Sausage Potato Kale Soup!

Tis the season for perfectly cozy nights with a hot howl of hearty soup to warm you up! Practically overnight, Boston went from a warm-ish winter to bitterly cold and awful. It’s time to buckle down for the rest of the season and there’s no doubt about it that I want this soup by my side! And if you’re cooking for one, like me, this soup is perfect for freezing! Now you can actually stick to your meal prepping for the New Year!

Let’s get to it!

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1 large pot of boiling water, 2/3rds full
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 medium russet potatoes
1 large onion
6 slices of bacon (or more, I won’t judge you)
3-4 sausage links
1 large bunch of kale
1/2 pint of heavy cream

1. Begin by boiling the pot of water with a bouillon cube.
2. Wash, peel and cut your potatoes into small cubes and place into the boiling water. Cover the pot with a lid and cook potatoes until soft and you can pierce them with a fork.
3. In the meantime, chop and sweat the onions in one sautee pan.
4. Start cooking your sausage in another sautee pan. Ground sausage/pork/turkey would also work really well as a variation! When the sausage is fully cooked (very very small amount of pink or 165 degrees), slice and add into the onions draining off the excess fat.
5. Using the same pan as the sausage (just trying to save you an extra dish!), quickly cook your bacon without getting it too crunchy. Once cooked, cut into small pieces and also add to the sausage/onion mixture.
6. Once the potatoes are cooked, turn down the heat to a simmer and add the meat/onion mixture.
7. Slowly add heavy cream to the soup and mix just to taste.
8. De-vein the kale and cut into small pieces.Add while the soup is on low heat, stir in and cover the pot. Let simmer for another 10 minutes.
9. Serve and enjoy or save for another day!

Coming up on Tuesday is another deliciously hilarious guest blog post by my dear friend, Lexy! She last wrote about her horse girl trauma… Read up over the weekend and I’ll see you back here on Tuesday! You won’t want to miss it!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins!

The name might be a mouthful but I can promise you that these muffins are even better. Perfect for a special sweet treat in the morning or dessert at night. These are multi-functional muffins people! Get em while they’re hot!

I got this recipe from the Flour cookbook by Joanne Chang. I can personally attest to this recipe after having worked for Joanne for the past year. I did change just a few little things however, to make it my own! So here you have it!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
makes about 24 muffins

1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t salt
4 T flax seed
1/2 c packed. brown sugar
1/2 c plus 2 T sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c canola oil3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 T creme fraiche or sour cream
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 bag peanut butter/chocolate chips

**For this recipe, I added flax seed, used half brown sugar half white and added chips! Without these, you can easily make plain banana bread!

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and flax seed. I used a fork to “fluff” the ingredients if you don’t have a sifter at home!

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3.Using a stand mixer, whip the sugar and eggs on medium speed until they become light and fluffy.

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4. On low speed, drizzle in the oil so it has time to incorporate itself into the egg mixture.

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5. Add the bananas, creme fraiche/sour cream and vanilla and mix until the banana is broken down into fairly small pieces. This should only take about a minute or less.

6. Using a spatula, fold in the flour mixture by hand.

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Right before all of the flour is completely incorporated, add 1/2 bag of chips and mix only until combined as to not overmix.

7067. Only mix just until there aren’t any flour streaks left.

8. Portion the muffins about 3/4 full and bake until golden brown (about 15-20 minutes). You can also bake this full batch in a loaf pan but it will take much longer to bake in the oven!

7059. Wait until the muffins cool and VOILA! A delicious treat for any time of day.

704Let me know if you try this at home! Does anyone have any recipes they want to share or would like me to share? Have a good weekend and enjoy your muffins! Be sure to return on Tuesday for another blog post!

Restaurant Review: Deuxave!

There is just SO much I love about being in this industry, but I think what I love the most is the community. I’ve been finding that the world in general is a small place, but the culinary/food service world is even smaller.

When I started working at the Taj, we all I know I experienced the “its a small world” feeling with my awkward tinder moment (you can catch up by clicking here!)… But I also have connections with each of my co-workers! One of them used to work with my old Flour co-worker and the rest went to Johnson & Wales where our worlds somehow crossed from time to time.

I ended up going to Deuxave with two of my Taj co-workers to try the dessert menu by pastry chef Jamie Davis Schick (check out her instagram here!) before she moved on to the next step in her career. My friend April used to work for Jamie at No. 9 Park so we were treated as extra special guests at an extra fancy restaurant!

692Deuxave is located at 371 Commonwealth Avenue in the Back Bay area. It’s easily accessible by the T; its just a few minutes walk from the Hynes Convention Center on the green line. They also do valet parking for a pricy $18 or if you’re the luckiest person on the planet, you might find a free metered spot along Massachusetts Avenue. Deuxave is open for dinner 5 to 10pm on the weekdays and until 11pm on Friday and Saturday.

This restaurant is beautiful and definitely high end. Save your pretty pennies and dress up for a fancy night out! April and I waited at the bar for our friend Sarah and chatted with Jamie for a few minutes! I was definitely excited to try her menu and it was also really great to get to know her a little bit.

