Cast Your Vote! Comfort Food Cook-Off Round Up ~ The Garden of Eating - a sinfully good blog about food

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cast Your Vote! Comfort Food Cook-Off Round Up

Comfort Food Cook-Off Cook logo by Eve FoxRoughly 40 delectable comfort food recipes have been submitted from people around the world (if you don't see yours, let me know and I will add it.) I've been reading through them and drooling copiously for the past few days. Now the competition can begin!

Please cast your vote for the winner of the 2008 Comfort Food Cook-Off using the poll at the right.

Whichever entry receives the most votes by midnight on Thursday, January 31st will win the contest and receive a copy of
Macaroni & Cheese: 52 Recipes from Simple to Sublime by Joan Schwartz.Macaroni & Cheese cookbook prize

I hope you enjoy these wonderful recipes - I know I have. We've got a very diverse crowd participating and it is fascinating to see what consitutes comfort food to different people in different places.
I'm also somewhat amazed that although a few people submitted heavenly sounding mac and cheese dishes, not a single soul submitted mashed potatoes or chicken soup!

Anyways, enjoy them and don't forget to cast your vote and tell others to do the same since anyone can vote for the winner, it is not limited to participants in the cook-off.

My sincere apologies to the last three entrants, Laurie, Holly and Anali - I was unable to add their entries to the poll (because I had to add them after people had already begun voting) so they are unfortunately excluded from the voting. Very sorry!

2008 COMFORT FOOD COOK-OFF ROUND UP
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The
Perfect Porridge from Ulrike at Küchenlatein blog in Northern Germany

I call more
Perfect porridge from Ulrike at Küchenlatein blog in Northern Germanythan one dish comfort food, but today I was in the mood for the perfect porridge. The velvety texture and the chewy oats made me feel like heaven! It is quick and easy to prepare, I always have all the necessary ingredients on hand.

Ingredients
• 50 grams porridge oats
• 350 ml milk or water or a mixture of the two
• Greek yogurt, thinned with a little milk
• Clear honey, to serve
(If you don't want to bother getting the scales out in the morning, you'll need 1 mug of oats and 2¼ mugs of liquid. Any mug will do, as long as you use the same for both measurements)

Directions
1. Put the oats in a saucepan, pour in the milk or water and sprinkle in a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring from time to time and watching carefully that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Or you can try this in a microwave. Mix the oats, milk or water and a pinch of salt in a large microwaveproof bowl, then microwave on High for 5 minutes, stirring halfway through. Leave to stand for 2 minutes before eating.
2. To serve. Pour into bowls, spoon yogurt on top and drizzle with honey.
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Slow-Cooked Applesauce from Courtney at
Coco Cooks blog

Apple sauce is one of my favorite comfort foods. Ever since I was a child I could eat up jars of it. My tastes outgrew the commercial made canned and jar products. A blogger I Slow-cooked applesauce from Courtney at Coco Cooks bloglove did a post recently on hot spiced apples with all sorts of tips. I had been toying with making a apple sauce and I had come across this crock pot recipe.


Ingredients
• 8-10 large tart apples, peeled and cut into chunks
• 1/2 to 1 C. sugar
• 1/2 C. water
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions
1. Combine apples, sugar, water and cinnamon in a slow cooker; stir gently.
2. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until apples are tender

The only change I made was adding a cinnamon stick in addition to the cinnamon as it cooks. I can't describe the wonderful homey aroma that filled the air. The perfect aromatherapy for a lazy winter day. I plan to eat this alone or on top of Sunday pancakes or waffles. Makes 5 cups.


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Savoury Muffins with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Cottage Cheese from Mansi Desai at
Fun and Food blog

When we think about comfort foods, we tend to give in a bit more towards chocolate or desserts, but for some of us, savoury dishes go more
Savoury Muffins with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Cottage Cheese from Mansi at Fun and Food blogtowards comforting our palettes than sweet ones. I am one of those with a huge sweet tooth, and almost always give in to my dessert temptations; but lately, I'm trying to extend my skills by experimenting a lot more with new spices and herbs, and combining classic ingredients in a contemporary style to create a savoury tantalizing dish. This weekend, I decided to realize one of my whims - I'm a huge fan of muffins, and so I thought why not make a Savoury Muffin! When Indians think of comfort food, 9 people out of 10 zero in on "Paneer", or Cottage-cheese. So I too chose paneer as my main ingredient, then started adding other stuff, some inspired by my sense of taste and smell, some purely by instinct, and some simply because they are favorites!:) So what things finally made it into my muffins?? well, it was mainly Sun-dried tomatoes, cottage-cheese, garlic, spring onions, herbs and some more italian cheese. Does that sound inviting enough? Just wait till you actually bite into one of these;there's no going back!! Perfect for your mornings, or as appetizers or mid-day snacks, these savoury muffins are sure to make a mark of their own.

Ingredients
• 2 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 1/4th cup whole milk
• 1 cup cottage cheese - crumbled or shredded
• 1/2 cup mozarella and parmesan - shredded (optional)
• 1 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (oiled ones, finely chopped)
• 1/2 cup spring onions - chopped (white and greens separate)
• 8-10 cloves of garlic - minced
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 2 eggs - beaten
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• salt and black pepper - to taste
• 4 tbsp basil flakes (adjust amount to suit your taste)
• 2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes

Method
1. Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda through a sieve. Add the salt, black pepper, herbs, and red pepper flakes. In a pan, add the olive oil, then saute the white prt of the onions and garlic till it starts giving out an aroma. Allow to cool a bit.
2. In another bowl, beat the eggs to make them fluffy, then add to the sauteed onions/garlic mixture. Combine this with the flour mixture. Slowly add the cottage cheese, mozarella and parmesan, then keep mixing/folding gently as you add milk little by little. Do not overbeat, just mix to combine the ingredients.
3. Grease 12-muffin pans with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 350 deg F, then fill the mixture in the muffin pans up to the brim. Bake for 20-25 mins, and not more. Insert a tooth-pick in the center to make sure they are cooked. If the muffin tops look white, tun to broil setting and bake for 15 seconds, not more, or the muffins will get browned (the mistake I did!!)
4. Once done, allow them to cool on the wire rack. Gently remove from the pan and serve immediately with ketchup or a dipping sauce. Just add a dollop of fresh butter and you can enjoy these cute savoury muffins with your coffee or tea too!!
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Lil's Beef Stew from Denise at Chez Denise et Laudalino

At the beginning of the month I wrote about a chicken cutlet meal we had at our friends L. & P.'s home - the cutlets were outstanding as well as the beef stew she made. We have been talking about it all month and after a very long week and weekend, we decided
Lil's Beef Stew from Denise at Chez Denise at Laudalino blogwe needed some comfort. So we picked up the ingredients and slow cooked this fantastic beef stew all afternoon. The beef was incredibly tender, literally melted in your mouth. The stew is made with white wine so it gives it a beautiful color, not typical of your gray colored stews, when you use red wine. The vegetables are cooked just enough to hold their colors with a little crunch to them - perfect! The only addition I did was to throw some brown mushrooms in, that we had in the fridge. We served it with some crusty french baguettes and a bottle of Chateauneuf de Pape. Warm, cozy, bursting with flavor and very comfortable!

Ingredients
• 1lb beef stew meat
• 1 large onion - chopped in small to medium pieces
• Olive oil
• Flour to coat meat
• 1 cup white wine
• 4 cups water
• 1/4 cup tomatoes paste
• 4-5 potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
• 4-5 large carrots, chopped
• 1/2 lb green beans, cut in half

Method
Sauté onion in olive oil. Salt, pepper and flour the meat. Move onions aside (but keep in pot) and add meat. Brown meat. Once meat is browned, add wine and water and cook til meat is tender (about 2 hours). Once meat is cooked add veggies and tomato paste and cook until veggies are done (usually another 30 minutes). Turn off stove and let sit at least 15 minutes before serving.
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Saaru-anna from Priya at Food and Laughter blog

Comfort food almost always implies a simplicity, an ease of preparation and of the act of eating. No fiddly bits, no
Saaru-anna from Priya at Food and Laughter bloglast minute need to watch the dish as it hatches, no need to fool around with the sophisticated kitchen equipment which you have spent half your life and life savings to put together. It’s all about retreating to the quiet place deep inside where the world appears comforting and cozy…in many ways, comfort food is about recreating childhood.I think that’s one of the reasons that on days when we are stressed or the world becomes too cacophonous, most of us reach into that cupboard where we store the recipes of the food our parents fed us. It reminds us of a time free from all responsibility, when we knew that someone else would be around to feed us and look after us, hurt could be healed by a simple kiss and hug and someone knew all the answers. No matter how sophisticated a palate we develop as adults, or how accomplished we become as cooks, we reproduce the food that our mothers put on the table, and for a few minutes, in the act of eating the familiar tastes of childhood, we can forget the ambiguity of life as an adult.

For me, as a South Indian, comfort food has to include rice. I grew up on it, and we ate rice everyday, at a time when no one thought carbs were the enemy. We did have rotis occasionally – the unleavened bread of India. Dad made the most exquisite rotis I have ever eaten, thin, soft and multilayered, a lovely caramel colour, with darker spots of brown which were crisp. The rotis were so delicious that we didn’t need much else by way of accompaniment, a cucumber kosambri( salad) or even just a piece of homemade lime pickle and a bowl of homemade yoghurt – curds, as we call it – was enough. There is something about food that is made with love and dedication that elevates it into balm not only for the body but the soul.

But every day food for us was rice, and a variety of lentil preparations – saaru, huli, kootu, a south-indian style salad of finely chopped or grated vegetables with a splash of lime juice, finely chopped chillies and coriander leaves and the oil seasoning – hot oil with exploded black mustard seeds and curry leaves, and a vegetable made with the same seasoning but topped with grated fresh coconut. We would occasionally have something North Indian – chholey or rajma – but this was very much the exception, indulged in only when dad was out of town, because like most South Indian men, dad is a creature of habit. A meal means rice with the lentil dish, followed by mosaru-anna – rice topped with yoghurt, had plain or with a dash of salt, with a spicy pickle on the side.

Whenever I am feeling stressed out, I reach for my repertoire of rice dishes, accompanied by a lentil gravy. That and potatoes, which are the great comfort food cutting across cultures. The potato dish that comforts me most is a crisp potato sabzi, made from chopped, boiled potatoes. In a 1 tbsp quantity of hot oil seasoning of cumin seeds, you pop in the potato pieces and cook them slowly until they turn brown and crisp on the outside. You then flavour them with salt and chilli powder, and that’s it. I find it interesting that comfort food in many cultures is about bland and soothing food – for us Indians, whatever be the emotion, food has to be spicy! My favourite lentil gravy dish for comfort is saaru (
click here for the recipe).

