Friday, October 31, 2014

Cheddar Potato and Broccoli Soup

With the weather changing I have been loving soup lately. I found a recipe for potato, broccoli and cheese soup and decided to make it with some modifications. I was surprised how easy it was to make. It was very hearty and delicious and was perfect accompanied with some homemade pretzel rolls.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 1/2 - 3 pounds cubed potatoes
5 cups boiling water
4 cubes chicken (or vegetable) bouillon
3 cups fresh broccoli
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz block of cheddar cheese, shredded (we used white)

In a large pot or dutch oven, saute the onion in the olive oil. After a couple of minutes add in the garlic and saute. 

Add the potatoes, water and bouillon cubes. Cover, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. When there is 8 to 10 minutes left on the potatoes, add in the broccoli and recover the pot.

Once the potatoes and broccoli are cooked, spoon them into a food processor, blender, or Vitamix. Blend until desired consistency is reached.

Put soup back into the pot and season with salt and pepper. Add in the cheese and serve once it is melted and mixed in.


Homemade Pretzels

A couple of weeks ago I wanted to make a snack to eat while we watched an ASU game. We had been talking about making homemade pretzels for a while so when I found this recipe and knew it would be a winner. It was so good and fairly easy that I ended up making a second batch a couple of weeks later.

4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (not warm enough to burn your finger if you put it in the water for 5 seconds)
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oils
1/2 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
kosher salt, for topping

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and the teaspoon of sugar in 1 1/4 cup warm water. Let stand for about 10 minutes. The mixture should be foamy (see picture below).

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, the rest of the sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. You will likely need to add a few tablespoons of water while mixing.

Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 or 8 minutes. Put dough in a lightly greased bowl and flip dough around so both sides are lightly greased. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about an hour.

Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 16 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape or a knot.

In a large bowl, dissolve the baking soda in 4 cups of hot water.

Dip each piece of dough in the baking soda solution and place on either a greased or tin foil covered cookie sheet. Sprinkle with desired amount of kosher salt.

Bake at 450 degrees between 8 or 10 minutes or until brown.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Michael and I were with a friend today and we stopped in a really cool European/Middle Market to get some baklava. They had a great display of all kinds of nuts, which reminded us that we had been talking about making white chocolate macadamia nut cookies sometime soon. We had some white chocolate chips leftover from making carrot cake bites so we bought some macadamia nuts and started looking for recipes. I quickly found a recipe that was rated well and had several great reviews with different tips and tricks. The cookies turned out perfectly. This will definitely be a repeat recipe.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup macadamia nuts (if they are whole you might want to chop them up into smaller pieces, depending on how large of chunks you would like in your cookies)
1 cup white chocolate chips

In a large bowl mix the butter, shortening, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla extract. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. While mixing the wet mixture, gradually add in the flour mixture.

Fold in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate.

Form the dough into tablespoon sized balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with tinfoil.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the cookies begin to turn a golden brown.


{Vitamix} Chocolate Cashew Ice Cream

About a year and a half ago we went to a coffee and tea festival here in New York City. One of the first booths we came upon was a Vitamix booth where they were demoing different recipes. The sales rep made a healthy chocolate ice cream from cashews, ice, cocoa powder, and agave. It was amazingly delicious. From that point on I knew eventually I had to have a Vitamix. Michael and I decided whenever we moved to a new apartment that would be one of the first things we would get.

Flash forward and we are now in a new apartment with a new Vitamix. The first recipe we made was none other than the chocolate ice cream. This recipe makes plenty of enough for the two of us and is one that will likely be in our regular rotation of daily desserts.

1 cup of cashews (we used roasted, unsalted)
1 small tray of ice (we have the IKEA ice trays which are a bit smaller than a normal tray of ice)
about 2 to 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder
about 4 tablespoons of agave nectar (can be substituted with maple syrup or honey and at some point we are planning to try dates as a substitute)

Load the ingredients into the Vitamix in the following order: cashews, cocoa powder, agave, and ice. Using the tamper stick and a high speed blend the ingredients for about a minute or until it has a creamy consistency. You made need to stop halfway through the minute to scrape the sides so everything gets mixed in well. It is now ready to serve. Feel free to garnish with some fruit or ice cream toppings.