The Miniseries, Part IV

Just a warning, Part IV of this Miniseries is the extended edition.  The night it came time to try out the fourth menu, we reached the end of the meal and just kept going.  So hold on, because you are about to be introduced to not only a main dish, side, and salad, but also to a dessert and after dinner drink (of the adult variety).

The body of the meal consisted of Lemony Soup with Peas and Rice, Vinegar Mashed Potatoes with Kale, and a Garbanzo Caprese.

As usual, all ingredients were from Schnucks or Trader Joe’s.

LEMONY SOUP WITH PEAS AND RICE

I’m going to list this recipe with the caveat that it was no one’s favorite.  Just to make things worse, I also ultimately ended up spilling the last of the leftovers into my purse while running late to catch the last metro downtown in the morning.  So while there is no guarantee that if you made this soup your wallet would end up sticky and smelling like stale lemon, it is true that there are recipes out there that are probably more worth your time.

That said, it really wasn’t bad and could easily be better.  I made the soup with frozen peas.  If you do venture to make it, I would recommend cutting back on the lemon a bit and using fresh peas instead (Trader Joe’s English Peas are excellent).  I would also serve it as a side soup rather than making it a main dish.  It could be a lovely complement to a stronger dish, but was a bit bland by itself.

So (almost) without further ado, here’s the recipe.  I found it through Molly Moog on Pinterest, who found it at The Kitchn. You can check out their original recipe (with a much prettier picture) here.

Lemony Soup with Peas and Rice {serves six}

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups peas
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Sauté the onion in a large pot until translucent.
  2. Pour in the stock and the water and bring to a boil.
  3. Add half the lemon juice, the lemon zest, and the mint.
  4. Stir in the cooked rice and the peas, and bring to a simmer.
  5. Taste, and add more lemon juice if desired.
  6. Once the soup is heated through, you’re done.  Eat and enjoy.

VINEGAR MASHED POTATOES WITH KALE

Mashed potatoes are not a dish that I come across often as a vegetarian (there’s some sort of meat-and-potatoes bias out there).  However, I do love some good mashed potatoes, especially the kind with thin potato skin still mixed in.  Toss in some (a lot) of vinegar and kale (which I have discovered this summer and come to love…a lot), and I’m sold.  These potatoes were delicious, and it was nice having the greens mixed in.

I found the recipe through Lauren Conrad on Pinterest, but the credit goes to Ashley at Edible Perspective.  You can find her original recipe here.

Vinegar Mashed Potatoes with Kale {serves about 6}

  • 5 cups fingerling potatoes (or really any thin-skinned potatos), cubed
  • 4 cups kale, torn into small pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk (regular milk would also work)
  • 1½ tablespoons butter, melted
  • parmesan (optional)
  • freshly ground pepper (optional)
  1. Place the cubed potatoes in a pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let the potatoes simmer until they are fork-tender.
  2. Drain the potatoes and transfer to a large bowl.  Mash together with the vinegar and a ½ tablespoon of the butter.  Add the milk and continue to mash until the desired consistency is reached.  I liked it with a fair amount of texture.
  3.  Melt the rest of the butter in a pan and add the kale.  Sauté (stirring frequently) until the kale is just wilted.  Stir in the minced garlic for the last thirty seconds or so, until fragrant.
  4. Stir the wilted kale and garlic into the mashed potatoes, and throw in some Parmesan and freshly ground pepper too if you would like.
  5. Done.  Eat and enjoy.

GARBANZO CAPRESE

In case Episode 3 didn’t alert you to this, I will mention again that the caprese is one of my all-time favorite salads.  The peach caprese I made last time was so delicious that I was very excited to try out the garbanzo caprese (now all that’s left would be a caprese with a basil substitute.  Who knows, maybe next time I’ll create my own peach, garbanzo, and arugula “caprese”…which actually sounds like it could be pretty good).  This version replaces the more traditional balsamic with a blend of cider and red wine vinegars, which keeps the salad very light and fresh.  I’m definitely going to be making this one again, and I have Roni at Green Lite Bites to thank.  You can find her original recipe here.  I found the recipe through Elaine O’Brien on Pinterest.

Garbanzo Caprese {serves 4}

  • 1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • about 25 large basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • several cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon honey
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Combine all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.  Toss.
  2. Done.  Eat and enjoy.

This time I had almond milk to drink with the meal, which was a nice neutral complement to all the vinegar in the potatoes and the salad, especially since I had a bunch of almond milk left over from the potatoes.

After dinner, there were so many dishes that we decided to stall doing them by making desserts.  So, we came up with:

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE AND COCOA BAILEY’S

Remember how we tried to make strawberry shortcake on the 4th of July and burnt the biscuits that were made with rancid Crisco anyway?  Well, this time we got some fresh ingredients and did it right (it sure beat doing all the dishes from the rest of the meal).  So, thanks to good, old-fashioned Fannie Farmer, I now present you with How To Make Really Awesome Strawberry Shortcake Entirely From Scratch:

Strawberry Shortcake

Cream Biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1-1½ cups heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, and sugar in a large bowl and stir with a fork.
  3. Slowly add one cup of cream to the mixture, stirring constantly.
  4. Gather the dough together.  It should hold together and not appear “shaggy” with pieces falling off.  If there is some shagginess, just add a little more cream and repeat.
  5. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about a minute.  Then pat it into a square about a ½ inch thick.
  6. Cut the dough into 12 squares and dip each square in the melted butter until all sides are evenly coated (I never said this would be healthy!).
  7. Place the buttered biscuits on an ungreased pan, and bake for about 15 minutes until they are lightly browned.
  • 1 large container strawberries, quartered
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Once the biscuits are done, top them with the sliced strawberries and whipped cream and enjoy!

After enjoying our strawberry shortcakes, and since we were apparently on a roll anyway, we decided to top off our night of cooking frenzy with a relaxing (and dish-delaying) hot drink, which also allowed us to use up the rest of our fresh whipped cream.

Cocoa Bailey’s

  • cocoa (we used some Ghiradelli hot chocolate mix that we found on the tea shelf)
  • water
  • Bailey’s (or, if you’re like us, generic “Irish Cream”)
  • fresh (or canned, I suppose) whipped cream
  • vanilla extract
  • cinnamon
  1. Boil the water.
  2. Place a heaping spoonful of cocoa mix at the bottom of each cup, and top with the hot water.
  3. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Add a generous splash of Bailey’s (ahem, I mean Irish Cream) and a tiny splash of vanilla extract.  Stir again.
  5. Top with a scoop of whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon.
  6. Done.  Sip slowly and enjoy.

So that’s all for Episode 4 (extended edition).  Hopefully there was at least something in all of that that you liked.  If not, there’s still one episode left in the Miniseries!

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