Thursday, January 19, 2012

Not Your Average Split Pea Soup

I love comfort foods, especially soups, on a cold winter day. Since we have been getting snow for the past week, I thought I would revisit an old favorite. When I think of split pea soup, I always thing of using a ham bone and leftover ham. My version uses bacon as a twist, with no ham bones involved! Here is my recipe:

Split Pea Soup with Bacon

2 cups split peas
4 rashers bacon
2 Tablespoons bacon fat (reserved from cooking rashers)
1 cup chopped celery (about 2 large stalks)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken, turkey, or veggie stock
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Sour Cream or Creme Fraiche to serve

Soak split peas for several hours to overnight. I put mine on to soak in the morning and they were ready by evening. Make sure you give them lots of water, because they plump up dramatically!
Cook rasher of bacon until crisp, reserving fat. Cool, crumble and set aside.
Heat bacon fat in a large saucepan. Add celery along with a pinch of salt and cook for a couple of minutes. Add, shallot and garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then add white wine. Cook until wine reduces almost in half, just a couple of minutes. Add drained split peas along, along with thyme and Dijon mustard. Cook until peas break down and soup begins to get creamy. Taste for seasoning and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in parsley and reserved crumbled bacon. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche.

Split Pea Soup with Bacon, served with Sour Cream

I served mine with some cheddar cornbread muffins, which was the perfect compliment! I hope you enjoy this recipe for a classic dish - with a twist!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bailey's Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse

Well, it was requested for me to share the recipe for the dessert I made for my little family's New Year's Day meal. I was looking for a rich dessert that was easy to make, but still rich and decadent. This fit the bill! It took very little time to put together, but looked like I had spent quite a bit of time on it! The texture was a cross between a mousse and a cheesecake, the flavor rich with Bailey's, chocolate, and cheesecake. And best of all, it's a no-bake dessert! Here is the recipe...

Bailey's Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (semi-sweet chocolate morsels may be used too)
1 Tablespoon butter
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to firm peaks

Melt Chocolate, butter, and 1 tablespoon Bailey's over a double boiler. Set aside. Combine the cream cheese and sugar, beat to combine. Slowly add in 4 tablespoons of Bailey's and stir until smooth and creamy.
Slowly combine the chocolate mixture with the cream cheese mixture - it will thicken quickly! Stir in 1/4 of the whipped cream, then fold in the remaining until combined. Spoon into serving dishes and top with chocolate curls (use a vegetable peeler on the side of a chocolate bar). Makes 6 servings.

Bailey's Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse
I wish you all a joyous 2012, and I look forward to sharing more tips, recipes and fun with all of my readers!