Monday, February 22, 2016

Creamy Asparagus Soup with Avocado



I was in the mood for a very creamy soup so I put together this velvety mix of tender asparagus, potato, avocado and a dollop of sour cream.


This was a wondrously silky soup and it can easily be made dairy free by trading out the butter for all olive oil and exchanging the sour cream dollop with extra avocado! The soup would be vegan with these changes as well as choosing vegetable broth.
On the other hand, I think this soup could be made without the avocado if you add extra sour cream. This is a really versatile recipe and you could change it around easily to suite your needs!

 
Creamy Asparagus Soup with Avocado

3 TBSP butter, OR 3 TBSP olive oil  OR 1 ½ TBSP each
1 small onion, white or sweet, diced
1 large or 2 small potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 bunch asparagus, washed with tough end snapped off

1-2 clove garlic
Salt and pepper to taste, I used about a tsp of salt and a few grinds of pepper
½ -1 tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp ginger paste, optional

½ tsp garlic powder

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 small avocado

1/3 cup sour cream  Optional, may skip and add another small avocado

 

In a large deep pot, heat butter or oil on medium low heat.  Add onion and cook for 4 minutes.

Then add potatoes and while the potatoes and onion cook for eight minutes or so, cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces reserving  the tender tips to add later.

Add asparagus, except reserved tip pieces to the pot. Add garlic, spices and seasoning g. Cook stirring occasionally for a few more minutes then add broth.

Simmer for about 30 minutes or until all of the vegetables are very tender. This will probably be longer than you would normally cook vegetables and it may make you nervous but they need to be soft to puree completely to a silky consistency.

Remove soup from the heat and add avocado and sour cream, if you are using it.

Next you will let the soup cool a bit so you can puree it.

While you are cooling soup you can quickly steam the asparagus tips to tender crispness or you can wait and add them to the soup after it is pureed and cook them right in the soup. If you choose to steam them separately it will mean another pan to wash but you have more control over cooking it. But it would be fine to heat in the soup at a low temperature after it is pureed.

To puree, you may use a blender, which will probably yield the silkiest soup or a hand held immersion blender which is less clean up and can do a good job.   Either way let the soup cool before blending. If using a blender, I let it cool a bit longer and don’t overfill your blender.

Blend soup until silky and smooth. Return soup to the pan and heat up on low. Add asparagus pieces. Enjoy your creamy soup!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Biscuits - Soft, lofty and easy to make!


These soft, tender biscuits are a snap to make! They rise nicely in the oven and taste great. This is a basic baking soda biscuit recipe that uses simple ingredients you keep on hand.  I love that they can be frozen for later, what a great time saver and it means that you can make a big batch and only take out as many as you need .

You can make them with regular milk and a teaspoon of vinegar or use buttermilk for an even better flavor.

Remember not to over work them. Biscuits are not bread and you do not want to knead it like bread or it will toughen the biscuits! When you cut them, just press straight down without a twist or they will not rise as high. You may reroll the scraps to use them all up but the rerolled ones will be a little tougher.

I don't often use shortening but on occasion I really like it for pie crust and these biscuits. At least the newer versions of shortening do not have trans fat. Use more butter if you like.

These are not the most nutritious food but they are good comfort food with a nice bowl of soup or smothered in honey! All things in moderation…okay pass me a biscuit :-)

I will add a recipe or two to use with biscuits next time. Maybe Biscuits with sausage gravy...

 


Biscuits - Soft, lofty and easy to make!

 
2 cups white unbleached flour
1 Tablespoon Baking powder
1 Tablespoon white sugar
1 tsp salt

 
5   Tablespoons shortening, butter flavored, no-trans fat
2 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

1 cup milk, whole or buttermilk, May not need it all

1 tsp. white vinegar, optional  if using milk just  add vinegar to it  but omit if you use buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Then turn it down to 425 when you put the biscuits in the oven.

In a large bowl,  mix  together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

Cut in the shortening/butter with a a pastry cutter or two butter knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Or you may use fingers to break up shortening into flour then add butter bits and mix.

Gradually gently stir in milk until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. You may use wooden spoon or your hands to stir.

Turn out onto a well-floured surface, and gently fold/knead 6 -8 times. Do not overwork!! Gentle folding makes tender biscuits.

Roll dough out to 1 inch thick. Cut biscuits straight down with a large cutter ( about 2 inch or so)  or use wide glass dipped in flour.  Do not twist when cutting biscuits.

Place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet which may be lined with parchment paper. For nice browned exteriors, place them an inch apart or more.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until top, bottom and edges begin to brown.

Note: You may brush with cream and dust these with cinnamon sugar before baking for a sweeter biscuit.

You can freeze these before cooking and then bake them later. Place the biscuits to freeze in a greased freezer Ziploc bag on cookie sheet or pie tin to freeze then remove the sheet or pie tin and leave the biscuits in the bag for freezer storage. To bake heat oven to 450 and cook for 8-10 minutes then turn the oven off but leave the biscuits in for another 6 -7 minutes.