Comfort Food

Okay.  So you all know that it’s cold here.  It’s about all I think about these days.  I think I may have found at least one comfort in these temps that don’t quite reach zero.  Food.  And not just any kind of food.  The kind of food that feeds your soul and wraps around you to give you a hug when you are cold and lonely (not to mention it will settle down around your hips, but I am choosing to think of that as insulation).

In this case, it centers around cheese and carbohydrates (my third favorite C, chocolate, will be featured in my next post).  Baked potato soup and garlic cheese breadsticks.

I am starting with the cheese bread.  Earlier in the week I attempted to make some cinnamon rolls and while they tasted pretty good, they failed to rise, and I was determined to master the art of yeast dough (after all, I have been using baker’s yeast in my laboratory experiments for years now).  I found a recipe in The Joy of Cooking.  I would have halved the recipe (as it makes a LOT of dough) but was unsure of how to split the one egg…

Garlic-cheese breadsticks

In a pot, add 1 1/2 cups of whole milk.

Warm up enough to dissolve 1/3 cup sugar.

And melt 1/4 cup of butter.

Add 1 T salt.

Let cool.

Meanwhile, dissolve 4 1/2 tsp. of active dry yeast in 1/2 cup of hot water (100 – 115 degrees) in a large bowl for 3-5 minutes.  I think this is were I went wrong with the cinnamon rolls – I don’t think I warmed my yeast enough.

Add the cooled milk mixture.

Beat in 1 egg.

And 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese.

Beat in 3 cups of flour until well blended.

Continue to add flour 1 cup at a time until dough leaves the sides of the bowl.  I added an additional 2 1/2 cups.

Knead dough for about 10 minutes.  (Thank you dough hook!)

Cover with a towel and let dough rise until it is doubled in size.

Punch down and roll out into ~1/2 inch strips.  Twist 2 strips together to form breadsticks*.

Cover and let rise again.

Brush with melted butter.  Sprinkle garlic salt and parmesan cheese.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

*This recipe makes way too much dough.  I only made one pan of breadsticks and formed the remaining dough into a loaf and baked for about half and hour.  I wrapped it up and stuck it away in my freezer).

Baked Potato Soup

I have been dreaming of baked potato soup for quite some time now.  I found this recipe in Cooking Light, but decided to use the full fat versions of milk, cheese and sour cream – because food is infinitely better in it’s full fat state.

Start with some potatoes.

Pierce them and bake for 45-60 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry up some bacon and set aside.

Once the potatoes are baked, peel and slightly mash them in a bowl.

Now, get a pot and add 1/2 cup flour.

Whisk in 4 cups whole milk until nice and smooth.

Cook on medium heat until nice and thick, about 8 minutes.

Add the mashed potatoes, and some cheddar cheese,

2/3 cup of chopped green onions,

and about 3/4 cup of sour cream.

Salt and pepper to taste. Combine and cook until heated through.

Top with more cheese, green onions and bacon.

Just about perfect.

Only Scott could warm my heart more.



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