Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Beans and Greens Soup

Jodies Kitchen Spicy Beans And Greens

Spicy,Delicious and Healthy!
 That pretty much sums it up for this delicious soup that I give all the credit to my Aunt Janice for.

She is a New Yorker who was visiting down here in the south for a bit.I went over to my Moms one day for a visit with her and they were bragging on this soup that aunt Janice had made.I will be honest,It didn't sound like something that I would care for.

Being southern I pretty much eat my white beans with a big ole ham bone or fat back cooked right in them.When I heard about all this green stuff going into the soup I thought well I would never ruin my beans with that.I hadn't even seen what the soup looked like at that point in the conversation.

I had been very sick for about 3 weeks and they kept saying that all the ingredients in it would help to bost my immune system and make me feel better...Come on they said, it's delicious and good for you..you must try it!

I normally try anything once without hesitation but honestly I had just really goten my taste buds back and thought well,now that I can taste I really want a cheeseburger instead.. I am lol but it's true.After a few minutes I gave in.

They presented me with the bowl of soup and I thought hum this looks kinda fancy from the normal beans I normally eat.
First taste from the spoon and I was pleasantly surprised.I am not a huge fan of arugula and not really raw kale either,they just seem to be too bitter.This however was not bitter to me but perfectly balanced.

In this post I did alter it a bit and added some red cabbage because I had some on hand and thought it would make a nice addition.The version they made me at Moms that day also did not have the Parmesan rind cooked in it,but the original recipe aunt Jan made did. I was lucky enough that Mom had saved me one to make my soup today with.Moms are great :) Well mine is♥ The rind will be optional and I have had it both ways and both are delicious.The rind does add a little something,you know that little hint of there is something really good in here but I just cant put my finger on what it is.The heat level is also optional and if you want it more spicy add more chilli flakes less for less heat of course.I also used my Rosemary Infused Olive Oil since the recipe called for rosemary anyway.

Good luck with the recipe,you can double this easily if you wish it holds well for several days she said.In this recipe posted I did for my family of 3 and there is plenty to eat with left overs.

Olive oil enough to saute and for garnishing
1/2 tsp. red pepper flake
2 garlic cloves sliced
1/2 large onion thinly sliced
2 stalks celery sliced
1 sprig rosemary stripped from stem and chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 pound dried white beans soaked over night & drained
1 Parmesan rind plus grated parm for garnish
1/2 head of red cabbage sliced (optional)
Kale removed from stems and ribs torn or chopped,amount as you like
Baby spinach amount as you like
2 cups arugula trimmed and divided
1 tsp.fresh lemon juice

Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven and cook pepper flakes and garlic until garlic is tender being careful not to burn.Add onion,celery and rosemary,salt and pepper.Cook until onion is soft.Add the Parmesan rind,beans and about 8 cups of hot water.Bring to a boil and let simmer,stirring occasionally and adding more water as needed.Add cabbage and kale just before beans have softened.Continue cooking all together until beans are cooked good and tender.Add spinach and half of arugula,cook until greens are wilted or cooked to your liking.Toss remaining arugula with 1/2 tsp olive oil,lemon juice and salt. Serve soup and top with arugula salad and grated Parmesan cheese.Drizzle of olive oil for garnish.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Infused Oils

Jodies Kitchen Infused Oils

Artisan Handcrafted Homemade

Call them what ever you want,but call them good.

 If you have ever purchased flavored oils from the Grocery store or a specialty shop then you know yourself they can be expensive.Making these yourself is simple and very Inexpensive.
You know exactly whats in them and you can take pride in knowing you have handcrafted something of your own that is fresh and full of flavor.

I have been making my own flavored oils for many years now.I have given them many times over the years as welcomed gifts for Family & Friends.
I make many different kinds as well.The varieties you can handcraft is endless.
This time of year in our herb gardens we have plenty of things to choose from to flavor our oils.

All of these oils pictured use olive oil,but you can use what ever oil you choose.

Lemon Thyme Infused Oil Pictured on the left is a lovely flavor if you have never experienced it.You get the delicious thyme flavor you are accustomed to but with a great punch of lemon.

Chilli Oil Pictured in the middle is a combination of cayenne and a variety of hot Asian peppers.Though this is not a herb it makes a great flavored oil in which I can add to a variety of things for a little spice.

Rosemary Oil Pictured on the right is a nice oil for those who may not be accustomed to the strong flavor of Rosemary because you can use as little or as much as you wish when flavoring your dishes. 

The process is very simple: I heat oil slightly in a pot on the stove.Take off heat and add my cleaned herbs or chillies.(I do slice some of the chillies when making the chilli oil so I can have some of the seeds) Once oil is cool I add to my cleaned jars.

I am not canning these for long time storage so that's pretty much all you need to do.The longer they sit and the more infusions you add the stronger the flavor.

 I store these in a cool dark place but not the refrigerator.I don't know how long they could possibly last because I make small batches and they are used up pretty fast around my house. 

Combinations are endless as I said so use your imagination. 
Garlic Cloves are also one of my favorites to add to these but I didn't have any at the time I was making these.I do smash my fresh garlic cloves when infusing oils.

Which brings me to the next thing! 

Say you don't have fresh herbs but still want infused oils.Well take a look around in your spice pantry because you can add dried herbs as well,even seasoning salts,garlic powder,onion powder.This method would be more like making up a marinade that could be used in many ways.These will need to be shaken before use because these things will settle on the bottom.

Here are a few ideas for your infused oils!

Add oils such as infused basil oils to tomatoes and mozzarella salads.

 Pork and chicken is great with the Rosemary or Thyme oils.

Chilli oil is great on any meat in my opinion and gives it a great spice if you would like a quick saute with some heat.

Infused oils are great on potatoes or vegetables for roasting, baking,or grilling.

 Add infused oils to your french breads for grilling or baking in the oven...add cheese and you have a great herb and cheese french bread.

For more information on Herbs visit my Forums section on Face Book .