Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spicy Corn Bisque in a Breadbowl

Hey y'all! Sorry it's taken a while. I currently have a version of this exact post sitting in the BlogPress app on my iPad, but unfortunately, the developers of BlogPress haven't quite gotten the hang of updating to make the app compatible with iOS5, so I've had to make do with the actual internetz (something I don't really use directly as much anymore). Tangent: Let's rewind to 1990: I'm ten years old, and if you were to tell me I would be writing that sentence up there in my BLOG that is on the INTERNET, I wouldn't know what the heck you were talking about. Let your brain chew on that for a minute.

Anyway, to the best of my recollection, I believe I held off on the actual recipe to start with because I've had all sorts of ideas floating around in my head. I'd really like to see this turn into something bigger than I can currently think of. I would really love to do a real-time cooking podcast, or some cooking videos (thanks, iPad2! It just might be possible now!), I also want to incorporate all things food and cooking. I don't want to just give you recipes, but also tips, how-to's, my favorite and necessary gadgets, places to get the BEST ideas for food and recipes, MY favorite chefs and cooks, and a whole plethora of cooking delights. If you have any encouragements on the above list or any additional ideas and suggestions, please, please, PLEASE leave them in the comments- I've recently learned that the collective mind is infinitely smarter and more creative than just one lil ol' brain like mine. :)

So, today's recipe is Spicy Corn Bisque. I've adapted it from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's book, Veganomicon. It's also the last soup recipe for a while. I realize that, while I was on a serious soup roller coaster when I was sick, it doesn't really translate as well to recipes on a blog. I promise to add other stuff soon. :)

Spicy Corn Bisque in a Breadbowl*

1 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic (in this case, more is more)
1 jalapeno or other small, spicy pepper, chopped (you can add another or two, if you like things spicy)
2 cups sliced bell peppers (did you know you can get a bag of these in the frozen veggie section? DO IT.)
2 cups sweet corn (can also go frozen on this one: I chose 1 c. white and 1 c. yellow)
2 cups veggie or miso broth
2 cups milk of your choice (although, skim might be a little too thin, I used soy; coconut also rocks)
1-2 Tbsp. sweet syrup of your choice (maple, agave...I don't recommend honey for this, also in this case, LESS is more)
Salt, to taste
Juice of half a lime (or whole if you really want to cut the richness of the soup, or if you really like lime)
A lil' nutmeg, to taste

1 small sourdough boule (yes, I cheated. You can get these almost anywhere for less than a latte)

I think part of why I like soup is because it's so easy. You just throw everything in a pot and let it simmer for awhile. No fuss, a little muss. Anyway....

You don't have to measure out the oil- just pour from the bottle about two turns around the pan and heat over medium-high (#6 on my dial) heat in a large pot/dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic, peppers, and corn and saute until the peppers are soft, the onions are turning clear and some of the corn gets little, tiny brown spots (probably about 5-7 minutes). Add the broth and bring the whole thing to a boil. Cover the pot, lower the heat (to #2 or so), and simmer the soup for about 20 minutes. Add your milk and return to a simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Pull out that handy-dandy immersion blender and blend away (CAREFULLY)!!! When creamy, and smooth, add all the rest of the ingredients to taste the soup. (That means add a little, taste it, then add more if you think it needs it.)

Pull out the boule and cut a large hole in the top with a serrated (toothy) knife. Pull off the top and dig out the yummy insides. Pour some bisque inside and serve with the tasty top on the side for dipping!


*Adapted from Roasted Yellow Pepper and Corn Bisque recipe in Veganomicon (Moskowitz)

This recipe really caught me by surprise- I didn't intend for my adaptation to be so tasty, but it really turned out nicely. You can substitute or add things all over the place in this recipe - throw a bit of shredded swiss cheese in the soup as it's heating toward a boil, or add some red pepper flakes at the end with the other tasting touches to spice it up a bit more. Put a half a pasilla pepper or another slightly smokey pepper in, add two chipotles in adobo sauce (chop 'em up first!) to smoke up the spice. Forego the peppers and add a bit more syrup for a sweeter soup...see? The possibilities are endless!

Up next, I'll be working on a lexicon and favorite gadget list. Do you have a favorite kitchen gadget you just can't live without? Throw it in the comments and I'll see what I can do about putting it up!

Thanks, and happy cooking!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sweet and Smokey Split Pea Soup

Hey there!

Thanks for dropping in. Today's (this week's? This month's? I haven't quite figured out the frequency of posting yet) recipe is Sweet and Smokey Split Pea Soup. I've been on a huge soup kick lately, and it may be due to having been sick, or maybe I've just been on a roller coaster of soup fun! Either way, I have a few recipes up my cook's hat and I'll be sharing them all!

Quick tip: If you are thinking about heading down a soup roller coaster, you might want to invest in an immersion blender ( They cost anywhere from 20 bucks up, and they are amazingly handy. I got a great one that comes with a mini chopper cup and a couple other attachments for $25. It has already paid for itself three times over.

Sweet and Smokey Split Pea Soup*
(makes about 3-6 servings, depending on the size of your servings)

4 cups of water
1/2 large onion (I prefer either yellow or white), chopped
2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
1 c. split peas, rinsed and checked for stones (little rocky pieces)
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tsp. liquid smoke (hickory or mesquite)
Smoked Sea Salt (for taste)

Toppings such as croutons, seeds, nuts, dried cranberries, plain yogurt

Pour just a little of the water into a large pot and bring it to a simmer. Add the onions and cook until they are translucent. Stir in the ginger and liquid smoke, and cook about one minute. Add the rest of the water, the peas and the sweet potatoes, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low (usually 1 or 2 on my stove dial), and simmer for an hour. Go watch your favorite serial crime drama, or give yourself a something that takes an hour while the timer counts down. :)

Welcome back to the stove! Check the peas and make sure they are very soft. Get out your immersion blender and have a blending party! Stick that blender in the pot and carefully blend the soup until it it smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender (yet), take the pot off the heat for about ten minutes, then pour, in batches, into a blender or food processor and blend away. Return all the soup to the pot and stir to mix.

Top with any toppings you want and enjoy!!

PS- I tend to err on the side of bland, so you may need to add more salt or make sure guests have salt on the table (my preferred method) so they can season as they like.


Sweet and Smokey Split Pea Soup with Croutons, Seeds and Dried Cranberries

*Recipe adapted from Whole Foods recipe for Yellow Split Pea and Sweet Potato Soup

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hey there!

Well, here I go again- starting a blog. I plan on keeping my old blog for non-food related stuff, but I've been thinking about doing more with food and cooking, and I think creating a new and dedicated cooking blog is a great place to begin. Speaking of beginnings, let's start with a little bit about me, as a cook...

I like to reserve the term "chef" for those who are true experts at the culinary arts. While I pride myself on my abilities, I haven't attended culinary school, nor do I cook in a professional arena. I don't want to disrespect those who have achieved some really incredible things by calling myself something that most people would place in equality with those who are vastly superior to me. That's why I repeatedly call myself a "cook."

That said, I really enjoy cooking and I really love food. My hope for this blog is that you, the reader, will also learn to love cooking. I want people who may not be interested in cooking, or may even be afraid of it, to see how fun and easy it really is. So, the plan is to take dishes that I find (and like), test them out, and see if I can't simplify them a little. You'll see changes like:

~ Substituting healthier ingredients for unhealthy originals
~ A combination of "eyeball" measurements and exacting amounts
~ Recipes that work with ingredients you love
~ Recipes that are easily interchangeable so you can make the dishes all your own

So, here's to new beginnings- let's see what happens!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad