Mexican Potato Corn Chowder
Tis that time again: International Incident Blog Party! While I joined into the festivities a little late in the year I had a great time and hope to do it again next year. From working with lavender to messing around with salted caramel I learned new technique and tricks and had fun. For the final month the “secret ingredient” was more of a “secret theme” of COLOURS! When I first read that I had two thoughts 1) hehe they said colours 2) flashing back to college and going with my friends to get Indian food. It was our thing to go on Sunday mornings, as a hangover cure if you will. Everytime without fail my one friend would make a comment about how to her the Indian food tasted like colors. For example the palak paneer tasted green while the butter chicken tasted orange. I’m not sure how this worked, but it also made for an entertaining experience. My first thought was to attempt to create some Indian dishes, until I was reminded about previous Indian cooking (mis)adventures. So on to something else. Something colorful and exciting and suitable for the chilly weather. I thinking my brain process then did something along the lines of warm:soup:spinach:corn:corn chowder:potato corn chowder: Mexican Potato Corn Chowder. A nice hardy soup with yellows and greens, and then some delicious cheesy corn bread to keep it company. I decided to take the recipe I had for Potato Corn Chowder, one that in its original form came from the back of a can of new potatoes, and start modifying it. I knew I wanted to make it creamier than the original and also wanted to spice it up. I also decided to use my slow cooker, which wound up working out perfectly.
2 12ozcans creamed corn
1 12oz can corn (drained)
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup half & half
1 1b potatoes, cubed
1 green pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 jalapeño, diced and seeded (optional)
2 tsp chili powder
1 cup favorite cheese (I used Colby but Jack or a sharp cheddar would also work well)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Turn slow cooker to low and add all the ingredients except the onion and cheese. Stir well.
2. Add some oil to a small pan and gently saute the onions over medium heat until they start to brown, about 7minutes. Add to slow cook and cook 7-8hrs on low.
3. Remove half of the soup and blend well. Return to slow cooker.
2. Turn heat to high and add the cheese stirring well. Season to taste and then cook for an additional hour. Serve!
I topped mine off with some blue chips in order to add a little more crunch (and color) which wound up working perfectly. If you have a hand emulsion blender this recipe is a prime example of why those are so amazingly. Getting the soup into the blender was a pain but the thickness it adds to the recipe is worth the hassle.
Salted Caramel Apple Bliss
Another month, another fun challenge from the amazing International Incident Party
. This month the not-so-secret ingredient was: salt. Normally I try to cut as much salt as possible from my diet, thanks to some fun health problems. However there is one salt combination that I LOVE, one that is worth upping my water consumption beyond my normal amount. Salt & Caramel. A match made in heaven, or in the very least a match made in my mouth. The first time I came across this amazing couple was while living on the Cape back in college. There was this little bitty candy shop right off the main road in Hyannis Port and not only did they have amazing handspun milkshakes they only had a few dozen types of fudge. Among their remarkable collection was their caramel fudge, which they topped with salt. One bite was all it took to convince me that this combination was just right 🙂 I wanted to do something that included that pairing, but was lighter on the calories considering all the holidays right around the corner. Enter the apple juice. I am a huge fan of warm apple juice, and I know from numerous experiences that caramel and apple get along just right. The result: a warm drink just right for the winter just around the corner with the right amount of sweet and salty…and some whipped cream with more caramel to make it even better.
2 cups apple juice (aim for organic/no sugar added)
2 1/2 tbsp caramel syrup (Monin if you can find it!)
1 tsp sea salt plus more for topping
1. Heat the apple juice, caramel, and salt in a tea pot until hot. Pour into mugs and allow to cool slightly.
2. Top with whipped cream and at least 1/4 tsp sea salt!
Now to have real fun you can make your own caramel whipped cream. All you need is one of these
and some of these
. Pump 5tbsp caramel syrup into the carafe then fill with heavy whipping cream until the line on the inside of the bottle. Use one of the canisters as directed and chill for around 5minutes, or as long as it takes the apple juice to heat up. Then top it off and add the sea salt. Yum!
So last month I participated in an egg challenge. This wound up opening the door to the world of eggs, a world that I wasn’t very familiar with prior to the International Incident which in a way was the point of the exercise. I wound up going thru my cook books and checking out all of the egg recipes I had skipped over, yet I kept going back to baked eggs. So I decided to keep experimenting with them and seeing what other delicious taste combinations I could find. Once upon a Thanksgiving ago I found that mashed potatoes and eggs go together really well in the form on a delicious mashed potato omelett. I decided to take that concept and add to it, while changing it from a cheesy omelett to the power house that is a baked egg. Some googling let me know that this was actually very similar to a dish known as Irish Colcannon minus the meat…and with some veggie changes. So in tribute to that ancient recipe I am dubbing these Irish Eggs.
1 lb potatoes, diced
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup milk
1 lb spinach, thawed and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 oz cheese, shredded
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are tender, then drain and mash. Add seasoning to taste along with butter and milk.
2. Preheat oven to 375.
4. Spread the mashed potatoes on the botton of an 9×9 pan. Add the spinach over top. Create four wells in the spinach/mashed potatoes add crack the eggs into the wells. Top with cheese
5. Bake for 15minutes, or until eggs are fully cooked. Enjoy!
Another simple dish that is perfect for a filling breakfast or a light dinner. I am now officially a fan of baked eggs and I look forward to figuring how many other ways I can prepare them. I am also going to attempt to do a poached egg as well at some point…maybe…