Curry-flower Soup

This is the flower from the Murraya koenigii or Curry Tree.
It’s not actually in my soup at all.
But I made a curry cauliflower soup which came out pretty well (Martin helped – mostly he showed me what to do with the leeks. Thanks Martin).

    In keeping with the money theme, I added up the cost of the ingredients that I had to buy (most of them except garlic and curry paste). It cost about $25, but I still have rice, a leek, a bit of cauliflower and some other ingredients to make more food. It’s not profitable, but it’s pretty affordable. (Note to self: find a way to make people pay to eat my food)

I made this recipe myself, but it was inspired by Melancauli Baby from Eat, Shrink & Be Merry (I love all their stuff).

Curry-flower soup
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp butter
about 2 leeks, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic
about 3/4 of a cauliflower (small florets)
1 white potato, chopped
1 tsp curry paste (or powder)
3 cups chicken broth
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1 cup brown & wild rice
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup grated 2 yr cheddar cheese
1/4 cup swiss cheese

(Cook rice while making the rest of the soup) Heat oil & butter, cook leeks with curry until soft (3 minutes). Add cauliflower and potato, cook for another minute. Add broth, cumin, salt and pepper, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover & simmer for 12-15 minutes (vegetables should be tender) Add cooked rice, milk, and cheese. Heat again, serve.

*not shown: tasty country bread broiled with cheddar cheese on top

Martin was a bit flabbergasted at my use of rice in a soup. I was defending the rice by saying, “it’s just a starch! Like potato soup”…then I realized I was putting potato in too. So this is the starchiest soup in the world – even without the bread I served it with. The good thing about it is that it is filling. I’m still feeling very nicely full from a few hours ago. Martin and I called over some friends and we ate soup and talked about finite universes…and Dune. I made way too much soup but most of it was still eaten, with about 2 servings left for me to eat later.

So, the soup. It was interesting… Next time I make it I will change a few things though. Like use more curry than I did, add hot sauce, use regular milk instead of coconut milk (or only a little coconut milk), ditch the potatoes, and forget the swiss cheese and go for the cheddar.
Side note – the 2 year old cheddar I bought was award winning cheese (Canadian Reserve – evidently the world’s best aged cheddar)! It was really nice and sharp without being too sour tasting.
Anyway – even the way it was the soup was very very good. I liked the leek flavour even though it seemed it would be overpowering at first, it wasn’t.
All in all, a fine soup and I’m actually going to bed on a full stomach. =)


February 5, 2008 at 5:56 am 1 comment

Introducing…The Swedish Chef

My friend Martin and I made cookies the other night. He was born and raised in Sweden, and he’s teaching me to speak Swedish while I teach him to cook. (Jag lär Martin att laga mat!)
Here he is stirring the cookie dough:

This time we made chocolate chip cookies with some neat chocolate chips I picked up around Christmas time that are white chocolate and milk chocolate swirls.
The chips were really really pretty, so I was sad they didn’t show up in the cookie very much(maybe I should place one on top of each cookie next time?).
They tasted great though, very very sweet.
I adapted a standard chocolate chip cookie recipe for these, actually more than I intended to. I only had baking powder on hand in my dorm room (oddly enough), and neither store we visited to pick up eggs and milk had baking soda. So I found out that you can substitute baking powder for soda, but you have to use about 3 times as much. It’s recommended that you reduce the salt to make up for it though.
The cookies still came out a little flat, but they rose enough for me, and I didn’t have to wait until I found baking soda to bake.
1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated (white) sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda (or 3 tsp baking powder)
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
Cream the butter with the sugars, the eggs and the vanilla. Mix up the dry ingredients and then combine with the wet. Stir in the chocolate chips last. Bake at 375 F for about 8-12 minutes.
The cookies didn’t last very long…we made 48, around 9:30pm, and none survived past midnight.

February 4, 2008 at 5:01 am 1 comment

The snack that smiles back

(until you bite their heads off)
My school has this thing called Study Snacks where people edit papers and have lots of snacks about every other week. And the last time, I got to bake cupcakes for it!
I went with basic vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream in pink and blue. I think the colours look like cotton candy…they taste like vanilla though. People really liked them, and I’m not just saying that because of how quickly they disappeared and because I had to hide these two in a cupboard so I could take their picture later.

I wanted to pipe on the frosting all pretty, but I had some issues with the bags and the tip I was using. I ended up thinning out the rest of the buttercream and smearing it on.
Oh well.
Here’s the recipe for Golden Vanilla Cupcakes.
(someone left nutmeg in the kitchen so I added a pinch of that)
For the chocolate ones I just took out a little flour and replaced it with cocoa, and cooked them about 2 minutes longer.

