Sunday, May 6, 2012

May 6th, 2012 - Recipe Challenge: Broccoli Cheddar Soup & Homemade Rolls

Looks like the "day" count down lived just one day.

(Hey, I warned you, I am not a cook.)

I'm going to just go by recipe, instead of numbering anything.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Don't want to get too ambitious...

So first, I have to apologize.
Because I'm going to make some of you mad, when I tell you,
I made all of this after church today.

(Say whaaaaaaa?)
After church.

On the menu:

I made this broccoli cheddar soup from scratch.
Here's the recipe I used.

Isn't it so pretty in that soup bowl?
Changes I made:

I didn't use any nutmeg.
(Seriously, fresh nutmeg? I don't have that laying around!)

Pancetta was too fancy for me.
What is pancetta?
How do you even say that?
Pan sett ah...
payn chetta
pan... pann...
Got it.

Instead of whole milk, I used heavy cream.

Instead of matchstick carrots, I actually shredded my carrots.
I know in this person's recipe they say "shredded carrots" but then...
in all of their pictures, it's the matchstick carrots.
You're not fooling anyone.

Lucky for me I had some muscle around to finely shred 1 cup of carrots.
So much better.

I did my broccoli different.

I didn't blend it like it says to.

While the 3 hours were cooking the broccoli, I fried up 1lb of bacon.
And chopped it. 
And at the very end, I stirred it into the soup.

I also added 1/3 cup of corn.

I used wheat flour instead of white flour.

I didn't have cheddar cheese, so I used that three-cheese blend you get in a giant bag at Costco.
I know, I'm referencing Costco again.
We'll be eating that cheese until our kids are in college.


I was feeling really impatient, finely chopping my broccoli, 
but it wasn't until later I realized that the recipe wants you to make small florets, not "rough cut" all of them. 

What the heck does "rough cut" even mean?

Just saying. 
I'm not a scientist, but I'm pretty sure that's a made-up cooker person term.

So I finely chopped mine - one medium floret became 4-6 pieces.
Which saved me time, because this recipe wanted me to cut and cook things, then cook it, and then take the vegetables OUT of the slow cooker (what is the point of a slow cooker then??) and reserve, and add, and cook, and blend, etc. So instead, I left the veggies as they were, added the cream for 4 mins, and then added the cheese n stuff from there. 

Wayyyy easier.
I'm always looking for lazy recipe short cuts when I'm running out of steam.

Or when I'm hitting a "yeeaaah.... I'm so sure that's ""necessary"" ... uh uh."


My shortcuts were worth it!
It tasted amazing, and my whole family loved it.
Will I make it again?
But I will never again be fooled by the title "slow-cooker-meal"...
since it was more like a,

Also on the menu:

Tiny gingerbread bears! I wanted to make these for my daughter for some time now.
I made these tiny bears using a tiny cookie cutter I bought from Hobby Lobby,
and a recipe for gingerbread that I got from The Gingerbread Queen, Julie Trent.
(You'd crown her if you knew her.)

Look how tiny they are! 

The Recipe:

2 cups molasses
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup melted margarine (I use butter)
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking soda, dissolved in 1/3 cup hot water
7-8 cups flour

Mix all wet together.
Add 6 cups flour, and the spices, and stir.
Work in 1 more cup of flour and chill.
Knead in more flour if needed.
Roll 1/4" thick.
Cut out your shapes and bake on greased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes at 375ºF.

Work with a small amount of dough each time, 
and keep it chilled so it remains slightly tough.

This also freezes amazing, 
just wrap it in waxed paper and tuck into a gallon zippy bag for later.

This is best used for gingerbread people shapes, 
not for building a house.

Also on the menu:

Homemade rolls...
...Mom's recipe.
My mom's rolls are... amazing.
I wanted to make them to go along with the broccoli cheddar soup, 
but this time I made them with half white flour and half wheat flour.

I also tweaked this for my lazy nature, 
by including the microwave. 

The Recipe:

1 cup water
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 c shortening
1 tsp salt

(Place this in a mixing bowl and microwave until the shortening melts.
Stir a few times, and set aside to let it cool to lukewarm.)

1/4 cup lukewarm water
3/4 tbsp yeast (or one packet)
pinch of granulated sugar

(Sprinkle the sugar and yeast in a bowl. Pour in the lukewarm water, and let sit.)

1 beaten egg
3 1/2 cups flour

When the shortening mixture is lukewarm, add the yeast mixture to it and stir.

Then add the egg, and 2 cups of flour, and beat until smooth.

Mix in another cup of flour.

Knead in the last 1/2 cup of flour.
(basically, add flour and stir while it's in the bowl, until it loses it's sticky nature,
so that you can put it on the counter - sprinkle some flour on your surface first - and
knead it without it sticking.)

Knead for a few minutes, form the dough into a ball (tuck ends under, don't bunch/smash).

Grease your bowl with shortening, and put your dough back in it.

Lightly grease the top with shortening, lay a clean dish towel over the bowl 
and wait 30-60 minutes for your dough to rise.
(until it's twice as big as it was originally)

When your dough has risen, punch it. 

punch it.
It will feel great after how angry you are at having to knead it for all that time.

Use a sharp knife and cut into 12 even pieces - I do straight through, to quarter it,
and then slice each quarter into three.
Not really a science, but then I don't have to eyeball it.

Form your rolls by tucking the ends up and under so there is a smooth surface on top, 
and place in a greased 8" circle pan. 
In my pan, I get 8 around the outside and squeeze the last 4 into the middle.

Cover with your almost-totally-clean-now dish towel and wait 30-60 more minutes 
for the dough to rise until it's twice as big.

Preheat your oven while you wait, to 350ºF.

Bake for 20 minutes.

The top should be golden colored, and if you tap the top it should sound hollow.

Let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan & putting on your cooling rack.

Butter the tops of the rolls by using a pastry brush.
No need to melt the butter, the hot buns will do that.

Makes 1 dozen rolls.

I hope I haven't overwhelmed anybody.
I'm feeling pretty burnt out on baking/cookery today, if it's any consolation.

Let me know if you try any of this!

And remember... 

It's ok to burn stuff.

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