Beer Cheese Soup in Bread Bowls

A new post!  And a delicious one at that.  I mentioned this would be coming soon in the bacon chocolate chip cookies post, and, well, I over estimated my timing again, but what are you going to do?  Anyway, as usual, this started with a request of Charlie’s.  He’s quite sure Bread Bowls are man’s greatest invention.  And what could be better than Beer Cheese Soup?  (Also, he has a not-so-secret plan to broaden my food horizons by getting me to like soup.  I like beer, and cheese, so why not together?)  I googled my way around the internet and came up with a couple options.  The soup recipe was set pretty quickly, but the bread bowls took a bit.  Sourdough seemed to be a common choice, but I didn’t have the time to make the starter, so back to the searching I went.  

The only change I made to this soup recipe http://www.evilshenanigans.com/2011/09/apple-oktoberfest-cheese-soup/ was that I used Leinies Nutbrown Ale instead…because it’s what we had in the house.

As for the bread bowls, I used this recipe: http://www.gettingfreedom.net/2011/02/make-your-own-bread-bowls.html but I don’t have a Kitchenaid mixer, so I kneaded them by hand, and I only needed to bake mine for about 12 minutes as opposed to the 20-25 they specify.

Oh…and PS:  I, disliker of many of my concoctions…  LIKED this.  Crazy!


Tomato Soup—minus the puff pastry

My mother in law gave me a bunch of cookbooks a while ago.  I intend to actually use them all…just some have things in them I make more often…and some don’t.  This one was called Soup’s On.  Full of soup recipes.  I don’t make soup.  I don’t particularly like soup.  (Not surprising…I don’t particularly like LOTS of things…  In fact, I rarely eat what’s posted on here…I just like to make things.)  I was flipping through it while making my bi-weekly menu before making the grocery list.  (Not specifically related, but I’m one of those crazy people that makes a menu by day, and then writes all the ingredients in columns based on where they are in the grocery store…and then writes her grocery list in order of the grocery store.  Yep.  Weird.  But convenient once you’re there!)  Anyway, sometimes the 14 days worth of meals come easily, and sometimes they don’t.  This time they didn’t.  So I was flipping through and remembered…  Actually, stop, hold on.  This flipping through (how many times can I say that, do you think?) happened a while ago after getting some tomatoes from my grandparents.  Yeah, that’s it.  And it was still warm out, and you can’t have tomato soup when it’s warm…so the tomatoes got frozen until such time as it was cool enough to eat tomato soup.

Ok…now that we’ve got that sorted.  I made the menu and included the tomato soup.  The Tomato Soup with puff pastry.  The GORGEOUS tomato soup with puff pastry.  I haven’t told you how beautiful that picture was.  Wow.  It’s just wonderful.  SO great.  It just BEGGED me to make it.  And make it perfectly.  Yep, I can do that.  Haven’t done it before, but how hard can it be, right?   (My confidence in the kitchen knows knew no bounds.)

The tomato soup was really easy to make.  And the first night I made it, Charlie ate it without the puff pastry.  Not because it didn’t work, but because he had to wait for me to make the soup…and then was supposed to wait 2 hours for it to cool BEFORE you could work on it some more.  Psh.  So he had grilled cheese and tomato soup.  Good plan.  Here it is.

I think it looks nice.  Charlie said it tasted nice.  Arthur LOVED it too.  Hooray!

What’s the problem? you ask.

I’ll tell you.

Puff pastry!!!!!  (visualize me shaking my fist while saying that)

I tried 3 times to do it.  It fell straight into the soup.  It wouldn’t stick to the bowl.  It wouldn’t stretch.  It wouldn’t work.  I baked it on the side.  Charlie still got the flavors.  Everything should have been ok.  But it was one of those nights, you know?  Where you just can’t handle things not working.  Yeah, one of those.  So I cried.  Over puff pastry and tomato soup.  Sigh.  Oh well.  At least the pictures turned out well, and so did the soup.


Split Pea Soup

Charlie really likes Split Pea Soup. So, whenever I make ham, I make split pea soup afterwards since my recipe calls for the use of a ham bone. I think it looks revolting and smells weird, so, needless to say, I’ve never tried it. Charlie says it’s really good though. But, the recipe makes an awful lot…so we’ve got a bunch frozen now too. Good for him.

The recipe, hm, can’t remember where it came from.
1tbsp olive oil
1 chopped medium onion
4 carrots, thinly sliced
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1tbsp dried thyme leaves
coarse salt and ground pepper
14.5 oz chicken broth
16 oz green split peas, rinsed
1 ham bone + 2 cups ham cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
(For homemade croutons, if you’d like. I didn’t think they turned out the best the last time I made this, so I didn’t make them this time.)
2 tbsp butter
4 slices whole wheat bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
In a large pot, with lid, heat oil over medium, add onion, carrots, celery and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until veggies begin to soften (5-8 minutes). Add broth, peas, hambone and 5 cups water. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and partially cover. Simmer until peas are soft, 30-45 minutes.
Croutons: In skillet, melt butter over medium, add bread and cook, tossing occasionally until browned and crisp (6-8 minutes). Transfer to paper towel lined plate.
Remove and discard bone from soup. Working in batches, puree only 1/2 the soup in a blender (don’t overfill) and return to pot. Add ham cubes, and simmer until heated through. If necessary, thin with water. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Serve topped with croutons.



French Onion Soup and Mango Pudding

I make a menu for two weeks before I go grocery shopping each time. If I don’t, we end up with all snacks, no “real” food, and not enough food to last us for two weeks. I hate making the menu. I love cooking. But the menu…and then grocery shopping itself, gosh I hate them. I wouldn’t so much, but shopping on a budget stinks. Especially when there are so many great meals to make. But, much as I hate it, it’s my job, partly because I like cooking, so it’s best if I choose the dishes I want to make, and mostly because Charlie does the budget. He’s good at it, but doesn’t like that very much either. It’s a trade off. At least we can complain to each other, right? Anyway, when I make the menu, I always ask for suggestions for Charlie, or requests. This time it was French Onion Soup and Shepherds Pie. Shepherd’s Pie is later in the two week span. Tonight it was French Onion Soup. As for the Mango Pudding, my lovely mother-in-law loves to go garage-sailing (spelled that way because I think saling looks like it’s missing something…). She gets great deals on nice things. All the time. It’s quite impressive. When Charlie and I were visiting for the Fourth, she had a stack of I think 6 cookbooks for me. I took them all. I’m quite excited. So naturally, upon the first grocery trip after the Fourth, many meals came from these books. Mango Pudding sounded delicious, and easy, and not too pricey, but still quite different from usual. Therefore it was added to the menu as well.

French Onion Soup
From: The Joy of Cooking, pg. 95
Mango Pudding
From: Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch by Ellen Leong Blonder, pg. 122
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