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8/27/2022 ; best balls soup on earth

it is time

it is time for me to talk about one of the best soups i've ever made (second to the italian wedding soup, that is). the matzo ball soup. first and foremost, i have never had matzo ball soup before. but i have always wanted to try it, so i thought i would give it a go. and since i've been sick as well, i just needed something comforting and hearty to get over it. and i feel like this has been a big part in me getting better these past couple days. i recommend everyone make it, because it was actually so simple and easy. it only took me tops 30 minutes cooking it in my instant pot. here is the recipe so yall can try it out.

so first and foremost, make the matzo dough. i made this on one of my breaks for work, and left it in the fridge to cool until i made the soup. the recipe makes a point to state that you gotta buy matzo MEAL and not matzo MIX. i'm assuming matzo mix is sort of an instant matzo mix, so making it with actual matzo meal would come out a lot better. i couldn't find schmaltz in my local meijer so i used avocado oil. looking back, i wish i would have used olive oil to give it more flavor. but definitely schmaltz would be preferrable.

so like i mentioned, i made this maybe a couple hours before i actually started making the soup. once i started the soup preparation, i measured out a tablespoon of the dough to make the balls. i lined them out on a baking tray and put them in the fridge again to set. while they set, i sauteed maybe the largest chicken breast i've ever seen in my instant pot with olive oil, salt, pepper, dried dill, thyme, and oregano. once it was cooked, i took it out and shredded it with 2 forks, and then threw it back in to brown some more. once i was ready to sautee my veggies, i removed it and added more olive oil and cooked down the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and all of the herbs. this was salt, pepper, dried dill, thyme, oregano, 2 bay leaves, and half of a chicken bouillon cube. i added a little bit of stock to deglaze the bottom of the pot, simmered everything a bit more to soften, then added back the chicken and all of the broth. once everything was in there, i set the instant pot to soup and let it run!

that was pretty much the bulk of the work! after the time is up, i opened it up, set it to sautee again, and threw in my matzo balls. i boiled them for about 10 minutes to get completely cooked through, and that's it!

once all my matzo balls weere floating to the top, i served myself a giant bowl of it, and wow... i have never felt my soul being instantly healed upon eating something before. it was so rich, hearty, warm, comforting, and just stick to your ribs yummy! the matzo balls came out perfect, fluffy, and so flavorful! they just soaked up all the broth while cooking. just very, very, very fulfilling and just gives you that warm, cozy feeling.

i've been eating it for the past 3 days to see if it helps with my cold, and i honestly feel like it has. especially when i reheat it and it's extra hot and it just warms you up from the inside. also helps with loosening the build-up in my sinuses. overall, for how easy this recipe was, it is amazing and something i will definitely be making again!

8/25/2022 ; chicago munches and world's best soup

we're back!

so i have a lot to post about in regards to cooking, but i'm first going to start with all of the food that i got to eat while in chicago! this was probably the best part of the trip, all of the delicious food we were able to try. so i'll start with everything from the trip!

first thing i had in chicago was breakfast! we went to this restaurant called 'yolk' for breakfast and i had a very tasty horchata oat milk cold brew, and a berry and greek yogurt french toast that was delicious! super fresh and tasty, and a really huge serving, there were 6 slices of french toast on that plate! the cold brew was so good, too. the best of horchata and cold brew in one drink. would love to have it again.

and then... the star of the trip... do-rite donuts. this little place was right next to our hotel, and it was SO good. while we were there i had a ton of different donuts, and the regular and spicy chicken sandwiches. listen, i am not a "chicken for breakfast" person. i've never understood how people have chick-fil-a for breakfast, it just doesn't make sense to me. but... these chicken sandwiches were something else. the chicken was crispy, but still so juicy inside. the coleslaw, the pickles, the brioche bun... they were just so damn good. and don't even get me started on the DONUTS.

