Ham And No Bean Soup

2 pounds cauliflower, fresh or frozen

1 ham bone, preferably with some decent meat left on it

I quart chicken stock

Water

2 bay leaves

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1 cup carrots, chopped

2 cups ham, either pulled from the bone or additional, chopped into bite-size pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Place ham bone in a large soup pot with the cauliflower, chicken stock and bay leaves. Add enough water to cover most of the ham bone. (Usually no more than 1-2 cups.)

On high heat, bring to a simmer, then set heat to low, cover pot and allow to simmer for at least an hour. (More time is always nice, if you can.)

Once meat is falling off the bone, remove ham bone, bay leaves and meat from the broth and set aside.

Add chopped vegetables to the broth, heat and let simmer about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are softened.

Pull meat from bones and chop into bite-sized pieces.

With an immersion blender, process broth and vegetables to a thick puree’. You can leave a few larger pieces, if you like, but I tend to prefer mine pretty smooth.

Stir in chopped ham and simmer until heated through.

 

 

 

 

Super Supper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 pound ground turkey or beef

1-15 ounce can tomato sauce

1-12 ounce can Mexican-style corn

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

2 1/2  cups instant mashed potato flakes

1 1/2 cups sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)

1/2 cup water

2 cups cheddar cheese, grated

 

In a large skillet, saute’ onion and garlic together in the olive oil. When onions are softened and translucent, add ground meat and cook until all the pink is gone.

Add the tomato sauce, corn, oregano and salt and pepper. Mix well and heat to a simmer for 15 minutes over low heat.

Meanwhile, mix together potato flakes, sour cream (or yogurt) and water in a medium bowl. (Or mash your real spuds.)

Spread potato mixture evenly over the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan and pat down firmly.

Add meat and tomato mixture over the potato layer, then top with grated cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and dish is heated through.

Chili Garlic Brussels Sprouts

1 pound fresh brussels sprouts, cut in half

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2-3 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, diced

1/4 cup Asian sweet chili sauce (I use the Mae Ploy brand)

1/4 cup chopped, roasted peanuts (optional)

Place the halved brussels sprouts in a large bowl and toss well with the soy sauce and garlic. Let sit while you cook the bacon.

Toss the diced bacon in a pan (cast-iron is preferred here if you have it) and cook the bacon until done.

Dump the whole mess of sprouts and soy sauce in your hot pan with the bacon and saute’ on medium high until the sprouts begin to char on their outer layers and the soy sauce begins to caramelize and thicken.

Add in the sweet chili sauce and mix well until all the sprouts are slightly tender and covered with the glaze. Taste and add more chili sauce if necessary. (Don’t overcook the sprouts!)

Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and serve.

 

Caramelized Onion And Kale Dressing

(Adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen)

1-24 ounce round of sourdough bread

1/2 cup olive oil, divided

3 tablespoons butter, divided

3 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced in half-moons

Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 pound (large bundle) curly kale, center ribs and stems removed, torn into large chunks

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups vegetable, chicken or turkey broth, divided

Red pepper flakes, to taste

3 tablespoons sherry

 

Heat oven to 400°F. Tear loaf into rough 1-ish-inch pieces. Place in a large bowl and drizzle with 4 tablespoons olive oil and toss well. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven, tossing once or twice for even color, until golden brown and crisp on the outside but still a little tender inside, about 20 minutes. Let cool on sheet, then tip back into that large bowl.

Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in 2 tablespoons oil in the bottom of a large saute pan over low heat. Add the onions, toss to coat them in oil and cover the pan and with the stove on the lowest heat possible, let them cook undisturbed for 15 minutes. (The steaming and wilting will help them caramelize much faster, yay.) Remove lid, raise heat to medium/medium-high, add sugar and 1 teaspoon salt and cook onions, stirring frequently, for another 15 to 20 minutes, until they’re a deep golden brown. Add 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar and use to scrape any stuck bits off bottom of pan, then cook off. Taste onions. Add onions to bowl with croutons.

Add 2 more tablespoons olive oil to pan and heat garlic for half a minute, before adding kale. Get kale coated with garlicky oil, then add 2 tablespoons broth. Cook kale until wilted and somewhat tender, seasoning well with salt and pepper, about 6 minutes. Add sherry to pan and cook until it almost disappears. Add remaining broth and last two tablespoons of butter and bring mixture to a simmer.

Pour kale-broth mixture over croutons and caramelized onions. Toss well to combine. Pour mixture into a 3-quart casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove foil, and bake for another 15 to 20, until golden and crisp on top.

Do ahead: Each part of this (the croutons, the onions and the kale) can prepared up to 3 days in advance, and assembled and baked when needed. Keep the croutons at room tempearture in a container or bag. Keep the onions in the fridge, as well as the kale and broth mixture.

 

NPR Cranberry Sauce (AKA Mama Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish)

2 cups whole, fresh cranberries, washed

1 small onion

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons horseradish, from a jar

 

1.) Pulse cranberries and onion together in a food processor. (Leave it a bit chunky, don’t over-process. It’s not meant to be smooth.)

2.) Add sour cream, sugar and horseradish and mix together.

3.) Place in container and freeze.

4.) Several hours before serving, take out of the freezer and move to the refrigerator to thaw. Stir again and serve.