Cold Cucumber Soup with toast and double creme brie
Summer may be winding down here in the U.S., but you can still enjoy a bowl of delicious Cold Cucumber Soup.
Cucumbers are good prepared a number of ways. You can eat cucumber sandwiches or just slices of cucumbers with a meal. But one of the best ways to enjoy cucumbers is in a cold soup. I prepared my soup similar to a Polish cucumber soup and added potatoes.
Start by peeling and dicing 3 small potatoes. Put them in a saucepan and boil. When they’re done (about 5 minutes), drain and set aside to cool.
Take 5 cucumbers, peel, seed and dice them. In a stock pot put 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter on medium heat. Add 3/4 cup minced sweet onion to saute, stir constantly for 2 1/2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, add cucumbers, stir together and cook for 7 minutes.
A delicious bowl of Cold Cucumber Soup
Add cooled potatoes, stir well, add 1/2 teaspoon celery seed and 1/2 cup chicken stock. Use an immersion blender to puree soup. Add 1/2 cup sour cream, 4 teaspoons Lawry’s Garlic Salt, and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
Put soup in a large bowl and refrigerate to chill for at least a couple of hours. The soup is best if let cool overnight before serving. To enhance the soup, serve with toast and a double creme brie.
Thanks for stopping by today. Do you like cucumbers? If so, how do you like them? Do you have a cucumber soup recipe? Hope you’ll give this a try. If you do, please stop back by and let me know how it turns out or if you post it online tag it with #thesurprisedgourmet. I’m always glad to know how my recipes turn out for you.
A bowl of Cold Cucumber Soup will hit the spot as the last days of summer fade away
3 Small potatoes (peeled and diced)
5 Large cucumbers (4½ cups), peeled, seeded and diced
¾ Cup minced sweet onion
½ Teaspoon celery seed
½ Cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
½ Cup chicken stock
4 Teaspoons garlic salt
Peel and dice 3 small potatoes. Put them in a saucepan and boil. When they're done (about 5 minutes), drain and set aside to cool.
Take 5 cucumbers, peel, seed and dice them. In a stock pot put 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter on medium heat. Add ¾ cup minced sweet onion to saute, stir constantly for 2½ minutes. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, add cucumbers, stir together and cook for 7 minutes.
Add cooled potatoes, stir well, add ½ teaspoon celery seed and ½ cup chicken stock. Use immersion blender to puree soup. Add ½ cup sour cream, 4 teaspoons garlic salt, and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
Put soup in refrigerator to chill for at least a couple of hours. The soup is best if let cool overnight before serving. To enhance the soup, serve with toast and a double creme brie.
Poached Salmon in White Wine paired with salad, garlic bread and a glass of wine makes a special meal
Fried salmon patties are a favorite in the South. But if you’re looking for a lighter salmon dish, try this Poached Salmon in White Wine recipe.
Pietra Santa Cienega Valley Chardonnay 2014 pairs well with a variety of fish whether grilled, poached or smoked. The wine’s citrus and floral tones blends well with salmon making it a perfect choice for this recipe. The wine’s soft scents of apple blossom, acacia flower and lemon zest enhance this recipe.
Serving salmon in the white wine sauce (with the exception of the butter) is much healthier than frying. It’s also quicker than making out the patties, battering them and then frying. Simmering the salmon in the white wine enhances its flavor and keeps its moist and flaky.
I brushed two 1/2-pound salmon steaks on both sides with olive oil. Then I sprinkled fresh ground kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper on both sides. The amount used can be done to taste. I put those aside while I worked on the other ingredients.
I minced a sweet onion to acquire 3 tablespoons and then minced 2 fresh basil leaves (about ½ teaspoon) and 2 fresh sprigs of rosemary (about 1 teaspoon).
Pietra Santa Chardonnay pairs well with salmon
Using a deep skillet (with a lid) on medium heat, I added a splash of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) and placed the salmon skin-side down allowing them to cook for 30 seconds. I then added the minced onions and let them mingle with the salmon for 30 seconds. Giving a light stir to the onions I added the rosemary and basil, along with 1 cup of the Pietra Santa Cienega Valley Chardonnay.
When the wine began to bubble, I reduced the heat to simmer, put the lid on the skillet and let it cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until it flakes easily.
While that was cooking, I prepared a salad of spinach, thinly sliced onion, thinly sliced Roma tomatoes, and tiny slivers of fresh basil topped off with freshly grated parmesan cheese. I made a vinaigrette for the salad using 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Then prepared several slices of garlic bread using my favorite bread – French bread – butter and Lawry’s garlic salt.
