Egg Potato Salad. Corn, Dill, Pickles.

Egg Potato Salad

This is probably the least exciting recipe I’ve posted on this blog so far but hey, I love egg potato salad, I stand by it and if you had asked me 6 years ago if I knew how to make it I would have said… “make it? you get it at the store, who makes this stuff….” But that’s me 6 years ago. I still buy egg potato salad (more commonly known as potato salad… who decided to leave out the most awesome ingredient in there? plus potato salads, at least the one I know doesn’t necessarily include hardboiled eggs) at the store when I crave it and I don’t have all the ingredients at home and I don’t want to invest the time. But without a doubt, the homemade potato salad reigns superior in every aspect. Ok, this paragraph was almost impossible to read… but don’t give up, potato salad recipe coming up in just a few seconds. 

You can check out my previous post on eggs and beet salad here

Egg Potato Salad

Mine today features corn, pickles and dill.  It’s a pretty straight forward recipe and I will give you a couple of tips to make the process even simpler.

Continue Reading

Quick and Easy Braised Chicken in Tomato Sauce with Saffron Potatoes

Braised Chicken in Tomato Sauce

Another recipe for the budget cooking series. Braised chicken in tomato sauce with saffron potatoes. I think it qualifies. Skip the saffron which can be a bit pricey specially if getting the good stuff. There’s even an ISO standard for it…that’s just crazy,  although this spice is so unique and amazing I shouldn’t be this surprised. Saffron and Pimenton (Sweet paprika) define Spain’s flavour. I have a few chicken recipes on the blog but this one for some reason never made it in until now.  This is something I used to cook when I was in high school and during my college years. It’s that easy and almost impossible to mess up. Sometimes I’d cook it with spaghetti and skip the potatoes (yep, heaven).

Braised Chicken in Tomato Sauce

Some thoughts on what meat to use. 

For this recipe I used chicken thighs for simplification and flavour. I could have used the whole chicken, but cooking chicken breasts require more control and the flavour doesn’t really shine as much as the flavour in darker and fattier thigh/leg meat does, at least in my opinion. Drumsticks also work really well here as do the wings, so try it if you want. Anyways, enough yapping, let’s get to it! 

Braised Chicken in Tomato Sauce

Ingredients (4 servings):

4-6 big chicken thighs. Skin on (A MUST, sorry dieters)
10 small creamer potatoes. Skin on
1 yellow onion, finely chopped.
1 Tbsp garlic. Minced
1 red sweet bell pepper, finely chopped
2 Tbsp tomato paste
4 Thyme sprigs
A few basil leaves or parsley ones
Couple of pinches of saffron strands
1 Tbsp Sweet paprika (pimenton)
1 Cup of White wine
1 1/2 Chicken bullion cubes. Or 6 cups of chicken stock reduced to about a cup and a half.
Salt and Pepper to Taste.
Sriracha sauce to taste.

Braised Chicken in Tomato Sauce

The chicken and the secret of flavor.  

So… wish I had known this all along during my high school and college years. Browning chicken skin is key (I know, I wasn’t really paying much attention then, but it seems so obvious now right?!). And it doesn’t take much to get it right. Definitely patience and a hot skillet. So start there. Get some olive oil or vegetable oil on a skillet and heat it to medium high. Place the thighs skin side down and allow to brown for as long as needed. Might take a while. Chicken skin is really resilient. Don’t move the meat, not stirring, no nothing, just let them be for a good 10 mins, take a quick peak and continue to brown until golden and crispy. Of course, if you smell anything burning…no need to wait those 10 mins. Just get on the phone and order pizza.

Braised Chicken in Tomato Sauce

Once the skins are golden brown its time for the peppers and onion to go in. You can now turn the chicken thighs over and lower the heat to medium. Sauté for another 5 mins. Add the tomato paste. Add the garlic. Add the wine and the thyme sprigs. Add the paprika. Add the chicken bullion and about a cup of water or the reduced stock. I suggest reducing the stock ahead of time because otherwise it would take forever to reduce 6 cups while braising the chicken, and your chicken thighs will be well.. way way overcooked or you will end up with chicken soup which isn’t a bad proposition.  Braise in the cooking liquid for about 10 mins. Don’t cover the pot. You can always add water if the cooking liquid becomes too thick. Remove the thyme sprigs. Season with salt and pepper if needed. A splash of Sriracha sauce will take this thing to the next level. Braising anything is a relaxing exercise. Let it bubble away and set a timer, drink some wine, browse some web. Before you know it… done.

