Aigo Bouido

Oh man, this soup.

I couldn’t stop myself from eating a pound of bread and two bowls of this soup. After that, I couldn’t do a lot of things. But after after that, I felt amazing.

I’d been feeling a little under the weather when this soup came on my radar. The fact that it would help with my sickness was an bonus, an accessory. It is no secret that I love garlic, so when this recipe made it into my brain, of course I jumped for it. I’ve always believed fervently and zealously in the power of garlic. It’s to the point that I even “convert” people and do things like make them read the Wikipedia page. It stops me from getting eaten by mosquitoes when I go to Louisiana, it keeps my heart healthy despite eating like someone from Louisiana, and it comes to the rescue when I’m coming down with something. Generally, I have a little soup I throw together on mornings when I need to eat but am feeling too bad. Aigo bouido reminded me of that soup on overdrive.

I’ve been on a Julia Child kick ever since reading her memoir, which is where I found this recipe. Although I was able to find her version online, I decided to make a Frankenstein’s monster, pulling my favorite parts out of all the recipes I found. Broth seemed more flavorful than water, a bread bowl seemed tastier and easier than toastlets with fresh mayonnaise, and despite her saying that it would be easier to peel the garlic after boiling it, I peeled it like normal.

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Falling in line with what I vaguely think I know about garlic, I smashed it instead of slicing, and I didn’t strain it out. It was delightful biting into a chunk of aromatic garlic.

*On that note, when you eat this, make sure that whomever you make out with is also eating this soup.

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In her book, she said that she made it after a rough and stormy Mediterranean day, full of wind, salt, and poor spirits. But this soup livened everybody up again. It is surprisingly light and refreshing, which is part of why I wanted bread with it. Otherwise it wouldn’t be very substantial which might lead to accidentally eating the whole pot. IMG_5160

 

Aigo Bouido

  • 1 – 2 bulbs garlic
  • 6 – 8 cups veggie broth
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3 tbs olive oil (or butter, or both)
  • 1 cup parmesan
  • 2 cloves (don’t skip!)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp sage
  • salt
  • pepper
  1.  Crush garlic. Heat oil in med/low pot. Add garlic and cook until they begin to golden.
  2. Add herbs and stir. Cook for a minute or so.
  3. Add broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Partially cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix egg yolks and cheese together.
  5. After the 30 minutes, temper the egg/cheese by very slowly adding a cup of broth. Once tempered, return mixture to pot.

Lemon Ice Cream

I’ve been in a citrus kind of mood these days, it seems. It’s hard to escape in the summer through–tart can be so refreshing in this heat. This recipe definitely delivers on tart and refreshing. It’s probably the most sour thing I enjoy.

As far as ice cream recipes go, this one is a bit different from what I’m used to. What first struck me was that it is an ice cream–so there’s dairy in it–as opposed to a lemon sorbet. Seemed like it’d be an interesting texture to try out, and I wasn’t disappointed. With the cooking and the chilling, this ends up being a two day recipe, but it’s worth the wait.

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Start by mixing the heavy cream, milk, sugar, and lemon zest. Fancy zesters make this a lot prettier than cutting flakes off with your knife, but the most important thing is to make sure they’re sizes that you don’t mind eating. Once the sugar has melted and the mixture has had a chance to steep off the heat, put it back on the heat and bring to a simmer. While that’s going, separate the eggs and beat the yolks in a separate bowl. To help temper the process, don’t add the eggs to the mix, instead, slowly incorporate some of the hot mixture into the yolks, tablespoons at a time. Once it’s to temperature, add the egg mix back into the pot and let it all cook for about 10 more minutes. Now comes the patience: cool, cover and chill overnight.

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On the morrow, add the lemon juice to the mix. Once it’s ready, behold the wonder of an ice cream machine at work while you anticipate the creamy tang of the ice cream you wish you were already eating.

It came out of my machine too soft, so I had to freeze it for a few hours before I could really enjoy it, but that extra wait was worth it. If you’re interested in exploring toppings or mix-ins, I highly recommend considering crumbled madeleines.

