Penarious Challenge – Dairy and Gluten Free Creamy Potato Soup


The other day we had some of the most delicious tomato soup ever. Sally over at The Spontaneous Hausfrau said I’d want a mason jar of this bisque standing in the fridge, but I didn’t believe her until I tried it. And now…guess what? I really wish I had a jar of Chilled Tomato Bisque in my frig ALL the time! It is so good!

My point in bringing this tomato soup up is not just to rave about how delectable it is, although I could do that for a page or two if you like… This is the recipe that introduced me to my new favorite ingredient – cashew cream.

It’s super easy to make and if you are dairy or gluten free you pretty much NEED the recipe. I’ve been imagining 1, 236 things to make with it throughout this week, so when a friend who is going dairy and gluten free mentioned missing potato soup I knew just what I wanted to try next.

I finally gathered all the ingredients and whipped this soup up in under two hours total – and that included taking pictures along the way!

I’d give this a 5 star rating for 5 reasons -

#1 Mom liked it.

#2 Dad like it.

#3 My sisters like it.

#4 My brothers liked it.

#5 If you can get my put-dairy-in-everything family to like it, it’s got to be good!

So, of course, to start off, you have to make the cashew cream (recipe is in the link above), or have some stashed away in your frig as I did. Yes, it takes some pre-planning, but it’s totally worth it and you can make a big batch to freeze for later.

Here are the basics – Cashew cream, chicken broth, potatoes, garlic, onion and…

Parsley! We have so much parsley in our garden it’s crazy! We now pick it for bouquets around the house. :D

Speaking of bouquets…

These Dahlias are from Mom’s garden, as are the Day Lilies…

I love fresh cut flowers!

Okay, sorry. No more detours, I promise.

Dairy Free Gluten Free Potato Soup

2 T. olive oil

1  onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

4-5 c. cubed potatoes

4 c. chicken broth

1/8 c. chopped fresh parsley

1/8 t. garlic powder

3/4 c. cashew cream

salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion in oil until golden.

Add potatoes and garlic and saute lightly. Pour in chicken broth and bring to boil.

Cover and cook 30 minutes on med-low, or until potatoes are soft. Add parsley…

…and garlic powder. Turn the heat down to low.

Mash with a potato masher, or if you don’t like chunky, go ahead and give it a whir in the blender. Stir in cashew cream and more broth if you like a thinner consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with smoked salmon and a sprig of dill.

When ever I’m in the process of making a recipe my mind is going 100 miles a minute thinking of all the variations that would go with whatever I’m doing. If you’re like that too (I hope I’m not the only one!) then you probably don’t need the following variations…

Try your favorite herbs in place of, or along with, the parsley – rosemary, thyme, dill…

Stir in some turkey bacon.

Jazz it up with pickled jalapenos.

Or add the traditional chopped celery and carrots when you’re sauteing the onions.

Whether you leave it as is, or give it your own unique twist, I hope you enjoy the flavor of this creamy potato soup. Your family will NEVER guess there are cashews in it. And if they do? Well then…I’m impressed! :D

I leave you now with my favorite dahlia and a printable version of this recipe…

Dairy Free Gluten Free Potato Soup

2 T. olive oil

1  onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

4-5 c. cubed potatoes

4 c. chicken broth

1/8 c. chopped fresh parsley

1/8 t. garlic powder

3/4 c. cashew cream

salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion in oil until golden. Add potatoes and garlic and saute lightly. Pour in chicken broth and bring to boil. Cover and cook 30 minutes on med-low, or until potatoes are soft. Add parsley and garlic powder. Turn the heat down to low.

Mash with a potato masher, or if you don’t like chunky, go ahead and give it a whir in the blender. Stir in cashew cream and more broth if you like a thinner consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with smoked salmon and a sprig of dill or crumbled turkey bacon and parsley. Enjoy!

Penarious Challenge – Best Ever Chocolate Ice Cream

We are in serious trouble, folks.

It was 82 degrees yesterday. It always happens in the spring…The temperatures hit the 80s and 90s and we all drag ourselves around for a few days trying to get accustomed to the coming inevitably HOT summer.

It only takes a day (and one night of tossing under a warm sheet) for some of us to begin to wonder if we’ll ever make it through, or how we’ll handle it again without going insane.

“Saudi Arabia is the only other place I know of that has temperatures in the 100s for over 2 months”, Mom says.

I start dreaming of a an ice pool. You know, kind of like a hot tub only there are glaciers floating in it.

Mirages of chilled watermelon slices, fruity gelato and delectable ice cream cones appear in heat waves.

Then it happens. The Best Ever Chocolate Ice Cream churns together into a great spoonful of creamy goodness.

Like I said, we are in serious trouble. Thankfully the air conditioning kicks on. Maybe we can keep from making it all the time if we keep the air on.

By the way, whoever invented air conditioners? I love you with all my heart.  Just say the word and I will make you Chocolate Ice Cream whenever you like.

So, I was challenged by Shadowlilies to make a chocolate ice cream recipe that would rival the Best Chocolate Ice Cream You’ll Ever Have posted by Joanna Goddard over at A Cup Of Jo  and created by Cenk from Cafe Fernando.

