Fall Collab 2017

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When I was a little girl, as soon as the weather turned to a hint of fall, my mom started with her soup campaigns. Soup was on the menu at least once a week, and whenever the answer to “What’s for dinner?” was soup, our mouths would drag as we chanted, “thoop, thoop, alih ohvut thoop” which was just “soup, soup, every night soup” in our native language with a lisp on the s. I can’t explain it, it was just one of those weird kid things we did.

Chili soup was a favorite and we’d slide chairs up to the counters to grate giant blocks of cheddar cheese into blue bowls. My mother didn’t mess around in the kitchen, so her chili soup started with at least a pound of ground beef fried up with dried onion and plenty of salt, then in went jars of beans and tall 2-quart jars of her own canned tomato soup, harvested just a few weeks prior under the blazing sun. The soup eventually darkened from the bright red of vine-ripened tomatoes as seasonings were dashed and splashed into the mix. Bowls appeared around the table, and we finally sat down to bowls of chili, thickened with giant globs of cheese and handfuls of crushed soda crackers. And then silence, while everyone ate.

When I think of fall as a child, I think of soup, tractors in fields with disappearing stalks of dried corn, and fires sparking golden red orange into the night sky. I think of brown sugar bubbling up between the folds of dough in a pan of Momma’s apple rollups, the sun setting sooner, and silence falling over the neighborhood until you could hear the old man half a mile away whistling to his dog.

Nothing tops fall in the country.

So when Katie Ann and I began to brainstorm and plan for the fall collab, I knew I wanted to go back to my roots—back to soups in cold hands, people around a fire, community over food.

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That’s where the menu of soups and dreams of friends around a fire came from. So we figured, why not give it a shot? It couldn’t be THAT hard to do the same amount of work that we had done in the past and then transport everything (including steaming hot soup!) down to a communal campfire area. We may have overextended ourselves a little bit and encountered an endless tirade of bugs, but the end result was just what I had imagined.

Friends, soup warming bellies, laughter and tears around a fire.

 

Recipe Guide: Fall Collab 2017

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Katie Ann did a wonderful job, as always, of designing a beautiful space and thoughtful DIYs. She also created a delicious fall cocktail that paired so well with the hearty meal, seriously, it changed my mind about whiskey. To see her part of the collab, head over to her blog

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We started the night with a trio of crackers. I spread each one with brie and then topped some with my own pickled jalapenos, others with prosciutto, and still others with chopped walnuts and a drizzle of honey. I could make a meal of crackers and cheese.

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Sweet Potato Chili Soup
I’ve improvised on Momma’s chili quite a bit, but I have her same heavy hand with the chili pepper seasoning. One of my favorite changes to her chili is using sweet potatoes instead of meat. Not only is it better for you, but it tastes amazing! (Don’t knock it until you try it—I promise you won’t miss the meat.) Because I simmer my chili for so long, the single jalapeno pepper I use gets ample time to break down and turn into a warm burn at the back of your throat.

Ingredients
1 yellow onion
1 bell pepper
1 jalapeno
1 large sweet potato
2 jars of beans—I used one jar of mixed beans and one just of black beans.
1 can of corn
2 cans of tomatoes2 quart of tomato juice
3 tbsp chili pepper seasoning
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp cinnamon
Juice of 2 limes
½ bunch of cilantro, chopped
Olive oil

Directions
Heat olive oil in pot. Dice onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno and add to hot oil. Let it all cook down over medium heat until translucent and soft, about 15-20 minutes. Then add diced sweet potato, beans, corn, tomatoes, and tomato juice. Let that simmer for 30 minutes. Then add the seasonings, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper. Let simmer for another 30 minutes. Taste and adjust accordingly. Let simmer for at least 30 minutes more to get everything soft and the flavor melded throughout. I simmered mine for almost two hours, and the full flavor cannot be beat. Serve with avocado cream, tortilla chips, and extra limes and jalapenos.
 

Avocado Cream
Ever get tired of basic avocado slices? Yeah, me neither. BUT, when it comes to soup, I want a little bit of avocado in every bite. But with simple slices, that’s nearly impossible. In comes the avocado cream to save the day.

Ingredients:
1 avocado
1 cup nonfat yogurt (greek works best, but I used Silk yogurt for the dairy-free peeps)
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp cumin
Salt

Directions
Mash avocado and add yogurt, lime juice, cumin, and salt. For extra smooth cream, blend everything together. Yep, it’s that simple.

Potato Carrot Soup
Potato soup was another fall staple in the Burkholder household. My momma’s recipe used a ton of cream and was heartened up with bacon or diced ham. Here I’ve cut out the meat again, this time in lieu for carrots and rice vinegar. The result? A tangy, literal soul-warming bowl that will make you feel like everything, EVERYTHING is right with the world.