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Lemon Ice Cream (this is for a 2 quart ice cream maker)

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup and 1 tbs sugar

1 – 3 lemons’ worth of zest

2 1/2 egg yolks (you can do it!)

1/4 cup and 2 tbs lemon juice

  1. In a saucepan, combine cream, milk, sugar, and zest, let simmer over low heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved, then remove from heat. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove lid and bring mixture to a simmer.
  3. Meanwhile, separate the eggs and whisk the yolks in a separate bowl.
  4. Very slowly, ie tablespoons at a time, add some of the warm mixture to the eggs. This is to temper the eggs while avoiding cooking them.
  5. Once tempered, add egg mix into saucepan. Stir and cook over low heat until mixture thickens, about 5 – 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, cool, and refrigerate overnight in a covered container.
  7. THE NEXT DAY: add the lemon juice to the mixture and stir, then pour into ice cream maker as per it’s instructions.
  8. Either eat and enjoy right away, or freeze for a little to enjoy slightly later.

 

Baked Spanish Tortilla, an experiment

I was given a bunch of fresh squash and zucchini the other day. Living in an apartment, it’s very nice knowing people who have gardens and small appetites. Lucky me!

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For a long time, I always made basically the same thing with squash and zucchini–a delicious stewed concoction with tomatoes that could go well with pasta or in lasagna–but this time I wanted to do something different. I’d also been craving a quiche or something eggy, so one fateful night, I decided to embark on a Spanish tortilla. The first night I had a Spanish tortilla was very eventful for me. It was the first night I found out that beer could taste good and it was my first college party, so this dish has an interesting place in my brain/heart.

Before I’d only had it with onion, potato, and egg, but I thought the squash and zucchini double whammy would work out well. I recently bought pounds and pounds of potatoes and have a ridiculous amount of good olive oil (thanks mom!), so I went to town.

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Since I don’t have a very good skillet for a traditional Spanish tortilla, I decided to try baking it, which thankfully, turned out very well.

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Baked Spanish Tortilla!

Garlic, Salt, Pepper
3-4 medium golden potatoes
4-5 squash and/or zucchini
I think I used around 8 eggs?
And probably about 1/4 cup olive oil (that’s why it’s important to have one that you think tastes good)

1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Slice the garlic (of course), potatoes, zucchini, and squash (and onion if you remember) into thin slices of equal thickness. Mine were about 1/4 inch.
3. Oil the bottom of a 9 x 13 and begin layering the potatoes and squash/zuchs, starting with potatoes on bottom. Add a little Salt/Pepper/Garlic/Olive oil at each layer.
4. Crack some eggs into a separate bowl and whisk, then pour over pan. You want it to fill to only about half full. I started with only a few but kept adding more until it reached the level. (My pan isn’t 9 x 13, it’s something weird like 10 3/8 x 14 1/4, so I needed about 8 eggs, but you might need a different amount)
5. Cover pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
6. Check on it–test fluffiness of eggs. It might need 15 more minutes without the foil.

Hazelnut oil and lemon cake

So I’ve been in a super cake mood since the other day when Mom told me it was National Chocolate Cake Day. I haven’t checked to see if that’s a real thing, but it did prompt me to make this cake and it was bitchin’ sweet, so last night we made another. Last night’s was totally different though–it was lemon and hazelnut and very fluffy instead of chocolate.

Last night’s cake was super good. Normally when I make cake, I end up giving all but three bites of it away because it’s huge and I’m done with it. But I’m totally hoarding this one. None for you! So now you have to make one and here’s the recipe.

3/4 cup hazelnut oil
1 lemon (for zest and juice)
1 cup cake flour (it totally makes a difference–I used to be a nonbeliever, so believe me now)
5 eggs, separated into 5 yolks and 4 whites
3/4 cup sugar, divided1/2 tsp salt

I baked this in a 9 x 13 pan but I bet it would work in a 9 or 10 inch circular one if you prefer.

