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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cream Cheese Brownies

I made these brownies mostly because I happened to have all the ingredients on hand and I needed a dessert for company. The recipe is from Let Them Eat Cake by Susan Purdy with some minor altitude adjustments for my mile-high location. I've put the original in too for you folks who are altitudanally challenged. :-) Also, I used full-fat cream cheese - because that is what I had. Purdy has written some of my favorite baking cookbooks: Have Your Cake and Eat it, Too (a healthier baking book like Let Them Eat Cake), The Family Baker, and an excellent high-altitude baking book called Pie in the Sky. Her recipes are well-tested and most are totally doable by novice bakers.

Cream Cheese Brownies
(makes 16, one 9x9" pan)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

French Fish Soup

Here's a simple, light fish soup but it's also hearty, full of veggies and chunks of fish. I made it with mahi-mahi but you could use halibut, bass, snapper, or shrimp. Its flavor is delicate - it's about the veggies and the fish.

French Fish Soup
(serves 4-6)

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
½ cup finely diced heart of celery, including some of the leaves
1 medium carrot, finely diced
½ of a medium green bell pepper, finely diced
1 teaspoon loosely packed saffron threads
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine
1 ½ cups unsalted chicken stock
1 ½ cups water
1 medium potato, cut into ½" cubes
1 ½ pounds fresh fish fillets, such as mahi-mahi or bass, cut into 1" chunks
½ cup chopped parsley
fruity olive oil for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and cook until wilted but not browned. Add celery, carrot, green pepper, saffron, salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Add wine, chicken stock, and water. Stir, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add potatoes, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Potatoes should be nearly done, but not quite. Add fish chunks, stir, cover again and cook for about 5 minutes, until fish is opaque all the way through - just done. Stir in the parsley, drizzle with a fruity olive oil if desired, and serve with crusty bread.

Adapted from The New York Times 60 Minute Gourmet, Pierre Franey, Fawcett Columbine, 1979.