Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Soup's On!

It was a very chilly week here in SE Wisconsin last week! From what I've heard, much of the U.S. had below normal temperatures with ice and snow.  

Since there is nothing like a hot bowl of soup to warm you on a cold, winter evening, I thought it would be fun to look back at my most viewed soup recipes. Perhaps you might find one or two that you'd like to try!

Chicken Vegetable Soup with Caraway Gnocchi was #10 with 3,090 views.

Tomato Soup with Cheesy Polenta Garnish (think of your childhood tomato soup and grilled cheese) is #9 with 3,208 views. 

Proven├žal Vegetable Soup, garnished with a dollop of pesto, is 8th with 3,391 page views. 

In 7th spot, this Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan Croutons has received 3,608 looks.  

6th place goes to Minestrone Soup with ditalini pasta.  This post has had 4,181 looks so far.

In 5th position is this very healthy Green "Love" Soup made from a delicious variety of greens and spices,  It has 4,798 page views.

In 4th place is one of my personal favorites, Spinach Pasta e Fagioli Soup.  This great recipe, given to us by friends, years ago, has had 4,894 page views.  

My 3rd most viewed recipe is for the hearty Lentil Soup with Ham and Kale. with 6,633 views. I don't know about you, but I love lentil soups, especially with smoky meat like ham.  However, you could make this a great vegetarian meal and leave out the meat too.  The kale adds beautiful color and added nutrition.

My second, all time most viewed soup recipe is Wonton Soup with Noodles and Baby Bok Choy.  12,924 views!  Not only nutritious and delicious but so pretty too.  One of those soups that you eye with your eyes first but there won't be a drop left in the bowl.  

And then in first place....

With a whopping 55,305 page views, my #1 viewed soup recipe is this Navy Bean Soup made with Leftover Ham.  There is nothing like a hearty ham and bean soup to warm you when the temperatures dip! 

The other thing that helps us get through winter is seeing a new movie now and then.  I just wanted to give 2 thumbs up to La La Land! My husband and I just saw it last night. The music is wonderful! Thankfully, my husband is a music 'geek' and was in the orchestra pit with his string bass for many high school musicals :) The composer, Justin Hurwitz, is a native of Milwaukee and went to high school here!  Great job, Justin! We loved it. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Sourdough Waffles to Start the New Year

Happy New Year, my friends! I hope this post finds you all well and as excited about the start of a new year as I am. 

What better way to start 2017 than to begin with a special breakfast, which is what my husband and I did on January 1st! If any of you were inspired to make a sourdough starter after my sourdough bread post here, or may be interested in starting one in the future,  you will love this recipe.  I'm happy to report that the sourdough starter that I began last October is still alive and well!

One of the more important steps of maintaining a sourdough starter is feeding it about once a week with flour and water.  Knowing that, if you don't get rid of some of it occasionally, you will have far too much starter to store in your refrigerator and it will become too cumbersome to manage.  So, in order to maintain a happy sourdough starter, you need to remove some of it  before  you feed the rest. This is called 'unfed' starter.

Instead of tossing that excess starter down the sink, you can make these delicious sourdough waffles (or pancakes).  Honestly, these are the most delicious, lightest and crispiest waffles I've ever made with just a hint of sourdough flavor.  My husband proclaimed them the best waffles he's ever had. 

My favorite waffle topping is applesauce or pure maple syrup, but I decided to make something a little more festive to start the new year and pureed a cup of frozen strawberries and raspberries along with a small splash (1-2 tablespoons) of orange juice, a squeeze of honey for sweetness and a 1-2 teaspoons of chia seeds for thickness. Next time I'm going to try a blend of berries and applesauce!

As with most sourdough recipes, you do need to plan ahead.  The evening before, the starter gets mixed with buttermilk, flour and light brown sugar and is covered and left on the kitchen counter overnight.  In the morning,  egg, vanilla and melted butter (or oil) is added to complete the batter.  Now you're ready to make some of the most wonderfully tasty waffles or pancakes you've ever eaten! If you don't have a sourdough starter to use, you could substitute plain, Greek yogurt with active yogurt culture (such as Fage, Chobani, etc) for the starter in the recipe below.

Here's to a great start to 2017!  

Sourdough Waffles or Pancakes

Printable Recipe

Serves 4

Note: This recipe can be halved for 2 people...Half of one large egg is 1/8 cup of beaten egg

For the overnight sponge:

1 cup (240 grams) unfed sourdough starter (or substitute plain, Greek yogurt)
1 cup (224 grams) buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk, just add 1 tablespoon white vinegar or fresh lemon juice to a 1 cup measure and then fill with milk)
1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour or a mixture of AP and whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon (about 13 grams) light brown sugar

For the morning batter:

1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter or neutral oil (coconut oil would be a great choice)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon (3 grams)salt
1 teaspoon (6 grams) baking soda

Pour the sourdough starter into a large bowl and add the buttermilk, flour and sugar, then stir to combine. Cover the bowl and allow it to rest overnight on the kitchen counter.

The next morning, preheat a waffle iron or large frying pan. Whisk the egg, melted butter (or oil) and the vanilla extract together in a medium bowl, then add the rested sponge. Add the salt and the baking soda to the batter and mix to combine.

Spray the waffle iron or frying pan lightly with nonstick cooking oil.

Pour some batter onto the preheated waffle iron and cook until the waffle is brown and crisp and repeat with remaining batter. For pancakes, pour a small ladle-full of batter on a preheated pan or griddle, flipping them when they are well browned on the bottom. Serve immediately.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour and the New York Times