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Cream of Cauliflower Soup & Buttermilk Biscuits

4 Aug
Guess what everyone! I finally figured out how to link the GoLoKitchen Facebook fan page to my site! I’m really not all that technically savvy. Can you tell? It is located right under my wonderful followers (thanks, guys! 🙂 ) Anyways, check it out and do me a favor: press that pretty little ‘like’ button. It would do my heart good. Thank you.
This soup is a classic recipe-one I remember my Mom making on cold rainy days. Growing up, I always walked to school, so when it was bad weather, I most likely braved the storm and froze all the way home. But, on those awful days, when I walked in the door, I always smelled onions and butter cooking or onions and olive oil cooking. It is one of those memories that I will always remember, one I automatically link to home. I love my Canadian home and all the people that live there. I also love it here too. So, either way I look at it, I can’t win. However, I can do what I can to get the best of both worlds. And if that means making a bunch of my Mom’s recipes, then so be it. 
To be quite honest with you, there is no recipe for this soup–at least one I’ve never seen. And to be frank, I don’t remember everything my Mom put into this. So, I was flying by the seat of my pants come dinner time. Lucky for me that’s when good things and good ideas pop into my head. Now, this didn’t quite taste like the original, but it was still delightful. The flavor was creamy and mild and didn’t really taste a whole lot like cauliflower. My daughter ate it up and so did my husband (a man who is very hesitant around cauliflower). So, for all you cauliflower haters out there, give this soup a chance. And, for you other folk, make this and be excited for October when I share my Grandma’s cauliflower recipe (it’s very simple and involved a lot of cheese). Seriously, you should be excited because cauliflower really can be that good. Just in time for the holidays, you lucky people!
Now, the biscuits were just something I whipped up to have on the side of the soup. Because it’s been a hot summer I hadn’t made biscuits in a very long time, (meaning I was too hot in my un-air-conditioned apartment to even think of turning on the oven) so when I sunk my teeth into a fresh one, it was almost like a reunion of sorts. “WowI have missed you old friend.” 
Note to self: make more biscuits. 

They are pretty little devils that are just delicious and full of carbs. My favorite. Add a little butter and I’m happy as a clam. 
Moral of the story: Soup = good. Biscuits = good. Soup + Biscuits = one happy full family! 
Enjoy!
Cream of Cauliflower Soup
yield: 4 entree portions
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1/4 cup all purpose flour
5 cups good quality chicken stock
1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 bay leaf
salt
pepper
1 cup cream or half & half
Directions:
In large pot, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat. Saute onions until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over onions and stir to create a paste. Cook 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in chicken stock and increase heat to high. Soup should thicken slightly. Stir in cauliflower, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Simmer lightly with lid cracked for 30 minutes or until cauliflower is soft. Reduce heat to low, remove bay leaf, stir in cream and adjust seasonings to your taste. Top with parsley if desired. Serve with biscuits.
Recipe TIPS
-I’ve told you this many times before, but once you add in your cream or half & half, be sure not to boil the soup! Bad things will happen.
-I had to add in quite a bit of salt to my pot of soup to make it taste great, so don’t be afraid to sprinkle in more!
Buttermilk Biscuits
yield: 12 biscuits
*this is my cinnamon buttermilk biscuit recipe minus the cinnamon
Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup cold buttermilk or 3/4 cup whole milk

Directions:
Mix all dry ingredients together in large bowl. Cut in cold butter until its the size of small peas. Stir in buttermilk until batter is all moist. Cut into 12 biscuits or drop onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

