Tag Archives: Bread

My Favorite Cold Weather Soup

10 Mar

  Back in college, I worked at Mimi’s Cafe and became addicted to their corn chowder.  When I lived in Long Beach, I decided that I wanted to make my own and see how it turned out.  I found a recipe on Allrecipes.com for Gramma Brown’s Corn Chowder.  It is a fabulous, rich soup that beats Mimi’s chowder any day.  Since then, I have made this soup several times and tweaked it to include my favorite spices.  I also usually make the soup without bacon, but I decided to add it as a special treat for a few wonderful people this time around!

To start, I cooked the bacon until almost done, and then sautéed it with onions and celery.  I usually add a bit more celery than the recipe recommends.  I also add more carrots.  The result is more of a hearty stew, than a soup.

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This being the first time in well forever I made bacon, I did not have the foresight to first chop it and then cook it.  I ended up cutting it into pieces in the pan while it simmered.  The pan I used is well-loved, so I didn’t worry too much about adding a few more scratches.

I then transferred everything to a big pot with 4 cups of low sodium chicken broth and cooked it with the carrots and potatoes.

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The final step involves adding the milk and a paste of flour and water.  This thickens it up and makes it creamy.  You can add more flour if you like your soup thicker, but I think the flour plus the starch from the potatoes are plenty.

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Once everything is nice and soft and hot, you can top it off with some salt, pepper, and any other spices you’d like.

IMG_0890   I typically add a bit of cayenne, onion powder, and basil.  This gives it just the right amount of kick.  This soup is fairly easy and it always gets rave reviews.  This time around I added a side garnish of chopped tomatoes, avocado, and lime juice.  Some chose to add it to the soup, others just ate the avocado, but all in all I think it went over well.  I also like to buy or make a round loaf of sourdough and serve it warm with the soup.  Let me know if you think of any more exciting spice combos or interesting ways to serve it!

 

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Thanksgiving Bread Take Two: Pumpkin & Rosemary Soft Rolls

10 Dec

As I mentioned in Thanksgiving Bread Take 1, I was on a mission to make some delicious bread for a Thanksgiving dinner with friends.  Given the big bet I was making on savory muffins, I thought I might try something a little more traditional.  Since I used squash in the first one, I wanted to use pumpkin in this one.  A little more searching on Food52 and I found this recipe.

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I had to make the dough the night before put it in the fridge overnight.  Unfortunately, my yeast was rather old.  I mixed the yeast with some warm water and sugar to test it, but alas there was no froth.  It was too late to run to the store, so we skipped the refrigerator step and grabbed the yeast in the morning.

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I unfortunately missed taking pictures of the dough-making process.  This involved making and herb butter with fresh dill from our patio garden, mixing it with rosemary, parsley, pumpkin purée, egg, sugar, salt, and yogurt.  Egad!  When mixing these ingredients I accidentally added an extra egg.  I ended up doubling the recipe to fix it and only later realizing that I made 40 rolls!!!  Well in went double the yeast, and then double the flour.  Mixing in the flour took forever.  I did this by hand, kneading the dough for what seemed like forever.  My arms felt like they were going to fall off.  Chris came to the rescue and helped me roll the dough into 40 small balls.  We set them on the counter to rise for 2 hours and relaxed on the couch while we waited.

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The last step involved brushing the rolls with egg and then covering them in coarse sea salt.  They baked in the oven for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  They smelled delicious as they baked.

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Sure enough, these rolls turned out light, fluffy, salty, and herby.  Pure deliciousness.  The pumpkin added a nice color to the rolls, but the herb flavor came through more than anything.  I ate mine with some delicious butter someone brought for the cornbread.  I’d highly recommend these rolls if you want to bring something unique to a potluck dinner and you’re up for some serious kneading.

Thanksgiving Bread Take One: Butternut Squash Muffins

10 Dec

Every year, Chris and his friends get together in early November to share a Thanksgiving dinner together.  We all bring a dish, drink, chat, and enjoy the food.  Chris always brings the sweet potatoes (and they turn out great), but I like to make a dish myself as well.This year most of the traditional dishes were already taken, so I decided to bring the bread.  I looked through Food52.com and found a recipe for a savory muffin.  When I started to make the muffin, Chris exclaimed, “spinach in a muffin, weird.”  I too thought it was a bit strange, but then again maybe it would be amazing.

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I cut the squash into cubes, tossed it in EVOO, and baked it until golden brown.


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In the meantime, I chopped the spinach, tossed it with parmesan and feta cheese, and beat together milk, eggs, and mustard.  Yea I know, this list of ingredients had me worried as well.  Sometimes you have to bet big to win big, or so I hoped.  I then added the roasted squash cubes to the spinach and poured the egg mixture into one big bowl.

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Finally I slowly added the dry ingredients, mixing until barely incorporated.  First the flour, then the baking soda, then the salt, and the wait WHAT…nutmeg…at this point I had to reassure myself that they’d be amazing.

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I evenly distributed the dough into cupcake pans.  This part was a bit tricky since the dough was rather sticky.  I also sprinkled the tops with fresh ground pepper and pressed the remaining into the tops of the tops of the muffins.  Now here is where I royally messed up.  I forgot to also press in the remaining feta cheese on the tops of the muffins.  

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They baked for about 20 minutes at 450.  The product in the end was absolutely beautiful.  The orange of the squash and green of the spinach were vibrant and unexpected on the backdrop of a muffin.

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If only they tasted as good as they looked!  They unfortunately turned out a rather dense and difficult to eat.  I think a bunch of melted feta cheese on top would have definitely helped.  Ah well, my big bet didn’t pay off, but it might be worth another go.  I’ll just need to tweak the recipe to make the muffins more fluffy (and I know I can make darn good fluffy muffins) and stick a post it note to the oven reminding me to add the feta cheese to the top!

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