Saaru is made out of tamarind water, flavoured with a special mix of spices and the addition of a tomato, some jaggery and salt, and if made with a smaller quantity of lentils can even be had as soup. The taste is sweet, sour, salty and spicy all at once. You might think that such a concatenation of flavours would be confusing to the tongue and far from comforting but one sip of it and I feel all content. Saaru is a particularly fragrant dish and while making it, the whole house is redolent with the smells of that hot, spicy mixture. As a saaru aficionado, you can tell just by smelling its fragrance in different homes what it is going to taste like – will it be on the sour side, will it have the right balance of sweet and sour, will it be too thin, is the masala spicy enough…

Saaru is topped with a seasoning made by heating fresh ghee ( clarified butter) – I always use homemade ghee which tastes and smells much better. You wait for the ghee to turn hot and then drop in a teaspoon of mustard seeds. Once they are done exploding, you pop in a pinch of asafetida-which I love the smell of – and curry leaves. The saaru is garnished with this and chopped coriander leaves which make a bright green contrast to the rust-red colour of the saaru. It is had with hot rice and in my opinion, best eaten by hand. You pour the hot saaru onto the rice which you have mashed slightly in your plate so it mixes better with the liquid. You quickly mix the two together, take a small quantity and make a ball of it, using just the tips of your fingers. You scoop up a morsel of the crisp potato vegetable alongside and pop the mouthful into your eager mouth. Aaah...bliss!
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Goong Goong's Homemade Pickled Vegetables from Y at Lemonpi blog

While everyone in the northern hemisphere is probably waxing lyrical about perfect roast chickens and plump sausages perched on couches of mashed potato, I pause for a moment to quietly recall how much I love such dishes, before
Homemade pickled vegetables from Y at Lemonpi blogrealising with a glance out the window that the pastel blue skies and gentle breezes of summer in Sydney evoke a completely different type of comfort food altogether : one which is equally comforting despite (or because of) the weather.

…….Since writing the above paragraph, it has been raining for days, and I’m actually beginning to fantasize about sausages and mash. Luckily, we still have a couple more months of Summer left, so there’s still time to indulge in the comfort food of hot weather, which is a combination of crisp, brightly coloured salads, juicy chilled slices of watermelon, fresh fruit ice creams and a tall glass of something icy with perhaps a generous splash of Prosecco, Campari or Pimm’s. Anything that makes you go Ahhhh! as you slump into a deckchair. Or failing that, as you collapse onto the living room floor, limbs akimbo, having reasoned that hot air rises and cold air sinks, so being closer to the ground should theoretically feel cooler to your sun soaked body.

I remember doing this as a kid, growing up in the heat and humidity of Malaysia. On particularly hot afternoons, I would be sprawled on the floor, strategically positioned under the whirr of the ceiling fan, reading a selection of Lat, Asterix and Tintin comics. Having had two childhoods; first in Malaysia, and then in Sydney, Australia, my personal version of comfort food skips between the two cultures on a daily basis. It has developed from things I used to love and still feel nostalgic about, such as :- steamed lotus seed paste buns- a big slice of blackforest cake- banana fritters- fried hokkien noodles with soy sauce- anything chocolate.. to things I find very soothing these days after a particularly long day at work : - still anything chocolate- a. bowl of blueberries- whole fish steamed with ginger and shallots- pickles and rice

The last on the list is probably my ultimate comfort food. The type of pickles can be anything from fiery kim chi, to Indonesian achar. Given the recipe and a specific set of ingredients, the end result can be physically replicated, but to completely understand why it’s so comforting, you’d also need to come over to my house, sit on my favourite bit of the couch, tuck your feet under my favourite blanket (weather permitting), and be eating it with my favourite person, while watching Robot Chicken. However, the recipe below is a good place as any to start.

It comes from one of Kylie Kwong’s earlier cookbooks, and is great served as a side dish or an appetiser accompanying a Chinese feast. You can also thinly slice the finished pickles and toss them through a chilled noodle salad (there’s a very good recipe for this in the same book) or through a green salad (utilising the pickling liquid in the dressing). It’s a great, easy recipe that yields a decent sized batch of crisp pickles that will last in your fridge for a long time (depending on how much comfort food you find yourself needing!). Just be aware that if you have a small kitchen like I do, you find find the assault of simmering vinegar on the nostrils a little confronting. Let me assure you though, that these tangy pickles are totally worth all the eye-watering and nose-hair singeing you might experience!

Ingredients
• 650-700g savoy cabbage
• 2 medium carrots, peeled
• 1 medium daikon radish, peeled
• 1 bunch red radishes
• 1/4 cup sea salt
• 2 1/2 cups white sugar
• 1.5 lt white vinegar
• 1 teaspoon chili oil
• 1/4 cup light soy sauce

Method
1. Slice cabbage in half lengthways, remove core and cut into irregular pieces about 5cm x 2.5cm. Roughly pull pieces apart to separate leaves. Slice cucumber and carrots in half lengthways, then cut into batons about 6cm x 1cm. Slice daikon in half lengthways, and cut into pieces roughly 3cm x 2cm. Cut red radishes in half. Place prepared vegetables in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, and mix well to combine. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
2. Combine sugar and vinegar in a heavy-based pot and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer, without stirring, until reduced and slightly syrupy - about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. Next day, pour the cooled syrup over salted vegetables. Add chili oil and soy sauce to taste, and mix thoroughly. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days to allow the flavours to develop before using. The pickles will keep, refrigerated, for several months.
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Veggie Strata Bisque from Melissa Hills at Oh, Mindy! blog

Last Tuesday, I made Veggie Strata. When I tasted the broth it made, I had a suspicion
Veggie Strata Bisque from Melissa at Oh, Mindy! blogthat it would make a good soup. It does. With the added steps of a sautéed mirepoix and blending everything up in the food processor, you’ve got a simple delicious soup fit for any occasion.

Ingredients
• 2 large tomatoes or 4 roma
• 3 onions
• 2 medium/large potatoes
• 2 large zucchini
• 2 large carrots
• 3 large stalks celery
• 1/2 cup cream or 1 cup soymilk
• olive oil, salt, pepper and whichever herbs you like (I used parsley, sage, rosemary and a touch of thyme, just to be funny and 2 bay leaves, because I love them.)

Method
Step 1. Veggie Strata: Preheat oven to 450°, slice vegetables (except one onion, carrots and celery), layer in oven proof pot or deep pan with oil, salt and pepper, cook for one hour and remove from oven.
Step 2. While your sliced vegetables rest, or about 15 min before vegetables are finished in oven, warm oil in soup pot. (You could add a tablespoon of butter here.) Dice up carrots, onion and celery. Cut as small as you care to, the smaller the pieces the quicker they will cook and the mixture will be smoother. (You can save celery leaves for garnish and reserve in ice water.)
Step 3. Add to pot in order of density, stirring to coat with oil. Salt and pepper. Sautée with herbs and spices until onions are clear, or carrots are soft, depending on whether you would like a thicker or thinner texture. Add one cup water and stir.
Step 4. In batches, blend vegetables with some broth from soup pot in food processor or blender until all is blended. (Now, you need yet another bowl or pot to keep the blended separate from the whole. It’s just soup, though, so easy clean up.)
Step 5. Put it all back in the pot on the stove, add water (2 cups) to thin, salt and pepper to taste, bring to a boil, turn down temperature and simmer, add cream. (If you use milk, remember that it might burn. Cream and soymilk are more forgiving when it comes to high temperatures.)
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Pork cheeks with White Beans from Núria at Spanish Recipes blog

A tribute to my grandmother. Here in Spain it's said that we don't throw anything away from the pork. And it's so true! Here you have a dish made out of its cheeks. This meat can be the more
tender meat you ever had. A slow cooking is the key and what else needs slow and long cooking??? Beans, yes! So it's so good to have them together.

This is such a comforting dish for cold winter days... Now that days are short and everything we can get to keep us warm is good, mother nature tells us we need some fat to ease the cold days. This dish will give you energy to face the winter temperatures.
Pork Cheeks With White Beans from Núria at Spanish Recipes blog
Nowadays, you can find tinned beans at supermarket, but I'd rather cook and eat them the old way, like my grandmother used to do. She was the sweetest grandmom on earth. She was a happy, independent, original, imaginative and funny woman! This toast and dish is for you, Angelina! The white beans she used to cook are a variety called "Mongetes del ganxet", you can only find them in farming villages near Barcelona, and it is said that, when cooked, they are the softest you can find! My grandmother had some tips: Never use the old harvest beans, just the latest one. Be patient and cook them for hours at such low heat that water nearly doesn't boil. If you see it boiling, add some more cold water to "frighten the beans" and drop the temperature. Don't add salt until the dish is nearly finished, 2 minutes before turning heat off. Use mineral water if the tap water is too heavy on lime. If you follow these simple instructions, your beans will be remembered as Angelina's beans are!

Ingredients for 4 servings:
• 300 grs white dry beans
• 4 pork cheeks
• 100 grs fresh bacon
• 1 onion
• 4 ripe tomatoes
• 2 green peppers
• 1 garlic head
• 2 thyme springs
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 carrot
• 1 leek
• some parsley
• olive oil
• salt

1. The night before, have the beans in cold water (double their height).
2. Have a big casserole with some olive oil in its bottom and fry the bacon and cheeks (salted) until they get golden.
3. Once they are golden take away from the casserole and reserve in a plate.
4. Cut the onion and convert the ripe tomatoes into a sauce (no peels) and start a sofrito.
5. In the same oil you cooked the cheeks and bacon, throw the onion and once it’s transparent add the tomatoes sauce. Have the heat medium/low and keep on stirring until you get the perfect sofrito: Tomato seems to dissapear and it gets oily again (see pictures in Power Point to get a better view).
6. Take the cheeks and bacon back to the casserole and stir so that all flavours mix (1 minute).
7. Then add cold mineral water till you cover the cheeks and then add the strained beans, the peppers, carrot, garlic head, leek, thyme and bay leaf (all cleaned). Don’t add salt!!!! The beans could become too hard and not soft at all. We want them to be very soft.
8. It’s no good for the beans to boil, so we we'll keep the casserole hot, nearly boiling for 3 hours, if anytime, you see it boiling, add some cold water to stop the process.
9. When beans are new and not from last years’ maybe they will be cooked in 2 hours, just keep an eye on them.It's always better to use the latest harvest beans. 2 Minutes before turning off the heat, add salt to your taste.
10. Prepare the dish with the green pepper, beans, cheek without the bone and some sauce.
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Potato Cilantro Soup from Suzana at Home Gourmets blog

Soup is definitely my comfort food. It brings this sense of home, it reminds me of my grandma and my childhood. I grew up watching my grandma run a family kitchen where no one could set foot if it wasn't to eat. The reason why she'd make
Potato Cilantro Soup from Suzana at Home Gourmets blogeverything in a heart bit was that she had full control of food, kitchen and family members. Her soups (as most her food) were no fuss, savoury and delicious - it took me years to understand why other kids wouldn't like soup because I always thought that every soup would be like grandma's. When I had to decide which one would represent better my comfort food, Potato Cilantro Soup came easily to mind. It's both simple and tasty and cilantro is my all time favourite herb.

