Monday, May 10, 2010

Kielbasa Soup with White Rice and Peasant Bread

Keilbasa Soup

Cinnamon Peasant Bread

Basic Peasant Bread

I have been wanting to try my hand at baking bread for a very long while now. One of my dreams is to have my very own coffee shop/cafe/bakery, but ya cant have a bakery if ya can't bake bread. This unusually chilly Sunday made a perfect day for baking bread with the addition of a hearty pot of kielbasa stew with white rice. Now I know I say this everytime, but these are MUST recipes. I would not lie to you. You MUST try them both! Ok, so lets first talk about this soup. So delicious, yet so simple. This is a favorite recipe of my mother and is now a very favorite recipe of mine (and Joe). I am going to share the recipe below (comment me if you would like the bread recipe), but I would like to make a note of the white rice I used. It is "Success" brand rice and lets just say it was a success!! I don't think I will ever go back to the other. You simply place the bag of rice in a pot with a quart of water, bring to a boil, and cook for 8-10 minutes and the result is perfect not gummy, not overcooked, and not undercooked rice! My life just got a tad bit easier! Now moving on the the bread. Not only was this delicious, but seriously easy as well! Who knew bread was so easy to make? I am once again going to thank my all time favorite, Hay Day Country Market Cookbook, for sharing such a lovely recipe with the world. Anyway...the bread was so good. I was a little nervous about the yeast, and threw out the first batch, but made two more batches in hopes that at least one would develop or bloom I should say. Well, they both bloomed so it looked like I was making an extra batch of bread. All of the breads in the photos are peasant bread, but one has extra sugar and some cinnamon. The cinnamon bread was baked in a glass pyrex bowl because I only own two bread pans. But I think it actually work better. I love that it looks like true bakery bread. The other loaves look like they need a little work, but they tasted just as good. 

Keilbasa Soup w/ White Rice

1 Keilbasa or Smoked Turkey Sausage-sliced into rounds
1 small to medium yellow onion chopped
1 small red pepper chopped
1 small green pepper chopped
3 large carrots peeled and diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
granulated garlic
red pepper flake
2 bay leaves
1/3- 1/2 Cup KC Masterpiece original BBQ sauce
1 can beef broth
1 quart tomatoes with juices (You can use store bought canned tomatoes but I have become partial to my own canned tomatoes)
1 or 2 cans of any white bean you prefer ( I only use one can, but use more if you wish)
Cooked white rice (you can add cooked rice right into the stew or put a dollop on top of the bowl just before serving)

Heat oil over medium high heat. Add veggies and spices (amount of spices depend on your preference) cook until almost cooked through. Reduce heat to medium to prevent scorching.  Add Kielbasa and cook for a few minutes more. Add BBQ sauce and stir to coat all ingredients. Add beef broth, tomatoes, and beans and continue to simmer until veggies are tender, kielbasa has become a little smaller (which means flavor and juices have come out and have married with the broth) and broth is rich and flavorful. If too much water has cooked out you can add more. You really cant go wrong on this recipe. Also feel free to add anything else, such as corn, potatoes, other bean variety's, etc.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Yummy Asian Salmon Salad with Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes

This past Sunday, feeling very healthy, I decided to make a salmon salad and roasted sweet potatoes. Really, the only way to eat sweet potatoes, or well the most tasty way I should say, is to roast them. Roasting is truly the best way in my opinion to cook any vegetable, as it brings out the natural sweetness. In addition to the natural sweetness, the recipe calls for maple syrup (not necessary, but just makes then extra special)! I did feel especially healthy after this meal and can I say appealing to the eyes? Look at those colors! Just makes me even more excited for the upcoming farmers market. I love to cook with the freshest ingredients and it doesnt get much fresher than your local farmers market. If you would like to find your local farmers market, not only to find the best ingredients, but also the best prices and to support your farmers, go to this web site.

Asian Salmon Salad

6 oz. Salmon for each person
Mixed spring greens
mandarin orange segments
diced tomatoes 
radishes slivered
thinly sliced carrot

(And really any other ingredients you think would go well. This is just what I had on hand. Other suggestions would be, almonds, snow peas, sesame seeds, etc.)

Sesame-ginger Vinaigrette
Hay Day Country Market

3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 Cup rice vinager
1 Tablespoon finely minced ginger
finely grated zest of one orange
1/4 Cup orange juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together except for salt and pepper. Next add salt and pepper. 
Use half of the vinaigrette to marinate the salmon for at least an hour. Use the rest to dress the salad.

Cook salmon at 400 for about 15 minutes. I tend to cook mine to well done. Cook for less time if you like your more rare. Let rest for about 5 mins after cooking and serve warm over the greens and veggies. Dress with sesame-ginger vinaigrette.

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Hay Day Country Market

The recipe says to cut the potatoes into spears, but I wanted mine to cook fast so I sliced them in thin rounds. I think I prefer them this way anyway. 

3 Large sweet potatoes or Yams
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup Pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (I didn't have this on hand)

Preheat oven to 425. Peel and thinly slice sweet potatoes into rounds. Line baking pan with parchment or lightly oil. Toss the potatoes with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and salt. Scatter the potatoes on pan in a single layer. Roast, turning once until fork tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk maple syrup, vinegar, and remaining olive oil. Toss the potatoes with the glaze and return to the oven for about 5 minutes. If you use thyme sprinkle on the potatoes when they come out of the oven.