Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pasta with Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1 pound (16 ounces) small shell pasta
  • 6 pieces thick cut applewood smoked bacon (Wright's®)
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 10 tablespoons olive oil, plus a bit more
  • 2-3 large clove of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon McCormack® Peppercorn Medley


Using kitchen shears, cut the bacon into 1/4 inch strips along the length of the pieces.  Put into a pan and cook over medium heat until nicely browned, stirring periodically to prevent burning and ensure even cooking.

While the bacon is cooking, mince garlic and set aside.  Add water to your pasta pot and bring to a boil.  When the bacon is finished, let rest on paper towels to soak up excess grease.  Now add the pasta to the boiling water.

While the pasta is cooking, combine mustard, garlic, balsamic vinegar, thyme, salt, and pepper in a glass bowl or 2-cup measuring cup.  Stir thoroughly.  Then, add the olive oil one tablespoon at a time, stirring vigorously as you go to emulsify the dressing.

When the pasta is finished, drain thoroughly and then return to a large bowl.  Stir a bit to let some of the heat escape.  Then pour the dressing over the pasta in thirds, stirring throughly as you go.

Serve with crumbled bacon on top.

Myrtle's Note:  I liked the vinaigrette from the Grilled Asparagus with Bacon and Mustard Vinaigrette so much that I tried it with pasta, doubling the recipe.  I found it to be tasty.

Yield:  8 servings

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Roasted Broccoli Beer Cheese Soup


  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 whole head broccoli
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 12 oz bottle Honey Brown Lager
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 8 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Cholua® Chipotle Hot Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon McCormack® Chipotle pepper (ground)
  • ground thyme
  • Redmond's Real Salt, to taste
  • Kulp's seasoning salt
  • smoked paprika
  • McCormack® Peppercorn Medley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees


Slice the tippy-top off the bulb of garlic.  Drizzle on olive oil.  Liberally sprinkle on salt and peppercorn medley.  Wrap up in foil and place it in the oven.  Roast 55-60 minutes.

Line a small metal pan with foil (for easy clean-up) and place the bell pepper on it side.  Roast for 40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes.

Line a small metal pan with foil (for easy clean-up).  Cut off the bottom and top of your onion.  Peel it.  Cut into half and then six wedges.  Massage the sides of each wedge with olive oil.  Sprinkle on salt.  Then liberally sprinkle on peppercorn medley and thyme.  Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, flipping to the other side of the wedge after about 15 minutes.  The wedges will eventually fall apart and you might want to stir them around a bit after another 15 minutes.

Cut off the broccoli florets from the whole head of broccoli.  Put in a wide shallow bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and toss until all are coated.  Spread out on a metal pan, making sure all the flat sides are face down and the sprout sides are upward.  Sprinkle seasoning salt and smoked paprika over each piece of broccoli.  Roast for 25 minutes until nicely browned.

Whilst all the roasting is going on, grate the cheeses and set aside.

Once all the roasting is completed, put the broccoli in a blender.  Using a tip of a regular knife to scoop out each clove of now roasted garlic and add it to the blender.  Add in the pieces of the roasted onion.  Peel the skin off the bell pepper and carefully cut it open.  Remove the seeds, but try to keep the juices so both the flesh and juices can be added to the blender.  Add chipotle hot sauce and chipotle ground pepper.  Add 1/2 of the bottle of beer.  Purée until smooth.  Adding a bit more beer if needed.  Set aside the rest of the beer for later.

In a sauteuse pan, melt the butter over medium heat.  While you are doing so, microwave the milk for two minutes to scald it.  Once melted, slowly stir in the flour until smooth. Continue stirring as the flour cooks to a light, golden color, about 3 minutes.  It will become a bit frothy.  Increase the heat to medium-high and every so slowly whisk the hot milk into the roux. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium low. Continue simmering until the flour has softened and become completely smooth, about 5-10 minutes.  Then very, very, very slowly begin adding in the grated cheese, handful by handful, stirring thoroughly until completely melted between handfuls.

Once all the cheese has been mixed in, slowly add the puréed mixture into the pan, stirring frequently.  Use the remaining beer to loosen the purée stuck to the sides of the blender with a light pulsing.  Pour that into the pan.  Allow the soup to simmer for a few minutes.

Serve hot with sourdough bread.

Myrtle's Note:  I saw this recipe for roasted broccoli soup and thought about using it as a starter base for trying to make a broccoli cheddar soup, which I have wanted to do.  The recipe suggested roasting garlic pealed in a pan, but that is not the way to roast garlic.  I also Googled the roasting of onions and not one recipe mentioned chopping them.  So, I followed my own knowledge about roasting things and went from there.

At first I thought about just substituting the roasted vegetables with the rutabaga and parsnips in Roasted Rutabaga and Parsnips Beer Cheese Soup, but instead started with a basic béchamel sauce and went from there.

Finally, if roasting all in one oven, arranging all your pans on a single rack and adding in the other vegetables as the clock winds down from roasting the garlic, stick with the 400 degrees.  If you have two ovens to use, roast the broccoli in a second oven at 425 degrees.  That is the better roasting temperature for broccoli.

Yield:  6 servings

Source:  Myrtle, but inspired by