Wednesday, December 29, 2010

By Popular Request - The Apple-Cheddar Squash Soup

Apple-Cheddar Squash Soup
By Ted Slee                                                     

Serves 4
Prep Time: 30 Mins
Cooking Time: 10 – 15 Mins

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 medium apples, thinly sliced (the crisper the better)
1 large white potato, diced
1 ½ cups chopped peeled butternut squash
3 leaves of fresh sage (½ teaspoon dried sage)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup apple cider
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into bite-size pieces
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (½ to 1 cup extra for garnish)
Chopped chives, for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Half loaf of French Bread or Chibatta
4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Garlic Salt

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium-low heat and add the onion, apples, potato and squash. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the onion is soft, about 6 – 10 minutes. With a whisk or slotted spoon, stir in the sage and flour. Add the cider and cook over high heat, stirring, until thickened. Add the broth and heavy cream, cover and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Make sure to stir well until the potato is soft, then remove from heat and stir in the 2 cups of cheese.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and cook until crisp, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Puree in a blender in batches until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the prosciutto, more cheese and chives.

Cut 1/4" slices of bread and layout on a cookie sheet.  Coat with EVOO and dust with garlic salt.  Broil until crispy.

Serve soup in a bowl, sprinkle with cheddar cheese, chives and toast slices.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Post Holiday Leftovers... What to do? More Like What I did...

No matter what we all try to do we always end up with leftovers... Sometimes they are things we actually will want to reheat, like turkey and stuffing.  Usually, they aren't as glamorous or appealing to the eye after a night or two in the fridge.  So as a challege I have chosen the least eye catching ingredients to experiment with.  Unfortunately, I did not come up with this idea before we chose our Christmas dinner so that I could influence what I now am able to work with.  As may happen in many families we had a lot of family cheer on the 25th which made the next morning was a little rough... 

My first project included using the container with the leftover roasted white potatoes, whole caramelized onions and halved button mushrooms from the fridge.  These veggies certainly did not look appealing but I decided home fries were a necessity.  I diced the three veggie amigos and added them to a 12" Nonstick pan on the stove with 3 tbl butter, a pinch each of pepper, paprika, cayenne, old bay seasoning and garlic powder.  I made sure to coat the veggies in the butter and spice mixture, turning only when necessary to prevent over crisping the potatoes.  I added a little shredded Parmesan cheese before serving with a spiked ketchup.  Now potatoes do not make a breakfast alone...  So, I decided an omelet with some of the gouda and bell peppers from the previous nights appetizers, half of a leftover onion (diced) and some thinly sliced leftover roast beef.  Toast was provided by the left over baguette from the cheese plate.   Everybody that wanted breakfast got the same plate: Toast, Omelet, Home fries, Cold Roasted Pear Slices (salad topper) and Bacon (which my dad made long before any of us were up).

The only leftover I didn't use was the baby peas...  I am working that with all the left over roast beef... Maybe a Roast Beef Pot Pie?


Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Recipe

Cordon Bleu Risotto
By Ted Slee

Prep Time: 25 – 30 Mins
Cooking Time: 30 – 45 Mins
Servings: 2 (Main Course)
Servings: 4-6 (Side Dish)

1 Cup of Risotto rice
4 cups of boxed unsalted chicken stock
2 tbls of olive oil
2 tbls of salted butter
½ cup of diced white onion or shallot
½ cup diced cooked ham
½ cup diced cooked chicken breast
½ cup diced uncooked red bell pepper (half a normal sized pepper)
½ cup gruyere shredded or diced
½ cup shredded parmesean cheese
Tsp dried oregano
Dash of cayenne pepper
Salt & Pepper for taste

  1. Saute Onion on Med to High heat in melted butter and olive oil until translucent (about 3-5 mins)
  2. Add dry rice and cook for 4-5 mins stirring to coat rice in oil/butter.
  3. Stir in 1 cup of Room Temp Broth at a time until almost absorbed stirring frequently.
  4. Just before last cup is absorbed add the chicken, ham, red bell pepper, cheddar cheese and half of the Parmesean cheese.  Mix till well incorporated and cheese is melting
  5. Add Oregano and Cayenne pepper and mix it in well.  Give the mixture a taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.
  6. Use the rest of the Parmesean cheese as a garnish.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday WNDC Menu

So tomorrow is our Wednesday Night Dinner Club and its our Annual Holiday Edition.  This is the 6th time I have hosted this over the years and this years menu has become quite a challenge.  Every year I try to come up with something new and exciting.  So this year I decided to combine some ideas from past dinner parties and Christmas themed dinners.  The menu starts with Apple, Cheddar & Squash soup with garlic toast points then guests will be able to self dress their Arugula Salad with roasted Walnuts, Dried Cranberries and crumbled Bleu Cheese with a red wine vinaigrette.  The main course is a twist on risotto which I have always loved making.  Roasted Chicken Cordon Bleu Risotto with Gruyere cheese.  The night will be finished off with Captain Morgan Rum Cake with ice cream.  I will take some pictures off the finished products...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Its My First Time...

Hello to all who find this new venture I am starting!!  Since I was very little I have been spending time in the kitchen learning everything I can from my friends, working in restaurants, cookbooks, family, the occasional TV personality and most importantly my mom.  My love for food is such a fiery passion that I love sharing it with everybody in and around my life.  My parents house has always been the center of a party and entertaining world that few have had the privilege of experiencing...  With this good fortune and a lot of what I have learned in my 33 years on this earth I hope to share some interesting new methods, recipes, suggestions and the occasional ramble about food and those we share it with!  I have called this experience 'The Professional Amateur Chef' because I am a self taught amateur that has gained lots of knowledge from the pros and hope to document my journey as I learn more plus it sounded cooler than Ted's Blog... 

I am open to comments suggestions and if you like the recipes I put up here let me know!  Any feedback is good feedback!

All the best,