Monday, July 20, 2009

Soup and Bread Night

Broccoli Soup, originally uploaded by Kim De.

What weather we are having - late September weather in July! High today was 74 with no humidity! The soup making was already planned prior to the weather surprise, but what a night to have it!!

This soup was very good! I used fresh broccoli and carrots, using a bit more of both then called for. After the veggies simmered in the broth, several cups were take out and pureed in the blender. I chose to do it this way to make it a bit thicker. The pureed soup was added back to its chunky counterpart. To it was added sharp cheddar and greek yogurt for tang and creaminess. (I didnt have sour cream, but always have yogurt!)

The taste was amazing! I would have liked for the cheese to melt into a creamy texture, but no such luck. However, despite the fact it didnt look thick and creamy, it tasted thick and creamy! And after all, thats all that matters.

To me, soup doesnt work unless it is served with a crusty bread. I found a recipe from Real Simple magazine that looked, well, real simple and seemed perfect for a Sunday night.

In trying to use mostly whole grains, and the fact that my tastebuds prefer the taste of grainy bread, I did some substituting in the flour department. I used 2 cups of white wheat and 1 1/4 cup of whole wheat in place of the white flour called for. A local IPA was used for the beer, rounded out with basil snipped from my garden. I mixed in my Kitchen Aid, then switched to the dough hook for a quick knead/basil mix. I quickly rounded the dough onto a floured peel and since I wasnt quite ready to bake it, I covered it and set it in a warm spot in case it felt like a rise.

The smell of this bread baking drove me crazy! I didnt wait the full 10 minutes to cool, as I was ready for dinner. It was hearty with deep flavor (which I am sure came from the beer) with the basil adding a nice dimension. I really could not taste the parmesan, possibly because of using whole grains, so next time I think I will leave it out. This bread would also be good with chopped green onions in place of the basil, and I am thinking a bit of grainy mustard would add a great flavor!

All in all, a thumbs up dinner!

Broccoli Chowder (Adapted from Eating Well)

1 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3/4 - 1 cup diced carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups vegetable broth (I ended up added approx 3/4 c water also)
3/4 - 1 lb broccoli crowns, cut into 1-inch pieces,
-- stems and florets separated
4 -5 oz grated sharp white cheddar chees

3/4 cup greek yogurt
salt to taste

1. In a dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, carrot, stirring often, until onion softens, 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 2 minutes.

2. Stir in flour, dry mustard and cayenne. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add broth and broccoli stems and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in florets, cover and cook until until broccoli is tender, about 6-10 minutes more.

3. Transfer 2 cups of the chowder to a food processor and puree. Carefully pour back to
the pan. Stir in cheddar and yogurt and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the cheese is melted and the chowder is heated through. Season with salt.

Basil Beer Bread (Adapted from Real Simple)

2 cups White Wheat Flour

1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour

1 1/4-ounce package instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup(3 ounces) grated Parmesan
1 12-ounce bottle beer, preferably ale
Flour for the work surface

1 cup chopped or torn fresh basil

1. Heat oven to 400° F.

2. In the bowl of a standing mixer on low, or in a large bowl using a spoon, combine the flour, yeast, salt, pepper, and Parmesan. Add the beer and mix just until the dough comes together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with the basil (or rosemary if subbing) and knead gently just until incorporated. Shape the dough into a round loaf and transfer to
the prepared sheet. Bake until the loaf is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Turn the loaf onto a wire rack. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

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