Sopa Caldosa

December 29, 2009 at 10:59 pm | Posted in Mexican/Southwest, Soup | 28 Comments
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This is the soup recipe that I alluded to in my Spanish Deviled Egg post on Monday that will launch the alledged “fit”.    

The comments I typed into the notes section of my computer recipe program indicate the following about this Cabbage Soup:

  1.  That I’ve had this recipe since 1999
  2. “Outstanding”
  3. This is a  popular soup from the Oaxaca Region of Mexico
  4. It features a coarsely ground sausage called chorizo, (pronounced chor-EE-zoh)

#4 indicates to me that “chor-EE-zoh” must have been brand new on my radar in 1999 and that I didn’t want to pronounce it wrong when I approached the meat counter.   There are no notes indicating the origin of this recipe. 

Sopa Caldosa:

2 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 cups thinly sliced green cabbage (about 1 pound)
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
5 cups Chicken Stock or 2 1/2 (16-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
Mexican Chorizo
3 Tbs chopped fresh parsley

1. Cook bacon pieces in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Add cabbage, onion, and garlic; sauté 10 minutes. Add Chicken Stock, chickpeas, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Ladle soup into each of 6 bowls; top with Mexican Chorizo, cheese and parsley (cilantro).

Servings: 6

Well you all know me well enough by now to know that I substituted cilantro for that parsley. 

This is quick, delicious and somewhat healthy little soup.   I’m sending this over to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for Souper Sunday.  If you like soup and sandwiches you should check out her blog.  Every Sunday she posts a some great recipes submitted by folks like me.


Recipe Roulette and Spanish Deviled Eggs

December 28, 2009 at 1:29 am | Posted in Appetizers | 40 Comments
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How about a little bit of South of the Border Tapas?

I’m most certainly ready for change from all of the Holiday food, which I have eaten WAY to much of (not complaining, but kinda).

Our friends Kathy and Tom gave me this cute and fun cookbook for Christmas, W.I.N.O.S. (Women In Need Of Sanity) GO TAPAS. by Bonnie Jesseph.  The inside cover suggests we visit their website

  As I was thumbing through it at our party, Tom asked what I was going to make first. My reply was “have you ever played Recipe Roulette?” So that’s what I did and here are the rules.

Recipe Roulette:  You take a cookbook in your hands, close your eyes, spin the cookbook every which direction possible. With eyes still closed open the cookbook and point your finger on the open page. Open your eyes and you have to make the recipe your finger has landed on.

You HAVE to – it’s the rules. 

My finger landed on Spanish Deviled Eggs. Lucky for me, as I love deviled eggs and the idea of topping them with Chorizo and Cilantro sounded so interesting.  Actually the recipe used parsley, but all I could imagine in..on ..and along-side those eggs was cilantro.  These were pretty darn good and I think would make an interesting appetizer for your next dinner party.

I served these with a Spanish cabbage soup that is so easy and delicious you’ll have a fit and I mean an  f-i-t.  I’ll post that recipe soon.  But first,  here is the recipe for the eggs:

Spanish Deviled Eggs

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 4 ounces Spanish chorizo sausage, finely chopped
  • 1 T. cilantro, finely chopped and a sprig for garnish
  • 1/4 c. seeded, finely diced roasted red peppers, such as piquillo (couldn’t find so I used roasted red bell)
  • 1 T. sherry vinegar
  • 3 T. mayonnaise
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 2 T. cold water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Hard boil eggs.  Slice eggs lengthwise, remove yolks and place yolks in a medium bowl.  Arrange egg white halves in your favorite Deviled Egg serving bowl.

To prepare filling, cook chorizo in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until crisp.  Meanwhile add cilantro, red pepper, vinegar, mayo, mustard and water to yolks.  Mash.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Scoop filling into egg whites.  Sprinkle with warm chorizo and cilantro.

What a fun and easy little recipe and I think next time I’ll throw in a dash of cumin.  Why not!  And since I’ve substituted cilantro with parsley and added cumin,  we’ll call it India African Inspired Spanish Deviled Eggs.

