Summer Vegetable Chowder

Summer Chowder1 The Curvy Carrot

I’m completely pumped about my balcony tomato plants.  Finally..finally…they are starting to produce tomatoes.  It was funny because my parents came up to visit around Memorial Day weekend, and my mom and I bought the exact same plants.  She took hers down to Indiana, where they have been producing fruit for over a month now…and mine are just now doing so.  I’m blaming the incredibly mild Milwaukee summer we’ve had (although my air conditioner doesn’t mind…and neither does my bank account after paying my energy bills), but every single day, I walk out there to check on my little babies, urging them to get just a little bit redder and juicier so I can finally eat them with that fresh mozzarella I bought.

I’ve got various lines of basil and some kale growing, too, which is pretty much all the space I have for plants in a downtown spot.  I used the first bit of kale for this recipe, and I’m going to be using some more of it tonight….to make this recipe again.

I haven’t tried converting this to a vegan soup, but I think it can be done without a loss of flavor here (just omit the milk and substitute in vegetable broth).  I added in more vegetables to increase the nutritional content, including some red potatoes which, when pureed a bit, added to the creamy consistency that a chowder should (in my humble opinion) have.  Add in what you have on hand.  I’ve got an extra zucchini to use up, so that’s going in my second batch tonight.  The favor profile is great, and you can make this as creamy as you like-just puree a bit longer using either a blender or an immersion blender.

It’s filling, pretty healthy, and chock full of wonderful summer veggies.  Enjoy.

 

 Summer Chowder2The Curvy Carrot

 

 

Summer Vegetable Chowder

Servings: 6-8

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 cup sliced green onions

3/4 cup chopped celery

1 medium yellow summer squash, chopped

2 medium red potatoes, chopped

2 cups (or more, if you like) fresh yellow corn kernels (I used two ears of corn), divided

1 and 1/4 cup milk (I used 1%)

1 cup vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional, but it will give it a really good bacon-ish flavor)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups fresh kale leaves, torn and stems discarded

For garnish:  cheese, green onions, etc.

 

 Summer Chowder3 The Curvy Carrot

 

 

Instructions

1. In a Dutch oven or large sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering.

2. Add the green onions, celery, squash and potatoes, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.

3. Add 1 cup of the corn, mixing to combine.  Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened.

4. Add in the milk, vegetable broth, paprika and salt, bringing the mixture to a boil.

5. Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes.

6. Very carefully (and this is optional), using an immersion blender or a blender, puree the soup until you reach your desired consistency.

7.  Add in the remaining 1 cup of fresh corn kernels and the kale, stirring to combine.  Let cook until the kale has wilted a bit, about another 5 minutes or so.

8. Garnish as desired, and enjoy.

 

Source:  Adapted from Cooking Light, as part of my monthly contribution to the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.

 

July 31, 2014 - 11:41 am

Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl - I am totally a soup-making kind of person even during the Summer. I am excietd to try this!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Zucchini Bread 3 The Curvy Carrot

I spent last Sunday in the local emergency room with a busted-up finger and a huge bruise/scrape on my chin.  I won’t get into the incredibly embarassing details of how it happened, but let’s just say that it was a fall at high speed in front of a few other people. My ego bruised and humbled, I defiantly refused a trip to the emergency room right after it happened-wanting to wait a day to see if the swelling would go down.  My boyfriend applied ice and didn’t laugh when I was sobbing  (I’m sure I looked SUPER pretty with mascara streaming down my face, puffy eyes, and a bruised/scraped jaw/chin.)  The next morning, he called and demanded to bring me into the ER since the swelling of my middle finger wasn’t going down and I was still unable to move it much.

So, into the ER we went.

Now, as a physician, I have to say that being a patient for the first time in that kind of a setting was actually a bit scary.  The nurses made me change into a hospital gown (I didn’t want to).  They made me get on the hospital bed where they rolled me down to X-ray (I offered to walk-they said I had to legally lie on the bed.)  I know-physicians make the worst patients.  The female physician made my boyfriend leave the room and asked if he had hit me (Yes, I know, all mandatory and thorough questions), but it was still a bit hard to swallow being on the other end of things.

The good news?  No broken bones-just a pretty massive sprain and a very bruised ego.  And so, for the next few days, it was ibuprofen and ice.   No cooking.  No unnecessary typing.  Blog on the back-burner until I felt like I could actually use my hand a bit.  So I saved a good (no, great, actually) recipe for my current full recovery status.

This recipe is really good.  I love zucchini bread, but this one literally is one of the best I’ve ever had.  I made mine with whole wheat flour (you can substitute whole wheat pastry if you like-I was out.), and the texture/crumb was still almost cake-like.  Made with a little canola oil and applesauce, this is a much healthier version of a standard zucchini bread.  Served with a bit of tea or a glass of milk, my (never-satisfied) sweet tooth seemed content (for a bit.)

Enjoy.

 

Chocolate Zucchini Bread 6 The Curvy Carrot

 

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Serving: 1 loaf

 

Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons canola oil

2 large eggs

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 and 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 and 1/2 cups finely shredded zucchini (about 1 medium)

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Cooking spray

 

 

 Chocolate Zucchini Bread 5 The Curvy Carrot

 

 

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray; set aside.