700After being seated, we were sent 3 glasses of champagne! We took a couple silly pictures, toasted and then reminded ourselves that we needed to behave in such a nice place. We perused the menu and picked one dessert for each of us to order with the intention to share.

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Also unexpectedly, we were sent an intermezzo. I’ts basically a pre-course to set the precedence for the rest of the meal. We were sent a fennel celery sorbet with compressed yuzu and tarragon. It was a really interesting mix of sweet and savory. The sorbet reminded me of chicken noodle soup- almost a little buttery!

696Our individual courses came out and they were absolutely beautiful. They were well executed with specific attention to detail. I’ll go through our courses one by one:

Local Peaches and Corn

691Corn panna cotta, hazelnut polenta financier, bourbon compressed peaches, peach sorbet and candied hazelnuts

Summer Berry “Trellis”

689White Chocolate Cheesecake, Summer Berries, Pistachio Pain de Genes, Blueberry Sorbet, Caramelized Puff Pastry, Pistachio Puree, Aged Balsalmic Glaze

Milk Chocolate Silk Ribbon

690Red Velvet Cake, Fresh Raspberries, Raspberry Sorbet, Cocoa Nibs, Malted Meringue

And again, we were sent EVEN MORE stuff! Jamie sent us the creme brulee with meyer lemon sorbet. The creme brulee was so creamy and rich and the sorbet was a nice change of pace from the fatty creme brulee. The sorbet wasn’t super tart because meyer lemons are small and sweet. YUMMM.

Jamie also sent us a new dessert in the testing phase!  It was yogurt panna cotta with a green apple gelee, chartreuse and apple sorbet, olive oil cake and green apple glass. The yogurt panna cotta was super super tart but I’m also not the biggest fan of yogurt. My friends were gobbling it up though! I really enjoyed the olive oil cake and green apple/chartreuse sorbet.

702Fat and happy, we were ready for our bill. We were sent little mignardise on the way out which are small bites (almost like mints that go with a bill). We each got a vanilla caramel, coconut macaroon and coffee bonbon. I WAS SO FULL AND HAPPY.

695They only charged us for the three plated desserts and our water (first time I’ve had that happen…) so our bill only came to $55 with tax. We each paid $25, leaving a healthy tip for our waiter and waitstaff who took such good care of us. I had an excellent time at Deuxave and was so happy to be able to experience someone else’s menu!

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On Tuesday, I divulge how to deal with crazy landlords and still walk away with a win! As stressful as adulting can be, it certainly isn’t boring. Have a great weekend eveyrone!

M

Spinach Artichoke Dip and Shrimp Dip!

I just had some of my girlfriends over to catch up after not seeing them for a couple weeks. Of course, I want to be a good host and put out a spread! I went to the grocery store and bought fruit, salad, stuff to make pizza and of course the ingredients to make my favorite shrimp dip and spin dip! It’s great for sharing with friends and gab the night away, so why not share it with you!

Spinach & Artichoke Dip 

591Prep Time: 15 minutes    Cook Time: 2 hours
**All you need is a slow cooker!**

1 box frozen spinach
2 cans artichoke hearts
1 small onion
1, 8 oz block of cream cheese
4 oz sour cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 T minced garlic
splash of red wine vinegar

1. Thaw frozen spinach the night before and squeeze all of the excess water out before adding to the slow cooker.
2. Drain the water from the cans of artichoke hearts and roughly chop before adding.
3. Dice the small onion and cut the cream cheese into cubes. Add.
4. Add the sour cream, cheese and spices last to the slow cooker.
5. Incorporate the ingredients with a rubber spatula. Turn the slow cooker on high and stir occasionally over the next two hours until the cheese is bubbling and everything is hot!
6. NOM NOM NOM NOM ENJOY

Shrimp Dip

592*Can be made with a fork, bowl and rubber spatula!*
Prep Time: 10 minutes

2 cans of tiny shrimp (can also be found near the tuna fish!)
1, 8 oz block of cream cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
juice from 1/2 of a lemon
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/2 t parsley leaves

1. Open one can of shrimp and drain the juice. Add the shrimp to the bowl and mash with a fork to break them apart.
2. Cube the cream cheese, measure the mayonnaise and add to the bowl with the shrimp. Fully incorporate with a fork.
3. Squeeze 1/2 a lemon into the mixture and add the spices to taste. Continue mixing until homogenous.
4. Using the last can of shrimp, add a tablespoon of juice at a time until it makes a smoothy consistency and not chunky.
5. Drain the rest of the juice and add the shrimp. Incorporate with a rubber spatula to keep some of the shrimps intact!
6. Refrigerate until cold and enjoy! I usually like to eat these with pretzels, an assortment of crackers and carrots! Yummy!

What are your go-to recipes for small parties? What are the fan favorites?  On Tuesday, I exploit a story about how my Tinder account caused the most awkward interaction of my life. You won’t want to miss it; it’s full of twists and turns! Have a great weekend and enjoy all of your snacks!