20090323

Tuscan Soup from The Olive Garden

I love the Olive Garden's Tuscan Soup. It's made with some of my favorite things - Italian Sausage and potatoes, plus it has kale and garlic.

I had to go without this soup for a while when I moved to podunk-ville some years ago but then I found a recipe for it online! I've been enjoying this soup at home since but I did have to make a few changes to the original recipe.

I added a lot more garlic and took out some of the crushed red pepper (I have a tender tongue), and I add the kale ten minutes before I serve it not just before as the original recipe called for. Plus I cut the potatoes into bite size pieces to cook faster:

ALMOST THE OLIVE GARDEN'S TUSCAN SOUP

1 lb ground Italian sausage
1 tsp crushed red peppers
1 large diced white onion
4 Tbsp bacon pieces
5 Cloves Garlic, crushed and chopped
8 cups water
2 cups chicken or veggie broth
4 cubes of chicken or veggie bouillon
1 cup heavy cream
4 Large Russet potatoes, diced bite size
1/2 of a bunch of kale

Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot, then drain the excess fat.
In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic until the onions are soft and the bacon fat is rendered.
Add the chicken broth, water and bouillon to the onions, bacon and garlic. Cook until boiling.
Add potatoes and cook until fork tender about 45 minutes (depending on the size of the potato pieces.)
Add heavy cream and cook until thoroughly heated.
Stir in the sausage.
Add kale ten minutes before serving or it will be chewy.

Serve with a nice loaf of warm french bread and enjoy.

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If you have a Tiny Food question, please feel free to ask me in a comment and I'll respond back here in the comments section or in a new post!

My Favorite Tiny Food Recipes at PopArtDiva.Com
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20090317

My Dad's Corned Beef and Cabbage for a Crock Pot


Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Beannachtam na Femle Padraig!

One hundred thousand welcomes!
Céad Míle Fáilte!

Walt's Crock Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage

4 - 5 Lbs. Corned Beef Brisket
2 Large Onions, Cut in Quarters
4 - 5 Large Potatoes, Cut in Half
1 Pkg. Mini Carrots
1 Head of Cabbage, Cut into Wedges
2 Cups Water
2 Tablespoons Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Sugar

Brown the corned beef in a hot skillet to sear and seal in the juices. Combine the ingredients in your crock pot and cook on high for 6 to 7 hours. My mom would always add a little more sugar when she did this recipe whereas I always add a slew of garlic gloves.

If your crock pot is not large enough separate the potatoes and cabbage out and cook separately. Here's a great recipe from Epicurious for Irish Cabbage and Potato Bake!

THIS YEAR'S ST. PATRICK'S DAY MARTINI IS HERE
St. Patrick's Day History & Irish Folk Songs at The PopArtDiva Blog


May the roads rise to meet you.
May the wind be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
The rain fall soft upon your fields
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

20090304

Hors D'oeuvres, Canapés, Appetizers, Amuse-Bouche: Definitions/Histories

Just in case you've ever been confused about what that Tiny Food you're being served is really called, here's a few small definitions and short histories for some of the most commonly used phrases for what I call Tiny Food:

Hors d'oeuvre is French for "outside of work", originally an architectural term that referred to an outbuilding not included in an architect's main design. Evidently, french chefs started using the term to refer to the small servings of food they would serve before a meal to sustain guests while the main courses were being prepared. Typically an hors d'oeuvre is one or two bites in size. A selection of hors d'oeuvres is often served as the only foodstuffs at cocktail parties or happy hours where no other food will be offered.

Canapés are savory hors d'oeuvres made on a bread base like a cracker or pastry, are able to be picked up with your fingers and are only big enough for one or two bites. The word originally meant a mosquito netting over a bed (canopy), then came to mean the bed itself or a couch, then it became the term for the bread topped tidbits.

Crudites (crew-dee-tay) are raw vegetables sliced into thin strips, usually one bite size (to discourage double-dipping) and served with an accompanying dip or sauce. The original root word was cruditas, which is Latin for undigested food but the direct translation is crudité which is French for raw food.

Appetizers are the first course served at a meal, they are not really considered an hors d'oeuvre as they are created to harmonize with the following courses of the meal - not "outside the work". They do not have to be able to be eaten with the fingers, nor are they limited to one or two small bites of food. Appetizers can be traced back to Rome's first century where the upper class citizens commonly indulged in multi course meals, the appetizer would be the first course and generally a small serving of fruits, eggs and/or cheeses.

Amuse-Bouche is a single bite of food, perfectly presented, that is at the chef's discretion. You cannot order an amuse bouche off the menu as it is really a small teaser offered, usually gratis, by the chef as a sort of introduction to the chef's meal and cooking style. The term literally translates as mouth amuser. Occasionally the term amuse-gueule is used though it is not preferred by the more refined restaurants or chefs. "The amuse-bouche is the best way for a great chef to express his big ideas in small bites." - Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Finger Food is anything that can be eaten with the fingers and without using a utensil of some kind. Meat pies, samosas, egg rolls, wings, any food on a stick and even hots dogs are finger foods. These are not necessarily hors d'oeuvres or tiny foods.

TAPAS were given their own post last week.

Other terms for hors d'oeuvres/canapes/tiny snacks from different parts of the world: Italy - Antipasto, Middle East - Meze, Tapas - Spain and/or Spanish speaking countries, Ciccetti - Venice, Italy, Zakuski - Russia, Zensai - Japan. I also think the term Smorgasbord could be considered a table full of hors d'oeuvres!

I am very fond of all these Tiny Foods, probably because I like the idea of variety and different tastes. A large meal of one main dish can bore me, a plate of unique and interestingly presented little bites of food just gets me interested. Because I like any tidbit that can be eaten in one or two bites - whether they are hor d'oeuvres, canapés, amuse-bouche or tapas - I call them Tiny Foods! Tiny foods not to be mistaken for micro foods which are grown as miniature versions of an individual fruit or vegetable, though certainly these micro foods can be used to create a Tiny Food!

I hope you enjoyed these short little definitions and histories and feel free to add any information you might have on the subject of Tiny Foods! It's always fun to know something about the food you eat.




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20090302

QUICK TINY FOOD TIP - LAVOSH PIZZAS!


Just a quick idea for you, if you're fond of pizza and you like a crispy crust, try using lavosh crackers for your next Tiny Food snack!

Just spoon on your sauce of choice, layer on your toppings and cheeses and bake at 450 for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted!

Delicious and easy no recipe even required!

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If you have a Tiny Food question, please feel free to ask me in a comment and I'll respond back here in the comments section or in a new post!

My Favorite Tiny Food Recipes at PopArtDiva.Com
All my recipes for food and drink at the PopArtDiva Bistro
Buy Great Products at The DIVA of TINY FOODS Shoppe!
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