Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ruidoso Roasted Corn Soup

After breakfast with Robert's parents on Christmas Day, we'll leave for Ruidoso, New Mexico, to join my family for a few days in the mountains. As always, we're looking forward to the cooler weather, the warmth of the fire, and the chance to get away from the stress of Dallas in December.

In my anticipation for our time in New Mexico, I decided to make a soup with a Southwestern flair, Ruidoso Roasted Corn Soup. For cold December nights like tonight, it's great to have a hearty soup to keep you warm, and that's just what this dish provides.  

Ruidoso Roasted Corn Soup is great with jalapeno cornbread, green chili enchiladas, and your favorite cup of holiday cheer. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

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10 ears corn in the husk
5 cups water
2 Poblano peppers
2 Anaheim peppers
Pinch of salt
4 oz. Queso Fresco
1 Avocado
1 Tomato

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place husked corn on a cookie sheet. Roast for 45 to 60 minutes at 400 degrees.
Pull the corn from the oven when the husks are dry and dark brown.

While the corn is baking, devein, deseed, and julienne the Poblano and Anaheim peppers.

Place the julienned peppers in a large pot.

(Note: A good friend of mine gave me an early Christmas present: a Jalapeno Coring Tool. If you're tired of getting watery eyes when you core peppers, this kitchen gadget is for you!)

When the corn is cooked, let the husks cool. Then, shuck the corn, and cut the kernels from the ears.

Measure 3 cups of corn. Pour corn into your blender or food processor. Add 3 cups of water.

Puree contents.

With corn and water mixture pureed, pour into the pot with the peppers. Add 2 cups of water to pot. Cook contents for 10 to 15 minutes over low heat. Add remaining whole corn and salt to taste.

Serve. Garnish with tomatoes, avocados, and Queso Fresco.

Source. Adapted from Coyote Cafe.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Toasted Gnocchi

We had my parents over for dinner the other evening, and I was in the mood to cook all day and make a (hopefully) scrumptious dinner. Indeed...the day of cooking was well worth the effort! One of the components of the dinner was toasted gnocchi. We had this dish for the first time on our trip to Napa in March, and Bunker and I just feel in love with the dichotomy in texture between the crispy outside and the soft inside. You can pair this gnocchi with whatever sauce you desire. We paired ours with an amazing red wine sauce from the Roasted Lamb that we had that evening (recipe to come). 

Here you can see the gnocchi with the sauce.

This recipe is compliments of Tyler Florence via Food and Wine.

Sunset at Pebble...breathtaking. 

This is from the first day...the two figures off in the distance are Andy and Bunker. 

Dad, Andy and Bunker at the end of their first golfing day...they played Pebble Beach!

Bunker in action. 

1 1/2 cups Ricotta (13 ounces)
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 tablespoons of butter

1. In a large bowl, combine the 1 1/2 cups of ricotta, the 2 egg yolks and the 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. 
2. Once these three ingredients are nicely combined, add the 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour to the mixture. 
3. Stir together until a very soft dough forms. 
4. Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface, and then wrap with plastic wrap. 
5. Set the dough aside for 30 minutes to let the dough rest. 
6. After the 30 minutes have passed, turn the dough out onto a floured surface. 
7. Roll the dough into 2 long ropes, each measuring about 1 inch in diameter. 
8. Using a floured knife, cut the ropes into several 1/2 inch long pieces. 
9. Place the gnocchi onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper. 
10. At this point, you can cover the gnocchi and place them in the fridge for up to one day. I made mine in the morning and then cooked them that night. Such a time saver and kitchen mess saver if you have guests coming over! I also think that gnocchi is easier to work with when it is cold. 
11. When you are ready to cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil, prepare another bowl with ice water, you will use this right after the gnocchi are done cooking, so have the ice water ready to go before you put the gnocchi in the boiling water.
12. Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook until they rise to the surface, and then continue to cook for about 2 minutes. You want the gnocchi to be firm, but not tough. 
13. Using a slotted spoon, pull the gnocchi out of the boiling water and place the gnocchi immediately into the ice water. This will stop the cooking. 
14. Drain the gnocchi from the ice water and pat dry. 
15. In a large skillet over high heat, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter. 
16.  Add the gnocchi to the skillet and cook for about 4 minutes, turning once, so that both sides are golden brown. 
17. Serve the gnocchi immediately with your sauce of choice. You could also enjoy simply enjoy these with the melted butter in the skillet.  