The potatoes.

Place them in a plastic container, add about 2 tsp of salt, the saffron strands and enough water to cover the potatoes. Cover with a loose lid. Microwave for 20 mins. You don’t have to use a microwave. You can cook them in the same pot with the chicken, or cook them on the stove in a separate pot. I like to use the microwave because my kitchen is tiny and freeing up a burner is always nice. Microwaves are pretty good at heating water. That’s basically what they’re designed to do and that’s exactly what potatoes need. Cook until tender. Don’t discard the water. Add that to the chicken pot, make sure it isn’t more than 1/3 of a cup. Most of it will evaporate in the microwave. If not, microwave or cooked until the liquid is 1/3 of a cup.

Braised Chicken in Tomato Sauce

Note on salt.

It’s always good to check for saltiness during the cooking process and when cooking chicken, check for saltiness ONLY after the chicken meat is cooked, but with that said, keep in mind that there are a few sources of salt in this recipe and hard for me to write down proper amounts without knowing the exact ingredients you’d be using. The saffron water has salt in it. The chicken stock might have salt in it. Chicken bullion definitely has salt in it, at least the one I use. Sriracha sauce has salt in it. So, adjust as you go and you should be perfectly fine. Have fun! Gotta go.

 

Crispy Oven Rosted Potatoes : 24h Kosher Salt Brine

 

It’s always the simple things.

In cooking, at least in my experience, a single ingredient cooked simply can steal the show even if it’s the “side” thing. If you like potatoes, this is usually the case. I never thought I’d be writing about baked potatoes on my blog… but I got over myself and did it! It’s all part of the same thing. Simple or complex preparations, the whole point of cooking is to nurture ourselves and the ones we love, to eat well,  and if you can have some fun while doing it and share some thoughts and pics about it even better. Potatoes are pretty much at the top of list of favourite ingredients anyways. I love them and have been cooking them for a long time so they do deserve a space of their own in here I think.

Long before I got into cooking more seriously a few years ago, I was already cooking potatoes. Specially, mashed potatoes. Love love love mashed potatoes. Nothing more comforting than a creamy potato puree with copious parmesan cheese grated on top and broiled to golden brown deliciousness. I seriously don’t need anything else to go with that.

IMG_9838

 

This post should be one of my quickest. I really wanted to get this written down for.. well, for my own sake. The original purpose of this blog was to document my own cooking learning curve so there.

Brining potatoes? probably a weird concept. I’ve been brining things for years but never potatoes. So why the hell not. It seasons the potato throughly and it also helps remove a lot of the starch in it which helps in  making them crispy. If you have been making french fries for a while. Soaking the potato wedges for a couple of hours before deep frying should sound familiar and the purpose of that is to remove that extra starch. Russet potatoes have more starch than creamer potatoes so they will need longer soaking times. To play it safe I did a 24 hour soak in salty water. Take that russet taters!

 

IMG_9847

 

Ingredients:

4 large russet potatoes.

4 Tbsp kosher salt.

4 quarts of water.

How does this go? Cut the potatoes into wedges. Leave the skin on. Dissolve the salt into the water and add the potatoes. Place in the refrigerator for 24 hours up to 48 hours. Remove from the fridge and lay on a baking tray. Place in the oven under the broiler about 10 minutes. This is the dehydrating phase. We need the potatoes as dry as possible before we crips them up. Remove from the oven. Apply vegetable oil with a brush and make sure they’re coated well. Return to the oven and broil until the skin is golden brown but not too dark. You could flip them over and brown both sides. I only did one side this time.

Switch from broiling to baking. Bake the potatoes at 350F for about 10 minutes or until fork tender. I kept checking until I was happy and that’s it. Eat right away but if you can’t, store them in the fridge. When you’re ready, pop them back in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes until warm. They will go from soggy boredom to awesome crispiness in no time. See yah! Wish I had more pics to share! Happy ‘tater baking! Take care y’all!

 

 

 

Chicken and Potato Salad : Tomatoes : Pickles and Carrots : Chinese Cabbage

 

 

 

First salad of the summer! I’m still busy working on that photo and food styling post but figured I’d take a break (not really) and get some cooking done and blogged. On the photo and styling post I want to go over some basic lighting and composition, and also some color stuff and photo editing. I also want to cover my photography gear but more of that later. With summer officially kicked off on this hemisphere and the women’s soccer world cup taking over every bar and restaurant in the city, I thought a healthy and colourful salad, the brunchy type, would be the perfect thing to make.

