It was difficult to leave our sweet black lab and fluffy gray cat for Christmas but it was also hard to leave the beautiful bay wreath from ML and CH of La La Land. It arrived only a few days before we flew out and the sweet bay scent filled the whole downstairs beautifully. Williams Sonoma put together a lush green circle which looks great as a seasonal wreath on the sunspace door. After a few weeks of sun and heat from the woodstove, it looks like the photo, a little dryer, a little curled and less fragrant. The good news is that it will keep me in bay leaves for cooking for a good long time! Eagle Rockers, you generosity is appreciated!
I would be grateful for any recipes any of you might have that use bay leaves, especially multiple bay leaves. I'm also planning on passing some leaves around to friends who make soups and stews and such. Want some?
Tonight I used only one bay leaf in a family favorite, Barley Soup. This recipe is on the Quick Quaker Barley box. It makes a hearty soup just right for both a winter night and some of those 'I must lose some of the holiday weight' promises we make about this time of year. It's pretty quick if you use the rolled barley. I use ground turkey instead of ground beef, but otherwise pretty much follow the recipe.
Quick Barley Soup with Vegetables
1/2 lb lean ground meat (Quaker calls for beef, I use turkey)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
5 cups water
one 15 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice, undrained
3/4 cup Quaker Quick barley
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup sliced carrot
2 beef boullion cubes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1 bay leaf
One 9 oz pkg. frozen mixed vegetables
In 4 quart saucepan or Dutch oven, brown meat in a little olive oil. Add onion and garlic, cook until onion is tender. Drain. Stir in remaining ingredients except frozen vegetables. Cover; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add frozen vegetables, cook about 10 minutes more, or until vegetables are tender. Additional water may be added if soup becomes too thick upon standing. Makes eight 1 cup servings.
Note: Tastes even better the next day. elle