook the vegetables, but the flavor of the pancetta is wonderful.  Use good sharp cheddar cheese.  I used half Cabot Creamery Seriously Sharp and half Kraft Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp.  And the method used in the recipe for adding the cheese and flour really does work.

Now I have almost-burned banana bread that I am going to try to salvage by making a bread pudding with it...hope it works.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Black-eyed Peas

You need to make these.  And there is still time to do it today...for good luck in 2014.  I started them about 10:30 this morning and have already had 2 (small) bowls.  I want more.

The recipe is from the cookbook Edible Brooklyn, the Cookbook.  Our friends gave it to us for Christmas.

I think they are the best black-eyed peas I have ever had.  I generally cook them for New Year's Day but only because I think that I am supposed to.  These may be life-changing.  Bill just said that my "assessment was not hyperbolic."  I think his New Year's resolution must be to use more big words.

Black-eyed Peas

1/2 lb. sliced bacon, cut in half crosswise into batons
2 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped 
4 oz. prosciutto, diced
1 16 oz. bag dry black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and drained
2 15 oz. cans black-eyed peas, drained
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 T. rice wine vinegar, preferably brown
2 cups canned green chiles or toasted, peeled, and seeded fresh New Mexican green hatch chiles
freshly ground black pepper

1.  In a large, heavy pot with a lid cook the bacon over medium-high heat until the edges just begin to brown.  Add the onions and garlic, and saute until translucent.  Add the prosciutto and cook until it just begins to brown, 3-4 minutes.

2.  Add the black-eyed peas and bay leaf, and cover with white wine, stock, and vinegar, adding water if the liquid doesn't cover the contents of the pot.  Cover and cook over medium-high heat, reducing the heat if it starts to boil over, for 15-20 minutes.  REduce the heat slightly and add the green chiles and the salt and pepper to taste.

3.  Continue to simmer uncovered for 15-30 minutes more, tasting from time to time and adding salt and pepper, if needed, until the soaked peas are cooked through and tender.  (The canned peas will be a little mushier, but that's okay.)

Happy New Year!!!