When the salmon was done, I placed it on a plate to rest. Taking the liquid from the skillet, I strained it to remove the bits of rosemary, onions and basil. I put the strained liquid in a saucepan, turned the heat up on the stove and added 4 tablespoons of butter. I let this cook until it had reduced by 1/3. I poured this white wine sauce over the salmon when I served it.
The wonderful flavors of the wine had mingled with the salmon and keep it moist while it cooked. The white wine sauce had a creamy taste that enhanced the fish.
Enjoying a glass of the delectable Pietra Santa Cienega Valley Chardonnay with the meal added to the perfect eating experience. At this point, there was no desire nor room left for dessert.
Wines from the International Wine of the Month Club
This splendid bottle of Pietra Santa Chardonnay was provided to me by the good folks at the International Wine of the Month Club. When you join this fascinating club, you receive two expertly selected Estate Wines (such the Pietra Santa Chardonnay 2014) each month. You can choose to receive 2 reds, 2 whites or 1 of each (such as I received). The wine comes securely packaged and includes cellar notes describing the wine, pairings, a recipe and other wine-related tidbits. (*I used a bottle of Valle Secreto Key Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenére 2014 to make a Red Wine Venison Roast last month.) In fact, they have some special offers you can take advantage of at this time: Save $10 – Get $10 off any 4 month shipment, save $15 – get $15 off any 6 month shipment, or save $25 – get $25 off any 12 month shipment.
Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you’ll try this mouthwatering recipe, as well as the delicious wine. Do you cook with white wine? What do you enjoy most about cooking with wine? If you try this, be sure to drop back by and let me know how it went and if you decide post your results online, include the tag #thesurprisedgourmet. I’d love to know your thoughts on the recipe.
The lemon zest flavor in the Pietra Santa Chardonnay pairs well with the Poached Salmon and the white wine makes a delicious sauce
2 Salmon steaks (1/2 pound each)
Olive oil (to taste)
3 Tablespoons minced sweet onion
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
½ Teaspoon minced fresh basil
Fresh ground kosher salt (to taste)
Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
1 Cup Pietra Santa Cienega Valley Chardonnay
Liquid from pan after salmon is done, strained
4 Tablespoons butter
Brushed two ½-pound salmon steaks on both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle fresh ground kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper on both sides of the salmon. The amount used can be done to taste.
Mince a sweet onion to acquire 3 tablespoons and then mince 2 fresh basil leaves (about ½ teaspoon) and 2 fresh sprigs of rosemary
Using a deep skillet (with a lid) on medium heat, add a splash of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) and placed the salmon skin-side down allowing them to cook for 30 seconds. Add the minced onions and let mingle with the salmon for 30 seconds. Giving a light stir to the onions, add the rosemary and basil, along with 1 cup of the Pietra Santa Cienega Valley Chardonnay.
When the wine begins to bubble, reduce the heat to simmer, put the lid on the skillet and let it cook for 7 to 10 minutes.
When the salmon is done, place it on a plate to rest. Taking the liquid from the skillet, strain it to remove the bits of rosemary, onions and basil. Put the strained liquid in a saucepan, turn the heat up on the stove and add 4 tablespoons of butter. Let this cook until it has reduced by ⅓. Pour this white wine sauce over the salmon when served.
*This is a sponsored post containing affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I was provided the wine mentioned above by MonthlyClubs.com, but the post was written solely by me and all opinions are my own given honestly and freely.
Potato Pancake Florentine is delicious for breakfast or dinner
Lately we seem to be on a food merry-go-around of sorts using the same ingredients everyday, but coming up with different dishes is how I created my Potato Pancake Florentine meal.
One of the main ingredients I tend to use a great deal is spinach. I use it instead of lettuce and find that I’m using it in more and more dishes. It’s one of those foods that we enjoy and besides, it’s good for you.
With my busy work schedule we only get to enjoy breakfast as a family on weekends and then sometimes only on Sundays. Because of this and the fact that it’s a meal we really enjoy, we have a habit of eating breakfast for dinner from time to time.
Deciding to combine breakfast and dinner the other evening I came up with these tasty potato pancakes filled with nutritious julienned spinach.
It all started with 1 cup of leftover mashed potatoes. This is one dish that is so handy I’m tempted to make extra potatoes when I prepare them just so I’ll have leftovers to use in some other dish.