IMG_8659

I did a couple of things here that I would normally not do. I cooked the eggs, the chicken and the potatoes sous vide. The chicken was leftover from dinner the night before and the motivation for making this salad really. I also shot it overexposed on purpose. I like that kind of lighting for a crisp and sunny morning, the bloody mary type of morning. Anyways, this is a super simple salad to make, and the sous vide step is not a requirement,  the ingredient list is super flexible too so use it as a reference or not. Ok, here we go:

Ingredients (serves 2):

4 chinese cabbage leafs or any crunchy lettuce

4 eggs, hard boiled

6-8 fingerling potatoes

1 medium carrot, julienned

6 pickle slices

2 Tbsp Mayo (see how to make your own here!)

2 chicken breasts, no bone.

Salt and Pepper to taste.

IMG_8653

 

IMG_8652

The chicken. Salt it generously and let it rest for about 20 mins or less salt but let it cure overnight in the fridge. To cook it, easy, you can poach it, grill it, sauté it. As long as the inner temperature reaches 62C degrees, you should be good. If you are cooking it sous vide. 40 mins at 62C should get you there. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature or colder. I like it cold from the fridge. Cut it into slices.

The eggs. Hard boil them. If they’re at room temperature. Boil in water for 7 mins. If they’re cold from the fridge, then allow a bit longer more like 10. You’d end with a better finish if the egg is at room temperature. If cooking sous vide… we can spend an entire day talking about this here but since I simply wanted a hard boiled egg, I cooked them with the potatoes in the same bath. 90C for 10 mins. Under cold running water, remove the shells. Reserve in the fridge until cold. Slice them into wedges.

The potatoes. Cooking in simmering water until tender. About 30 mins. I leave the skins on and I don’t slice the potatoes either. If cooking sous vide, then 90C for 45 mins. Reserve in the fridge until cold. Then slice them into wedges.

Mixing the salad. In a big bowl, add the pickle slices, the tomato wedges, the potato wedges, the julienned carrot. Add the mayo and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Using your hands, mix carefully and set aside.

For plating. Place the extra pickle slices and whole cabbage leaves on your plate. Again, using your hands, carefully scoop a serving of salad and  place it in the centre each dish. I added the eggs last, but obviously that can be incorporated into the mixing step as well. Happy Sunday!

IMG_8677

Tortilla Española : Tortilla de Patatas : Spanish Omelette

A while ago I posted an article about this dish but it’s time to bring it back. Not a whole lot to this recipe. 3 Ingredients (ok, 6 if you count oil, salt and pepper) and 10-15 minutes to make. The technique is quite tricky I have to say, cooking omelets is actually not that easy, takes a lot of practice. I don’t mind the practice. I can’t stop eating eggs, I’m like that snake… yep, that one, the one that eats lots of eggs.

The “secret” to properly cook eggs, like anything else, it’s careful attention to temperature and time. Eggs overcook easily. Also…, yolks and whites cook at different temperatures. The yolks cook at a lower temperature than the white part. The yolks set at around 158F or 70C. The whites completely set at 180F or 82.2C These temperatures are definitely inside overcooked-egg territory. I like eggs cooked a little below these. But anyways, with omelets, the problem becomes and average problem. Somewhere in the middle the omelet will be cooked satisfactorily.

IMG_8249

I use a non stick pan. with a lid over low heat. Like really low. The thicker the omelet the longer the cooking time basically. Consider using a diffuser over the stove to keep that harsh heat away from those delicate eggs. With an infrared thermometer you can measure very precisely how hot it is. Around 162C and any omelet would be honored to be cooked in that pan. 

To brown or not to brown eggs, that is the question. Browning happens at nigher temperatures than the ones I mentioned above. I like some browning on spanish omelets because that’s how every spanish omelet I ever ate was made and without some browning, it just doesn’t feel right… now, too much browning, and my trashcan starts wagging its tail.

For any other omelets I cook, I’m careful not to brown the eggs. Period.

IMG_8250

 

Ingredients (makes 4 servings):

1 medium onion
1 waxy potato
5 eggs
Olive oil.
Salt and Pepper to taste.

The potato. Peel the potato. Cube it into small dices. Place into a pot with salty water and boil until tender. I use the microwave sometimes. Takes longer though but frees up a burner. Rinse and allow to cool off.

The onion. Chop it into small dices. Sauté in a pan with olive oil until soft and translucent. I caramelized mine a bit, why not. I was bored.  Salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and allow to cool off.

