Monster Soup

Monster Soup

In spite of all my hopes and plans, this is the one recipe that I was forced to use food coloring.  I tried using, what I had thought, the perfect ingredient for making this soup purple without using any coloring…  But, unfortunately, the purple potatoes not only did NOT make the soup purple, it turned it a horrible shade of brown, meaning I simply had to use coloring to make it a nice, purple shade.  So sad.

Monster Souptime etc

Cut the onions, carrots, and celery into bite size pieces.  Wash and dice the potatoes, too.  Now, we know that I like my vegetables with their skins on, but if you feel so inclined, peel the carrots and potatoes.

In a nice pot heat the butter on medium until melted.  Add the carrots, onions, and celery and saute for 2 minutes, until the raw look is gone.  Add the potatoes and cook, stirring continuously, until the potatoes are “crisp tender”.  This means it’s still hard, but not raw.  This’ll take about 5-8 minutes.

veggies in a pot

veggies and brothAdd all the vegetable broth and bring to a boil, raising the heat if needed.  Reduce the heat back to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are starting to soften up.  Then we want to add the milk and flour.  Now, a word of caution about the flour and milk – we want to make sure that the flour is COMPLETELY whisked into the milk before we add it to the soup.  If it’s not you’ll end up with lumpy bits of flour everywhere and it’ll be gross.  Allow everything to simmer for about 5 minutes.  By this time the potatoes should be getting softer.

You’ll need to be extra careful with this next part.  Take out 1/2 of the soup, using a heat-proof container.  Pour the soup into a blender in however many batches you need to make it fit, blend until smooth, and pour back into the remaining soup.  When half of the soup is blended, and all the soup is back together, add the heavy cream.  Stir and heat until hot and then taste for seasonings.  You may want to add the rest of the salt and pepper now…

add coloring

Guys, now it’s time for the part that makes this Halloweeny, but also kinda weird.  Add all the food coloring.  It feels like a lot, I know, but it’ll make it the best color for Monster Soup – and make it not a weird shade of brown… I honestly thought pureeing purple potatoes would make the soup purple, not brown.  But I was wrong.  So if you don’t want to add Monster Extract to your soup, simply use russet potatoes to ensure that your soup is a nice, creamy white instead of a weird brown.

monster soup

Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and fresh chives.  Also, if you’re using this at a Halloween party, serve it in a small cauldron for a great touch!

Link’s Monster Soup recipe:

    • Fresh Milk
    • Tabantha Wheat
    • Goat Butter
    • Monster Extract

Monster Soup

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Potato Soup with purple coloring for a lovely Halloween effect


Recipe adapted from Perfect Potato Soup by Ree Drummond from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

  • 1 pound purple potatoes (or russet for a white soup instead of purple soup)
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk (substitute almond milk to make this vegan)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or more almond milk for a vegan recipe)
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon purple gel food coloring
  • grated cheese, fresh chives, and sour cream to garnish

Directions

  1. Cut the onions, carrots, and celery into bite size pieces. Peel, if you desire.
  2. Wash and dice the potatoes, again, peeled if you desire.
  3. Heat the butter on medium in a pot until melted.
  4. Add the carrots, onions, and celery and saute for 2 minutes, until the raw look is gone.
  5. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring continuously, until the potatoes are crisp tender, about 5-8 minutes.
  6. Add all the vegetable broth, and the first amounts of salt, pepper, and paprika, and bring to a boil, raising the heat if needed.
  7. Reduce the heat back to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes start to soften.
  8. Whisk together the milk and flour until completely combined. Add to the soup and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the potatoes are nearly soft.
  9. Using caution, remove 1/2 of the soup, using a heat-proof container. Pour the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to blend in batches if your blender is small. Pour the blended soup back into the pot and stir to combine.
  10. Add the heavy cream and stir and heat until lightly simmering.
  11. Taste for seasonings, adding the remaining salt, pepper, and paprika if desired.
  12. Add the first amount of the food coloring. Stir until completely combined and the soup begins to change. If a darker purple is desired, continue adding coloring until the color you’re looking for is achieved.
  13. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and fresh chives.

Vegetable Curry

Vegetable Curry

Let’s talk about sheer dumb luck for a second.  By that, I mean the sheer dumb luck I’ve been having making some of these recipes.  Guys, a lot of this stuff I’ve never made before.  Ever.  Some of these recipes have, by some miraculous intervention, worked out perfectly first try.  Yeah, yeah, some of that is the skills and knowledge I’ve built up over years of binge-watching cooking shows and always being willing to try new techniques.  But honest, some of it has to be luck.  Perfectly-placed-one-shot-to-a-guardian’s-eye-when-he’s-flying-all-over-the-place luck.  I’ve always dreamed about making Indian food, but I’ve never been brave enough to pull the trigger.  When I finally decide it’s time to start and I find a recipe that I feel like I can tweak and love, it turns out not only amazing, but incredible.  I surprised myself by how much I loved this recipe.  Goodbye $30.00 take-out once every other week because we love Indian food that much.  Hello homemade curry for half or less that cost and so many leftovers we begged people to come eat it… True story.

One time my brother-in-law told me that Breath of the Wild helped him finally gain the confidence he needed to tackle D.I.Y. projects around the house.  Video games aren’t just about playing a game, trying a new media, or even experiencing a new story.  The skills people learn from gaming can shape their lives in a very positive way.  My entire life I’ve been excellent at puzzles and problem solving.  It’s one of the reasons I became a scientist.  Now, part of that is personality and the brain I was born with.  But a decent helping of it came from countless hours playing puzzle-based games, like Zelda, which helped train my brain to solve complex ideas with limited resources.  And having the confidence to try new things, fiddle with ideas, and tackle your fears is what we gamers do best!  So guys, don’t be scared.  I promise there are very few ways you can screw up this recipe.  Give it a shot and I’m betting you’ll have a new staple for your weekly meal rotation… or however you determine dinner menus….

Vegetable Currytime and difficulty

First thing’s first – I forgot a overhead shot of all the ingredients.  Sorry!  I got so caught up in cooking everything was used and unphotographable before I realized it…

We start by getting everything ready.  It’s really the very best place to start.  Ooh! Also, this recipe is based on a coconut kurma, my absolute favorite Indian curry.  In case you were wondering what we were going to make!  Chop the veggies into large, but still bite size pieces (guys, I’m recognizing a theme over the last few posts…).  Cauliflower, green beans, onions, and carrots.  We’ve talked about the other veggies so often I think you’ve got it.  If not, check out the Veggie Cream Soup recipe.  It’ll go into plenty of detail.  However, the green beans are new.  You can use frozen but it’s starting to become summer around here and beans will very soon be nice and fresh!  So if you buy fresh beans, simply chop off the ends and cut into inch-ish long pieces.  That easy.

mincing garlic

Now for mincing the garlic.  I’ve kindly posted a video of how to do this, but let’s describe it, too.  Hold the garlic steady between two fingers.  Carefully slice the garlic into small strips, leaving the very end attached to each other (so the strips don’t separate).  Rotate the garlic 90° and repeat the process.  Then simply dice the garlic into very small pieces.  Mince by rocking your knife through the pile several times and in several directions.  Done!

melted butterOnce everything is ready melt the butter on very low heat.  We want it to be set to low.  This is not a joke.  We want to, as my very good friend says it, give the garlic and spices a nice Jacuzzi before we actually start to cook them.  It’ll give the garlic more time to sweat without burning and will bring out a lot more of the flavor.  It’s a slower process but absolutely worth it!

spices in butter

After the butter is melted add all the spices, including the garlic.  Stir around until everything is combined and allow to heat for several minutes.  You’re house will, at this point, start to smell amazing and you’ll start to get very hungry.  Continue cooking on low and stirring every minute or so for about 5ish minutes.

Once the spices are ready add the onion and slowly start to turn up the heat, a degree at a time every minute, until you get to medium.  Sweat the onions until translucent and covered in spices.  Some of the spices may stick to the bottom of the pan at this point.  Not to worry!  We’ll deglaze it off!

saute onion

While the spices and onions are cooking we need to do one thing: puree the tomatoes.  Wash the tomatoes well and place them in a blender or food processor (maybe?  I don’t know if you can puree tomatoes in a food processor).  Blend until pureed.  Complicated, right?  If you really insist on using only canned goods for everything just follow the same process but with canned tomatoes.  You’ll need one can for this.  But it’s so easy with fresh you may as well get the delightful flavor of fresh for just as much work!

If you’re unfamiliar with deglazing you really should check out the Prime Meat Stew recipe for details.  But it can be boiled down to this:  when the pan is hot add room temp liquid and scrape the bottom of the pan.  Add more liquid as necessary and all those spices will come right up!  So slowly add the tomato puree and deglaze the pan!

add all the liquid

Next add all the coconut milk and heavy whipping cream in one go.  Whisk until completely combined.  Add the brown sugar, whisk, and bring to a boil.  Once it’s there simply lower to a simmer and add the green beans, carrots, and cauliflower.  Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom.

While the curry starts to simmer start the rice.  One of these days I’ll learn, and then share, how to cook rice in a pot on the stove.  But for now let’s stick with the rice cooker.  And, quite frankly, I use so much rice in these recipes if you’re going to make them you should invest in one yourself.  Jasmine or Basmati rice is particularly good for Indian food.  However, I’m so set in my sushi rice ways I just use Calrose for everything.  So experiment if you want, but it’s okay to stick with the classics.  Simply wash the rice several times, fill it up to your first knuckle when your finger rests on top of the rice, cover and hit the start button.  It’s that easy.

simmer for 15 minutes

When your 15 minute timer is up it’s time to add the peas (frozen, so they cook slower and don’t get mushy), cashews, and golden raisins.  The raisins’ll get nice and plump because they’ll soak up all that delicious liquid and the cashews will soften up nicely.  Simmer until the rice is done, stirring every so often.  Again, we don’t want anything to burn!

close up of curry

Serve over (or if you want to be picture accurate) next to your rice and enjoy!

Link’s Vegetable Curry

    • Any carrot or pumpkin
    • Hylian Rice
    • Goron Spice

Vegetable Curry

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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Vegetables in a creamy coconut kurma curry sauce

Recipe adapted from North and Mouth’s “New and Improved Bombay House Chicken Coconut Kurma”

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 handful fresh green beans (very scientific, I know)
  • 1.5 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup roasted cashews
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1.5 teaspoons tumeric
  • cayenne/red pepper, 1/4 tsp for mild, 3/4 tsp for medium, 1.25 tsp for hot
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 3 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 15 ounces pureed tomato, about 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 15oz can coconut milk, full fat
  • 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
  • white rice to serve, about 2 cups uncooked and 5 cups of water

Directions

  1. Chop the cauliflower and carrots into large, bite-sized pieces. Dice the onion into small pieces. Cut the ends of the green beans and cut into 1 inch pieces.
  2. Finely mince the garlic by holding the garlic steady between two fingers.  Carefully slice the garlic into small strips, leaving the very end attached to each other (so the strips don’t separate).  Rotate the garlic 90° and repeat the process.  Dice the cut strips into very small pieces.  Mince by rocking your knife through the pile several times and in several directions.
  3. In a heavy-bottomed pot melt the butter on low heat.
  4. When the butter is completely melted add all the spices, including the garlic.  Stir until combined and allow to heat for several minutes. Continue cooking on low and stirring every minute or so for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the onion and slowly turn up the heat, a degree at a time every minute, until you get to medium.  Sweat the onions until translucent and covered in spices.
  6. While the spices and onions are cooking puree the tomatoes.  Wash the tomatoes well and place them in a blender or food processor.  Blend until pureed.
  7. When the onions are translucent add a small amount of pureed tomato to the pan and scrape hard to deglaze the spices from the bottom. Repeat until all spices are removed from the bottom and are mixed in to the puree.
  8. Add all the coconut milk and heavy whipping cream.  Whisk until completely combined.  Add the brown sugar, whisk, and bring to a boil.
  9. Once the mixture is boiling lower heat to a simmer. Add the green beans, carrots, and cauliflower.
  10. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom.
  11. While the curry is cooking make the rice. Wash rice three times in water, fill with water to the first knuckle when your finger rests on top of the rice, cover and hit the start button on your rice cooker.
  12. When your curry has simmered for 15 minutes add the frozen peas, cashews, and golden raisins.
  13. Simmer until the rice is done, stirring every so often.
  14. When the rice is cooked serve curry over the rice and enjoy!

Veggies Cream Soup and New Year Resolutions

Veggies Cream Soup and New Year Resolutions

I’m back!  But this time I’m not just attempting to be back because I’ve made a goal/new year resolution to get back into this.  I’ve never really been a resolutions kind of girl.  I’ve always had the opinion that if you have a goal then start now, don’t wait for the new year and risk losing momentum before you’ve even started!  But this year (mostly because of timing, partly because of my intense need to organize everything perfectly to fit in time grids) I’ve decided to start my very own set of resolutions.

One of my best friends from high school started making goals in sets of 4 and I think it’s incredibly clever to do it this way!  It gives you enough to make changes in every aspect of your life, but not so much that you give up.  They are goals in mental (i.e. knowledge), spiritual, physical, and social health.  So what are my goals, you ask?  They are:

Mental/Wisdom: Master all the Tartine and Tartine No. 3 bread recipes

Spiritual: Actually, I don’t really want to share this here, as it’s pretty personal and would take a very long time to explain.  But suffice it to say that I have one!

Physical: The proverbial “Get Healthy”, but I actually have a plan for how to do this, so it’s not just a plea in the dark

And last but not least, Social, the reason I’m boring you with all of this: My goal is to improve my blog and my community here by being more regular in recipes, in the quality of my work, and being committed to the schedule I’m about to propose.  They always say you’re more apt to accomplish goals if you tell people what they are so this is me requesting that you hold me accountable!  The new sort-of-schedule is going to be:

A new recipe each week

One “Thankful” recipe per month

One Gaming Thoughts post per month

And, potentially, if I’m able to keep all those other posts regular, one collaboration per quarter.

Yeah, it doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s a schedule I think I can stick to and a schedule I feel comfortable making a commitment to.  Also, there will be an element of surprise to it all, since I’m not specifying posting days this time!  Let’s see if that works and if it does maybe I’ll go back to specific days…  So hopefully you guys can help me stick this goal through and I hope this will produce a better blog for you to give your limited time to and a better chance for me to be a part of your community!

And now, after all that, your recipe.

Veggie Cream SoupHeader and Meter

ingredients photo

Lets start with stripping the herbs and cutting up all the veggies.  When you’re using fresh herbs they need to be taken off the stems.  This can seem incredibly daunting but i promise, it’s actually not that bad.  If you’re using dried herbs, just skip this step and move on!  Start by washing (obviously) and shaking dry the herbs as much as you can.  Place the edge of your knife against the herb stem below the leaves, tight, but not cutting through.  Once you’re in place simply pull the stem and drag the leaves along the blade of the knife.  Don’t move the knife, just the stem.  The leaves will strip off and the stem will pull through!  Easy peasy!  Any more questions, just watch this video:

Strip the herbs

Next, we cut the vegetables.  Just slice and dice them into bite-size chunks, larger or smaller depending on your preferences.  I prefer large chunks.  I feel like you get a better flavor from them!

Once everything is prepped add a tiny bit of butter (or oil) to a pan with some height.  We are going to be simmering in it later, so we want to make sure there’s enough room for the liquid.  Start by frying the onion until it’s tender and opaque.  Then add all the fresh veggies and saute for about a minute or two, just until they are all shiny.  And guys, I know my photos have the zucchini added at this step.  My advice, don’t follow the photos!  While it was easy, it made the zucchini a little overcooked, which is not what we’re going for.  We’ll add it later.  Promise.

Add broth to the veggies

Once everything is nice and shiny add the vegetable broth and simmer for about 15 minutes.  We want everything nice and tender before we add it to the sauce!  If you’re using fresh peas and corn (because it’s summer or you’re very lucky) go ahead and add them to the simmering veggies.  If not, I used frozen peas and canned corn.   I like the taste of canned corn better in soup, but you can use frozen if you prefer.  While your fresh veggies are simmering just heat up the peas and corn.  Make sure all the water is drained and set them aside for later.

Next, we make a roux.  We talked about the pitfalls of making a roux when we made Fish Pie, so I won’t go over them in detail again.  Let’s just do the basics.

Melt your butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.  Wait until the butter is completely melted and bubbly.  Once it is, whisk in half the flour.  Once all the flour is incorporated and the mixture starts to melt and become a bit liquidy again add the remaining flour.  Whisk is continually until it starts to melt again.  Whisk constantly for 2 minutes until your roux reaches the blond stage.

Once your roux is ready we start slowly adding the milk.  Add about half the milk at a time.  The roux may ball up on itself when you do but just keep whisking and it’ll sort itself out!  Whisk until the mixture is homogeneous and slightly thick.  Add the remaining milk and repeat.  If the mixture is too thick you may have added too much flour.  Add regular milk until it reaches a gravy-like consistency.

Once your sauce is ready simply add all the veggies (including the zucchini, peas, and corn at this point!), herbs, and remaining broth to the sauce, stir until well combined, and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors and spices to combine!  If you skip this part the herbs won’t have done their job and it’ll be a bit bland.  Be patient.  It’ll be worth it!

close up of stew

P.S. I don’t recommend adding a raw carrot at the end… The price we pay for matching photos, right?

Link’s Veggie Cream Soup

    • Fresh Milk
    • Rock Salt
    • Any Carrot or Pumpkin

Veggie Cream Soup

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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Vegetables in a thick, creamy soup


Ingredients

  • 3-4 medium carrots
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 15 oz can of corn
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh thyme (or 3/4 tablespoon dried thyme)
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh oregano (or 3/4 tablespoon dried oregano)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives (or 1/2 tablespoon dried chives)
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 cups vegetable broth

Directions

  1. If using fresh herbs, strip the oregano and thyme from their stalks and finely dice the chives. Set aside.
  2. Slice the carrots and zucchini into large, bite-sized pieces. Remove the stalk and leaves of the cauliflower and chop into large bite-sized pieces. Dice the onion.
  3. Add a small amount of oil or butter to a pan and heat on medium until the fat is hot. Add the onion and cook until translucent and tender. Add the cauliflower and carrots and saute until shiny. Add all the vegetable broth and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. While the vegetables are simmering thaw the peas and drain the corn and peas. Set aside.
  5. Begin the roux by melting the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When the butter is completely melted and bubbling whisk in half the flour.  Whisk continually until all the flour is incorporated and the mixture starts to melt and become a bit liquidy again. Add the remaining flour and repeat. Once all the flour is incorporated whisk constantly for 2 minutes until your roux reaches the blond stage.
  6. Slowly add half the milk and whisk until the mixture is thick.  Add the remaining milk and whisk until the mixture has thickened to a gravy-like consistency.
  7. Add all the simmering vegetables and broth, corn, peas, zucchini, herbs, salt, and pepper to the sauce and stir until well combined. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors and spices to combine.

Glazed Veggies

Glazed Veggies

I seriously underestimated the amount of fun and lack of free time I would have on my vacation last week.  I suspected that, since I had to be back to the hotel by 9ish to put my small child down for bed I would have plenty of time to write a blog post in the evening.  What I did not account for was the extremely late nights and loads of fun my family would have staying up till 12 or 1 each night playing card games.  Never underestimate the hilarity of a game like Balderdash at midnight when all the adults are exhausted but cant. stop. playing.

But that serious fun does mean I missed a lot of posts!  I’m sorry!  And after I specifically made two recipes the week before in order to not miss a week…  So thanks for your patience, thanks for the continued support and follows, and let’s get on with the show!

Glazed Veggiestime and difficulty meter

Guys, this recipe is super easy but super delicious.  That makes it a win-win, right?

glazed veggies ingredients

First we chop the veggies and, if you’re feeling bold, chop and mince the fresh herbs.  If you’re not feeling bold, no worries, this recipe is equally awesome for all types.  Just measure out those herbs and get them handy because, frankly, herbs of all sorts look pretty.

Start boiling the tiny, finger height portion of water in a nice, deep pot.  If you haven’t noticed I’m super exact with my measurements… Just check out this post for proof…

Add carrots to boiling water

Once it’s boiling add the carrots and cover with the lid.  We want this to boil for 7-9 minutes, depending on how full your pot is, or until the carrots are “crisp-tender”… Who makes up these cooking terms, anyway?  For those of you who can’t guess based on the name, crisp-tender means the stage after raw but before mushy.  It’s a pretty big ballpark, you can’t really miss it unless you’re being negligent.  And you’d never be negligent with carrots, would you?

Steaming carrots

Remove the carrots, drain the water, and put the pot back on the heat.  Add the honey and butter until they melt together.  Add your herbs and carrots back in and stir until the carrots are coated and the herbs are a little fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Serve warm!

You wanna know how to best use this recipe?  Add it as a side to either the Salt-Grilled Prime Meat or the Salt-Grilled Meat.  That’s what I did and it made for one amazing meal!

close up of carrots

Link’s Glazed Veggies

    • Any Vegetable
    • Courser Bee Honey

Herb Glazed Veggies

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Carrots glazed with honey and fresh herbs


Filling

  • 1 lb carrots
  • 1.5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1-1.5 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh thyme (or 1-1.5 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh oregano (or 1-1.5 teaspoon dried oregano)

Directions

  1. If you use fresh herbs wash and then mince the herbs. Use a very sharp blade to mince in order to prevent bruising. Mix both the thyme and sage together and set aside.
  2. Cut all carrots equally and evenly to ensure they all cook the same amount and finish at the same time. If you desire, peel the carrots first.
  3. Boil enough water in a 4 quart saucepan to cover the first joint in your finger.
  4. Add carrots and cover the pot. Allow to boil for 7-9 minutes, or until crisp-tender.
  5. Remove carrots and drain pot.
  6. Add honey and butter and allow to melt together. Add herbs and carrots and stir until carrots are completely glazed and the herbs become fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  7. Serve hot.