Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rosemary-Apple Bread

For a yeast-raised bread, this is super-simple. I used frozen apples that I'd frozen from the farmer's market over the summer. Superduper. It was REALLY good. I would consider making it again.


Rosemary-Apple Bread
Cooking Light, November 2003

3 cups all-purpose flour -- divided
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 package quick-rise yeast -- (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water -- (100° to 110°)
1 cup diced peeled Granny Smith apple -- (about 1 small)
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons butter -- melted

1. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 2 3/4 cups flour, salt, rosemary, and yeast in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add water, stirring until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands. Cover and let rest 5 minutes. Knead in apple. Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 375°.

3. Shape dough into a loaf; place dough in an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Gently press dough into pan; cover. Let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

4. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until bread is lightly browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Brush top with butter. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.

Servings: 16

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tony's Breakfast Couscous

When I got home from Connecticut, I have had a rough couple of days so I internally refused to go grocery shopping. Thus, this week is one of those Super Exciting Weeks where I randomly make things based on what I have in the house (SHOCKING, I know right?!). So tonight I had a breakfast-for-dinner that uses couscous as the base of a breakfasty thing that is kind of similar to oatmeal. It was interesting and not at all what I expected. I liked it a lot. I would actually perhaps consider making it for breakfasts in the morning, should I ever run out of bagels. I would definitely keep this recipe around.


Tony's Breakfast Couscous
Cooking Light, May 2006

Latimer received this recipe from the husband of one of her guides, and it quickly became a favorite way to start the day. You can prepare it the night before and serve warm or cold. The recipe is easy to double to serve more people. Use any combination of dried fruits you like--cherries, apples, blueberries, or raspberries. You can substitute one cup fat-free milk for dry, and decrease the water to 1/4 cup.

1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup uncooked couscous
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts -- toasted
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan; stir in milk and remaining ingredients. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand 10 minutes. (Mixture will thicken as it cools.)

Servings: 3

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011 and Pecan Pie

Our Christmas can be summed up by my mom, who provided the toast on Christmas Eve as we ate at a diner in Carmel NY: "Cheers to another Christmas full of death and sadness." *Clink*

Because once again our holiday season was fraught with death of relatives and friends, it was still a melancholy occasion in which no one really felt like doing anything. I did bring my caramel corn, which my dad ate obsessively. And we made some Spinach-Artichoke Dip to eat on Christmas day, which was nice. I also made a pecan pie.

Now, when I bake for myself and for friends, I am so snobby and need my pie crust to be homemade and need the pie to have quality ingredients. Not so when I cook for my family because they just do not care at all. Pillsbury roll-out crusts and corn syrup abound! And so I made a super-basic pecan pie which is super-easy and at this point doesn't even require a recipe since I've made it so often, but it's on the back of a Karo Syrup bottle.

Pecan Pie
Karo Syrup

1 cup Karo® Light OR Dark Corn Syrup
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans
1 (9-inch) unbaked or frozen deep-dish pie crust

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust.

Bake on center rack of oven for 60 to 70 minutes. Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Slow-Cooker Vegetable Lasagna

First I should state that if you are coming to my blog because of my caramel corn recipe from the holiday party yesterday, the recipe is HERE. I made a huge batch of it, and ended up with just enough left over for one holiday tin of it. Hoorah!

I actually made this lasagna Monday night and am just getting around to posting it. I had never heard of cooking lasagna in a crockpot before so I was definitely intrigued. I made the full recipe so I could cut it up and have it for lunches this week, which I did. I'm not going to pretend it was incredible-amazing, but it certainly was better than I expected for lasagna made in a crockpot. I mostly just wanted to make it because I could. Good enough, right? It was okay but I probably wouldn't make this again.


Slow-Cooker Vegetarian Lasagna
Eating Well

1 large egg
1 15- to 16-ounce container part-skim ricotta
5 ounces baby spinach -- coarsely chopped
3 large or 4 small portobello mushroom caps -- gills removed (see Tip), halved and thinly sliced
1 small zucchini -- quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
28 ounces diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic -- minced
pinch crushed red pepper -- (optional)
15 whole-wheat lasagna noodles -- (about 12 ounces) uncooked
3 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella -- divided

1. Combine egg, ricotta, spinach, mushrooms and zucchini in a large bowl.

2. Combine crushed and diced tomatoes and their juice, garlic and crushed red pepper (if using) in a medium bowl.

3. Generously coat a 6-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the tomato mixture in the slow cooker. Arrange 5 noodles over the sauce, overlapping them slightly and breaking into pieces to cover as much of the sauce as possible. Spread half of the ricotta-vegetable mixture over the noodles and firmly pat down, then spoon on 1 1/2 cups sauce and sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella. Repeat the layering one more time, starting with noodles. Top with a third layer of noodles. Evenly spread the remaining tomato sauce over the noodles. Set aside the remaining 1 cup mozzarella in the refrigerator.

4. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on High for 2 hours or on Low for 4 hours. Turn off the slow cooker, sprinkle the reserved mozzarella on the lasagna, cover and let stand for 10 minutes to melt the cheese.

Servings: 8

Cabbage Sausage Supper

I've gotten grain-sausage (not soy, but vegetarian) chorizo before and loved it, so when I saw a new variety of grain sausage at Wegmans I immediately picked it up: smoked apple-sage! TO ME, it sounded delicious. But then I didn't know what to do with it. Suddenly I remembered that my friend Laura had posted a super-simple recipe on her blog awhile back. It's like five ingredients, toss in a Dutch oven, and eat. Voila. And it sounded like it would go very well with the fake sausage.

And it did! It was very tasty! It was very similar to the Ethiopian Cabbage Dish I made awhile ago, just minus the spices and with fake-sausage instead. I would make this again if I had this sausage on hand to make it. I don't think I would go seeking it out. If you eat meat, I'm pretty sure this would be great with any smoked sausage so you might as well try it with the weird sausages you'll inevitably get in holiday gift baskets.


Cabbage Sausage Supper
Quick Cooking, January/February 2004 via Laura

2 pounds smoked sausage -- halved and cut into 3/4-inch slices
1 large onion -- cut into eighths
1 medium head cabbage -- chopped
1/2 cup water
1 pound carrots -- cut into 1/2-inch slices
5 medium potatoes -- peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes

In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, cook sausage and onion over medium heat until sausage is lightly browned and onion is tender; drain. Add the cabbage and water. Cover and cook on low for 10 minutes. Stir in the carrots and potatoes. Cover and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Servings: 12

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Spinach-Mushroom Melts

I wasn't really in the mood for cooking last night anyway but I made myself do it, and I was oddly disappointed. This seems pretty straightforward and I thought the pine nuts and green onions and smoked cheese would make it exciting, but I was wrong. It wasn't bad, it was just way more boring than I'd hoped. I would not make this again.


Spinach-Mushroom Melts
Vegetarian Times, January 2006

8 ounces portobello mushroom caps -- (about 4 medium) stemmed
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 green onions -- (white and pale green parts) thinly sliced
1 clove garlic -- minced (1 tsp.)
1/2 pound fresh spinach -- stemmed and coarsely chopped
4 slices country bread -- 1/2-inch thick, lightly toasted
3/4 cup shredded smoked mozzarella

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Wipe tops of mushroom caps. Using spoon, remove gills from inside caps, and discard. Cut caps in quarters, and thinly slice.

3. Toast pine nuts in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, until golden and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer pine nuts to bowl.

4. Heat 1/2 Tbs. oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and green onions, and cook, stirring often, until mushrooms begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mushroom mixture to large bowl.

5. Add remaining 1/2 Tbs. oil to skillet, and heat over medium-high heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring, 15 seconds. Add spinach, and toss until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and add to mushroom mixture; toss to combine. Stir in pine nuts.

6. Arrange bread slices on baking sheet; top with spinach-mushroom mixture, dividing equally, and sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake 5 minutes, or until cheese melts. Serve sandwiches warm.

Servings: 4

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nutty Sweet Potato Soup with Harissa and Spinach

At the hospital where I work, we have a great cafeteria. It has its share of crappy food, but it also has some delicious food. And for awhile (until a couple weeks ago, actually), it had some wonderful soups. (It changed because the soup dude left.) A couple of my coworkers developed a rule of thumb when it came to choosing the Most Delicious Soups: the more it looks like baby poop/vomit, the more delicious it will be.