A tasty dish the family will enjoy anytime of day
Putting a non-stick skillet on medium high, I gave it a splash (about 1 tablespoon) of Canola oil to make sure it was lightly coated. In a bowl, I slightly beat 2 large eggs, added the mashed potatoes, 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup plain flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, a pinch of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon Lawry’s Garlic Salt, 1/2 cup julienned deli-style ham, 1/3 cup julienned spinach, 5 leaves of basil (julienned), 1/4 cup shredded Mexican Blend cheese, fresh ground black pepper (to taste), and fresh ground kosher salt (to taste). I combined all the ingredients until it was a batter-consistency.
Using 1/3 cup measuring cup, I dropped the mixture into the hot skillet making the pancakes about 6 to 7 inches in diameter. I cooked them about 2 to 3 minutes until they were golden brown and could be flipped over without tearing apart.
Quick and easy Potato Pancake Florentine
In a cast iron skillet I scrambled 1 egg with Kraft Velveeta Sharp Cheddar Cheese for the garnish. On top of that I added 1 tablespoon of julienned ham and a dollop of sour cream with a wedge of a Roma tomato on the side.
Mashed potatoes (or creamed potatoes to some) are always good. I love potatoes just about any way you can prepare them. Are you a mashed potato fan? Have you used them in any other dishes as an ingredient?
Thanks for poppin in. Hope you’ll give this a try. If you do, be sure to stop back by and let me know how it turned out for you or if you post it online tag it with #thesurprisedgourmet.
You can enjoy this delicious Potato Pancake Florentine recipe for dinner or breakfast
1 Cup mashed potatoes
1 Tablespoon Canola oil
2 Large eggs
¼ Cup milk
¼ Cup plain flour
¼ Teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of baking soda
½ Teaspoon garlic salt
½ Cup deli-style ham, julienned
⅓ Cup spinach, julienned
5 Leaves of basil, julienned
¼ Cup shredded Mexican Blend cheese
Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
Fresh ground kosher salt (to taste)
1 Large egg
1 Slice Velveeta sharp cheddar cheese
1 Tablespoon julienned ham
Dollop of sour cream
1 Roma tomato, cut into wedges
Put a non-stick skillet on medium high, give it a splash (about 1 tablespoon) of Canola oil to make sure it was lightly coated. In a bowl, slightly beat 2 large eggs, added the mashed potatoes, ¼ cup milk, ¼ cup plain flour, ¼ teaspoon baking powder, a pinch of baking soda, ½ teaspoon garlic salt, ½ cup julienned deli-style ham, ⅓ cup julienned spinach, 5 leaves of basil (julienned), ¼ cup shredded Mexican Blend cheese, fresh ground black pepper (to taste), and fresh ground kosher salt (to taste). Combine all the ingredients until it is a batter-consistency.
Using ⅓ cup measuring cup, drop the mixture into the hot skillet making the pancakes about 6 to 7 inches in diameter. Cook about 2 to 3 minutes until they are golden brown and can be flipped over without tearing apart.
In a cast iron skillet scrambled 1 egg with Kraft Velveeta Sharp Cheddar Cheese for the garnish. On top of that add 1 tablespoon of julienned ham and a dollop of sour cream with a wedge of a Roma tomato on the side.
Bread Bowl Chicken Salad Soup perfect for an evening meal
Cooler temperatures bring to mind comforting soups and Bread Bowl Chicken Salad Soup is a new addition to our list of favorites.
Instead of making a traditional vegetable soup or a soothing chicken noodle soup, I wanted something just a bit different. It wasn’t until the soup was almost done when I decided to add the most unique ingredient – homemade Simply Chicken Salad.
Simply Chicken Salad is a favorite dish at our house and seems to be in the refrigerator every other week. I couldn’t resist adding some to the soup just to see how it would turn out.
I baked the Tuscan Bread Bowl in the oven according to the package instructions. After baking, I cut off the top, scooped out the center and returned it to the oven for the bowl to set.
I chopped and diced all of my ingredients prior to starting the soup so that it would go much smoother and quicker. Using a 2 quart stock pan, I added my ingredients starting with the 2 ½ tablespoons of canola oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Next I added the cup of finely diced carrots, a cup of finely diced celery, 1 ½ cups of corn that I had cut off of the cob, ¼ cup of finely diced onion, and 2 finely diced Roma tomatoes.
The dry ingredients came next: 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 2 tablespoons dried parsley, 1 tablespoon dried basil, 1 tablespoon garlic salt, and 1 teaspoon powdered chicken bouillon. Mixing that well I added 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 can English peas, and 3 cups of chicken stock.
