Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Potato Soup

Ingredients: approx. 6 servings
6-7 medium sized potatoes - diced into small cubes
1 large onion - finely chopped
4 1/2 cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 1/2 tsp salt - or to taste
black pepper to taste
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk

1 cup cheddar cheese
extra cheddar cheese for garnish

1. Peel and dice up potatoes and chop up onion.
2. Combine the potatoes, onions, and water in a stock pot and bring to a boil.
3. Lower heat to medium-high and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 min.
4. Once ready, take out about 1/2 cup of the water from the stockpot and add the 2 bouillon cubes to it and stir until completely melted.
5. Add the bouillon mixture back into the pot and add your salt and pepper and mix.
6. In a small saucepan, melt the butter medium heat.
7. Whisk in flour with a fork until well blended.
8. Slowly whisk in milk to prevent lumps from forming.
9. Continue stirring until mixture becomes thick, about 5 min.
10. Add the milk mixture into the stockpot and mix.
Next two steps are optional
11. Add 1 cup cheddar cheese and mix until melted.
12. Serve potato soup and top with cheddar cheese if desired.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Daring Cooks October Challenge - Stuffed Grape Leaves

Welcome to my first daring cooks challenge post. So after signing up for daring kitchen and waiting another two weeks until I can finally participate in the October challenge I was excited to see that we were making grape leaves. Being Middle Eastern myself this is something I have grown up with and and have been taught to make... so with that said challenge number 1 has been a breeze :)

Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of  Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

We were given the option of using two different recipes or even using one of our own as long as the recipe included rice. I went with a traditional middle eastern stuffed grape leaves recipe that i grew up with. Now onto the fun part....

Makes about 60 grape leaves, depending on the size and amount of stuffing used
Fresh grape leaves or 1 jar of grape leaves
1 cup rice - rinsed and drained a few times
4-5 small tomatoes - diced into small cubes
2-3 green onions - chopped
1 cup parsley - finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1-2 potatoes - cut into rings

1. Take grape leaves and dip into boiling water for about 5 seconds and place in colander to drain. If using grape leaves from a jar make sure you wash them first and if you'd like you can also place them in the boiling water as you would with the fresh leaves.
2. Wash, rinse and drain out the rice about 3 times and cut up all your veggies.
3. Mix all ingredients together.

4. At this point you can taste the water in the bowl and add more salt, lemon, etc to your own desired taste.
5. Lay a grape leaf on a flat work surface vein side up and fill with about 1 tsp of filling, again depending on the size of your leaf you may want to add more or less.

6. Fold in each side of the leaf and then roll from bottom up. Traditionally grape leaves are made to look thin and long.

7. Once all your grape leaves are filled and rolled, you can add them to your pot. If you'd like you may add a layer of potatoes or even carrots on the bottom.

8. Pour ontop any left over juice from the bowl that had the filling in it. Place on stove and add about 2 cups water and another 1/2 cup lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat and let simmer for about 45 - 60 min until the leaves are tender. Make sure to place a plate ontop of the leaves to prevent them from unfolding during the cooking process.