Potato Cilantro Soup
Serves 6

• 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
• 1 large onion
• 1 medium turnip
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 garlic glove, chopped
• 6 cups vegetable stock or water
• 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
• 1 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

Peel and dice the potatoes, the onion and the turnip. In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onion and the garlic to the oil and sweat until they are softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add the potatoes and the turnip and stir well to prevent sticking. Add the stock. Season to taste. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook until the potatoes and turnip are soft, about 20 minutes. Add cilantro and remove from heat. Blend in a food processor until smooth. Season if necessary.

My grandmother would garnish it with chopped boiled egg, which I also did but added some Parmesan as well and tried a different option with chopped cilantro and sausage, for my carnivore hubby.
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Roasted Vegetable Soup with Toasted Croutons from Deeba at Passionate About Baking blog

It's been a chilly winter so far, with winds threatening to sweep you off your feet. I read about a roasted vegetable soup eons ago, & its always been at the back of my mind to make it someday. A trip to the market tempted me to buy an array of fresh veggies...& then I trotted back home to set to work. Roasting these vegetables enhances flavours & makes the soup taste quite different. The result was a nice, full-bodied & wholesome soup, which I served with oven-toasted croutons made out of wholewheat bread. Healthy, warming & sumptuous all the way!

Roasted Vegetable Soup with Toasted Croutons from Deeba at Passionate About Baking blog
Ingredients:
Tomatoes - 1 kg
Zucchinis - 3 small
Bell Peppers - 2 (1 each yellow & red)
Spring Onions - 4 ( with some greens)
Garlic - 6-8 cloves (adjust according to personal taste)
Butter - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1 small/ chopped
White pepper
Salt to taste
Light cream - 1 tsp

Method:
• Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
• Cut all the vegetables up roughly. Not too small because they shrink as they roast. You can toss them in olive oil & seasonings if you like. I didn't, because I used a little butter later.
• Put onto a foil lined baking sheet & roast for 15 minutes, turn/stir on sheet, & roast for a further 15 minutes, till the edges start getting done.
• Heat the butter in a deep pan.
• Add the chopped onion & white pepper; saute till onions are light pink.
• Transfer the vegetables into the pan, give a good stir, top with about 1 1/2 cups of water & simmer for about 30 minutes.
• Cool, blend & pass through a soup strainer.
• Heat & serve in bowls with a drizzle of cream & croutons.

For the croutons:
Wholewheat bread - 3 slices / cubed
Olive oil- 1 tbsp
Oregano -1 tsp
Salt & pepper to taste

Method:
• Toss the bread cubes with everything.
• Spread evenly over a baking sheet & toast at 180 degrees for 10 minutes, stirring through once.
• Keep a close eye on them as they tend to over brown suddenly.
• Switch off the oven & leave in there to cool.
• Store in an airtight box.
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Sardines on Toast from African Vanielje at
Vanielje Kitchen blog

It is impossible to pick one comfort food for winter as there are so many, but I can try to define the parameters of what makes a meal comfort food. To me it has to be quick to prepare because when I want
Sardines on Toast - a retro supper from African Vanielje at Vanielje Kitchen blogcomfort food I want it now and I don’t want to slave over it. It definitely has to have carbs, because in my mind comfort food is always associated with cold weather and I can never have too many layers in winter, even if some of them are biological rather than material. It has to be easy to eat, read spoon it in and slurp it up, or eat it with your fingers. And lastly, it has to make me sigh with contentment after one bite.Sometimes the sigh is pure sugar / carb rush but sometimes it is more ephemeral comfort: The memory of being tucked up with hot water bottles in front of a log fire, watching Star Trek or MacGyver. Yes I know this dates me, but we were only allowed to watch television for one hour on Friday nights and we made the most of it. As a general rule we ate at the table, and laying the table was one of our chores. Even breakfast was eaten all together at a fully laid table with cereals, fresh OJ, fruit platters and fresh cooked eggs and toast. But every so often, we got to eat a TV Dinner. The very thought of this made our eyes round with excitement and we instantly snapped into best behaviour mode in case this privilege was rescinded. And I’m not quite sure what other people’s TV Dinners were, but ours were generally things that you could eat with your fingers whilst curled up on the sofa. Hot mugs of thick veg and barley soup, toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches, fresh cucumber, celery and carrot crudites in summer, and on blustery wet nights, tinned sardines on toast.I think it is one of the very few things my mother ever made from a tin. Of course fresh sardines, straight off the boat were another luxury altogether and merited completely different treatment, but this TV Dinner was all about store cupboard convenience. The toast however, was from homemade bread. Whether or not you have homemade bread or store-bought, it is simplicity itself to toast a few slices, open a tin of sardines and mash them onto the toast with a fork and squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on them. This is really all they need, but you could also add some roasted tomatoes or a smear of slow cooked tomato and garlic sauce.There’s nothing really to add to that, and as comfort food goes, it’s pretty healthy too. Sometimes I am thankful to Winter for reminding me of old favourites and how truly delicious simplicity can be. So tonight, it is a wet and blustery Friday night. I could almost believe that a Cape Storm is rolling in. My husband is picking up a couple of DVD’s on his way home, and we’re settling in for a rare, but comforting night of TV Dinners, retro style.
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Mac 'n Cheese from Dhivya Karthik at Culinary Bazaar blog

WARNING : If you are on a diet, don't read this post! One of the very first
Mac n Cheese from Dhivya at Culinary Bazaar blogrecipes I made when I came to US was Mac n Cheese! The idea of how such a simple dish of some cheese and pasta could create sensations to one's palate, never ceased to amaze me. There are millions of variations ranging from the simple of ingredients to complex assortment of cheeses. But this is one of those few dishes which is so flexible to accomodate any versions without compromising on taste. Be it from using almost fat free version to adding veggies to it, the flavor that it imparts is so soothing. Cold, rainy days makes me crave for spicy, fried and cheesy goodies.There is something so comforting about a crusty and gooey cheese that melts and clings on your sides of your mouth and goes sliding on your oral cavity! Yum! Below is the recipe of Mac n cheese, the way I like it.

Ingredients
• 2 cups Macaroni Pasta (elbow pasta )
• 2 cups milk
• 1 bay leaf
• 3 tbsp butter
• 3 tbsp flour
• 1 cup grated cheddar
• 1/4 cup parmesan cheese,grated
• 1 cup Mozzerella cheese,grated
• 1/2 cup Monterey Jack Cheese,grated
• 1/2-1 cup bread crumbs
• Salt and pepper to taste

Method
1. Cook the pasta as per the instructions in the label. Cooking upto 90% is enough since more cooking will take place in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F
2. Heat a saucepan. Warm the milk slightly with Bay leaf. Allow it to infuse for 5 min. Meanwhile heat a non stick pan. Add the butter and melt it on medium heat. Add the flour and whisk it well till you it starts foaming and starts getting a lightly toasty smell. Take care not to burn it.
3. Remove the bay leaf from the milk and add it along with this flour mixture and whisk well till it thickens in consistency, approx 5-6min.
4. Remove from heat and add all the cheeses and mix it till it melts into one solid mass.
5. Now add the pasta along with it and season it well and mix well again. Pour it out onto a well greased baking dish.
6. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs well till it covers the top completely and bake it in the oven for 30-40 min till it starts bubbling and the top is browned. Its a good idea to place a foil or another oven proof dish to catch any spills from the dish when its bubbling. Scoop it on a plate and get ready for a heavenly experience.
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Epicurean Pancakes from June Jackson in San Francisco, CA

When I was a young child and living in Stamford, Connecticut my Nana Syska and Granny Joslin (my grandmother and great grandmother) used to take me to the Epicure Restaurant in Stamford for Saturday morning pancakes. The Epicure was a famous breakfast place with lines out the door on the weekends. The most exciting part of the experience for me was the syrup -
Epicurean pancakes from June Jacksonsweet, sticky and undoubtedly purchased in large quantities. All week I looked forward to these excursions, even though I frequently felt sick afterwards.

Years later I was eating at an IHOP and I instantly recognized the syrup - cheap, sweet, and probably not a drop of pure maple in it. My taste buds had changed as I had become purely a whole wheat /wheatgerm /buttermilk /organic eggs - separated of course and whites whipped to stiff peaks - kind of pancake lover who would only purchase pure grade maple syrup from Vermont, the darker and better.

The holiday week of 2008 was a busy one for my family with the birth of a beautiful new granddaughter, the occupation of my abode by my 16 month old adorable and very chatty grandson and an influx of visitors. As New Year's approached I found myself craving IHOP pancakes but too tired and embarrassed to go, I instead bought an Aunt Jemima mix and some Log Cabin syrup and whipped up some Epicurean pleasure for myself. They were heavenly. I am convinced that comfort food is as much about the people who shared it with you as it is about the food itself. My life long love affair with pancakes is a testament to my love for my nana.
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Macaroni and Cheese Casserole from Val at More Than Burnt Toast blog

What foods bring you comfort? Well for me there are many .... shepherd's pie, meatloaf, chicken soup...but the granddaddy of them all is macaroni and cheese!!!!!!! My daughter dislikes all of the
Mac n Cheese casserole from Val at More Than Burnt Toast blogabove and wears garlic around her neck if I even mention the word casserole. That is one reason why these foods are even more comforting for me if I do make them at all. I have frozen pies and casseroles in my freezer for when I feel the need...on our cold and blustery winter days!!! When I was growing up I was rarely allowed in the kitchen. One thing I was able to cook was macaroni and cheese. For every cook there is another recipe. I have several dozen recipes of my own...and I love them all!!! Mac 'n' cheese can be a simple affair or twisted into something more gourmet. However I want to have it I love every creamy, luscious mouthful. You use only 1 tsp of the garlic paste in the dish. I used aged Canadian Cheddar and Emmenthaler because that is what I had on hand. I also had no broccoli...sad to say....

• 3 T butter, unsalted (45ml)
• 4 T all-purpose flour (60ml)
• 3 cups milk (750ml)
• 2 cups chopped and cooked broccoli and/ or cauliflower florets (500ml)
• 1 1/2 cups penne or elbow macaroni(375ml)
• 1 1/2 cups shredded smoked applewood cheddar, gruyere or smoked mozzarella(375ml)
• 1 tsp roasted garlic paste (5ml)(see below)

Breadcrumb Topping
• 2 T butter, melted (30ml)
• 1 -1/2 cup Panko or fresh breadcrumbs (375ml)
• 1 T chopped, parsley (15ml)
• Roasted Garlic Paste - 1 head, garlic1 tbsp olive oil (15ml)

Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
Cook pasta , in boiling salted water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and return to pots.
Melt butter in a saucepan until bubbling. Add flour and cook, stirring, over medium heat for 1 minute. Gradually add milk to flour mixture, whisking for about 5 minutes, or until thickened. Add vegetables. Add cheese sauce to pasta pot.
Divide mixture into 8 oz. ramekins.
In a bowl, combine breadcrumbs, parsley, if using and butter. Top each ramekin with breadcrumb mixture.
Bake in centre of preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until bubbly and breadcrumbs are golden.
A) Two casserole dishes can be used instead of individual ramekins.
B) Recipe can be used as a Quick Macaroni and Cheese – omit breadcrumbs and serve from saucepans.

