Month: November 2015

Creamy, Earthy, Chestnut Soup

So I still have chestnuts in my freezer. Only a few now. A few weeks back I was gifted a giant box filled with chestnuts. I roasted them, made a soft, delicious, morbid (haha) cake, and I still had more than a few chillin’ (literally) in my freezer. It’s a cool, blustery, leaf-blowing day today so I decided to make some soup for dinner.

Thankfully, I already had most of the ingredients for this soup on-hand. I’m aware that most people don’t keep random shitake mushrooms on-hand. But alas, I had some dried ones in my cupboard. I don’t remember what they were originally intended to be used for. This soup was quick & easy. The thing that took the longest was that I didn’t have any vegetable stock, or chicken stock either for that matter on-hand. I know, random shitakes, no stock. So I had to crank out a quick one.

Creamy, Earthy, Chestnut Soup

4-6 servings


  • about 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped small
  • 1 carrot, chopped small
  • 1/2 a small white onion, chopped to the same size as celery & carrot
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I used Black Garlic for an extra earthy note.)
  • 1 oz package dehydrated shitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 C dry white wine or sherry
  • 2 C chestnuts, roasted & shelled (directions for roasting here)
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 6 C vegetable stock or broth
  • 1 1/2 C half & half
  • Kosher salt & black pepper to taste


  1. First, you will need to rehydrate your mushrooms. Here’s how: Put your dehydrated mushrooms in a glass bowl or large, glass measuring cup. Heat some water to boiling; you will need enough water to completely cover the mushrooms. I like to use my electric kettle. When the water is hot, pour it over the mushrooms making sure to cover them thoroughly. If any begin to float, put them down using a wooden spoon. Let the mushrooms soak for about 15-20 mins or until soft. Drain the mushrooms and reserve the soaking liquid for flavoring future soups, sauces, etc.
  2. When the mushrooms are rehydrated, chop them to roughly the same size as the carrots, celery, and onion. It doesn’t need to be perfect, since you will be pureeing the soup later.
  3. Heat EVOO in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
  4. Add onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Saute for 2-3 mins until the onion begins to become translucent. Add the mushrooms, and saute another 3-5 mins until mixture has softened.
  5. Pour in the wine/sherry, chestnuts, and spices. Combine well.
  6. Add the stock/broth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, covered, 20-30 mins or until the chestnuts have softened.
  7. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Always use caution when pureeing/blending hot liquids, as they can splatter.  safety
  8. Pour in the half & half. Heat over low heat, while stirring until hot.
  9. Season to taste with Kosher salt & black pepper.
  10. Enjoy with crusty bread for dipping!

Apple Cake Update!!

I stand corrected. The apple cake recipe I published a few weeks ago is similar to, but not the same as my late Aunt Doris’ recipe. It is a dense cake with a sweet apple topping, but this cake is much bigger and will definitely feed a crowd. There’s less oooey-gooey, cinnamony goodness in the topping; although you could make that topping and put it on this cake…


Without further ado, here’s Aunt Doris’ cake, recipe via my Aunt Helen, Doris’ daughter.

Aunt Doris’ Legendary Apple Cake (the real one)


For the cake:

  • 3 pounds (about 4) apples, peeled & cut into wedges (I used Fujis since they were on sale.)
  • 1C shortening
  • 1C granulated sugar
  • 1 1/3 C milk
  • 3 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • a few sprinkles of cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Peel & cut apples into wedges.
  3. Cream shortening & sugar until well combined.
  4. Add milk, egg, & vanilla.
  5. Folk in flour, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Spread in an 11″X17″ pan.
  7. Put apples in the dough, overlapping slightly, and pressing down gently.
  8. Make the topping. Sprinkle the top of the cake with 1 tbsp of granulated sugar, put pats of butter across the top of the cake, then sprinkle with 1 tbsp of sugar & a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  9. Bake at 350F for 30-40 mins or until edges turn golden brown.
  10. Best when served hot!

I wrote an e-book!

This week I finished the manuscript for, & published my first e-book. I’ve been at work on recipes & banter for a cookbook for the better part of a year. It’s always been my dream to write & publish a cookbook, in fact, that was my main motivation when I started blogging. I decided to self-publish, mostly to see if I could do it. The process itself was fairly easy, and if it turns out that e-books are a good outlet for me, then I will definitely be publishing more of them in the future. Anyone who has self-published and has any pointers, please leave them in the comments.

As you know, I really dig fish in a can. The e-book is entitled “Reluctant Food Blogger Loves: Fish in a Can” & is available on Nook & Kindle for $2.99 (that’s less than a latte folks). It includes 12 recipes all featuring some type of fish from a can. It’s a good read for foodie types who are looking to try new things, or if you’re someone looking to save some pennies & pair down your family’s meal budget. It’s also available in both formats for sharing, so if you get it & you like it, share with a friend!

Click here to buy my e-book for Amazon Kindle.

Click here to buy my e-book for B&N Nook.

Roasted Potatoes & Smoked Kippers

Quick post on a quick & tasty supper I made the other day. Kippers are a whole herring, sliced in half from head to tail, gutted, salted or pickled, then smoked. This process is called “kippering”. They are cheap and tasty. I usually keep a few cans on-hand for quick suppers like this one…

Roasted Potatoes and Smoked Kippers

serves 4


  • yellow potatoes, skin on, cut into eighths, about 3-4 per person
  • 1 lemon
  • EVOO
  • Kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • dill
  • 1 can of smoked kippers per person


  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Place cut potatoes into a large bowl.
  4. Open cans of kippers and pour juice/oil over potatoes. Set kippers aside.
  5. Toss potatoes in kipper liquid.
  6. Squeeze the juice of the lemon over the potatoes.
  7. Add EVOO until potatoes are well-coated.
  8. Spread potatoes on baking sheet in one layer.
  9. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and dill to taste.
  10. Bake 30-35 mins, moving the potatoes around once or twice during cooking.
  11. Remove the potatoes from the oven, and add the kippers, breaking them up into small pieces and distributing them evenly.
  12. Cook another 5 mins to heat the kippers.

Serving suggestion:

Eat potatoes with eggs, in place of traditional hashbrowns.