I hope you have been holding up with the cold weather and all the snow and ice we have been getting. I have been having a little problem connecting with the people that were to be interviewed for this column. I will be rescheduling canceled interviews and making up for lost time.
My daily drive to work takes me along Route 29 from Collegeville to Schwenksville, which parallels the Perkiomen Creek. It is a beautiful site in any season, but especially outstanding when it snows and the snow and ice makes magical breathtaking pictures against the winter skies. I only wish that I had the right kind of equipment to photograph such a picture. But, since I do not, I try to keep the image in my mind.
It strikes me funny how so many complain about how cold it is. We need to put things into perspective. In most cases everyone drives and their vehicle is heated, live in a heated house, shop in heated stores. There has to be some of you who recall walking as a way of getting around, when warm coats, gloves, hats, and boots were a necessity and not just a fashion statement.
It doesn't matter if Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow or not this last Monday in Gobbler's Knob, we are in for some more winter days, like it or not. Food seems to become an important part of cold weather survival, especially soups.
Soup of Almost Nothing
Made from scraps and has a surprising flavor.
3 pounds beef, chicken, veal or mixed bones
1 onion (unpeeled)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
7 cups water
Place all of the ingredients in a large pot. Cover with water and put over high heat. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for one hour. Uncover and continue to simmer until the stock has reduced to almost half. Strain the stock and return to the pot.
Use this stock or 3 1/2 cups prepared stock
2 pounds raw potatoes, scrubbed and dried
1 onion, finely chopped
1/4 pound bacon fat or melted butter
1/2 cup light cream or milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or green onions
Peel the potatoes and reserve the inside of the potatoes for another use. Melt the bacon fat or butter in a frying pan and saute the finely chopped onion until soft, about 6 minutes. Add the raw potato skins and cook until they too are tender. Add potato skins and onions to stock Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Puree in food processor- or blender the liquid in batches, return to pot and reheat. Thin if necessary with a little water or the light cream. Ladle into individual bowls and sprinkle with chopped chives or green onions.
Filled Cabbage Soup
My friend Mary Jane's Recipe
1 small onion, chopped
1 handful carrot strips
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 small head cabbage, chopped
2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
2 to 3 (approx. 14 1/2 oz.) cans beef broth
Seasonings to taste
1 1/2 pounds browned ground meat
2 cups cooked regular rice
Brown onions in small amount of oil or coat pot with spray shortening. Use two cans of beef broth; use third can if more liquid is needed later. Add crushed tomatoes, carrot strips, and zucchini; cook together for several minutes, add chopped cabbage. Add seasonings. You can use salt and pepper, but Mary Jane uses a product called Nature's seasoning, found at most markets. Simmer for approximately one-half hour. Add the browned cooked grounded meat and precooked rice. Incorporate everything together and bring to a simmer; continue to simmer for another one-half hour or until texture of cabbage is what you like.
Quick & Easy Creamed Hungarian String Bean Soup
1 pound fresh string beans
1 teaspoons salt
3 to 4 tablespoons flour
2 to 3 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup vinegar
2 quarts water
Clean string beans and cook in salted water. Mix flour with small amount of water until smooth. Add sour cream and milk; mix well. When beans are cooking, pour cream mixture over beans; add vinegar. Let soup to come to a boil. Serve hot.
Gay Street Bridge Bar
and Restaurant Favorite
1 1.4 cups cold water
18 ounces small to medium oysters in their liquid (3 dozen)
1/4 pound unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
2 cups heavy cream
Add the water, oysters, and oyster liquid together and refrigerator for at least one hour. Strain and reserve the oysters and liquid; refrigerate again until ready to use. In a large skillet melt butter; add celery, peppers, salt and 3/4 cup oyster liquid. Cook over a high heat for 3 minutes, shaking pan (versus stirring) almost constantly. Add the remaining oyster liquid and continue to cook and shake for 1 minute. Stir in the green onions. Gradually, add the cream whisking constantly. Add the oysters and cook until the oysters curl, 2 to 4 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
If you happen to be busy or just lazy or sick in bed with something ... there are several very good soups available at supermarkets (fresh-made) or in cans. Some nice soup and a little bread to your favorite spread can sure make you feel better fast.
Life is like a celebration... Enjoy it!