The eggs. Room temperature if possible but not the end of the world otherwise. Add salt and pepper. Beat the eggs until white and yolk become one. Takes no time.

The omelet batter. Once the potato and the onion have come to room temp. Mix them with the eggs. With a spatula fold the ingredients in carefully.

The omelet. Add a healthy amount of olive oil.. but this I mean, more than you think you need. On a 10 inch pan, I could use 1 Tbsp and a bit more. Heat up the pan over low heat and add the omelet batter and cover with a lid. Cook until set. If the bottom side is starting to brown and the top is still a bit runny, get ready for the flip. It will be messy, and some omelets have died in the process, but with some practice, even the flip will become an non issue. I use a cutting board for this sometimes. The the operation always takes place  over the sink. Make sure the omelet isn’t stuck to the pan. Use a silicon spatula to ensure this. Once ready. Place the cutting board over the pan (obviously one you can handle with one hand and that it covers the diameter of the pan in question) hold pan and board together tightly. Flip quickly but carefully. Remove the pan. The omelet should be now on the cutting board. Slice the omelet back into the pan very carefully. Finish the cooking. I’ve messed this up a few times. Whatever happens happens, as long as the omelet isn’t too brown or on the bottom of the sink or kitchen floor, it should be good. It sounds like a nightmare, but if you succeed, your loved ones are gonna love you back. Enjoy.

IMG_8244

 

Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Chicken : Home Ketchup : Home Fries

 

 

I roast a chicken every other week on average. I’ve tried  many different techniques and many different combinations and it’s hard for me to choose one method over another. Sous vide equipment aside (which yields the juiciest of chickens, sous vide cooking is almost cheating, seriously), the oven can do a pretty good job as well and it’s simply convenient. Chicken goes in, and about an hour later, chicken is ready. I love chicken and there are so many classic cooking skills involved in roasting one that it’s a great way to fine tune cooking intuition and technique.

IMG_2700

 

 

For this recipe I opted for the cold oven approach which is nothing more than simply throwing the chicken in the oven right before starting it. I really like it, maybe it’s all in my head, but the chicken seems to be extra juicy and the skin extra crispy. I’ve also cured the chicken overnight with salt, garlic and rosemary (I’m addicted to this combo of flavors if you haven’t noticed). Curing the chicken overnight imparts flavor into the meat not just on the surface. It also dries out the skin which helps tremendously in getting that awesome golden brown crispy finish. The other thing that I’ve tried here is placing the chicken in my cast iron skillet and adding some vegetable oil. This ensures that the chicken side in contact with the skillet cooks well (fries basically). Otherwise it seems to simply stew away and never develop the proper color. We’ll use this skillet, chicken drippings and brown butter to cook the crispy home fries. Read on! 

Ingredients:

1 whole organic happy chicken

The cure mix:

1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp Chopped Rosemary leafs
1 Tbsp Garlic paste

Home ketchup:

1 cup San Marzano tomatoes, blended
2-3 Tbsp of white wine vinegar. Champagne vinegar works really well
1 Tbsp Sugar (sure, brown, why not)

Home Fries:

1 whole russet potato, chopped in wedges

The chicken. Mix the cure ingredients. Place the chicken in a large bowl and add the mix. Distribute the mix evenly over the surface of the chicken. Add some to the chicken’s cavity. Place the bowl uncovered in the fridge (of course, make sure it sits at the bottom of your fridge where nothing else is underneath it. Leave to cure overnight. If you cover it, the skin won’t dry out as efficiently. When you’re ready to roast it the next day, you can remove it form the fridge. But only then. Tie the chicken’s legs, we don’t want this chicken to escape. Add some vegetable oil to a cast iron skillet and place the chicken in it, breast side up.

IMG_2595

Place the skillet in the oven in the middle tray. Set the temperature to 375F. I like to baste the chicken a couple of times with butter towards the end of the cooking time to get the skin golden and nicely caramelized. I don’t have a cooking time here It’s about 60 min, to 90 min. The core temperature of the chicken should be around 155F. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for a good 15 mins before serving.

IMG_2638

The home ketchup. Add the tomatoes to a small saucepan on medium hight heat. And cook and reduce until bright deep red. Add the vinegar and the sugar and reduce again until it gets to the consistency of a thick sauce. Stir constantly, don’t let the bottom burn. Remove from the heat. Store in the fridge.

IMG_2695

The home fries. Once the chicken is ready. Remove from the skillet, we need it for the fries now. Place the chicken on the cutting boar. Place the skillet over medium high heat. This skillet  contains vegetable oil, chicken drippings and brown butter (from the butter basting step above on the chicken section). Allow to heat up for about 5 mins. Add the potatoes all in one layer. Fry for about 5 min. The best way is to lift one and check for color. Once you’re happy, turn the potatoes over and cook for about 5 more mins or until you’re happy with the color. Remove from the oil and place on a tray lined with paper towels to remove excess oil. Cover them with another layer of paper towels and get ready to serve them.

IMG_2710

The rest is pretty much self explanatory 🙂 enjoy!!!

Beef Tripe Stew over Horseradish Parmesan Potato Puree

I get the feeling tripe isn’t everyone’s favorite, right?  We’re talking about the honeycomb membrane that covers the interior of the second stomach of a cow, the reticulum to be more precise (I just googled all of that ok). After that… most readers have probably already left. If you’re still there, well great! It means you’re super cool and you’re not afraid of delicious stuff that let me continue with this seemingly yucky stuff. This membrane is one of the cheapest things you can buy at a butcher shop or supermarket and I’m sure the quality and freshness vary so trust your eyes and your butcher because this membrane is a bit smelly and not in a good way so you won’t be able to trust your inexperienced nose. A cow stomach is worth the effort though. It’s like a hidden treasure, buried really really deep… like super deep. With proper cooking, it can be turned into an amazing meal. Maybe it isn’t common in the US but it’s popular in Latin American, Asian and European cuisines. Guess where I’m from? I’ll give you a hint. I’m not Asian. 

IMG_9048_cc_rs

The finished tripe is nice and sweet and savory, rich and with a delicate texture, and reminds me of other delicious beef stews I’ve had. Not bad for an ingredient that’s about 1 dollar a pound. Now, let’s talk about the potato puree. Another inexpensive ingredient. I don’t know how much a big russet potato sells for. I’m almost certain is under a dollar, but the taste is simply amazing and if cooked with respect and flavored nicely, it could outdo the main component of a dish. I might be biased since I’m irremediably addicted to potatoes. In this case, I will say, both the protein and the starch complemented each other nicely.  This is the story of how to make this dish:

There is a quick checklist on how to approach tripe cooking:

1. Rinse and scrape the tripe under running cold water (optional really…)

2. Boil the tripe in water for 30 minutes, then drain.

3. Return tripe to the pot, add mirepoix and chicken stock and pressure cook for 3 hours.

4. Otherwise, simmer covered in a regular pot for 5-6 hour.

4. Uncover and reduce the content of the pot by half.

5. Add additional seasoning and cook for a bit longer. Dijon Mustard works so well.

6. Refrigerate overnight (optional).

7. Remove tripe from stock.

8. Chop into small pieces.

9. Add to hot skillet and brown.

10. Add some tomato sauce, cream, red wine, a bit of tripe stock, reduce, done.

Ingredients:

Tripe Stew:

2 lbs tripe
6 cups of chicken stock
2 cups of water
1 onion chopped in half
10 baby carrots
1 celery stalk chopped in half
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp Pedro Ximenez Sherry Vinegar
1 Tbsp tomato sauce
1 or 2 Tbsp heavy cream
2 Tbsp burgundy wine
2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley

Parmesan Horseradish Potato Puree:

1 big russet potato
1 tsp salt + more to taste
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp cream
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp horseradish sauce

IMG_9038_cc_rs

To make the tripe stew.

As I mentioned before, tripe has a distinctive smell that could put you off, but if you can handle it, it will eventually go away and a nice beefy aroma will replace it. Place the tripe in a big pot of boiling water for about 30 minutes. Rinse the tripe and discard the cooking water. Place tripe back in the cooking pot. Add onion, carrot, and celery. Add the chicken stock and enough water to cover veggies and tripe, about 2 cups. Add salt. Pressure cook for 3 hours or simmer covered for 5-6 hours. After this, reduce liquids by half. Add sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer to a non-reactive container and refrigerate overnight. The next day, heat up the container so it goes back to its liquid state. Remove the cooked tripe and place in a strainer over the sink. After straining, cut up the tripe in small chunks. Heat up a skillet with some olive oil until oil shimmers (high heat). Add the tripe and brown, add the tomato sauce and caramelize it, you could lower the heat at this point. Add the cream, a spoon or two of tripe stock and reduce until thick and everything has a nice deep golden color. Remove from the heat. Add some chopped parsley.

To make the potato puree.

