Henry and Margaret review 8 months of recipes (Part 2)

Soups and other wet things

Margaret writes – 

H&M9416b copy

Well, I’d just started out on the soups and such when I had to tend to our pesky splitter, and it turned out to be a clogged vent in the fuel cap, so when I unclogged it it ran fine and I split and stacked up about another half cord. Mostly rock maple, which splits easier than Elizabeth Taylor from a husband. Used to, anyway.

Okay then, back to the food, all of which I’ve fiddled with over the last few months, mostly with success.


Best-Ever Southwest Black Bean Soup  DSC_9336

Why, if you came to dinner, I’d make this for you. In Ned’s photo, you see what goes in it – the beans, Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage (it’s got to be sage!), celery, carrot, garlic, cumin, medium hot chile powder, onion, and chicken broth. This is spicy and really tasty. I give it five diamonds (I didn’t like the thumbs up, so I changed it).


Real New Mexican Green Chile Stew  DSC_9355small

Well, Henry found this a mite spicy-hot for his taste, saying it “forced” him to have an extra beer with supper to cool it off, but then he came back for a second helping. Pork butt chopped up, green chiles either fresh or from a can – go take a look at the recipe and you won’t regret it.  I loved making and eating it, so five diamonds again.


Potato Leek Soup  LeekSoup

Henry says “it’s gentle.” Meaning, not over-flavored or too rich. We’ve grown a good eight dozen leeks this summer and they’re still fattening up in the garden. I’m going to make some soup this fall and pressure-can it.

I made this last month from about 8 young leeks, just enough to make soup for 4. I think a key point is to blend it silly – you don’t want lumps in this. 4 diamonds ’cause Henry thought it a tad wimpy. But I loved it.


Welsh Rarebit  DSC_9389c

Henry: Very good and cheesy. Made with beer.

No, it’s not a soup as such, but it’s wet like soup and I wouldn’t have to be too half-starved to eat it that way, spoonful after spoonful. We made this with the sharpest Maine cheddar I could find and poured it over bacon and eggs and on the side had an asparagus salad to balance out the cholesterol. Wicked good!


Perfect Pea Soup  peasoup2

Evaporated milk in this! I didn’t know. Very good, but a little thick for my tastes.


That’s it for the soups. Now we can eat hearty!


Main courses

Tuscan Lamb with Parsley  Tuscan lamb with parsley

Well, what I’ve learned is that Italian cooking is best when it’s simple, and has just a few ingredients. There’s always olive oil and garlic and sometimes white wine and usually tomatoes of one sort or another, and this lamb dish has fresh rosemary, no surprise. This is Ned’s photo and mine came out looking a little wetter than this, but it is super good and tasty and tender. Joey and Sadie said it looked fancy for their tastes, but they chowed down on it.


Chicken Parmesan (or Parmagiana)  ChickenParmesan

The important part here is slice the cutlets very thin. Nothing worse than biting into chicken parm that’s as thick as a pillow. Sadie helped me a lot on this one, about a month back, because I had to row out to Josie Loomis’s skiff with the 10-horse on it and un-foul a buoy line that had got all twined up with the propeller and lower unit. What a mess, and I got home later than I wanted.

Henry: Josie couldn’t do it herself?

Me: That arthritis of hers, she can’t even lace up her boots. Nope. That’s why she kept shouting for me.


Pasta Bolognese  DSC_4757gd copy 3small

What’s fun about this sauce is how the carrots, celery and garlic add such nice flavor after sauteeing in olive oil and wine. This isn’t spicy at all – just absolutely delicious with a hint of creaminess!!

Henry: it’s the kids’ favorite, and mine too, for Italian cooking.


Quick Cheese Casserole

DSC_9344a Yep, quick and easy and filling.

Henry: Cheesy.

Not super-interesting, but a good way to use up old chunks of bread.

Henry: 3 stars for me. Or diamonds.



Spicy Lamb Balls  DSC_9782

And zucchini fritters on the side! Its from North Africa, I think, and is extremely zesty. Outstanding!!





So the other recipes I’ve seen are for cookies and smoked mussels and odds-and-ends like cocktails, so I wanted to focus on the seafood and soups and supper dishes, which are almost all first-rate and pretty easy to make, except for that accursed gumbo which’ll exhaust your wrist from all the whisking. But my favorites? Guess what –

1) Gumbo.

2) Green Chile Stew.

Either one, actually. That’s all from me till I finish my canning.


Thanks, Margaret and Henry. Back on the road next time…

Ned White

About Ned White

Ned White is a writer, novelist, crossword puzzle constructor, traveler through 49 states, and at times a danger in the kitchen. He lives with his wife in South Thomaston.