Wednesday, September 17, 2008

because i'm supposed to be writing a paper, but my head is cold-fuzzy

First sniffles of the season! I'm actually weirdly excited about this.

Katie: in response to your questions about the slow cooker, I don't know how to keep food from getting mushy. I haven't actually used mine that often, though I'm trying to use it more now that I have a class that goes from 4:15-5:30 two days a week, and a housemate no longer working night shifts. I've mostly used mine for things that won't really get overmushy (or things that won't be gross if they are mushy): chili, stew (I should have kept the potatoes bigger, though, because they did), etc. I have a huge book of crock pot recipes: I'll post ones that are successful, perhaps?

Here's a not slow-cooked recipe, because I'm in the mood to nest:

Simple Potato Soup

This makes a very full pot of soup. Invite friends or freeze some.

1. Bake at least 6 medium potatoes. (To bake: scrub, pierce with fork, leave uncovered in 375-degree oven an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes). A really great thing to do would be to bake a lot of potatoes all at once (it doesn't take any longer, right?) when you plan to make baked potatoes, then use the rest the next day for soup. I also like to add more potato to the soup. Once you can handle these, cut them into small chunks (I like to leave the skin on).

2. Make the soup base: saute 1 large onion, chopped, and 3-5 minced cloves of garlic. Stir and add 1 Tbsp salt, 2 tsp pepper, 1 Tbsp dried basil, and 2/3 Cup of flour. Now slowly stir in 9 cups of chicken or vegetable stock. You want to avoid sticky lumps of flour--you may have to scrape some of these apart with your wooden spoon. (A much cheaper way to handle the stock is to add 9 cups of water and 4-5 boullion cubes, though this may increase your sodium content.)

3. Bring the soup to a boil and boil for a few minutes, stirring (break up any flour lumps!). Then add your cubed potatoes and 3 Cups of milk, but don't boil now! Just simmer! Heat through, and you're done.

Modifications/garnishes: serve with chopped green onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, crumbled cooked bacon, and/or chives. If you want some protein, you could add a drained can of kidney beans or browned ground beef. I'm contemplating adding sauteed red bell pepper next time.

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