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Tag Archives: William James

Feast of Leftovers: Cabbage and Bean Soup

cabbage_bean

I wrote a few Feast of Leftovers posts in the past – and well I think I will keep adding to that theme! This isn’t really leftovers – but it is emptying my fridge of some extra items so here goes! I get most of my visits from people looking to make soup with search terms like : Prime Rib leftovers

There are of course many ways to makes cabbage soup, so I won’t claim this adds anything new to the soup pot! And I do tend to make things up as I go along. Still this one does stick a little more to the recipe as written – but then again don’t let that stop you from experimenting!

(I have a Sour Cream Biscuit recipe here if you want something to go with the soup. Easy to make while the soup is simmering!)

Starting: All about the base…

All soup depends on the base its starts from. In the case of cabbage soup I start with fried onions. Cabbage isn’t an exciting flavour so I like to add some flavours to wake up the taste-buds. Garlic, caraway seeds, bay leaves, hungarian paprika, fresh ground black pepper and spicy sausage! Of course if you are vegetarian you can delete the sausage and add some hot red pepper flakes or a dash of your favourite hot sauce.

Ingredients: Chop chop chop

Cabbage soup requires some chopping so lets begin
3 large carrots peeled and sliced into rounds
1 large parsnip peeled and sliced into rounds
3 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
1 large cooking onion (yellow onion) chopped
1/2 head of a large cabbage shredded (or 1 small cabbage) This is about 4-6 cups of shredded cabbage.
OPTIONAL CHOPPING
fresh parsley finely chopped (don’t over do it – so 1/4 cup at most)
2 stalks celery chopped into small pieces

Seasonings:
2 cloves garlic crushed and minced
2 teaspoons caraway seeds (slightly crushed with mortar and pestle if you have one – but crushing not required!)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika (sweet)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste

Stock:
6-8 cups chicken stock (low-sodium) (or vegetable stock for the vegetarian crowd!)
Hot water (fresh boiled)

Cans!
1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes
1 can of white beans rinsed (size of can up to you!)

Other:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 or 2 spicy sausages diced (I prefer Chorizo – a spicy Portuguese/Spanish sausage but any will work)
OR for vegetarian version some hot red pepper flakes to taste)

Part 3: Bringing it all together
In a large soup pot (minimum 6-quart/6-litres) heat the vegetable oil until hot (medium-high heat)
Add the onions and slowly saute the the onions for 10-15 minutes. You do not want the onions to brown! This is a slow frying of the onion to release the sweetness of the onion. Reduce the heat as required to keep from burning/browning.
Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the caraway and paprika and mix the spices into the oil (about 30-seconds)
Paprika burns easily so you don’t want a high heat – medium should be good.
If you are adding sausage add it now. If it is fresh sausage then cook until completely cooked. If you are using dried/smoked sausage the cook until heated through. If you are not adding sausage add a pinch of hot red-pepper flakes to the other spices.

Add the minced garlic and when the smell of garlic hits your nose then add all the hard vegetables (potato/carrot/parsnip and celery if you are adding some)
Saute the spice and vegetables for a couple of minutes. If the vegetables are sticking add 1/2 cup of hot water.

Once the vegetables are well coated with the oil and spice base (and the sausages for you meat lovers!) then add your chicken/vegetable stock to the pot. Add the bay leaves. Bring this to a boil. If you are using a salt-free stock you will want add some salt at this stage – no more than a teaspoon. Remember the sausages will be salty too!

Now add the cabbage to the pot. Don’t worry if it seems full and the stock doesn’t seem to be enough – as the cabbage cooks and softens it will release liquid into the soup.

Let this come to a boil again – and then turn down the heat to a simmer. Let cook for 45 minutes or until the vegetables are the desired softness. Taste the broth – remember you are adding the canned tomatoes which will add some hidden salt!

Now add the rinsed canned beans and the diced tomatoes. Add the minced parsley if desired. Bring back to boil and then set to a simmer. Stir in the ground pepper.

Remove from heat and let the flavours blend for 10-15 minutes before serving. Remove the bay leaves if you see them.

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Food : Prime Rib BBQ!

English: USCA Choice standing rib roast (2 bone).

Preparations

First you will need a Prime Rib roast. How big should it be? Depends on how many people and how much meat they like to eat! And how much you want to spend!

HOW BIG?
The rule of thumb is: 1 Rib feeds 2 People. So a 2 Rib roast would feed 4 People. For a backyard BBQ feast that has a lot of other food you can probably estimate 1 Rib for 2.5 People. This is assuming 1 Rib is equal to about 1 Kilogram or about 2.2 Pounds.
Adjust things accordingly for weight!

When you buy your Prime Rib roast look for one with good layer of fat. Fat is flavour. Fat keeps the meat moist while cooking. You can always cut off the fat when serving! You want at least a 1/4 inch (less than 1 cm) of fat on the side away from the bones.

