Baby Corn Split Pea Soup

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Color of Food: Baby Corn Split Pea Soup! For a taste of the country, chocked full of wholesome ingredients and tender smoked ham, look no further. Step off the beaten path of ordinary chicken noodle soup for a bowl of flavorful homemade goodness. Pay attention to the subtle smoky aftertaste of cottage ham that lingers on the tongue. Perhaps the blissfully sweet golden harvest of roasted baby corn meets your satisfaction. Either way, the blend of savory split peas infused among them will leave you asking for a smidgen more.

BABY CORN SPLIT PEA SOUP

1 3/4 cups dry split green peas and lentils, rinsed

2 cups vegetable broth

5 cups water

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 cups smoked ham, shredded

7-ounce jar baby corn, whole

Fresh cilantro

Instructions:

In a slow cooker, combine split peas and lentils, vegetable broth, water, garlic powder, black pepper, celery seed, and sea salt. Mix together. Add chopped onion and shredded ham. Cover and cook on HIGH for four hours, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Adjust with more water if soup becomes too thick. Meanwhile, drain baby corn. Pat dry. Take an iron skillet; spray it with nonstick oil. Heat on high temperature. Add baby corn. Gently turn corn as it browns so all sides are evenly roasted. Cut into pieces or leave whole. Add to soup. Lower crockpot setting to LOW. Cook two hours longer. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with cilantro. Serve warm.

Madonna and Christ Child

“The birth of the baby Jesus stands as

the most significant event in all history,

because it has meant the pouring

into a sick world the healing medicine

of love which has transformed all

manner of hearts for almost

two thousand years.”

~ George Matthew Adams

Golden Puff Pancake

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Clean Eating: Golden Puff Pancake! When it comes to convenience, this one-dish weekend wonder can save the day. You know how we tend to take it slow and easy for all things breakfast after a good night’s sleep? Yes, we’re worth it. That doesn’t mean, however, that we need to spend all the time in the kitchen flipping pancakes and dredging French toast through an egg batter. A Golden Puff Pancake is pretty much a cousin to the Dutch Baby. Everything gets mixed together and then baked into an airy popover-style pancake that immediately deflates once it’s removed from the oven. At first glance it appears as though someone in the house opened the oven door and then slammed it shut again. No worries. Fill the “well” with fresh fruit and powdered sugar. It looks and tastes fantastic.

GOLDEN PUFF PANCAKE

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons butter

Powdered sugar, for sprinkling

Strawberries, blueberries, and fresh mint for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Butter a one-quart ovenproof casserole dish. Set aside. In a food processor, combine eggs, flour, milk, sugar, vanilla, and sea salt. Blend until smooth. Let batter rest for 5 minutes. Place butter in casserole dish. Transfer to hot oven to melt. Watch carefully, 1-2 minutes. Do not scorch. Swirl butter to coat pan. Pour in batter. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until pancake is fluffy and deeply golden. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar. Garnish with strawberries, blueberries, and fresh mint. Cut into wedges and serve.

Kosher Salt Dill Pickles

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Eat More: Kosher Salt Dill Pickles! When I visited the Farmers Market this week, I was impressed by the cute little cucumbers in abundant supply. The fact that my dill was showcasing its yellow flowery blossoms in proud display earlier that morning nudged me to take advantage of both. Canning a jar of classic dill pickles was about to become the focus of the day. So….when choosing a variety of cucumber to pickle remember three things: 1.) Choose small cukes about the size of your thumb. 2.) Make sure they have a thicker skin in order to maintain a crunchy snap. 3.) And remember to ask for the ones that were just freshly picked. Time is of the essence. The crucial time to pickle is as soon as practical after picking. This recipe will make one jar, which is exactly what I wanted.

KOSHER SALT DILL PICKLES

Ingredients:

1 pound pickling cucumbers; cut off tips of both ends and slice in half

2 fresh dill sprigs, with heads

1 cup filtered water

1 cup distilled white vinegar

4 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons Kosher salt

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions:

In a medium saucepan, combine water, vinegar, sugar, Kosher salt, garlic, peppercorns, and red pepper flakes. Heat to boiling. Stir to dissolve sugar and salt. Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile in a clean quart jar, place one dill sprig and one garlic clove in bottom of jar. Arrange cucumber halves against the side of the jar working your way to the center. Do not crush. Add one more dill sprig. Pour cooled juice into the jar. Be sure to include the spices. Stop liquid within 1/4″ of top. Seal and store in refrigerator for 12 hours before opening. Keep refrigerated.