Dreamy's Delights

It's all about the food!

Creamy Pork and Cabbage Soup with Tortellini

It’s been chilly and we’re expecting a windy, rainy storm in the next couple of days. I had to visit the grocery store to pick up something for dinner. The only thing I knew walking in was that I wanted pork. After Thanksgiving and smoking a turkey and a beef roast, I wanted something different. I was originally thinking of pork steaks or something along those lines. However, as I wandered through the store I came up with a totally different idea. I wanted a creamy, hearty soup. As such, this is what I came up with…


4 lbs lean pork,cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 lb bacon, diced

4 TB butter

2 leeks, thinly sliced

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 head of celery, diced

3/4 small head of cabbage, diced

20 oz tortellini (I used 3 cheese stuffed)

1 qt beef stock

1 qt half and half

1/3 cup white whine

dried thyme

poultry seasoning

salt and white pepper to taste

Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add the bacon and render out the fat. Add the pork and brown. Remove the pork and bacon from the pot. Melt butter and add the leeks to the pot. Saute until tender and fragrant and the garlic and saute for one more minute.

Add the white wine to the pot and deglaze. Return the pork to the pot, add the stock, celery and seasonings. I didn’t really measure how much I put in but I’d guess at least a teaspoon of dried thyme and poultry seasoning. Taste it and adjust it as desired.

Bring the pot to a boil and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Add the half and half and the cabbage. I added a 1 inch by 2 inch piece of parmesan cheese rind. This addition added a tremendous amount of flavor but I let it boil a bit too much so it wound up looking a bit curdled. The flavor is outstanding but it’s not pretty lol.

After the cabbage is tender, add the tortellini and cook for another ten minutes or so until the pasta is tender and cooked through.

This is a very filling and hearty soup. I’m not really sure I would call it soup because it wasn’t very soupy lol. I don’t make very good “soup” because it’s always too thick. However, it only took me about an hour start to finish to make and it was REALLY tasty. Jene even went back for seconds and I’ve been nibbling from the pot after eating my first bowl full.

One more note: I’m writing this after having a wee bit to drink so if something doesn’t make sense, please post a message letting me know lol. 😀

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Missing in Action

As I’m sure everyone has noticed, I’ve been missing for awhile now. The Multiple Sclerosis has relapsed and I’ve been doing very little cooking for the last few months. Even Thanksgiving was much smaller this year and I didn’t try any new recipes. When the MS is active I’m extremely fatigued and in a lot of pain. The point of this post isn’t to whine, just to let y’all know why I haven’t been posting.

On a positive note, I’m making lasagna today and will be posting that recipe later today or tomorrow. I’m using some of the tomato sauce I put up last year and one of my favorite types of mushrooms, chanterelles. I actually found them at Costco for $10/lb which is a fabulous price. They run $24/lb at the mushroom growers stall at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. When I go to the store in a little bit I’m going to pick up some crimini and oyster mushrooms to go with the chanterelles.

Chanterelle mushrooms are a nice meaty mushroom that holds up beautifully in a hearty sauce. They also don’t get mushy during the long baking needed for a lasagna. And they’re completely gorgeous.


As you can see, they’re just pretty to look at as well as tasty to eat. I pulled this information from Wikipedia because I thought it really highlights how I feel about these mushrooms.

“Chanterelles as a group are generally described as being rich in flavor, with a distinctive taste and aroma difficult to characterize. Some species have a fruity odor, others a more woody, earthy fragrance, and still others can even be considered spicy. The golden chanterelle is perhaps the most sought-after and flavorful chanterelle, and many chefs consider it on the same short list of gourmet fungi as truffles and morels. It therefore tends to command a high price in both restaurants and specialty stores.[12]

There are many ways to cook chanterelles. Most of the flavorful compounds in chanterelles are fat-soluble, making them good mushrooms to sauté in butter, oil or cream. They also contain smaller amounts of water- and alcohol-soluble flavorings, which lend the mushrooms well to recipes involving wine or other cooking alcohols. Many popular methods of cooking chanterelles include them in sautés, soufflés, cream sauces, and soups. They are not typically eaten raw, as their rich and complex flavor is best released when cooked.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chanterelle

So hopefully my next post will be my lasagna recipe and include a lovely picture. 🙂


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today is a day to appreciate love. Usually people think about it in terms of romantic love but I prefer to think about it as love in general. The love we feels for our friends and family, the love we feel for the around us in general. It’s a day to remember compassion and acceptance to to kiss our sweethearts. Well, if you kiss your pets you’ll probably get fur all over your face and yes, I did lol. So here’s to all of you who take time out to read my blog. I love you!!

