Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Great Tips For Artisanal Bread, Corn On The Cob, And Everything Strawberry

Artisinal Bread Basket

These are a few of my Great Tips For Artisanal Bread, Corn On The Cob, And Everything Strawberry.

Everyone that knows me, knows there are a couple of things I love. Artisanal loaves of bread and strawberries. Not only do I love to eat them, but they are also in full display in my home.

On any given day I’ll buy artisan bread and I know it wouldn’t take me long to use them in different recipes, so I could easily devour them. Truth is, I can really get carried away, and I need to cut back.

I had this idea where if I could immortalize them, maybe, just maybe, that would make it easier for me not to rush out and buy a loaf all the time.

I ended up drying them out in the oven, turning them into giant croutons. I baked them off on a really low temperature (175 degrees F) for about 3 to 4 hours. I let them cool overnight, then varnished each one of the loaves along with a couple of croissants.

Now, I can just admire them any time I want, and not have to worry about the weight gain that would certainly be inevitable. Turns out, it became a lifelike breadbasket that makes a beautiful centerpiece for any table.

How about this one? You know what a pain it is when you want to remove the corn kernels from the cob. Here’s a great tip.

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I love adding grilled corn to different dishes. It’s the task of removing the corn kernels that really disturbs me. They fly all over the place. They’re all over the cutting board, on the counter, and on the floor. It’s a battle keeping more than you seem to lose.

Take a Bundt pan or an Angel food cake pan, both shown in the pictures above, set the base of cob into the hole. Hold the top of the cob with one hand, using a sharp chef’s knife, slice off the kernels. I promise those kernels will all fall right into the cake pan. VOILA!

I do have one more short story. When I first moved out on my own, my grandmother gave me a strawberry canister set for my kitchen. Well, just like most girls, I thought I’d keep that theme going and stick with all things strawberry

I was 19 years old then, now I’m in my 50’s, and I think my strawberry themed kitchen now looks more like the store you see in every Cracker Barrel.

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Hutch

You know what? There’s a story and a memory behind everything in your home.

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French Onion Soup With Mini-Meatballs

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I love a bowl of French onion soup, but this time there’s a little something extra inside. This is my French Onion Soup With Mini-Meatballs.

Why can’t we take a traditional dish and make it our own? That’s just what I did. I added mini meatballs in with those sweet caramelized onions, savory broth, and covered by delicious cheese.

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Dutch Oven

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Ricotta

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Cookie Dough Scoops

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Olive Oil

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Onions

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 1 large mixing bowl, 1 (medium-size) cookie-dough scoop

Ingredients For Meatballs:
2 pounds of ground pork (substitute ground beef, chicken, or turkey)
3 tablespoons of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley (substitute 2 tablespoons of dried)
2 cloves of garlic, freshly grated
3/4 cup of ricotta cheese, whole milk
1/2 cup of heavy cream
5 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup of store-bought fresh basil pesto
1 1/4 cups of Italian bread crumbs
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
2 extra-large eggs

Ingredients For the Soup:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
5 large sweet onions, thinly sliced into half-moons
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped (substitute 1 tablespoon of dried)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons of dry Sherry
1 bay leaf
1 (10.5-ounce) can of beef consommè
1 quart plus 1 cup of beef broth, unsalted
1 loaf of baguette bread, sliced and toasted (2 per soup)
3 cups Gruyère cheese, freshly grated
6 sprigs of fresh thyme for garnish, optional

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Start by lining two rimmed baking sheet pans with parchment paper. Liberally spray the parchment with non-stick cooking spray.

I happened to have ground pork in my refrigerator so that’s what I’m using today.

In a large mixing bowl start with the flavorings for the meatballs first. Add ricotta cheese, fresh chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, basil pesto, garlic, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, dried oregano, Italian bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, and heavy cream, mix to combine. It’s important to mix all the flavorings first before adding the ground meat. This ensures you don’t overmix the meat and end up with tough meatballs. Using your hands, gently combine the meat distributing the flavorings evenly throughout.

Note: Using a cookie-dough scoop will ensure the meatballs will turn out the same size.

Using the medium-size cookie-dough scoop, scoop the mixture into your hands then roll them into mini-meatballs. Arrange the meatballs 1 to 2 inches apart onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet pans. The mixture yields approximately 36 meatballs.

Lightly spray the tops of the meatballs with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 40 minutes.

In a preheated Dutch oven over medium heat, add olive oil, sliced onions, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, sugar, fresh thyme, and red pepper flakes. Stirring frequently, cook until deep golden brown and caramelized, 30 to 40 minutes. Stir in the garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Remove the meatballs from the oven.

Note: If the onions begin to burn on the bottom of the pot, reduce the heat slightly and stir in 1/4 cup of water.

Add the dry Sherry, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in the beef consommé, beef stock, and bay leaf.

Add the mini-meatballs. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until slightly reduced, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf.

Adjust the oven temperature to the broil setting.

Place baguette slices onto a rimmed baking sheet pan. Place into the oven and broil until golden brown on both sides, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Set Aside.

Note: Add the bread and cheese at the time you’re ready to serve, otherwise, bring the soup to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator.

To Serve: Divide the soup into the 6 soup crocks. Place two slices of the toasted baguette to cover the surface of the soup completely. Distribute evenly, top with shredded Gruyère cheese. Set 2 soup crocks onto each baking sheet pan. Leave the oven door slightly ajar, broil for just a few minutes until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, about 2 minutes.

Optional, garnish with small sprigs of fresh thyme. This is my French Onion Soup With Mini-Meatballs.

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