Rosemary Corn Cakes

001These corn cakes are delicious with last week’s posted recipe for Cheese Broccoli Soup!  My sister sent me the recipe, originally found on Rachel Ray’s cooking show.  I made a few small changes and will certainly make these again soon. I cooked mine in my old iron skillet friend and they reminded me of the corn bread cakes my mother used to cook this way.  She never used fresh herbs and although bacon was a staple at our house, she never used Pancetta, but I think she would love these, and probably crumble them into a glass of buttermilk!

Rosemary Corn Cakes

1 box (8 1/2 ounces) corn muffin mix (recommended: Jiffy)
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/3 cup chopped prosciutto (substitute crumbled crisp bacon or ham if you like)

Tabasco sauce (optional)

Put muffin mix, egg, and  butter in mixing bowl ,add milk, rosemary, chopped prosciutto and a few dashes of Tabasco.  Heat iron skillet and coat lightly with butter.  Form small cakes, 2 to 3 inch circles and cook cakes until golden on each side, then repeat with remaining mixture. Don’t crowd the skillet, the batter expands as the cakes brown.

Delicious as is, or drizzled with maple syrup or honey.
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/sweet-savory-menu-rosemary-corn-cakes-prosciutto-chicken-sausages-hot-and-sweet-peppers-recipe.print.html?oc=linkback

Cheese Broccoli Soup

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Cheese Broccoli Soup

2/3 cup finely chopped onion

2/3 cup thinly sliced carrot

2/3 cup thinly sliced celery

2/3 cup chopped fresh broccoli

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 quart chicken broth

1 quart milk

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preparation
Sauté onion, carrot, broccoli and celery in butter in a large Dutch oven over low heat 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Combine flour and cornstarch. Add to vegetables; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until bubbly. Combine broth and milk; gradually add to vegetable mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Add cheese, soda, salt, and pepper, stirring until cheese melts. Ladle soup into individual bowls, and serve immediately.

Sauteed Kale and Apples

009Kale is touted as a superfood and is featured in so many good recipes that it is hard to pick what I want try next. That is probably the reason I skipped the recipes, pulled out my faithful iron skillet, and made this simple, delicious, and very nutritious dish.  It can be used as a side for any grilled, baked, or roasted meat,  is good with a rotisserie chicken for a quick supper, and looks wonderful on the plate with baked fish.

Sauteed Kale and Apples

Kale, gathered from the garden or 1 bunch purchased

1 large apple (my favorite variety is Pink Lady)

a swirl of olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Balsamic vinegar

.Wash and slice apple.  I leave the peeling on. Wash the kale, pat it dry, and strip stems.  Lay the leaves down, stacking several to shred or julienne.  Heat a generous swirl of olive oil in an iron skillet, add the kale and sautee just until wilted.  Toss in apple slices and heat briefly.  Season with salt and pepper.

Wash and slice apple.  I leave the peeling on. Wash the kale, pat it dry, and strip stems.  Lay the leaves down, stacking several to shred or julienne.  Heat a generous swirl of olive oil in an iron skillet, add the kale and sautee just until wilted.  Toss in apple slices and heat briefly.  Season with salt and pepper and add a splash of balsamic vinegar.  For a variation of flavor, substitute balsamic vinegar with a Tablespoon of maple syrup.  Serve immediately.

Basic Broccoli

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I learned a few years ago that broccoli is one of the winter garden vegetables that does not mind cold temperatures, snow, or ice in our area of South Texas.  When everything in the garden seems to be brown, gray, and soggy, it is fun to go out and cut as much as we need for a side dish or stir fry.  And the taste is so bright and fresh that only a sprinkle of salt and squeeze of fresh lemon is enough.  But there are so many ways to use broccoli and many ways to season or top it, that it really can be a go to choice to make a meal special.

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The biggest thing to remember is to never overcook broccoli. It is very tasty raw, added to green salad, mixed with cauliflower and dressed with lemon vinaigrette, or served with other crunchy veggies along with hummus or dip. When you do cook it, it can be roasted, steamed, grilled, or sauteed – just aim at undercooking!

My favorite way to cook broccoli on the stove top is to add 1/2 to 1 inch of water to a skillet, sprinkle with salt and lay the broccoli stalks flat in the skillet.  Bring water to a boil and let simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, then cover and steam to desired tenderness. This lets the broccoli turn bright green before steaming, and it will keep its color.

You can also steam broccoli by filling a pot with a few inches of water and inserting a steamer basket . Be sure the water does not touch the bottom of the steamer basket. Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli florets and stems and cover. Steam for 4-5 minutes, until tender.

Broccoli can also be sautéed. Make sure the broccoli is as dry as possible. Add only enough oil to coat a skillet, and set over medium-high heat. Add broccoli florets and a pinch of salt. Toss to coat with oil. Add the sliced stems 1 minute later. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is bright green and tender.

Roasting broccoli is another great way to use the vegetable, and is very easy.  Heat the oven to 425°F. Toss broccoli florets and stems with a few teaspoons of oil and a half teaspoon of salt. Spread the broccoli on a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until the broccoli is crunchy with caramelized brown spots. Serve immediately.

Any of these methods of preparing broccoli can be used to make a side dish, cold or warm salads,add to a frittata, Quiche, or pizza. And as if that weren’t enough options, you can always dress things up a little by adding cheese or cream sauces.