Monday, January 20, 2014

Carrot Peanut Soup for Crazy Ingredient Challenge January

Were I writing this 3 nights ago, I would be telling you that I made a soup for this month's Crazy Ingredient Challenge but I really didn't think this was a wise choice. It was hot - the weather, not the soup. Well, soup is hot too. Granted, while living in Jamaica we drank soup almost weekly, not caring about the temperature outside. But there seems to be something criminal about drinking soup on a hot day in Miami.

However, here we are, a mere three nights later and I am glad that I made soup because it is FREEZING. Oh sure, I am exaggerating a tad. But 45 F in Miami qualifies as freezing. This soup is perfect for nights just like this. Our challenge ingredients this month were peanut butter and ketchup. I thought of doing an African Peanut Chicken stew that I really love or a satay sauce but then my mind drifted to soup - carrot soup. I love carrots but had never had a carrot soup before. It was time to try. And oh am I glad that I did.

The peanut butter lends a roasted flavour to this soup while the ketchup adds just a touch of acid. Curry powder and red pepper flakes help to round out the soup and make it a lip smacking delicious soup to drink on a cold night. My only regret is that I had not made a loaf of crusty sourdough bread to have with this soup.

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Carrot Peanut Soup                                                        
Recipe by:    Kelster
Yield:  2 servings
1 tablespoon oil
½ small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
1lb carrots, washed, peeled & cut into chunks
3 cups of chicken broth, divided
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon ketchup
½ teaspoon curry powder
Red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper
In a medium saucepan, sauté onions and garlic in oil until they have softened and the onions are translucent.  Add the carrots, 1 cup of chicken broth, peanut butter, ketchup, curry powder and red pepper flakes. Cook until the carrots have softened.
After the carrots have softened, carefully transfer to a blender, add the remaining chicken broth and blend to desired consistency. If necessary, add more water or chicken broth. Return to saucepan, add salt and pepper and let simmer for 10 minutes.
I used a chunky peanut butter but a creamy peanut butter would be great too. You can increase the peanut butter if you want a stronger peanut taste.
You can use all water instead chicken broth or both. I cooked the carrots in only a cup of broth at first so that I would have less hot liquid to transfer to my blender. Blending hot liquids can be dangerous.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

#BundtBakers: Chubby Hubby Mini Bundts


I love cake. LOVE it. I would eat cake every day, if I could. And if were being honest, I'd admit that I do eat cake a few times per week. Sure, I add protein powder and oats to a microwave mug cake and call it a post-workout snack, but it's still cake. I am always looking for reasons to bake a cake. One of my closest friends is having a birthday? Of course, I'll make her cookie dough cupcakes. Oh, she's in Jamaica? Oh, well, I guess I will just have to eat them for her.

I also love cooking challenges. I love the community and I love that it forces me to write down my recipes. They also help me to improve. I am a decent baker but I have A LOT to learn. There are so many things that I struggle with. But that's a post for another time. I currently take part in Crazy Ingredient Challenge and Sourdough Surprises (I post about this on my other blog) but most months, it's hard to use these challenges as an excuse to make cake.  One really can't make a focaccia cake. So I was chomping at the bits when I saw that there was a Bundt baking challenge. YES! A reason to bake cakes. Sign me up, PLEASE!

This month, for the inaugural edition of Bundt Bakers, our theme/ingredient of choice is  NUTS. We've got almonds and walnuts, pistachios and hazelnuts and lots of pecans - all baked into delicious Bundt cakes! I don't use a lot of nuts in baking and opted for a crunchy peanut butter in these Chubby Hubby-esque cakes. Chubby Hubby is a Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavour. It's a vanilla malt ice cream with peanut butter and fudge swirls along with fudge covered peanut butter pretzels.  In my interpretation, I made a vanilla cake, swirled in melted crunchy peanut butter and then covered the cake with a chocolate "ganache", topped with peanut butter stuffed pretzels and chopped peanuts.

Here is a list of what the other members made:

Bundt Bakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here.  We take turns hosting each month and choosing a theme/ingredient.
If you are a food blogger and would like to join us , send an email to Stacy at or ask to join our private Facebook group.
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“Chubby Hubby” Bundt                                                     
Recipe by: Kelster   Adapted from: Sweetapolita
Yield: 1 Bundt or 12 Mini Bundts
Cake Ingredients
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 ¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla
4 eggs, room temperature
½ cup peanut butter
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
Topping Ingredients
¾ cup dark chocolate chips
½ cup evaporated milk
2.5oz bag peanut butter stuffed pretzels
Preheat oven to 350 F. Thoroughly grease and flour a standard 10-12 cup Bundt pan or 12 1-cup mini Bundts.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy – approximately 5 minutes. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time. Beat for 30 seconds after the addition of each egg.
In a microwave-safe container, heat the peanut butter for 30 seconds. You want the peanut butter to be melted. If necessary, heat for an additional 10 seconds. Be careful not to burn it.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Starting and ending with flour, alternate adding the flour mixture (in 3 parts) and buttermilk (in 2 parts) to the creamed mixture. Beat until just incorporated after each addition.
If using a standard Bundt pan, spoon a third of the batter into the pan. Top with half of the peanut butter and carefully swirl with a toothpick. Don’t swirl too much. You want to have pockets of peanut butter.  Spoon another third of the batter and top with the remaining peanut butter and swirl carefully. Spoon on the remaining batter.
If using mini Bundts, pour half the desired batter into the pan, add 1-2 teaspoons of peanut butter and carefully swirl into batter. Top with the other half.
Bake for 60 minutes for standard Bundts and 15 minutes for mini Bundts or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. If the toothpick is not clean, double-check that you did not hit a pocket of peanut butter before returning cake to the oven. Cool then remove from pan.
When the cake has cooled, place the chocolate chips in a bowl. Heat the evaporated milk in the microwave for 30 seconds then pour over the chocolate chips. Stir until all the chips are melted. If the mixture is too thick, add more milk. If it’s too thin, add more chips.
Pour over cake(s) and top with peanut butter stuffed pretzels and crushed peanuts
I used a crunchy peanut butter but feel free to use a creamy one.