from left to right the flavors are: cinnamon old fashioned, chocolate old fashioned, apple fritter, blueberry crumb cake, maple bacon, and olive oil and orange. these were probably the best fucking donuts i've ever had in my life. their old fashioned donuts are just something else... the cinnamon old fashioned had this like cinnamon crumb glaze, and it gave it the most amazing crispiness. dipped into hot coffee? literally heaven. all the others were fucking delicious too! but out of them all, my favorite had to be the cinnamon old fashioned.

another one of the days we were there, we went to this like mini food court with a bunch of different restaurants. from here i ate at one called 'the happy lobster'. i got fish and chips with a side of a malt vinegar slaw. the fish was pretty good, some pieces were still a bit doughy but still tasty. the fries were really good, and that slaw was AWESOME. i had never tried a coleslaw made with malt vinegar, but i was very surprised!

The Boyfriend got food from the indian restaurant in there, which had essentially chipotle-style bowls with rice, veggies, and a protein with your choice of sauce. i forgot what protein he chose, but i know he got the butter chicken sauce, along with a side of these spicy cauliflower with a green cream sauce drizzled over them. the cauliflower was SOOOO good. spicy, fragrant, soft, smothered in sauce... really, really, tasty.

and that was pretty much it for the highlights of the chicago trip when it comes to food! we honestly didn't really try very many places, it was crazy and chaotic, but i'm glad i was able to try what i did.

so now... on to what i cooked!

when i got back, i immediately came down with a cold. it was so damn hot when i got to chicago, and then out of nowhere it started to rain, and of course i got rained on pretty heavily. then coming back to marquette, it's been pretty cool and breezy, so it was a recipe for disaster. so, i decided to try out a new recipe for italian wedding soup! and oh boy... this one was probably the best thing i've ever cooked.

here is the recipe i used for the soup, obviously with a couple tweaks here and there. i hand made 2 pounds worth of meatballs using a pack of ground 80/20 beef and ground pork. i used a tablespoon to measure them out because i wanted them to be small for the soup. the rest i put in ziplock baggies in the freezer to use for spaghetti or another soup in the future (probably this one again). i sauteed all of the meatballs in my instant pot in batches and left AAAALLLL of that delicious fond at the bottom of the pot. this was a good move, because it gave such a depth of flavor to the soup. if i remember right, i don't think i used the meatball recipe in the soup recipe, i just made one up. salt, pepper, fresh garlic and onions, italian seasoning, parmesan cheese, italian breadcrumbs, dried rosemary, thyme, and sage.

once the meatballs were all fried up, i threw in my veggies! celery, carrots, onion, garlic. the basics. sauteed those up with the herbs and seasonings, which were salt, pepper, italian seasoning, 2 bay leaves, dried thyme, rosemary, sage, a pinch of cayenne, and a quarter of a chicken boullion cube. added a bit of chicken broth just to deglaze and simmer the veggies, before dumping in 2 cartons of chicken broth into the instant pot. i threw in the ancini di pepe pasta, set that bad boy on soup mode, and let it go!

after the timer was up, i cracked open the instant pot and gave it a good mix before adding in the meatballs and 2 good handfuls of spinach. served it up with some parmesan cheese on top and my god.... literally the best soup in the world. hands down. every other soup can go home. i ate the entire pot over the course of a week. it was that good. i didn't even get tired of it either, it was so good every time. i highly recommend trying this recipe, it will water your crops, clean your water supply, grow your hair, put $100k in your bank account. all of it.

i am also a very big desserts person. i love me a good old tasty treat after a meal. being that i have an ingredients only household, i had to whip something up for dessert one day. enter: berry crisp.

if you're in need of an easy, simple dessert, this recipe was super easy! i had some strawberries and blueberries that were on the verge of going bad in my fridge, so i decided to throw them all into this. only thing i would do different in this recipe, maybe lower the amount of sugar you put in your fruit and add the juice of half a lemon. it was good, but the inside was just a tad too sweet with how sweet the crumb topping already was. the lemon will also add some zing to it which would go well with the topping just to balance the sweetness. but other than that, it was easy and pretty quick to make, and lasted me awhile too! i made it like a week and a half ago and i just ate the last piece today. would love to try this recipe with apples too... ooohhh...

