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Wet/Rain + Cold + Clouds + Wind = Comfort Food

March 15, 2010

That’s right, folks! It’s time for a round of comfort food! And I actually uploaded photos off of my camera today, so it’s going to be illustrated!

Remember that broccoli pesto I talked about a while back? Well, turns out it’s WAY better after you let it sit for a few days and get all garlicky and spicy. Here’s the recipe: (uh… it turns out that I ALSO posted the recipe in that post that was all of last week. If you compare them, you can tell that I don’t actually write recipes down and just recall them from memory and estimate amounts.)

Broccoli Pesto

2 small crowns broccoli, cut into small pieces (stems & all)
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
1/2 cup cottage cheese
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
generous glugs of olive oil
lots of ground black pepper
generous dusting of salt

Cook broccoli in boiling water (or steam) until tender, but not soggy, and drain, leaving a little of the water in the bowl. Add walnuts, cottage cheese, garlic, and olive oil. Pulse in blender or use immersion blender or food processor until mixture is finely ground, but not totally pureed. Add more olive oil as necessary to reach desired consistency. Add salt & pepper (I recommend generous amounts of both, but taste first). Refrigerate overnight or for several hours to allow flavors to blend properly. Serve over hot pasta. Serves 4 or so as a main course

This is probably more than a quarter cup of walnuts, but I felt it was pretty walnut-y when I first made it. The walnut flavor was less noticeable after “blending” for a few days. Also, I don’t know if these walnuts actually got toasted. Some of them got a little darker on edge pieces, but other than that? No idea. But I did it anyway, just in case. Oven would probably work better next time.

It is a very pretty color. But seriously, do not skimp on the salt! It definitely needs it. Especially if you are not using any parmesan or other salty cheese in it.

Remember those cream biscuits I was raving about? I made more with some honey butter for a friend’s birthday party last Friday. SO GOOD. The biscuits pictured below were actually my very first batch, but they’re so yummy! The layers come from kneading the dough a few times in the bowl before turning out to roll out.

Yeah, the end/corner bits are a little flat, but look at how much they raised on the straight, cut edges! Also, I feel as if these biscuits are perhaps not as bad for you as other biscuits, because despite the use of heavy cream, they contain no eggs, no butter, no buttermilk, no whole milk, and no shortening. Therefore, they must be good for you! :) Especially if you don’t eat them with butter. Which they are quite capable of pulling off, but honey butter does make them even MORE delicious. If that were even possible.

Yesterday was really wet, blustery, and effing cold. And I had no idea what to make for dinner, until I remembered a failed recipe from Hearts and Homes, which is a cookbook I own, but cannot seem to find, based off of the collected recipes of Wallaces Farmer magazine. What is this recipe, you ask? It’s for green onion and potato soup! I love fresh green onions (sometimes called scallions or spring onions) in mashed potatoes, so this seemed like a match made in heaven!

The original recipe calls for only 3 medium potatoes, 20 green onions (!), whole milk, butter, and salt. I had heavy cream on hand and only one bunch of 8 or so green onions, so I used them. Here’ my version:

Green Onion and Potato Soup:

1 bunch green onions (about 8) finely chopped (white and green parts)
4-6 small-to-medium red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into small chunks
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2-1 cup heavy cream

Place chopped onions and potatoes in a heavy-bottomed pot. Nearly cover with cold water. Bring to a boil with lid on, then boil with lid off until water is reduced by almost half. Turn off flame and mash potatoes with a fork IN the cooking water (do not drain!). Mash as smooth or as lumpy as you want. Swirl in the cream cheese until melted, then add heavy cream until desired consistency is reached. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fresh bread or hot toast. Top with shredded cheese and/or fresh chopped green onion if desired. Serves 2-3 as a meal, 4 as a starter.

An ingredients picture, a la the Pioneer Woman. Despite the fact that there is a carton of milk in this picture, I ended up not using it. The cream cheese, potatoes, and starchy potato water were enough to smooth out with a little heavy cream.

So pretty in my shiny pot! Which I just realized somehow has a ring around it. Hmmm… I’ll pretend it’s from the cold condensation the freshly washed potatoes and onions are giving off…

P.S. I have decided that Green Onion and Potato Soup is essentially Poor Man’s Leek Soup. Because seriously, Leeks are like $4 for two or three of them, REGARDLESS of what season it is. Which I find suspicious. And sneaky…

Anyway, here’s the finished product!

I put some shredded cheese on top, but it really was not necessary. Also, the green bits of the onion shredded up a little in stirring and looked a lot like dill, which was interesting to me for some reason.

And, last but not least, tonight I made more comfort food for dinner because it was, yet again, a freaking windy, ridiculously cold while not really being cold (41 degrees F never felt so frigid!), very wet day. I actually debated making the potato and green onion soup again, mainly because the boy took most of it for lunch and left me with what I thought was enough for my own lunch, but only turned out to be a cup or two. : ( But I did not want to go shopping for just green onions when I need to do laundry and also do regular grocery shopping. So I used up some odds and ends of stuff lying around my fridge and made deliciousness!

Creamy Gorgonzola Shells with Broccoli and Sausage:

1 pound (aka the whole bag) of medium pasta shells
1 crown broccoli, cut into small pieces
3 smoked sausage links, halved and sliced
1/4-1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese (I only had a bit left)
4 oz. (half a box) neufchatel cheese (a.k.a. third less fat cream cheese) – optional, depending on how much gorgonzola you use
splash or two of heavy cream

Bring salted water to a boil and add pasta. Cook for five to seven minutes, then add broccoli and cook for an additional three to five minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Return pasta, broccoli, and reserved water to the pot. Add sliced sausage. Swirl in cream cheese (if using) until fully melted, then add heavy cream and gorgonzola and stir until pasta is well-coated. Serves 4-6 as a main course.

It was yummy. I’ve decided that I’ve developed a serious addiction to cooking (and baking) with heavy cream – it’s just so delicious! And easy to yum things up! Particularly when all you really want is some fast comfort food and you don’t want to bother with making a white sauce and dirtying up another pan. Heavy cream and cream cheese – my lifesavers in making delicious food. Too bad they are not very good for you. Oh well, probably better than or not so bad as butter and olive oil! :)

Okay, time for bed. Maybe a little low-fat chocolate ice cream first. Just a smidge, though. Happy eating!

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