Roasted Garlic Paste
Preheat oven to 350F/180C.Cut top off garlic to expose cloves. Rub garlic with olive oil. Wrap in foil.Bake in centre of oven, in a small baking dish for 45 minutes or until soft. Cool.Squeeze out garlic into bowl and mash with fork. Refrigerate.
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Pasta Coll’Uovo from Nadia Khatchadourian in Sommerville, MA

Growing up with an Italian mother, I came to love simple but comforting
Pasta coll'uovo from Nadia in Sommerville, MAdishes like the following recipe. It’s super-easy to make yet very satisfying. These amounts are highly flexible. Once you understand the basics of the recipe – creating a broth from parsley and olive oil, cooking the pasta in the broth, and adding egg and cheese at the end - you can create it in any quantity you wish just by adjusting the amounts. The following recipe will serve about 3.

• 6 cups water
• ¼ cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley plus more for garnish
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• ¾ cup elbow pasta
• salt
• 4 eggs
• ¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Bring water to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Add parsley and oil and simmer for 15 minutes. Bring broth back to a rolling boil, then add some salt (a teaspoon or so) and the pasta. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the eggs and cheese together. When the pasta is cooked, remove the pot from heat and slowly stir in the egg and cheese mixture. Taste for salt and serve in bowls with a garnish of parsley. Buon appetito!
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Potato Soup - Comfort Food For Invalids from Jen Stewart at Jenny Sais Quoi blog

When my dad was in the hospital, from Christmas Eve until New Year's Eve, we brought
Potato soup by Jen Stewart at Jenny Sais Quoi food to him, from home. Let's face it: hospital food is for the dogs. Blech. Add to this the fact that he could only have liquids or pureed foods (due to esophageal cancer), and, well, it wasn't pretty. I mean, have you seen pureed cinnamon toast or pureed ham sandwich, nevermind smelled or tasted them? Disgusting.

So my mom and I brought him soups and granitas (tangerine and pear - I'd make both again, for sure), because we were afraid he'd starve otherwise. One of my dad's favorite soups is potato soup, so I've been making batches of it ever since I got here.
His doctor recently relaxed the pureed/liquid guidelines, so the batch I made tonight has some chunks of potato and onions and celery, instead of being a completely smooth puree.

This is a good winter soup, using items easily found in the winter, and hearty enough to be a meal in itself. And it's easy and (relatively) quick. It's also a good 'blank slate' soup: add some chopped ham or crumbled bacon, some shredded gruyere or swiss or sharp cheddar, a sprinkling of frizzled onions or chopped green onions, a splash of hot pepper sauce -- whatever makes you happy. Or eat it plain, the way my dad likes it. Whatever floats your boat. It's versatile like that.

I make my version with a view toward helping a cancer patient gain some weight, but you can lighten your version up a bit by ditching the cream or half-and-half. You could probably use 2%, instead of whole milk, if you wanted to, but I wouldn't go with 1% or skim -- I don't think it's flavorful enough. But hey, I won't stop you from trying. Anyway, without further ado, here's my potato soup recipe.

Ingredients
• 1 large onion, finely chopped
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 2 medium stalks of celery, finely chopped
• 2 large (or 4 small) potatoes, peeled and chopped small
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 1 scant tablespoon flour
• 3 cups chicken stock
• 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
• 1 1/2 cups whole milk
• 1/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
• Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions
1. Melt butter in a large, heavy saucepan, over moderate heat. Add onions, garlic, and celery, and cook until translucent. Increase heat to just shy of 'high' and sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to coat.

2. Cook until flour starts to coat the bottom of the pan and brown slightly, then add chicken stock, thyme, and potatoes and bring up to a boil, then reduce heat, put the lid on, and let it simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes.

3. After 20 minutes, check potatoes with a fork. If they feel done (if you're not sure, pull one out and taste it), add the milk and the cream or half-and-half, and add salt and pepper to taste.

4. You can serve the soup at this stage, or you can puree it in a blender until smooth. I do it both ways. The soup in the photo above was halfway between the two: I pureed about 1/3 of it and added it back to the rest of the soup. It makes it a bit more velvety that way.

Serves 4 regular appetites, or makes about 6 - 8 servings for someone whose appetite is a bit under the weather. Freezes very well.
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Porcupine Balls from Mer at Playing With My Food blog

Last night, for a special treat, I made Porcupine Balls and Tater Tots for dinner. (Such a comfort food!) If you haven't had porcupine meatballs
Porcupine Balls from Mer at Playing With My Food blogbefore (like I hadn't before I got married) you should give them a try. They are super easy to make, and taste delicious.

Ingredients:
• 1 lb ground beef
• 1 package beef flavor Rice-a-roni o (or the equivalent 3/4 cup rice, 1/2 cup broken vermicelli or angel hair pasta, and seasonings)
• 1 egg
• 1.5 cups hot water

Directions:
1. Put the rice portion of the Rice-a-roni in a bowl along with the egg and hamburger. Use your hands to blend well and shape into small balls. (Trust me on the size here, when I first tried this I thought, burger shrinks when it cooks, so I'll make them a little bigger. But the rice and pasta expand as they absorb water - so they actually end up slightly larger than you form them. Important to note especially if you plan to use them in a bento lunch!)
2. Brown all sides of the meatballs in a skillet.
3. Add contents of seasoning packet (or your own seasonings if you aren't using packaged Rice-a-roni. I can't anymore because the beef version contains milk. So at this point I added beef bullion, a little bit of Lawry's seasoning salt, garlic salt, and parsley & little bits of carrot for color.) and hot water. Pour slowly over the meatballs, cover, and reduce heat to low.
4. Simmer for about 40 minutes. It may be necessary to add more water to keep the meatballs moist. Turn balls at least once during simmer so they don't burn.
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Jagerschnitzel with Spaetzle from Michelle at Culinography blog

We live 1,100 miles from my parents. It’s been almost five years since I could just hop into the car and drive up to their house… to the house on the little farm that I grew up on. Now, I’m an only child with a wonderful relationship with my parents and, before moving to North Carolina, the furthest I’d lived from home was about 100 miles. It was hard to leave the area I’d called home for most of my life and, as you can imagine, moving so far away was quite the adjustment. Though I love and treasure the relationships that I’ve built here, I still get a little homesick every now and then.When I’m feeling homesick or just generally out of sorts, I usually start thinking about the foods that I grew up with. The best things in our house were usually ones that came from my Mom’s upbringing. German food will always be near and dear to my heart, and I enjoy now being able to cook it myself and to share it with the people that I care about. And… it’s seriously yummy!I knew when I saw that Eve over at The Garden of Eating was hosting The 2008 Comfort Food Cook-Off that I had just the thing to share… Jaegerschnitzel served with Spaetzle (a seasoned pork cutlet that’s breaded and fried into crispy happiness, served with a basic no muss, no fuss dumpling and topped with a brown mushroom gravy). It’s the perfect comfort food when you’re looking for a warm, hearty meal and it always makes me think of home.
Jaegerschnitzel served with Spaetzle from Michelle at Culinography blog

Spaetzle:
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 2 eggs
• 1/4 cup milk
• 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a large pot, boil 3-4 quarts of salted water. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients and stir with a fork to combine. In a smaller bowl, whisk eggs and milk together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined. Dough should be smooth and about the consistency of a thick pancake batter. Allow to rest for 15 minutes.Reduce water to a high simmer and position a spaetzle lid or colander over the water. Working with 1/4 batch at a time and using a scraper or spatula, push dough through the holes and into the water. Stirring gently, cook 3-5 minutes, until spaetzle floats to the top.

Drain spaetzle in a colander, rinse with cold water, and drain well. Meanwhile, heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once butter is melted, add drained spaetzle to pan and allow to cook without stirring for 2-3 minutes until dumplings are browned. Stir and continue browning for 3-4 minutes more until brown and crispy.

Jaegerschnitzel:
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• salt and pepper
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (regular, panko, or a combination)
• 1 egg
• 2 boneless pork chops
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Mix flour, salt and pepper on a rimmed plate or in a pie tin. Pour out breadcrumbs onto another plate or tin. In a shallow bowl, whisk egg. Set all three aside.Trim pork and, using a mallet, pound to approximately 1/4″ thick. Dredge each piece in flour, then dip in egg, then in breadcrumbs. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and, when hot, add pork. Reduce heat slightly and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes until golden. Flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until golden and cooked through.

Jaeger Sauce
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
• 1 tablespoon flour
• 2 cups beef broth
• salt, pepper, and Maggi (if you have it - you can often find this in the spice aisle of larger chain grocers) to taste.

Melt butter in a medium pan and sautee the mushrooms until tender. Sprinkle with flour and cook for a few minutes. While stirring, slowly add broth and simmer until desired thickness. Season with salt, pepper, and Maggi.
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Lobster and Corn Chowder from Terry Dagrosa at
Seduction Meals blog

This Lobster Chowder recipe, with its sherry cream base, is one of my favorite comfort foods--a hearty yet light chowder with a wonderful sherry cream base. Bring a hot spoonful of this savory liquid to your lips and breath in the aroma. On a frosty winter day, this is a true love potion that is sure to warm your hearts and kindle a memorable magical meal for two. I typically serve this dish with a crusty bread to soak up the amazing cream sauce; and to start--an oyster appetizer.
I discovered this recipe in a Williams-Sonoma catalog and made a few alterations--such as adding sherry and clam stock.

Ingredients
• Two live lobsters (or 8 oz of frozen lobster meat, thawed and picked over and cut up)
• 1 tbsp Canola Oil
Lobster and Corn Chowder from Terry at Seduction Meals blog
• 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
• 1 cup of clam stock
• 3 ears of corn, kernels removed (and corn cobs reserved)
• 3 strips of bacon, diced
• 1 yellow onion, chopped
• 2 large carrots, diced
• 3 celery stalks, diced
• 2 cups of heavy cream
• 1 cup of sherry
• 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, diced into 1/2" cubes
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
• 2 tsp chopped fresh chives

1. Fill a large pot with 2" water, set over high heat and bring to a boil; add lobsters, cover and cook until lobsters are red, about 7 minutes. Transfer lobsters to a large ice bath to cool. Remove meat from claws, knuckles and tails and refrigerate meat until ready to use. Reserve shells and bodies.

2. In a large pot over high heat, warm oil. Add reserved lobster shells and bodies and saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth and clam juice (you can also use the broth from the lobster), wine, and corn cobs. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced to about 2 1/2 cups, 25 - 30 minutes.

3. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, saute bacon, stirring occasionally until crispy and browned, 3 - 4 minutes. Add onion, carrots, celery and corn kernels, and saute stirring until tender, 4 - 5 minutes.

4. Strain lobster - corn cob broth into Dutch oven, add cream and sherry and bring to a simmer. Stir in potatoes, return to a simmer and reduce heat to a medium-low. Cook until potatoes are tender - about 15 - 20 minutes.

