Friday, January 18, 2008


A herd of deer strolled through my backyard woods today. A *herd*. As in, more than one! As in, Seven, actually. Seven lovely deer. I'm glad Matt's not a hunter (no offense to my huntin' friends, though, promise!), 'cause I'm positively in love with all the wildlife back here.

Did I tell you about the goats? No, not in my backyard. There is a little backroad shortcut I take between the main road here and the next big main road over, and on this road there is a little vet clinic. And, in the vet clinics yard, there is a goat. Two goats, actually, and I get so excited everytime I see them, and no one is exactly sure why I find this so delighful (including myself). Anyway, I always say hello to the goats. Actually, I shout, "What up, GOATS?!" and make little horns on my head with one hand while driving with the other. When Matt saw me do that for the first time, I think it was also the first time he ever thought "what have I done?", but apparently I'm still cute enough that he can overlook it. I hope you can, too.

Okay, so we've covered goats and deer. Time for me to give you a recipe (what? yeah, I don't know how they're related either). Cheddar soup. 20 minutes. NOT HARD AT ALL. And, y'all, it's the creamiest, silkiest soup I've ever eaten. I cubed some pumpernickle , tossed in some melted butter, garlic powder, and kosher salt, and toasted the cubes in the oven for some yummy croutons to throw on top. Delightful, quick, and tasty, this will be great for lunch on this terribly cold weekend. Eat up, love ya!

Cheddar Soup

This silky soup is undeniably cheesy but not so rich you can't finish an entire bowl—and it takes only 20 minutes to prepare. While it isn't the best candidate for making in advance, if you need to, reheat the soup in a saucepan over low heat, whisking gently to prevent the soup from separating. Do not bring above a bare simmer.

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, minced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot, minced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 small rib celery, minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  1. Heat butter in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat until foaming; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add carrot, celery, and garlic; cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring to coat vegetables, until mixture begins to brown on bottom of pot, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and half-and-half and add bay leaf. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until vegetables soften, about 10 minutes.
  2. Off heat, add cayenne and sherry; cool soup for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in cheese and thyme; season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
See you all Monday!


sunday said...

oh Worth would love your backyard, but not for the same reasons as you :). i am sure that curt would feel the same. that soup sounds yummy! i might just have to do it. i used to pass a cow pasture in black mountain on my way to work and i would desperatly count the baby cows in the winter, and in the snow to make sure they were all there. i felt like i was their protector.

KatieKate said...

What UP, goats!!! I would totally TOTALLY do the same thing. In fact, I shall start greeting my chickens that way from now on.

and I be needin' me some cubed pumpernickel for that SOUP! YUM.

CortneyTree said...

SOUP! Why is soup so undeniably good? This time of year I always make soup on Matt's school nights (in summer, salads!). Sun and Kate, you will both love this, I promise!

And I can just see Katie shouting "What UP, chicks!", 'cept you can't throw in the horns like with the goats. Guess you could do a wing flap and a head bob, though, right? Now THAT visual is outstanding!

What UP, chicks! Bok bok!

Shanna, Adam and Gracen said...

i love goats. if we stay in this house for a long time, i'm pretty sure we'll have to break down and get a couple. i'm not sure how the pups will feel about it, as they're not real thrilled with our deer population. we have a discussion on the agenda for our homeowner's meeting to discuss chickens. we're allowed to have horses and cows and goats, but no chickens. what kind of logic is that? perhaps they're afraid we'll have cockfighters. my neighbor amy is hoping to get some (hens, not fighting roosters). i think perhaps i'll let her get them and then just eat her eggs. we only have a few acres between us, so perhaps they'll come play on our land. or maybe i need chickens too. and a kitten and a puppy. adam says i'm getting another baby and that's enough for now. he's so mean.

CortneyTree said...

Sometimes I think the boys are so mean, and other times, I'm grateful to have someone to keep me in check. We've already got two dogs, three cats, and three different fish tanks. And if I get my Commune, you can bet they'll be a miniature pony and a fainting goat and a duck pond and then there's that whole handy chicken/egg thing....and on it would go. I'm already having to fight to not start feeding the deer as well as the birds (I'm sure the homeowners would have something to say about *that*, plus, you know, ultimately not good for the deer).

Michie said...

Hi - I found you through Boo Mama's tour of homes, and you amused me so much I bookmarked you and keep coming back. I loved your story about looking at the goats - sounds like something I would do. :)

CortneyTree said...

Welcome Michie! I love new people who find me amusing, thank you! Come back and visit any time :)

Shanna, Adam and Gracen said...

did i read all the books in high school? you 'member?

CortneyTree said...

Shanna, I'm honored you think my memory is that good. 'Cause it sucks. I think you read 'em all too, but I don't know for sure ;)