So, Nintendo posted this recipe a while ago on Twitter for Twilight Princess’ HD rerelease, and I decided to give this a try. Besides being a recipe from a video game, this combines two of my favorite flavors – pumpkin and goat cheese. The resulting soup is pretty damn awesome, and definitely a thing I would recommend making. (This version leaves out the fish, but tbh, I’m pretty okay with that, as I’m really not sure what that would’ve done to this.) (I also held back the celery in my version, as I’m not that big of a fan of it.)

Yeto’s Pumpkin and Cheese Soup
Makes a lot. That’s two containers’ worth of soup up there.

Ingredients

  • 2 T butter
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 qt vegetable stock
  • 29 oz pumpkin puree
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • .25 c milk plus .25 c heavy whipping cream
  • 4 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled (I used closer to 5, last of the TJ’s chevre I mentioned in the previous post)
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • dash sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper

In a large pot (dutch oven, or just a bigass covered pot), melt the butter over medium heat. Add the diced onion and carrots, and saute for about five minutes, and then add your minced garlic, and saute another five minutes, until fragrant and the vegetables are soft.

Pour in your quart of vegetable stock, and bring it to a boil, stirring the soup here and there. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, and keep simmering for another ten minutes, still stirring here and there. Add in the pumpkin and cinnamon, stir well to combine, and bring back to a simmer, simmering another fifteen minutes.

If you have an immersion blender (seriously, those things are a godsends for recipes like this), just stick it in the pot and blend until you’ve got a nice smooth soup. If you don’t, stick it in a blender or food processor in batches, and do the same.  Keep the heat of the soup on low.

Stir in the milk/whipping cream combo, evaporated milk, goat cheese, and brown sugar, slowly, until the goat cheese and brown sugar has melted into the soup. Season with a bit of sea salt and fresh ground pepper, taste it, and then sit down for a long ass gaming marathon with your nice hearty bowl of soup.

 

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Potatoes. Goat cheese. Smashed together. Really, there’s not too many other ways that this recipe can get better, full stop.

Goat Cheese Smashed Potatoes
Makes enough for several meals’ worth of sides

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs red potatoes
  • sea salt
  • .5 c milk plus .5 c heavy whipping cream
  • 6 oz soft goat cheese (used silver medal chevre from Trader Joe’s)
  • 8 T (aka 1 stick) of unsalted butter, cut into 1 T pieces and chilled
  • fresh ground black pepper

Put your potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, add .25 c sea salt. Bring the potatoes to a simmer over medium high, and then reduce the heat to medium low and cook the potatoes for between 20 to 30 minutes depending on size (I aimed for 25, went a bit longer because I was playing Overwatch and it finished in the middle of a match), until fork tender. Try to avoid the water boiling if at all possible. In the last minutes of the potatoes cooking, take your milk/whipping cream combo and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.

As soon as your potatoes are done, drain them and put them in a large bowl. Smash them gently with a wooden spoon (without completely breaking them apart – see pic 1 for what this looks like) (this is also a great way to deal with stress, just saying). Then, pour the hot milk/whipping cream combo over the potatoes, crumble in the goat cheese, add the butter, and fold it all together (see pic 2), just enough to leave pockets of goat cheese. Season with sea salt and black pepper as your taste prefers. My potatoes were probably a bit more tender than they should’ve been, so they didn’t hold together as well, but the end result was still fantastic, and highly recommended.

So, hey kids. I’m back. Kinda. Just getting back into the swing of this, and I miiight have a not insignificant amount of recipes I should finally write up.

Basically: unemployment and depression are rough, and getting yourself stabilized after all of the above is even more fun. For now, I appear to be settled enough that I finally feel comfortable getting back to this blog. So. Sorry for kinda disappearing since September, and thank you for sticking with me.

Pork belly is becoming a thing right now, and luckily for me, I have several Asian markets in the Chicago area that do cheap as shit (and well cut) slabs of pork belly. I came across this recipe on Lucky Peach, and decided to give it a shot. One major note – the original recipe calls for you to brown it on top of the time it spends in the oven, but to be very honest, it’s perfect as is after it comes out of the oven.

Momofuku Pork Belly
Makes however much pork belly you want; above was appx 2.5 lbs

Ingredients

  • Desired amount of pork belly (again, above was in one package from their meat counter, about 2.5 lbs I would guess; original recipe said skinless, I got mine with the skin on, didn’t make any large difference)
  • 1 T plus 1 t/lb sea salt
  • 1 T plus 1 t/lb sugar
  • a dash of fresh ground black pepper

The night before you want to make your pork belly, season it with salt and sugar, and a few twists of black pepper from the grinder. Cover it (I used one of the many many containers I have lying around) and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

Day of, preheat your oven to 450. Put your belly in a pan, and then sear at 450 for about a half hour. Turn it down to 275, and let it roast slowly another hour or two (I want to say mine sat for closer to the two hour mark at 275), until it’s nice and tender (but not mushy. ew).

Let it cool to room temperature, wrap it up/put it in a container in the fridge to store, and then warm it and nom as you desire!

 

This recipe comes from Nancy Singleton Hachisu’s Preserving the Japanese Way, and is a variant on a recipe from an earlier cookbook of hers. I added my own twists to the recipe, and the end result is pretty damn good. I need to follow my own advice from earlier in this blog for poaching eggs, though – I tried rushing it here, and ended up with an egg blob. ^^;

Country Miso and Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

  • 2.5 c dashi
  • 1 medium daikon (about .25 lbs), scrubbed
  • 1 medium carrot, scrubbed
  • 2-3 spring onions (negi if you have them)
  • 1.5 T awase miso paste (blend of red and white miso)
  • lemon (or yuzu if you can find it you lucky bastard) zest
  • poached egg to top (if you’re so inclined)
  • (I also added some fried tofu chunks)

Take your daikon and carrot, and make sure they’ve been scrubbed (they won’t need to be peeled unless there are blemishes, or they’re too tough). Half the carrot lengthwise, and then slice into thin half-moons, and set aside. Take your daikon, halve it lengthwise, and then halve those halfs (so that you wind up with quarters), and slice into thin wedges. Take the spring onions, cut the white and pale green parts into thin slices (save the tops for garnish), and then toss with the daikon pieces.

Warm your dashi (if you didn’t make it right before starting the soup, that’s what I usually do), until it comes to a gentle simmer. Then, add your carrot slices, and cook for three minutes over medium heat. Add the daikon and spring onions right after, cooking for another three minutes.

Nancy recommends thinning the miso paste with a small bit of the broth at this point separately, but I just whisked the miso right into the broth. Remove from heat, and add the spring onion tops and lemon zest to the broth. I also added in fried tofu at this point. If you’re so inclined, add a poached egg to top it all off, and enjoy the amazing flavor combinations!

Again, another simple, quick, and depending on the state of your pantry, reasonably cheap side dish. Farmer’s markets have lots of tender new potatoes for good prices this time of year, and if you live near a good Indian market (or, say, within a short train ride of Little India in Chicago), you can find ghee for reasonably cheap. From there, just add sea salt and pepper, and the sage to infuse the ghee with. 

Pan Roasted New Potatoes Browned with Sage Infused Ghee

  • 1 lb new potatoes (I believe these were red or fingerlings?)
  • 4 T ghee
  • ~20 fresh sage leaves, torn, if you have them – otherwise ~2 T dried sage
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add your potatoes in, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes (I went with 15), until fork tender. Drain the potatoes. 

In a medium sized pan (original recipe recommends a cast iron pan, this works just fine with a normal pan if you don’t have one/don’t want to get it out), melt the ghee, adding the sage as it melts. Add the potatoes in a single layer once melted, and cook over medium, turning/stirring the potatoes every four to five minutes or so, until they’re browned on all sides (which should take around 20 minutes). 

Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and then enjoy your crispy potatoes!

This is a great, simple recipe that also happens to be healthy and light on the effort. And since green beans are in season and in glut at the farmer’s market, this is also excessively cheap – all you should need is a lemon, butter, and sea salt and pepper besides the green beans. 

Lemon Butter Green Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 lb green beans, destemmed (I probably got closer to two lbs and doubled the recipe accordingly)
  • 1 T butter
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 T lemon juice
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Take your green beans, and destem them. If they’re particularly long, halve or third them. Once destemmed, rinse the beans in a colander. 

Put your beans in a large pan, and add about an inch of water (it will likely just barely cover the beans). Cover the pan, and heat over medium high heat, allowing the water to just barely come to a boil. Steam/simmer the beans for three to five minutes, until bright green and just barely tender (see difference between pic 1 and 2). Remove the beans from heat, turn the burner off, and drain. 

Return the beans to the pan and the turned off burner, and add in the butter, sea salt, pepper, and a pinch of the lemon zest and juice. Toss to coat, and let the butter melt using the residual heat. Once melted, add the remaining zest and juice, taste, and add more sea salt and pepper depending on your taste.

This is a great quick summer toast, combining brie, bread, and tomatoes for the perfect morning flavor combination. Might have to try this before heading out the door for work in the morning here while we’ve still got good tomatoes. 

Heirloom Tomato and Buttered Brie Toast with Thyme and Honey

Ingredients

  • Slices of crusty bread of choice (sourdough, roasted garlic, whichever you like best!)
  • 2 T butter
  • brie, sliced to taste (or in these cute little brie bite sizes that I got from Trader Joe’s)
  • fresh thyme if you have it, otherwise, dried thyme to taste
  • heirloom tomatoes of varying sizes, sliced thin
  • honey and olive oil, to drizze
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 450. Rub the slices of bread with butter, and place in the oven for three to five minutes, until lightly toasted. Layer on the brie and tomato slices, and then return to the oven to cook for five minutes, until the brie is melted and the tomatoes wrinkle slightly. Turn on the broiler for one minute after the brie is melted to crisp it up a bit. 

Then, add your thyme (and oregano, if you’re me), and drizzle with honey and olive oil, and a bit of sea salt and fresh ground pepper. And then, enjoy your quick summer breakfast!