5. Stir in lobster meat, salt, pepper, thyme and chives. Cook stirring occasionally until lobster is heated through, 2 - 3 minutes. Adjust seasoning as needed.

6. Serve in two bowls - garnish with chopped chives and serve with warm crusty bread and a nice white wine.

Makes 4 - 6 servings, and tastes even better the next day -- should you be so lucky to serve this up twice ; )
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Bangkok Hoppin' John from Brys at
Cookthink blog

It’s hard to think of a more warming dish than a bowl of Hoppin’ John. We featured a Thai-ish Hoppin’ John in last week’s root source on black-eyed peas. We were inspired to try these flavors after reading the Lee brothers’ 2003 article on Hoppin’ John in the NYT. They tried to recreate a Vietnamese version of Hoppin’ John they’d heard about from a friend.

We liked the idea of a “Saigon Hoppin’ John” but decided to take it a west a little. Aromatic coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, ginger, a Thai chile and cilantro replace the smoke and pork flavors found in the traditional southern version. Jasmine rice adds even more perfume to the dish. Good stuff for the deep of winter.

Ingredients
• 2 cups dried black-eyed peas
Bangkok Hopping John from Brys at Cookthink blog
• 2 teaspoons olive oil
• 1 can coconut milk
• 4 green onions, thinly sliced
• 1 thin slice (coin) peeled fresh ginger
• 1 Thai chile, thinly sliced
• 2 kaffir lime leaves
• 3 cups water
• 1 cup jasmine rice
• 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
• 2 limes, quartered

Directions
1. Rinse and drain the dried peas. Cover them with lots of fresh water and soak 4 hours.
2. Drain the peas. Open the can of coconut milk. Spoon out 2 tablespoons of the thick coconut cream and add it to a large saucepan over medium heat. When the cream is hot, add the green onions and cook until soft, 3-5 minutes. 3. Add the ginger, Thai chile, kaffir lime leaves, remaining coconut milk and the water. Bring the broth to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 5 minutes.
4. Add the peas and simmer, uncovered, until they're tender, 20-30 minutes. Stir in the rice and cover. Simmer on low heat until the rice is tender, another 20-30 minutes.
5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the dish sit, covered, until ready to serve. Sprinkle each plate with the cilantro and serve with a quarter lime for squeezing on the side.
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Chocolate Buttercream Cake from Chelsea Sachs in Oakland, CA

Being the chocoholic that I am, I decided to do a little contest on my own to see which chocolate cake recipe was the best PMS cure, since for me comfort food is synonymous with PMS time! I found the winning recipe in "The Barefoot Contessa" cookbook when I was searching for a birthday cake recipe. I think the secret ingredient was buttermilk! This is such a moist and delicious cake and the icing is incredible.
Chocolate Buttercream Cake from Chelsea Sachs
Chocolate Buttercream Cake
Serves 8-10

• 1 3/4 C all-purpose flour
• 1 C good cocoa powder
• 1 1/2 t baking soda
• 1/4 t salt
• 3/4 C unsalted butter at room temp.
• 2/3 C granulated sugar
• 2/3 C light brown sugar-packed
• 2 extra large eggs at room temp.
• 2 t vanilla
• 1 C buttermilk
• 1/2 C sour cream at room temp
• 2 T brewed coffee
• Chocolate Buttercream (recipe follows)
Chocolate buttercream cake from Chelsea Sachs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8 in. round cake pans. Line bottom with wax paper and butter the paper. Dust pans with flour, knocking out extra. In a medium bowl sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on high speed until light, approximately 5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Combine the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. On low speed, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture , ending with the flour mixture. Mix the batter until blended. Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 min. on rack. Place one cake on serving plate, flat side up. Frost the top of the that layer with the frosting. Place second layer on top, also flat side up and frost the top and sides.
Chocolate buttercream cake from Chelsea in Oakland, CA

Chocolate Buttercream
• 10 oz. bittersweet chocolate
• 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
• 1/2 cup egg whites ( 3 extra large eggs) at room temp
• 1 C granulated sugar
• pinch cream of tartar
• 1/2 t salt
• 1 pound unsalted butter at room temp
• 2 t vanilla
• 2 t instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1 t water
• 2 T dark rum, optional

Chop the chocolates and melt in bowl over simmering water until smooth. Allow to cool. Mix the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk. Heat the egg whites in the bowl over simmering water until they are warm to the touch, about 5 min. Whisk on high speed for 5 minutes, or until the meringue is cool and holds stiff peaks. Add the butter, 1 T at a time, while beating on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl, add the chocolate, vanilla, espresso, and rum and mix for 1 minute or until the chocolate is completely blended in. If the buttercream seems very soft, allow it to cool, and beat it again.
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Baked Rice Pudding from Stephanie Gallagher at About Cooking for Kids blog

Now I ask you: Could there be a better comfort food than rice pudding? Creamy, silky, and sweet -- but not too sweet -- rice pudding is the perfect food to warm you from the inside out.
Baked rice pudding from Stephanie at About Cooking For Kids blogMy Baked Rice Pudding couldn't be simpler:

• 4 cups milk (any kind)
• 1/3 cup arborio rice
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 1 Tbsp. butter

Just stir together, pour into a shallow baking dish, and bake at 350 for 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes. Important: Stirring every 15 minutes is key! If you don't, the rice pudding will develop a skin, burn, and/or get really dried out. I like to top mine with a sprinkling or two of Demerara sugar. There's something about the way the large crystals of the Demerara sugar hit your palate that makes this rice pudding recipe really pop!
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Arroz Con Leche (Rice Pudding)from Manuela at
Baking History blog

This type of rice and milk pudding is,
Arroz con leche from Manuela at Baking Historyfor me, the ultimate comfort food. The texture is velvety and speckled with pleasantly chewy rice kernels, while the flavor is delicate without being bland or cloyingly sweet. It is also easy and quick to make—perfection is simple.
From the original recipe by Calleja In: “La Mejor Cocinera”

Ingredients
• 1 qt (1 l ) whole milk
• 1 cup (200 g) sugar
• 1 cup (200 g) short-grain rice
• 1 cinnamon stick
• zest of 1 (organic) lemon
• ground cinnamon to serve

1. Rinse and drain the rice and set aside.
2. Place the milk, sugar, cinnamon stick and lemon zest in a large saucepan and bring slowly to the boiling point, add the rice and, on low heat, let it cook in the milk until the kernels are tender and the mixture turns creamy. Stir often to prevent scorching, and keep the heat low. It will take about 20-25 minutes, depending on the rice. If it thickens too much and the rice is not cooked through yet, add a little hot milk and continue cooking until the mixture reaches the right consistency and the rice is tender.
3. Transfer the pudding into individual serving bowls (discard the cinnamon stick and lemon zest strips) and sprinkle lightly with ground cinnamon. Serve either warm or chilled.
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Chocolate & Pistachio Brownies from Michelle Minnaar at
Greedy Gourmet blog

Brownies as they should be: moist, soft and squidgy on the inside and slightly crisp on the outside. Shop-bought and other recipes I’ve tried but these brownies are by far my favourite. This recipe is foolproof; never have I had a disaster with this one. Many would agree that chocolate is the ultimate comfort food. We munch on it when we’re happy, we scoff it down when feeling low. We devour it when we’re hungry, we nibble on it when we’re stuffed. Let’s face it, we’ll rationalise about anything and everything just to get our hands on some chocolate.
Chocolate & Pistachio Brownies from Michelle at Greedy Gourmet

Ingredients
• 100g (4 oz) pistachios
• 100g (4 oz) unsalted butter
• 100g (4 oz) dark chocolate (70%), broken into small chunks, plus extra
• 2 eggs
• 225g (8 oz) granulated sugar
• 50g (scant 2 oz) plain flour
• 5ml (1 tsp) baking powder
• 1.25ml (¼ tsp) salt

Method
1. Line an 18×28cm/7×11-inch tin with baking parchment, allowing the paper to come 2cm/1 inch above the tin.
2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
3. Chop the nuts roughly so they’re still quite chunky and roast them in the preheated oven for 8 minutes, timed. (This step is optional. If you’re feeling lazy you can dunk the nuts directly into the mix. An alternative is to buy the nuts already roasted but unsalted.)
4. Meanwhile put the butter and chocolate in a metal/pyrex bowl placed over a pan half-filled with barely simmering water. Allow the chocolate to melt, then beat until smooth.
5. Remove from the heat and stir in the other ingredient, including the nuts, until thoroughly mixed.
6. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared tin and bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until it is slightly springy in the middle.
7. Take the brownies out of the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes before cutting into about 15 squares. Use a palette knife to transfer to a wire cooling rack and serve when cool or still just slightly warm.

Serving Suggestion:
Eat it on its own, with cream or vanilla ice-cream.

Notes: If you’re not a fan of nuts, leave out the pistachios. If you’re not a fan of pistachios and prefer say hazelnuts (or a mix!), simply substitute them with the equal amount.
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Little Yoghurt and Orange Blossom Cakes from Jen at
Milk and Cookies blog in Sydney, New South Wales

Recipe from the Australian Gourmet Traveller
Little yoghurt orange blossom cakes from Jen at Milk and Cookies blog
Serves 12

Ingredients
• 300g (2 cups) plain all-purpose flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 300g vanilla yoghurt
• 60ml (¼ cup) buttermilk
• 160g unsalted butter, softened
• 220g (1 cup) caster sugar
• ½ tsp finely grated orange rind
• 4 eggs
• 100g vanilla
• Persian fairy floss, to serve (optional)

FOR ORANGE BLOSSSOM ICING
• 60g unsalted butter, softened
• 600g icing confectioner’s sugar, sifted
• 3 tsp orange blossom water (see note)
• 1½ tbsp vanilla yoghurt

Method
1. Preheat oven to 160ºC. Grease and line twelve round dariole cake pans (see note).
2. Sift flour with baking powder and a pinch of salt and set aside. Whisk yoghurt and buttermilk together in a bowl and set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and orange rind until pale and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating briefly between each addition to combine. With mixer on low speed, add one-third of the flour and mix to combine, then add one-third of the yoghurt mixture and mix to combine. Repeat with remaining mixtures, alternating, until incorporated. Mix just until batter is smooth, then divide evenly among prepared cake pans.
4. Tap base to level and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted withdraws clean.
5. Cool completely in pans on a wire rack. Remove cakes from pans.

FOR ORANGE BLOSSOM ICING
1. Beat all ingredients and 1½ tbsp water in an electric mixer for 1 minute or until smooth.
2. Working with one cake at a time and using a hot, wet spatula, ice cakes starting with sides, then top. (If icing becomes difficult to spread, continue to dip spatula in hot water until icing is completely even.)
3. Set aside and stand for 1 hour or until icing is firm to touch, then serve each cake topped with a little fairy floss (optional).

NOTE: Orange blossom water is available from The Essential Ingredient (
www.theessentialingredient.com.au/) and other specialty food stores.
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Edna's Rugalach from Dorit Amster at
Pretty Baking in Israel blog

There are so many variations of this wondeful pastry from the dough and to the filling.I grew up on my grandmother Tova's rugelach. Back in Poland her family had a bakery. It was the village bakery and both gentiles and jews purchased the warm pastry's and shabbat challas from them.

