Saturday, February 5, 2011

Winter time cooking

We've been having some intense winter here in Indiana. School was closed two days in a row. I haven't had school close since the October storm in Buffalo when two or three entire towns were out of electricity for almost a week.
So I thought I would make some warms-you-right-to-your-toes and keeps-you-full-for-hours food: homemade bread and soup.
This was my first foray into regular sandwich bread. I've made bagels, and so far my conclusion on bread is that it takes a long long time to make. Yeesh. I simply followed America's Test Kitchen recipe for multigrain bread. (Just watch the video)
Multigrain bread
Leek potato soup is one of my very favorites from childhood. My mom made it by adding hot water to an envelope of powdered stuff, but I like it from scratch just as well. This one doesn't have much potato, so it's really about the leeks, which I do adore intensely.
leeks cook in butter
This is a cooks illustrated recipe from last spring which is not available to non-members of the website trio, so I'll give you the blow by blow.
1. Cook leek tops (the dark green parts) in two cups of water and two cups of stock (I used chicken, but use what you like best) for about 30 minutes.
2. Strain the liquid and save it for later.
Leek tops
3. Chop, rinse, and cook about four leeks and an onion in butter till soft.
4. Add the broth to the cooked leeks, as well as a small russet potato which you've peeled and sliced. Simmer until potato is cooked.
5. Toast a slice of bread, crumble or cut it into little pieces, about the size of your leeks. Simmer until bread is all soggy and breaking down.
Toasted bread in soup
6. Use your immersion blender (or regular blender, but work in batches) to liquefy the soup. I like to leave a few chunks so that there's a bit of texture left to the soup.
Tada! I put some butter on slices of multigrain toast, spread some crushed garlic on top, popped 'em in the toaster oven for 10 minutes, and so we had leek soup with garlic multigrain toast. Nice dinner for staying warm in terrible weather.

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