Caprese BLT with Balsamic Syrup & Sundried Tomato Mayo

What a heat wave we’ve got going on!  And who wants to cook when it’s this stinkin hot!!  But you still have to eat so how about a BLT?  How about dressing up the old stand-by BLT and making it a Caprese BLT?

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I made the bacon the easy way, I nuked it!!!  I’d rather do it in the oven but what’s the point of firing up the oven when I’m trying to avoid cooking and making the kitchen hotter than it already is!!

I found this bread at grocery store, I have to admit, as many times as I have browsed the bakery aisles at my store I have never seen this bread.  Actually, it’s a roll.  Saloio Padinha.  Found it over by the muffins, bagels, and….rolls!!!  Who knew!  I cut the roll in half and popped it in my toaster over until it was just slightly toasted.

Sliced my tomato and the mozzarella cheese, gathered my lettuce (about a half cup) and at the last-minute decided to make the mayo a little fancy.  I put about a tablespoon of chopped sun-dried tomatoes in the tiny little food chopper (electric) that I have, and sent them on a whirl.  Then I added about a 1/4 cup of mayo and sent that on a little trip until it was blended.

I also made balsamic syrup.  I put 1 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and added about  a heaping 1/3 cup of brown sugar.  Brought it to a boil and then turned it back to a simmer for about 20 minutes or so, just when it has reduced by about half and was thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Then I started layering.  The mayo went on first, then about 3 slices of bacon (okay it was 4), then the lettuce, the tomato was small so I carefully placed about 3 tomato slices next, topped it with a few slivers of the mozzarella cheese and drizzled the cooled balsamic syrup over the top.  Salt and pepper if you wish but I don’t think it’s necessary.

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Hope you enjoy!

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Creamy Potato Soup

It’s been a really long time since I posted!  WOW!  I have been cooking and working on some recipes, hopefully I’ll get them all posted soon.  But I think I’ll need to start exercising harder and walking on the treadmill for about 5 hours every day!!

I love potato soup, I think it has to be my all time favorite soup.  I really struggled putting this recipe together though, I am in such a habit of just tossing the ingredients in the pot.  I had to slow down and actually take my time to work on the measurements.

This soup is super easy to make, serves 2 BIG bowls and is ready to eat in about 15 to 20 minutes!

Potato Soup Creamy (2)

I usually use a baked potato for my soup.  After pouring the milks and broth in the pan I would just cut up the baked potato in cubes (minus the potato skin) and toss it in.  Figured it couldn’t get any easier than that.  Until I found cubed hash brown potatoes in the freezer section of my grocery store!!!  They are the perfect size for this soup.  And you don’t have to thaw them!!

Potato soup (2)

First gather all the ingredients, while the butter is melting over a medium heat, I measure the broth in the measuring cup ahead of time so its ready to go.  I prefer to use vegetable broth but you can use chicken broth if you like.  Once the butter is melted, add the flour and slowly whisk together, letting it cook for just a minute or so.  Then slowly whisk in the vegetable broth, whisking as you pour.  After making sure there are no lumps, add the half & half and the milk.  Add the potatoes, and let the soup come to a very light simmer.  Stir often and don’t wander away to do something!  Let the soup simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes (stirring often!!) so the potatoes can cook and heat thru.  Reduce the heat to a low setting and add the cheese and sour cream.  For the cheese, add about a half cup first to test the thickness and flavor and add more as you like.  Once the cheese and sour cream are melted thru, remove the pot from the heat and serve.  If you think the soup is too thick, you can add a little milk to thin it out.

I love having a glass of wine and piece of thick crusty bread with this soup.

Enjoy!  Recipe below.

Potato Soup Creamy (1)

CREAMY POTATO SOUP

1 T Butter or Margarine

1 T Flour

¾ Cup Vegetable Broth (chicken works well too)

¾ Cup Half & Half

½ Cup Milk

1 to 1-1/2 Cup Cubed Frozen Potatoes

½ to 1 Cup Shredded Cheese

½ Cup Sour Cream

Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a pot on medium heat, when melted add the flour and whisk together, let the flour cook just a little.  Slowly whisk in the broth, making sure there are no lumps.  Add the half & half and the milk.  Add the potatoes and bring to a very light simmer for about 10-15 minutes.  Stir often, don’t walk away.  Turn the heat to a lower setting and add the cheese and sour cream.  When blended, remove pot from heat.

Top with bacon, sour cream, chopped dill or scallions, any of your favorite toppings!

Cook’s Note:  use your favorite cheese, I prefer Monterey Jack but use whatever you like.  Adding the cheese will thicken your soup, if it gets too thick you can thin it out with a little milk.