Harvest Creations: Cream of Vegetable Soup

Follow Casz's Fiction Farm on WordPress.com
Cream of Vegetable Soup. So good on a windy, cold Autumn day.

It’s soup season. I’m going to give you a ery easy, yet hardy way to make soup that not only makes a meal, but a great pick-me-up snack after you’ve been working outside or whatever. Today’s recipe is Cream of Vegetable Soup. This is a vegetarian recipe, however, you could totally make it vegan if you want. My take here leans towards Keto, but this recipe is mutable to allow for your own dietary preferences.

One of the great things about this recipe is that I often create it using the leftovers form our Sunday-Seahawks-viewing vegetable trays. So you’ll see in my photos that I used broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, peppers. Just don’t use the celery from the veggie trays, because it doesn’t work quite as well. However, feel free to use any combination of raw vegetables (frozen is okay as well) to make this recipe. Like I wrote above, this is a very mutable recipe.

The fat in this recipe is very necessary to make it a satisfying meal or snack. You will note that there is a range of measurements for the ingredients, that is because it depends on the fat that you use. start with 1/4 cup and decide for next recipe, which you prefer. When using lard, I use 1/4 cup; but butter I  use 1/2 cup. Olive Oil falls right in the middle at 1/3 a cup.

In regards to the broth choice,  you decide which to use. My preference is always pork broth. But chicken or vegetable broth works well, too. In a pinch you can even just use water. It won’t be as rich a soup, but it still is good.

You’ll need a Heavy Cast Iron Dutch Oven and an Immersion Blender. You could make the soup in a two-step process and let it cool and blend in a blender. For me? I love my immersion blender.

This recipe will take you a couple of hours, but that’s part of the pull of soup. It starts to create this warm, welcoming aroma in the house, making you want to eat this healthy meal.


Simmer for an hour, but if you need to cook longer, because you’re busy, that’s okay, too. Just don’t let it cook down too much.

4 cups of raw vegetables, chopped

1 cup of onion, chopped

1/4 cup lard, or 1/2 cup butter, or 1/3 cup olive oil

4 cups of broth

1 pint of heavy whipping cream

Garnish (Optional) shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley or chives


Heavy Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Immersion Blender


Heat your lard (or butter or olive oil) on medium heat until it coats pan and is warm. Add the onions in. Saute until translucent. Then add the rest of the vegetables, and cook for about three minutes, just heating the vegetables for a short time with the lard and onions. Then add the broth. Cover and simmer on stove top for about an hour. The broth will reduce some, but not enough to worry about. Feel free to stir ever now and then and soak up the warm, inviting aroma. That’s the joy of being the chef. Once the vegetables are super tender, remove from heat. If you need to use a blender to cream the vegetables, you’ll need to let it cool completely. If not, use your immersion blender and blend vegetables until smooth. Return to low heat and add the cream. Stir. Let heat all the way through and serve immediately garnishing with Parmesan and fresh chives or parsley or both. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge to eat all week. You can make a double batch and freeze and reheat slowly afterwards.



In The Weeds: InfoSec Round-Up 11-8-17

Follow Casz's Fiction Farm on WordPress.com
Today’s Giggle. Linking to Original Source.


I think I’ve said it before, but, man, people in the #InfoSec world have to be on top of their game. It’s constantly changing, constantly challenging, and constantly mind-blowing. The only constant, is GO!

Like this gem I learned about this morning. Oh, man.  Talk about a security mole.

The above vulnerability has been floating around for at least a decade. But because it’s buried under a processor, well…kind of hard for the Average Jane or Joey to fix it.

The same could be true of the Internet of Things, which last month got a big long white paper for IS folks to get their hands on. It hit public streams more rapidly today, landing in my inbox as well. The short of it? If you’re going to design technology to connect to the internet, you need to design security into it. That’s on the manufacturer. However, as an end user you need to know that any tech connected to the internet is open to attack. But don’t take my word for it. Read the whole paper. It’s 17 pages, but the meat of it is only 12 pages and the last five pages are works cited and SANS workshops.