Merry Christmas, and My First Giveaway

December 24, 2009 at 11:16 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 27 Comments

I can’t believe I’m nearing my 100th post.  To celebrate, I’ll be giving away one of my favorite cookbooks, Colorado Cache.  The Junior League of Denver has been putting out some very popular and highly sought after cookbooks since 1978.  The first being Colorado Cache. Proceeds from the sale of  these cookbooks are all returned to our community for charitable purposes. 

Colorado Cache is a collection of over 700 recipes selected from approximately 2,800 submitted.   Each recipe was taste tested and enthusiastically approved by 12 separate tasting committees.  

I think this cookbook is out of print and if you take a look at you’ll see there are 6 new,  ranging from $49 – $129…yikes…so I’ve been searching for a couple of gently used copies on Amazon and Ebay that are listed as in “Good Condition”.  

Here are the rules:

When things have settled down after the Holidays, take a picture of the  kitchen gadget gifts you received this year for Christmas.  You can either photograph a single item that was your favorite, or you pile up all foodie related  gift items in a heap and take a group photo.  Again, these are kitchen/food related/foodie  items you received this year;  cookbooks, appliances, snowman spatulas, meat thermometers, grills, whisks, zesters, knives. pots and pans…you get the idea.  If you also want to pose in the photo, even better.

Post the photo on your blog, mention my giveaway along with a link to this post, mention the contest and leave a comment here when you’ve completed this.  Don’t hesitate to comment now too if you want.  But just make sure I know you posted your picture.  That’s it.  

Deadline is midnight January 9 Rocky Mountain High Standard Time.  The winner will be selected randomly.  This is not a “he who got the most toys wins” contest.  I’m just anxious to see what everyone got.  🙂  I’m a kitchen gadget  Freak-O!

Any questions? 

So,  Merry Christmas to all!  So many of you have posted many beautiful photos of your Christmas Decorations, holiday tables, beautifully decorated holiday food, so I want to share a few photos of what it’s been like around our house over the last few weeks.  You see, I have a little Elf whose name is Queso.  Queso is a Maine Coon Cat.  That means she’s big and ornery.    She’s thinks the Christmas decorations have been put up for only one reason, her amusement. 

 Just look at what she’s done to Baby Jesus and entourage.  I don’t even see Mary or Joseph, they’ve probably been swatted under the couch. 

 Uprooted trees and a downed fence at the Candy Factory in our Christmas Village.  

 I wake up every morning to this.   My two foot tree centerpiece on my table knocked over.  I’ve decided to leave it this way until about 10 minutes before guests arrive on Christmas Day after Queso has been ordered to the basement. 

 My little dog Chili is horrified that she’s ripped Bad Santa off the shelf.  

 She’s going in for the torture right before the kill with that back feet “thumping thing” .

 Action shot.  Doesn’t she look menacing?  

 Bows ripped from packages and strewn. 

 And of courses it wouldn’t be Christmas without the annual broken bulb. 

So on this day that we wait for Santa, I’d like to leave you with an adorable little video that my friend Vickie in Montana sent me.  It’s title “Waiting for Santa”.  🙂  Just click on the link below, (if it pauses, just go to the bottom of the screen and prompt it to play again – it did that to me).

Enjoy and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our home to yours.


Limoncello and Rivalry

December 20, 2009 at 6:46 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 45 Comments

Look at these beautiful little frosty bottles of Limoncello. I wrote about making this homemade brew back in September and you can review the project by clicking HERE.  This concoction has been  mysteriously steeping for three months in a dark corner of the basement.   Every so often I’d swirl the gallon cauldron and watch the lemon flavor ooze out of the lemon peels and into the vodka.  I must admit,  the suspense got the best of me and I did sneak a little taste the first week of December.  Delicious.   Finally the day arrived and it was ready for bottling and I simply strained the liquid through some cheesecloth, tossed out all of the lemon peel and then transferred the liqueur to these little bottles.   I’m so tickled with myself that I’ll be starting another batch right after Christmas.  I think I had enough for about 8 small gifts. (plus a mason jar size for us)

Now, I have a little bit of unpleasant business I am obligated to take care of.  

