Archive for March, 2010

Potato Leek Soup

Posted in Uncategorized on March 21, 2010 by aliaalafaireet

This post is brought to you by the color green, leek green to be specific. Do you believe in serendipity? Perhaps it’s too strong of a word for this incident, but with no real conscious planning, my friend Sean and I made potato leek soup, and through completely random additions of friends, crusty bread, musical instruments, and a cat, we had ourselves a pseudo-Irish fest on the eve of Saint Patrick’s Day.

The soup was simple, delicious, and improvised. Sean described it as “subtle, elegant, comfort.” We chopped 3 leeks, half a large onion, and celery and sautéed them in a large pot with butter. The easiest way to clean leeks, by the way, is to chop them and then put them in a bowl with water for a few minutes. The sandy dirt sinks to the bottom. We cooked the leek mixture until everything was soft. Then we added several chopped Yukon gold potatoes and let them brown a little. To this we added vegetable stock and water and let it simmer until the potatoes were cooked. Sean then ran the soup through the blender with a touch of cream. Sean seasoned the soup with salt, pepper, and dill. The boy has good instincts. Our friend Noah brought bread (raison walnut, and sourdough). It was a little old and therefore perfect for toasting, smearing with butter, and using to eat soup in lieu of a spoon. Noah also brought a banjo, a guitar, and Robby who plays the autoharp (as a Carter family fan I was quite impressed). Zack also showed up to eat our soup and do research for his thesis.

I could try to explain the rest of the night, the relaxed joy of soup and old-time music, but you kinda had to be there.

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Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Rolls with Pecans and Orange Glaze

Posted in Uncategorized on March 7, 2010 by aliaalafaireet

I promised my next blog would be something gooey and delicious, and cinnamon rolls are the pinnacle of warm oozy comfort. I am trying to incorporate whole-wheat flour into all my baked goods. The presence of whole wheat doesn’t really increase the health value of these cinnamon rolls because they is still about a pound of butter, but I adapted the recipe from a Paula Deen recipe, hers are more traditional with white flour, raison and a vanilla glaze, but the butter is still completely, 100% necessary. First you take a packet of yeast and put it in a bowl with ½ cup warm water. This activates the yeast and it will start to froth up. Let the yeast do its thing with the water for about ten minutes. In the mean time, put ½ cup milk on the stove over medium heat in a saucepan. Also, melt 1/3 cup of butter. You want the milk to be heated through but not boiling. Mix the milk, butter, ¼ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 egg, in a large bowl. Then mix in about 2 cups of whole-wheat flour. And the yeast and water, and mix in 2 cups all-purpose flour, until everything in smooth and incorporated. Knead the dough on a floured surface for five minutes. Then let the dough rise in the bowl for about and hour and a half. While the dough is rising, melt a ½ cup of butter for the filling. Also mix together ¾ cup of sugar, and chop ¾ cup of pecans.

After the dough has risen poke a few holes in it. Roll it out on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. I usually put a piece of wax paper down on the counter to roll on so I can clean up easily. Roll the dough out into a large oval that is approximately 25 by 9 inches. Spread the melted butter over the dough, its so much butter it might ooze over the edges a little, yum! Then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the butter, followed by the pecans. Roll it up and cut it into about 15 rounds. Place the rounds in a greased baking pan and let them rise for about 45 minutes. Use some of this time to make the glaze. Put two cups powdered sugar in a bowl; mix in 4 tablespoons of softened butter. Then add 3-4 tablespoons of water, one at a time. Add the juice of a small orange, and small of its zest.

After the rolls have risen, bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. After they have cooled slightly, pour the glaze over them. Enjoy!