Dec 2, 2012 12:50 PM susan_02143 wrote:
RE: Pumping up the chicken stock. I took 2 quarts of homemade salt-free chicken stock and reduced to 1 quart. The chicken stock I used last night is just chicken and water so a blank canvass. In a separate pan, I sauteed some shallots in olive oil and then added two tablespoons of tomato paste which cooked for 10 minutes. [This is an Italian trick I picked up and what a difference it makes!] I added salt to the shallots and then again to the tomato paste. Then the stock was added and some of the bean liquid. At this point, I salted to taste. I didn't add any herbs since the beans had lots of them. Simmered this for 20 minutes and then salted to taste. Added the cooked beans and the smoked sausage. Let simmer for 10 minutes, and then tasted. The addition of the unsalted beans meant the soup needed just a pinch more salt. Husband added tons of pepper at the table, as he always does.
Freeze ahead nibbles is always a challenge, but consider mini-quiche, cheese gougeres, spanikopita, and/or meatballs. Several days ahead to keep in the fridge, herbed goat cheese salmon pinrolls, a sauce for the meatballs, roasted vegetable terrine, or if you are very ambitious, paté, dips for raw veggies, deviled eggs [keep the filling and the white separate until that morning though], a strata or frittata. In the pantry, roasted nuts. I often do several varieties since several people at my gatherings don't care for spicy. I think you can keep boiled shrimp in the fridge for a day all set out on a platter, and then make a nice aioli or cocktail dipping sauce. Phew! Now I have some ideas for my Christmas gatherings!
We too have a Sweet Basil nearby, but it is a Thai restaurant!
Dx 6/8/2005, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIb, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-