Raiders we’re going to spank you until your noses bleed!  I usually don’t talk like that,  it’s actually a quote directly out of Paula Deen’s mouth on yesterday’s Iron Chef  Holiday Dessert Challenge.  She yelled that out as she was cutting into a big slab of Velveeta cheese.   Of course she didn’t reference the Raiders, just change that word out with Robert Irvine.  And by the way, who else but Paula Deen can create a Holiday Dessert using a big slab of Velveeta.

 Is there anything worse than a Raider’s fan? 

I think they’re even scarier than Al Davis.  I follow a blogger out in California Mad Meat Genius.   One day I noticed an Oakland Raider’s coffee mug sitting smugly in one of his food photos….typical behavior (insert rolling eyes smiley face  icon here)  Being the tried and true Bronco’s fan that I am, couldn’t let the incident go unnoticed so made an innocent comment and now it’s turned into this.  Mad Meat Genius even had the gall to use John Elway’s name in vain in one of his comments on my blog.  I think it was my Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice Cookie recipe.   Everyone knows that when John Elway’s name is mentioned here in Broncos Country that the Heavens part and Angels sing.

Well, those pesky Raider’s are coming to town today and it seems a friendly wager has been placed between myself and Mad Meat Genius.  We’ve agreed to post something we think the opposing team fans would like.  I’m posting my alcohol laden limoncello so that Mr. Mad Meat can drown in his sorrows.  GO BRONCOS.

NaNa’s Fudge

December 20, 2009 at 2:15 am | Posted in Candy | 22 Comments
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This recipe has been in our family for as long as I can remember. I think it started out as my mom’s recipe and then perfected by my Aunt Lois. I have many fond memories of mom making this fudge and placing it in pretty little Christmas boxes for gifts.

My cousin Brooke even entered this recipe in the Kansas State Fair when she was 11 years old and ended up winning the Junior Division Sweepstakes.

The recipe was published in “A Century of Good Cooking, Kansas State Fair” cookbook, and she won 30 pounds of sugar. 🙂

So with all of that said here’s the award-winning recipe.



Nana’s Fudge

  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 12 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 12 ounce bag milk chocolate chips
  • 14 ounces marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Mix butter, sugar and milk in saucepan.  Turn heat on high.  Continually stir and bring to rolling boil.  Continue stirring for about 5 minutes or until it gets to a “soft ball” stage.  Remove from heat; stir in the vanilla, chocolate chips, and marshmallow creme.  Mix until well blended then add nuts.  Pour into a buttered 9 x 13 inch pan.   Cool and cut into squares.   I don’t have a candy thermometer, so “soft ball” stage means that when you drop a small amount of the candy liquid into a cold cup of water, it will form into soft ball. 

NaNa is Brooke’s name for her grandmother, and my Aunt, Lois.  Enjoy!

Potatoes in Banana Leaves and Shrimp with Lime Zest

December 16, 2009 at 2:51 am | Posted in Potatoes, Seafood | 41 Comments
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Steaming Potatoes Cooked In Banana Leaves

I absolutely love this method of cooking potatoes.  I learned this trick a few years ago from a Whole Foods grilling demonstration.  After a sample of the finished product, I couldn’t get to the produce department fast enough to purchase banana leaves and potatoes.  The only place I can find banana leaves right now is at H-Mart in the freezer department. 

Banana leaves are used as a kind of wrap in Thai cooking. Banana leaves not only look beautiful, but also lend a subtle aroma and taste when foods are cooked inside them.  They can be used for grilling,  baking, or steaming foods. While functioning as a wrapping material, they also lend a hint of flavor to your food that is very pleasant. 

With our mountains as a backdrop, it gets dark in Denver around 4:30 p.m. these days.   I usually use the grill for this recipe,  but with our dark days, baking works just fine. 

Potatoes in Banana Leaves: 

  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 6 medium potatoes peeled and thinly sliced, preferably with a mandolin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Ementhaler Cheese
  • olive oil
  • 1 banana leaf (thawed if not fresh)

Lay the banana leaf on a buttered baking sheet.  I also sprayed the top of the banana leaf with Pam.  Scatter potatoes and onion on the leaf.  Toss with a bit of olive oil. Generously add salt and pepper and grated Ementhaler Cheese.  

Fold and make a packet with the leaf and secure with toothpicks.  Bake 350 degrees 30 minutes.  (Depending on the thickness of the potatoes, you may need to bake up to 40 minutes.) 


