Two Soups: Crab Bisque & Thai Coconut Soup

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This past week, I made two soups. Woop woop, soup weather! I took no pictures of the process, but both of these soups were so good (and easy!), I thought I'd share the recipes anyway, with a few random photos.
This is our pumpkin tea cake (see previous post), topped with chocolate and pumpkin ice cream. We've been having this a lot, and enjoyed it after the crab bisque. 
Bourbon Collins for a nightcap.
This guy. What a little eater. By that I mean, he's a BIG eater. Here he's enjoying pasta with a goat sauce. He wants to eat everything we're eating, and then some. 

Crab Bisque

4 T. unsalted butter
1/2 c. minced shallots
4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 bgay leaves
1/4 c. flour
6 c. seafood stock
1-1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1  14.5-oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
1/3 c. tomato paste
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
3/4 to 1 lb. fresh or thawed frozen lump crab meat (I used canned)
1/4 c. dry sherry, or dry white wine
1/3 c. minced fresh parsley

1) In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add shallots and garlic, and sauté until very soft, stirring regularly for 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring regularly, for 2 minutes. Slowly pour in 1 cup of the broth, whisking all the while to break up any clumping. Then pour in the remaining broth and whisk again to incorporate.
2) Turn heat up a bit to medium-high and bring broth to a boil. Then turn heat down to medium and simmer for 15 minutes. Add cream and bay leaves, and bring mixture back to simmering, stirring and scraping the pan bottom occasionally. Stir in fire roasted tomatoes and tomato paste, and then very carefully blend the mixture with an immersion blender until very smooth. Stir in paprika and cayenne pepper.
3) Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the crab meat. Cook until heated through, about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the sherry and heat for another 2 to 3 minutes. Taste, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Ladle into bowls or mugs and garnish with fresh parsley, plus a sprinkle of smoked paprika and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve with good bread.

Thai Coconut Soup
(I looked over several recipes on Pintrest, and then combined a few that I liked)

1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
2 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
3-4 cups chicken broth
1-1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless thighs
1 large carrot, sliced into thin rounds
4 lemongrass stalks, bruised (cut off bottom 5 inches, peel off outer layer and smash the stalk with the back of a chef's knife)
handful of bamboo shoots
½ inch knob of fresh finger
1 tsp fish sauce
Fresh lime juice, to taste (I used almost 2 limes)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper

1) Combine milk, curry paste, broth, chicken, carrots, ginger and lemongrass in slow cooker.
2)  Cover and cook on LOW for about 4 hours, or on HIGH for about 2-3.
3)  Remove lemongrass and ginger.  Remove chicken and cut into small pieces or shred and then add back into the crock, along with fish sauce and bamboo to cook for another 30 minutes.
4)  Add in lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.  Ladle into serving bowls and top each bowl with a bit of cilantro.

I served this over a bit of brown rice.


Fall is for Pumpkin Tea Cake

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When someone asks the husband about bread baking and his best recipe, his reply is always "get the Tartine Bread book, it will teach you how to bake."

But when it comes time to make desserts, we rarely turn to the Tartine book. I think we've only made the lemon cream tart, which was delightful, bit not necessarily quick. Recently, the husband was inspired to open the big book of desserts again and found a super quick, super simple pumpkin cake recipe. It looked too easy to be good. But, it was better than good! It was super tasty and we made it again a week later. It's a great every day cake. If you like eating cake everyday, with a cup of tea, after dinner, curled up on the couch. Just saying.
 Stay away, baby!

Pumpkin Tea Cake
via Tartine

The ingredients are shown in the photo above.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

Sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

In another bowl, beat together the pumpkin puree, oil, sugar, and salt on medium speed until well mixed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides again, then beat on medium speed for 5 to 10 seconds to make a smooth batter. The batter should have the consistency of a thick purée. Make sure not to overmix, or you will end up with a coarse, tough crumb.

Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the top evenly with the topping sugar. Bake until a tester emerges clean from the center, about 1 hour.

Let cook in the pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Then invert the cake onto the rack, turn right side up, and let cool completely. Serve at room temperature. The cake will keep, well wrapped, at room temperature for 4 days or in the refrigerator for about 1 week.