Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Potato Soup

2 bunches green onions
1 stalk celery
red potatoes (5 lb bag or however much you want)
1-2 cups milk
1 cube butter
1-2 cups instant potatoes
1 teaspoon parsley
3 cubes beef bouillon
3 cubes chicken bouillon
salt & pepper (teaspoon each)

Cut up potatoes in cube size pieces. Cut celery and onions, combine in pan and fill with water just above potatoes. Add in salt, pepper, butter, parsley, beef and chicken bouillon. When the potatoes begin to soften turn down on low, stir in one cup of milk. Add 1-2 cups of instant potatoes depending on how thick you like it. (You can add up to 1 more cup of milk if it becomes too thick).

*The original recipe adds a package of browned and drained bacon at the end. I often add broccoli florets and cheddar cheese instead. Really any vegetables can be thrown in at the beginning. Carrots and corn work well. It is a great recipe to make and eat off of for a few days or when everyone will be eating dinner at a different time!

***Since going vegetarian I made this with a couple of cans of vegetable broth instead of the bouillons and water and it was super awesome and very flavorful!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Chocolate Syrup

One of my greatest consumer weaknesses is when Starbucks switches to cranberry red cups with silhouetted snow scenes and puts the Peppermint Mocha back on the menu. Give me a grande one of those beauties and everything is right in the grey and rainy world that is winter in Portland. But let's be honest...not only are those things expensive, but they have 430 calories and 49 grams of sugar. I have got to learn to make these things at home.
Starbucks will sell you their Peppermint [High Fructose Corn] Syrup, but I don't want to talk about that guilty pleasure. I am adamantly opposed to HFCS. But chocolate syrup should be a staple in every household. Frustrated at the two options for chocolate syrup in the grocery stores of (1) high fructose corn syrup as the first ingredient, or (2) a tiny jar of super-expensive "organic" sauce, I set out to find a recipe to make myself. And as it turns out, it is surprisingly quick, easy and delicious! I found this recipe on a website I've since lost track of...something about loving chocolate. I use raw sugar, and I don't know what Dutch process cocoa is, but any unsweetened cocoa powder works. See? You can be flexible...as long as your not using corn syrup (bleh).

Chocolate Syrup

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup sifted unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
Few grains of salt
1 cup water
2 tsp vanilla

In heavy-bottomed 2qt pot, combine sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk thoroughly to mix well. Gradually add water, stirring (not beating) with the whisk to blend thoroughly. Set over medium heat; stir frequently with whisk until mixture comes to a boil (there will probably be a layer of foam on top--this is OK). Boil three minutes, stirring frequently with whisk and reducing heat if syrup threatens to boil over. Remove from heat; pour into heatproof liquid measuring cup or pitcher of at least three-cup capacity. Cool briefly, then chill (uncovered) until completely cold. Strain through fine strainer into container of at least 2 1/2 cup capacity. Stir in vanilla. Store, covered, in refrigerator.