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Mom’s Potato Rolls

25 Jun
I love carbs. Especially warm out of the oven. If you’ve been following along with this blog, then you know that I am addicted to food, specifically any form of bread product. These rolls are no exception. I lovelovelovelove them. I like regular rolls fine, but there’s something about the potato addition to this recipe that makes me weak at the knees and immediately ravenously hungry. This last time I made these rolls was to have some extra bread lying around because the tortillas, 9-grain load and french baguette just weren’t enough. Also, these little rolls make the best snacking sandwiches! I love them. 
This recipe I have from my Mom is at least 25 years old and been made hundreds of times. I’ve made these more than enough times to switch a few things in the recipe around to makes them turn out the very best. Also, here are a few tips that are just as important, so read very closely! You’ll be glad you did.
1. Use glass baking dishes. You do not want hard dark brown bottoms like you would get with the non stick metal kind. And make sure you grease your glass bakeware with plenty of butter! It makes a small, yet noticeable difference.
2. When you think they’re done rising, wait another 30 minutes. If after an hour or so your rolls haven’t risen as much as you’d like, leave them alone until they have! Letting them sit and rise is another very important step to getting a soft, chewy and pillowy texture. The potato sometimes tends to weight the dough down, so give the rolls time. 
3. DO NOT over bake! This may take a little trial and error because everyone’s oven is different, but check them 5 minutes before you think you should. Better to be safe than sorry!
Another thing that I quickly wanted to mention too was that your leftover mashed potatoes can go right into this dough! I love using leftovers! Potatoes are inexpensive as is, but when you have some cold mashed potatoes that you don’t know what to do with and you’re sick of making hashbrowns, then these rolls turn into a wonderful alternative! Making your own bread is not only economical but also healthier for your family! In turn, it just takes a little extra time out of your day. In my opinion, these little bad boys worth it! So try them out and tell me what you think!
Mom’s Potato Rolls
yield: 24 rolls
Ingredients:
1/2 cup warm water
2-0.25 oz. packets quick rise yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
2/3 cup butter, melted (& cooled slightly)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed potatoes, warmed
2 eggs
4 1/2-5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Directions:
In large bowl, sprinkle yeast and sugar onto warm water. Let stand until yeast bubbles form, about 5 minutes. Stir in butter, sugar, warm milk and salt. Add in mashed potatoes, eggs and 3 cups flour. Stir until dough becomes thick and hard to mix. Knead dough adding in more flour as needed until dough is slightly sticky but won’t stick to your hands (for me, its between 4 1/2-5 cups). Grease large bowl with a little oil or melted butter, place dough into bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1-1 1/2 hours until doubled in size. Punch down dough and divide into 24 equal pieces. Roll into small balls and place into greased glass baking dishes. Cover rolls with plastic wrap and let rise another 1-1 1/2 hours until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake rolls 15 minutes (except, check them after 10!) Rolls are best served warm, but are still great at room temperature. Store in air tight containers.

My Favorite Shortbread

4 May

This recipe is an old family favorite. I remember making these for my elementary school teachers around Christmas time. There are 6 kids in my family and when we all were in school, my Mom would always opt for this shortbread or her microwave chocolate fudge to make. After I made this a few times, I then understood that she made this shortbread because its quick and easy, takes very few ingredients and looks fancy.
The thing about this shortbread is that you form the dough into long skinny logs, bake them and then fill them with melted chocolate or jam. Then you drizzle some icing over the top and voila! A fancy dessert! Usually we use strawberry or raspberry jam, but I didn’t have any, so I used apricot pineapple! Really, any flavor would work well. Let me know if you venture out and try something new!
Just as a side note, me and the little one are doing a walk through of the apartment we totally have fallen in love with. Gordon is still on his business trip, sadly. He’ll be home by the end of the week! Wahoo! Maybe I’ll make more shortbread to celebrate….
Shortbread Logs
yield: 16-24
Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened (DO NOT use margarine)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
melted chocolate, jam, anything you want to fill the shortbread with
1/2 cup powdered sugar
a few splashes milk
Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In large bowl, mix butter, sugar, vanilla and flour until combined-it will be crumbly but will stay together when formed into shapes. Divide dough into 4 equal balls. Form each ball into a log the length of the cookie sheet with a depression in the centre. They will be long and skinny, about 1 inch wide. Bake 12-15 minutes. When warm, fill with desired fillings. Mix powdered sugar and milk together to create a runny icing. Using a spoon, drizzle icing over filled shortbread logs. Cut on the diagonal into pieces once cooled.

