Friday, April 27, 2012

Don't Be Scared!

So my sister says to me the other day, "I think your blog might be intimidating because your pictures are so good".  OK. First, thanks Ouije for thinking my pictures are so good (although there are many that could be much better!) but second and more importantly- NOOOO! Don't say that.  The point of this blog was to get people to cook at home instead of eating out or buying processed foods all the time! Every recipe I have posted really is quite doable and to prove it, one of these days I'm going to rope my brother in law into trying one out (of course he'll have to let me take pictures!) and you will see.  I'm not saying he can't cook but he's more of a grill guy and I don't think he spends much time with recipes.  By the way we have not yet discussed this...but I've been meaning to ask him.  I'll get back to you on this matter.
Let's discuss what you should be scared of.  Hot Pockets. For real.  Check out this poster by graphic artist Justin Perricone .
This poster is an artful arrangement of all of the ingredients in a ham and cheese Hot Pocket.  No joke.  Scared yet?  You should be.  I have found an alternative in my trusty Food TV Magazine and although they take more than 30 seconds to make they are not exactly difficult.  Phoebe and I made Broccoli-Cheddar Pockets and Tomato Soup (not Campbell's).
The soup is really simple and really tasty.  It's a Rachel Ray recipe that I've been making for years.  Everything you need is in this photo.  You can get it going and let it simmer while you make the pockets.

Quick Tomato Soup (adapted from Rachel Ray)

2 15oz cans chicken broth
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup half & half (she uses heavy cream but this works just as well)
Coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper
fresh basil

Combine broth and tomatoes over medium heat.  Once it comes to a light bubble, stir in half & half.  Season with salt and pepper and toss in a few tablespoons of chopped fresh basil.  Let simmer for 15 min.  Puree with immersion blender if needed.

OK, that was easy.  Now on to the pockets.  Obviously these would be better made with homemade bread dough (which I will attempt at a later date), but since most people are pressed for time during the week, a tube of French bread dough will do.  You're still going to knock about 50 or more ingredients off of that scary list above.
First you will bring a medium saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add the broccoli and cook for 1 minute.  Drain, rinse, pat, move on.
Next you will shred some cheddar and chop some chives and mix with light sour cream and the broccoli.
Next, cut the tube of dough into 4 pieces and roll out into rectangles (that's not much of a rectangle Nelsy).  Then you divide the filling into fourths and plop it in the center and fold it up like a burrito.
A little egg wash on top and pop them in the preheated 425 degree oven until golden brown.  About 15 min (hey! that's how long the soup needs to convenient).
There.  Now doesn't that look better than something that has 9 million ingredients and was cooked in the microwave?  It does, just admit it.

Broccoli-Cheddar Pockets (Food TV Magazine)

Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli
1 3/4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 Tbs light sour cream
2 Tbs chopped fresh chives
vegetable oil for brushing
all purpose flour for dusting
1 11oz tube refrigerated French bread dough
1 egg

Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add broccoli and cook for 1 min.  Drain and rinse with cold water until cool; pat dry. Mix the broccoli, cheese, chives and sour cream in a bowl until combined, then squeeze the mixture together with your hands to make it compact. Brush a baking sheet with a little vegetable oil. On a floured surface cut dough into four equal pieces and roll out into rectangles. Add 1/4 of the filling to each one and fold in the sides like a burrito, pinching the dough to seal.  Place pockets seam side down on the sheet. Beat one egg and 1 Tbs water in a small bowl and brush over each pocket. Bake until golden brown, about 15 min.
There you go, a typically highly processed meal made a little more real. We've got a few ideas for some alternate fillings. I'll keep ya posted.

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