Welcome to One Little Corner of the World. I share with you new recipes, some family recipes, and the antics of my kids. Enjoy reading!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Meatball Soup

I just love soup.  For some reason, soup really reenergizes my soul.  This soup recipe hit the spot.  The recipe is from a coworker of my husband’s.  He thought it sounded good, so I made it last week.  While I didn’t have the curly endive, I did have spinach – made for a great substitute.  As I am watching my carbs, I chose whole grain pasta too.  I liked the flavor and texture the noodles added to the soup. I also used turkey Italian meatballs – lower calories and fat, but great taste.

This recipe came from Stephanie Ashcroft’s book 101 Things to do with Meatballs

Italian Meatball Soup
1 pound Casa Di Bertacchi Italian Style meatballs (5/8-ounce size), frozen (about 25 meatballs)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced into one-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
12 cups low-sodium chicken stock 
1 1/2 cups uncooked twist pasta
1/ 2 bunch of curly endive, rough chopped
Cracked black pepper
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

– Place large soup pot on medium-high heat. Add olive oil and preheat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add chopped onions and carrots to soup pot. Stir vegetables into olive oil and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent. Pour chicken stock into pot with onions and carrots. Add frozen meatballs and uncooked pasta. Add rough-chopped endives to soup pot. Bring soup to a low rolling boil. Simmer until pasta is al dente (firm but not hard) and meatballs are fully heated through. 
– Season soup to taste with fresh cracked black pepper. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese.

This was a nice soup to make on a cold day – we have had a few here lately.  The flavors blended well, and the soup was quite filling.  I would most definitely make this again.  My only change would be to make a half batch for my family.  This recipe makes a ton of soup.

Happy eating!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Cajun Feast

My husband and I have a group of friends that we cook with a few times a year.  The first time we cooked together we honored Julia Child.  We have also cooked an Italian feast, and we spent one night grilling Bobby Flay’s recipes.

This time we decided to celebrate Mardi Gras by cooking a Cajun feast.  It was sooo good.  I don’t know when I have eaten so much food.  We had Cajun popcorn, corn dogs with Andouille sausage, BBQ shrimp, pork roast, okra in a cheese sauce, oyster stuffing, seafood gumbo, black bean relish, Hurricanes, and King cake. 

This group loves to cook, and we have a great time celebrating food and friendship.  For the past two meals, we have included the kids, who all get along very well.

I have to say that this meal has to be one of the best meals we have ever had.  The Cajun popcorn was perfectly cooked – love seafood, and the BBQ shrimp was cooked perfectly and the spice combination was perfect.  Paul Prudhomme’s recipes are easy to follow and very well explained.  I don’t think I have ever cooked shrimp as well before.  I shouldn’t say that I cooked it; my husband actually did the cooking of the shrimp.

The gumbo had tons of seafood in it – did I say I loved seafood?  Gumbo is one of those things that I look for at restaurants – I am always checking out gumbo when we go to Memphis.  The recipe for the gumbo came from Emeril, as well as the recipe for the popcorn.

Following is a recipe for BBQ shrimp.  From Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen

2 dozen large shrimp with heads and shells – I used very large shrimp with no heads.

Seasoning mix
1 tsp ground red pepper (preferably cayenne)
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp salt
½ tsp crushed red pepper
½ tsp dried thyme leaves
½ tsp dried rosemary leaves – crushed
¼ tsp dried oregano leaves

¼ lb – 1 stick – plus 5 tbsp unsalted butter, in all
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ cup shrimp stock – or seafood stock
¼ cup beer – room temperature

Rinse the shrimp in cold water and drain well.  Then pinch off and discard the portion on the head from the eyes forward (including the eyes, but not the protruding long spine above the eyes).  Leave as much of the head attached to the body as possible.

In a small bowl, combine the seasoning mix ingredients.  Combine 1 stick of butter, the garlic, Worcestershire and seasoning mix in a large skillet over high heat.  When the butter is melted, add the shrimp.  Cook for two minutes, shaking the pan (versus stirring) in a back and forth motion.  Add the remaining 5 tablespoons butter and the stock; cook and shake the pan for 2 minutes.  Add the beer and cook and shake the pan 1 minute longer.  Remove from heat.

Serve immediately in bowls with lots of French bread on the side, or on a platter with cooked rice mounded in the middle and the shrimp and sauce surrounding it.

**The reason the recipe calls for shaking the pan, is to keep the sauce together.  “A certain percentage of oil is released when butter is melted; shaking the pan in a back and forth motion and the addition of stock to the butter keep the sauce from separating and having an oily texture – stirring doesn’t produce the same effect.”

In case you are wondering, the kids are drinking root beer.  It is a treat for them!