Monday, January 15, 2007

Chunky golden potatoes and tomato soup...

For the side dish to tonight's dinner, we needed to start by making Clarified Butter. I've never made it before, but it was actually quite easy. Basically all you are doing is removing the water and milk solids from unsalted butter - some solids float up to the surface, which are skimmed off with a spoon, while the rest sink to the bottom. What remains is liquid gold in the form of pure rich butterfat that is carefully poured out, leaving any remaining solids on the bottom of the pan. While it does loose some flavor, you are now able to sauté and fry without burning the butter as the smoke point is much higher. This also will allow the butter to be kept for a long time in the refrigerator. The process is the same for making Ghee - except you let the butter brown before pouring it out.

We used a good portion of this in the side dish for Yukon Gold Potatoes Sautéed in Clarified Butter. Large chunky pieces of buttery Yukon golds are given a quick pre-cook by bringing them up to a boil and simmering for just two minutes. Once drained, they are added into a large skillet that has been heating the clarified butter. The heat is reduced and the potatoes gently cook in the hot molten liquid until they are tender and form a delicious crisp browned crust. Fresh parsley, salt, pepper and a minced garlic clove are tossed in right before serving for a quick burst of flavor. There is not much babying to do with this dish, so it can easily be done on the background while you work on other things - Jeff proclaimed this his new favorite way to enjoy potatoes!

Tonight's dinner, Spicy Tomato Soup, is a great way to enjoy tomato soup off-season when fresh tomatoes are not quite up to par. Diced tomatoes get perked up by coating them in a generous amount of olive oil and broiling them until they begin to brown. This method worked well, except for the fact it made a mess in the oven. While you do drain most of the liquid away first, the juicy tomatoes were not so happy and decided to spatter a bit. Once colored, they are pureed in a food processor with a few cloves of garlic, a fresh red chili pepper (remove the seeds if you don't want it too spicy!), a thinly sliced carrot and plain soy milk. Once fairly smooth, the mixture is brought to a boil and simmered until thoroughly heated. Finished with a splash of lemon juice to add a zesty freshness, the soup has a pleasant full-bodied texture being thickened by the carrot with the soy milk adding a creamy background. In anticipation of making this deliciously simple soup again, I made a note to only add a drizzle of olive oil to the pre-broiled tomatoes next time and adding the remaining oil later on in the recipe to try and prevent the spattering.


  1. I'd like to a make a batch of the soup and freeze some for later. Do you think this soup recipe will freeze okay?

  2. Joe, what I like about the soup is that you used canned tomatoes. That makes it something that can be created in a flash. I don't always keep fresh ones around. Add to my "must try" list!

  3. Lowcountry Foodie - I don't see why it wouldn't freeze well!

    Cyndi - I hope you like it Cyndi! Jeff requested the soup for his lunch and even called me to tell me how good it was the next day!