Justin & Meredith Winokur's Kitchen Cooking Notebook

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Roasted Tomato Soup and Philly Melts

Sunday, January 13, 2019, 07:19 PM

I made spiced tomato soup and grilled Philly Melts

Spiced Tomato Soup

I was craving soup and I saw this recipe on /r/GifRecipes for Spiced Tomato Soup (reddit,gtfcat,MOB's site) (LOCAL)

I followed the soup recipe with some changes as noted below (nothing major)

Ingredient Changes:

I was going to blend it in the vitamix so I let it simmer for 10 minutes, then I blended it, and then I let it simmer for a really long time (doing baby stuff and prepping other meals).

My other notes (after blending):

I didn't love it at first but I came to like it as I ate it more. It is pretty flavorful and kind of spicy. I liked the vinegar too. It added a nice bite.

Philly Melts

I do not know where we got this idea, but I made philly melts. I used Steak-Ums and made it two slices at a time (12 total for 4 sandwiches). I also used a bit too much oil on the pan with some onions but the end result was not too oily. We used havarti cheese since Meredith doesn't like provelone.

I did let Meredith do the grilling since I tend to burn them (and myself). They weren't as good as I had hoped. I think they needed some more salt in the filling.

Also, I planned three slices per sandwich but it was too much and there was some leftover steak.

Chili Potatoes

Saturday, January 12, 2019, 09:27 PM

Nothing particularly special, but I wanted to note that change from the first time we didn chili poatoes. I diced up Yukon Gold, roasted them at 400 (I think) for about 30 minutes. We liked this more than a whole baked potato.

Taco Stew

Wednesday, January 09, 2019, 02:13 PM

Meredith made Taco Stew.

More Biscotti

Sunday, December 16, 2018, 06:34 AM

Part II of holiday biscotti using my dad's recipe. The traditional ones are cherries and pistatios. I went heavy on the cherries since my dad did that for Thanksgiving 2018 and it was well received.

I also tried to make Rocky Road. I do not recall everything I did now since I am writing this nearly a month later, but I used the chocolate variant with walnuts and added marshmellows. The marshmellows sounded like a good idea but in reality, they just melted... Also, despite still using the same amount of oil, they were very hard to cut leaving big, very tough cookies! Maybe I need to cook them longer on the first bake so that they are easier to cut? I really don't know but I am very frustrated with the cholocate varieties this year!

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

Monday, December 10, 2018, 08:26 AM

Meredith made use Brussel Sprout hash with bacon (see A and B). It came out pretty good as usual.

Chocolate Hazelnut and Lemon Poppyseed Biscotti

Sunday, December 09, 2018, 08:07 AM

This is part one. See part two. I’m making more next week. They are all based on my dad's recipe

Chocolate Hazelnut

This is as much a post-mortem as it is a description. The plan was the use some Nutella. The main changes were to:

Well, the dough came out super, super thick. It was hard to work with but was also extra sticky. I was able to easily spread it and form it and it barely spread! As it was mixing, I added an extra tbsp of oil when it was mixing but that didn't help much.

I also opted to not chop of the hazelnuts since they are super round and I didn't want them to roll around. Well, I think that also made it harder to cut through. They got torn as I was trying to cut them.

And cutting them was extra hard because they weren't cooked enough on the first bake! You can really see in the pictures that they needed more time. So, in the end, I also had to cut them really thick. (I hadn't yet changed cutting strategies as noted in Lemon Poppyseed below).

And I did the toast step for longer (and upped the temp later). I think this was fine though they are pretty hard and pretty dense! (They didn't spread much in the first bake...)

I think they were pretty flavor though. You couldn't taste much in the batter but the final cookies had more flavor.

I think, between this and the pumpkin biscotti experiment, I should not mess with the amount of fat regardless of what I add!

Lemon Poppyseed

I made the noted change on the recipe to double (or more!) the lemon zest and juice. I ended up using the zest of four (small) lemons and the juice from 2.5 of them. It came together nicely (and the extra time mixing that we added to the recipe helped).

The real thing I discovered was that I do not like the serrated knife for cutting. I had much better luck with a sharp Santoku. I would still slide the knife to get an initial cut and then I could press down. This worked especially well for these ones since they do not have cherries or nuts to also cut through.

Other Notes and Tips

I used my dad's air-bake cookie trays for the first time with this. I liked that I didn't have to worry about them burning and I really liked that I could slide the loaves off the tray. Since I had only two trays and was planning two batches at a time, I always used one of the trays for either the loaves or the bottom tray when toasting. When I was in "batch mode", I baked the loves in the single upper-oven and toasted in the bottom!

Chanukah Happy Hour

Friday, December 07, 2018, 06:28 PM

We had a Chanukah Happy Hour with some friends, including my Dad (it was his last night in ABQ). We went low key and only made a few things. My dad took care of the latkes and Meredith and I made sufganiyot (Jelly donuts).

My dad made the latkes with his baked latke recipe in two batches. The first one, he replaced the butternut squash with zucchini (a la zucchini fritters) though the didn't drain it well. The second batch was normal except, because it had to sit while waiting for the others, a lot of water drained out. It still tasted great but he had to trim the parts off!

Meredith found this sufganiyot recipe (LOCAL) so we went with that. This was actually my first time deep frying anything and I think it went well. I heated the oil in the enameled dutch oven (which is good since it hold the heat). Getting the temp was a bit hard since my Instant Read thermometer only goes to 300° and the candy/fry one didn't sit well. I kind of guessed and it worked out well.

Meredith had halved the biscuits so they were a reasonable size (and they grew!). After they were done and had sat on paper towel, Meredith tossed them in a bag with granulated sugar. We used the piping gun to fill a few but then decided to let people spread whatever they wanted on them.

They were really good! I think I should get a thermometer gun though if I am going to fry things again!

Caprese Quiche

Saturday, December 01, 2018, 05:30 PM

Meredith had made this a few times. It is based on The Kitchn's Quiche. She sautés a few big handfuls of tomatoes and then, when they cool, she adds that to the custard. She then adds a big squeeze of basil paste (from the supermarket) and uses mozzarella as the cheese.

This is always popular and really good!

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