HINTS FROM HELOISE
Dear Heloise: If you need chopped cranberries to make cranberry bread and you don't have a food processor, just put all the wet ingredients into a blender, mix, then add the cranberries for a pulse or two. So easy! - Margaret, La Mirada, Calif.
VEGETABLE CHOWDER WITH BEER
Dear Heloise: You had a soup recipe that sounded strange when I read it, but I made it and it was terrific! It called for beer and cheese as I recall, but I have forgotten the name of the soup. Could you reprint that recipe? - Patty G., Stowe, Vt.
Patty, I love this recipe too!
Vegetable Chowder With Beer and Cheese
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, scrubbed and sliced into thin discs
2 cups zucchini, thinly sliced
1 cup yellow squash, thinly sliced
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme (2 teaspoons fresh)
3 tablespoons unbleached flour
1 quart hot milk
1 cup beer
3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Melt butter in soup pot. Add onion and carrots, cover tightly and braise over very low heat for 10 minutes. Add remaining vegetables and thyme. Stir well, cover and cook over very low heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle evenly with flour, stir and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Slowly add hot milk, stirring gently until milk is hot and the mixture has thickened. Stir in beer. Cover and cook over low heat until mixture begins to simmer, about 5 minutes. Then add cheese, stirring until it is melted. Season with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Serve in heated bowls. Sprinkle top with fresh dill.
To receive a copy of Heloise's Spectacular Soups, visit www.Heloise.com or send $6, along with a stamped (70 cents), self-addressed long envelope to: Heloise/Soups, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001.
In chilly weather there's nothing that tastes better than a hot bowl of homemade soup. - Heloise
Dear Heloise: Whenever I used to cut a freshly baked cake, especially cheesecake, things always got so messy with much of the cake clinging to the knife. I found that to make a clean cut, run the knife under hot water, dry it, then make your cut. This saves so much time and mess. - Hailey N., Kendall, Fla.
Dear Heloise: I hate to waste the last remains of a bag of chips or crackers, so I crush up what's left, add some dried cheese to it (such as Parmesan) and freeze it. When I want a topping for a casserole I use the crushed chips, which always adds a nice flavor to the dish I'm serving. - Helen W., Ewing, N.J.
Dear Heloise: When I want to tenderize a piece of chicken or meat, I wrap the item in plastic cling wrap and pound it with a meat mallet. I used to use plastic bags, but I found that they break too easily. - Lottie A., Pinhook, Ind.
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