Sunday, October 14, 2012

Soup and Cake

On the weekends I enjoy making new recipes for a main dish and a dessert.  The main dish I eat during the week (I LOVE left overs) and the dessert is given away minus one piece....ok, two pieces. 

Both recipes that I cooked featured new cooking techniques.  I find that to be very exciting. 

In my crock pot I prepared Tomato Basil Parmesan soup.  I loved the flavor and the fact that it is full of vegetables.  It also has fat in the way of butter, cheese and half and half.  Our brains need fat plus if I make something sans fat I am left feeling hungry.  Fat is our friend.  Some tips for the soup:  cut the vegetables in very small pieces.  Likewise with the herbs if you use fresh. 

The new technique in this recipe was you make a roux with butter and flour then add some of the soup and then you put that back into the crock pot.  I have not made a lot of roux and I found it fascinating how the butter and flour paste became a super thick concoction when some of the soup was added.  Then when added back to the crock pot it thickened it all.  I liked the flavor alot and I think next time I will use my immersion blender to make it a smooth, creamy soup.  

For the new dessert recipe I made a most excellent Banana Cake with Brown Butter Icing.  YUM YUM YUM.  This is baked in a jelly roll pan (looks like a cookie sheet with 1 inch sides) though I am sure you could bake it in a 9 x 13, just adjust the baking time. The cake could not be simpler to put together - the recipe practically says to just throw it all in together and blend.  I used my stand mixer and first I mixed the butter and sugar, then added the other wet ingredients and then the combined dry ingredients.  The only substitution I made was using pecans instead of walnuts.  

The frosting is super simple as well and the secret is browned butter, which I have never prepared before.  Melted butter cooks and browns, whisk in some powdered sugar, vanilla and milk and voila, icing.  I used only about 3 cups of powdered sugar and enough milk to make it thin enough to stir.  You cannot mess it up unless you burn the butter!

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