Photo by Cenk - Cafe Fernando

I did my first test run two weeks ago. It was good, but my chocolate choice didn’t fit. It had to be smoother, richer, melty-er.  I knew immediately that I had to use Lindt. I actually thought about using the dark chocolate truffles, but decided against it a second later. Too much to unwrap.

The chocolate is what makes this recipe though. Go for the good stuff.

Shadowlilies laid out one condition in her challenge – no sweetened condensed milk! I went with coconut milk and a bit of sugar instead. I also added 2 egg yolks to substitute for the cornstarch and to give it more richness. The other big difference in the recipes is that I omitted cocoa powder for more 70% dark chocolate. Serious trouble, I’m telling ya!

Here’s the recipe -

3/4 c. whole milk

1/4 c. sugar

2 farm fresh egg yolks

3 bars of Lindt Excellence 70% cocoa dark chocolate

1/8 t. sea salt

2 T. espresso or coffee

2 t. vanilla

3/4 c. heavy whipping cream

1 can unsweetened coconut milk

 

Chop chocolate bars.

Whisk together milk, egg yolks and sugar.

Look! You can see me peeking over the edge. :)

Heat in a double boiler (or a bowl in a sauce pan as I do. :) just until steamy, stirring frequently. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until smooth.

Sprinkle in the salt and add espresso and vanilla. Whisk in cream and coconut milk.

Now the recipe over at Cup of Jo doesn’t require an ice cream maker. That’s a pro. However it does require more cooking time and lots of cooling time before freezing. That’s a con.

My recipe calls for an ice cream maker. That’s a con if you don’t have one, but if you do, no problem. Just churn according to the maker’s directions. No cooling is required since it never got that hot in the first place and what was heated was only a small amount of the mix.

The recipe makes exactly 4 cups which works perfectly for most electric ice cream makers.

Have you ever tried photographing ice cream on a warm day?

Hmmm…I need a walk in freezer. That might take the place of an ice pool, too.

So, which recipe do you think is the Best Ever? Try them both out and let me know!

 

Come With Me to the Land of Ketchup…

I should warn you before hand that it will be an interesting journey, to say the least. I knew that when I started singing “To life,  to life, to ketchup!” (Think Tevye and Lazar Wolf in Fiddler on the Roof ) as I was finishing off the last batch. 
Then I dashed by my dresser and grabbed my mp3 player to plug my camera into my laptop. Hmmm…do you really want this recipe? Seriously, ketchup does strange things to people. Or is it just me?
This was an amazing Penarious Challenge – Replicate a healthier version of Heinz (and Heinz specifically) Ketchup without using cornstarch.

I immediately googled Heinz ketchup and found a copy cat recipe to use as a base – minus the corn syrup. To be quite honest I didn’t think it would be all that hard. 
The fresher the better is my “motto”, (but I’m of the mind that that is where Heinz and I begin to differ…) so these were my starter ingredients -

I blended it all up in the processor and boiled it down to ketchup consistancy.

Guess what? It tasted too fresh.
So I switched up ingredients -

It still wasn’t right.
Was it because I was using Hunt’s tomato products? What was the secret ingredient?
I did some more research…and learned some very interesting tidbits about America’s favorite condiment. 
It’s got fans all over the world - 
but tastes different depending on the country.
Ketchup was originally a spicy fish sauce called 
Ke-Tsiap from east Asia.
600 million bottles of ketchup are sold annually.
Only a few very special people know what natural flavoring 
and spice on the ingredient label really are.
Ketchup has a “speed limit” and each batch is tested 
for the right flow speed.
And did you know that people make cake with it???? How about a slice of  Ketchup Cake? Any takers? Yikes!

Then I came upon this very interesting video – How it’s Made:Heinz Tomato Ketchup.

Ah ha! One must start with fresh tomatoes and stomp them with their feet!

Or not.
After 3 batches,  I thought I had a pretty good copy on the taste, but the texture wasn’t happening. Have you ever noticed that there are no flecks of tomato in Heinz ketchup? That’s it on the left…

…then Hunt’s, then a couple batches of homemade.

I thought tomato juice might be the solution and strained every particle of tomato flecks out…

But that made for a nice ketchup syrup.

I thought if I added more liquid and boiled it down longer it might result in a smoother consistency…

That didn’t help either.
So I went back to the paste. It’s mind boggling really! How does Heinz do it?!!

 Do we really want to know?
After 7 batches of ketchup, I decided the first one was the best, with a few changes. And that is what I give you here. It’s not Heinz, but it’s not Hunt’s either. It’s healthier. It’s good…for ketchup. :P

1 6oz. can of tomato paste
1 c. water
1/4 c. evaporated cane sugar 
(or brown sugar)
3/8 c. white balsamic vinegar
(or apple cider vinegar)
1 t. salt
1/8 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. onion powder
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
pinch of cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large pot. (Take my word for it – you want a large pot even though it doesn’t look like much ketchup in the bottom of it. It makes a bubbling, sticky mess!) Bring to a boil and stir constantly until liquid evaporates and mixture is as thick as ketchup. Bottle and chill before using.

Like I said, I’ve learned a lot about ketchup -

# 1) It’s not good on fingers.
# 2) It’s equally undesirable on spoons.
Now, what to do with a lifetime supply of homemade ketchup…  :D