Saturday, January 21, 2012

Quick, Easy and Flavorless

As desperately as I wanted a food blog, I told myself to hold out on creating one until I had a decent camera with which to take semi-decent food photos. Alas, I have no willpower whatsoever (perhaps this is why I come running when something chocolate starts calling my name from the opposite end of the grocery store) so here I am.

And I'm going to tell you a story about nasty soup.

A friend of mine gave me a new cookbook for Christmas. I love that cookbook. It inspired me to go through my old cookbooks again. It's like a rekindled addiction. Anyway, I happened upon The Best Ever Quick & Easy cookbook. Without stopping to question why on earth I'd want to make something out of a cookbook that advertised recipes that were both quick and easy (because lets face it, the best food takes forever and leaves you staggering out of the kitchen like a culinary zombie) I sent my husband out for the ingredients for onion soup.

Now, here's the kicker: I make a mean cream of onion soup, but my version takes at least an hour – and that's just the prep time. My husband and daughter both love my cream of onion soup. I figured if I could whip up this "quick and easy" soup and it was tasty enough to satisfy them, I could give up on my "It will be done by Easter. Maybe." soup.

I'll admit, I did question the fact that the soup called for almost no spices whatsoever, but I chalked that up to the fact that the flavor of the carrots and onions would be more potent without a bunch of confusing spices. Right? Right?? It certainly turned out pretty. I served it with beer-battered fish and parmesean wheat biscuits.

So there we are, my husband my son and I (my daughter opted to go to a friend's house and have pizza for dinner. At first I was insulted, but now I see that she probably made the right call) tasting our soup – expecting one thing and getting another. Finally my husband looked up and said, "It...has no flavor." 

Indeed, it was like eating warm, runny styrofoam. The fish was delicious and the parmesean wheat biscuits are definitely a keeper, but I've learned my lesson about cooking "quick" soups. Soups aren't supposed to be quick unless they come out of a can. 

But one good thing came of tonight's dinner: the biscuits. Here's the recipe if you're interested in making them. 

Parmesean Wheat Biscuits 

  • 1.5 cups wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/4 cup milk 
  • 4 tbsp parmesean cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Grated or shredded parmesean for topping

Preheat the oven to 425. Mix together the flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and drop it into the bowl. Mash the butter pieces and dry ingredients together with a fork until the mixture appears crumbly. Add the 4 tbsp of parmesean and the egg. Mix well. Add the milk. Mix until a soft dough forms. 

Knead the dough into a rectangle roughly 1 inch thick. Lightly flour a cookie sheet and place the dough rectangle on the cookie sheet. Cut "slices" in the dough bar. Don't cut all the way though. Your cuts should mark the place where you will slice the bar into biscuits when it comes out of the oven. This also helps it cook evenly. 

Sprinkle the grated or shredded parmesean over the biscuit bar. Bake at 425 for approximately 20 minutes. I found that I had to cook the biscuits a little bit longer to avoid a doughy center, but cooking times really depend on your oven more than anything. 

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