The same is not true in Lauren's Kitchen, however. I know I was making a weird combination to begin with so it's my fault for choosing the recipe, but I have SO MUCH harissa and just want to use it up in recipes. Therefore, I chose this one. And it certainly did look like baby poop/vomit (both, really) but it was not a delicious soup. It was just weird. There's no other way to describe it other than being weird. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't delicious. I would not make this again. Booooooo, this week has not been a successful week in terms of cooking!


Nutty Sweet Potato Soup with Harissa and Spinach
Vegetarian Times, October 2011

Harissa is a smoky North African chili paste made from smoked chiles, olive oil, spices, and sometimes tomatoes. Heat and flavor vary from brand to brand. This recipe was made with a French-produced harissa with a mild heat and extra sweetness from tomatoes.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced (2 cups)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoons harissa paste
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick (5 cups)
3 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 ounces spinach leaves, thinly sliced (2 packed cups)
Lemon wedges, for garnish

1. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add leeks, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, peanut butter, harissa, garlic, turmeric, and cumin; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add sweet potatoes, broth, and 1 1/2 cups water, and simmer over medium-low heat, partially covered, 20 to 25 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender.

2. Blend mixture with immersion blender, adding more water if soup is too thick. Bring soup back to a simmer, and stir in spinach leaves. Serve with lemon wedges.

Servings: 8

Sri Lankan Eggplant Curry (Vambotu Curry)

When I talk about eating vegetarian food with people, I am frequently told how many people dislike tofu and eggplant, two common staples in a vegetarian diet. The reason is always texture. I'm not a very texture-sensitive person in general, so it's never bothered me and I enjoy tofu and eggplant all the time. But this eggplant curry made me see. Oh, did it. You can kind of tell by the picture that the eggplant got soggy and weird, and it turned almost into more of a shiitake mushroom-like texture, which is not really okay when it's an eggplant. But most importantly, this just wasn't very good. I was really disappointed because it came from a cookbook I respect, but it was not awesome. I would not make this again. It's recipes like this one that cause people to think they hate eggplant!


Sri Lankan Eggplant Curry (Vambotu Curry)
Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian

Serve this with plain rice. You may make it as hot as you like. The original recipe called for 2 tsp of cayenne! Normally the eggplant is fried. I have tried to cut down on oil by broiling it instead.

1 pound eggplant
2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or more as desired
4 teaspoons fresh lime or lemon juice
1 small cinnamon stick
15 fresh curry leaves (use basil leaves as an interesting substitute)
1 small onion, peeled and cut into fine half rings
3/4 cup coconut milk from a well-stirred can
2 teaspoons ground brown mustard seeds

1. Preheat the broiler, placing a shelf about 6 inches away from the source of heat.

2. Cut the eggplant crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick round slices and put the slices in a broiling tray. Rub 1 Tbsp of the oil on both sides of the slices and then sprinkle both sides lightly with salt and pepper. Place the tray under the broiler and cook one side for about 4 minutes and the other side for about 3 minutes, or until both sides are a pretty, reddish color. Remove and quarter each slice. Put the sections in a bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt, the cumin, coriander, turmeric, fennel, cayenne, and lime juice. Toss gently to mix.

3. Put the remaining 1 Tbsp oil in a large, preferably nonstick frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the cinnamon stick and a second later, the curry leaves. Stir once and put in the onion. Stir and fry for about 2 minutes, or until the onion has browned a bit. Put in the seasoned eggplant. Stir and toss for 4 minutes. Combine the coconut milk and the mustard seeds and pour the mixture over the eggplant. As soon as it starts bubbling, turn the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for 3 minutes, stirring gently now and then. Check for the balance of salt, cayenne, and lime, adding more of whatever you need. Serve hot.

Yield: 3-4 servings

Monday, December 12, 2011

William Shatner's Cappuccino Chip Muffins

Yup. You read that right. Shatner.


This was listed on a celebrity recipe series one time on and, being the super-geek that I am, I immediately saved it. I forgt about it for a long time (as usually happens) but last night I was inspired to bake muffins and already had all of the ingredients. It only took about 5 minutes from start to oven. This is why I love muffins and quickbreads! So easy just to make out of the blue.

So these do not taste at all like cappuccinos. I'm not sure why. There isn't nearly enough espresso powder in it. You can't taste it at all. You can kind of taste the cinnamon, but it's mostly just a really nice chocolate chip muffin. I would make it again probably, but not if I want something with a coffee flavor.