This photo is steamy rather than blurry.  When you first open up the packet, the steam and flavor pleasantly hit you right in the face. 


 I served the potatoes with an easy and delicious shrimp dish that I prepared in advance.  I love this recipe. 

Shrimp Salad with Lime Zest: 

1 cup kosher salt
6 cups cold water
2 1/2 lbs medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 Tbs heavy cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tbs fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tsp finely grated lime zest
1/4 cup finely diced celery
2 Tbs finely chopped dill
1 Tbs thinly sliced garlic chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper 

1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water. 

2. In a large bowl, dissolve the kosher salt in the water. Add the shrimp and let stand for 30 seconds, then rinse well. Add the shrimp to the boiling water and cook until firm and pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the shrimp and transfer to the ice water to cool. Drain again and pat dry. 

3. In a bowl, beat the cream until stiff. Whisk in the mayonnaise, lime juice and zest, and stir in the celery, dill and chives. Add the shrimp and toss well. Season with table salt and pepper and serve. 

Make Ahead.  The shrimp salad can be refrigerated for up to 5 hours.  Serves 4. 



For dessert tapioca pudding topped with a sprinkle of fresh grated nutmeg.

How bout them bananas – This meal really is so delicious.  The texture and sweet flavor of the potatoes, the fresh creamy flavor of the chilled lime/dill shrimp, and then there’s that tapioca pudding.  Who needs summer.

Orange Day, Chapter 2

December 12, 2009 at 9:12 pm | Posted in Pasta, Seafood | 45 Comments
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I’ve been meaning to post this for days now, but it appears I’ve become slammed!  Not sure how it happened so quickly; slammed with work, slammed with entertaining my mom while she’s here; slammed with preparing for the holidays; throw in a few parties and my poor little blog has been swept into the corner.  :-/  I think there’s a lot of you out there that must be a lot more organized than me.   Everyone is baking truck loads of cookies, gallons of Holiday beverages, already testing recipes for Christmas Day, taking pictures of beautifully decorated homes, leisurely photographing pets…I mean c’mon people! 

This is a continuation of a post from last Monday. It seems that everything from my kitchen that day had an orange theme.

If I were to answer my own “Just Grilled” questionnaire I would answer the question “Favorite Local Product” with Pappardelle’s Pasta.  Pappardelle’s is a pasta company started right here in Denver specializing in flavored pastas.  I love, love, love their products and their website full of delicious and unique recipes.  Take a look at    So many interesting ideas for sauces  for each of their pasta creations.

There is a store front location near the Cherry Creek shopping area where you can purchase Pappardelle’s year-round.  But, since I seem to be perfectly happy in my little burbs bubble, (I mean we have a Target, a Whole Foods, a liquor store, a pizza place AND NORDSTROM within just a few miles – what else does one need???)  I don’t drive into the city as much as I should.  Instead, I wait until the very last day of our Highlands Ranch farmers market, and buy a trunk full of their pastas to have over the winter.  It’s  so much fun to pull out a package and go to their website for the recipe.  Always delicious and pretty easy. 

My last adventure with Pappardelle’s was Orange Shrimp with Basil Tangerine Pasta.  ohmygosh YUM!  This dish is straight from their website.  I made no changes, I can’t take credit for any tweaking or ruining improving the recipe at all.   With all that said, I don’t want to be in trouble with my favorite Denver food vendor, so will just direct you to the website to take a look at the recipe.  Enjoy and while you’re there take a look around.

It’s An Orange Kind Of Day

December 8, 2009 at 12:10 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 47 Comments

There are a couple of directions I could go for a clever opening to this post using references to “orange”.  First of all, it’s 5 degrees and snowing in Denver, so 1) I could reference dreaming of Florida sunshine and Sunkist oranges…

2) Yesterday the Broncos played Kansas City, c’mon orange you glad you cheered for the Orange and Blue since we beat the Chiefs to a pulp!

 I just can’t  I think of anything devilishly clever so I’ll just can the idea because I can’t concentrate… ha..ha…Get it??? I know, I know, you’re laughing so hard you pithed your pants.

When’s the last time you had some of those sugary gooey orange slice jelly candies???