Now, in case you’re wondering what I fixed for dinner… Ribeye Steaks with Lemon Basil Fettuccine in cream sauce and tomato/asparagus salad. It was a simple meal but tasty and satisfying. For dessert we had a glass of Orange Moscato and Gingerbread Spice Chocolate.

The ribeyes were seasoned with plain salt and pepper and a bit of butter at the end. For the cream sauce I melted 3 TB of butter in a saute pan, added 1/3 cup of heavy cream, a tiny pinch of nutmeg, salt and white pepper. Once the cream had reduced by about half, I tossed in the fettuccine and about 1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese. This creates a coating of cream and parmesan on the noodles without leaving it swimming in a thick, greasy sauce. Finally the tomato/asparagus salad is the one I’ve posted here.  It wasn’t anything new or particularly excited but there’s a great deal of satisfaction in a meal well cooked.

I hope everyone enjoyed their day and spent it with people you love. 🙂

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Epic Tomato Sauce and Pappardelle Pasta

When I said I wasn’t going to be cooking over the weekend I wasn’t entirely truthful. I took part of the kitchen with me to Darren’s house and made dinner for us Saturday night. To give you an idea of how sad Darren’s kitchen is, he tried to give me a large pot, his only largish bowl and his cutting board because he didn’t realize they actually belonged to him lol.

My post yesterday was about the Spice and Tea Exchange on Fisherman’s Wharf. The other half of Saturday’s shopping trip was visiting the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building off the Embarcadero in SF. I’ve been living here for almost five years and this was the first time I’d ever made been. I have a new favorite farmer’s market and fortunately, it’s far enough away that I won’t go broke buying mushrooms and other fresh produce, high end meats, oysters/seafood and cheeses. Yes, you can find all those items there.

So here’s a list of what I got and where…

3 types of squash (round zucchini, gray squash, small yellow squash) – outside produce vendor

light green and red sweet peppers – outside vendor

fresh basil – outside vender

chicken of the woods, chanterelle and lobster mushrooms – inside, Far West Fungi – I could rhapsodize about this store for hours.. I could also spend a couple of hundred dollars buying nothing but fresh mushrooms. I LOVE mushrooms and the selection made my mouth drop and then I drooled all over myself, Jene and Darren. They have the basic white, cremini and shitake mushrooms… Oyster mushrooms are fairly standard for a mushroom vendor. From there it gets really exciting. Not only did they have the standard golden colored chanterelles, they had yellow foot and BLACK chanterelles! They had beautiful, bright red Lobster mushrooms and Chicken of the Woods which I’d heard of but never seen for sale. I will be going back next time I want to make mushroom risotto to get some of those lovely colors and textures.

Guanciale – inside at Boccolone. This is salt cured pork jowl. The flavor of the meat is similar to prosciutto but much fattier. Perfect for frying up to render the fat.

chuck roast – inside at Prather Ranch Meat Co. Chuck roast requires a long simmer to make it tender. This melted in our mouths.

This picture is the produce from the market that went into the sauce.

So here’s the recipe for the sauce I finally made.

2 quarts tomato sauce (I used the home made sauce I canned the week before.)

.40 lb guanciale – chopped

2 lbs chuck roast – cubed 1″

1 lb mixed mushrooms (I used chanterelle, lobster and chicken of the woods) – chopped

1.5 lbs mixed squash – chopped

2 small sweet peppers – chopped

1 medium onion – chopped

Fresh basil

Put the tomato sauce in a large pot over low heat.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, fry the guanciale to render out the fat. Add the beef in small batches to sear. Add to the pot with the tomato sauce. The chicken of the woods mushroom is large flat disk of a mushroom. It’s also very dry. It requires a long low simmer to achieve anything resembling a decent texture. I put it in with the meats at the beginning of the cooking. I let this mixture simmer for about 3 hours.

Using the same large skillet as for the meats (leave the remaining fat in the pan) add about 1 TB of butter, the remaining mushrooms, the onion and peppers. Sautee until the mushrooms release some water and add to the sauce. Simmer for another 45 minutes. Then add the chopped squash. Bring the heat up to medium low and simmer 10 minutes. Add chopped basil to taste. Serve over a hearty pasta.

For this dish I made pappardelle noodles. This is a traditional italian egg noodle (the same dough make fettucine or linguine) it’s just cut wider, about 1″ wide. The wider noodle stands up better to a heavy sauce. And, crazy that I am, I sat at Darren’s making noodles from scratch. It was worth it 🙂

Darren doesn’t own a strainer so to prevent the noodles from being soggy, I put them in a dishtowel. Odd but effective. Here you can see the wide width of the noodles. And here is a bowl of noodles topped off with the sauce and some grated parmesan cheese.

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