Smashed potato soup

This soup was made for my Soup & Sandwich Swap event, which you can read about HERE for more recipes and pictures.

Tricia’s smashed potato soup

3-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1/2 cup chopped yellow and/or red sweet pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons bottled roasted garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4-1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup whipping cream, half-and-half, or light cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
Sliced green onions (optional)

In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine potatoes, sweet pepper, garlic, and black pepper. Pour broth over all.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.

Mash potatoes slightly with a potato masher. Stir in whipping cream, cheddar cheese, and the 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions. If desired, top individual servings with additional sliced green onions. Makes 8 servings.

Homage to My Papaya Friend…

My friend Steph and I met online. A few months later, she came to visit with her husband. Four months after that, we went on a long weekend girls getaway. And since then, we’ve been there for each other through some very trying times and shared our moments of joy. Currently Steph’s known as my “papaya friend” since she’s expecting and the baby is about the size of a papaya! We have about 5-6 hours drive between us but each month we send packages of fun goodies to make up for not being there in person.

So today happened to be one of those fabulous days I came home to a package sent by Steph. She sent me the Winerd board game I’ve been eyeing for while (personal tidbit: I collect and enjoy board games that are food related!) and she also sent me a cookbook I’ve thought about purchasing myself.

This post is dedicated to Steph and in honor of her and our friendship, I made a recipe from the cookbook she sent me, The New Best Recipe. What recipe did I choose? Well, Blackberry & Lemon Cream Scones of course! Thank you Steph for being such a great friend 🙂

I took the book’s recipe for Cream Scones and put my twist on it by adding fresh blackberries and lemon zest. The end result was a light, fluffy, creamy and perfect scone bursting with blackberries and a nice hint of lemon.

Here’s my adapted recipe for Blackberry & Lemon Cream Scones, inspired by Cook’s Illustrated’s The New Best Recipe: 2 cups (10 oz) unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 teaspoons lemon zest
3/4 cup fresh blackberries, halved
1 cup heavy cream

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Place the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together.

3. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, quickly cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few slightly larger butter lumps.

4. Add lemon zest and stir until thoroughly incorporated.

5. Stir in the heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until the dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.

6. Add the halved blackberries (or whole if they are small) and gently fold into the dough so that the blackberries are evenly distributed throughout.

7. Gather the dough and all dry flour bits and press the dough into an 8 inch cake pan, then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. With a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 8 wedges.

8 Bake until the scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*I’m also submitting this recipe to the Bread Baking Day blogging event! Check out the event round up at Aparna’s blog, My Diverse Kitchen around August 5th!

Peach Berry Cobbler

The following recipe was shared during my Chef Spotlight Dinner highlighting recipes of Chef Wolfgang Puck. You can view other recipes and pictures of the event HERE.

Peach Berry Cobbler
shared at the event by Mary
Original recipe found here

1 1/3 cups (330 ml) cake flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
1/2 cup (125 ml) heavy cream, plus extra for brushing

2 pounds (4-5 large) peaches
6 cups mixed berries, such as raspberries, blueberries and blackberries
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Peach brandy, Kirsch or Grand Marnier
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
2 tablespoons quick cooking oats
Pinch each cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamon
2 tablespoons heavy cream for glazing shortcakes
2 tablespoons sugar for glazing shortcakes

Make shortcake: In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and pulse just until the mixture forms small gravel-like pieces. With the motor running, pour the cream through the feed tube, stopping just before the dough forms a ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead just until it forms a smooth ball, being careful not to overwork it. On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough to a 1/2-inch (12-mm) thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch (6-cm) cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out 6 circles, gathering and re-rolling the scraps if necessary. Place them on a baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to assemble the cobbler.

Prepare filling: In large pot of boiling water blanch peaches for about 1 minute. Plunge into an ice-bath. Remove skins, cut in half and remove pits. Cut each half into 4 or 5 slices and place in large bowl. Add mixed berries, brown sugar, lemon juice, Peach brandy and cinnamon. Stir to mix thoroughly. Spoon fruit mixture into a lightly buttered 13x9x2½-inch baking dish.

Prepare streusel: In a medium bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a fork, cut in butter until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in remaining streusel ingredients.

