Waldorf Salad

This is a salad with some history.  It’s said to have been the invention of Oscar Tshirky, who was the maitre d’hotel from the opening of the New York Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1893 until he retired in 1943.  It’s a simple, but tasty little salad that goes very well with roasted poultry.  The astringency of the walnuts plays off nicely against the mildness of the chicken or turkey, not to mention the stuffing!  This particular version is even low-fat.  While best served day-of, it will still be decent day-after.

Waldorf Salad

4 cups peeled, diced apple

1 cup diced celery (2-3 ribs)

1/2 cup diced seedless grapes

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise

1/4  cup low fat sour cream

Toss together apples, celery, grapes, and nuts.  Combine mayo and sour cream and pour over fruit.  Mix well.


Split Pea and Ham Soup

My mom used to make split pea and ham soup once in a while when I was a kid, but this is the first time that I’ve attempted it.  My childhood memories of  this particular soup aren’t all that fond, so maybe that’s why I’ve waited so long to give it a whirl.  Mom was (and still is) a very great cook , so I can only think it was my immature taste buds that led to the “ewwww” factor.  Hubby, on the other hand, is quite delighted that I’ve taken the plunge.  He’s always been a fan.  So here’s my version of:

Split Pea and Ham Soup

Make the broth first:

In a large pot, cover your ham bone (hopefully it has some nice meaty bits still clinging to it) with cold water.  Roughly chop a large onion and several (3-5) stalks of celery, including the leafy stems.  Add to the pot.  Season with your favorite seasonings, I put in 3 bay leaves and some salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a slow simmer.  It will take at least 3 hours to make a rich stock.  Once the stock is to your satisfaction, remove from heat, and when it’s cooled a bit, fish out the ham bone and the meaty pieces.  Strain the broth until clear.  Discard the mushy veggies.  Cut meat into small pieces and reserve in the fridge.  Skim off undesired fat from the top of the broth.

Now the soup:

Return the clear stock to the stove with a couple of bay leaves and taste to adjust seasonings.   Pick over and rinse the split peas, then add to the stock.  Use 1 cup per about 3 cups broth (a guesstimate of the amount of broth is fine).  Over a medium simmer, let the peas cook until tender, about an hour.  At this point, if you prefer a smoother texture, use an immersion blender to puree the mixture, or you can even just mash a bit with a potato masher for a courser texture (which is what I did).

While the split peas are cooking, prepare the vegetables.  For about 6 cups broth, I used 3 carrots, 1 large onion, 3 ribs of celery and 3 cloves of garlic.  Dice and saute the veggies in a bit of oil or butter for about 4-5 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.  Add the sauteed vegetables to the stock along with the reserved meat.  Turn heat to low and let the soup simmer until vegetables are desired tenderness.

Beef and Veggie Soup

No sign of spring yet, it must be time to cook soup.

Vegetable Beef Soup

1 lb of extra lean ground beef

4 cups beef broth + 5 cups water

oil or butter for sauteing vegetables


1 large onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 ribs of celery, thinly sliced

3 carrots, diced or grated

5 cups of chopped or shredded cabbage


2  bay leaves

scant 1/4 tsp cloves or allspice

salt and pepper

Optional additions:

1/3 cup tomato paste

1 1/2 cups cooked rice or pasta

Prep veggies, peeling, chopping, shredding as necessary.  Meanwhile, in a large pot, combine beef broth, water and bay leaves and begin to warm over low  heat.  In a large frying pan over medium heat, add oil or butter and saute each of the vegetables in turn, sprinkling with a pinch of salt and a bit of pepper,  until softened, being careful not to brown them. The garlic may be added in with the onion.   As each vegetable is done, add it to the simmering broth.  Brown the ground beef with 1/2 tsp salt, pepper to taste, and cloves.  Drain well and add to broth.  Continue to simmer for another 10-15 minutes,  until  vegetables are desired tenderness.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  If desired, stir in tomato paste and rice.  Discard bay leaves before serving.  Makes about 8 servings.

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