The oven needs to preheat to 350, do this when you like.

Hazelnut oil is really cool. It’s got this smoky flavor that probably came from roasting the nuts and is really nice. We’ve used it in salad dressings a couple of times, but this is the first thing we’ve done which requires a lot of it.

Whisk together the 1 cup flour and 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest in a bowl you can easily pour from, then set aside.

In another bowl, beat together the 5 yolks and 1/2 cup sugar on high for about three minutes, until the texture is totally different–thick and pale.

becomes

After that, lower the speed to medium and add the hazlenut oil. Mmm hazlenut oil. As well as 1 1/2 tbs lemon juice. Mix enough to combine. Then add in the flour/lemon zest and mix in gently (ie, not with the mixer, use a wooden spoon or spatula).

In an entirely new bowl, combine the 4 egg whites and 1/2 tsp salt then beat at med or med-high until foamy. Once you’ve achieved this, start adding 1/4 cup sugar a little bit at a time, while still mixing. Once all the sugar is in, continue until you are able to form soft peaks.

Now comes the delicate part. The foamy egg whites will help lighten the cake. Sounds awesome, yeah?! Well the yolks and flour are going to do their best to eff you over, so what you’ve got to do is fold them together. First, take about 1/3 of the egg whites and put them in the same bowl as the yolks and, using a spatula, fold them together. This is different from normal mixing in that you’re trying to maintain the airiness of the whites so you literally fold layers of pre-cake on top of each other until the batter seems homogenous. After the first third is combined, go ahead and fold the rest in.

Once this has been completed, pour the batter into your baking pan of choice and tap it against the counter to remove obstinate, excessive bubbles. This will ensure a uniformly delicious cake, with no dissapointing holey pieces.

Then bake this glory for 30-45 minutes, depending on your pan, until the poke test is successful.

Once this cools, I’m sure you will find yourself in a paradise of refreshing smokey, nutty, lemon and fluff, just like I did. It was quite disorienting. So much so, in fact, that I found myself unable to take a picture of the completed cake without at least a few pieces missing.

Grandma’s Cornbread

This is a recipe I’ve been in love with for years and last night was the first time I made it. It came out so good! The recipe is simple enough, but I think there’s a key secret ingredient I’m not going to reveal at this point, but I’ll let you get close.

The secret’s which corn meal. Here’s a picture:

Good luck! They don’t even sell it around here; last time I visited, Grandma made me take a package back with me so I could make it right.

What you need is:
2 cups white, stone ground corn meal
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbs butter
A cast iron skillet

Start by heating the oven to 400 degrees and putting the butter in the skillet.

When the oven’s warmed up, put it in and let the butter melt until browned.

While that’s going, mix everything else together in a bowl.

It’s a very no-nonsense recipe and it comes together so effortlessly that you’ll want to make it every night. In fact, the only thing stopping me today is my lack of buttermilk and the extreme (ahem, 50 degrees) cold outside preventing my trek to the store.

Once the butter’s browned, remove the pan and pour in the mix, then bake for 20 minutes.

Lamb Burgers

This isn’t so much an instructional article as a show-off article. I’ll probably end up breaking this down into multiple articles explaining the different bits, but for now this will suffice.

We used:
ground lamb
shallots
olive oil
Asian pears
egg yolks
arugula
gruyere

This was a very long and complicated dinner, but it was so good we made it twice.

We started by dicing the shallots.

Then we cooked them in olive oil for about an hour on a med-low heat. The goal was to infuse the oil with the shallot flavor.

Once they had browned, we strained them out of the oil, careful to keep as much of it as possible. Then we mixed the shallots into the meat, along with a little salt and pepper.

Next, in the oil we fried thin slices of Asian pear. Not until crispy though, just until soft.

After that we let the oil cool and made an aioli with it and the egg yolks.

Ok, now imagine all that combined together–perfectly cooked meat along with a slice of gruyere and some arugula. I have to tell you, it tastes a bit like Heaven.

A Tale of Two Icings

I’ve made butter cream multiple times in the past, but I’ve never been quite satisfied. (Except when I make it at work, which is extremely rare and lucky…) So I hesitated to use it on my precious, precious Halloween cupcakes. Consequently I decided to try to make two types and see which one I liked.

I made a small batch of royal icing, at the recommendation of a coworker, and it turned out amazing. And this time my butter cream came out really well too, so I feel I know what I’m doing now.

But since these are for a special occasion, I didn’t think any normal tasting icing would do, so I made them cinnamon flavored with the addition of a few drops of cinnamon oil.

For the Royal Icing I used:
1 large egg white
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
~2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
4 drops cinnamon oil

I had trouble using my stand mixer for this because it was such a small amount, so you may have to either do this by hand or use a hand mixer. Start by beating the egg white and lemon juice until combined.

Add the cinnamon oil then the sugar one half cup at a time and mix. How much sugar you ultimately use depends on how thick or runny you want it, so make sure you have a test surface. Wax paper works well, or even spare cupcakes. I had plenty of those since this whole endeavor was an experiment. Originally I was only going to use a total of 1 1/2 cups of sugar, but that was way too runny for what I wanted. I was looking for something thick that wouldn’t run off the edges too much and got pretty much what I wanted.

One thing that’s nice about royal icing is how pretty it looks. It stays very smooth and as it is exposed to air, it hardens slightly and makes a sort of glossy shell. It is perfect for pouring over something to make an immaculate cover, or for creating a clean look (as long as it’s not too runny). One danger though is that what you don’t use must be handled carefully if you don’t want it to try up and become useless. I put my extra in a bowl in the fridge with cling wrap directly on top, eliminating any air from touching the surface. That’s how you store it, but ideally you’d use all of it instantly.

Next was the batch of butter cream. For this I only used:
1/2 stick of butter (room temperature, or close to it)
quite a bit of POWDERED sugar
7 drops cinnamon oil

I put the emphasis there because I think that is where I went wrong in so many of my previously failed attempts. Also, I guess because of butters overwhelmingly delicious taste, more cinnamon oil was necessary for this icing, which was a bit disappointing.

I started by whisking the butter to a creamy consistency, dropped in the cinnamon oil, then added the sugar little by little (about 1-2 tbs at a time) until I had achieved optimal consistency and taste. It is integral to perform the finger-lick test periodically to ensure maximum scrumptious-ness.

What’s nice about when you have the right ingredients, there isn’t an exact stopping point; there is a wide range of how thick it can be and all of which work for cupcakes. Butter cream’s also pretty easy to spread, but it comes off looking a lot more informal, unless you take a lot of time making it look nice.

After tasting both of the end results, multiple times, I decided that for this event royal icing would suit the cupcakes best, with the butter cream saved for writing and decorating.

Spanish Tortilla

From one country to another, a single word can mean very different things. Tortilla is a good example of that. In Mexico and Central America, a tortilla is made of flour or corn and houses delicious, delicious tacos. In Spain it is more like an omelet. Also very good.

I had this dish for the first time at a friend’s pot luck and really liked it. In fact everyone did–it was one of the first dishes to vanish. So I decided to try to make my own.

What you need is:
2-3 baking potatoes
1-2 yellow onion
garlic
8 eggs
olive oil
paprika
salt and pepper

One of the key things here is to slice your potato consistently.

If the slices aren’t the same, they won’t cook the same and you’ll end up with some overdone, some raw, and a couple perfect ones. If you have a mandolin, now would be the time to use it, but if you don’t, a good knife will get the job done just fine.

You need to cook these in a good amount of olive oil, so coat the bottom of the pan then let it warm on medium. Once the pan’s ready, cook the potatoes until soft and delicious.

While the potatoes were cooking, I sliced the onions. After taking out the potatoes, I tossed the onions in the pan with some garlic, salt and pepper then let them cook until soft.

In the meantime, whisk together the eggs in a bowl on the side.

