I woke up this morning to snow falling! Most of the east coast has gotten some sort of snow over the past month and D.C. finally got a taste!
I took a picture when I walked outside to get the paper, and another one when I got home from work. So pretty! All I hear now is freezing rain. It was nice while it lasted.
The first snow of the season clearly calls for soup! What better than TK's seasonally appropriate butternut squash soup. I have a feeling I might be slightly changing some of Bouchon's recipes not out of laziness or level of difficulty but purely on time constraint. Getting home from work at 7:00 does not leave a lot of time to cook. In my defense, I only usually skip the extra little finishing steps. The core of the recipes stay the same. For example, TK's soup calls for finishing with brown butter, nutmeg and creme fraiche. While I'm sure it would be delicious, plain soup hit the spot tonight:)
While the squash cooked...I practiced my chopping skills!
Things always take longer than you think they will.
While the squash cooked...and cooked...and cooked... I cooked, sweat, and simmered the onion, carrots, shallots, and garlic. Let's not forget the bouquet garni! At least it made my apartment smell good! Time for some wine.
After adding the roasted squash, pureeing it.. .it's time to taste!
my version of Thomas Keller's Butternut Squash Soup (omitting the brown butter, sage and nutmeg creme fraiche)
One butternut squash
2 tbs canola oil
salt and pepper
2 sage springs
1 cup thinly sliced leeks
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
6 garlic cloves
2 tbs honey
6 cups of vegetable stock
bouquet garni (I used parsley, rosemary and sage)
Cut the squash in half, take out the seeds (you can save them and roast them later for a yummy snack). Salt and pepper the squash, rub it with canola oil and stuff a sage stem. Turn them cut side down onto a roasting pan or cookie sheet and bake it at 350 degrees about about an hour (mine too a lot longer, it all depends on the size of the squash).
While the squash is roasting, sautee the onion, carrots, shallots and leeks in a pan. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and sautee on low until soft. Add the vegetable stock, bouquet garni and simmer. Add the roasted squash and simmer for 20-30 minutes to really incorporate all the flavors.
Puree until smooth and eat!
Hooray! I am going to Argentina in March! I have made it my mission to plan fun and exciting things to do for the rest of winter. My first trip is to see my sister in Seattle!!!!! Four day weekend full of sisterly fun, restaurant, hopefully a fish market and most probably a little spa-like Seattle mist... here I come!! Seattle and my sister are my plan to get through February.
What am I doing in March you ask? Argentina! 7 days of meat, wine, and friends! In honor of my trip to Buenos Aires I thought it would be appropriate to make empanadas. What could be better than a little pocket full of goodness? This is not my first attempt and it will not be my last. I have yet to master actually closing the pouches, but practice makes perfect right?
I've made all different kinds, usually with whatever kind of ground meat I bought at the farmers' market that weekend. Pork, bison... all usually involve eggs and olives, sometimes potatoes. I thought I would go vegetarian this time.
3 small potatoes, cubed and boiled
2 shallots sauteed (I was lazy and didn't add these but they definitely would have added extra flavor)
3/4 cup peas
2 hard boiled eggs (chopped)
1/4 tsp curry powder
sald and pepper to taste
1 egg and water for an egg wash to make them nice and brown and shiny
Fill each empanada shell with a little more than a tablespoon of filling. Put the filling on one half of the shell. Brush a little water on the edges of the bottom half and fold the top half over. Once all the shells have been filled and folded brush each one with the egg wash. This will ensure the empanadas brown nicely and come out a little shiny.
Bake them for 30 minutes at 400 degrees and they are ready to eat! Enjoy!
It sounds like a fairly simple recipe and it is! Feel free to add whatever you want. My Argentine friend gave me a more authentic recipe. You can find it below:
Paula's empanada recipe:
- add ground beef to the onion and cook
- add salt and pepper
- boil an egg and then chop it into little pieces and add to the meat
- chop a few olives and add to the meat (they add a great salty taste!!!)
(quantities are up to you, depending on how many shells you have to fill... )
It's no secret that I can spend hours reading food blogs. Bored at work? Read a food blog! Don't know what to cook and need some inspiration? READ A FOOD BLOG! Like many foodies (I'm still not sure if I like the word...but let's go ahead and use it) tastespotting.com is one of my favorites. What could be better than page after page of food pictures? And behind every picture? A link to the blog it came from! It's as if someone took the time to gather all the most amazing looking pictures from the best food blogs and neatly packaged them into one perfect little food blog. Oh wait, that's exactly what they did! Heaven.
I don't bake much. I'll make the occasional tart, or brownies or banana bread, but other than that I mostly cook. A picture of a super moist grapefruit cake convinced me to go out and stock up on flour and sugar and bake!
Yogurt+ flouer+ grapefruit zest+sugary glaze = amazingly moist, delighfully citrusy grapefruit cake!
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt ( I used low-fat and it tasted just fine!)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 extra-large eggs
zest of two large grapefruits
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (i used a moreless - about 2 and a half)
original recipe found on pickycook.com
I thought I would start off easy: roast a chicken. I've roasted chickens before, but never in my little apartment kitchen. That in itself would be a test. No baster, no roasting rack, just a cake pan. Ready? Go! I used carrots as a roasting rack and followed TK's recipe! I think it was a success:)
Who wants dinner?!
Thomas Keller's favorite simple roast chicken
One 2 to 3 pound farm raised chicken
( I got mine at Trader Joe's. Yummy. It still had a few feathers on it...not so yummy)
Kosher Salt and freshly ground Pepper
2 teaspoons of minced Thyme (optional)
-I skipped this part, only because my thyme plant died and I couldn't bare to use dried
My first encounter with all things Thomas Keller was on a trip to Napa. I flew cross country and met my friend in the land of food and wine for 3 days of wine, wine, and a few incredible meals. Since neither of us could afford to eat at The French Laundry (or thought to make reservations there months and months in advance) so we decided to eat at Ad Hoc http://www.adhocrestaurant.com/.
Not only is the "prix fixe only" concept genius but the prices are a lot more reasonable. Done! This was going to be our big night out. Thanks to the friendliest staff on the west coast and the best piece of pork belly that has ever touched my lips, we ended up going back for brunch the next day! Hooray for incredible food and fun new friends!
Even though The French Laundry was not on our "to eat" list, we thought walking by couldn't hurt. Little did I know that Bouchon was basically right next door. It was 3:00 PM and both the French Laundry and Bouchon were slow, quiet, nothing to see, no good smells wafting from the doors. Luckily enough Bouchon also has a bakery right next door. Having spent more money than necessary on wine tastings that day, We decided to treat ourselves to a macaroon as a snack. Amazing.
Above are Thomas Keller's macarons.
Below are mine!!!!..... I have some work to do.