Sunday, June 29, 2008

Potato Leek Soup

This soup is so good that I can't wait to make it again. For tips on preparing leeks check out this video:

Recipe by: Alton Brown

1 pound leeks, cleaned and dark green sections removed, approximately 4 to 5 medium (chopped into small pieces)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Heavy pinch kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
14 ounces, approximately 3 small, Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced small
1 quart vegetable broth or 28 oz vegetable broth + 4 oz water
1 cup heavy cream 1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon snipped chives (optional)

1. In a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
2. Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of salt and sweat for 5 minutes.
3. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the potatoes and the vegetable broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil.

5. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 20 minutes.
6. Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth.
7. Stir in the heavy cream, buttermilk, and white pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.
8. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately, or chill and serve cold.

*I don't have an immersion blender so I used a standard blender.

Cupcakes for Reid:

Basic Vanilla Cake
Country Living
1 ½ c sifted cake flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ c unsalted butter softened
1 c sugar
2 large eggs room temperature
½ tsp clear vanilla extract
½ c whole milk

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cupcake pan. I spray my cupcake liners with pam.
2. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl.
3. Beat in the butter one heaping 1/4 teaspoonful at a time, using an electric mixer set on low speed, until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
4. Beat in the sugar a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture resembles fine damp sand.
5. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
6. Add the vanilla and milk, and beat on medium-high, just until blended. Do not over-beat.
7. Bake for 20 minutes; keep an eye on them so they do not over cook.

The original recipe says to bake at 400 degrees; I found this to be to high and made the tops of my cupcakes a little crispy. Thankfully I made these cupcakes for my 2 year old neighbor and he thought they were great.

French Bread

I made this bread this week to show Dan that I know how to make bread from scratch. He didn't believe me at first because I hadn't made any at home before now. Unfortunately the picture that I took didn't turn out; hopefully I'll have better luck next time.

French Bread:
2 packages of dry yeast
2 ½ cups warm water
1 tsp. sugar
6 c. all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp salt

1. Make sure water temperature is 110 to 115 degrees F. Place water in a large bowl and sprinkle with yeast and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes until yeast dissolves and starts to bubble.

2. Stir in 2 cups flour and salt. Cover and let rise for ½ hour.

3. Then gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. (Knead by pressing the dough, then folding over and pressing with the heel of your hand.) Then clean the large mixing bowl, grease it with vegetable shortening, and place the dough in the bowl. Turn it in the bowl so that the dough is greased (this will prevent the dough from cracking as it rises.)

4. Cover the dough and let rise at room temperature for about 2 ½ hours, until doubled in bulk. With your fist, punch down the dough. Divide in half and place one half on a lightly floured surface.

5. Using a rolling pin, roll dough to a 12X6” rectangle. Starting with the 12” side, roll up tightly. Seal seams and edges by pinching. Repeat with remaining dough.

6. Grease a cookie sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves on prepared sheet. Cover and let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 1 hour.

7. Pre heat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray the loaves with a small amount of water, then using a blade, make a few slashes across the top of each loaf. Bake for 25-30 minutes until loaves are golden brown.

8. Remove from cookie sheet and let cool on wire rack.

Apple French Toast

Apple French Toast
Idea from:

French toast:
5 eggs

½ c whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 loaf french bread, cut into 1 inch-thick slices

2 Gala apples

4 T unsalted butter
½ brown sugar
¼ c whole milk

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F
2. In a casserole dish, crack eggs and add milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk until well combined then lay bread slices in mixture to coat and absorb it all, turning occasionally.
3. In a small sauce pan over medium high heat melt the butter and sugar, stirring frenquently, until the sugar has carmelized.
4. While the sugar is melting, peel and core apples and cut into slices.
5. Remove from heat and gently risk in the whole milk.
6. Add sliced apples to syrup mixture
7. Top french toast with apples and syrup
8. Bake for 40-45 minutes

Fettuccini Alfredo

Basic Egg Pasta:
4 large eggs (7/8 c)
1 T water
3 ½ c sifted all purpose flour
½ tsp salt

1. Place eggs, water, flour, and salt in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and flat beater. Turn to speed 2 and mix 30 seconds.
2. Exchange flat beater for dough hook. Turn to speed 2 and knead for 2 minutes.
3. Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 1-2 minutes.
4. Let dough rest for 20 minutes.
5. Divide dough into four pieces before processing with pasta sheet roller attachment.
Yeild: 1 ¼ pounds of dough
I normally half this recipe.

Alfredo Sauce:
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
12 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp white pepper

1. In saucepan over medium high heat, bring the cream and butter to a boil.
2. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add cheese and white pepper, whisk until smooth.

Chicken to go with the sauce:
2 chicken breasts cubed
1 T garlic
2 T sliced mushrooms
Adobo & Oregano to taste

1. Spray skillet with Pam and heat to medium to medium high
2. Cook seasoned chicken thoroughly, turning chicken regularly
3. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook for about one minute

Vegetarian Alternative:
1 c frozen vegetarian chicken (I used the Quorn brand, cubed)
½ c fresh spinach (washed)
½ T garlic 1 T water
Adobo & Oregano to taste

1. Spray skillet with Pam and heat to medium
2. Add Vegetarian chicken, seasoning, garlic and water to pan, cook 5-7 minutes
3. Add spinach, cook 2-3 minutes