Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Creamy Carrot Soup

I wanted to make an Asian inspired noodle dish with chicken, vegetables, buckwheat noodles and an improvised peanut sauce. I felt like it should have carrots in it and I decided to get those huge carrots pictured. It was great because the carrots were so large I was able to slice them into paper thin circles that looked quite fetching in the dish. I saw though, that I would need one carrot at most, so I quickly decided that I would also make carrot soup. I finished making it today and it came out sweet, creamy and subtly spiced.

Here is what I used:

About four cups of cubed carrots, about a 1/4 inch in length
An inch of minced ginger
A serrano pepper, quartered and hulled
A cup of chicken stock

For later:

A pint of light cream
A quarter cup of maple syrup

I am guessing the measurements here, as I eyeballed the whole thing. Basically I prepared the vegetables and cooked them with the stock in the slow cooker for a few hours until the carrots were so tender they offered no resistance to the poke of a fork. In the morning I put the cooked carrots in the fridge.

When I came home I poured the vegetables into the blender and pureed them on high, afterwards blending them on the slow function. I also took out the cream and let it rest outside of the fridge for a bit. I wanted to avoid shocking the cream with the heat when I warmed up the puree.

Then I pressed the puree through a sieve (a.k.a my colander). After that I poured it into a heavy pot and lit a very low flame beneath. I poured the cream over it and then the maple syrup. I stirred it gently until just incorporated, covered and let it heat for about 15-20 minutes. When the center of the pot was just bubbling I turned off the heat. The texture was completely smooth, creamy and sweet, with a savory finish that barely hinted at the bite you normally expect from chillies and ginger.

The idea here is really basic, but no less delicious for being so. I hope this inspires you to make a creamy vegetable soup, whether it is your own or your take on this. Enjoy!

The vegetables before I added the stock and turned the slow cooker on.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Parmesean Cheese Souffle

I caught an episode of Five Ingredient Fix on the Food Network this weekend and was inspired to make a souffle with a ceasar salad, making the dressing from scratch. It was pretty easy. The picture above is not my souffle, but looks very similar to the one that I made. Joey was a big fan. You should try making it. It was pretty simple and tasted great!

Also, I wanted to let you guys know that the Grub Street fair was pretty awesome, if crowded. We had a lot of tasty treats. We enjoyed food from quite a few vendors, including, Pies and Thighs and Luke's Lobster.

As I promised last post, I am adding a quick note about a cake I made last week. I had wanted to enter the cake in a competition, but the frosting came out a bit grainy. It was my fault for having bought the wrong chocolate and then trying to fix it with granulated sugar. I gambled that the sugar would melt with the chocolate but the chocolate melted much faster. I may actually go with a totally different frosting next time, as it was perhaps too rich for a three layered cake. I guess that's why they call it devil's food cake. When I make this cake again I will try a lighter chocolate frosting.

On a final note I present you readers with a perplexity I encountered while baking this cake. As with all butter cakes, one must beat the sugar and room-temperature butter together to make a fluffy base, to which yolks are later added and other wet ingredients. Then dry ingredients must be gently mixed in. The less you mix, the more moist, hence better, your cake will be. Yet, if you are very gentle, with a thick wet-base as devil's food cake, how do you prevent flour bubbles? I had to bake this cake twice. The first time the cake was very moist, but it had little pockets of unmixed flour. The second cake had virtually no pockets of flour, but was also drier than the first. How do I keep the moistness and get a perfect texture?

It took Maybelle three days to eat this, it was so rich.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I'm Still Here

Hey guys,

I have some food stories to share with you soon. I haven't had time to write them. I just wanted to check in, say hello and alert you to the Grub street fair tomorrow. I'll be posting on a yummy pork ragu soon and the joys and pains of baking chocolate cake, as well as, the fair, so check back often. That's all for now. Have a great weekend!

I leave you with an awesome podcast from The Moth I heard today, Juliet Wayne & Brad Lawrence: GrandSLAM Stories. It is about love and I really enjoyed it. If you like listening to stories, you'll love The Moth Podcast. I Hope you check it out. I will catch up with you all soon!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Oh Monday!

I am taking a quick work break to give you the Artic Monkey's Mardy Burn. It played on Pandora as I was plugging away at forms and faxes and I went over to Youtube to replay it twice more. Check it out. It's a good, short song.

Shilla Be Serving You Some Good BBQ

Lauren with a creamsicle tasting treat at the end of our meal, complements of Shilla

This past weekend I had the good fortune to be a part of Lauren's birthday celebration. Happy birthday girl! Lauren had a Korean BBQ dinner in little Korea. We went to Shilla, which I had been to one time before with Lauren. The first time I went, we were conservative in our order, placing two meat orders for four people. This time we put in three meat orders for four people and ordered stir fried rice, which was a much better spread. Everyone left happy and Satisfied.
The meat was very juicy and flavorful. I enjoyed the beef and the chicken, thigh meat only, recieved very high praise from everyone. We even had shrimp on the grill. The waitress cooked, cut and served it all for us. Lauren told me that the side dishes change every day. Unfortunately, I did not like a few of the complementary plates this time. It might just be that my palate is not experienced enough in Korean food to appreciate the delicacies, but the deep fried greens with tofu and the bitter herb, somewhat like collard greens, was lost on me. I missed the fish cakes they served last time, but was happy they served the pickled cucumbers and the potato salad.

The beef bbq with various small plates. The potato salad and pickled cucumbers were on the right. They are gone!

Friday, October 1, 2010

This Little Piggy Got Roasted

On July 10th of this year the New York Times published an article that has left me dreaming of roasting a whole pig. This past weekend at Atlantic Antic Joey and I shared some pulled pork from Jolie and it was so awesome to see the little roasted piggies all lined up. Over at Gothamist they posted a video of the Fatty 'Cue guys smoking their pigs and it is a thing of beauty. You guys know that Fatty 'Cue made the list, so I hope this entices you to check it out.

How the Pig Gets Smoked at Fatty 'Cue from Gregory Stefano on Vimeo.