Ingredients
9 cups diced Yukon Gold potatoes (about 6 medium potatoes)
1 yellow onion
3 cloves of garlic
3 cups of diced carrots
5-7 sprigs of thyme
2 quarts of vegetable stock (One box is usually a quart)
1 bunch of chopped parsley
Rice vinegar
Olive oil

Directions
Heat olive oil in pot. Dice the onion and add to the hot oil. Let the onion cook down over medium heat until translucent and soft, about 15-20 minutes. Add garlic. I like to grate my garlic into the mixture so that it spreads over the whole mess over onions. Let that sit for another 2-3 minutes. Add potatoes, carrots, thyme, and one quart of the vegetable stock. Add more stock if the vegetables aren’t covered completely. Let that all cook down together for at least 30 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, season to taste by adding salt, pepper, and rice vinegar. I used about ¼ cup of rice vinegar for mine. It should give it a nice, comforting tang. Continue cooking to let vegetables soften. I cooked mine down for almost an hour to get the carrots completely soft for the blender. Continue adding stock as needed.

When vegetables are soft, remove thyme sprigs and discard. Working in batches, blend the soup in a blender. You could also use an immersion blender, but since I wanted mine completely pureed, I opted for the blender instead. Once all blended, adjust seasoning as needed by adding more salt, pepper, or rice vinegar. Enjoy with french bread.

French Bread
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve stopped in at Kroger on multiple occasions after work just to get a $.99 loaf of french bread, of which half would disappear by the time I got home. So I finally figured, why not make my own? And it’s the perfect companion for potato carrot soup.

Ingredients
1 packet of yeast
1 tsp salt
3 cups of flour
1 cup very warm water
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
1 egg white

Directions
Mix the yeast, salt, and flour together. Add the water, honey, and olive oil. Mix until well combined. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, at least five minutes (great opportunity to get all those frustrations out!). Once done, place dough back in the bowl and cover to rise until double in size, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Turn back out onto well-floured surface and divide into two equal parts. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and place logs on the sheet. Cut slashes diagonally across the top of the loaves, and let rise for another 60 minutes until doubled in size again.

Preheat oven to 375. Mix one egg white with a splash of cold water and brush across the tops of the loaves. Bake for about 30 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped with a utensil. And then, if you’re anything like me, dive in right away—doesn’t matter that it’s scalding hot.

Maple Bourbon Banana Nut Cake
This cake is the epitome of fall in a slice. Nothing beats it. That’s it, that’s all I have to say. You might look at before sliding it into the oven and think, “There’s no way this is going to work.” But oh friend, it will work, and it will work magically. This recipe has been adapted from Food & Wine, I’ve added a few more flavors to the pudding batter to make it more fall-ish and reduced the sugar in the simple syrup.

Ingredients
6 tbsp butter
½ cup superfine sugar
1 overripe banana
1 large egg
1 cup whole milk
1 cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup water
2 tbsp bourbon
¼ cup finely chopped walnuts

Directions
Preheat oven to 375. Melt the butter and to it, add the mashed banana, sugar, egg, and whole milk. Beat together until well combined. Next, add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Beat again until well combined. Pour into a deep 9-inch round baking dish. Next, combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, and water in a saucepan. Simmer until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in bourbon. Drizzle this syrup over the batter in the baking dish. It will all sink to the bottom, and that’s okay—that’s what it’s supposed to do! Drizzle with the walnuts and bake for 40 minutes.
 

Spiced Apple Pavlova
I love meringue—all kinds, any kinds. And pavlova is no exception. I usually reserve this treat for the summer months when I can pile them high with fresh summer berries, but I was craving a little fall treat, and I just couldn’t resist.

Ingredients
Whipping Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
⅔ tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp superfine sugar
2 tbsp honey

Spiced Apples
2 tbsp butter
3 cups sliced apples, about 2 large apples (I used honeycrisp)
½ cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pavlova
4 large egg whites
1 cup superfine sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat oven to 250. To make the pavlova, beat the egg whites until they get foamy. Add the vanilla extract. Then with the mixer on a medium speed, start adding the sugar one tablespoon at a time. When you’ve added all the sugar and you have stiff peaks, test a bit of the meringue by feeling it between your fingers. If it feels really gritty, beat it for a few more minutes. You want the sugar to be as dissolved as possible. Some people add cornstarch and vinegar at this point, but I’m a no frills kind of gal, so I skip it. Next, cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the meringue out in a large circle, making a slight well in the center for the cream and apples. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes. Let it cool completely in the oven to avoid cracks. Once done and cooled, remove from parchment paper to a plate or cake stand.

For the whipping cream, add the heavy cream to your mixer and start beating. Add cinnamon, sugar, and honey and continue beating until the cream is thick and stands on its own. Refrigerate until ready for use.

For the apples, warm butter in a large pan. Add the sliced apples and sprinkle the brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract over them. Mix together and let the apples cook down until they’re soft and have absorbed the flavor.

To assemble, spread the whipped cream on the pavlova. Top with the apples and drizzle any leftover caramel juice across the entire pavlova. Enjoy immediately.