Sunday, August 25, 2013

The End of the Month's Review

I came back from Connecticut and Massachusetts and didn't eat at home very much. I flew in on a Tuesday and waited until Thursday to go to my farmer's market. I didn't make yogurt until Sunday. But, I have lots of yummy stuff that I've been eating that I want to share with y'all. Right now, I have chunky peanut butter and Nutella on a spoon and it's bliss. 

I had yummy roasted vegetables (fairy tale eggplants, green pepper, garlic gloves, and sweet potato) with olive oil, salt and pepper. Delicious! 

This is a carrot and raisin salad that I made in imitation of my grandmother's. I had so many carrots that needed to be eaten and I had Raisin Bran. I picked out all the raisins, put the carrots in a blender (for a very short amount of time) and whisked together equal parts of mayonnaise and apple cider vinegar. Delicious!

Joy the Baker provided the recipe for this brown sugar, but I remember reading somewhere that if you're in a pinch, molasses and white sugar can combine to make brown sugar. I was amazed by how easy it was to make it and how delicious it tastes - no preservatives or anything chemical. Now I won't ever buy it again, so long as molasses is in my pantry. Two things I can forever take off my shopping list: yogurt and brown sugar. 

At the farmer's market this week, I bought apples. I thought I'd be getting maybe 8-10 apples; instead, after telling the farmer that I like smaller apples to bring as snacks, I brought home 17 small Golden Delicious apples for $7. This photo (in which the Nutella sort of looks like a litter of puppies, and is taken on my Spongebob plate) shows my latest obsession of putting Nutella on apples. I'm thinking of renaming these apples Chocolate Delicious. 

Another thing I bought at the farmer's market this week was Asian string beans, a weird, long, purple bean. I figured they'd be good in a stir fry so I bought them. I realized I don't know how to stir fry, but I was able to put the beans in a yummy vegetable omelet. I had some fun plating too. 

I went looking online for recipes for these weird beans and found one for braising. I'd never braised green beans, so thought I'd give it a try. If you don't like something, what do you do? Why, smother it in butter and garlic of course. The result was a little chewy but quite delicious. It's somewhat like eating snakes- very buttery snakes with chunks of onion and garlic. 

The aesthetic is nice, though. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Broccoli Soup with Gouda and Parmesan

I am so excited that I'm going home next Friday! I haven't seen my mom or my home since April and my dad since March, so I'm well overdue for some family time. It's also the bi-annual Grosslein reunion on Cape Cod, so Mom and I will drive out for that. Can't wait can't wait...

One of the major things you must keep in mind when preparing for a vacation is what you have in your fridge and pantry. You want to make sure that whatever's left won't spoil before you come back. Last week I inherited a bunch of leftover food from one of our volunteer groups, including two heads of broccoli. I knew I wouldn't eat them steamed, because that's just not something I do often. So I decided on soup.

I looked at a lot of broccoli soup recipes: ones with half and half, ones with an immersion blender, ones with "1 (1 pound) loaf processed cheese food, cubed"... the list goes on. I didn't want to use half and half because of my pseudo-lactose intolerance, don't have an immersion blender, and processed loaf cheese, just... no. Never. Then finally I found one that had the basic ingredients (milk, broccoli, cheese) and seemed adaptable.

Cream of Broccoli soup with cheese, adapted from The Brown Eyed Baker's adaptation of a similar recipe from The Pioneer Woman


1/2 cup (one whole stick) salted butter
1 red onion, chopped
1 small red potato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 cups whole milk
2 heads broccoli, 1-inch florets and 1-inch rounds from the stem
2 cups shredded 5-year aged gouda
1/2 cup parmesan, grated

1. In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the onions and potato. When the onions are translucent and the potatoes are soft, slowly whisk in the milk.

2. Add the broccoli with lots of ground pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 30 minutes until the broccoli is tender. Add the cheese a handful at a time, stirring in between to melt.

3. Transfer the soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender if you have one) and blend on low until pulverized. Serve immediately or freeze in containers.

Notes: The potato eliminates the need for flour. When you add the broccoli, you may add salt but I didn't because the butter was salted.

This is a very tasty and easy recipe that makes a lot of soup. Great for a potluck or other large gathering of folks. 

Happy blending! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How Not to Candy Watermelon Rind

I call this post "how not to candy watermelon rind" because what I did last week was boil watermelon rind with spices and a lot a water. I used the recipe from Food com but instead of just letting the watermelon rind sweat, I filled a deep pot with water and then let the watermelon rind and sugar sit for 12 hours. What I wound up with after adding vanilla, cinnamon, lemon juice and pieces of lemon rind and chili powder, was spiced water and chewy spiced watermelon rind. It's pretty delicious and you can use the pieces of rind in yogurt parfaits, but my favorite way to use this recipe is in beer.

I went to a krewe recruitment party on Sunday and brought a jar of this watermelon rind. They had a keg (sadly this was my first keg party) of Abita Amber and after one or two Solo cups I had the idea of combining the beer with the spiced water from the rind. It was SO out of this world delicious that I had a couple more Solo cups' full. There wasn't any water at the party besides what I brought (just beer and Jameson and other alcohols) so I was not drinking enough water. Although I had fun meeting new people and swimming in Lake Pontchartrain, I got very dehydrated and had a miserable night.

Lesson learned!

Right now I don't want to drink or eat the watermelon rind, so I'm not sure what to do with it... Just the smell of it makes me feel nauseous. I'll give it a couple weeks and see if I feel better.

Please don't equate candied watermelon rind with feeling sick, though. I love this recipe and highly recommend it! Just don't put water in the pot; only peeled and diced watermelon rind with sugar. Let it sweat for 4-12 hours and then proceed with the recipe. Hopefully your end product will be chewy and delicious, like my second attempt will be.