Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Merlin Menu Top 10 Recipes for Year 2010

I know, it's February, not January. This is the kind of post that, were I up on things, would have been posted right around the New Year. But, I've been a bit distracted trying to find a new position at my company. That's my excuse, anyway.

But here's the deal. As I looked through my newsreader in 2011, I noticed a number of blogs posted their top recipes from the previous year. And I found, that I liked being able to just click on whatever recipe I wanted to without having to scroll through page after page of blog. I figured therefore, that other people probably like this convenience also, so I decided to do one for my blog. And here it is. Hope you find at least one or two things you'd like to try, and maybe catch up on a recipe or two you might have missed over the last year.

Salted Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars Decadent and delicious.

Dutch Oven Bread A little baking magic from a Dutch Oven

Cinnamon Currant Bread Another Dutch Oven Bread

Eggs Benedict Who doesn't love Eggs Benedict. Make them at home for 1/10th the price.

Homemade Potato Chips Delicious and easy and fun to make.

Irish Brown Bread Authentic and delicious.

 Lime Cake with Strawberry Compote Light, refreshing, and a great flavor combination.

Salted Caramel Butter Bars Decadent and delicious.

Three Ingredient Tomato Sauce 3 Ingredients and knock your socks off good.

My personal Top Ten from my Blog for 2010.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cheddar Beer Soup with Truffle Oil

I know, the photo doesn't look like much. But this soup EXPLODES in your mouth with flavor.

So here's the deal. I went to Portland to have dinner with my daughter and her fiance for Thanksgiving  in their new home. (My first visit).

I was enlisted to make the Turkey, Dressing, and a casserole, and I threw in a pie just for good measure. (Photo link here: Just Click.)

Wonderful weekend. Met some of the future in-law family and we had a great time.

Next day, during the Alabama Auburn game we went and had a beer at a Brewpub in downtown Portland.

And I saw, Beer Cheese Soup.....  I love Beer Cheese Soup..... and it occurred to me I've never blogged it....and haven't even made it in years.....  What have I been thinking?   So I ordered a bowl, it was exquisitely good.....  and planned an update and counter attack.

And guess what happened?  Yup, I nailed it.  Believe me, there are many times I fail, I just don't post them. But this time, I got it right. You have got to try it. And, it's got a "secret ingredient" that truly put it over the top. Read on....

Ingredients and Method:
1/2 stick butter
2 ribs celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 leeks (pale green and white parts only) sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
1 12 oz. bottle Bass Ale
1 teaspoon dry mustard
pinch of cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 8 oz packages shredded Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese
White Truffle oil
Smoked Paprika for garnish

Add butter to pressure cooker (or large saucepan) over medium-low heat. When melted and foamy, saute celery, leeks, and garlic for five minutes, until leeks are limp. Sprinkle flour over vegetables, stir and cook for two minutes more. Add bay leaf, milk, chicken broth, ale,  dry mustard, and cayenne. If using pressure cooker (as I did) cover, bring to pressure, and cook for 10 minutes. If cooking stovetop, cook over medium heat, stirring  occasionally, for 40 minutes until all vegetables are tender. Cool pressure cooker, release, and salt and pepper to taste. (same for saucepan)

Using a hand blender, or a food processor, puree soup until fairly well blended. (I tend to leave a bit unblended so it has some "texture")

Return to low heat, and add cheese, (reserve some for garnish) and stir constantly until well blended.

Pour into bowls.

Now the magic!

 Pour 6 -8 drops of white truffle oil into each bowl. No more, as this stuff is potent. Garnish with cheddar cheese and smoked paprika (if you have it, if not omit). Or, crumbled bacon, green onions, etc. whatever you like in your cheese soup.

Enjoy some of the best Beer Cheddar Soup I've ever had!