Soup, Stew and a Snow Storm at Sue’s

This storm was so big, it had a name:  Jonas.  With nearly record-breaking snowfall what’s an apartment bound New Yorker to do?  Cook and eat of course!!!!  We love sitting around and sharing a cheese and meat plate before dinner.  This soup is real comfort food and perfect for the first night of a blizzard.  Get the recipe here.  Comfort Soup

Dinner that night was my grandmother’s Irish stew.  A real stick to your ribs meal. THAT's comfort food... stew with dumplings

…now THAT’s comfort food… stew with dumplings.

If you simply follow the steps in my handwritten recipe, you’ll create a great stew.  The dumplings are right here:  Dumplings!

final_300dpiThe Divas dish on Sue’s dish.     Sue:  I’ll mention a couple of things about the stew and dumplings.  You can use chuck cut into 2 inch pieces for the stew.  Be very patient browning it.  If you crowd too much in the pot at once the meat steams rather than browns.  Use 2 tbsp of butter to brown the meat.  Add more butter if you need to — it’s just stew not some secret formula.  When making the dumplings don’t over mix them.  The batter  will be very lumpy.  When you drop them into the stew it thickens the broth.  Mimi:  It absolutely tickles me to go through Sue’s ancient recipes and discover these handwritten, well-worn pieces of paper.  That’s how you know it’s good food … they’ve stood the test of time.  I’m  not a big root vegetable or leek fan so I’ll pass on the soup.  But, that stew with dumplings …oh boy… get in my belly now!  My first attempt at making dumplings was a real mess so, I definitely should give it another shot.



Sue and Johnny Cook up a Storm


We were hanging around on a beautiful weekend in Buck Hill Falls and Johnny asked: “what should we make for dinner that feels like Fall?”   We were tossing ideas around.  Naturally, I wasn’t into a big complicated meal and didn’t want too much fussing.  This became a joke after a while with everyone ignoring me.  Johnny claims that cooking relaxes him.  So,  we settled on roasted butternut squash soup, a roasted chicken over root vegetables and a variation on Jacque Pepin’s classic tarte tatin.

It’s a small town and grocery shopping at Shop Rite  we ran into MImi.  (We all agree that Shop Rite’s produce is the best around.)  Mimi was off to make her first batch of handmade pasta (which you’ve already seen).  We went in search of pre-chopped butternut squash (which meant less work for me!)

Here are the results of the whole family pitching in.  Even the grandchildren, Leslie and Kelly, got involved.  One peeled all the carrots, the other peeled all the potatoes.

I had to laugh.  I though the tarte tatin Johnny made was perfect yet, he was disappointed.  He felt it was lacking because the apples were not golden delicious and he can tell the difference.  (Sounds a little like Mimi, doesn’t he?)

… and a Diva “Dishes”.

That’s one beautiful roasted chicken and “Diva-worthy” tarte tatin.  When I saw Sue and her sons in Shop Rite, I complimented Johnny on his culinary skills — very impressive!  What would you expect?  He learned from the best!

Mimi’s Sausage, Bean, Escarole and Fennel Soup


One day it’s 55 degrees and sunny and the next day it’s snowing.  For some reason I always expect March will be warmer than it actually is.  Plus, everyone (including me) has a cold so I’m making a “cure all” soup to warm us and make us feel better.  This soup is so hearty all you really need is a little salad and some bread and you have a great meal.  Plus, I love the combination of sweet Italian sausage and fennel.

Italian sausage, white bean, escarole  and fennel soup

Escarole salad

Parmesan crusted garlic bread

Blood orange sections

Vignetti Del Sole Montepulciano d’Abruzzo  2011

For a step by step guide on how to warm up your Wednesday with this soup, follow the Diva to our website.