I'm of the opinion that the BGC's Blackridge Cookbook is one of the best community cookbooks ever. It contains some true Blackridge classics, like Bill Arthur's chicken wings, Maria Pegnato's wedding soup, Adrienne O'Toole's ginger cookies, Grandma Viviani's pizza, and Kathy McCann's berry salad--among many others. Today, I'm making one of my favorites, BCA Craft Show Kitchen Vegetable Soup.
This recipe has been passed around Blackridge throughout the years. I know that at one time Barb Trusilo gave the recipe to Darlene Turner, and Darlene passed it to my former neighbor, Mary Lynn Haynes, who made it from time to time. Darlene also could be relied upon to brew up a big vat of this soup—called at that time “Rainy Day Vegetable Soup” and made with a chicken stock—plus equally big vats of her famous ham and bean soup and her steaming hot chicken noodle soup, for the big area craft show that we used to hold at the clubhouse every November. I used to volunteer in the kitchen a lot during those years and this soup was a big favorite, and boy, does it smell great when it is cooking! I have substituted vegetable stock in my version, but omnivores can use the original chicken stock. I have found the recipe to be very flexible and very easy to make in bulk and freeze (without the pasta or rice, which can be added when you are ready to serve.)
BCA Craft Show Kitchen Vegetable Soup
3-5 Tbsp. olive oil
2 leeks, cleaned and chopped (use all of white and part of green)
2 onions, halved and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced (or more to taste)
8 cloves garlic, minced (Yes, 8!)
2 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
2 quarts vegetable stock, or 2 lg. vegetable bouillon cubes dissolved in 2 quarts water
2 28 oz. cans Italian plum tomatoes with juice
1/2 - 1 tsp. cayenne, or more to taste
1 tsp. dried thyme, or more to taste (Other combinations of herbs may be used.)
salt and pepper to taste
2 c. stemmed fresh spinach (or more to taste)
1/2 c. rice, pasta shells, or small egg bows
In a large pot, heat the olive oil and add the leeks, onions, carrots, garlic, and zucchini. Sauté these vegetables about 15 minutes, then add the vegetable stock, tomatoes, cayenne, thyme, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, then add spinach and pasta or rice. Simmer 30 more minutes. Serve hot with grated Parmesan. Enjoy!
Brainchild of BGC President Emeritus Lil Huguley, the Blackridge Cookbook was one of the most successful and most enjoyable fundraisers we have ever had. (There are probably even a few copies of this classic still available. Post here if you are interested in purchasing one.) We will have some available for sale at the upcoming Blackridge Garden Tour on June 29, 2011.
We know the cookbook is popular, and we also know that one of the most popular recipes is Grandma Viviani's Pizza. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to give you the link to the video of Rose Del Presto (author of several other recipes in the Blackridge Cookbook) preparing the pizza live. Enjoy!
We hope to see you all at the Bloomin' Corners benefit at Longue Vue Club on March 19. LVC typically works with us to concoct a signature cocktail, to be available at the cash bar, along with their other offerings, and this year, we are featuring this delicious libation to compliment our special entrée choices of Mediterranean Stuffed Pork, Salmon with Fruit Salsa, or Vegetable Paella.
Hasta la Vista
2 oz. orange juice
2 oz. cranberry juice
1 splash grenadine
4 oz. Absolut Mandarin Vodka
1 oz. 7-Up, chilled
Shake vodka, orange juice, cranberry juice and grenadine with ice, and strain into a highball glass. Add 7-Up. Stir lightly and serve with a fruit garnish. Enjoy!
Thank you to the more than 60 members, guests, Blackridge neighbors, and ladies from nearby garden clubs who filled the BCA yesterday to see Sherwood Taylor’s excellent presentation. I have an “in” with the presenter, so I’ll see if I can post some of his tips about how to create your own holiday magic.
One thing I can write about with authority is the menu, and as we had a lot of requests for the recipes for the winter squash soup, made by our president, and the quiche, I’ll pass those along here. We served the soup and quiche with a mixed greens salad, topped with dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, and Russian dressing; gingerbread with a dollop of whipped cream for dessert; and coffee, tea, and spring water to drink.
BGC Spinach Quiche
(Adapted from Horn of the Moon Cookbook, http://amzn.com/0060960388 )
6 cups (or about 1 pound) fresh baby spinach leaves, steamed
1 unbaked 10-inch quiche or deep-dish pie shell
½ teaspoon dried basil
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
1 Tablespoon unbleached white flour
1 ½ cups light cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Press excess water out of spinach leaves. Spread spinach on bottom of pie shell, and sprinkle basil over it. Mix together feta and cheddar cheeses in medium-sized bowl, then toss flour into cheeses. Spread cheese mixture over spinach. Beat eggs well, add cream, and pour over cheese.
Bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees, and then reduce heat to 325 degrees, and bake for approximately an additional 45 minutes, until center is set and top is golden and puffy. Cool for about 5 minutes before slicing. Makes 6 servings.
BGC Butternut Squash Bisque
2 medium butternut squash (3 lbs total)
1 Tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
½ cup 2% milk
¼ teaspoon dried thyme, or ¾ teaspoon fresh thyme
1 can (14.5 oz) reduced sodium chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups water