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.

 

Candied bacon plus brown sugar based waffles? Uhm, yes please. 

I halved this recipe, as the boy doesn’t really do meat, but this still gave me five waffles, so the recipe as I’ll write it below will likely give you something around 10 waffles as output. 

Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles

Ingredients

Candied Bacon

  • 10 slices of bacon
  • .25 c dark brown sugar

Waffle Batter

  • 3 c flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • .25 c dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 c cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 2.5 c buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 375, line a baking sheet with foil, and place your bacon slices on the foil, sprinkling with the brown sugar. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the sugar caramelizes, and it’s beginning to brown and get crispy (see pic 2). Take the bacon off the baking sheet as soon as it’s out of the oven with tongs, and let it cool on a cutting board. 

While the bacon cools, whisk together all your dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients, and once well blended, fold into the dry ingredients. Once the batter’s almost fully mixed, heat your waffle iron, and take your cooled candied bacon, and chop (or, frankly, you’ll be able to break it apart with your fingers) into small pieces, and add straight into the batter. Don’t overmix the batter, or the waffles will become too tough; lumps in the batter are completely fine. 

Cook your waffles according to your waffle iron’s instructions, and enjoy the bacony brown sugar goodness!

This is definitely a weekend recipe. Why? Because it takes a minimum of overnight prep, and a lot of watching of the waffle iron (because these waffles are LOADED with sugar, and a special type you might have to pick up from Amazon at that). 

Are they worth it? They were pretty sweet, and I’m not entirely sure they turned out properly, but the result was pretty damn neat. (I am sure there is someone here who has more experience with these waffles who can tell me if I fucked up.)

Liege Waffles

Ingredients

  • .5 c whole milk
  • .25 c water
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 3 2/3 c flour
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 14 T butter, softened to room temperature, and separated into quarters
  • 1 1/3 c pearl sugar (you can find this on Amazon easy)

Take your milk and water, heat until lukewarm, and then add your brown sugar and active dry yeast, letting sit about five minutes, until foamy. Whisk together your eggs and vanilla, add the milk in, and then slowly add all but one cup of flour, and mix until well combined. Add the salt in, and mix until combined again

If you have a stand mixer, this is the part where I hate you, as you have things significantly easier – all you have to do is use a dough hook here. The rest of us, in adding in the 14 T of butter, will have to knead it in by hand. It’s going to take a long ass time, but the stretchy dough that results is worth it. Then, work in your last cup of flour. 

I used the fridge first method for making the dough rise – check the linked recipe for the other method. Take your dough, cover it with plastic wrap, and then put in the fridge for a minimum of overnight. The day you want to make the waffles, bring to room temperature for an hour, stir the dough to deflate it, and then let it rise for another two hours (see the difference between pics five and six). 

Once you’re ready to cook the waffles, knead in the pearl sugar. It’s gonna seem like a fuck of a lot, and it is. Trust me. You can do it, and it’ll be worth it. Heat your waffle iron while you’re doing this. Once the iron’s ready, break off a small piece of dough, stretch it out a bit, and cook until golden brown (usually about the same time as instructed by your waffle iron instructions). 

Keep any waffles you make warm (ideally in a 200 degree oven), and then enjoy the molten sugar caramelized amazingnes.

This is one of the more interesting flavor combinations I’ve ever tried. Caramelized pears and blue cheese makes perfect logical sense to me, but as a cream based soup?? (It works way better than you’d think.)  

I’m not quite sure if I’m feeling it at the moment, but honestly, worst comes to worst I try this again in a while. (Plus, we’re still in pear season at the farmer’s market for a good long while, this will probably be even better come fall.)

Parts of the original recipe are a bit vague/contradicting, so I’ve clarified where I can and honestly just guessed where I can’t. Kevin also recommends crispy prosciutto as a garnish for this, and I’d agree with that – however, this was made for vegetarians on this initial round, so I’ll try that in the future. 

Caramelized Pear and Blue Cheese Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T dark brown sugar
  • 6 pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch pieces (I used most of a small bag of Asian pears from the farmer’s market)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • .5 t thyme (ideally fresh and chopped, but ground works just fine if you don’t have any)
  • 3 c vegetable stock
  • .5 lbs potato, peeled and diced (I used some small red potatoes)
  • 4 oz crumbled blue cheese (I used a gorgonzola per recipe recommendations)
  • .5 c milk (half and half and heavy whipping cream are also options)
  • sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • (optional: diced crispy proscuitto or bacon or pancetta if making it not vegetarian!)

Melt your butter over medium high heat in a large pot. As soon as it’s melted, add the brown sugar, and cook until the butter and sugar starts to bubble (see pic 1). Add in your pear pieces, and cook until lightly browned and tender (this took about 5 to 7 minutes, should look like pic 2). 

Then, add your onion, and cook until tender, about another three to five minutes. Add in the thyme and garlic and cook until fragrant (about a minute) , then add in the broth, milk, and potato. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, until the potato is tender (about ten to fifteen minutes, I went for ten because one of the people I was cooking for had to leave soon). 