Assemble cobbler: Preheat the oven to 375. Sprinkle prepared streusel mixture over fruit filling in dish. Place prepared shortcake circles on top. Lightly brush shortcakes with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until shortcakes are golden brown and fruit filling is bubbling and thickened. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Presentation: Warm the cobbler, if made earlier in the day. Serve with your favorite ice cream or softly whipped cream or just as is with a sprinkling of sifted powdered sugar.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

The following recipe was shared during my Chef Spotlight Dinner highlighting recipes of Chef Wolfgang Puck. You can view other recipes and pictures of the event HERE.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
shared at the event by Teresa
Original recipe here

2 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into same size chunks
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream, brought to a boil
1/2 cup pureed Roasted Whole Garlic
Freshly ground white pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

1. In a saucepan, cook the potatoes and raw garlic in lightly salted water to cover, until tender. Drain well.

2. Mash the potatoes through a food mill, or with a potato masher, into a stainless steel bowl.

3. In a small saucepan, heat butter and cream until butter has melted. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

Dinner was a bust… as in not cooking what I had planned. My hubby picked me up from work and we ended up going to one of our fave Asian restaurants for dinner, Joy Yee’s. If you live in Chicago, you know Joy Yee’s pretty well… and if you live in Chicago and don’t, you better find a way to Joy Yee’s soon!

But I do have a recipe to share… for Key Lime Pie ice cream! I’ve been on a key lime kick lately and I was due for another creamy concoction from my ice cream maker. I initially wanted to use a recipe calling for egg yolks that require no cooking/tempering. Instead, I used this recipe, adapted from My Recipes.Here’s my adaption of Key Lime Pie Ice Cream:

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup bottled Key lime juice
1/2 cup whipping cream
Dash of salt
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
Key lime wedges (optional)

Combine first 5 ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Pour mixture into freezer can of an ice-cream freezer, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Stir 1/3 cup graham crackers into ice cream. Spoon ice cream into a freezer-safe container, and cover and freeze for 1 hour or until firm. Sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon graham crackers. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired. **I’m also submitting this to the Got Milk? blogging event, hosted by Linda of Make Life Sweeter. She’s accepting recipes using milk, so if you have one, share it!**

Blueberry Hand Pies w/Lavender Honey Whipped Cream

And to end on a sweet note, I have been inspired by all my fellow bloggers who participate in the Tuesdays With Dorie (TWD) blogging event. Today many bloggers who participate featured Blueberry Pie. As much as I like pie, I don’t like having a whole pie sitting around at home. In fact, individual servings are better for us since it helps with portion control. With the TWD as my inspiration, I made Blueberry Hand Pies with Lavender Honey Whipped Cream.

Here are the Blueberry Hand Pies with Lavender Honey Whipped Cream recipe I made, adapted from this one from Food Network and Epicurious:

For Filling:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
Prepared pie crust

Finishing Touches:
Egg yolk, lightly beaten
Turbinado sugar

Combine flour, sugar, blueberries and almond extract and stir gently until evenly coated.

Working with 1 round at a time, roll pie dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut circles, approximately 5-inches in diameter using a plate or bowl as a guide. You should have a total of 8 circles.

Spoon about 1/2 cup of blueberry filling into the center of each circle. Carefully fold circle over to form a half moon shape. Using a fork, dipped lightly in flour, press tines along the open edge to seal. Transfer hand pies to a parchment paper lined sheet pan and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove your hand pies from the refrigerator and brush with egg yolk, then sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

For whipped cream:
1 pint heavy whipping cream, cold
1 tablespoon dried lavender
1 heaping tablespoon honey, slightly warmed

While waiting for the pies to cook, process the dried lavendar in your spice grinder until its powdered. In a cold bowl, add the powdered lavender, honey and whipping cream. Whip with a hand mixer until you get nice stiff peaks. Use to garnish your hand pies once cooled.

**I’m also submitting my Blueberry Hand Pies w/Lavender Honey Whipped Cream to the Living La Vida Local blogging event hosted by Beth of Muffin Love! I used organic & local blueberries for this dessert and thought it would be fitting for the event. Be sure to check out the round up next week for additional ways to use local and fresh produce.**

Key Lime Tarts

And for dessert during our Independence Day, I made Key Lime Tarts, using a recipe from Peabody of Culinary Concoctions of Peabody. She has a delicious blog that always has me wishing I were in the Pacific Northwest! What inspired me to use Peabody’s recipe was the recent Tasty Tools blog event entry of Carrie of Carrie’s Sweet Life. Carrie recently made the same recipe last month. So seeing her recipe submission and having some fresh key limes from Florida on hand (from my friend Jessy), it was only logical for me to make it. Whoa – that was a long explanation for why I made this, huh? Sorry… I wanted to make sure I give credit where credit was due!Here is Peabody’s recipe for Key Lime Pie, which I made to fill small tart shells:

1/2 cup fresh key lime juice
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 to 2 teaspoons finely grated key lime zest, divided
5 egg yolks
whipped cream, for garnish
6 pre-made graham cracker tart shells

Whisk sweetened condensed milk with the egg yolks. Whisk in Mascarpone cheese. Stir in whipping cream and lime juice. Stir in 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest. Pour into a prepared graham cracker tart shells and bake at 325° for 15 to 20 minutes.

