This soup contained leftover roast beef, leftover chicken, an old grilled turkey frank, half of a gourmet sausage from Costco, vegetables from dinner out a couple of days ago, some frozen leftover chicken broth with rice, fresh onions and garlic and whatever else was close at hand, including packaged chicken broth, fresh spinach and some Sauvignon Blanc. Then came the seasonings from her vast storehouse.
If you've never eaten at our house, and I daresay a goodly number of you have never had that opportunity, you won't know what a great cook my Lady Suzy is. Why, just a few weeks ago (after she drove the motorhome 150 miles over some pretty skaggy mountain highway and some of California's Interstate Highways) she produced a monumental spaghetti that you'd have to pay a big price for in a fine Italian restaurant.
Why, that spaghetti was gone so fast I didn't have a chance to take a picture of it, but I did have time to consume it along with a glass (or two) of fine Cabernet Sauvignon.
What was special about that special spaghetti? Heck, anyone can boil some pasta, poor on some Ragu sauce and sprinkle with Kraft Parmesan cheese, right? Well, my personal chef used whole grain angel hair, a bottled of roasted onion and garlic sauce, a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes and fresh chopped red onion, fresh celery, and curly kale. For seasoning, she added rosemary (from our garden) oregano, basil, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and cumin. For an extra kick, she threw in some freshly ground chipotle chili seasoning. Oh yeah, a serious dollop of red wine (the same Cabernet Sauvignon that accompanied the meal).
So anybody could use those ingredients, What made it special? Suzy comes from a family of chefs, and the knowledge just seeped in with her DNA. Her grandfather, Jacob, opened the dining room and kitchen at the Portland Hotel in Portand, Oregon.
|That's Grandpa Jacob on the right, with his brothers Frederick and Frank.|
|This is how the brothers appear today on the menu at Tavern & Pool, on-site at the Portland Hotel;!|
|This was the original caricature from which the menu drawing was taken. Absolutely love it!|
So Suzy has somehow always known how to put flavors, textures, aromas together with essential nutrients. Her Chicken Cacciatore passed the test with our Italian pastor who exclaimed it as good as his father ever put out. Suzy's mother's family was Lithuanian, but she never learned Grandma Zickus' secret for cooking a piece of round steak in a cast iron skillet so it was as tender as sirloin, or the combination of root vegetables you would eat until you were stuffed.
But mention sauerkraut --- and you'll eat Choucroute Garni, kraut and sausage, kraut with smoked pork, potatoes and carrots with a blend of spices that would please the culinary gods.
When we bought Rosie, our motorhome, I knew that the large spice rack built in would never be sufficient ...
So I designed and built this additional rack above the sink.
Guess what? Suzy filled that rack and still had seasonings, herbs, seeds and more leftover! When cooking, Suzy will take a whiff or a taste of what's on the stove, reach up and grab a bottle of something, shake it a few times over the dish and make it perfect.
Spaghetti, soup, chicken cacciatore --- what will we eat next in this phase of ... Our Life on Wheels?