Get a GOOD Meat Thermometer!
The most important item you need in cooking a Prime Rib roast is a good meat thermometer! Prime Rib should not be overcooked. Yes you can estimate times but really the best way to cook this premium cut of meat is with a good, reliable and accurate thermometer. I use a digital thermometer that stays in the roast throughout the cooking process. The one I use has a long lead from the meat probe to an exterior display that sits outside the oven. Very nice for monitoring the cooking progress without opening the door!

COOKING THE ROAST

1) Let the meat come to room temperature before roasting. This may take an hour. A cold Prime Rib will not cook properly, with the outer portion overcooking. Never try and cook a frozen Prime Rib roast!!! Use paper-towels to pat dry the surface of the meat.

2) DO NOT SALT. Salt pulls the moisture from the meat. Season with garlic, or some other rub if you desire. I just rub on some fresh ground pepper.

3) OPTIONAL: Garlic! grab a garlic clove or two and slice into small slivers. Now take a very sharp thin knife and slice small holes all around the roast, inserting a garlic sliver into each hole.

4) OPTIONAL: While the roast is sitting out (see step 1) you can do this! BBQ Rib is even better with a good roast rub. Here is a rub recipe (and you can make your own!).

1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake

Mix together the pepper, onion, garlic, parsley and pepper flakes.
Remove the butcher’s twine and lightly coat the roast and ribs with oil.
Season on all sides (including the space between the ribs and roast) with the dry rub. Re-tie the beef roast and ribs back together. Now let sit at room temperature for an hour.

5) Set up your BBQ (grill) for indirect heat and preheat to low (250-300°F).

6) Place the roast, bone-side down, on a roasting rack and pan combination. Add enough beef stock or water to fill the pan about 1 inch deep. Optional: Add some dried mushrooms to flavor the liquid base! If you are using a digital thermometer insert it into the roast!

7) Place the roast and pan on the grill on the indirect side where you don’t have any burners on. Close the grill lid and cook until the rib roast hits 10 °F less than your desired level of doneness.
NOTE: This should take about 3 hours for medium rare. It’s a good idea to turn the roast around every 45 minutes or so. (For rare – pull at internal temperature of 115°F. For medium rare – 125°F. For medium – 135°F).

8) Remove the roast and pan set up and let rest at room temperature until the internal temperature stops rising – about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, turn up the grill heat to high (you want it very hot – about 500 °F).

9) Taste the au jus (seasoned broth in the pan) and season to taste with salt and pepper to taste. Keep the au jus warm.

10) Now fully remove the rib bones. Then place the rib bones cut side down over the heat. Also sear the roast 2-3 minutes on the cut side and 1-2 minutes on the other sides.

11) Once the outside of each portion is nicely seared remove from the grill. You may let it rest for a few minutes but it isn’t needed – as it already settled during the previous rest.

12) Slice as desired. Top with some of the au jus and serve.

Sit back and enjoy summer!

Twelfth Day of Christmas: Twelve Drummers Drumming

drummers

On the twelfth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:
Twelve Drummer Drumming…

January 5th  is here and so this is the “Twelfth Day of Christmas.”  In the Christian calendar  this is listed as the traditional feast day for  St. Julian the Hospitaller. In the UK it is the feast day of St. Edward the Confessor (also known as King Edward the Confessor). A more modern Saint honoured on this day is St. John Neumann. That is a lot of saintliness for one day!

You can read the Wikipedia entries I have linked above so I won’t spend too much time on the details of their lives of these Saints. St. Julian the Hospitaller, the patron saint of travelers,  has an interesting myth associated with him where he is tricked into killing his parents. St. Edward, the patron saint of difficult marriages (yes before there was an App for there – that was a Saint for that…), was the only King of England to be canonized.

The modern saint of the day – St. John Neumann – was a Bishop of Philadelphia, living in a time when there was a rabid anti-catholic sentiment in the USA. Feelings were so strong that there were burnings of Catholic Churches, schools and seminaries.  It is a fascinating parallel to the strong feelings currently sweeping through the USA – especially related to “non-Christians”. Politically this lead to the Know Nothing movement and included the 1852 American Party which reads like an ancestor of the Tea Party movement. Its main platform was opposition to all foreigners (especially non-Protestants), and its motto was “Americans must rule America.” The more things change the more they stay the same!

Now that has very little to do with Christmas as a celebration  – but it sure is a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of US politics and world social movements.

In the secular traditions of Christmas this is Twelfth Day, and tonight then is Twelfth Night. Most of us know the the Twelfth Night as a play be Willaim Shakespeare. The title of Twelfth Night refers to the magic that flows into the world during Christmastide, as the old order of the world is over-turned by the coming of  Christ. The play itself reflects the Carnivalesque atmosphere of Yuletide – where things are reversed and confused and involves cross-dressing, switching of roles (master becomes servant – servant is master). Christmastide reflects the essential fact that Christianity has rather rebellious roots at its foundation.  A virgin has a child – and that child is the divine become human. The barrier between heaven and earth is breached and will never be the same.

