If you were to ask me why I choose souffle as this weeks food challenge.. And yet here we are..
I made just a basic cheese souffle with a couple of nice add-ons and also made a delish chocolate souffle for dessert. You'll have to come back tomorrow for that one.
Click below for recipe
One of the food nightmares from the 1970's was sweet potato souffle. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, Mom made sweet potato souffle. People love that stuff...In my case, I had a fear of sweet potatoes in general well into my 20's. I learned that there's more to sweet potatoes than souffle. I still steered clear of it until now. As I got older I realized that while convenient, processed food kills the recipes that have been around for a century or more. Mom's souffle consisted of canned yams, sweet condensed milk, brown sugar, raisins and marshmallows. Easy and quick is the name of that game. And gross, don't forget gross. Last year I did myself a favor and subscribed to Milk Street magazine. I also purchased their first annual of recipes. So many look so damn good! One of the first recipes to catch my eye was their Sweet Potato Gratin with Vanilla Bean and Bay Leaves. Though the photo of the gratin in the cookbook doesn't look very exciting, I assure you that flavors are amazing. The fusion of bay leaf and vanilla are a revelation. I chose to slightly alter the recipe and use ramekins to make it more souffle and less gratin. Funny though, once I prepared them I realized that I had no other food to serve with. In my head it was still a holiday side dish. Turns out Triscuit now as snack ideas on their boxes. The Nutmeg&Cinnamon Triscuit had on the front of the box sweet potato with apple slices and pecans. I omitted the pecans but I do believe that if crushed up they would be a great topping for the gratin. I enjoyed this with a salad of romaine, golden raisins and sunflower seeds with a champagne vinegar dressing.
Sweet Potato Gratin with Vanilla Bean and Bay Leaves
Milk Street Magazine
For the original Milk Street recipe:
My version used ramekins (1 decent size sweet potato works for 2 ramekins.) A light coating of cooking spray and set in a baking pan with a little water. Rather than heavy cream I used unsweetened almond milk.
If you are cringing at the idea of purchasing vanilla bean, Penzeys vanilla beans are high quality and a reasonable price. If you still aren't convinced then perhaps add vanilla extract to the food processor to mix in.
This might make a nice side dish at the Easter table this year. Definitely not your mama's sweet potato casserole!
Bucket list checked: I souffled! Well sort of...... While looking for recipes that felt achievable, I found a copycat Panera Bread Spinach and Artichoke Souffle recipe. This breakfast happens to be my very favorite Panera menu item, and it was called a Souffle! After reading many other souffle options, I realized this Panera recipe may be considered cheating, but I really wanted to conquer this at home just once. I used puff pastry even though it called for Pillsbury Crescent Roll bread. It was crispy, cheesy, tangy, and most of all yummy! It took me 1.5 hours from start to finish, but they hold up well in the fridge. I just popped them back in the oven to reheat and keep that dough crispy.
Click below for recipe
I haven't heard from Jen this morning. So I will leave her spot open if she has something to share later. If not.. We can think of it as setting her place at the table.
This week was fun making souffles. I think my lesson for this week is.. Yes, souffles are a little involved but not overly complicated..
Piggy backing off of Amy's assessment of mom's sweet potato souffle.. Growing up more often then not we had Thanksgiving at my parents house. Most of my mother's family would join us.. It was always great fun.. One year in particular the under 30's (which was most of us) as always had a completely different seating area. In south Florida that typically means at the picnic table in the backyard. Anyhow.. That year we all got together and put together a list of our grievances. What I remember most about the list is, it was hilarious and no one liked the foreign objects in moms sweet potato souffle (raisins). I also remember several of my aunts serenading the over 30's the list of our grievances.
Maybe this is why Thanksgiving is one of my favorite Holidays
Good times and great memories
Praying everyone had a great week.
Georgia, Jen. Amy and Nikita
Oh my word y'all!
My boss lady let me borrow her Wilson Bowl Pan to make brownie bowls. Topped with Amaretto Cherry Cordial Ice Cream and Chocolate Syrup, this dessert hit ALL the sweet spots. Every bite was delectable! And don't forget the Maraschino Cherry on top!
I also made Oreo-Stuffed Brownies to bring to work. Pictured here is Ceci, my assistant manager, who is enjoying one of my brownies. We were talking about some nonsense when she sprayed spit while talking to me. Of course, she was embarrassed but made a total comeback when she explained that her mouth was salivating because she was so excited to eat my brownie.
These were just fun ways to camp up a good ol' fashioned box of Duncan Hines Dark Fudge Brownies.
Okay.. Like Jen I LOVE brownies.. And although I try to bake everything from scratch.. Finding the perfect brownie recipe eluded me.. Until.. I bought Martha Stewart' s Baking Cookbook.
This is in my opinion the best brownie recipe. Now I understand that there are those that prefer theirs to be a little more cakey. If that is what you like this recipe is not for you.
However if you like a delish fudgy brownie.. Then oh my.. This one is just waiting for you to bake it.
What I love about this recipe is in the time it would take you would bust open a boxed brownie batter you could have this lovely whipped up just as quickly.
Martha, Martha, Martha.. You never cease to amaze me
I LOVE brownies - as in, I will eat an entire pan of them myself without realizing my family hasn’t eaten any of them. I always make store-bought mixes though because they’re already quite good. Not only did I make brownies from scratch this week, I opted for a version I’ve never seen before. This is a tasty treat, but I discovered that I much prefer “normal” brownies. After 24 hours I still have more than half the pan left to share. :)
I have no idea of what's up with me and baking lately. We agree to disagree.
Anyway, I love brownies but thought that I'd play it safe and make a recipe that had been a great success before.
