Monday, December 18, 2006

Cool salad with a warm soup...

In between baking cookies and cutting up fudge today, we have gotten most of the food gifts wrapped up and ready to be put in the boxes. The plan is to drop them off at the post office tomorrow and then we have a few more things to bake for the neighbors - then I get a break! I hope anyway... we have a bunch of photos to post in tomorrow's update with everything we have made so far!

Since tonight's dinner was a little involved, I kept the side dish quick and easy. Apple Salad with Figs and Almonds is a simple combination of a sweet red apple, a tart green apple, a few dried figs, some crisp bits of celery, lemon yogurt, toasted sliced almonds and shredded carrots. Fresh, tangy and it was thrown together while dinner was simmering away on the stove. The crunchy apples and celery worked well with the texture and flavor from the softer sweet black mission figs. Sliced almonds and shredded carrots finished the dish with a nutty flavor and flash of color.

Even though the weather was crazy here today with a high in the mid 70's, it cooled down enough tonight to enjoy some of the Spicy Hot Potato Soup we made. We first crisped up a few slices of smoky bacon and reserved a bit of the drippings to sauté some chopped carrots, poblano chilies, onions, jalapenos and garlic. Diced potatoes and chicken stock are added and allowed to simmer until the potatoes are tender. The soup is tightened up with a mixture of milk and flour - once bubbly and thick, jalapeno cheddar along with sharp white cheddar are melted in. A scattering of the crumbled crisp bacon sets the dish off with a salty note. I liked how this had more body and texture with the chopped carrots and chunky potatoes rather than pureeing the soup smooth. I didn't think the soup was super spicy, but there are layers of heat and flavor from the jalapeno and poblano with a final hit from the jalapeno cheese. A good stomach-warming comfort dish.


  1. Joe,
    You had warmer temperatures there than we had in AZ. The high today was only 58! Crazy huh?
    I'm going to try that salad as I still have some Honeycrisp apples from my trip to MN.

  2. Joe,
    You guys had warmer wheather there than we did here in AZ. The high today was only 58! Crazy huh?
    I'm going to make that salad tomorrow. I still have a couple of Honeycrisp apples from my trip to MN. I love a good crunchy salad.

  3. YUM...O! You are one heck of a good cook! I love your blog....thanks for sharing with us! Fran from Texas is hot here too!

  4. That is quite a mound of veggies/fruit you've got there!

  5. Maureen - Wow! That is crazy... it is starting to get chilly again though =(

    Fran - Thank you!

    Wheresmymind - and it was delicious!