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    Thursday
    Feb252016

    Broccoli Soup for the Soul

    One day recently, I was having a craving for some really good Broccoli Soup. I wanted a soup that was thick and creamy, and packed full of delicious broccoli. Oh, and it had to be easy to make, of course. This recipe has since been making the rounds in my family, and everyone seems to love it, so I thought I’d better post it here and share with everybody.

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 4 Tablespoons butter
    • 2 Tablespoons oil (vegetable, canola, safflower, etc.)
    • ½ cups flour
    • 2 ½ cups milk (whole is best)
    • 2 – 2 ½ cups chicken stock
    • 2 Tablespoons Better than Bouillon, chicken flavor
    • 1 Tablespoon dried onion flakes
    • 1 Tablespoon parsley
    • ¼ - ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • 12 ounces of broccoli florets
    • If you like heat, a little pinch of cayenne is a great addition 

    First up, the broccoli. I love the bags of organic florets that Trader Joe’s carries. Basically, all the prep work has been done for you. If there are some clusters that are really big, you might want to cut them in half or something, but certainly don’t worry about chopping broccoli. In my world, broccoli that is in soup should be nice and soft, so we’ll be cooking it enough that it will basically just fall apart.

    Add the broccoli to a pan, along with about ¼ cup water. Put the lid on, and place it over medium low heat. Then, just leave it to do its thing while you work on the soup.

    In a large saucepan, over medium heat place the butter and oil.

    When the butter is melted, add the flour.

    Stir until there are no lumps, and then continue stirring for another minute or so. After that, go ahead and pour in the chicken stock.

    If the chicken stock is cold, you might end up with big lumps of the flour mixture, but don’t panic, just keep stirring. As soon as the stock heats up, they’ll melt and disappear. Then add the milk.

    Along with the Better than Bouillon and dried onions.

    Stir the mixture until it thickens and comes to a boil.

    Turn off the heat and add the parsley and black pepper.

    Stir those in, then place on the lid. Turn the heat off for the broccoli, as well. Then just walk away from everything and let it sit for 15 minutes or so. That will give the onions a chance to rehydrate and the broccoli will finish steaming.

    When you return, the broccoli will be fall apart tender.

    Then just add it, along with any remaining liquid, to the soup.

    Give it a good stir (sometimes if the broccoli isn’t falling apart as much as I’d like, I’ll use a potato masher and give it a quick pass). You have now reached broccoli soup deliciousness!

    I like to serve mine with some freshly grated, Tillamook, extra sharp cheddar.

    What kind of food do you crave when it’s cold outside?

    Monday
    Feb012016

    Authors Kitchen is Turning 5!!

    That's right, Authors Kitchen is 5 years old today!  Surely that deserves some serious pomp and circumstance, right? A 6-layer cake with fillings and marzipan decorations or something? Actually, I decided to kind of go the opposite direction with it. I wanted to create a cake that people might actually make, something accessible and realistic. With that in mind, I was determined to create a recipe for a single serving, microwave cake, that is fantastic enough to celebrate our fifth birthday with. I know, you’re skeptical. We’ve tried a microwave cake before and it turned out, well…

    But trust me. This recipe creates a moist, chocolate studded, molten cake that is nothing short of fabulous. The cool (and dangerous) part is, it’s only 5 minutes from “I want chocolate cake” to taking a bite of warm, rich, chocolaty goodness.

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 3 Tablespoons flour
    • 1 ½ Tablespoons cocoa
    • 2 Tablespoons sugar
    • Scant ¼ teaspoon baking powder
    • Pinch of salt
    • 3 Tablespoons milk
    • 1 ½ tablespoons oil
    • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 Tablespoons chocolate chips
    • 2 Tablespoons cocoa almond spread
    • (or Nutella, cookie butter, peanut butter, caramel, etc.) 

    First up, choose a microwave safe vessel. I’m using a 14 oz. ramekin. If you don’t have something like that, a mug that’s 12 oz. or more will work. Whatever you use, go ahead and spray it lightly with non-stick spray. I like to use Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray.

    Set that aside and measure all of the dry ingredients into a small mixing bowl.

    Whisk them so that they’re evenly distributed and there are no clumps of anything.

    Add the milk, oil, and vanilla.

    Whisk until everything is combined and there are no, or at least few, lumps.

    Add the chocolate chips. I like Ghirardelli semisweet, but you can really use whatever you like.

    Fold those in and pour the batter into your prepared vessel.

    Dollop on some of whatever you want to use for your filling. I LOVE Trader Joe’s cocoa almond spread, but if you don’t have that, don’t like it, or can’t have it because of allergies, use something else. I’m sure cookie butter would be delicious, nutella, or perhaps a couple squares of good salted caramel. If you like peanut butter, add some of that. Me, I’m going with the chocolate almond deliciousness.

    To prevent spills in your microwave and also make it easy to handle, I like to go plate, damp paper towel, then ramekin. That way it won’t slide around on the plate.

    Now, into the microwave for 70 seconds. I know, you still don’t believe this is going to turn into an actual cake… especially one that’s delicious, but there it is.

    Top it with powdered sugar or a scoop of good vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

    Amazing chocolaty goodness, so quick easy to make, it doesn’t have to be your birthday to enjoy it!

    The only thing that could make it any better would be to eat it by the ocean and be rid of this yucky snow.