That’s not the only academic paper I’ve been studying in my quest to become more InfoSec smart. And recently a friend found me reading about cyber security at my local coffee shop. He asked what I planned to do with my new knowledge, and honestly, if I see this heading down any place outside of just reporting about it — being a tech journalist as it were — I would have to say that Artificial Intelligence is a huge draw for me. It’s thrilling and horrifying and sexy and down right exciting. Don’t believe me? Here’s a few links:

How will AI Impact jobs?

Applied Machine Learning

AI Coming to Crypto Trading

Google’s AI Wizard

Old School Vs. New School

What does it all mean? Well much the same as I said above. Things are constantly changing and you have to keep up.  Wonder if the industry will wait for me to learn the basics and then keep going? Yeah, I didn’t think so. But I’m still plugging along.

Thanks for spending this time with learning along with me.

As in weeks past, feel free to leave a comment here about any of those articles. Let’s learn from one another. Okay, have pity on the noob and let me learn from you.

Have another great week InfoSec geeks. See you next week.


Harvest Creations: Slow-Cookin’ dem Short Ribs

Follow Casz's Fiction Farm on WordPress.com
Recreating a Hawaiian Plate Lunch that I loved when I lived there: Slow Cooked Short Ribs.

I lived in Hawaii for nearly five years. I was exposed to so much yummy, varied food through the diverse culture that lives there. I miss it. Here’s my take on an Island Short Rib recipe that I’ve been trying to perfect and make as healthy as possible.


  •         3 lb beef short ribs – I used the Korean-style aka – flanken-cut type
  •         Olive oil spray
  •         1 tsp paprika
  •         1 tsp black pepper
  •         ¼ – 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  •         2 tblspn rice wine vinegar (you can use red wine vinegar in a pinch)
  •         2 tblspn tomato paste
  •         1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce (mine is sugarless, too)
  •         2 tbsp fish sauce (make sure it’s the sugarless kind)
  •         1 tbs coconut sugar (I’ve made this recipe without the coconut sugar and it’s barely noticeable in taste difference, so feel free to remove)

Spice Rub Ingredients:

This spice rub is so good.

1 tsp ginger, onion powder, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, cardamon, salt


Remove ribs from fridge and allow to warm to room temperature while you prep everything else.

Mix the spice rub together, and rub on ribs.

Spray inside of slow cooker.

Put in chopped onion on bottom, place short ribs on top.

In a small bowl mix remainder of ingredients until smooth. Pour over ribs.

Slow cook on low for six hours or high for three hours.

I steam some rice (or cauliflower rice) with some vegetables in a rice cooker, or as shown above, I sautee some coleslaw mix in a cast iron pan with a little bit of coconut oil until well-wilted. So healthy for you, too and mimics what I often had at the one Island Boys’ lunch truck in Pearl City. So satisfying.

Don’t be afraid of cabbage. It’s very good for you.


Harvest Creations: Low-Carb Paprikás Csirke (Chicken Paprikash)

Follow Casz's Fiction Farm on WordPress.com
Low-Carb Paprikás Csirke (Chicken Paprikash). No guilt comfort food.

In the fall and winter, my appetite hankers for comfort food. But beginning the second half-century of my life means I need to eat those comfort foods more healthily. Heck, I should have looked at this decades ago — but better late than never. Like many people my age, my body makes sure I know that any kind of intake of refined sugar or gluten is not okay by punishing me in various uncomfortable ways for eating it. Hence, why you’re seeing more and more keto-inspired and low-carb versions of my favorite recipes. This version of Paprikás Csirke aka Chicken Paprikash is no different.

In this recipe I use cauliflower in place of dumplings, noodles, rice, or potatoes. But choose your poison. If you add those things back in, it’s not low-carb, however. But you do you.

