I was supposed to go out to Milton to see my Wunderbar today…but what started out as a bright and lovely day turned into tropical storm weather right at two-o’clock. What time was I supposed to grab up my Awesome Babysitter and head out to the equine playground? That’s right, two-o’clock. Clearly, Somebody felt that today was not the day for mini roadtrips.
So I baked, and cooked, and cleaned instead. And you get to read all about it!!! Aren’t you excited??
The menu: Green Chili Corn Muffins and Cauliflower Soup. Mmmm.
I started out with the mini muffins, with Lauren strapped to my chest like so:
In case you didn’t know, trying to bake with a 7 month old strapped to your chest is…well, it’s like trying to bake with a 7 month old strapped to your chest. It’s a real pain in the back. No really, it will give you back pain. Also, said 7 month old will try to stick her hands into EVERYTHING. So why was I attempting such foolishness? My poor baby is cutting teeth like crazy, and it’s making her very clingy and cranky, and if she doesn’t want to be put down…well…that’s what I’m here for, right?
So the muffins were OK. To me they were a little bitter straight-out-of-the-oven, but that’s kind of the nature of cornbread in general unless you do the sweetened version, which is disgusting in my un-humble opinion. They did have a great texture – very crispy on the outside and kind of creamy on the inside. YUM. Anyway, once they were dabbed with some Shedd’s Spread, they were pretty tasty and I think they would have been REALLY good if I had added some super finely diced onion to the recipe. On a side note, I used to hate onions. I remember whining every time my Mom cooked with them (which was frequently, as you can imagine)…but somewhere along my adulthood I have grown to absolutely love the little tear-jerkers. Don’t tell anyone, but back in my single-life-in-Tampa days, I would sometimes just make myself a whole pan of homemade onion petals and call it a night. Healthy, right?
Sooo anyhow, while the muffins were a-baking (and this was an excruciatingly slow process, as I only have one mini-muffin pan, which makes 12 muffins at a time. This recipe says that it yields 48 muffins. It made 72 for me. Anyone wanna donate some miniature muffins pans to moi??) I vacuum-swept the kitchen, and steam-mopped. Look how handy I am:
I couldn’t find any replacement cloths for my Lysol steam mop at Wal-Mart, so I bought a giant on-sale box of Swiffer wet-mop replacement cloths instead, and safety pinned them to my Lysol mopper. Thrifty AND MacGyver-ey, no?
After cleaning the floors I got a-choppin (it’s fun to ad a- to things. what? you find it a-nnoying?) all the veggies for the soup. And look, I was thinking of you guys while I was working:
Ohh and while I’m being random, check out my awesome measuring spoons:
I really do love these measuring spoons. I know, that’s kind of weird, isn’t it? But they’re shiny and metal and they feel so precise to me. I love using them, and I still think of Gina every time that I do. She gave them to us for our wedding almost two years ago.
So what did Lauren do while this cooking extravaganza was going on? Well, part of the time she hung out with me. Literally. Remember?
When my back could take no more, I put her in her booster seat with a sippy cup of ice water. She loves sippy cups of ice water. I think the cold must feel like heaven on her poor tortured gums:
Then I moved her to the swing, where she watched some Baby Einstein and passed out:
Then she woke up and I nursed her and then the soup was done.
Just kidding…you want to know how that freaky sounding soup turned out, don’t you?? Well, it turned out kind of bland. I believe this is in HUGE part due to the fact that I did not pay attention to the amount of chicken broth called for in this recipe. I knew I had some broth in the fridge, and I assumed I would be good to go. I assumed wrong. I had 2.5 cups of chicken broth. The recipe calls for 8 cups. So I added 2 cups of water (so there was enough liquid to cover all the veggies) and called it a day.
Even still, I thought the soup was pretty darned good. I added some bacon pieces and a dash of cumin, and that brought in some much needed zing. This recipe definitely isn’t a new favorite, but I think it would be awesome first-trimester food the next time I am pregnant and in need of bland, but VERY FILLING meals. This soup fit that bill perfectly. I also think it would have a lot of potential as a potato soup instead of cauliflower, and would be more appealing to those who balk at the sound of “cauliflower soup.” Speaking of which, what did David think of it?? His words:
“OH. Mom warned me about this.” Thanks, S!
Honestly, I knew he wouldn’t go for it before I even made it. In David-land, if it doesn’t have meat, it’s not a meal.
So if you’re not completely scared off of these delights by now, here are the RECIPES:
Paula Deen’s Green Chili Corn Muffins
1 1/4 cups stone-ground cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (I only had about 1/4 cup of sharp cheddar cheese…so I used that and 3/4 cup mild cheddar. It was good with the blend. In fact, I will go so far as to say that it might have been even better with all mild cheese. What do you think about that, Mrs. Paula Deen??)
One 8-ounce can sweet cream-style corn
1 cup sour cream
One 4-ounce can chopped green chilies
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
-Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray miniature muffin tins (hopefully you have more than I do!) with vegetable oil cooking spray.
-In a small mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, salt and baking powder, stirring with a metal spoon. Add the cheese, corn, sour cream and chilies. Stir until lightly combined. Add the oil and eggs and stir until everything is just combined; do not overmix. The batter will be very stiff. The batter did not come out stiff for me at all. Photographic evidence:
-Place about 1/2 tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.
The Pioneer Woman’s Cauliflower Soup
1 stick butter
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or dried parsley (I used dried.)
2 quarts (8 cups) chicken broth or stock (do not be like me and only use 2.5 cups!)
2 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons flour
1 cup half n half
1 generous cup sour cream, at room temperature
lots of salt and pepper added to taste
Per Becki: bacon bits to top with. you will love it with them. trust me!
-In a large soup pot, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown. Add the carrots and celery and cook an additional couple of minutes. Add cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine. Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.
-In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Mix the flour with the milk and whisk to combine. Add flour-milk mixture slowly to the butter, whisking constantly until everything thickens up a bit. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup half n half. Add mixture to the simmering soup. Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.
-Just before serving, place the sour cream in a serving bowl or soup tureen. Add two to three ladles of hot soup into the tureen and stir to combine with the sour cream. Pour remaining soup and stir. Serve immediately.