Friday, August 22, 2008

Soup's On!

    Brrr! I figured dinner tonight would have to be soup, seeing that for most of the day it only got up to 57 degrees! As the day went on, it 'warmed up' to 68 degrees and was breezy and beautiful. Still, with doors open to catch the breeze, I made this soup and we enjoyed it with focaccia bread. Yummy!

    You’ve been to Olive Garden, no? Had their Zuppa Toscana? Yum, eh? The closest Olive Garden here is two hours away. Guess I'll have to make my own! Here's the recipe and it's enough for four people:

    1# Italian Sausage
    2 large russet potatoes, sliced in half, then in ¼” slices
    1 large onion, chopped
    3 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 cups kale or swiss chard, chopped
    2 cans chicken broth
    1 quart water
    1 cup heavy whipping cream

    Cook sausage in frying pan, drain and cut into slices. Place onions, potatoes, chicken broth, water, and garlic in a pot and cook on medium heat until potatoes are done. Add sausage and bacon. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes then turn to low heat. Add kale and cream; heat through and serve.

    My dear daughter gave me these soup bowls... aren't they so cute?!

    The focaccia bread recipe is enough for 8-10 generous servings:


    9 Tbsp. Olive oil (divided use)

    3-3/4 c unsifted all-purpose flour

    1/2 tsp. salt (divided use)

    1 1/2 T quick-rising dry yeast

    1 1/2 c hot (between 120 and 130 degrees) milk

    1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves

    Pour 3 T olive oil onto a rimmed cookie sheet; spread evenly to cover bottom and sides.

    Place flour and 2 T olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and all of the yeast in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook.

    Blend ingredients on medium speed. Reduce speed to low and slowly add hot milk. Raise the speed to medium and continue mixing for 5 minutes.
    Remove dough from bowl and spread out evenly in pan. Cover with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove towel. Brush dough with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle top with additional salt and rosemary. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with remaining oil.

    Here's what it looks like after 30 minutes of resting and rising...

    And here's what it looks like after 20 minutes in the oven... ohhh, the absolutely wonderful smell of baking bread...

    A lot of people are afraid to make bread. Don't be! It's the easiest thing to do and makes such a difference in your menu! I always stick a thermometer in my liquid to make sure it doesn't get so hot that it kills the yeast, but other than that, it's a snap!

    As Winter descends on Montana, I'm sure I'll be making more bread and soup, so stay tuned... and in the meantime... try the recipes!

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Soup's On!

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