Tuesday, April 26, 2011

updates.


on saturday, we went to a greek restaurant
ate lots of lamb and seafood
and finished off the evening with blueberry pie and beatles rock band.
also, there have been muffins this week
with banana and chocolate chips.
we had one warm day at the start of the month
that involved much porch sitting.
and asparagus. there has been asparagus.

april is almost over! i'm ready for those may flowers...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

White chocolate oatmeal cookies, and parasailing.


In Mexico, we went parasailing.

I was kind of surprised that I did. Not that I was afraid, or that it didn't interest me, or that I'm not the adventurous type. (Although that last one probably is the real reason, but let's just say it's not, because otherwise I'd have to admit that I'm boring. Again.) No, I was just perfectly happy with my feet planted nice and pretty right on the ground, poolside. After all, when you're making it a point to laze about on your honeymoon, any interruption is just that: an interruption. I wasn't feeling it.


Until. I looked up, and saw the colorful parachute sailing through the sky, and I snapped a picture, and I decided, "Yes. I want to do that. It's my birthday." (For the record, it really was my birthday. That's not just something I say when I want to do something.)

So we went parasailing, and I'm glad we did. Just like I'm glad I made these oatmeal cookies.


I know, I know, parasailing and oatmeal cookies? Kind of a stretch. But hear me out. I'm not a huge fan of oatmeal cookies. I've never been a fan of oatmeal at all -- I'm more of an eggs-and-bacon, chocolate-chip-cookies kind of girl. I'll eat oatmeal cookies, and I'll even like them, a little. But not so much to crave them, or request them, or buy them, and certainly not enough to rush home from work and make them myself, even before I cook dinner, like I did one day a couple of weeks ago.

There was this blog post, though, and it was from Smitten Kitchen, and, well. I looked at the photos, I read the reviews, and I just decided. "Yes. I want to make these cookies. And then eat them."

So I made oatmeal cookies.


These aren't really like your typical chewy oatmeal cookies with raisins or walnuts or dried fruits. They're more like a cross between a sugar cookie and an oatmeal cookie. They're crisp and sweet, with a slight oat-y bite. There are white chocolate chips involved, though they lend more to the sweetness rather than the texture. They're the kind of cookie that you bite once and decide that "Yes, we've got a keeper."

Some decisions are just easy like that.


Head over to Smitten Kitchen for the recipe. Deb says to use a good quality white chocolate bar to avoid the "artificial" taste of white chocolate chips, but I'm just not that cool enough to bake with fancy chocolate, at least not yet. So I used Ghirardelli white chocolate chips, which worked out fine. Deb also suggests fleur de sel or Maldon flaky sea salt for sprinkling on top of the cookies, but all I had was Morton kosher salt, which worked out fine, too. So there, now you have no excuses not to make these.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A gentle nudge, and potato soup.

I think Kristin had the right idea when she wrote this post, politely shooing winter out the door with a list of things she'd miss about the long, cold season. With that in mind, I figured I'd write about soup today, before the warm weather finally hits (soon? please?) and the only soup we'll be eating starts with corn (fresh, sweet, local, summer) and ends with chowder.

But first, potato soup -- one that I made for the first time in November, when I was still so excited for soups, and there was a feeling of holidays in the air to mask the impending doom of winter. The photos have been sitting in my Flickr stream since then, waiting patiently for their turn, but I just never got around to sharing the recipe until now. I guess I thought it wasn't worth a blog post. After all, it's just an everyday potato soup.

Loaded Potato Soup

But I've made it a handful of times since then, and the soup made a comfortable home in our weekly rotation of meals. It helped us get through the winter, and that's certainly nothing to just shrug over.

There's not much to it, really. You even use the microwave to cook the potatoes. The original recipe also tells you to cook the bacon in the microwave, which I tried, but decided that the saved time isn't worth it. Bacon should be pan-fried, period. You peel the skins from the cooked potatoes and throw the potatoes into a pot with garlic, onions, broth, flour and milk, and then mash it all up. The results, once you've made up your bowl with bacon bits, green onions and cheese, is a baked potato in the form of a soup. If it's still chilly in your neck of the woods, you may still have time to make this. If it's warm where you are, well. I'm jealous. 

So now that you know about the soup (scroll down for the recipe), I'll leave you with some photos of here, lately. Maybe they'll also help give winter that gentle nudge it needs to get out of here already.


Loaded Potato Soup (from Cooking Light)

4-6 medium red or gold potatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk, divided
1/4 cup sour cream
4 bacon slices, chopped
shredded cheddar cheese
sliced green onions
seasoned salt
salt and pepper

Pierce potatoes with a fork, place on a plate and microwave on high for 13 minutes or until tender. Cut in half and let cool.

Meanwhile, cook the chopped bacon in a skillet until brown and crisp. Set aside on a plate lined with paper towel.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions and cook until translucent and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add broth. Whisk together flour and 1/2 cup milk in a small bowl, and add to the pan with the other 1 1/2 cups of milk. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Cook for another minute, then remove from heat and add sour cream.

Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the potato skins, using a spoon to scoop the potato out of the skins. Discard skins, roughly chop the potatoes and generously sprinkle seasoned salt over them. Add the potatoes to the saucepan and mash until it's the consistency you want. We like ours thick and chunky. Season with more seasoned salt (or regular salt) and pepper to taste.

Top individual bowls with cheese, green onions and bacon. Serves 4, and is perfect alongside a crunchy salad.