William Shatner's Cappuccino Chip Muffins

2 cups flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, espresso powder, cinnamon and salt. Whisk gently to mix.

3. In a medium bowl, beat egg lightly. Whisk in milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Make a well in center of dry ingredients and pour in milk mixture. Stir just until evenly blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

4. Divide batter among 12 greased muffin cups. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.

Yield: 12 servings

Autumn Vegetable Roast with Orzo

I thought this would be fun and exciting because it has a lot of vegetables I do not usually cook with. In fact, I have never used celery root before. It was scary while I was preparing it - it reeks of celery (for obvious reasons). But once it was cooked, it had a different flavor. Everything went together really nicely. I used bouquet garni instead of herbes de provence because I am not a fan of the lavender that is usually in herbes de provence. And, since I'm Lauren and I never use the right pasta shape for anything, I used shells instead of orzo.

I thought this was really good. It also passed the lunchbox test. I think I should have added a little bit more balsamic, but ultimately this was really nice. I would consider making this again.


Autumn Vegetable Roast with Orzo
Vegetarian Times, October 2011

Fingerling potatoes, cauliflower, celery root, fennel, and kale are roasted and served with orzo that’s studded with parsley and chickpeas.

1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved
1 pound cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
2 medium onions, thickly sliced (3 cups)
8 ounces celery root, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 small fennel bulbs, cut into 1-inch pieces (8 oz.)
6 cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbs.)
2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 12 oz bunch kale, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
3/4 cup cooked or canned chickpeas
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar

1. Place 1 oven rack in bottom one-third of oven and 1 rack in center of oven, and preheat oven to 400°F. Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.

2. Toss potatoes, cauliflower, onions, celery root, fennel, garlic, and herbes de Provence with 3 Tbs. oil in bowl. Arrange vegetables on prepared baking sheets. Roast 1 hour, stirring occasionally and reversing positions of baking sheets halfway through.

3. Cook kale in large pot of boiling salted water 5 minutes. Drain, and stir kale into vegetable mixture. Roast 5 minutes more.

4. Cook orzo in pot of boiling salted water 5 minutes. Add chickpeas, and cook 2 minutes. Drain, and transfer to bowl. Stir in parsley and remaining 1 Tbs. oil. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve orzo with vegetables, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Servings: 6

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mediterranean Couscous Cabbage Rolls

I've never made stuffed cabbage before so this was very exciting for me. It was definitely yummy although I think I'd like other cabbage roll recipes more. But at least now I feel confident to pursue those! This was yummy and enjoyable. I probably wouldn't make it again, but if you're looking for something different than a traditional cabbage roll then this one is a good bet.


Mediterranean Couscous Cabbage Rolls
Eating Well

We love the subtle flavor of cinnamon with fresh mint in these vegetarian cabbage rolls stuffed with couscous, olives and feta cheese. Don’t worry if your cabbage leaves tear a little when you pull them off the head; they will wrap up just fine. As a precaution you can cook a couple extra leaves and roll two partly overlapping if needed. Serve with roasted butternut squash tossed with olive oil, cinnamon and garlic. To double this recipe, use 2 large skillets and prepare one 4-serving recipe in each.

4 1/4 cups water -- divided
8 large Savoy or green cabbage leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt -- divided
1 cup whole-wheat couscous
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic -- minced
4 cups chopped plum tomatoes
2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint -- plus more for garnish

1. Bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil in a large skillet. Add cabbage leaves, cover, reduce heat to medium-high and simmer until softened, about 5 minutes.

2. Bring 1 1/2 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in couscous, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for at least 5 minutes.

3. Transfer the cabbage leaves to a clean work surface to cool. Discard the water and dry the pan.

4. Heat oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are mostly broken down, 8 to 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile stir feta, olives and 2 tablespoons mint into the couscous. Mound about 1/2 cup of the couscous mixture at the stem end of each cabbage leaf. Roll into a bundle, tucking in the sides.

6. When the tomato sauce is ready, add the cabbage rolls seam-side down. Cover and cook until the rolls are hot all the way through and the cabbage is very tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Serve the cabbage rolls topped with the sauce. Garnish with mint, if desired.

Servings: 4

Friday, December 09, 2011

Portobello Mushroom Fajitas

This was a really quick, nice little dinner. Nothing special. I didn't have queso fresco so I just threw in some feta instead, like the tip suggested. It worked nicely and was yummy. I probably wouldn't make this again, but it was fine.


