Our hostess, Robyn, attended a Welcome Wagon luncheon at the prestigious Jefferson Club in Louisville and the talk was all about how stunning she was in a tailored black suit that made all her gourmet luncheon gal pals happy for her and pea green with envy. Her red hair was coiffed in a new short curly style and she was all smiles, showing off that new svelte figure. When asked what made her decide to shed some pounds, her answer is still unforgettable. “With all that is happening around me that I can not control, this is the one thing I can, so I did.” A fierce woman who makes her mind up about something is awesome.
Her watching her weight did not affect the delicious meal we would have today. She is one of the best cooks we have in the group and portion control seemed her way to success in the recent weight loss and maintaining it. The two soups and cheese bread were perfect for this late fall lunch and dessert had that good old down home taste, but with a patriotic flare. We all said when we received the recipes next month we would write “Yummy” on everything and try to reproduce it just as she had, perfectly.
Robyn later told us she took the leftover sausage soup to a Corn Island Storytelling event in town and it was so hot she could barely eat it. So, if you make the dish remember this note, it gets hotter with time. As for her, she has too…new figure, new hair, new outlook and a great cook to boot…she’s a catch for sure we told her.
True friends support each other when things are bad and even more when they are good.
Girl Power is the best!
Unique note: One of the earliest uses of the phrase “Girl Power” was in 1987 by a London-based ‘capella’ all-girl group called ‘Mint Juleps’ in a song entitled ‘Girl to the Power of 6’.
Funny their group was called “Mint Juleps” being that this group of ladies that lunch was based in Louisville, Kentucky – the home of the Mint Julep and the Derby!
Spanish Sausage and Lentil Soup
2 Tbsp olive oil 1 bay leaf
1 lb. chorizo sausage (our hostess used Tasso..a little hotter) ¾ tsp thyme crumbled
7 ounces smoked ham, finely chopped 12 large spinach leaves trimmed and shredded
2 large onions, finely chopped 1 large green pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic minced
¼ tsp ground cumin 8-9 cups rich chicken stock
(1) 1 lb. can tomatoes ½ lb. dried lentils (1 ¼ cups)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in heavy 6-8 qt saucepan over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until fat is rendered then transfer sausage to platter. Drain off all but 2 Tbsp of grease and add ham, onion, green pepper, carrot, and cover and cook 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, thyme and cumin and cook an additional 5 minutes covered.
Meanwhile, thinly slice sausage and add to saucepan along with stock, tomatoes and lentils. Reduce the heat and partially cover and cook on simmer for about 2 hours or until the lentils dissolve.
Discard any fat from surface and add salt & pepper to taste. Serve warm with shredded spinach on top for garnish.
Can be prepared up to 3 days earlier if refrigerated and if frozen will stay up to 3 months.
Yield is 8-10 servings.
Red Pepper Soup
Saute’ in butter – 1 large onion, chopped
5 red sweet peppers, chopped
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
Make a white sauce – ¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
Add 2 cups beef broth to sautéed veggies and white sauce, salt & pepper & Tobasco to taste or use Creole seasoning instead.
Cheese Pepper Bread
1 pkg active yeast 1 cup sour cream
¼ cup HOT tap water 1 egg
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp sugar ½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp baking soda pinch of salt
Grease two 1 lb. coffee cans. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast into hot water then add 1 1/3 cups of the flour, add the sugar, salt, soda, sour cream and egg and blend on low speed, scraping the bowl constantly. Beat for 2 minutes at high speed all the while scarping the bowl, then stir in remaining flour, the cheese and the pepper. Blend thoroughly.
Divide the batter into the two cans and let rise in a warm place for 50 minutes. Heat oven to 350 and bake 40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove immediately from cans and slice after it has cooled.
(if you use self rising flour do not use soda or salt in the recipe)
Peach Cobbler Yankee Doodle Style
Yield 8 servings
For Fruit Filling –
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
5 pounds peaches, halved, pitted and wedged
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup instant tapioca
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon peel
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
For Biscuits –
2 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
¼ cup CHILLED unsalted butter cut into pieces
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
Vanilla Ice Cream
For Fruit: Position rack in lower third of oven and pre-heat to 425. Grease a 10x14x2 baking dish. Place peaches in large bowl with sugar, tapioca, lemon juice. Lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and toss gently. Let stand 10 minutes.
For Biscuits: Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt in processor. Add butter and cut using pulse method until mixture looks like crumbles. Add sour cream and blend just until soft dough forms. Turn out dough on marble slab that is lightly floured and need until no longer sticky (about 30 turns) Roll dough out to ½ inch thick and cut out stars with a cookie cutter. Continue to gather dough and cut more stars.
Transfer fruit into prepared dish and top with stars. Bake until juices bubble and thicken and biscuits are golden in color (about 50 minutes). Let cobbler cool a little then serve with the ice cream and sprinkle the powdered sugar on the star biscuit.