Garlic and Herb Encrusted Pork Roast with Pregravied Potatoes

29 Apr

Ok, friends! Here’s a wonderful and easy meal to whip up when you have a little time on your hands. It falls more under the Sunday night dinner category, however, I made this mid week and it was great! This pork roast dish is very similar to the one I grew up eating with a few tweaks. I actually was forced to tweak it because my recipe box is in a storage unit 15 minutes away and my Mom wasn’t picking up her phone. I’m glad I didn’t have access to it all because it made me make a new version which was equally as delicious.

This roast isn’t just a plain jane roast. No, sir! You first cut thin slits in the meat and poke little julienned pieces of garlic into it and then rub it down with oil, salt, pepper and thyme (and/or rosemary if you’re feeling dangerous.) You cook it about an hour and then add some potatoes to the roasting pan so ……are you ready for this……they cook in the liquid and become smothered in the gravy! Its so ridiculously good. Of course there are a few more ingredients than just that, but thats basically the blue print of this meal. It takes around 2 hours to cook (give or take half an hour depending how big your roast is) start to finish. After you have the meat in the oven its just a matter of cutting potatoes and waiting on the roast. Really simple!
Now, before you get cooking, let me give a few pointers about the pork you’re going to want to buy. Your roast should be:
(a) boneless
(b) 2-4 pounds (the bigger it is, the longer you need to cook it)
(c) whole pork tenderloin OR pork loin top roast (this one is tied together with string and its the one I used)
Garlic & Herb Encrusted Pork Roast with Pre-gravied Potatoes
yield:4-6
Ingredients:
1 3-lb. pork roast (see guidelines above)
1 glove garlic, thinly julienned
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/4 teaspoon rosemary (optional)
6 large starchy potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1/2 yellow onion, diced small
1 1/4 cups chicken stock (or water and chicken bouillon cubes)
1/4 cup butter, melted
salt
pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare roast by cutting small 1 inch deep slits into meat. Fill slits with julienned garlic pieces. Rub entire roast with olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary (if applicable). Place into roasting pan (or large baking dish) and bake 1 hour.
While roast is baking, melt butter and chicken stock together and finish preparing potatoes if you have not yet done so. After an hour of baking, remove roast. Pour about 1/4 cup of warm butter liquid onto roast and around the pan. Shingle potatoes around roast to create two layers of potatoes. Sprinkle on a few diced onions and pour on more butter liquid. Repeat this process until all ingredients are layered around pork roast. Sprinkle paprika and parsley over the whole thing. Return to oven and bake 45 minutes to an hour more. The dish is done once the potatoes are soft and the roast is cooked. Remove from oven and place roast onto a separate place to rest. Cover with foil and set aside. Keeping the potatoes in the roasting pan, stir to coat potatoes in the gravy. If it seems too runny, keep stirring. The starch from the potatoes will thicken the sauce. Taste potatoes and adjust seasonings accordingly. After 10 minutes, slice the pork roast thinly and serve with potatoes.
Recipe TIPS:
– The longer the potatoes cook, the better they become! Also, using a good quality chicken stock will make a HUGE difference in the taste.
-If your gravy for your potatoes is still too runny for your liking, mash a few pieces of the potatoes and stir. That should help thicken it up.
-Applesauce is good with pork, so give that a whirl.
-Use a meat thermometer for best results! You can always remove the meat if its cooked and keep the potatoes cooking! Dry meat is not bueno.
-If you are using a loin top roast with the string around it, DO NOT remove the string until after the meat has finished cooking!

Creamed Tomato Bisque

8 Apr

Ok, friends…..I don’t have a lot of time, but I needed to share with you a great recipe that I stole/borrowed from my Mom’s recipe box a few years back. I have no idea where she got it….all I know is that it is easy and GOO-OOD. So, if you are reading my humble blog and you realize that this is in fact your recipe, let me know and I will give you all the credit!