The ingredients for Bread Bowl Chicken Salad Soup cooking
The chicken stock I used was frozen as ice cubes and worked great for adding to this soup. Anytime you have leftover chicken stock don’t throw it away, instead freeze it in ice trays. When the stock is frozen, pop it out of the ice trays and put it in freezer bags in your freezer. It’s a handy way to use up your stock and have small amounts when you need it. You can measure how much goes into a cube and then you’ll be able to add just the right amount when needed. My cubes equaled 1 ½ tablespoons each.
When my soup was just about ready, I decided to add in a cup of homemade Simply Chicken Salad. This gave the soup a different texture and even more flavor. I let it cook just a few minutes more to mingle all the flavors together. As I removed it from the heat, I added the final two ingredients – ¾ cup sour cream and 1/3 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese – making sure to incorporate the new ingredients with the soup.
The results was a rich and creamy texture with such aromas you won’t believe. I put a couple of dippers of soup in the bread bowl and started to add another dab of sour cream, but decided against it. The fragrant soup was delicious with the occasional bits of bread coming off the sides of the bread bowl.
This is like most soups that contains vegetables, you can use any combination of vegetables you like. It doesn’t matter what you want, it usually works well in a soup.
Thanks for visiting today. I hope you’ll give this soup a try. If you do, please drop back by and let me know how it went or if you post about it be sure to tag it with #thesurprisedgourmet. I’m always happy to know how the recipes turn out for you.
A delectable soup in a bread bowl that makes cool fall evenings warmer.
2 ½ Tablespoons Canola oil
1 Tablespoon butter
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced (1 cup)
3 ribs of celery, finely diced (1 cup)
2 ears of fresh corn, kernels cut off (1 ½ cups)
Half of a sweet onion, finely diced (1/4 cup)
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
2 Tablespoons dried parsley
1 Tablespoon dried Basil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 Cups chicken stock
1 Cup homemade chicken salad
1 Can (15 ounce) English peas
1 Teaspoon powdered chicken bouillon
1 Tablespoon garlic salt
¾ Cup sour cream
¼ Cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place Tuscan Bread Bowl in preheated oven and cook as directed on package. When the bowl is ready, remove it and turn the oven to 550 degrees. Slice off the top of the bread bowl and crave out the center. Place the bowl back in oven at 550 degrees for 5 minutes to set the bowl.
Take 4 quart stock pot, put in 2 ½ tablespoons Canola oil, 1 tablespoon butter and let it come up to medium high. Add 1 cup carrots, 1 cup celery, ¼ cup onion, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 tablespoon basil, and 1 tablespoon oregano.
Sauté for about 2 minutes, add 1 ½ cups fresh cut corn from the cob, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Next add 1 cup tomatoes, stir well and add 3 cups of chicken stock. Add 1 cup of homemade chicken salad, 1 can (15 ounces) English peas (15 ounces), 1 teaspoon powder chicken bouillon, and 1 tablespoon Lawry’s garlic salt. Let this soup simmer for about 50 minutes all together or longer if you desire.
When it’s taken off the stove add ¾ cup sour cream, ¼ cup shredded cheese and mix well. Ladle soup into bread bowl. You can garnish it with additional sour cream and shredded cheese, if desired.
Living in the South when the weather has a touch of Autumn in it, you can’t help but think of good old Brunswick stew. It always hits the spot.
Of course you can buy Brunswick stew by the gallon container, but the real fun comes when you make your own. Some people cook the stew outdoors in cast iron pots. Some recipes are handed down from generation to generation and guarded as prized family secrets.
For those of us who have busy work schedules and little time to spend watching stew cook, I use a slow cooker.
I adapted my Brunswick stew recipe from a 100-year-old recipe given to my mother by the pastor’s wife of her church a number of years ago. I left a few ingredients out and added several new ones.
I started by skinning and cooking 7 leg quarters in a slow cooker. Be sure to save the broth for stock. You can freeze the broth in ice trays and use the cubes when needed. Each cube holds about 1 and a half tablespoons of broth.
Brunswick stew is delicious as temperatures cool
When the chicken was done and deboned, it made approximately 5 cups. I placed that in another slow cooker and added the following ingredients: 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) cream style corn; 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) tomato, okra, corn mixture; 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) cut okra (this I drained); 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) petite diced tomatoes; 1 1/2 cups of ketchup; 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce; 1 tablespoon of sugar; 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar; 1 teaspoon of Lawry’s Garlic Salt; and 3 (3 1/2 ounces) jars of cocktail onions. You could use 1/2 cup of chopped onions instead, but I had the cocktail onions and wanted to see how they would do. They turned out great, but look like peeled white grapes in the stew.