What a day in the kitchen! Although it wasn’t quite a day of freedom from cooking and baking, I thoroughly enjoyed it… and sharing my creations with my husband. Here’s wishing you all had a fabulous Fourth of July!

Frozen, Creamy Coffee… Ice Cream!

So I’ve been without ice cream now for a few days and it was about time I made another batch. This time, I decided on a nice coffee ice cream so I can pair it with some caramel and raspberry sauces I have.

I’m a bit impatient so I haven’t made any ice cream recipes requiring any cooking or use of eggs. Having to wait for that kind of mixture to cool before freezing is too long for me. I did find a quick coffee ice cream recipe from Emeril Lagasse. The only change I made to the recipe was using vanilla paste instead of vanilla extract. The result? Fabulously cold, creamy and flavorful coffee!

I’m also submitting this recipe to the You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for Frozen Desserts blogging event, hosted by Mike. This is a great event, especially with the summer weather… and besides, who can resist something cold to beat the heat?Here’s Emeril’s recipe for No Cook Coffee Ice Cream:

2 cups half and half
3 tablespoons instant coffee crystals
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I used vanilla paste)
4 cups heavy cream
Garnish: Chocolate covered espresso beans Mint sprigs

In a small bowl combine the half and half, coffee crystals, sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the heavy cream. Freeze according to manufacturers directions. Garnish with coffee beans and mint. Yield: 2 quarts

Beat the Heat!

Now that I’m settling back into the daily routine, I spent the day playing with my ice cream maker and using some new popscicle molds I purchased over the weekend. Just my luck though… the weather cooled off this week in Chicago, but at least I have some great frozen treats to enjoy!

Mixed Berry Ice Cream

1 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries (raspberry, blueberry, blackberry mix)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar

In a small bowl, combine the frozen mixed berries and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Stir gently and allow the fruit to macerate in the juices for 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.

In a medium mixing bowl (preferably with a spout), whisk the milk and remaining sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream plus any accumulated juices from the berries.

Turn your ice cream machine on and pour the mixture into the freezer bowl. Process the mixture per your ice cream machine’s directions. During the last 5 minutes of processing your ice cream, add the macerated berries.

Enjoy the ice cream when finished processing or transfer ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze for 1-2 hours to “ripen.”

I’m also submitting this recipe to the Key Ingredient Cook’s Kitchen contest for their berry recipes!

Vanilla Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla paste (or extract)
1-2 tablespoons mint chocolate liquor
1 cup chocolate chips (or mini chips)

In a medium mixing bowl (preferably with a spout), whisk the milk and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream, vanilla paste and liquor. Turn your ice cream machine on and pour the mixture into the freezer bowl. Process the mixture per your ice cream machine’s directions. During the last 5 minutes of processing your ice cream, add the chocolate chips.

Enjoy the ice cream when finished processing or transfer ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze for 1-2 hours to “ripen.”

Mango Strawberry Fruit Pops

1 cup frozen mango chunks
1/4 cup fresh sliced strawberries
1/2 cup peach nectar

In a blender, process the frozen mango chunks and peach nectar until you reach a smoothie consistency and mango is no processed through. Add strawberries and process on low, just enough to incorporate it into the mixture. Pour the mixture into popscicle molds and freeze until set, 1-3 hours.

Garlic & Chive Mashed Potatoes

The following recipe was made and shared at my Chef Spotlight dinner, highlighting Julia Child. You can read and view links to the other recipes HERE.

Yumi’s Garlic & Chive Mashed Potatoes
recipe from Julia
30 cloves of garlic
4 TB butter
2 TB flour
1 c boiling milk
1/4 tsp salt
pinch white pepper

Drop garlic into boiling water and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and peel. Melt
butter in small heavy-bottom saucepan and cook garlic slowly in butter,
covered, for about 20 minutes until soft but not browned. Add flour and stir
over low heat for 2 minute. Off heat stir in milk, salt, and pepper. Return
to heat and simmer for 1 minute, stirring. Press through a sieve or puree in
a food processor. Set aside.

2-1/2 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
4TB softened butter
White pepper
2-4 TB whipping cream
4TB minced parsley or chives

Boil or microwave potatoes until soft then drain and put through a potato
ricer or food mill. Return to pan and stir over low heat for a few minutes
to evaporate some of the excess moisture. As soon as the puree begins to
form a film on the bottom of the pan remove from heat and beat in the butter
1 TB at a time. Add salt and pepper to taste. Beat in the garlic sauce and
enough cream to reach the desired consistency. Beat in the minced parsley
and serve.