Saturday, September 29, 2012

My First Book Signing at Seagull

Zucchini & Bacon Soup from "Soup's On!"
Today was my very first book signing at Seagull Book in Centerville.  Thanks to familiar faces who stopped in and offered moral support  -- Bruce Tracy, Dave & Rose Johnson and Brichelle Eyre!

I brought two soups — the Garden Tomato Bisque and the Zucchini & Bacon Soup, to serve as "soup shots."  I underestimated the number of shoppers, and ran out of little plastic shot cups. Luckily, the Dollar Tree store was a couple doors down, so I was able to quickly replenish my stock. People could sample soup, and then move over to the other table for nibbles of Utah Triffles.

The store staff did lots of drawings, and just about everyone went home with a prize.  I signed about ten books in all.

Garden Tomato Bisque from "Soup's On!"
I had a lot of fun chatting with people about the recipes. The Zucchini & Bacon Soup surprised people that
A. it was so delicious, and
B. that it was made from zucchini.
Many people assumed it was some sort of broccoli soup. It just reinforces the theory that if you add enough bacon to ANYTHING, it will taste good.

Several kids really liked the tomato soup; one little girl told her mom it tasted like spaghetti! I was able to make both soups with vegetables fresh from the garden, and each of them took less than 30 minutes to make.

A lot of people asked if the recipes were for the Crock-Pot. I am realizing that there's a misconception out there -- people think in order for soup to be hassle-free, you need to use a slow cooker and a can of cream of mushroom soup.  I explained that 75 of the cookbook's recipes can be made on the stovetop in less than a half hour, with very little peeling, chopping or prep work. A lot of them can be made in the microwave too.  Oh, and you DON'T need a can of cream of mushroom soup either!

  Ten of my recipes are specifically designed for Crock-Pot cooking. It's great when you can think ahead and throw in all the ingredients, then come home to a tantalizing aroma of simmering soup. But when you haven't thought ahead, it's great to know there are 75 options that can be on the table in about the same time it would take for pizza delivery to come.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pillsbury Bake-Off Contestant Wins at Utah State Fair

The last time the public heard of Cameron Bailey, he was competing as a finalist at the Pillsbury Bake-Off last spring. (Remember his exciting last-second sprint to the judges' table televised on The Martha Stewart Show?)
Now he's back in the culinary spotlight, winning the Utah's Own cooking contest at the Utah State Fair. 
Here's his winning recipe:

Orange Stick Pot du Crèmes
                  This rich chocolate dish is scented with fresh orange zest and tastes just like the popular Sweet’s Orange Sticks candy.


§  12 ounces, weight Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
§  4 whole large eggs, room temperature—Oakdell brand
§  1 teaspoon vanilla extract
§  1 pinch Salt—Redmond Real Salt brand
§  2 teaspoons fresh orange zest
§  1 cup heavy cream—Winder Farms brand
§  3 rounded tablespoons hot chocolate powder—Stephens Gourmet Hot Chocolate, Milk Chocolate flavor
§  Milk Chocolate Orange Sticks, as needed, for garnish—Sweet’s brand
§  Whipped Cream, sweetened with powdered sugar as needed for garnish—Winder Farms brand

Place the chocolate chips into a blender.  Add the Oakdell eggs, vanilla, orange zest, and pinch of Redmond Real Salt. Turn on the blender on LOW just long enough to incorporate eggs.

In a pan on the stove over medium-high heat mix together 1 cup of Winder Farms heavy cream and Stephens Hot Chocolate powder.  Stir until combined and heat just until boiling.  Remove from heat.

Turn blender back on MEDIUM and remove the circular disk from the blender lid and very slowly pour in the hot chocolate. (It is essential that your hot chocolate be very hot in order for the final product to be the right consistency and texture.) Blend for a minute or so until mixture is smooth and fairly free of visible bits of chocolate.

Divide the mixture among ramekins or serving dishes.  Place in the refrigerator uncovered for at least 3 to 4 hours or overnight to set. 

Garnish with sweetened Winder Farms whipped cream and pieces of Sweet’s Orange Sticks. 

Utah’s Own Products Used
Stephens Gourmet Cocoa Mix, Milk Chocolate Flavor
Redmond Real Salt
Winder Farms Heavy Cream
Sweet’s Orange Sticks
Oakdell Eggs

Monday, September 24, 2012

YMCA's DishED Gala Oct. 17

The YMCA’s 1st Annual DishED Gala is the YMCA of Northern Utah’s primary fundraising event. DishED fuses food with sports. It  will consist of a silent auction/social hour, dining stations, a live auction and entertainment.  This year's featured speaker is Gail Miller, owner/chair or Larry H. Miller companies. 
When:Wednesday, October 17, 6-9 p.m. 
Where:Grand Hall at the Union Pacific Depot
400 West South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT
Restaurants:Biaggi’sCafe Rio, Flemings Steakhouse, Sapa Sushi, Thaifoonand Tucanos will be sharing their favorite dishes with guests andSo Cupcake will treat guests to dessert! 
Celebrity Emcee:Jennifer Burns, TV personality and cooking show host

Celebrity Guests:Gail Miller of Larry H. Miller companies
Thurl Bailey-Former NBA and Utah Jazz Player
Kendyl Bell-Miss Utah USA

Allison Croghan-Fox 13 News TeamMark Eaton-Former NBA and Utah Jazz Player 
Dan Evans-Fox 13 News Team
Governor Gary HerbertDavid Hyland-Utah Blaze, Arena Football League Community MVP
Ron James-Utah Blaze Head Coach
Phil Johnson-Former Utah Jazz Assistant Coach
Ron McBride-Retired NCAA Div. 1 Football Coach
Keilara McCormick-Miss Utah Teen USA
Tyrone Medley-Former U of U Basketball Player and Retired Judge
Tom Nissalke-Former ABA & NBA Coach
Jerry Sloan-Former Utah Jazz Coach

Cost is $125 per person, or $1,000 for an 8-person.  You can buy tickets at
Money raised from this event goes to YMCA programs such as early childhood education for 4 and 5 year olds, Afterschool, day camps in Salt Lake and Weber and overnight camp at Camp Roger.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Most Popular Soups and Other Soup Trivia

A few years ago, I attended a food-service vendor show, sampling everything from chocolate to cheese, turkey to tacos, cake to calamari.
Toothpick heaven!
It was a bit disillusioning to realize that so much of the soups, sandwiches, salsas, guacamole and french-fried or mashed potatoes that restaurant-goers assume to be house-made are likely to be pre-fab products, factory-made, shipped and frozen until heated for serving.
I tried a white chicken chili made by Cobblestone Market, which offers soups both ready-to-use and in an add-water concentrate.
I also enjoyed creamy seafood chowder and savory tortilla chicken soup made by Heinz.
They all tasted perfectly seasoned and were studded with chunks of flavorful ingredients.
Heinz's accompanying "Soup Selling Strategies for the Operator" brochure suggested that restaurants can go a step further and add ingredients such as cheese, crab or mushrooms to come up with a "specialty" or "signature" soup.
Sounds like what home cooks do when they toss in a few extras from their cupboard to jazz up a frozen entree.
I found out a few more things from the "Soup Selling Strategies" booklet. For instance:
The soups ordered most often in restaurants are:
Chicken noodle 20 percent
Clam chowder 10 percent
Tomato 11 percent
Vegetable 10 percent
French onion 8 percent
Cream soup 7 percent
Chili 7 percent
House specialty 7 percent
Minestrone 6 percent
Hot & Sour 3 percent
Other 3 percent
Bean & lentil 2 percent
Potato 2 percent
The five ingredients that would make people more likely to order soup are:
Mushrooms 55.6 percent
Cheeses 50.3 percent
Crab 46.3 percent
Lobster 44.7 percent
Lentils 34.8 percent
Some other soup facts:
As people get older, they tend to like soup more. The bulk of soup-consumers fall between ages 25-64.  Soup is most appealing to ages 50-65-plus.
The majority of soup consumers are in the upper income bracket. Nearly half of them make $75,000-plus annually.
Although soup consumption peaks in colder months, it's steadily ordered through all four seasons.
Consumers perceive soup as healthy, second only to green salads.
Lunch consumption of soup is on the rise, driven by casual sandwich chains and combo meals.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"Soup's On!" with KSL News

With Jenn Hardman of KSL News and my Loaded Potato Soup.
I survived my first TV cooking demo!
On Thursday at 5 a.m., when most people are still asleep, I arrived at the KSL studios and met Jenn Hardman, a Features reporter with KSL.  

She had me make four soups from my "Soup's On!" cookbook during two segments - about 7 or 8 minutes total. It's a good thing that the point of my cookbook is soups that are simplified and quick!  I would have been a basket case trying to remember four complicated recipes.  Early morning is not my most alert time of the day.

I made the Zucchini & Bacon Soup — (shown in light green and blue bowl) so very economical this time of year when zucchini are popping up in gardens and on doorsteps everywhere.   

Then I made Harvest Pumpkin Soup, (green bowl) which has a little flavor twist from curry.  Then I could catch my breath for a few minutes and throw all those little glass ingredient bowls in the sink , and bring out the ingredients and pots for the next two soups.

During the 6:30-ish segment, I made Loaded Potato Soup (white and blue bowl), which only takes about 15 minutes when using frozen diced hash browns and ready-cooked bacon pieces. True comfort food - as I said, it's like Funeral Potatoes without the funeral. 

