Wednesday, August 31, 2011

No-Chicken Noodle Soup

As we shake off the last chill of winter, I'm finally getting around to cooking up some comfort food. Here's a vegetarian version of chicken noodle soup to see you through these last days of cold and flu season. Of course you could throw in some tofu in place of chicken, but I thought the simplicity of this recipe was its greatest strength. Well, that and the homemade noodles. 

No-Chicken Noodle Soup
adapted from Food Network with inspiration from The Pioneer Woman
(Double this recipe if you prefer more soup than noodles)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 ribs celery (I used 2), diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed (and diced)
  • 1 small onion (or 1/4 medium onion - 1/2 cup), diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • 6-8 cups vegetable stock (or water and vegetable powder)
  • pinch of turmeric
  • pepper to taste
  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat, toss in all the veggies and season with salt and cook until tender (6-10 minutes, depending on the size of recipe you're making). Toss in thyme and cook for 30 seconds. Add stock or water+veggie powder, turmeric and pepper. Simmer for a little while (maybe 10 minutes) then bring to a boil before adding noodles.

Pasta Noodles
(Serves 2)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
In a medium bowl, make a well in the center of the flour and crack in eggs. Slowly mix together with your hands. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until dough becomes smooth, adding flour as necessary (see Ree's photos for the perfect consistency). Let dough rest for a bit before rolling out. Roll onto a floured surface as thin as you can get it - the thinner the better. Cut thin noodles with a sharp knife or pizza wheel.

Add noodles to your boiling soup and cook for 2-5 minutes (depending on thickness) until noodles are cooked. Toss in some pepper and parsley. Add a squirt of lemon if you like. Of course, this is even better as leftovers.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sprinkle Doughnut Cupcakes

I found this recipe for gorgeous glazed doughnut muffins on MyBakingAddiction and just couldn't leave well enough alone. Not only did I dip them in the glaze, I also dunked them in sprinkles. It was my birthday week. The batter seemed more cakey than muffin-like so I'm calling them cupcakes. I was expecting something more dense, like a cake doughnut, but was pleasantly surprised by their lightness. Of course, the flavor is closer to a cake doughnut than a yeast doughnut and it's slightly reminiscent of spice cake. It would make a delicious take on a cider doughnut if you added cider to the batter and/or the glaze. Although, I think the best combination would be with a maple glaze and a glass of cider. aww, now I miss apple cider. a lot.

Anyway, have you noticed that cupcake shops are springing up all over town? Well, maybe not cupcake-only shops but definitely bakeries with a strong focus on cupcakes. But what the hell are they putting on top?! Is that merengue? Damn it. Whip up a freakin' buttercream for crying out loud.

Doughnut Cupcakes
  • 1/4 cup / 57 grams butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg 
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 cup milk
Cream together butter, oil and sugars until smooth. Add the eggs, beating to combine. Stir in baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt and vanilla. Stir flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined. Spoon batter into 12 cupcake liners (sprayed with oil to ensure they don't stick) filling the cups nearly full. Bake at 220C/425F for 15 to 17 minutes or until they're a pale brown a cake tester comes out clean.

  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (or maple, if that's something that exists in your country)
  • 2 Tablespoons hot water
Whisk together all ingredients until smooth. 

Plus, don't forget that you need a crapload of sprinkles. Like, more than 100 grams.

When cupcakes have cooled slightly, dip the crown into the glaze and allow glaze to harden. Cool on a rack with something underneath to catch the glaze drippings. (ps - these will make a mess on your liners) Let chill in the refrigerator before the applying second coat of glaze. I brushed on a thin second coat because I didn't want it to be too runny or thick, as the sprinkles would quickly ooze off. Immediately dunk the cupcake into a bowl of sprinkles and allow to set in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. (seriously, they will end up in a multi-color puddle otherwise)

Don't forget to share these with Twink and Starlite and all the slaves your friends in Rainbow Land!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Starbucks? Yes, Starbucks!

In case you missed it on Facebook, I'm all smiles this weekend because we finally got a Starbucks in Rosario and I'm well-caffinated. The prices are as ridiculous as you'd imagine: 14-20 pesos for lattes and cappuccinos. But, if you think about it, a tall is way bigger than most coffee drinks you'll find around town and you might just wonder who in Rosario can even fathom finishing a venti. I ordered a latte and was shocked that it came with whipped cream -- which I'd nearly forgotten about -- and I didn't even have to say 'with whip.' Hmm. I wonder how I order it without whip. Sin crema? And just in case you're afraid that you won't get your money's worth, this Starbucks experience comes complete with fake American niceties...Have a Nice Day! :) Oh, how I missed that.

They've got most of what you'd expect to find in their pastry case (including bagels and muffins) and they've somehow managed to import bottled tazo teas and Altoids. Maybe you think that Starbucks is over-rated or the epitome of capitalism, but if you've spent the last few years drinking the exact same coffee in every "cafe" by the thimbleful, you're likely as excited as I am. This is better than Christmas.

Starbucks is now open at Alto Rosario, and I heard a rumor that they're opening two other stores soon - one on Orono and another on Cordoba.