I grew up in her kitchen. It was the happiest room in my grandparents house. Yiddish mingling with Hebrew. Chicken soup on the stove and rugalach in the oven. My grandmother had the oldest oven in the world, we begged her to replace it. She would refuse. Finally she let us buy her a new one. Well, not even a new one. My sister replaced hers with a new one and gave her the old one. Till today my grandmother doesn't understand why she replaced it. If I was sad, if I was sick - her best "medicine" was rugalach. Ha!! And you thought chicken soup was the jewish penicillin! Trust me - Its my grandmother's Rugalach!! I miss those days!

Everytime I try to get a recipe from her it sounds like: flour, sugar, a few eggs, some milk....Go try to make a cake from such a recipe. As the daughter of a baker I guess she inherited the "feel". This is something I will never have. I need an exact recipe - from there I can fool around with the ingredients and/ or quantities.But her rugelach were from yeast dough. There were times that I refused food as in an act of a teenage rebellion. ButI never refused her rugalach.

Hers were always the same. Filled with raisins, sugar and cinnamon. My rugalach are made with chocolate filling, as my children are chocoholics and both despise rasins (probably because I mentioned that they are good for them LOL)
Edna's Rugalach from Dorit at Pretty Baking in Israel blog
Dough:
• 500 grams flour
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 Tbsp. fast acting yeast
• 100 grams butter, room temp.
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 1/2 cup warm milk
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1 tsp. grated orange or lemon peel

Filling:
• 100 grams butter
• 4 Tbsp. cocoa, best quality
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 2 tsp cinnamon
Melt together.

Directions
1. Knead all dough ingredients till dough is soft and pliable.
2. Cover with towel in warm place and let double in size.
3. Punch to let out air and knead again.
4. Roll into circle approx 1/2 cm thick.
5. Spread filling and cut into triangles and roll each triangle from the wide part.
6. Let stand for 20-25 minutes.
7. Spread egg yolk and bake at 170C for 25 minutes.
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Lamb Stew ala Shirley Schneider (my mom) from Carolyn Honey Friedman in NY

Makes almost 8 qts

Ingredients
• 4 lbs neck or shoulder of lamb, with bones, cut into chunks
• oil, for sauté-ing (start with 1 T and add only if necessary)
• flour, for dredging meat, as needed (start with1/4 C)
• 2 large onions, chopped
• 1 lb carrots, cut in 1”-1 ½” chunks
• 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks, like carrots
• 1 lb string beans, cut into ~1” pieces
• 1 lb frozen peas
• 1 15oz can diced tomatoes (with puree if possible) or ~3 T tomato paste

Directions
1. Dredge the lamb chunks in enough flour to give each piece of meat a thin coat. Brown the meat on all sides in just enough oil.
2. Cover with water plus about 3-4 inches. Add salt, pepper, and onions and cook at a gentle boil for about 1-1½ hours until the meat is tender.
3. Add carrots and cook about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and cook about 5 minutes more.
4. Add diced tomatoes or paste. If you use tomato paste you have to dilute it before you add it to the stew. Use liquid from the stew that you put into a separate cup. Mix the paste well into the liquid, and then add it back into the stew. .
5. Add the string beans and cook about another 5-10 minutes until they are done. If you need to add more water, do so. Add the frozen peas to the stew and let them get just hot.
6. Check for seasonings (salt and pepper) again.

That’s it! Enjoy!! Great the next day too! This makes a BIG pot of stew!
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Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup from Honey Carolyn Friedman in NY

My mother’s soup was strongly sweet and sour and a tiny bit peppery. This soup takes about 10 minutes to put together, if that much! It’s even better the second and third days, and after being in the fridge the fat solidifies at the top of the soup and is easily removed. Yum!

(Makes about 8 quarts)

Ingredients
• 2 ½ lbs short ribs, with bones (or flanken), cut into about 2” pieces (If using short ribs, they’re usually about 3” long.)
• 1 head cabbage
• 3 medium onions
• 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
• 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
• ~1/4 teaspoon or more sour salt (citric acid) or enough lemon juice to make it tart, to taste (We always used sour salt.)
• ~1/4 C sugar (to taste)
• Water to cover, to just about 1” from the rim of the pot
• Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Chop or shred cabbage. Chop onions.
2. Place meat, cabbage, onions, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, sour salt, sugar, salt, pepper, and water (EVERYTHING) into an 8 quart pot, with the level of the contents at about 1inch from the top. Boil on medium flame until meat is tender, about 2 to 3 hours, depending on the meat.
3. When the soup first comes to a boil, skim off the “foam” from the boiling meat. With a big spoon across the top of the soup, skim fat as it accumulates, to your taste.
4. Check that the soup is sweet and sour enough for you, and for salt and pepper.

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Chocolate Orange Punch and "Mohr im Hemd" from Andrea Farthofer at Dasfacettenreich

So, here are two of my favourite comfort food recipes, great for a quick Sunday afternoon indulgence, an after-work treat in front of the TV or a perfect dessert whenever something warm and comfy is needed. The first is a special tea punch, while the second is a typical Austrian dessert everyone should try once in their life.

Chocolate Orange Punch
I love this recipe as it can be quickly prepared if you urgently need to spoil yourself and want to treat you to something really good on a cold winter day!

Ingredients
• 1.5 litres of tea (chocolate-orange flavour or any other winterly kind)
• Juice from 5 oranges
• 1oo g orange-flavoured chocolate
• 0.1 l Creme de Cacao (not absolutely necessary, I think)
• 0.2 l orange liqueur (Cointreau)
• 100 g sugar (if needed)
• For decoration:Whipped cream
• Cinnamon or cinnamon-sugar
• Grated chocolate

Preparation
1. Prepare the tea and add pieces of chocolate and stir to melt the chocolate in the tea.
2. Add all other ingredients.
3. Fill punch into mugs, add whipped cream, and decorate with cinnamon sugar and grated chocolate and enjoy!!

"Mohr im Hemd" (Austrian mini chocolate cakes)
"Mohr im Hemd" is a typical Austrian dessert traditionally baked in mini Bundt cake forms (called "Gugelhupf" in Austria) in a hot water bath in the oven. This delicious dessert is normally served with hot chocolate sauce and whipped cream. You can order it in all typical Viennese "Kaffeehäuser" (coffee shops) and "Konditoreien" (pastry shops).
Mohr im hemd from Andrea at dasfacettenreich

With this recipe you can prepare the "Mohr im Hemd" in the microwave oven so it is ready to serve within a few minutes. I normally bake them in tea cups so they don't look like their Bundt cake predecessors but are a modern - and quick - variation of them. They melt on the tongue and are an instant stress-reliever!

Ingredients
• 100 g butter
• 100 g powdered sugar
• 5 egg yolks
• 100 g molten chocolate
• 100 g ground nuts (or almonds)
• 5 egg whites
• 2 tbsp. breadcrumbs
• 1 tbsp. flour

Preparation
1. Mix butter, powdered sugar and egg yolks until creamy.
2. Add nuts, breadcrumbs, flour and chocolate.
3. Beat egg whites and add them softly.
4. Rinse tea cups with cold water and fill in the dough (half-full).
5. Bake in the microwave oven at maximum power for 1 minute.
6. Serve plain or with hot chocolate sauce and/or whipped cream.
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Oatmeal (ten ways!) from Kevin at Closet Cooking blog

Oatmeal was one of my favorite breakfasts though I had not had it in a long time. I ate the instant oatmeal for breakfast pretty much every day throughout university but eventually I had had enough. I was taking a really long break from oatmeal until I came across this post about steel cut oatmeal. One of the reasons that I had continued to not eat oatmeal after university was that I knew that the instant oatmeals were not all that healthy. The steel cut oats with almost no processing promised to be pretty healthy so I had no excuse not to try them. I am glad that I did try the steel cut oatmeal as I enjoyed it and I have been eating fairly often since.

The first time that I cooked the steel cut oatmeal I followed the directions on the box. Simmer 1 cup of the steel cut oats in 4 cups of water for 30 minutes. The oatmeal came out perfectly. It was thicker that the instant oatmeal. I would describe it as "al dente". It had a bit of bite and you could chew it. I really enjoyed the texture of the steel cut oatmeal. There was enough for 4 serving in the batch so I placed the other 3 servings into plastic containers and tossed them in the fridge. The next morning the oatmeal was almost solid when it came out of the fridge. I added a tablespoon of milk and put it in the microwave for a minute. I stirred the oatmeal and added another tablespoon of milk and put it back in the microwave for another minute. I stirred it and added another table spoon of milk and it was perfect. So if you cook a big batch of oatmeal one night it is super quick to reheat for breakfast.
Oatmeal with maple syrup from Kevin at Closet Cooking

I have a rice cooker with a timer and a porridge setting so I though I would try cooking the oatmeal in it. I placed 1/4 cup of the steel cut oats and 1 cup of warm water in the rice cooker and set it to porridge mode and set the timer the night before. When I woke up I could smell the oatmeal cooking and by the time I was ready for breakfast it was done cooking. I have to say that the rice cooker cooked the steel cut oatmeal perfectly.

Despite the fact that the steel cut oatmeal requires 30 minutes to cook there are two convenient ways to have it for breakfast even on a weekday.

Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal

Ingredients
1/2 tablespoon of maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 serving oatmeal

Note: there are about ten more delicious-sounding (and looking) oatmeal recipes on Kevin's blog but I had to cut them due to space concerns. You can read and see them all
here though and you should consider them all part of Kevin's entry to the contest.

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Cauliflower Cheese Pie (a.k.a. Cauliflower Potato Pie) from Nancy Kantor in Willow, NY

This recipe from the original Moosewood cookbook was a favorite with my family, especially with my son who is a vegetarian. We used to call it Cauliflower Potato Pie. Served with a green salad and soup it's a wonderful meal. I used to make applesauce on the side.

Crust
• 2 cups, packed, grated raw potato
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 egg beaten
• 1/4 cup grated onion

Heat oven to 400 and set the freshly grated potato in a colander over a bowl. Salt it and leave it for 10 minutes. Then squeeze out the excess water and add it to the remaining ingredients. Pat it into a well oiled 9-inch pie pan, building up the sides of the crust with lightly floured fingers. Bake for 40-345 minutes. until browned. After the first 30 minutes, brush the crust with a little oil to crispen it. Turn oven down to 375
Cauliflower
Filling
• 1 heaping, packed cup grated cheddar cheese
• 1 medium cauliflower, broken into small flowerets
• 1 medium clove crushed garlic
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 3 Tbs butter dash of thyme
• 1/2 tsp basil
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 2 eggs and 1/4 cup milk beaten together
• black pepper
• paprika

Saute onions and garlic, lightly salted, in butter for 5 minutes. Add herbs and cauliflower and cook, covered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spread half the cheese into the baked crust, then the saute, then the rest of the cheese. Pour the custard over and dust with paprika. Bake 35-50 minutes until set.
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Scottish Oat Cakes from Rosemary Fox in Redhook, NY

These hearty cakes were good to have on a cold morning with my kids before they suited up and walked on our curving road to where it tee'd at their school bus stop.

