Ham and White Bean Soup with Fresh Spinach

Ham and White Bean Soup with Fresh Spinach makes use of that leftover ham and ham bone from Mother’s Day brunch along with extra vegetables in the crisper.

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Ham and White Bean Soup with Fresh Spinach
(Mark Kelly, 2016)

Serves 10 – 12

1 lb. leftover cooked ham plus ham bone
1 red pepper
1 orange pepper
1 yellow pepper
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
8 medium carrots, peeled
2 (48-oz.) cans fat-free, lower sodium chicken broth
1 (48-oz.) jar Great Northern white beans, drained and rinsed
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 fresh bay leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes
10 oz. fresh spinach leaves

Stem, seed and quarter all peppers. Chop one half of the peppers and carrots finely and one half coarsely. Add all finely chopped peppers and carrots, onion and garlic cloves to a large stockpot. Drizzle with oil. Season with salt and pepper and add red pepper flakes to taste. Saute vegetables over medium heat until soft. Add chicken broth and ham bone along with rosemary and bay leaves. Simmer for 1 hour.

Remover ham bone from broth and cut away any meat. Set aside Discard bone. Chop leftover hame into large bite-size chunks.

Remove rosemary sprigs and bay leaves, set aside. Using and immersion blender, puree the vegetables. Add 1/4 of the beans and pulse with the blender. Add the remaining beans, remaining larger pieces of pepper and carrot, and ham chunks. Add the rosemary sprigs and bay leaves back to the broth. Re-season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 1 hour more.

To serve: Ladle soup into large shallow bowls. Add a handful of spinach leaves to each bowl and allow the spinach to wilt in the hot broth. Serve with crusty bread.

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Crab and Egg Casserole

Crab and Egg Casserole is a great dish to serve as a part of Mother’s Day Brunch.

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Crab and Egg Casserole
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of LouisianaCookin.com)

Serves 10

6 slices whole wheat bread with crusts removed
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 8-oz. can water chestnuts, drained and halved
1 lb. lump crabmeat
1 large egg
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Cajun seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp Louisiana Hot Sauce

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, place bread. Add 1 1/2 cups water over the bread and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain any excess water from the bowl.

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onion, pepper, celery and garlic in about 1 tablespoon of oil until tender, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Add 1 cup of cheese to the bread mixture, stirring to combine. Add onion mixture, water chestnuts, and crab meat. Season with salt and Cajun seasoning to taste. Stir gently to combine.

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg and egg whites. Add mayonnaise, pinch of salt, couple generous grinds of pepper, and hot sauce. Add bread mixture to crabmeat mixture, stirring gently to combine. Spread into prepared dish. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese. Bake until the filling is set and cheese is melted, 35 – 40 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

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Pinot Noir – Andouille Bread

Pinot Noir – Andouille Bread is a savory bread that goes well with brothy soups and stews.

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Pinot Noir – Andouille Bread
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Saveur.com, 2016)

Makes 2 loaves

For the starter:

1 3/4 cups farina 00 flour
Pinch active dry yeast
3/4 tsp Kosher salt

For the bread:

1/4 cup starter
1 2/3 cups pinot noir
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
4 cups farina 00 flour
9 oz. finely chopped, fully-cooked andouille sausage

To make the starter: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, yeast, salt and 2/3 cup of water. Mix on low speed until a smooth dough forms, about 2 minutes. Scrape into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature for 4 hours.

To make the bread: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine 1/4 cup of the starter with the pinot noir, yeast and salt. Stir until smooth. Add the flour and mix on low speed until the dough forms, increase to medium speed and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Add the andouille and knead for 5 minutes more. Transfer to a large bowl that has been coated with cooking spray. let stand until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Divide the dough into two balls and shape each into a 12-inch-long by 3-inch-wide loaf with tapered ends. Transfer to a Silpat-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 90 minutes.

Heat oven to 400F. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and another at the bottom of the oven. Place a small pot with 1 cup of boiling water on the lower rack. Place the baking sheet with the bread loaves on the middle rack and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Transfer loaves to a wire rack to cool.

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Shrimp Toasts with Sesame Seeds

Shrimp Toasts with Sesame Seeds are a dim sum-style appetizer that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser and (our secret) it is unbelievable easy to prepare.

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Shrimp Toasts with Sesame Seeds
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of BonAppetit.com, May 2016)

Makes 20 appetizer servings

2 lbs peeled and deveined shrimp, any size
1/3 cup hot chili paste
1 Tbsp finely grated lemongrass
1 Tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
Kosher salt
1 4-ounce jar toasted sesame seeds
2 scallions
10 pieces white bread, crusts trimmed
Vegetable oil

In a food processor, pulse the shrimp, chili paste, lemongrass, ginger and a pinch of salt until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.

Slice scallions on a bias into 2-inch-long pieces.

Dry the bread slices in the oven at 200F for 10 minutes. Spread a heavy layer of shrimp paste on one side of each bread slice. Pour the sesame seeds onto a plate. Press the shrimp paste topped side of each bread slice into the sesame seeds.

Heat about 1 cup of oil in a heavy skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. When oil shimmers, working in batches, place the toasts shrimp-side down in the hot oil for 2 minutes, then flip and fry for 1 minute until the toast is golden brown. Remove to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet or wire rack. Repeat until all toasts are fried.

To serve, slice diagonally and arrange them on a platter topped with the sliced scallions.

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Pale Ale Beef and Lamb Burgers

Pale Ale Beef and Lamb Burgers are really moist and juicy and the seasoning gives them a kefta kabob-like flavor. This recipe makes six 1/4-pound burgers. Once the patties are formed extras can be frozen for future use if you aren’t planning to cook them all right away.

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Pale Ale Beef and Lamb Burgers
(Mark Kelly, 2016)

Serves 6

1 lb. ground chuck
1/2 lb. ground lamb
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2 tsp Kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup craft brewed pale ale, at room temperature

Thoroughly combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Form six 1/4-pound patties. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the patties to firm up.

Heat grill for medium-high direct grilling. Season each of the patties with a pinch of salt. Grill for 3 minutes per side, turning once, for medium-rare. Serve immediately with your favorite toppings.

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