Sharing Is Caring! - Learning To Cook Blog at - 299058

Learning To Cook

Sharing Is Caring! 
Mar. 12, 2013 7:16 pm 
Updated: Aug. 3, 2013 12:51 pm
What a great dinner tonight! I just had to share it. Very often when I make a meal, there are hits and misses. Tonight it was almost all hits. And if I am not mistaken, it qualified as a vegetarian dinner as well.

For starters I made Simple Roasted Chickpea Snack. It was great, although the peas didn't cook evenly, and some were a bit soft and others had a great crunch. Next time I make these, I may try making them starting with dry chickpeas. I'm not sure if soaking and cooking them myself will aid or deter the process, but I'm willing to give it a go. The spice mix was really good, and it could be varied to produce some really tasty alternatives. I may try using some lemon zest in the next batch. I'm not sure what will happen. Hopefully something good!

Next I made an appetizer of french bread slices brushed with garlic infused olive oil with basil and red pepper flakes. Then I topped that with slices of brie and a few dried cranberries on top. This went under the broiler until the cheese was melted and lightly browned. The baguette started out life covered in sesame seeds which really added some tremendous flavor.

For our main dish, I served Lactose Free Corn Chowder relactosified. It was so changed that they really have little in common, but it was the recipe that inspired my version, which is not lactose free at all. What were my major changes? Well, I boiled the potatoes in water until just before they were firm tender. I removed a cup of the diced, cooked potatoes and cooled them under cold running water and reserved them. Then I drained all of the water from the rest of the potatoes except for one cup. Then I added in 28 ounces of vegetable stock, 1 cup of white wine, a Pinot Grigio and an herb bundle consisting of only some thyme and tarragon. I also added in the other leeks, green onions and two cloves of garlic at this point. After cooking the potatoes until tender, I removed the herb bundle and then used an immersion blender to make a nice, creamy soup base. Next I added the potato chunks and the corn, and about a 1/2 cup of sour cream followed by a cup of 1/2 & 1/2 and about a half cup of both grated Parmesan and Swiss cheeses. A garnish of chopped tarragon and green onion topped it off.

I was a little disappointed in that the sour cream may have curdled a bit. The soup went from creamy to slightly grainy looking. I should have removed the soup from the heat before adding the sour cream! Still, the girls loved it as did I. In fact, my youngest portioned out a cup of soup for her lunch at school. That made me feel pretty good about the soup over all.

With the soup I served more french bread slices with small plates of the garlic infused olive oil. I could have had a salad, but there were plenty of vegetables in the soup!

Last, for dessert I made the most amazing cornstarch chocolate pudding. It's called > Chocolate Cream Pudding. It has two egg yolks in the recipe, but I had three left from the other day, so I used three yolks. I also added a pinch of cayenne and 2 Tbs. dark cocoa powder. It was smooth and delicious, and unlike most corn starch puddings I've ever had.

I hope you enjoyed my dinner, but if it seemed a little lacking, you could try making these items yourself. I think you will really enjoy it! One small note. Instead of dried cranberries, you might try a dab of chutney on the brie!

Edit on Tuesday, 3/13/2013: When making infused oils at home, and in particular garlic oil please be aware that it can easily develop the botulism toxin. See this article: Safe Homemade Flavored and Infused Oils.
Mar. 12, 2013 7:24 pm
Holy cow, who woulda thought one of you meatavores could come up with something so....vegetarian dreamy!!! Lol. Doc this meal sounds SO good, I am going to look through your recipes and try to copy a lot of this. Well done from a true... Cheetotarian.
Mar. 12, 2013 8:30 pm
I use the roasted chickpeas as bribes to my son and nephew. They will do anything I ask. I shake the pan a bit and after the stated cook time I leave them in the oven at 250F for another half hour or so. Your dinner sounds really tasty to me. I find myself eating less meat as I get older and you offered plenty of protein so no one should have felt deprived.
Mar. 13, 2013 4:06 am
Lara, thanks but I'm not sure it wa vegetarian dreamy. IT was still fairly high in fat, but I think my tweaks really nailed the soup for flavor.
Mar. 13, 2013 4:08 am
BSM, thanks for that recipe. I thought about leaving them in the oven even longer, but I would have left them at 350 and ruined the whole mess! Glad I ate them instead. My oldest loved them, as did I, but my youngest was underwhelmed. I think she was distracted by left over cheese cake mini's she had made the day before!
Mar. 13, 2013 5:56 am
Good morning Doc,i see you also tried the Lactose free Corn Chowder,i did quite a bit of tweeking myself,as i did not like it,first time around.I wonder how your appetizer with the french bread would be with goat cheese?I make my own bread,so i sub.lactose free milk for the dairy,i think it is worth a try.Will have to take a trip to town for the cheese.
Mar. 13, 2013 8:32 am
I think goat cheese would be great! I had brie, Stilton, cheddar, parm and asiago on hand. I thought brie would be nicest of those. I just had a thought. I bet fresh figs would be good too!
Mar. 13, 2013 8:46 am
I bet figs would be.Will have to try to find some fresh ones.
Aug. 3, 2013 12:51 pm
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Doc Simonson

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St. Peter, Minnesota, USA

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About Me
I'm old and smelly, kinda like a really good salami with that really nice white mould all over it.
My favorite things to cook
Meat, carbs, meat, carbs, meat, carbs and did I mention meat?
My favorite family cooking traditions
Drop a plate of Pierogis and sausages in front of me and watch my eyes glaze over in pure joy.
My cooking triumphs
Schweinebraten mit Knoedel und Krautsalat. Also Edel Hirsch Gulasch was very nice. I make killer Spaetzle and Knockerl also.
My cooking tragedies
There aren't enough electrons in cyberspace! :) Actually, the tragedies usually involve well intentioned creativity out of control.
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