last but not least, 3 days ago i made... garlic herb cheese bread. this was my first bread in a minute, i kind of took a bit of a break after coming back from chicago, but this bread justifies me having to make 3 more of this one this weekend. it was so easy, and so damn good... here's the recipe for this one.

here's that sexy beast before the oven. only thing that was a bit of a challenge was braiding the dough. all my cheese started flying out everywhere and it was kind of a mess. lesson for me to press the cheese into the dough next time so that doesn't happen. but it was so, so worth it.

i swear my apartment has never smelled as good as it did when i was baking this bread. and my sense of accomplishment and happiness when i took that bread out of the oven were unmatched. it looked so good, it took every ounce of self control to not cut into it the minute i took it out. i'm glad i waited, because the texture inside was perfect... so fluffy and soft. even without the cheese, this bread recipe was a winner. perfect for a loaf of plain bread for sandwiches.

suffice to say, i am very happy with how that bread came out and will absolutely be making it again. tonight is matzo ball soup night, i'll see if i can sneak in another post tomorrow about it. really excited, first time making it and the matzo ball dough already looks so good. but that's it for now, see ya!

7/23/2022 ; beef stew and honey wine


this is my very first cooking post and honestly, i'm so excited to finally be talking about my love of cooking that i don't even know what to write about first LOL so yesterday night i made a beef stew in my instant pot, and it's not the first time i make it, but i did do some different things from the last time.

so i guess i start from the beginning!

i first browned my stew meat in my instant pot with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. i always make this mistake, but BROWN YOUR MEAT IN BATCHES! it will release a lot of juices and it takes forever to evaporate until you actually get some caramelization. but anyway, once it gets nice and brown, remove it and you should have a nice fond (crusty bits stuck to the pot) at the bottom.

for my veggies this time, i used onions, lots of garlic, carrots, mushrooms, and baby gold potatoes. i threw in my onions with some more olive oil and tried to get them as cooked down and caramelized as i could. i then threw in the carrots, garlic, and mushrooms and let those soften up also.

once everything was looking cooked down, i deglazed with red wine. the type i have is a cabernet sauvignon, but any dry red wine is epic.

up there is just a picture of the pot after i added the red wine. for herbs and spices i added pepper, dried thyme, oregano, sage, and basil, 2 bay leaves, a baby bit of cayenne, half a beef bouillon cube, worchestershire sauce, and a squirt of dijon mustard. after i let all of that simmer for a bit to cook the alcohol off, i added back the meat and topped it all off with enough water to submerge everything. i then put the lid on and set my instant pot to meat/stew, which sets it to 45 minutes of pressure cooking.

after it finished, i set it to saute again and added in the potatoes and let it boil for a bit until they were soft. i had that for dinner with some instant mashed potatoes that i fixed up with half and half, garlic powder, pepper, and cheddar cheese and it was AWESOME! had it today for dinner also and it is so yummy. the rest i put in containers and stashed in the freezer.

after i finished up my hike today, i passed by the local farm store and picked up some of their house made mead!

it is delicious! i've been sipping on the birch pineapple sage one all night and it is just so refreshing and tasty. the mugwort mint lime one is also very good! i just know it would be amazing as a mojito with some seltzer and fresh mint leaves. and sugar on the rim... oooh

when i got home, i showered up and decided to make a banana bread! i had bought some bananas last week, and they overripened so quickly that i just said 'fuck it' and put all of them in ziplock baggies in the freezer. i perused on the ol' pinterest and found a recipe for a cinnamon banana bread that came out super tasty!

i really love how it came out because it used solely whole wheat flour, which gave it a nice nutty flavor. in the recipe, instead of 3/4 cups of plain sugar, i used 2/4 and then substituted the last 1/4 cup with dark brown sugar, and i think it added another caramely note to it. it would have been awesome if i had walnuts, but alas, i did not... i also did not make the crumble to go on top because i didn't have unsalted butter, but i imagine it would be awesome with it.

but yeah, that was my cooking escapades for today!