 My mom has had this recipe for as long as I can remember. These are called Orange Slice Bars and they are goooo-ood.  Always a crowd pleaser. 

The hardest thing about this recipe is chopping up those packaged orange slice candies.  Even the sharpest of knives doesn’t work well against that taboo high fructose corn syrup. Mom is here for the holidays and this is the first in a series of “Mom Recipes” that I’ll be posting over the next few weeks. Enjoy.

Orange Slice Bars:

1 lb packaged orange slice jelly candies

6 Tbs boiling water
1/2 cup butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 whole eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1. Cut orange slice candies into eights;  pour boiling water over candy slices and let stand 2 hours or overnight.  Cream butter and sugar; add eggs. Sift dry ingredients together; add to creamed mixture. Add orange slices and pecans; put into greased and floured 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 inch jelly roll pan; bake for 35-40 minutes at 325 degrees or until done. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while warm. Cut into squares when cool.

The orange continues, for dinner I prepared Orange Shrimp With Basil Tangerine Pasta.  I’ll be posting that recipe soon.


Pear, Walnut, Maytag Blue Cheese Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

December 6, 2009 at 1:18 pm | Posted in Salads | 26 Comments
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A few weeks ago, we were invited to our friends Tom and Kathy’s house for a dinner party. This is the scene of last Summer’s “Burb’s BBQ”, a blog post that you can review by clicking HERE. You really should take a look at that Summer party post because lurking there is Kathy’s famous shrimp appetizer recipe, a MUST try.

And darn it, Dan and Teri couldn’t make it to this gathering because Teri was ill. We thought about calling the whole thing off, but then realized it was our responsibility to drink the wine we had so carefully picked for the evening, so went ahead without them.

Kathy asked me to bring a salad, so I chose this pear salad with cranberry vinaigrette. Very festive for this time of year, and absolutely delicious I must say, and the Maytag Blue Cheese is a killer in this.  I like to buy the red skinned pears, I just think it makes for a prettier presentation. Below you’ll find pictures of the party and the rest of the dinner. We had a fabulous evening.

Pear, Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad w/Cranberry Vinaigrette
(I’ve had this recipe for years and years, source unknown)

1/2 cup cranberry sauce, canned
1/4 cup orange juice
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp ginger,  minced
1/4 tsp salt
2 heads Bibb lettuce
2 whole pears, sliced
2 Tbs orange juice
1 cup red onion, sliced
1/3 cup crumbled Maytag blue cheese
2 Tbs walnuts, chopped

1. To prepare vinaigrette, place first 7 ingredients in medium bowl, stir well with whisk.

2. To prepare the salad, divide the lettuce leaves evenly among 6 salad plates. Toss pear with 2 T. orange juice. Divide pear and onion evenly among leaves. Top each serving with about 1 T. cheese and 1 teaspoon walnuts. Drizzle each serving with about 2 1/2 T. vinaigrette.

Servings: 4

These little appetizers were delicious.  Small oval toasts topped with basil pesto, a slice of tomato and a slice of mozzarella cheese.  Just broil until cheese is melted, easy and yummy.

I loved this.  Kathy found these little crab cakes in the frozen food department at Whole Foods.  Served with a remoulade sauce makes an elegant and impressive appetizer.

The evening wouldn’t be complete with this mouth-watering Sauvignon Blanc.  We had a lovely time on the patio at Bergstrom Winery in Oregon, fond memory and great wines. 

A simple bowl of almonds.

Host Tom pouring us some wine.

JUST LOOK at this pork tenderloin smothered in a cranberry sauce.  You just wouldn’t believe how good this was.

::::clearing throat…I didn’t want to say anything, but Tom missed my glass.  I just want Kathy to know this in case she thinks I’m the one who got wine all over her beautiful tablecloth.  🙂

Our friends Greg and Maralee.

Tom, the host and wine spiller.

Look at that plate of food.

A hopeful guest.  Don’t tell Kathy, but I did sneak her a couple tiny bites of pork tenderloin.

Maralee pontificating about that delicious cranberry sauce recipe that covered the pork.

FABULOUS dinner party Tom and Kathy, and sorry you couldn’t make it Dan and Teri, but that did mean more wine for us.

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