Just a nerd who likes to cook

Archive for July, 2011

Cooking with Awesome: The Basics of Potato Leek Soup

Hello litte chefs!
I’ve been asking folks on my YouTube channel what they’d like to see in my Basics series, and most of you wanted to know how to make a basic soup. Potato Leek soup is probably about as basic as it gets, yet you can do so much with it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2-4 leeks, roughly chopped and washed
  • 1 pound yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 3 tbsp AP flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
  • Salt and white pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large soup pot, melt 2 tbsp unsalted butter over med-low heat
  2. Chop up 1 large sweet onion
  3. Add the onion to the soup pot and add a large pinch of salt. Stir to coat. Stir once every 10 minutes for 40 minutes to caramelize the onion
  4. Add flour and cook for 3-4 minutes or until rue gives off a nutty smell
  5. Slowly add the wine to thicken the rue
  6. Slowly add heated veg/chicken stock
  7. Add in the potatoes and leeks. Cover and simmer for 40-50 minutes
  8. Using an immersion or table top blender, blend mixture until completely smooth – about 5 to 10 minutes
  9. Salt and pepper to taste

Now, you could easily add in additional veggies such as peas, carrots, beans, lentils – anything you like. You could also add in watercress 5 minutes before the soup is down cooking to make watercress soup. You can easily turn this into cold potato soup – Vichyssoise – by adding 1 cup heavy cream at the end and chill it for a few hours.

Enjoy, and take care! – Morgan

Awesome YouTube Find: My Drunk Kitchen

Why the hell didn’t I think of this? Watch Hannah Hart in this awesomely silly episode where she *attempts* to make apple pie. I think she’d really like my apple pie – it’s got booze in it.

No, that’s not a euphemism. Get your mind out of the gutter.

The Bliss of Homemade Butter

Hello little chefs!

As a faithful follower of Julia Child, the one thing I always need in my kitchen is butter. Glorious, creamy, smooth butter. It can turn something as simple as toast into a delectable delight. But all to often folks pick up 2nd rate butter at the store simply due to what’s available. This does not need to be the case. Butter is simple, fast and easy to make, but hardly anyone does it these days. I think this is something that needs to change – because everyone deserves to have top quality butter in their kitchen.

What you’ll need

  • A large jar or a stand mixer
  • A pint of top quality heavy cream
  • A small bowl with clean, pure water
  • A container to store the butter in
  • Mix ins such as salt, chives, garlic, etc

A Note on Ingredients

When it comes to cream, I try to get the freshest and highest quality possible. Living in California, I’m lucky most markets here carry Straus dairy products. If you have cream-top heavy cream in your local market, be sure to use it for your butter! The other thing you can dress your butter up with is creative mixed ins. My personal favorite is a teaspoon of truffle salt – easily make a decadent treat that would normally cost $30-$40 for a fraction of the price. You could also add a teaspoon of finely chopped rosemary, clives, or any other fresh herb.

Making the Butter

If you’re using a jar, make sure it’s large enough so that the cream only takes up 1/3 of the space within the jar. Shake the jar constantly until the butter solids completely separate from the buttermilk. Once that’s done, strain the butter solids and set the buttermilk aside. In a small, clean bowl, pour the water over the butter solids and kneed it so to remove any excess buttermilk. Take a hand mixer or a stand mixer and whip it a second time and add in any additions.

Save the Buttermilk!

If you’ve got a lemon lying around, add a tablespoon to your buttermilk and stick it in the fridge over night. You can make the most amazing pancakes with it the next morning.

Until next time, take care! – Morgan

Awesome YouTube find: Dan Cooking

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t spend nearly as much time on YouTube as I probably should, but a friend recently pointed me to Dan Rezler’s YouTube channel and I completely fell in love – this kid is adorable AND he knows how to cook. What more could a girl want?

The birth of a food blog

Does the web need yet another food blog? Probably not, but that’s not gonna stop me!

I’ve notoriously been bad about blogging in the past, but with the birth of my YouTube show, Cooking with Awesome, I found a new topic that I find myself talking about more and more, food. Eating it, shopping for it, spending hours in the kitchen preparing it – it’s become my new method of meditation. Cooking seems to center me in a way that historically I’ve only felt in the dark room. And with my desire to create, starting a YouTube cooking show seemed natural after running the Quitting for a Cause campaign.

But this begs the question, why didn’t I start a food blog sooner?

The early stages of an adventurous eater

If you ask my mom about my tastes, she’d probably tell you about my 8th birthday. I remember we went out to a local restaurant in Mesa Arizona with my brother and grandparents, and I proceeded to order something no one expected me to – liver and onions. The wait staff had to come out to see this little girl order something that usually even adults avoid. To me, it was just a new thing I could dip into a mass of ketchup and enjoy!

Trying new things was something I loved to do, although growing up in Arizona my choices were still limited. And while I liked cooking, it wasn’t something that I would say I did extremely well. I would try my hand at cooking pasta, rice, and other simple dishes, but I would still mess up. Constantly. In college, I was much more interested in spending my dollars on film and pencils than fancy kitchen knives.

San Francisco – a foodie’s paradise

Moving to San Francisco opens so many new doors when it came to food – I finally got to try oysters, foie gras, dim sum, and so much more. Heading to the farmers market on the weekend quickly became one of the highlights of my week. And when I finally gave up vegetarianism in 2006, I went on a restaurant spree trying all the things I missed and always wanted to try.

We are so spoiled here. It’s just a fact. The super markets have access to all kinds of things that in Arizona I would have to go out of my way to find. There are farmers markets almost every single day of the week. I get to shake hands with the people who worked to produce the food I put on my table. And after living here for 5 years I have a hard time thinking back to a time when food wasn’t an important part of my life.

What’s next?

Simply put – I want a central location to post my cooking videos and recipes. I don’t expect to post too many regular blog posts (because, as previously mentioned, I’m terribly at that), but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. So, I hope you enjoy, and bon apetit!