Now...not so much. The taste was fine. Not moist enough and presentation was so-so. I believe that I may need to invest in an oven thermometer. Because. Damn.
Regardless of my poor showing I promise that these brownies are quite delicious!
Tahini Swirl Brownies
From Milk Street Magazine
I don't know how we manage to week after week make, bake or prepare different versions of a specific food. This week was no different.
Brownies.. Simple so they seem and yet here we have 4 different recipes.
Chocolate is the answer. Who cares what the question is...
Nikita, Georgia, Jen and Amy
Growing up I couldn't stand stew. Memories of Dad opening a can of Dinty Moore. Mom, bless her heart, her skills lay outside of the kitchen. For years I assumed that beef was the only type of stew that there was. And then I left home.
I dig Rachael Ray's "stoups", easy, fast and delicious. On my days off I prefer to make something that can slow cook as I busy myself with other things (usually a book). I mentioned that I was ill over the holidays. As a result my A1C is coming down and I've lost 10 pounds. My doc has encouraged me to try to continue to lose weight. What luck! My appetite is still not great. But I do need to eat. And something like a hearty and healthy stew is a perfect Winter comfort food.
For a few years now Bon Appetit's January issue is "Healthy-ish". This years issue has so many recipes I wish to try. I found one for a stew that looked mouth watering. As I made it the aromatic scents filled my kitchen and I wanted to just sit and smell the stew as it cooked. I altered it slightly so that it was indeed more of a stoup. Rather than canned whole tomatoes I went with crushed. I could never get jiggy with the texture and consistency of canned whole tomatoes. I chose to omit the fresh mint. Though I love mint my taste buds refuse to accept mint when it mingles with certain flavors.
I believe if you don't much care for flatbread perhaps some basmati or jasmine rice. Making this takes little effort but the cooking time may not make it a weeknight dinner for some. Once you throw in the tumeric and cinnamon you'll realize that you will have no regrets!
Chicken and Tomato Stew with Caramelized Lemon
From Bon Appetit January 2018
Winter comfort food.. Sounds like soup to me.
Making dinner for two is not always easy especially when it comes to making soup. I mean who doesn't make a huge pot of whatever kind of soup you are making?
As always I told the husband what this weeks food challenge was and asked if there was anything he wanted. His response.. You make a great French Onion Soup. Anyone who's ever made French Onion Soup knows that for best results it takes a little time.
So I made it. And right about this time he starts freaking out about his blood pressure because he thinks it's through the roof and has decided the best course of action is for him to go on a drastic I need to lose 40 lbs by yesterday kinda diet. French Onion Soup high in carbs, not on his approved list of foods to eat.
On a side note he finally went to the doctor and his blood pressure was fine.
On another side note I got to enjoy the soup.. Twice..
Click below for recipe
This one is super easy and a longtime favorite in our household. It’s one I like to make for guests too!
As you can see Nikita is not here today. She's had a very busy week and the weekend is looking like the same.
But.. That's the beauty of what we do. Rule number one.. Have fun.. If your week is crazy. There is no fun in worrying about preparing something for us.
It looks like winter comfort food for us is soup. What about you? What do you think of when you think winter comfort food?
Until next week,
Amy, Nikita, Georgia and Jen
I chose split peas for this week because I’ve had some sitting in a canister on my counter for longer than I’d like to admit. :) I have a delicious split pea soup recipe that I’ve used before, but I wanted to try something completely different for this challenge. After searching for ideas, I settled on Greek Fava. The recipe wasn’t hard to make – mostly just simmered a long time. I had to make some adjustments to the original recipe to take it from “meh” to good. My modified recipe is below. I have no idea if it actually tastes like Greek Fava should taste, but I like it.
Hard to believe this but I ended up having to order split peas from Amazon. I guess the locals can't get jiggy with them. While I awaited their arrival I searched the world wide web for non-split pea soup recipes. I had one picked out for the challenge. In the meantime, I was at the local Dollar General with a friend and she pointed out a bunch of new books. Well, new to the local DG. Normally I don't give their selection of books a second glance. This time one grabbed my attention. I Jamie Oliver cookbook. A hardback for $3.00. I thought if it sucks I'm only out three bucks. I brought it home and gave it a once over. Guess what? A recipe involving yellow split peas. The very type of peas that I ordered. But here is thing, it's split pea soup. In reading the recipe I suddenly had a strong desire for split pea soup. So I went with straight up obvious after the challenge of obtaining split peas. Something exotic and rare in Green Country Oklahoma. My photo does not make it look appetizing but I assure you that I enjoyed every spoonful.
What do you make with split peas, I ask? Well, the hubs requested Split Pea Soup weeks ago when the weather was cooler. At the time, I was not very interested in making this request but changed my tune when it became a challenge before me. I was intimidated by split peas because I had not cooked with them before. And like my lima bean massacre last year, the split peas in this recipe were actually way overcooked, but the soup was actually even better than I could have imagined! The broken peas made the soup a little thicker in consistency, but the chicken flavor, vegetables, and fresh herbs made this soup crave-able! Matt was even caught burping to get a second taste!!
🤣 Must try for sure!
When I saw this weeks challenge of split peas I really wanted to make something other than the expected split pea soup. What a happy day when I found this recipe.
These were sooooo good.. I mean if you like falafel, you will love this recipe. Regular falafel kicked up a couple of notches.
I made a Tzatziki sauce to go with. perfect combo
Jen's first week looks like it was a success. Several ways to prepare a simple ingredient. All good.
Food is our common ground. Our Universal Experience
Until next week,
Jen, Amy, Nikita and Georgia
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