Serves 3

Ingredients
• 6 eggs
• Pinch of salt
• 2 cups of steel cut oats
• ½ cup milk or half and half
• Butter for frying

Directions
1. Beat the eggs in a medium-size bowl then add the milk or half and half and salt.
2. Pour in the oats until you have a semi-dry batter.
3. Heat a few teaspoons of butter in a cast iron frying pan until brown then drop big spoonfuls of batter in.
4. Press each pancake with the "flipper" to flatten it out and turn them every minute or so until both sides are golden and crisp.
5. Serve these irregularly edged and sized beauties with maple syrup, applesauce or jam on top along with some sliced fruit and glasses of milk to round out the meal. They go particularly well with reading aloud (my kids favored Ranger Rick, The Hobbit or Beezus and Ramona books.)

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Century Egg Congee with Minced Beef (a.k.a. Jook) from Karen at My Little Cornerstore blog

I love century egg congee with minced beef. This is my favourite congee and something my hubby and I would always order at Superbowl Chinese Restaurant in Chinatown. For me, congee (or "jook" as us Cantonese speakers call it) is my ultimate comfort food.

So what is the meaning of "Comfort Food" anyway? How I see it, comfort food should be your ultimate pick-me-up. It signifies something that's home-made and should conjure up a warm and fuzzy feeling inside you when you eat it. It is something you'd like to eat when you're feeling down and out. It should be something that you have grown accustomed to and have liked since you were a child. It should be a type of food that will trigger a pleasant feeling inside you, should be easy to prepare and uncomplicated.
Century egg congee with minced beef from Karen at My Little Corner Store blog

For Asians, jook is a type of food that can be consumed at any time of the day. Some people see it as a breakfast staple - I know some people in HK who can't go without having congee with chow mein, yau char gwai, and a glass of soya bean milk in the mornings. Congee may also be eaten at lunch, dinner or supper. In Asia, it is commonly fed to young infants. I know people who will eat just congee when they are on diets (coz it's low in carbs) and almost all Asians consider congee as some sort of therapeutic treatment since they will always think of eating congee when they are feeling unwell. So, what is YOUR ultimate "Comfort Food"?

This century egg congee with mince beef is my favourite. I served my congee with steamed gai lan, yau char gway and a cup of soya bean milk. Ahhhh, dinner was so satisfying tonight :)

Century Egg Congee (with minced beef)
(can get 3-4 servings out of this)

Ingredients
• 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
• 4 cups of water, add more where required
• 2 century old eggs, chopped into small pieces
• 250g minced beef
• sesame oil
• ginger
• spring onions
• salt
• white pepper

Method
1. Put the rice and water in the rice cooker*
2. In the meantime, cook the minced beef lightly with sesame oil and salt to taste; transfer to a plate
3. When the water is starting to boil in the rice cooker, add in the beef and century old eggs
4. The rice should be cooked to a point where the rice has broken down and it becomes fluffy; keep an eye on the porridge and add more hot water into the rice cooker if needed
5. Add ginger and spring onions to the congee when it's ready
6. Add salt and pepper to taste
7. Serve with additional spring onions and ginger if you prefer

* if you don't have a rice cooker, just use a normal pot - just make sure you keep your eye on the pot to ensure there's enough water in the pot and that the congee doesn't spill over

You may want to chop up the yau char gwai into bite sizes and put these in your congee, but I prefer to dip mine whilst eating so it is still slightly crunchy when I bite into it. Enjoy!
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Forrest's Eggplant Parmesan from Juliana Birnbaum Fox in Berkeley, CA

This recipe has several steps: frying the eggplant, making the bechamel sauce, and making the marinara sauce, and you should allow about an hour for preparation time, and 20 - 40 minutes to bake. You can also use a good jarred marinara to save time.

Ingredients
Eggplan parmesan from Juliana Birnbaum Fox in Berkeley, CA
• 3 or 4 large, fat eggplants
• 4-5 Tbsp flour
• pinch of salt
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1 cup fresh basil leaves
• 3/4 cup grated parmesan
• 1 cup shredded mozzerella
• toasted bread crumbs (freshly toasted is great, or crushed croutons work as well)

Bechamel Sauce
• 2 Tbsp butter
• 1 Tbsp finely chopped onion
• 2 Tbsp flour
• 2 cups whole milk
• salt and pepper (white pepper if you have it) to taste

Marinara Sauce
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 3 - 4 garlic cloves, chopped
• 1 large or 2 regular cans diced tomatoes
• 1 - 2 tsp smoked paprika (ahumado) or sweet paprika
• 1/4 C olive oil

Directions
1. Slice eggplant thinly by hand or with a mandoline. Sprinkle one side of the slices with a little salt and let them sit on towels for half an hour. Fold them up in a new towel after they have rested with the salt, and squeeze the water out. While the eggplant is sweating, prepare the bechamel and marinara sauces.

2. Bechamel sauce -- melt butter, add onion and cook gently over medium-low heat, stirring often until softened. Add flour and cook, whisking, for 3 minutes or so, to make the roux (don't let this color). Add milk in a steady stream, whisking vigourously, turning up the heat a bit and whisking until thick, 10 - 15 minutes. Pour sauce through a mesh sieve into a bowl and discard solids. Salt and pepper to taste.

3. Marinara sauce -- saute onions in olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add garlic and continue to cook. Add tomatoes and juices, paprika, and simmer gently, covered for about an hour. Puree all or half of the sauce in blender or food mill, depending on texture desired. Add salt to taste.

4. Frying eggplant -- heat olive oil (enough for deep frying, hot but not smoking) and dredge a few slices of eggplant in the flour. Fry a few at a time in the olive oil, turning with tongs. Remove cooked slices and put on paper towels to drain.

5. Assembly and cooking -- preheat oven to 375F. Spread a bit of bechamel in the bottom of a casserole dish, sprinkle liberally with bread crumbs. Layer: Eggplant, tomato sauce, bechamel, parmesan, mozzerella, and basil leaves, repeat. Be careful not to use too much cheese, just a light sprinkling. Finish with a sprinkling of bread crumbs. Cover with foil and bake for 20 - 40 minutes, depending on how thick you made it. Remove foil and bake a few more minutes, until top is golden brown. Enjoy-- even tastier the next day...
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Breakfast for Dinner from Mrs. W at Mrs. W's Kitchen blog

On a cold winter day there's nothing better here at Chez W than breakfast for dinner.Mr.W and I love us some
Breakfast for dinner from Mrs. W at Mrs; W's Kitchen bloggood old fashioned eggs, bacon and hash browns for dinner. Or breakfast. Or lunch. When we lived in Atlanta we would dash off to Waffle House for this very meal—but now that we live in my hometown here in the snow-covered Yankee North, well, we have to make this at home—and really, there's nothing easier.

General Instructions:
In a large skillet over a medium-low flame, fry bacon in batches, turning often with tongs to ensure even cooking. Of course bacon shrinks and curls as it cooks, and that's why it needs to be turned frequently—otherwise you get those uncooked bacon fat puffs. Some of us like those white fat puffs. I always go for those first--right in my mouth. But I've discovered that most people think that's gross. Go figure. It is important to remove the bacon strips from the skillet before they become crisp—they will crisp up while draining on paper towels. You can always cook bacon a little bit more if you need to. Obviously this takes practice--and I usually overcook the first few pieces of bacon until I get the feel of it. So don't beat yourself up over it--the overcooked ones are for munching while you're getting everything cooked up.I usually pour off most of that bacon grease and add a good glug—I'd say about 1/3 cup—of canola oil for frying anything else after the bacon. But you could use all bacon grease if you really want that yummy bacon-y goodness. Set pan over a medium flame. I shredded two large russet potatoes that Mr.W washed and peeled for me and spread them evenly in the skillet, topped with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. After about 5 minutes, I turned the potatoes in sections; another 5 minutes later they were done and removed in three mounds to a paper-lined plate to drain, each topped with a slice of american cheese to melt. I used Velveeta—Mr.W wouldn't have it any other way.I never have success with cooking eggs in my regular pan, so I keep two small nonstick skillets just for this purpose. Three eggs, combined with ¼ cup water and whisked to combine were added to a nonstick skillet sprayed with a little cooking spray. Using a silicone spatula I moved the eggs around constantly until cooked through but still light and fluffy. I transferred the cooked eggs to a plate while I made the second batch, which only took a couple of minutes more. Served with some hot sauce and ketchup, this is just the right meal to warm us up on a cold evening.
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Wonton Chicken Noodle from Sefa at Food is Love blog

Chicken noodle has always been my comfort food, especially in winter. One bowl of hot chicken noodle will make me warm during the cold day. Usually I always ended up by eating more than
one bowl *shy*. I don't know why, I could not stop eating when soup is on the menu. Chicken noodle is one of my favorite. Back in Jakarta, I never made my own chicken noodle. All I have to do was just waiting until the street vendor passing by my home. Or I could just go out and buy from the one in the neighborhood. Ohhh, how I miss Jakarta. How easy to find my dream foods there, while here I have to spend hours in the kitchen whenever I want to eat one of them. Ihiks :-(On January 2nd, I cooked chicken noodle complete with steamed and fried wonton (we called it pangsit in Indonesia). Sayangku was so happy since he's a big fan of chicken noodle and fried wonton. Please don't ask me how many times he (and me) ate that day. It's kinda embarrassing ;-)The recipe below I modified from some of recipes that I got from friends or through the web. Thanks to you all for the recipes. Wonton Chicken Noodle from Sefa at Food is Love blog

Ingredients

Chicken oil:
• Chicken skin from 6 chicken thighs
• 3 slices of fresh ginger

Chicken Mushroom:
• 6 chicken thighs, skin and bone out, clean, cubed (or cut as desired)
• 100 grams mushroom, cut as desired
• 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• Chicken oil as needed
• Indonesian sweet soy sauce (I used Kecap Bango)
• Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
• Warm water as needed

Soup:
• Chicken bones
• 1 cube beef stock
• 4 slices of fresh ginger
• Garlic powder as needed
• Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
• Dried green onion
• 750 ml water (or more)

Noodle:
• 4 fresh egg noodles
• Salt
• Pepper
• Salty soy sauce
• Vegetable oil
• Water

Fried and Boiled Wonton:
• 1 pack of ready to use wonton skin (around 40 pcs)
• 200 grams black tiger prawn, minced
• 1 tbsp cornstarch
• 2 tsp oyster sauce
• 1 tbsp dried green onion
• Garlic powder
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Cooking oil
• Water for boiling

Garnish:
• Dried green onion
• Bird's eye chilies

Directions
Chicken oil:
1. Fry chicken skins without oil. Add ginger slices.
2. Stir fry until the skin become crispy.
3. Set aside and keep in a close container.

Soup:
1. Boil chicken bones. Add beef stock, ginger slices and garlic powder. Season with salt, pepper and sugar.
2. Add dried green onion, mix well and remove from the heat.

