Saturday, July 9, 2011

Foodies Talking Smack!

Witamy!  We’re “foodies” and we watch a lot of programs on The Food Network.  Among our favorites are the Bobby Flay throw downs.  Bobby Flay is a celebrity chef and restaurateur who challenges local chefs to a competition on their specialty or signature dish.  The competition is fun to watch.
Cheese Pie
Grilled 4-Cheese Pizza
So Christina and BJ, our daughter and son-in-law, and the parents of the most amazing granddaughter on the planet (next to yours of course) are also “foodies.”  We like to challenge each other to throw downs.  We’ll pick a main ingredient or type of food and have a competition for who can come up with the most unique or interesting preparations.  There’s always a lot of trash talk leading up the main event, but it’s all in good fun.  One of our first was the venerable hot dog (after watching a Bobby Flay hot dog show).  Talk about messy!  Another was all about burgers and we saw a lot of cheeses, jalapeno slices, strange herbs, and more. Also messy!  The most recent competition was all about cheese.  We did a 4-cheese pizza on the grill with a little parmesan crisp for decoration.  They made two delicious cheese pies - one with tomato and olives, the other with feta and Greek herbs.  There were only winners that day – YUM!  Our next throw down will be focused on anything available from the farmers market, spending less than $20 total for 4 small plates.  Maybe we should cut the budget in half to make it more challenging...what do you think? 

Now that summer is here, we see a lot of beautiful vegetables at the farmers market and even at big grocery stores that buy local produce.  Here’s a great recipe from my Mother for a very interesting soup that takes advantage of the fresh produce and is delicious for a light supper on a hot day.

Summer Vegetable Soup - Serves 8
1 carrot, sliced
½ small cauliflower, shredded coarsely
1 cup of potatoes sliced
½ cup frozen peas
1 cup of green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups boiling water
1 ½ tablespoons flour
1 ½ quarts milk
½ cup spinach, shredded
1 ½ tablespoons butter
1/1/2 tablespoons dill, chopped finely
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook the carrot, cauliflower, potatoes, peas, and beans in lightly salted boiling water for 15 minutes or until just barely tender.  Mix the flour into a little of the cold milk.  Add the remaining milk, stir and add to the soup.  Add the spinach.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the butter, season with salt and pepper, garnish with dill.

The key to this recipe is the milk base.  Feel free to experiment with any fresh veggies you have on hand, cut into bite-size pieces so they all cook to tenderness in about the same amount of time.  Smacznego!

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