Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Spicy Peanut Soup

Again, another one from “The Soup Bible”. (I’m really getting my money’s worth!) I picked out this recipe for a mid-week meal to accompany the current writing binge I’ve been on, plus I wanted to use up some of the carrots and shallots in my fridge that are left over from the mussels and saffron soup. My parents used to make a great spicy peanut soup with chicken but unfortunately the recipe has been lost, but this one sounded like it could probably top that one because I won’t have to cut up and cook chicken (which isn’t one of my favorite things). What this recipe lacks in meat it makes up for in veggies – it has a wonderful mixture that includes onion, garlic, potatoes, red pepper, carrots, corn, and celery, so it very much like a winter stew. (A winter stew infused with spice and peanut butter, that is.) And yes, I did really chop up all the veggies myself! The soup smelled really good and flavorful while cooking, but after it was done and I had the first bite I realized a slight problem: I seem to have underestimated the spiciness of cayenne pepper, because WHEW this soup really warms inside and out. Luckily I like spicy food and was in the mood for it and it’s not too spicy that it’s intolerable to eat (some of you would probably actually really appreciate the amount of zing that this soup has). It’s delicious though, and definitely packs a punch. Extra bonus: it’s very good the next day with some crunchy French bread! Score: 8 out of 10.

I'm looking into take a little bit of my Christmas cash and buying a new cookbook or two. Here are a few I'm considering:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Almond Macaroon Failure

I did title this blog “(Mis)Adventures with Food” so you’ve probably been asking yourself, “where are all these mis-adventures anyway? This girl seems like a damn fine cook!” Well, here you go. 

Failure number one: I tried to make almond macaroons today. It seemed simple enough with just three ingredients: sugar, egg whites, and ground almonds. The only successful thing here was grinding up the almonds in my food processor. For starters, the recipe calls for five egg whites. Really, one egg white probably would have been sufficient. The “dough” was really more like a runny goop. “Spoon out ping pong ball-sized bits of dough and put them on the pan” the cookbook instructed. What happened here were NOT balls of dough, but rather a runny mess all over my pan. I tried to add a little flour to help out the so-called “dough”, but it really didn’t do anything to make the mixture less of a liquid. My first batch of cookies came out of the oven nearly taking over the whole pan in a burnt, crispy disaster.

Try number two: Add more flour to the batter and cook on tin foil. Hmmm. I suppose it helped A LITTLE. Of course, the cookies did not want to remove themselves from the tin foil after cooking. So what I have are hard, broken cookie bits.

Try number three: More flour, more flour, and (you guessed it) MORE FLOUR. These ones actually came out of the oven looking like cookies. And they actually removed themselves from the tin foil! Medium success!

Try number four: Much more of the same. (Oh yeah, this picture is of batch 4. What I like to call "The Good Ones".)

Try number five: More flour. Oh yeah, now it's actually starting to resemble dough! And these one's aren't flat. (That's the picture of the blobs/rocks sitting on tin foil.)

Well, overall this was pretty much a disaster that ate up three hours of my time this afternoon. Someone please explain to me the art of making macaroons because I clearly was not successful. I still can't believe there wasn't any flour in this recipe. Anyone want some chewy macaroon rocks? I don’t have the patience for any more kitchen time today… I think I will be eating out for dinner.

Score: 1 out of 10.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A recap of the past month : Not your average mac & cheese, turkey chili, and mussels & saffron soup

I know, it has been quite some time since I posted last. But don’t fret, I have been cooking, just not writing. With the end of the fall semester of my first year of graduate school and the holidays, I just haven't had a chance to load up pictures and write about what I've cooked. But here it is -- finally! Here’s what I made before I left:
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