Do note, though, it’s just as good, if not better, than the original. Do not be afraid of fat. Not Trans fat like in french fries, but the good stuff fat:  rendered lard, real butter, higher-fat-content vegetable oils (like avocado). That’s what gives Paprikas Csirke (pronounced Pop-REE-kash CHEER-kay) Chicken Paprikash its taste and why we feel like it’s a comfort food.


Here’s what you’ll need:

A good cast-iron dutch oven (I have the non enameled kind, too. But this one allows for bigger pieces of chicken).

First you’re going to need a good cast-iron dutch oven. Any more I try hard to make my recipes in one pot. I’m no longer enamored with the dinner where there would be stuff in the oven, a dish on the stove, and a salad in the fridge, which I would invariably forget about. I dump it or forget it in the crock pot, or I use the same pan from stove-top to oven, much like this recipe.

Also, please feel free to mix the paprikas and add more than the one tablespoon this recipe calls for; the recipe is a starting-off point. If you like paprika, add more. If you like your things more garlicky, add more. This is about feeling good, as well as tasting good, and both paprika and garlic are good for you.

  • 2 ounces of rendered lard (you may use unsalted butter or bacon grease, if you like. Avocado Oil is also a good substitute)
  • Peeled and chopped onions to make two cups (about 1 extra large or 3 medium)

    All the good stuff… You can see at about 12 o’clock in the photo a jar of my canned Hungarian peppers. I drained their juices before adding them.
  • 1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken, cut up (You can use leg quarters, too. Just be sure to keep the chicken on the bone and skin on. It adds good fat to your diet and keeps the flavor strong, which means you end up eating less.)
  • 1 cup of chopped hungarian peppers (you may substitute red bell or anaheim)
  • 1 large tomato (peeled, seeded and chopped, or 1 (14.5-ounce) undrained can chopped tomatoes)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I used about the equivalent of three cloves, so to your taste, really)
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika (sweet, smoked or hot), plus some for sprinkling for serving. (I used a combination of hot and smoked, my family loves smoke flavor and spice!)
  • 2 turnips, peeled and chopped, w/ 1 large organic carrot, peeled and chopped; makes about 1.5 cups total. (You may substituent white potatoes instead of turnips or skip these ingredients all together. )
  • One head of cauliflower chunked or riced — you decided which –again, if your diet doesn’t prevent eating potatoes, you can use potatoes here instead (You can cook the cauliflower on top of the chicken when it goes in the oven, or you can just steam separately and use in place of dumplings for serving. Do note, this is what helps this meal be low-carb.)
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of homemade chicken stock or broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour (you can use baking powder in a pinch if you don’t have coconut flour)
  • Plate for holding the chicken temporarily



I throw my cauliflower in right when I’m putting dutch oven into the oven. Makes for one-pot cooking, but your tastes may vary.
  1. Turn on oven to Heat lard in a Dutch oven with a lid. Cook half the onions and sauté over low heat until translucent, stirring often.
  2. Add chicken pieces and brown lightly on both sides. I cook about 6 to 10 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken on plate for holding temporarily. Add turnnips, carrots, Hungarian peppers, tomato, garlic, and sweet or hot paprika. Add the other half of the onions and saute’ until vegetables start to stick to pan.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in 3/4 cup of broth. Bring to a boil. (If you want to cook the cauliflower with the Chicken Paprikash instead of serving over, as I do here in this photo, put the cauliflower in first before you go to next step.) Reduce heat to low, cover, put chicken back in on the top of the dutch over, cover, and cook in oven 35-45 minutes or until chicken is tender. When chicken is tender, put cast-iron pot back on stove top. Remove lid.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, with reserved broth with coconut flour. Return tempered sour cream mixture to dutch oven, bring back to stove and simmer until juices are thickened.
  5. Serve immediately sprinkling a little more paprika on the plated food. The chicken is so tender and juicy, yet the skin is still crisp. The paprika makes the vegetables pop and you think your Nagymama made this.

    You won’t even miss the carbs in this yummy version of Paprikas Csirke. Your family or dinner guests will think you slaved all day in your babushka. But, really it takes no more than about an hour and 15 minutes to complete this meal.