Wednesday, January 30, 2013

SuperBowl Eats: Creamy Beer-And-Cheddar Soup

Soup and beer lovers, this one is especially for you.

If you're looking to spice up your SuperBowl Sunday with something other than the usual fare, might I suggest a filling beer-and-cheddar soup? Creamy and complex in flavor, it's a dish everyone can appreciate. Plus, who doesn't love beer and cheese?
INGREDIENTS

1½ cups whole milk                   
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

¼ fennel bulb, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, very finely chopped

1 dried bay leaf

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup pilsner-style beer (such as Pilsner Urquell or Brooklyn Pilsner)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 pound mild cheddar, coarsely grated (about 4 cups; preferably orange Wisconsin cheddar)

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 cups unseasoned plain popped popcorn

¼ teaspoon ground fennel seeds

DIRECTIONS

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the milk and the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low to keep the mixture warm.

In a soup pot set over medium heat, add the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the carrots, celery, onion, fennel, garlic and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 3 minutes.

Slowly pour in the warm milk-broth mixture, whisking constantly to avoid forming lumps. Whisk in the beer and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently and monitoring the heat so the soup simmers but doesn’t boil (boiling causes the soup to separate). Remove the bay leaf and stir in the Worcestershire sauce. While stirring constantly, gradually add the cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Transfer about half of the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve and into a clean soup pot set over medium-low heat to keep the soup warm; repeat with the remaining soup.

In a medium bowl, add the popcorn. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the ground fennel seeds and whisk to combine. Pour the butter over the popcorn and toss to combine.

Ladle the soup into serving bowls and serve topped with the seasoned popcorn.

(Picture and recipe via The Tasting Table Test Kitchen)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Clever Uses For Old Sweaters

Wondering what to do with that old college sweater? How about using it to revamp your favorite cozy pillow, a dilapidated lampshade or even a chair? This is such a neat idea and a great way to pass the time on a lazy afternoon.
 (Pictures via 79 Ideas)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Midsummer Night's Spring

Photographer Camilla Akrans flawlessly captures the essence of spring in this stunning editorial for the Blumarine Spring Summer 2013 collection. Model Anna Selezneva is simply beguiling. I half expect to see a band of fairies perched on the delicate rosy flowers. Gorgeous!
(Photographs via Oracle Fox)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Old-Fashioned Bathtubs

There is something about an old-fashioned bathtub that has always appealed to me, especially the ones that stand on four delicate pedestals with gilded filigree. It's such a timeless design (in my opinion). A freestanding bathtub will definietely be the main focus of my future dream bathroom. Oh, I can hardly wait.
(Pictures via here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here)

From The Philippines: Siopao (Steamed Buns)

You can guarantee that you'll find hot dogs, peanuts and cracker jacks at an American baseball game. But, do you ever wonder what comforting foods cultures around the globe love to eat while attending their favorite pastimes?

A popular staple in the Philippines, Siopao is the ultimate on-the-go handheld snack. Often stuffed with a quartered boiled egg, savory meats or seafood – they can either be enjoyed steamed or baked. They look so comforting, don't they?

Also you'll often hear lots of slurping at baseball games in the Philippines because the Filipinos love their yakisoba noodles.
INGREDIENTS
FILLING:

·  Canola oil
·  5 pounds lean pork shoulder, trimmed and diced small
·  4 ounces garlic (about 1 clove)
·  1 pound onions, diced small
·  2 cups soy sauce
·  2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder
·  2 bay leaves
·  2 ounces cornstarch (about 1/2 cup)
DOUGH:

·  2 1/2 pounds flour (about 9 cups)
·  7 1/2 ounces sugar (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
·  0.29 ounces  yeast (about 2 teaspoons)
·  0.22 ounces baking powder (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
·  125 milliliters cream (about 1/2 cup)
·  12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
·  Special equipment: baking scale
Directions
For the filling: Add some oil to a large sauce pan, and sear the pork shoulder in batches. When seared, remove the pork from the pan and reserve. Sweat the onions and garlic in the same pan. Then add the soy sauce, five-spice powder and bay leaves, then return the pork shoulder to the pan. Cover with a lid and cook low and slow until the pork is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
 
When the meat is ready, add the cornstarch to thicken the pork mixture. Allow the mixture to cool.
For the dough: Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and baking powder in a large bowl. Add 18 ounces (2 1/4 cups) cold water and the cream to the dry ingredients. Knead the mixture until it becomes a dough. Portion the dough into 2-ounce balls, then flatten and fill each ball with 1 ounce of the pork filling and a quarter of an egg. Then roll into a bun and proof the siopao for about 1 hour.
Steam the buns and serve.
(Recipe from chef Dale Talde)

Friday, January 25, 2013

My Spicy Buttered Shrimp

Spicy buttered shrimp is one of my go-to recipes because its so incredibly simple to make.
Spicy Buttered Shrimp
 
INGREDIENTS
1 lb of uncooked, shrimp, (unpeeled & deveined)
Lots of butter
Freshly ground black pepper
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
Finely grated lime zest and juice of 1 lime
Cayenne pepper
Red pepper flakes
1 Bouillon cube
Finely chopped parsley
A few sprigs of thyme
Lime wedges and crusty bread, to serve
Directions
Melt enough butter to completely submerge the shrimp. Place shrimp in a medium sized saucepan and pour butter mixture over it. Add the juice of one lime, its zest, thyme, garlic, bouillon cube, a hefty dose of ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, and pepper flakes. Then, bake for 15-20 minutes or until the shrimp turns rosy pink.

Just before serving, sprinkle with a handful of parsley. Serve hot with lime wedges and lots of crusty bread.
(Pictures via La Buena Vida)

Elie Saab: Spring 2013 Couture Collection


I love the demure sophistication of Elie Saab’s designs. He has entranced Hollywood's elite with his intricate embroideries and translucent cascading gowns. His haute couture collections have graced the curves of Amy Adams, Jessica Chastain, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and a slew of other beauties. Though he's been on the scene for a while, his reputation is just beginning to take roots in the fashion crowd.
Saab has dubbed his Spring 2013 couture collection “An Ode to Delicateness” – which I think is wholly fitting. Take a look at his ethereal multi-hued gowns below.
(Photographs via Style.com)
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