Today marks my fiftieth post at Crafty Cook Nook! I’ve always been shy when it comes to talking about my life. When I started this blog last fall, I worried that I wouldn’t have anything to say that others would find interesting enough to read. Fortunately, food is a great medium through which to build community, and I’ve met many inspiring food and lifestyle bloggers along this writing journey.
Thanks so much to my readers. I want to send out a special thank you to my dear friend, Monet. When I first moved to Denver last fall and was transitioning out of school and into full-time work, she encouraged me to make a go at blogging. She found a great deal of meaning through baking and blogging when she made her big move to Austin two and a half years ago, and she reminded me that creative outlets can make even the toughest experiences more manageable. If you haven’t checked out her blog, I highly recommend it.
Even though we currently live in different states, she’s been an incredible support for me during this past year. I love you, friend. If you were here, I’d queue a few Florence and the Machine tunes and serve up a big bowl of the soup and a couple of the biscuits I’m featuring in today’s post.
Here’s to fifty more posts and to friends who love you during your happiest and hardest moments.
Creamy Spinach Soup (adapted from a Vegetarian Times recipe)
2 Tbs. butter, divided
1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)
1 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds (I had no luck finding these seeds, so I settled for yellow mustard seeds.)
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 cup frozen shredded hash browns, thawed
3 2/3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 1-lb pkg. frozen spinach, thawed
1. Heat 1 Tbs. butter in pot over medium heat. Add onion, and cook 3 minutes. Stir in ginger, curry powder, mustard seeds, and turmeric. Cook 1 minute.
2. Add hash browns and broth, and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 7 minutes. Stir in spinach, and cook 2 minutes more, or until wilted. Purée with immersion blender until smooth. Serve hot.
Cheddar-Cornmeal Biscuits (adapted from The Newlywed Cookbook recipe)
Makes 10-12 biscuits
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup semolina flour or finely ground cornmeal
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
Dash cayenne pepper
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
10 Tbs. cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 large egg, beaten
Coarse sea salt
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. Whisk together the flours, baking powder, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Stir in half of the grated Cheddar.
3. Cut the cold butter into little bits and work half into the flour mixture with your hands, pinching the butter into the flour mixture until you see pea-size pieces. Add the remaining butter and continue to mix together until the mixture resembles couscous. Add the remaining Cheddar and toss together with a fork.
4. Add the half-and-half and mix with a fork until the dough just comes together with some dry bits remaining. It should not be sticky or tacky (if it gets to that point it’s overmixed). Rest in the fridge for 25 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F while the dough rests.
6. Turn the chilled dough out onto a clean countertop, adding a thin dusting of flour only if necessary. Fold the dough over itself twice and then pat into a rectangle about 3/4-inch thick. Cut into six biscuits using a 2-inch biscuit cutter or glass. Pat the scraps together and cut four to six more biscuits.
7. Transfer the dough rounds to the prepared baking sheet/tray and brush generously with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with additional black pepper and coarse sea salt.
8. Bake until evenly golden around the edges, about 18 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly on a rack.
9. Serve warm with butter, or dip it in that tasty soup mentioned above.