Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jamaican Pumpkin Soup

I'm not going to write much about this recipe. Why? Because I made it wrong. I halved every ingredient--aside from the thyme that I omitted--EXCEPT for the pumpkin. Bah.

It has potential, but that's all I can report.

6 cups chicken stock
2 cups fresh or canned pumpkin meat or your favorite winter squash, (such as butternut squash, acorn, etc.), cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons minced jalapeƱo pepper, or more to taste
Freshly ground nutmeg, to taste
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk or evaporated milk
1/4 cup minced fresh coriander, for garnish

In a saucepan, or stockpot (large enough to hold all the ingredients) over medium heat, bring the chicken stock to a simmer. Add all the ingredients except the buttermilk and coriander and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes and pumpkin are tender. The stock should completely cover all ingredients by at least 2 inches.

Remove the bay leaf and pour the soup into a blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Return the soup to the pot and heat through. Stir in the buttermilk or evaporated milk. Divide the soup into serving bowls and garnish with the coriander.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cherry Chip Brownies

No soup for you!!!

Er, rather, no soup for us. Well, me. (I'm the only one in the house who loves soup.) No soup for me this week, because I didn't plan enough ahead to make any. I did, however, get a wild hair to make brownies after seeing how the mister lit up when he saw a bag of cherry chips. And, actually, there will be no brownies for me, either, because those cherry chips make me wanna--um, you know. Bacaphooey.

I haven't made brownies from scratch before, so this is a legitimate post! I followed the easy recipe exactly, then folded in about a cup of cherry chips. Viola! Happy boys.


1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.

In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Parsnip Soup

Now that it's finally acting like Autumn, it's officially soup weather. Yes, I made soup last week, but that was pushing it.

In September, I posed this question on my blog's Facebook page: "Do you have a recipe that you always/only make in Autumn?" My college friend, Caty (Massey) Perez, answered by providing her recipe for parsnip soup, and I knew I'd eventually make it for the blog. Last night was the night, although I didn't finish it until this afternoon when I added the cream and seasoning.

I didn't edit any of the ingredients; I only changed the process a bit. I used an immersion blender instead of a traditional blender to create less mess, and I turned an hour process into an 18-hour process. (A last-minute sushi invite took precedence.) I also didn't reserve any of the leeks for garnish. But other than washing/peeling/chopping the veggies, there's really nothing tricky about the prep. Just be sure to wash the leeks THOROUGHLY.

As far as the taste is concerned, I like this soup, but it's not my favorite. It could be that I didn't add enough salt, but I'm always light-handed with salt, because the thought of over-salting makes me nervous. I figure if someone wants more salt, they can add it to their own portion. For people who need to chew something, the recipe calls for reserving some of the leeks for garnish, so I'm sure that would make a difference. I tossed in some croutons for the heck of it and they worked well to add texture.

One thing I need to point out about this recipe is that it is inexpensive. The whole huge pot cost me less than $10 and would feed 6-8. :^}


2 tablespoons butter
1 pound prepared sliced leeks (2 cups)
1 pound parsnips, trimmed, peeled, and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
2 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium baking potato (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

Heat butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add leeks (reserving 1/2 cup for garnish). Cook, stirring, 5 minutes.

Add parsnips, apples, potato, broth, and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Working in batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth. Return it to pot; stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper.