This is my fourth installment of my '12 Days of Christmas, Food ~ Wine ~ Fun', and today's theme is 'Laughter'...
Laugh and spread some sunshine...
I think most pictures, and old stories cast Santa Claus as a jolly soul who takes his task in life with stride and ease, and we should all take this to heart...
Well I find that humor has helped me through rough times. To be honest the holiday season is not my favorite time of the year, since I lost my daughter. I do enjoy a good joke, and finding the funny side of life. My father taught me to never give up, that is was okay to feel worn down, but get back up and strive for a positive existence. Bring laughter to others, and always deliver a good punch line.
Why don't you just smile for a week, maybe even thirty days, and see what that can do for others!
When I find a fellow blog who can get along with me back and forth with my silly comments, or sends me a good joke via email, well I love it! One guy who can really smoke most out with his infectious joking and laughter is Chris @ Nibble Me This. He also can cook up some fantastic food, and his camera skills rock! Thanks Chris, and thanks to all the others, you know who you are!
Chris recently posted a beer cheese soup recipe, and realizing I had not had this soup since I was in high school, and oh man that was thirty years ago! Where have I been? I have had cheese soups here and there, but nothing as good as I remembered at Baby Doe's Matchless Mine. A Dallas icon for years off the side of the hill on I-35, with their ever so popular 'free' appetizer of beer cheese soup. Growing up poor meant we did not eat out at places like that, only an occasional free pizza for our birthday from Shakey's Pizza Parlor. I was treated to that experience when I won first place in a 'Speech & Drama' class as a junior.
My son at an early age also developed a taste for soup, and when a local restaurant began serving it in bread bowls, he flipped. So, thus began my making bread bowls a tradition for him.
This is the recipe Chris had posted, but of course I tweaked it a bit, due to hubby drank all my Fat Tire Beer. All he had to offer up was some Scottish Ale, which worked, but might be a bit heavy for non beer drinkers. I also used Coleman's' dry mustard. This is has more of a bite than regular mustard. I also decided to add broccoli for added fiber. Not to mention eating it out of the bread bowls I made the night before.
Using my favorite 'Bread recipe', and shaping it into three medium sized rounds; bake, and let cool. Once they have cooled slice off the top, and hollow out enough room for soup. Pressing down interior to keep bowl from leaking. I also let mine sit out over night in a paper bag to harden just enough to soften back up with the hot soup hit the interior. Fill with soup, and if it runs over...so what if it defeats the purpose of cleaning more dishes. Laugh and tell the spouse they are cleaning up tonight!
Eating the bread and soup together is a Delicious treat!
European Street Style Beer Cheese Soup
1 cup onion chopped
1/2 cup carrot finely diced
1/3 cup celery finely diced
1/2 cup butter
3/4 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
12 ounces beer
3 cups chicken broth up to 5 cups if desired.
4 cups cheddar cheese shredded
2 cups half and half
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
1/2 cup Flour
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Sauté carrots, onions, and celery in butter until the onions are translucent
Stir in flour and cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes, whisking constantly, making sure it does not burn.
Stir in beer (must be first to cook off the alcohol), paprika, mustard, Worcestershire, and broth. Use wire whisk to smooth. Add cheese, slowly bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Feel free to mix up the cheese or a use a blend of cheeses, such as cheddar and Parmesan, sharp cheddar and colby-jack, or whatever. Tonight’s blend was some of the smoked cheeses that I cold smoked last week, including mild cheddar, white cheddar, and fontina.
-I used a mixed shredded Mexican cheese blend
Remove from heat and fold in half and half (or heavy cream if you want to get that first heart attack out of the way tonight). Add Tabasco. Serve w/ extra Tabasco on the side and fresh popcorn as garnish.
-I folded in chopped steamed broccoli florets
PS. I forgot to share that the inside of the bread bowls will be frozen and used when I need bread crumbs, or I must confess I ate the first batch, dipping it in the soup...I'm bad!