Mom and Suzie

I am looking at the rocks in the water...covered in seals! 

The girls say hi!

And with this picture...I am going to go snuggle up with this little one and listen to the rain. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

With Christmas only a week away, I decided to offer up a new cookie recipe that would be a great offering for Santa on Christmas Eve. I first got the idea to make a coconut chocolate chip cookie a little over a month ago when a coworker brought cookies from Paradise bakery to a meeting. The most popular cookie in the bunch by far was the coconut chocolate chip cookie. It was so popular, in fact, that talk about the cookie derailed the meeting agenda for a brief minute.

Before that day I had never even considered putting coconut in chocolate chip cookies. Once I had tasted the combination, however, I knew I had to try my hand at making it. I am a big coconut fan, as is Robert, but I often don't think of coconut desserts when I'm baking. In addition to the coconut, I decided to use dark chocolate chips and dark brown sugar to give the cookies a bolder flavor. The dark chocolate really helped curb the sweetness from the coconut and sugar to provide a balanced flavor that was really nice. When paired with a glass of milk or mug of coffee, this cookie is a real treat. Santa is sure to love it!

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Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup Crisco
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 10 ounce package Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the coconut on a baking sheet.
Place in the oven for about 5 minutes, watching closely to ensure they don't burn. Set aside to cool and increase the heat on the oven to 375 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine the flour,
 baking powder, baking soda,
 and coconut.
Whisk to combine.
In the bowl of a Kitchen Aid mixer, add the shortening, eggs,
 vanilla extract,
 coconut extract,
 and brown sugar.

 Beat with the paddle attachment until smooth and well blended.
 Gradually add the flour mixture a little bit at a time, mixing well between additions.
Remove the paddle and add in the chocolate chips
 and rolled oats.
 Using a spatula, stir until the chocolate and oats are well incorporated.

With a tablespoon, scoop out little balls of dough and place on a cookie sheet. Slightly press the dough down with the spoon.
 Place in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.
 Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Serve with coffee or milk and enjoy!
Source: Adapted from The Ungourmet

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup

Since the cool weather finally settled in Dallas, I have found myself making more and more soups for dinner. Part of it is the way soup really warms you up on cold, windy days. Another reason is that Robert and I have both suffered bouts of head colds recently, and nothing helps me feel better when I'm sick than a nice hot bowl of soup.

This soup reminds me a lot of the tomato basil soup served in La Madeline, but richer as the result of the roasted garlic. I serve this soup with parmesan toasts, a grown up replacement for the grilled cheese sandwiches that paired with tomato soup growing up. This soup takes some time, but it's really simple to put together which makes it great for even weeknight dinners.

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Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup

1 head of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large carrot, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1/4 large yellow onion, diced
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups half and half
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
loaf of french bread

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut off the top third of the head of garlic.
 Drizzle with a little olive oil,
 and wrap up in foil. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pot
 and add the carrots,
 and celery.
 Sweat the vegetables for 15 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes,
 and sugar. Stir to combine, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
When the garlic is done, remove from the oven and let cool. The garlic should be soft and slightly brown.
 Squeeze the garlic out of the paper skin
 and add to the pot
 along with a 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese.
Recover and simmer for 15 more minutes.

Carefully transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth.
 Pour back in the pot and add the half and half.
 Stir to combine and return to a boil.
To make the parmesan toasts, preheat the broiler.
Brush bread slices with olive oil
and toast for about 3-5 minutes, or until browned.
 Flip the sliced over and brush with a little more olive oil
 and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese.
 Return to the oven and toast for another 2-3 minutes until the bread is browned and the cheese melted.
Serve with a bowl of soup for a delicious meal on a cold winter night.
Source: Adapted from the Homesick Texan