Portobello Mushroom Fajitas
Cooking Light, January 2005

Portobello mushrooms and red onions make a meaty fajita filling with satisfying, pungent flavors. If you can't find queso fresco, crumbled feta cheese is a good substitute.

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups slices portobello mushrooms -- (1/2-inch-thick) (about 8 ounces)
1 cup vertically sliced red onion
1 cup green bell pepper strips -- (1/4-inch-thick)
2 garlic cloves -- minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 serrano chile -- minced
12 (6-inch) flour tortillas
1 cup crumbled queso fresco -- (4 ounces)
3/4 cup salsa verde

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes or until almost tender. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 4 minutes or until bell pepper is crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro, lime juice, salt, black pepper, and chile.

2. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon about 1/4 cup mushroom mixture down center of each tortilla; top each tortilla with 4 teaspoons cheese and 1 tablespoon salsa. Roll up.

Servings: 4

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pies

It is a truth in life that lentils are ugly and do not photograph well. They never look appetizing.

I made this on Tuesday night and forgot to post about it. It sounds time-consuming but it really isn't. It heats up alright the next day, but I'm not a huge fan of it. I wouldn't make this again. And not just because it's ugly.



Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pies
Eating Well

These mini vegetarian shepherd’s pies feature lentils, carrot and corn, crowned with a velvety mashed potato topping. The recipe can also be made in a broiler-safe casserole dish.

1 pound Yukon Gold or white potatoes -- peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 teaspoon salt -- divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper -- divided
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion -- finely diced
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup frozen corn kernels -- thawed
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
14 ounces vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups cooked or canned lentils -- (rinsed)

1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, partially cover and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes to the pot. Add buttermilk, butter and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher until mostly smooth.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler. Coat four 10- to 12-ounce broiler-safe ramekins (or an 8-inch-square broiler-safe baking dish) with cooking spray. Place ramekins on a broiler-safe baking sheet.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in corn, thyme and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and stir to coat. Stir in broth. Bring to a simmer; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in lentils and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

4. Divide the hot lentil mixture among the prepared ramekins (or spread in the baking dish). Top with the mashed potatoes. Broil, rotating halfway through, until the potato is lightly browned in spots, 6 to 10 minutes.

Servings: 4

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Samuel Adams Boston Lager Cheese Soup

I didn't realize I hadn't posted about this, but I guess I haven't made it in a really long time. I have a folder in my Living Cookbook that is for recipes that I've had, that I've made, but that it's been so long since I made them that it's time to re-evaluate if they need to be kept at all. So if this didn't make it on the blog, then it means it was at least six+ years ago. I remember when I got this recipe: I was 21 and went to a beer and cheese tasting at the Sam Adams Brewery outside of Boston. I had never had a beer I liked, other than Guinness, and discovered that I absolutely adored Sam Adams. That is still my beer of choice!! Delicious.

Wait I have a picture of myself at the beer tasting. Gosh that feels like forever ago.

{Lauren, circa 2005? Age 21. Boston MA}

So one of the things I got from that was a recipe for this soup. I made it a couple of times but I wasn't a good cook at all back then. But I kept the recipe, and I am glad I did. Whereas the other Beer-Cheddar Soup I made recently was delicious, this one is delicious in another way. It has vegetables and potatoes in it which makes it thicker and more substantial, which is excellent. I would keep both of these beer-cheese soup recipes on hand depending on the occasion, because this one is great. Nice work, Samuel.


Samuel Adams Boston Lager Cheese Soup
Sam Adams Brewery

4 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups diced carrots
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1/3 cup flour
1 12oz bottle of Samuel Adams Boston Lager
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups diced red potatoes
2 cups milk
3 cups Cabot Sharp Cheddar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced onions or scallions

In a heavy 4-quart pot or Dutch oven melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, coating the vegetables well with the roux. Whisk in the Boston Lager and stock, bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer until the soup thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook 10-15 minutes until tender. Stir in the milk, grated cheese, thyme, Worcestershire, paprika, and tomato paste. Continue stirring until the cheese is melted and the soup is smooth. Taste of salt and pepper and tabasco if desired. Serve in large bowls and garnish with the onions or scallions.

Yield: 6-8 servings