Once the onions are done, toss the potatoes back in and mix together. Next, pour on the eggs and let cook on a med to med-low heat for a few minutes.

Once the bottom’s cooked comes the challenge of flipping it. It helps to have two people, but it is possible on your own. There is a technique to it, which helps a lot. For this you’ll need a flat plate that fits perfectly within the pan or is slightly larger. Put that plate upside-down over the pan, then holding the plate, flip the pan over. This is kind of hard because of the awkward weight distribution, but not impossible. Once that’s done, put it back in the pan, raw side down, to finish cooking.

After a few minutes, take it out the same way you flipped it, and voila!, delicious Spanish food.

Peach Ice Cream

I didn’t make this recipe up myself, it came from Martha Stewart. For the most part. We did make some changes, but they were very minimal.

Here’s what you need (aside from an ice cream maker):
3-4 large ripe peaches
1 tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 yolk
1 cup and 1 tbs heavy whipping cream

This is one of those things you can definitely have going on in the background; there’s a lot of waiting. The first thing you need to do is cut up the peaches. Honestly, the smaller the better, but we didn’t worry to much and eventually resorted to the blender. Then, combine the peaches, lemon juice, and only 1/2 cup of the sugar in a bowl and let it sit for 2 hours.

See what I mean about waiting–and that’s not even all of it.

When that’s done, it’s time to add the vanilla and milk. At this point you can either blend it or potato mash it. Turns out mom conveniently didn’t have a potato masher, so…

Then let that sit for another half hour.

After that, beat the egg and yolk with an electric mixer until they’re well mixed, then add the rest of the sugar (1/4 cup). When that’s all nice and blended, add in the creamy peach mixture.

While that’s finishing up, have a friend prepare the ice cream maker. (You’ll know it’s ready when the penguin shows up.)

Then when everything’s just right, pour the pre-ice cream into the ice cream maker and let it make for a couple hours until it’s done.

We made whipped cream to go with it using the leftover cream. It was super good and yummy.

And as per Martha‘s recommendations, serve in a goblet.

And this recipe works really well for all sorts of fruit, we’ve tried it with different kinds and none have disappointed.

Beef and Two Mushroom Soup

…or stew, I’m not quite sure.

We weren’t feeling well the other day, plus it conveniently rained, so I decided to make a hearty soup. Soups are really easy to play with and they’re hard to mess up.

Following my wont, I made a pretty freaking huge batch. But that’s ok, ’cause I like it so much.

I used:
Two 32 oz containers of beef broth
About a pound of potatoes
1 yellow onion (cut to your liking)
3 stalks celery
About a pound of meat (optional, personally I’m not big on meat in soup for some reason–but if you still want the protein, toss in an egg or two)
Button mushrooms
Wood ear mushrooms
Salt
Pepper
Nutmeg (it works really well with savory beef dishes)

Start by cutting your veggies. I diced the onions, cut the potatoes into 1 inch ish cubes, the baby carrots in half, and the celery into 1/2 inch ish slices. And toss them into your soup pot with your seasonings. If you want it to be thick, you can add some corn starch here. A few teaspoons should do.

Now pour in your broth, stir, and start cooking. I covered the pot and warmed it to a 7 for 15 minutes. When I checked on it to stir, I lowered it to 5 for another 15 minutes. (I have a crazy powerful stove and was worried about the veggies on the bottom.) You basically want to make sure that the potatoes are as soft as you want them. (The other veggies are going to be super soft too, so if you want them a little crunchier, add them at the half way point.)

While the soup’s warming up, prep your mushrooms. (Pretty much just slice them.)

I just used some normal button mushrooms and some dried wood ears. Normally you’d have to reconstitute the wood ear mushrooms because they’re dried up, but not so much when you’re adding them to soup. (Although, I did the first time I made ramen.)

With the mushrooms in the pot, add the beef, cover and cook for another 10 minutes.

The mushrooms will have changed size and color, and that’s a tasty thing. And now just serve when you’re ready.