February 4, 2008 at 4:35 am Leave a comment

wakka wakka wakka

A friend and I went to Superstore and got some groceries recently.
He got a blueberry pie, and we also ate some chicken on a stick and burned some sausages.
Anyway, the pie totally looked like Pac-Man. See?

February 4, 2008 at 3:42 am Leave a comment

Eric’s Birthday Cupcakes

“People love cinnamon! It should be on tables at restaurants along with salt and pepper. Anytime anyone says, ‘Oh this is so good. What’s in it?’ The answer invariably comes back, Cinnamon. Cinnamon. Again and again.” – Jerry Seinfeld (That’s from The Dinner Party, Season 5)
So these cupcakes are pretty special, I made them for Eric on his birthday. It’s my first real cupcake recipe actually so that’s exciting. Eric seemed to like them too. I made the buttercream icing a bit too soft, and it sort of melted instead of being in nice swirls on top. Everything tasted good though.

Eric’s Birthday Cupcakes
Cocoa-cinnamon cupcakes with cinnamon buttercream icing
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cocoa, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, cream the butter, then beat in the sugar, eggs, yolk, and vanilla. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk in a few steps and gently combine.
Bake in a 350 F oven for about 20 minutes.

February 4, 2008 at 3:08 am 4 comments

Vanilla Bean Pancakes

When I went to Texas in December 2006 I visited the Penzeys store in Dallas. I love their spices so much and brought back tons of great stuff like my Vietnamese Cassia cinnamon and Madagascar vanilla beans. It took me over a year to use one of my beans. I was scared I’d ruin whatever I made with them and hate myself for it, but on New Year’s Eve I had a craving for some pancakes and I decided to break out the vanilla.
The pancake recipe I normally is actually called Griddle Cakes from Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens. They’re pretty thin, unlike the big cake-y pancakes that most restaurants serve. These are adapted from that base recipe with a few changes, including the vanilla.
Vanilla Bean pancakes
2 eggs
2 1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter
vanilla bean

2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp brown sugar
some freshly grated nutmeg
pinch salt

I got the vanilla into these by letting the vanilla bean infuse into the milk first. Then you whisk the eggs with the milk and add the melted butter. Whisk or sift the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then combine the two and gently stir the batter until almost smooth.

The pancakes turned out pretty well. However, vanilla bean is expensive, so if money is a factor just put in some vanilla extract – they’re still awesome pancakes. The vanilla flavour is really nice – not overpowering in a cheap, yellow, “french vanilla” ice cream kind of way, it’s subtle but great.

I served mine with vanilla bean whipped cream (used the same bean – you can re-use it  a few times. I made some vanilla sugar too), maple syrup and leftover raspberry sauce (from the cheesecake). I wish the camera had been able to pick up on the pretty vanilla specks better – but they looked really good, especially with the whipped cream.

February 4, 2008 at 12:24 am Leave a comment

Festive Chocolate-orange Cheesecake

This is actually my own recipe! Very exciting.
I made this cheesecake in December for a family get-together. I planned to make a white chocolate velvet cheesecake. Only we didn’t have white chocolate, and neither did the grocery store. So I decided to change it up, and used bitter and semi-sweet chocolate. Also the original recipe called for some lemon juice, but I replaced it with about twice as much orange juice, and threw in the zest too. Chocolate-orange is a great combination anyway, and we always have Terry’s Chocolate Oranges around at Christmas, so it was festive.
I was a bit nervous serving a cheesecake that I’d never made or had before to a lot of people, but it turned out great and people seemed to really enjoy it. The texture is super smooth and not too dense or heavy feeling. This recipe’s actually healthier than the average cheesecake, mostly because I used light cream cheese and fat-free sour cream (it’s what we had). Also there’s no crust, which makes it easier to bake AND elminates some extra fat and simple carbs (aw… but really, you don’t miss the crust).

Oh yeah, I paired it with a great raspberry sauce too. (It was a bag of frozen raspberries, thawed and strained. Then lemon juice and a bit of sugar to taste.)

Chocolate Orange Cheesecake
(with raspberry sauce)

3 squares bittersweet chocolate
3 squares semi sweet chocolate *
2 pkgs light cream cheese (softened)
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp orange juice
zest of an orange
3/4 cup fat free sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
top layer:
1 square bittersweet chocolate ->melt this, then add these:
-1 cup sour cream
-2 tbsp sugar
-1 tsp vanilla

Melt chocolates together in saucepan
Beat cream cheese, sugar, orange juice and zest until blended. Add in chocolate, sour cream, eggs and vanilla, beat well until smooth. Pour batter into lightly greased springform pan. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 250 and bake for 30 minutes. Pour on the topping and smooth, then bake for an additional 5 minutes. Chill cake until completely cooled. Voila!

* if you have just one kind of chocolate use 6 squares of that, I just used what was in the pantry.

February 3, 2008 at 9:26 pm 1 comment

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