Then I made Quick Tailgate Chili (orange and white bowl). This recipe comes together in 30 minutes, and there's no chopping or peeling involved. But it does have quite a few ingredients — including four different kinds of tomato products. Now it occurs to me that when I developed the recipe, I really should have thought about somehow consolidating the salsa, Ro-Tel tomatoes, diced tomatoes and tomato paste, although each contributes something a little bit different. 

The KSL staff seemed to like the finished soups, so I didn't have to worry about packing up any leftovers to transport home.  Thanks, Jenn, for helping me do the dishes and pack all my glass ingredient bowls up to take home.  I appreciate the opportunity to share my recipes and my book! 

I am scheduled to appear on Studio 5 this Thursday, so stay tuned.  And I only have to do ONE soup! I have no excuses now if I look like a dork! 

I'm also going to sign copies of "Soup's On!" at the Centerville Seagull bookstore (in the strip mall near Target) on  Saturday, Sept. 29, from 9-11 a.m. Hope to see people there! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

State Fair Winning Funeral Potatoes

  Last night the Utah's Own folks crowned the Funeral Potatoes Queen.  Ironically Laurie Willberg had never made Funeral Potatoes until she decided to enter the fair. Maybe that's good, so she didn't have any preconceived notions of what they should be like. She gave them a Southwestern spin, using many Utah products.
   I was already at the Fair doing a cooking demo on Fast & Fabulous Soups from my new cookbook.  Ben Winslow of Fox13 News (we knew each other when we both worked at the Des News) asked me for some info on the origin and nutritional content of these Spuds To Die For at  I think I must be watching "The Wizard of Oz" with Jayden too many times; I was cackling just like the Wicked Witch! 
Southwestern Funeral Potatoes
 8 medium russet potatoes
1/2 tsp. Redmond Real Salt
1 cup dry Sawyer’s Premium Potato Soup Mix
2 cups water, boiling
1 cup Meadow Gold Low Fat Buttermilk
1 cut Meadow Gold Sour Cream
2 cups grated Banquet Jalapeno Jack Cheese
1/4 teaspoon Redmond Real Salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 cup crushed Don Julio Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips
1 cup grated Banquet Medium Cheddar Cheese
1 jar Laurie’s Buffalo Gourmet Salsa – Roasted Chili with Black Beans and Corn
Wash and scrub potatoes under cool water, place in stockpot with enough water to generously cover and add 1/2 tsp. salt. Boil 30 minutes or until tender but not soft. Remove from pot, place in colander and run cold water over potatoes to begin cooling. When cool enough to handle, peel and dice into 1/2 inch cubes. Place in large mixing bowl.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In medium mixing bowl, place potato soup mix and cover with boiling water, whisk together until smooth. Add buttermilk, sour cream, jalapeno jack cheese, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine ingredients. Pour mixture over diced potatoes and stir gently until all potatoes are well covered. Place in 9 x 13 pan.
Kids can have fun helping with this next step!  Place contents of 1/2 bag (9 oz. bag) corn tortilla chips in large Ziploc bag. Seal bag and crunch until pieces are broken small enough for topping the casserole. Mix crushed chips with cheddar cheese. Cover casserole with chips and cheese mixture.
Bake uncovered 45 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese is slightly browned. Serve with salsa on the side to put on top of casserole as desired.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Red Mango Yogurt Giveaway on Sept. 21 in Bountiful

   Red Mango has opened at Bountiful Commons, 255 N. 500 West in Bountiful (near Texas Roadhouse).  
  The store will host a grand opening event on Friday, September 21 from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. , where patrons can get a free small frozen yogurt with their choice of toppings. The  first 100 guests will get a free Red Mango t-shirt and other giveaways. 
   Red Mango is the #1 Zagat-rated frozen yogurt and smoothie chain featuring nonfat and low-fat frozen yogurt, fortified with beneficial live and active probiotic cultures to support the immune and digestive systems. Each serving of frozen yogurt is about 100 calories.  It also carries gluten-free and kosher yogurt and smoothies.
  For info check

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sensational Sandwich Winning Recipe at Utah State Fair

Rhonda Hair of South Jordan has won the blue ribbon in the Sensational Sandwich Bread contest at the Utah State Fair for her Autumn Harvest Smoked Salmon Sandwiches. This newly themed contest is in celebration of the 250th Birthday of the Sandwich in 2012. 

Rhonda’s sandwich is a unique combination of pumpkin-yeast bread, cream cheese and smoked salmon, along with red onion, hints of lemon and red wine vinegar which gives the sandwich a tiny bit of bite. Rhonda is a stay-at-home mother of three children and she just loves to bake, a skill she learned from her mother. She even calls herself a “food scientist!”

