American Sniper & Shooters

liberty allows you to garnish these beauties any way your heart desires

liberty allows you to garnish these beauties any way your heart desires

And the Oscar goes to: Clint Eastwood (love him), Bradley Cooper (love him) and American Sniper (loved it)! Bet you are not surprised considering I am the proud mom of a US Navy Corpsman who was attached to a scout sniper platoon. Many of my family members were surprised I went to see the movie and asked, “Did you cry?” No tears. In fact, I left the theater feeling more proud than ever and thankful for men like my son and Chris Kyle.

making dinner in the dirt

making dinner in the dirt

Truthfully, I was hoping the movie would provide some clarity as to why William chose to extend his stay in the military. Why do the scout sniper training and why deploy again? What makes a man want to go back to a place where he is fired upon and where he risks being blown up? When your military obligation is complete why not come home?

the seat William was sitting in when this vehicle triggered an IED (improvised explosive device)

the seat William was sitting in when this vehicle triggered an IED (improvised explosive device)

These men have some kind of higher calling to defend and protect our freedom and there is no fighting that. They have a job to do and for whatever the reasons their job isn’t finished until they say so. What is sad is that these marines, sailors and soldiers can go through all of that terror only to come home to the good old USA and die in some inexplicable way. We need to take better care of our veterans. American Sniper, the movie, makes that perfectly clear.

on patrol

on patrol in Afghanistan

potato leek soup shooters

thank a Vet for your liberty to call this soup whatever you want

I really do hope the movie wins some awards, but in the meantime I have a winner of a recipe for you to try. It comes from my sweet friend, Mary. Mary was the first neighbor to greet us when we arrived in our new home. She always comes bearing delicious homemade gifts and this soup is no exception. I have adapted it only slightly from the cookbook, The Governor’s Table. A lady named Roma Reuther is credited as contributing the recipe to the book.

4 leeks

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

3 medium potatoes, peeled, sliced

3 cups chicken broth

1 ½ teaspoons salt

white pepper to taste

2 tablespoons flour or 1 tablespoon cornstarch

1-quart skim milk, divided

Garnishes: finely chopped chives, crisp cooked bacon, shredded cheddar cheese.

Trim leek roots and trim tops leaving about 2 1/2-inches of green. Cut a cross through root end and thoroughly wash removing any sand/dirt. Slice leeks finely. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add leeks and onion, stirring occasionally, until they are softened and taking on a golden color. Add potatoes, broth, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Puree in a blender or food processor; return to pot. Whisk flour or cornstarch with ½ cup of milk. Add to pot with remaining milk, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning with salt and pepper. Strain soup through a fine sieve to insure a super smooth texture, if desired. Soup can be served warm or chilled topped with garnishes. Serves 6 or many more as shooters. To easily fill shot glasses pour soup from a measuring cup or other vessel with a spout.

Remind Me & Red Miso Marinated Steak

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day

Losing you

Reminds me

Don’t wait

For a holiday

To tell someone

You love them

I love you always and forever

I love you always and forever

I will also remind you that you don’t need one more chocolate recipe this week. The truth is what your Valentine really wants is a delicious “sizzling hot” steak. Nothing says, “I love you” like a juicy piece of beef with beautiful grill marks. A porterhouse is the perfect steak for sharing with your sweetheart. It includes both a large t-bone (for him) and a smaller tenderloin filet(for her)…at least that’s how we do it.

miso marinated porterhouse steak

miso marinated porterhouse steak

You will find red miso paste in the refrigerated section of your local Asian market or Whole Foods store. The miso penetrates the meat and gives it that luxurious “aged” quality usually found in high end steak houses. Hope you love it! It sure beats chocolate.

you know you want it

you know you want it

Red Miso Marinated Steak

¼ cup red miso paste

¼ cup mirin

3 tablespoons sake or dry sherry

2 tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon grated ginger

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Porterhouse steak is my favorite but any steak will work

Place steaks in a zippered plastic bag. In bowl, whisk miso, mirin, sugar, sake, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and pepper; pour the marinade over steaks. Seal bag and marinate steak at room temperature for 30 minutes or as long as 2 days in the refrigerator. Remove steaks from marinade; blot dry with paper towels. Grill or broil, turning, to desired doneness.

The View From the Bench & Winter Squash Bisque

thank you Rich Beebe for the wreath and photo

thank you Rich Beebe for the wreath and photo

It’s winter and the view from Will’s Bench could not be more beautiful. One would think the bench in the cold of winter would be a lonely place, but not by the look of all the footprints in the snow. It’s getting plenty of visitors and that sure warms my heart.

grateful for all these foot prints in the snow

grateful for all these foot prints in the snow

My friend, Rich who lost his own daughter just one year ago dug deep to find a way of honoring his Meghan by giving to others. He placed this wreath on Will’s bench during the advent season. Isn’t it beautiful? It just warms my heart.Will's Bench Tyler is one of Will’s best friends. We keep close. Recently, we were together to celebrate his college graduation and took time out to visit the bench. His mom says we have a “special connection” and that really does warm my heart. Even more heart-warming is the fact that Tyler proposed to the lovely Lauren at the bench. William was there in spirit and she said “yes”

thanks to Tyler's mom for this photo

thanks to Tyler’s mom for this photo

Now say “yes” to a steaming bowl of winter squash bisque. It’s just what the physician assistant ordered to chase those winter blues away and warm your heart. Made with butternut squash and coconut milk this soup is gluten-free, dairy free and packed with Asian flavors and vegetables.

Thai Curry Butternut Bisque

Thai Curry Butternut Bisque

Thai Curry Butternut Squash Bisque

1 large butternut squash, seeded, peeled, diced

2-tablespoons canola oil

1-tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon chopped lemon grass

2 teaspoons green curry paste or more or less to taste

1 large onion, chopped

¾ cup chopped celery

¼ cup seeded and chopped jalapeno pepper, plus additional for garnish

1 (14 oz) can chicken broth

1 (14 oz) can coconut milk

2 tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar

1 lime, halved

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven 400F. Line a large rimmed, baking sheet with foil. Toss the squash with 1 tablespoon of oil and spread out in an even layer on prepared pan. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast about 30 minutes or until just tender. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil and butter in a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add lemon grass, curry paste, onion, celery and jalapeno; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 6 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add chicken broth, coconut milk, sugar, juice from half the lime and ¾ of the roasted butternut squash. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. (Soup may also be pureed in batches in a regular blender). Taste and season with salt and pepper and balance out with additional sugar +/or lime juice. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with remaining roasted squash and minced jalapeno or chopped cilantro.

winter squash wonderland

winter squash wonderland