Twelfth Night as the Eve of the Epiphany, and as a Christmas tradition, is a day of celebration and carousing. It is a festive occasion marked by merrymaking, feasting and drinking. The wassail punch of the song “Here We Come a Wassailing” is an important part of the English tradition for Twelfth Night. The carol itself has become associated with Christmas Eve, however more traditionally it was part of Twelfth Night celebrations.  This is a night for singing, dancing, drinking and celebrating.

The modern Twelfth Night is now the traditional time for Christmas decorations to be removed and put away. Any edible decorations are distributed and eaten. My parents would have colorfully wrapped marzipan on our Christmas tree – and any we hadn’t already consumed would be eaten that night. My mother always pretended surprise at the many wrappers stuffed with tissue – the delightful marzipan somehow transmuted into paper.

In the Christian context, Twelfth Night is celebrating the Eve of the Epiphany. The Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th is the day the three wise men arrive and the “manifestation” of god as human within the infant Jesus. This is part of the “upside-down” nature of Christmastide. On Christmas eve, the birth of Jesus is revealed to the animals in the stable, and then announced to the ordinary people first – “shepherds watching their flocks by night.” The elite of the world must wait until later for the revelation of the manifestation of god. With the appearance of the three wise-men and their gifts worthy of  a King bestowed the promise of Christmas is delivered into the world.

Since the actual day of the Epiphany is a joyous and solemn event  – Twelfth Night is then a chance to revel in the unfettered  merriment of Christmastide one last time. Perhaps having a hang-over makes for quiet worship the next day.

So on this Twelfth Night – eat, drink and be merry!

Eleventh Day of Christmas: Eleven Pipers Piping

On the eleventh day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:
Eleven Pipers Piping…

January 4th  is here and so this is the “Eleventh Day of Christmas.”  In the Christian Christmas tradition this is the octave day for the feast of the Holy Innocents. The saint venerated today is St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American saint.

In reading the Wikipedia entry on Elizabeth Ann Senton it seems she was a woman who encountered many difficulties and tragedies through her life, and through her faith she was able to overcome that adversity. She was born into a family of standing and so had access to an education, and to resources to assist her in her struggles. Still she could have simply withdrawn from the world and avoided the world – instead she used her standing, and resources to improve education. This is why she is considered the patron saint of Catholic Schools in the United States.

As the major feast is the last day of the octave for the Feast of Holy Innocents – it is strangely fitting that the Saint of the day be considered a guardian of schools. While much of the Christmas season is focused on joy and celebration, the secondary themes of tragedy and sorrow are also part of the Christmas tapestry. The Feast of the Holy Innocents is not a prominent part of our current cultural experience – yet with the horrible memory of the shooting at Sandy Hook and in Peshawar, Pakistan still fresh in our minds it now seems that this is part of the season we need to remember.

There is no standard music specific to this day, and the carols and hymns of the previous days are still part of the rituals of tradition. Since the Eleventh day of Christmas has Pipers Piping I think I will find a nice bit of pipe music.

According to the National Days listings for the US – today is National Spaghetti Day. A nice big bowl of pasta seems appropriate. I like mine with a meat sauce – and lots of fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Mmmm.

Happy New Year – and Merry Eleventh day of Christmas!

And now I think I need a drink – so here is a drink for the eleventh day of Christmas involving scotch (in honour of pipers of course!). It is more complicated than I would might make – usually I just skip straight to the scotch.

 

Tenth Day of Christmas: Ten Lords-a-Leaping

On the tenth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:
Ten lords-a-leaping…

January 3rd  is here and so this is the “Tenth Day of Christmas.” To tell the truth all this Christmas-ing and celebrating is making me  wee bit tenth myself! All these birds and people bouncing about would make for once hectic household.  In the tradition of the twelve days of Christmas this day – like yesterday – seems rather ambiguous. Perhaps a day for quiet reflection. In the official Christian feast days today is the Feast of St. Genevieve. Genevieve is the patron Saint and protector  of Paris.

Apparently St. Genevieve lived in Paris in the during the 400’s when there was much turmoil across Europe. Much like today where hordes of bankers and money-lenders pillage the land. Back then it was Attila the Hun, and other wandering barbarians like the Visigoths. Huh – now that I think about it not much has really changed.

St. Genevieve apparently acted as what we would call today a “human rights worker” by making sure that food and aid went to those in desperate need of help. The directly Saintly part comes later after her death when she is credited (through prayer) with helping avert a medical disaster that was sweeping through Paris.

In the USA today is National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day. I had no idea we actually celebrated such rare and treasured parts of our North American culture. So raise a chocolate covered cherry and enjoy. These are deadly little confections of delight – so I would suggest controlling your access to these treats.

Given how the days seem to trail off into ambiguity and mostly “meh” I can see why we rarely celebrate all twelve days any more. It does get better so please do bear with me as we get through the final days of Christmas!

Here is hoping you enjoy the Tenth day of Christmas – with a cherry on top!