2. In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or, in a bowl using an electric hand mixer, beat together the sugar, canola oil, and eggs, mixing until combined.

3. Add the applesauce, mixing well.

4.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

5.  Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, beating just until moist.

6. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.

7. Transfer the batter to your prepared 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

8. Bake at for 1 hour or until a tester inserted in the center comes out almost clean.

9. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack, and remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

 

Source: Barely adapted from Cooking Light, as part of my monthly contribution to the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.

July 29, 2014 - 9:14 am

Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl - Chocolate and zucchini sounds like a weird combination to some, but it is one of my favorites!!!

July 29, 2014 - 2:08 pm

Carol at Wild Goose Tea - Gosh, I am so glad this looks like a winning recipe. I was going to pin it and say something nice, because of your trauma—-mainly falling in front of a lot of people.
Sigh. I did that in a cross walk for no apparent reason. Skinned my knee—blood—-ruined by hose.
But as it turns out this looks great—moist and chocolatey. Whew I didn’t have to be merely nice.

July 30, 2014 - 9:38 pm

Annie - OMG Shanon! I am sorry that this happened to you but glad you are okay. I feel like any type of fall or spill is so much more ego-bruising as an adult than when we were kids, right?

Also, this looks awesome. I might have to make it to put in the kids’ lunches. I know they would love it.

Raspberry Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Buttercream Frosting

Raspberry Champagne Cupcakes 5 The Curvy Carrot

My sister got married last weekend.

I’m sure she will say the same, but it was one of the best days of my life, I have to say.  She looked beautiful, radiant, and had a permanent smile from ear to ear all day.  In the morning, it was rainy, but as soon as we got into the limo to take pictures outside, the sun came out (I’d like to think it was intentional on behalf of Mother Nature….).  The day went off without a hitch, and we danced and laughed until the wee morning hours (some of us more than others.)  Months of random emotional outbursts, errand running, and planning all came together in just a few short, wonderful hours.  What a day.  My baby sister isn’t a baby anymore.

 

 

Sam

 

Getting back into the swing of things, I decided to post this recipe from her bachelorette party.  Our theme was  “Andy POPPED the Question!” so we did a mix of champagne-related finger foods with lots of Sam’s favorites (including a homemade Chicago-style popcorn- recipe coming your way soon).  Going back into my archives, I adapted this old version of a traditional champagne cupcake with champagne buttercream frosting to include some fresh raspberries and some Chambord.  I loved the results.  Perfect for a bridal shower, engagement party, or even just for a rainy day, these cupcakes are worth a bit of the work it takes to make them.   Topped with some gold sprinkles and a candy melt garnish, they were a big hit with the other bridesmaids.

 Raspberry Champagne Cupcakes 3 The Curvy Carrot

 

 

Raspberry Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Buttercream Frosting

Servings: about 22-22 cupcakes

Ingredients

 

For the cupcakes:

2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (this is about 10 and 2/3 tablespoons of butter-I know, it’s an odd measurement, but do your best)

1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup champagne

1 tablespoon Chambord liqueur

6 egg whites

6 ounces fresh raspberries

For the buttercream frosting:  **What I have listed here is a doubled version of the original recipe, because I knew that I would want A LOT of frosting.  If you do not want a lot of frosting (or just a normal amount), please visit the original recipe for the halved ingredient list.

6 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 tablespoons champagne, at room temperature

1 tablespoon Chambord liqueur

For garnish:

Gold sprinkles, fresh raspberries, candy melt toppers.  **For instructions on how to make a candy melt topper, see here.

 

Raspberry Champagne Cupcakes 1 The Curvy Carrot

Instructions

 1. For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

3. In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using an electric hand mixer), beat together the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

4. In a separate bowl, sift together the  flour, baking powder, and salt, and then blend into creamed mixture alternately with champagne.  Add in the Chambord.

5. In another large clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

6. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, and then fold in the remaining egg whites.

7. Gently fold in the fresh raspberries. (It’s ok if you crush a few in the process.)

8. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full.

9. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  **Mine needed just a few minutes more.

10. For the frosting: With an electric mixer, beat together the powdered sugar and butter.

11. Mix on low until well blended, and then on medium for another two minutes.

12. Add vanilla, champagne, and Chambord, beating on medium for another minute.

13.  Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.  Decorate as desired.

 

 

Source:  Adapted from this recipe (see for original source).

July 18, 2014 - 8:54 am

Tori@Gringalicious.com - Gorgeous cupcakes! I love them.

July 18, 2014 - 12:07 pm

Annie - These are so beautiful! Love the presentation. And of course, you both look amazing and I am thrilled the day went so smoothly. Congrats to Sam and Andy!

July 18, 2014 - 3:34 pm

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - Awww so exciting for your sister! I love these cupcakes – gorgeous!

July 22, 2014 - 11:40 pm

Joanne - I’m making the desserts for my bridal shower (don’t ask..I’m a control freak) and these are definite contenders! Both you and your sister look so beautiful!!

July 23, 2014 - 12:25 am

Carol at Wild Goose Tea - You both were glowing beautifully. Weddings make me smile. As do these cupcakes. Oh my heavens they are romantic ones!