If you have a stick blender, take it and puree the soup until you’ve got a nice silky soup. If you don’t, put it in the blender in batches, and puree until smooth.  Turn off your heat, return the soup to the pot, and then take your blue cheese crumbles and stir them in in small batches until melted, tasting after each batch to make sure that the cheese doesn’t overwhelm the sweetness of the caramelized pears too much. Once you’ve got it at the perfect balance for your tastes, add in the sea salt and pepper, give it a last stir, and serve! (The recipe mentions stirring in the milk again here, I chose not to, and it still came out well.) (If you would want to add in the pancetta/prosciutto/bacon, this is where you’d do it.)

Looking for a simple, quick, delicious breakfast? I recommend this. This takes five minutes tops to throw together, and then just throw it in a container, and take it to work with you, and you’ve got a perfect breakfast, carbs and protein and a bit of sweetness.

Pro tip: be sure to use real thick bread – I picked up a loaf of thick-cut shokupan (a Japanese sandwich bread made with milk, fantastic stuff) from Mitsuwa in IL when I was down there the other week for C2E2, and it was the perfect size. And in terms of getting the perfect sized hole, I used a beer flight cup that I had from a local beer festival, and it got the perfect size. 

Eggs in a Hole
Makes one slice

Ingredients

  • 1ish T butter
  • 1 slice thick bread (I used shokupan)
  • 1 egg
  • brown sugar and sea salt to taste

Melt your butter in a small pan, let it get bubbly, but don’t let it brown. While the butter melts, take a slice of thick bread and make a two inch or so hole in it (I used a beer flight cup to make mine).  As soon as the butter starts to bubble, take one side of the bread and cook until golden brown (a minute or two tops). Then, flip the toast, take your egg, crack it into the hole, and let it cook on the stovetop until the white sets, and sprinkle with brown sugar and sea salt. 

As soon as the white sets, take it off, and enjoy! The yolk will still be perfectly runny in the center. 

This was a great dish to see out what is hopefully the last of the cold winter ugh. The local farmer’s market has a good winter potato mix (which is how I got this lovely roasting potato mix), and the miso I already had in my fridge, so this was pretty cheap and simple to put together.  

Plus, the coating is a pretty good blend of flavors. I ended up doubling the quantities for the coating because I had more potatoes than planned, and I liked the coverage that I got more. If you end up having closer to the original quantity, then I would recommend halving the quantities for the miso, sesame oil, and brown sugar.

Miso Roasted Potatoes and Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 1 lb roasting potatoes, quartered (mine was a bit closer to 2 lbs, original recipe recommends small new potatoes)
  • 8 oz button mushrooms
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 t minced ginger
  • 6 T white miso
  • 4 T brown sugar
  • 4 T sesame oil
  • (optional: chopped parsley and sesame seeds for garnish)

Preheat your oven to 400. Mix together your garlic cloves, ginger, white miso, brown sugar, and sesame oil with a whisk in a large bowl, and add your mushrooms and potatoes to the bowl and toss to coat them. Transfer your potatoes to a large skillet or baking dish (I used the latter) and roast for a half hour, stirring at least once (If you have closer to 2 lbs of potatoes, throw it in for closer to an hour). Add parsley and sesame seeds if you so choose, but otherwise, enjoy, and spite the cold!

Gulab jamun are a pretty fantastic snack.  The last time I tried to make these (a bit over two years ago), they didn’t turn out so well (just a soft mess of soaked dough), but I think this time I’ve got them figured out pretty well.  The balls look a bit overdone, but trust me, they’re not burned.  I’ve seen these in both Jewish and Indian restaurants, but this is the first time I’ve actually been able to get something close to what I’ve had at home.

Gulab Jamun
Makes about 15 to 20 balls, depending on size

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 c nonfat dry milk powder
  • .25 c flour
  • .25 t baking soda
  • 3 T butter, melted and cooled (you could also probably use browned butter)
  • .25 c milk
  • vegetable oil for frying

Syrup

  • 2 c dark brown sugar (you can also use white or light brown)
  • 2 c water
  • ground cardamom to taste
  • (optional: rose water, if you have it on hand)

To make your dough, mix the dry ingredients together, and then add the melted cooled butter, mixing together until the dough is crumbly (see picture one). Slowly pour the milk over the crumbs, and then mix together until the dough just barely comes together. Knead briefly until the dough is smooth (whoops, forgot this bit. Still worked, though). Divide the dough into equal, ping pong sized balls (you’ll get about 15 to 20 out of the dough).

Heat an inch of vegetable oil in a pot over medium high. You’ll know it’s ready when you put in a small bit of dough and it starts to easily fry.  Add your dough balls and turn frequently, until they’re golden brown (usually takes about four minutes). Fish them out with a mesh strainer to drain most of the oil off the balls, and then let them rest in a small bowl to cool.  (I couldn’t quite get them out of the oil easily, so mine were a bit on the darker side, but not burned.)

To make the syrup, mix the water and sugar together over low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Increase the heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture has thickened.  (The original recipe recommends heating until a candy thermometer registers 225, but I don’t have one. The best you can do if you don’t is eye it.)

Stir the cardamom in once the syrup has thickened, and keep it at the simmer. Add the balls in, and let them soak until they’re soft and moist. They will swell as they soak; mine almost doubled in size. (insert jokes here.)  Remove them with a spoon and then let them cool.  

If not eating immediately, pour a small amount of syrup in with the balls in the container, and save the rest separately.