Monday, November 20, 2006

Squash and Beet Soup Update

I made squash and beet soup again using one beet instead of three (and also using homemade chicken stock). The results? It was actually better the old, sweet way. The one-beet soup was more hearty and more boring. I think the thing to do would be to eliminate the cinnamon and add some onion.

I should also mention that I left out the garlic when I wrote up the original soup. I've fixed it now here.

Cranberry Sauce

When autumn came last year in Budapest, it found me making batch after batch of cranberry sauce. My mother had emailed me our recipe, mentioning that it just called for two normal, American packages of cranberries, and she couldn't remember how big they were. The place to buy cranberries in Budapest turned out to be the Asian market, where they sold imported Ocean Spray cranberries, so this didn't end up being a problem.

This is my ancestral cranberry sauce recipe. It really is better than most cranberry sauce. It's also incredibly easy.

  • 2 12oz packages of cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brandy, rum, or cognac

Wash the cranberries, throwing out any soft ones. Put them into a roasting pan big enough that there are at most three layers of cranberries. Pour the cup of sugar onto them and mix it around a little bit. Cover the pan (with aluminum foil, unless you have an actual cover for the pan) and bake for 45 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees. Take it out of oven, uncover it, and let it sit for about five minutes. Stir in the alcohol, put it in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Chicken, Onions, Peppers

This is barely even a recipe. But I didn't have that much time, and I made some stock out of the scraps.

  • 1 chicken leg (or some other part)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • fish sauce
  • 1 lime
  • salt, pepper
  • oil (canola, peanut, or other)

Heat a big skillet (it should be really big) with enough oil to cover it over medium-high. When it's very hot, throw on sliced onions and peppers with some salt. After about a minute, throw on the chicken, removed from the bone and cut up into little pieces. When everything is done, add enough fish sauce (1-2 tbs?), half a lime's juice, lots of pepper, and salt if necessary. Serve with rice.

First semester in Budapest my roommate and I used to make something like this (but with walnuts and hoisin sauce instead of fish sauce and lime). It out better this time (especially the vegetables--really flavorful) since I was just cooking it for myself and the pan was less crowded. With more than one person, even using a giant skillet, I'd do the vegetables and chicken one after the other and then combine at the end before seasoning.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Squash and Beet Soup

I will not attempt to explain my long absence.

I had a squash, some beets, and a yearning for soup. What resulted was a delicious soup that was so sweet it reminded me of Hungarian fruit soup.

  • 1 medium-sized squash
  • 3 medium-sized beets
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 peeled garlic cloves
  • 4-5 cups of liquid (I used about half chicken stock and half water)
  • salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg

Bring the water/stock to a boil. As it heats, peel the beets, garlic, carrot, and squash and chop them roughly into cubes, tossing the vegetables into the stock as soon as you've chopped them. (I ordered them this way intentionally: the beets take the longest to cook through.) Keep a low simmer. When everything is soft (after about 45 minutes, though I added my beets after my squash and it took longer), mash with a potato masher right in the pot. (I'd say don't do it too thoroughly--the occasional chunk is nice.) Add a tiny bit of cinnamon, a good grating of nutmeg, lots of pepper, and however much salt is necessary (which depending on the saltiness of the stock may be none).

The ratio of vegetables is what it is because it's what I had. Next time, I'll use fewer beets, as they really dominated the soup.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention the garlic the first time; I've added it now. Also, I've written more about this recipe.