Rhonda won a $150 cash prize, plus her recipe now moves on to national judging were it will compete against 34 other 1st place winning recipes from state and county fairs across the country for a $1,000 grand prize.

Fleischmann’s Yeast “Sensational Sandwich Bread” Contest
Rhonda Hair of South Jordan, 1st Place, 2012 Utah State Fair

Autumn Harvest Smoked Salmon Sandwiches
Autumn Harvest Bread (Pumpkin-Pecan Yeast Bread)
1 tablespoon Fleischmann’s Yeast Rapid Rise Yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup (6 ounces) honey
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons dry milk powder
4-1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup pecan pieces, toasted (toast extra for the Filling)

Combine Fleischmann’s yeast and warm water, stir to dissolve. Let stand 3 minutes. Mix in honey, pumpkin, cornmeal, egg yolks, milk powder and 2 cups of the flour. Add butter, then the remaining 2 cups flour, the cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 to 10 minutes. Let rest 20 minutes. Knead in pecans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

While it’s rising, make a wash with 1/2 cup cold water and 1-1/4 teaspoon cornstarch. Combine the two, bring to a boil and stir until thickened. Cover it so it doesn’t form a skin and let it cool.

Divide dough into two pieces. Shape into 16-20-inch long logs and tie each into a knot. (Or shape into a ball, seam-side down, or shape into two 8x4 loaves.) Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Using a pastry brush, gently coat each loaf with the glaze. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 to 35 minutes, until golden brown and the surface is firm. Brush again with the glaze. This helps it have a nice shine and a thin, soft crust. Cool before cutting into 8 to 9 slices.

Smoked Salmon Sandwiches
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons red onion, very finely chopped
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger
2 tablespoons toasted pecans, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated
1/16 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
8 ounces smoked salmon
Red onion, thinly sliced
Tomato, sliced
Roasted red pepper
Alfalfa sprouts
Red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Stir together cream cheese, red onion, ginger, pecans, celery, lemon juice, lemon zest and black pepper. Chill at least 30 minutes to blend flavors.

To assemble sandwiches, spread about 2 tablespoons of cream cheese mixture on each of flour slices of bread. Top with 2 ounces smoked salmon, and any of the following you like: thinly sliced red onion, sliced tomato, roasted red pepper, alfalfa sprouts and arugula. Drizzle with red wine vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Makes 4 sandwiches.

Stairway to Log Haven 6K Fun Run

 It may not buy you a stairway to heaven, but The Stairway to Log Haven 6K Fun Run is a good deed that might get you close. The angelic staff of Log Haven and The Road Home invite the community to lace up their running shoes at 8 a.m. on September 30 for a 6K jaunt up  Millcreek Canyon to Log Haven, followed by a divine breakfast at the restaurant.  All event proceeds will benefit the The Road Home.
The run/jog/walk/skip kicks off at 8 a.m. at Olympus Hills Shopping Center. Fun-runners are encouraged to donate nonperishable food (such as canned goods, dried beans, pasta), clothing or hygiene items at the starting line. Upon reaching Log Haven, participants will be  treated to a breakfast, compliments of Log Haven Chef Dave Jones, and then  shuttled back down the canyon. 

Register at  Register before September 22 for a discounted fee of $25, which includes race entry, breakfast and return shuttle.
About Log Haven: 
With its cozy warm fires, wildflowers,waterfalls and fine canyon dining, Log Haven has long been consideredUtah’s premier destination for romantic wilderness dining.  Established in 1994 byOwner/Operator Margo Provost, Log Haven is located in a historic log mansion in the  WasatchNational Forest, just 20 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City, and specializes in seasonal American cuisine.  Log Haven has garnered top Mobil, Four Diamond and Zagatrankings and Awards of Excellence from Wine Spectator and DiRoNA and has also won numerous“Best of State” awards, including “Best Fine Dining” medals from 2003-20011 and“Best Restaurant” statues in 2004, 2006 and 2007. In 2009, Log Haven was inducted into the Salt Lake Magazine “Dining Hall of Fame.” In 2011, General Manager Ian Campbell was awarded the Golden Spoon Award for Hospitality from Salt Lake Magazine.  Since 2010, Open Table has named Log Haven as one of the "Nation's Top Most Romantic Restaurants."
Please visit or call (801) 272-8255 for more information about Log Haven. Log Haven is located at 6451 East Millcreek Canyon Road  Salt Lake City, UT 84109-3814  

About The Road Home:
The Road Home is a private non-profit social service agency that assists individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Salt Lake County and along the Wasatch Front. Its mission is to help people step out of homelessness and back into our community. To find out more about The Road Home's programs please visit www,