Once all the ingredients were in the slow cooker, I gave them a good stir and added 2 cups of the chicken broth I had saved. Once everything was combined well, I set the slow cooker on low and let it cook for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, the stew was ready to eat. However, I continued to let it cook on low for several more hours just to allow all the ingredients to blend together well. Besides, everyone knows the longer you cook Brunswick stew – the better it gets.
Thanks for stopping by today. Do you have a favorite Brunswick stew recipe or a traditional way of preparing it? If you give this a try, be sure to drop back by and let me know how it turns out or tag it with #thesurprisedgourmet. I’d love to know how it went.
With summer quickly drawing to an end and fall activities gearing up, it’s always good to have a couple of tasty side dishes you can prepare at a moments’ notice.
Today I want to share two dishes that are hits at our house. One is a longtime favorite and the other is one I came up with when I started out to make a salsa.
The longtime favorite is cole slaw and the new favorite is a delicious take on guacamole.
The guacamole dip came about this way. I had 2 avocados that weren’t as ripe as I had hoped, but I decided to use them anyway. I seeded, peeled, chopped and mashed them.
Next I added 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 3 teaspoons of lime juice, 1 teaspoon of Lawry’s Garlic salt, 1/4 cup of mayonnaise and 1/2 teaspoon cumin. These ingredient amounts came about a little at a time as I added, tasted and then added a little more.
Using a hand-held immersion blender I pureed all the ingredients together into a smooth and creamy mixture. This became perfect for a dip. In fact, the texture of the mixture is so creamy you could use it on sandwiches, hamburgers or hot dogs to replace mayonnaise or mustard if you wanted to.
This dip is great as a side dish or tasty as a snack
2 Large avocados
1 Teaspoon onion powder
3 Teaspoons lime juice
1 Teaspoon Lawry's Garlic Salt
¼ Cup mayonnaise
½ Teaspoon Cumin
Take 2 large avocados - seed, peel, chop and mash them.
Added 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 3 teaspoons of lime juice, 1 teaspoon of Lawry's Garlic salt, ¼ cup of mayonnaise and ½ teaspoon cumin.
Using a hand-held immersion blender, puree all the ingredients together into a smooth and creamy mixture. This becomes perfect for a dip. In fact, the texture of the mixture is so creamy you can use it on sandwiches, hamburgers or hot dogs to replace mayonnaise or mustard if you desire.
Homemade cole slaw is always good
Cole slaw is a great side dish that goes well with hamburgers and hot dogs. But is also makes a tasty side dish for full meals.
Taking a half of a medium head of cabbage, I chopped it up into pieces that would fit into the chute of my food processor. Next I peeled one large carrot. I put the cabbage and carrot through the shredding disc of the food processor creating a fine looking texture similar to angel hair cole slaw you would find in a grocery store.
Placing the cabbage and carrot mixture in a large bowl, I added 1 tablespoon of dried parsley and 2 teaspoons of celery seed.
Using a jar with a lid, I mixed 2 tablespoons of sugar, 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of mayonnaise shaking the jar until the ingredients were well blended. Then I poured the dressing mixture over the cabbage ingredients until I got the desired moisture consistency I wanted, stirring well as I added. By mixing the dressing separately, you can adjust it to make the cole slaw as moist or dry as you prefer. The cole slaw comes out with a creamy, tangy taste.
To make the dressing mixture I used a mayonnaise jar, but a mason jar with a lid will work too. The cole slaw (covered tightly) will keep well in the refrigerator for several days.
Do you have any favorite side dishes that you can prepare at a moment’s notice? Do you have a favorite guacamole dip recipes?
Homemade cole slaw goes great with hamburgers and hot dogs or a full meal.
Half a Medium Cabbage
1 Large Carrot
2 Teaspoons celery seed
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 Cup mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar
Take a half of a medium head of cabbage, chop it into pieces that will fit into a food processor chute. Next peel one large carrot. Run the cabbage and carrot through the shredding disc of the food processor for an angel hair-type texture.
Place the cabbage and carrot mixture in a large bowl, Add 1 tablespoon of dried parsley and 2 teaspoons of celery seed.
Using a jar with a lid, mix 2 tablespoons of sugar, 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of mayonnaise shaking the jar until the ingredients are well blended. Then pour the dressing mixture over the cabbage ingredients until you have the consistency you want, stirring as you go. Covered tightly the cole slaw keeps well in the refrigerator for a couple of days.