Saturday, November 15, 2008

Taste & Create XV: Cozy In A Bowl

I love love love the monthly Taste & Create event, hosted by Nicole of For the Love of Food. If this is your first visit to my blog, and by chance you've never heard of T&C, please go here for wonderful inspiration and enlightenment. I participate in this event as often as I can. You should too!

Essentially, food bloggers are randomly paired off and get to peruse and prepare each other's recipes, then of course blog about it! It is an excellent opportunity to try something new!

This month, I was paired with Carly of Live. Laugh. Grow. Carly is a Canadian who has moved here to the States and is a relatively new blogger with a very cute blog.

I chose to prepare Carly's "Cozy in a Bowl:" Broccoli and Three Cheese Soup with Irish Soda Bread. I was impressed by how easy the bread sounded to make (no yeast??), plus my heritage is mostly Irish, after all. I should learn (know) how to make this bread, right? And Broccoli Cheese Soup is one of my favorites. I will post the recipes separately, because that's how I roll. Please follow this link to the deliciously simple Irish Soda Bread.

Of course you may recall that I live in the middle of nowhere. Literally. So finding cheese like the exotic Fontina (ahem) is a problem, and I'm always having to improvise. To see what cheeses Carly used, or for a more vegetarian version, please follow the link to her recipe below.

I was tempted to throw this soup together in a pot when I realized that I didn't have enough time on Friday for the crockpot, even on high. But I didn't. I decided to wait until Saturday. And then Saturday morning, I realized that two things were scheduled to happen:

1) our electrician was coming down to FINALLY attempt to address our half-power situation. Meaning we would be without electricity for an unknown amount of time.

And 2) Number One decided to switch out the water spigot on the side of our house so he could finish installing the bat and board siding. Meaning we would be without water at a critical time (when I wanted to rinse the dust out of the crockpot--this isn't because I never use it; it's because we live in the desert in the middle of nowhere and it's dusty!).

So. I hoped for the best. I diced the onion and gathered the rest of the ingredients for the soup. Then I waited. This all is typical of remote ranch life, by the way. Just so you know. I'm not complaining. I'm just telling it like it is.

The electricity was fixed in record time, before noon. Number One needed more parts to fix the spigot, so that job was postponed. I got the soup in by 11:30am, and cooked it on high just to be sure we'd have dinner at a decent hour tonight.

This soup is incredibly easy to throw together. It has a great flavor, but honestly I wasn't impressed by the texture. Our cheese didn't blend very well, and looking at the original post on A Year of Crockpotting, she says "The cheese will be stringy and will stick to the broccoli florets---that's okay!" Er, no, actually, it's just not okay. Also, because the cheese didn't blend well, our soup wasn't creamy, it was more watery. Flavorful, but watery + stringy in texture.

I don't know what would have made this soup better, possibly if I'd followed my first instinct and ditched the crockpot? Sorry, this soup just didn't do it for me...I only had one bowl.

Perhaps you'll have more luck, or you may believe that stringy cheese soup is "okay." For me, I'll stick to my mom's awesome recipe.

Broccoli and Three Cheese Soup
adapted from Live. Laugh. Grow.

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 20 oz. frozen broccoli
  • 1/2 large white onion, diced (I used yellow b/c I had one in the fridge)
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend (includes mozzarella, cheddar, provolone and asiago)
  1. Dice your onion pretty finely, and add to a 6 qt crockpot.
  2. Top with milk, broth, salt and pepper, and stir in frozen broccoli.
  3. Cook on high 4-6 hours, or on low for 7-9. You'll know it's ready when the onions are softened. (I cooked mine on high about 4 hours, and it was plenty done. I could have turned it to "warm" much earlier).
  4. 30 minutes before serving, stir in your cheeses.
  5. Serve. I garnished each bowl with a bit of cheddar cheese.


Carly said...

Hi Min,
I'm thinking the issue with the cheese's stringiness came from using (I'm guessing) pre-shredded cheese - it's normally dusted with an anti-caking agent that makes it melt strangely in liquid.

I didn't use much of that, mostly cheese I shredded myself, which I think is why mine didn't. You are right, it is a thinner soup than the traditional, which can mess with you a bit.

I'm so sorry you didn't like it - I feel somewhat responsible!

Min said...

Oh Carly, you're not responsible. I just think the recipe has mom's broccoli cheese soup uses shredded cheeses with no issues whatsoever that I can recall. I think perhaps there's too much liquid to start with, or maybe it just shouldn't be made in the crockpot (as you can see, my broccoli was washed out as well--just not very appetizing) Perhaps it would have been helped by blending it, as others on the original post resorted to...who knows. When I track down my mom's recipe, you'll see what I'm talking about. =) No worries!

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