Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Finally, the garden has produced!

P1000757, originally uploaded by Kim De.

I saw something exciting out the window yesterday - a hint of red. Yes, my garden finally had produced tomatoes. How many you ask? You are looking at them...

Last night was soup night again. We wanted to try another cheddar ale soup to compare it with this one from last week. To make it purely scientific and unbiased, I pulled out a small amount of last weeks soup from the freezer and heated it up for comparison.

Our thoughts: The Butternut Squash and Ale Soup was a bit richer (possibly from the squash, but very likely from the cream). Last nights soup, Cheddar-Ale Soup, was a bit thinner, but had a great flavor, with less fat and calories as the creaminess comes from potatoes with a flour milk mixture. I would like to try making this recipe but adding the squash to see how they meld. There just arent enough days in the week for all the new recipes!

Cheddar-Ale Soup (adapted from Eating Well)

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 12-ounce bottle beer, preferably ale
2 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into quarters and boiled until tender then peeled (about 15 minutes).
1 14-ounce can vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
2 ½ cups nonfat or low-fat milk
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided NOTE: I used an extra sharp white cheddar
Chopped chives

Quarter the potatoes and add to water in a pan. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, or until tender. Cool slightly and pull off the peel.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add beer; bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Add potatoes, broth and water; cover and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and mash the potatoes with a potato masher to the desired consistency. NOTE: I used my hand blender for an almost totally creamy mixture

Whisk milk and flour in a bowl and add to the soup. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in 1 1/4 cups Cheddar and stir until melted. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese and chopped chives.

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