Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Welcome! Let's Eat!

Let me start out, on my first first blog entry ever, by saying that I do not claim by any means to be an expert or an all-knowing cook.  I don't always know what I am doing, and as my husband can most definitely confirm, not everything I make tastes very good or even a little good for that matter.  ( Yes honey, I remember the darn meatloaf, let it go already!!!)  What I can say is that I LOVE to cook and bake.  I am pretty much willing to try any recipe or new cooking techniques.  This blog is going to be a record of sorts of my culinary adventures, the good, the bad and the frustrating!

For our very first meal together, I chose an old favorite of mine, potato soup.  I think I chose it because it was simple and pretty to photograph, but mostly cause I want it to be Fall already!  I know it is on its way, you could feel it in the breeze here the other day and combine that with preseason football games and I decided to at least pretend that it was cool enough for soup!  I also wanted to make some more bread, as I am currently trying to bake my way through a wonderful bread book by Peter Reinhart called Artisan Breads Every Day. It is awesome, you should all check it out.  Anyway I made the rustic bread on page 52 to go with the potato soup, although it wasn't finished until well after dinner.  I didn't realize until it was too late that this was one of those bread recipes that needed to be worked with for a few hours before baking.  Lesson of the story people, make sure you read the whole recipe well ahead of time so you don't end up baking bread during dinner!  

Potato Soup
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30-40 minutes

2 medium potatoes
3 Tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 cup diced onions, whichever kind you prefer
2 Tbsp flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups potato flakes
1 Tbsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp basil
1/8 tsp thyme
1 cup half & half

shredded cheddar cheese
bacon pieces
green onions

Serves 6-8

Bake the two medium potatoes in the oven or microwave, cut them open and set them aside to cool when finished.  At the same time, put the butter or margarine in a stock pot over medium heat, once melted add onions and cook until lightly browned.  Add flour and cook for a moment to make a roux, this well help the soup thicken up later.  Pour in the chicken broth and water, stirring well to make sure the onions don't clump together.  Add the potato flakes and spices.  Allow this to come to a boil then simmer for 5 minutes or so.  Now remove the skin of the baked potatoes and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.  Next, add the half & half and potato chunks to the soup and stir throughly to ensure it is all mixed in well.  Simmer for another 20 minutes. Dish out and serve!

A couple of notes, use the time during the final simmer to prepare your toppings.  You can either use pre-cooked chopped bacon or cook and cut up your own.  My family tends to prefer when I cook up my own, but I was feeling lazy the other day and they got pre-made bacon bits.  It tasted just as good...kind of...okay it is better when you cook your own but sometimes it is just not worth the extra dirty pan, you know!  Even when I am not the one washing it, lol!  The bread was finished a bit after dinner but I thought it was a delicious dessert!  Apparently some of the other members of my family did too cause one of the two loaves was gone by morning and the second one was finished off pretty quick the next day too!