Anyways, I promise you will like this creamy dreamy tomato soup. Typically I don’t like tomato soup because its plain and boring. But THIS stuff……..oh my goodness gracious……this is anything but plain and boring. Its fabulous. I want to bathe in it thats how good it is. Seriously delicious. I’ve made this only a few times because it is pretty sinful and doesn’t get along too well with my online calorie counter, but its well worth it. Eat this with a little grilled cheese sandwich and you’re in heaven. You’re welcome in advance!
Creamed Tomato Bisque
yield: 4 big servings
Ingredients:
1/4 lb. butter
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/3 cup flour
1-28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
4 cups chicken broth
Directions:
In large pot, melt butter over medium low heat. Stir in celery, onion and carrot and sauté until veggies are soft, 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and stir until well incorporated. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and cover and simmer 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Puree soup with an immersion blender or a regular blender (but be really careful! Its HOT STUFF!) until smooth. Pour blended soup back into soup pot.
LAST STEP!!–Stir in 2 cups half & half with 1/2 teaspoon curry powder. DO NOT boil once this has been added! Serve hot!
Recipe TIPS:
You could use whole milk, but after the 1/4 lb. of butter, why would you choose the ‘lighter’ option?!

Letcho

20 Mar
So, I’m writing this post en route to Boise! How cool is that? Technology is awesome. Where would we be without laptops, cell phones and internet? I don’t want to think about it……..Anyways……….



This dinner probably doesn’t look like much, but when my Mom told us we were having Letcho for dinner, we went crazy for it. For me to say that my siblings and I LOVE this stuff would be an understatement. It brings us back to being kids and trading our vegetables at the dinner table.


“I’ll trade my mushrooms for your green peppers”

OR

“I’ll trade your 2 pieces of meat for the rest of my rice”


etc. etc.


Surprisingly, my parents didn’t care too much that we did this. In retrospect, I guess it’s not that big of a deal. Speaking of my parents, this meal has a lot of significance for them. Maybe not a whole lot of significance, but significance none the less. This is the meal that my Opa (thats Grandpa in german) made for my Dad the first time my Mom brought him home to meet the parents back in the day when they were dating! Funny part of this story is that my Opa purposely used the spiciest sausage he could find to ‘see how much of a man’ my Dad was. It apparently didn’t scare him off because soon after they were engaged! 30+ years and 6 kids later, we all still eat and crave letcho. Its just plain ol’ good, simple Hungarian food.


This whole meal doesn’t take a lot of prep work, just some chopping of the vegetables and meat. Then after that, you sauté it all, add the rice and cook it in tomato or vegetable juice. *Side note: My Mom always made this with tomato juice, but I have found that if you make it with some vegetable juice (like V8) it adds more nutrition and tastes exactly the same. So really, its up to you. Also, if you wanted to try brown rice, go for it! I’ve never tried making this with brown rice, but it should work just fine–it just might take a little longer to cook. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post for the recipe tips! They will help you not burn your food or have to scrub your pot! Enjoy and you’re welcome.




Letcho

yield: 6 servings


Ingredients:


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 cup mushrooms, washed and sliced

2 pre cooked sausages, slices (I used pepperoni, but you can use your favorite kind of sausage)

2 cups long grain rice

4 1/2 cups vegetable juice or tomato juice

salt

pepper



Directions:

1. Preheat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Pretend there’s a photo of that here.


2. Take your chopped onions and peppers and throw them into the pot. Saute 5-ish minutes.


3. Cut your mushrooms and sausage up and throw those into the pot too.


It’ll look something like this.


4. Add in the rice and stir it around until its moist.


5. Add in the vegetable juice, salt and pepper and stir.


Make sure you cover it up! This is the brand of pots and pans I have and I love love love them. Look here and here for these pots and pans! Reduce heat to medium and lightly simmer for 30-45 minutes until the juice has been absorbed and the rice is soft. Look below for a great tip!

