Cooking From Memory ~ A Recipe Journal

Cheese Tortellini Soup

Posted in Soups, Stews & Gumbos by Paul Gauche on March 31, 2010

It was, as I recall, a late-Monday-morning menu brainstorming session taking place in the Deli section of a large wholesale grocery store. We were pondering the approaching evening meal for about one hundred of our closest friends and the need for a third dinner option to fit nicely somewhere between Parmesan Chicken and three different pastas with a variation of sauces. At a point just after locating the Feta and cherry tomatoes for the salad bar we landed on how to compliment those other fine offerings.

Tortellini Soup. Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

~ Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 pound ground italian sausage
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1-2 teaspoons Italian Spice mix or Penzeys Tuscan Sunset
  • 5-6 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 head celery, sliced
  • 1 28-ounce can Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomatoes with Basil
  • 1 32-ounce carton chicken broth (about 4 cups)
  • 1 15 ounce can kidney beans
  • 1 large container cheese tortellini


~ Method

Sauté the bacon and sausage in the oil, add the onion, garlic, carrots and celery for just a couple minutes. Stir in the spices. Add the tomatoes and the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a slow simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the kidney beans and the tortellini. Cook for another 30 minutes until the tortellini is tender.

 ~~ With thanks to Handt Hanson and Connie Nagel


Pan Roasted Peppercorn Steaks

Posted in Beef by Paul Gauche on March 23, 2010

Ingredients ~

  • 6 filets of beef—6 ounces each
  • 5 Tablespoons peppercorns, crushed
  • 5 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 shallots minced
  • 1 ½ cups red wine
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoon unsalted butter

Method ~

Heat the peppercorns and the olive oil in a skillet over low heat until faint bubbles appear. Continue to cook until the peppercorns are fragrant. Remove from the heat and cool then combine with salt. Rub the steaks thoroughly with the mixture, cover with plastic wrap and let set 1 hour at room temperature.

Meanwhile, set oven temperature to 425º degrees. Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet over med high heat. Place the steaks in the skillet with a piece of rosemary under it. Cook without moving until brown crust has formed 3-4 minutes. Using tongs, flip the steaks with the rosemary cooking the other side about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and transfer the steaks to a hot baking sheet. Roast 3-4 minutes for rare, 5-7 minutes for medium rare. Transfer steaks to a wire rack and let set 3-5 minutes.

Sauce ~

Combine wine, vinegar, shallots in a medium saucepan and simmer over medium low – to medium heat and reduce to ¾ cup. This may take 20 minutes. Add dried cherries. While steaks are resting reheat the sauce. Stir in 2 Tablespoons butter. Serve over the Steak.

~~ With thanks to Linda Bachman

Quinoa Black Bean Salad

Posted in Salads by Paul Gauche on March 23, 2010

Ingredients ~

  • 1 cup quinoa, (pronounced ‘keen-wah’) washed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Juice of 2 fresh limes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 5 green onions, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 Method ~

Wash and rinse the quinoa. In a medium saucepan, bring the quinoa and water to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook until al the water is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Let cool.

Dressing ~

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, cumin and red pepper flakes.

Combine cooled quinoa, black beans, tomatoes and onions in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss in the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Chill and serve.

Cheese Soufflé For One

Posted in Breakfast & Brunch by Paul Gauche on March 12, 2010

Ingredients ~

  • 2 ½ teaspoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • Large pinch of salt
  • Small pinch of paprika
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup grated cheese such as Cheddar or Swiss, tightly packed

 Note: Any oven-safe, straight-sided dish with a 2-cup capacity will work well for this recipe. You can also vary the recipe by using 3 Tablespoons of a finely chopped cooled green vegetable, sautéed mushrooms, or minced ham, in which case only use 1 Tablespoons of grated cheese, like Swiss, in addition to the Parmesan.

Method ~

Cover the inside of two smaller individual serving size ramekins or soufflé dish with ½ teaspoon of softened butter and sprinkle the Parmesan over the buttered surfaces. Preheat the oven to 425°. In a small cooking pot, melt 2 teaspoons butter and stir in the flour. Cook this gently over low heat for just a minute, and then remove it from the heat. Pour in the milk, whisking rapidly, and return the pot to medium-low heat to simmer for another minute, stirring constantly as the sauce thickens. Season this with salt and paprika. Remove from heat, and whisk in the egg yolk.  Put the egg whites in a clean bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Add a dollop of egg white to the butter, flour and milk mixture along with about half of the grated cheese. Then gently fold in the reaming egg whites and cheese; transfer everything to the prepared ramekins or soufflé dish. Place on a baking sheet, and set it in the middle of the oven. Turn the heat down to 375° and bake 18 minutes, until the soufflé has risen and the top is lightly browned.