Peel the potato. Cut in medium size chunks. Place in medium/small saucepan. Fill with water to cover the potato. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Potatoes should cook in about 7-10 minutes. Strain but reserve about a 1/4 of a cup of the potato water. Place this water in a small container or pot, add the horseradish sauce, minced garlic, and grated cheese with about 1 tbs of cream and heat up. I used the microwave, but you can use a small saucepan or whatever works. The cheese will melt and the heat in the garlic and horseradish sauce will be tamed. Strain this through a small colander into the saucepan containing the potatoes. Add the butter and the rest of the cream and mash. I use a whisk, and whisk like there’s no tomorrow. Eventually, the puree will be smooth and creamy. If you want an extra smooth puree, you need to use a sieve or a fine strainer like a chinois. Whatever you do, do not use a blender or a food processor. As I’ve mentioned before, the starch granules will rupture and the puree will have a slimy texture. Taste and adjust the salt if needed. If the puree is too runny, place back on the stove over medium-high heat while whisking, reduce until the desired thickness is reached.

To serve.

On a plate, make a nice bed of potato puree in the center. Spoon the tripe stew over it along with some of the carrots. Spoon some tripe stock over it but not too much, just enough so you get a little liquid surrounding the puree. Garnish with some parsley and that’s it. Very simple plating, but the colors will pop nicely. If you don’t like parsley, still add a leaf or two, you can remove it before eating. There’s something about that vibrant green on a deep golden stew that is so visually stimulating. Enjoy.

IMG_9047_cc_rs

crema de apio y patata roja : cream of celery and red creamer potato : simple and bold!

_MG_6093_CC_cc_rs

I’ve made  this cream of celery and potato and I quite liked it. And it was also very quick to make! This is an easy recipe and it is also a basic preparation for many other similar dishes. I had extra celery in the fridge, and it was begging me to make something with it. I don’t have the ingredients for a bloody mary which I desperately need… but I do have some wonderful potatoes, so this was a no brainer! Keep in mind, celery has a very bold and bight flavor that doesn’t get too tamed by blanching so use wisely. A red cream potato is a wonderful little creation that yields a very white and creamy base for this simple and quick yet delicious starter! 

IMG_5971_CC_cc_rs

Ingredients (Serves 4):

8 red creamer potatoes peeled and cut in rounds

2-3 celery stalks with the leaves, coarsely diced

1 medium shallot, coarsely diced

1 garlic, crushed

150 ml cream

panko bread crumbs

kosher salt and black pepper to taste

a few drops of chili sauce

IMG_5972_CC_cc_rs

IMG_5976_CC_cc_rs

IMG_5984_CC_cc_rs

The idea behind any creamy soup like this one is to create a starchy base using potatoes for example and flavor it with a vegetable of choice, cream can be added at the end of cooking for a smoother finish and better mouthfeel.  Start by boiling water in a sauce pan or pot. Get all your ingredients peeled and ready. Once the water is boiling, add the potatoes, celery, garlic and shallot to the pan. Make sure you only have enough water just to cover the ingredients. Why? because this water will be used in the final  soup and you don’t want to dilute the flavors in too much water and it has to be only enough water so that the amount of potatoes and the rest of the veggies is the right consistency after you blend it.

IMG_5997_CC_cc_rs

Once the potatoes are fork tender, remove from the heat and bring out your immersion blender or use a regular blender. I rather use the immersion blender, less things to clean in the end, and a lot safer to use. A regular blender is fine, but remember to allow the veggies some time to cool down before adding them to the blender. Make sure you have a good clean kitchen towel, fold it once, put the lid on the blender (including that bit that covers the small opening on the lid)  Place the towel over the lid, and with your hand press down on the lid and blend, pulse a few times to get the blending started. The hot content in the blender will release a ton of vapor and that’s why you need to cover it tightly and protect yourself  from hot spatter. Then blend until creamy. Add the heavy cream and incorporate. Taste and adjust seasoning.

IMG_6052_CC_cc_rs

To finish, brown some panko crumbs on a skillet, this will take about 4 minutes. Once they are nice and golden, remove skillet from the heat and get ready to garnish. Serve soup in medium size bowls and drizzle with some olive oil, sprinkle some crumbs, add a few drops of chili hot sauce and devour immediately. This soup will stay in the fridge for a few days, and frozen for months. I sometimes make a decent batch of it and store it in single serving plastic containers which I store in the freezer.

IMG_6014_CC_cc_rs

Simple and delicious! Hope you enjoyed this one! Until the next post!