This is what it should look like once its all done!



Recipe TIPS:

-You should stir the rice every 5-10 minutes to prevent sticking and burning! It also helps things cook evenly.

-Also, in the last 10 minutes of cooking, stir the pot and turn the burner off leaving the lid on. This will loosen up any stuck rice on the bottom of the pot as well as finish cooking the rice completely.

St. Patrick’s Day Recipe: Minty Squares!! YUM!

18 Mar

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m certainly not Irish, but my husband is! (By the way, I did kiss him today because he was Irish…..no need to wear the t-shirt!) We don’t really celebrate this ‘holiday’ with the typical corned beef and cabbage, but I knew lots of you out there would be, so I just HAD to make something green, even if it this recipe is getting to you a little late!
[Speaking of recipes…… back in my single days, I had this wonderful friend and roommate who made these utterly delicious Irish soda bread biscuits that were seriously to die for. I was going to share that recipe with you today, EXCEPT……my friend LOST(!!!gasp!!!) the recipe! I couldn’t believe it. On her behalf, I’m sorry. Maybe next year when she finds it again……tear.]

Ok, so I know these aren’t squares but they really are supposed to be! Here’s the deal: I have lost my beautiful 8×8 pyrex glass pan which I love dearly. I’m not sure if I brought someone food in it or if it got lost between one of the four (thats right 4!) moves. ANYWAYS, for this recipe, you’re really supposed to use a 8×8 dish and cut out little squares….not take up your whole afternoon making teeny tiny bite-sized minis (although they are pretty darn cute if I do say so myself.)

This recipe is a family favorite and is so simple to do! I grew up making and eating these. Don’t know where this recipe originated, but I copied it (TWICE) directly out of my mom’s recipe box before I moved away to college. Its like a nanaimo bar, except minty (and if you don’t know what a nanaimo bar is, go find yourself a canadian to explain it to you.) I love mint and chocolate together! Who am I kidding–I love anything and chocolate together. I am addicted to food after all. Anyways, these dessert bars are made up of three layers: a chocolaty cookie graham cracker type later, a minty creamy GREEN layer, and a chocolate layer. You just mix 1 layer up at a time letting it chill in the fridge in between. So simple and so good! Try them out for a belated St. Patrick’s Day treat!
PS–I haven’t met anyone who DIDN’T like these.
Minty Squares
Yield: at least 16 servings
for the 1st layer
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg, beaten
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Generously grease 8×8 square baking dish (like my beloved pyrex……rest in peace where ever you are little buddy). You could also line the dish with waxed paper. In large bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, coconut and nuts. Set aside. In small pot, boil butter, sugar and cocoa for 30 seconds while stirring. Temper egg into cocoa mixture by first pouring some of the hot mixture into the egg while stirring and then pouring that mixture into the rest of the pot while stirring. Once egg is tempered, pour entire contents of pot into dry ingredients. Stir until everything is combined and moist. Press firmly into prepared dish set in fridge and make 2nd layer.
for the 2nd layer:
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 cups powdered sugar
green food coloring
Whip all ingredients together until smooth. Pour onto first layer and smooth evenly. Refrigerate. Make 3rd layer.
for 3rd layer:
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
Microwave chocolate with butter until completely melted and smooth. Spread over second layer evenly. Refrigerate until completely set. Cut into squares.
Recipe TIPS:
-I have found that it is best to wait at least 30 minutes in between making the 2nd and 3rd layer because it is very difficult to spread thick melted chocolate onto the minty cream layer when it hasn’t firmed up enough. The two layers seem to mix together instead of being two distinct layers.
-If you want things to go quickly, put your pan into the freezer in between layers so it hardens faster, although beware! The chocolate layer won’t cut too easily/prettily. If you’re going for looks, use a sharp knife and store in the fridge/on the counter until the chocolate has set.