After almost three weeks of river barging in France and being treated to meal after meal of fine dining, it has been a real shock to return to my own kitchen. The refrigerators in both houses were empty, there was a huge pile of laundry to be done and I felt that nothing that I cooked could compare to the delicacies that we had become used to eating.
However, I found a note waiting for me from our grandson Jack (who is now happily working as a line cook at The Goat's Beard Restaurant in Manayunk, Pa.) asking me to please send him a recipe for Tomato Soup. Coincidentally I also had on my desk several new cookbooks from Gooseberry Patch that I had been asked to review, and I was delighted that Gooseberry's "101 Stovetop Suppers" featured the recipe below for Sunday Meeting Tomato Soup. This is an easy- to-prepare recipe that needs only a grilled cheese sandwich to make it a full meal.
In yet another of my Gooseberry Patch cookbooks I came upon this recipe for Sweet Onion Casserole which is a wonderful starchy side dish that would go well with steak or hamburgers. I used Vidalia onions when we tested this.
Success breeds success, and so when I was in need of a dessert recipe that called for only ingredients that were already on hand, I turned to Gooseberry's "Our Favorite Cheap & Easy Recipes," where I discovered this recipe for Caramel Apple Cake. Oh, my goodness! The house smelled so delicious while this was baking.
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Sunday Meeting Tomato Soup
(A Gooseberry Patch recipe from "101 Stovetop Suppers")
1/2 cup butter, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, mined
1 quart half-and-half
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with croutons and shredded or shaved Parmesan cheese.
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add basil and sauté for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add tomatoes with juice and garlic (if using). Return to heat that has been reduced and simmer at very low temperature for 20 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool slightly. Working in batches, transfer tomato mixture to a blender; puree. Transfer back into saucepan and slowly whisk in half-and-half, mixing well. Return to medium-low heat to appropriate serving temperature. Add salt and pepper if needed. Makes about 6 hearty bowls.
Sweet Onion Casserole
(A Gooseberry Patch recipe from "Simple Shortcuts")
4 cups sweet onions, quartered and thinly sliced
Page 2 of 2 - 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter (divided usage)
1 (6-ounce) package cornbread stuffing mix (Pepperidge Farm used for testing)
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of celery soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs (Panko style used for testing)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet over low heat, sauté onions in 1/2 cup of the butter until tender and translucent. In a large bowl, combine dry stuffing mix, soup and sour cream and stir to blend. Fold in sautéed onions. Spread into a lightly greased 2-quart casserole. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet and sauté bread crumbs just until golden and toasted. Sprinkle over onions. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serves 8.
Caramel Apple Cake
(A Gooseberry Patch recipe from "Our Favorite Cheap & Easy Recipes")
2 cups pared, cored and sliced apples (about 3 medium apples)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups Bisquick-type baking mix
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup boiling water
Garnish: Vanilla ice cream or whipped topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x9-inch baking pan and set aside. Toss sliced applies in a bowl with lemon juice and set aside. In a medium bowl combine baking mix and granulated sugar and stir to blend well; stir in milk to form a smooth batter. Spread batter into prepared baking dish. Evenly divide apples over the batter. Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over apples slices. Pour boiling water over all. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Serve with appropriate garnish. Serves 4 to 6.