Chicken Mushroom:
1. Heat chicken oil in a skillet. Sauté garlic until fragrant.
2. Add chicken meat and cook until rigid and color changed.
3. Add mushroom. Stir fry until wilted.
4. Add sweet soy sauce. Pour into water. Mix well. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Continue on cooking over a small heat until water reduced. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Noodle:
1. Boil water by adding small amount of oil and salt. Add egg noodles, boil until cooked. Remove from the heat. Drain the water and wash noodles with cold water. Drain again.
2. Mix pepper, salty soy sauce, vegetable oil in a big bowl. Fold in egg noodles, mix well.
3. Place noodle in a serving bowl. Top with chicken mushroom, steamed and fried wonton. Garnish with dried green onion, fried shallot and bird's eye chilies. Put the soup in another bowl or you can just ladle the soup into the bowl.

Fried and Boiled Wonton:
1. Mix all the ingredients. Spoon the mixture and place in the middle of wonton skin. Wrap it into triangle form, then pinch both corners.
2. Fried wonton: Heat oil in a deep fryer. Fry wonton over a medium heat until golden brown. Remove from the heat and drain with kitchen towel.
3. Boiled wonton: Boil wonton in a boiling water until floating. Remove from water and drain. (Or you can steam the wonton).Serving suggestion:Place noodle in a serving bowl. Top with chicken mushroom, fried and boiled wonton. Garnish with dried green onion and bird's eye chili. Serve with the soup. (Or you can ladle the soup over the chicken noodle).
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Old-Fashioned Baguettes from Laurie at Mediterranean Cooking In Alaska blog

Crusty baguettes, eaten hot with fresh creamery butter while sitting in front of a crackling fire, are the ultimate comfort food.
Old-fashioned Baguettes from Laurie at Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska blog
Makes 3 - 4 loaves
Adapted from Le Pain Quotidien: cook + book memories and recipes by Alain Coumont and Jean-Pierre Gabriel

Sourdough Starter for Old-Fashioned Baguettes:
These are directions for making baguette starter; if you want to also make starter for Sourdough Wheat Bread (or to keep some on hand in your refrigerator), see the notes at the end of this section.


The starter used in this recipe is based on “Le Pain Quotidien’s sourdough starter” (not the starter for Le Pain Quotidien’s “Baguette a l’ancienne”). I used King Arthur Flour’s white whole wheat flour, but the starter may also be made with regular whole wheat flour, bread flour, or all-purpose flour. The starter may be used for baguettes as soon as it develops a light sourdough flavor, which takes two or three days.

• White whole wheat flour
• Water

Day 1 morning: Mix 2/3 cup flour and 1/3 cup water in a stainless steel, glass, or pottery bowl. Cover with a plate and leave at room temperature.

Day 1 evening: Add 2/3 cup flour and 1/3 cup water to the starter, and stir just until the ingredients are combined. Cover with a plate and leave at room temperature.

Day 2 through Baking Day, morning and evening: Discard half the starter. To the remaining starter, add 2/3 cup flour and 1/3 cup water, and and stir just until the ingredients are combined. Cover with a plate and leave at room temperature.

As soon as the starter is ready, you can use all of it in the Old-Fashioned Baguette recipe.

NOTES: If you want to keep some starter (a) to store for the future or (b) to make Sourdough Wheat Bread, instead of discarding half the main starter (Starter 1) in the evening, use it to create a second starter (Starter 2). Mix Starter 1 as usual, but instead of discarding half, put the discard half in a stainless steel, glass, or pottery bowl and mix in 2/3 cup flour, 1/3 cup water, and a pinch of salt and cover it with a plate (this is Starter 2). You will now have two identical starters: Starter 1 and Starter 2. The next morning, instead of discarding half of Starter 1, add it to Starter 2 and begin making the Old-Fashioned Baguette with Starter 2.

To store sourdough starter for the future, put the starter you want to save in a jar and refrigerate it. It will keep indefinitely, so long as you feed it with flour and water every other week or so. To make starter for Sourdough Wheat Bread, continue feeding and watering Starter 1 in the morning and evening.

Old-Fashioned Baguettes:
I prefer using a baking stone when I make bread as it helps my home oven maintain an even temperature and gives the baguettes a crisper crust. I also have an old baking sheet with edges that I preheat and throw water on to create a steamy environment for the bread. Don’t throw water directly on the oven floor or it will warp. A good baking sheet will also warp, which is why I have an old baking sheet, rusty and warped, that I use only for baking bread.

Starter for Old-Fashioned Baguettes (see above)
• 2 cups warm water
• 2 tsp. yeast
• 1 Tbsp. coarse salt
• 5 – 6 cups “type 65”, bread, or all-purpose flour

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or by hand), mix the starter, water, and yeast. Add the salt and 4 cups of flour, and mix until thoroughly combined. Start mixing in the remaining flour. When the dough starts clumping together, switch to the dough hook (or to kneading by hand), and keep adding flour until you have a moist, but not quite sticky, dough. Knead for 4 minutes with the dough hook (or 10 minutes by hand).

Leave the dough to rest in the bowl, with the dough hook, for 80 minutes. Every 20 minutes (4 times total), turn on the machine and knead the dough with the dough hook (or by hand) for 20 seconds. The Le Pain Quotidien cookbook says the purpose of doing this “is to stir and compress the dough, to give it more body.”

Flour a large smooth piece of cotton (I use flour-sacking dish towels) and put it on a thin metal baking sheet. Dump the dough onto the well-floured cloth and divide it into three or four 1 to 1 1/4 pound pieces (the weight of the dough will differ depending on the type of flour you use). Let rest for five minutes.

Preheat a rimmed baking sheet and baking stone, if using, for at least 30 minutes at 500°F. The rimmed baking sheet goes on the oven’s lowest shelf, and the baking stone goes on the shelf just above it.

Pull, stretch, and roll the dough pieces into 16” baguettes, being careful not to tear the dough. Return the baguettes to the floured cloth, adding more flour as necessary, and pushing folds of cloth up between the baguettes. Lightly flour the tops of the baguettes, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes.

Carefully lift the edges of the floured cloth and roll the baguettes directly onto the thin metal baking sheet. Slash each baguette 5 times diagonally with a razor blade.

Put the bread and baking sheet in the oven, directly on the baking stone, if using. Just before closing the oven, dump a cup of water onto the rimmed baking sheet (which is on the shelf just below the bread), quickly shut the door, and turn the heat down to 450°F. Bake for 20 minutes, turn the heat down to 325°F and bake for 15 minutes.

Cool, cut, and serve.

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Homemade Tortillas from Anali at Anali's First Amendment blog

For me, nothing says comfort like homemade bread.

I found
this tortilla recipe and of course I made some changes. I decreased the salt by half and used sea salt. I used vanilla rice milk instead of regular milk and used grapeseed oil.
Fresh homemade tortillas from Anali
I made the dough this morning before work, so I only had time to cook one tortilla. I left the rest of the dough in the refrigerator and cooked it when I got home. Rolling out the dough is hard work! I'm not very good at it and cannot form perfect circles. My tortillas are more squarish circles.

I added cilantro to mayonnaise and spread that on the burger, which I put on the tortilla. I rolled it up in foil and had that for my lunch with some soup. Yum! I'm bringing the same thing tomorrow.

Tortillas are really quick to make and so soft and delicious. I've bought them at the store, but am always concerned with the amount of sodium. Making them myself, I didn't have that worry.

I was talking to my friend tonight and he said that he never hears anyone say that they made homemade tortillas. And he lives in Miami! He said that his mom used to make him tortillas every Saturday when he was a kid. He's originally from Honduras, so hers were the real deal. My tortillas may not be too authentic, but I'm enjoying them and will definitely be making them again.

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Mom's Chicken Pot "Pie" with Biscuit Topping from Holly at Phe/MOM/enon blog

Comfort Food. Mmmm... my favorite kind of food (and not fitting into my clothes still attests to this fact). Sigh. Back to the comfort. One of my earliest memories of cooking with my mom is of her
making Chicken Pot Pie with biscuits on top. I think I was probably just 6 or 7 at the time because I remember it being in the house that was across from our town's high school.

I can go for a few months without making it, but without fail, the first day there is snow, there is Chicken Pot Pie at our house. Over the years I have had a lot of other versions, but the biscuit topped is my absolute favorite. Pastry crust just isn't enough bread for me. Mine just has simple veggies in it and a homemade gravy and biscuits, so even kids like it.

When I read about this Cook-Off on IMBB being hosted by Garden of Eating I am pretty sure it was snowing here in Utah (after all, we are supposed to have the "Greatest Snow on Earth"). Either way, here is my entry, for what is my absolute favorite comfort food.

How do I like it best? Pretty much, just lots of it... and I love making way too much so that I can have the leftovers for the next couple of days. It always hits the spot and is always satisfying.

Mom's Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits

• 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small bite size pieces
• 1 can chicken broth
• 1 cup water
• 3 medium size potatoes, peeled and diced into small bite size pieces
• 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
• 1 can corn
• 1 cup frozen peas
• 2 tsp chicken bullion granules or base
• 1/4 cornstarch
• 1/4 cold water
• 1/4 tsp dried parsley flakes
• freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the potato pieces in a saucepan and cover well with cold water. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until fork tender. Remove to a 2 qt oven proof casserole dish, reserving two cups of the potato water.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan combine the chicken broth and water and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Once the liquid boils, reduce the heat to a slow simmer and add the chicken pieces. Simmer approximately 7 minutes or until cooked through. With slotted spoon, remove the chicken to the casserole dish, reserving the liquid.

While the chicken and potatoes are cooking, prepare the biscuits as directed below.

In another medium saucepan place the carrots and cover with water. Bring to boil and cook 5 minutes. Add the frozen peas and can of corn with enough water to cover. Bring back to a gentle boil and cook til the carrots are tender but not mushy, approximately 4 minutes more. Drain and add to the casserole dish.

Combine the reserved broth and potato water in a large saucepan. Add the chicken bullion and whisk. Bring to a boil. Combine the 1/4 cup water with 1/4 cup cornstarch and stir with fork until well combined. Slowly add the cornstarch slurry into the broth mixture, whisking constantly. Season with the pepper and parsley flakes. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. It should make a thick gravy. Stir enough gravy into the casserole to well coat everything.

*Top with the partially baked biscuits and place on a foil-lined baking sheet (in case of bubbling over). Place the dish into the oven and bake until gravy is bubbly and the biscuits are done and nicely browned, approximately 7 minutes more.

Remove from oven and allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.

Biscuits:
(Use your favorite biscuit recipe, or this one... when I am short on time I even use the frozen biscuits you can get from the grocery store.)

• 1/4 cup lard or shortening
• 2 cups flour
• 1 level tablespoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 3/4 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the lard/shortening into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in the milk a small bit at a time, adding just enough so that the dough rounds up and leaves the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out until it is 1/2-inch thick. Then with a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out the biscuits and place them on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes, or until they are puffed and starting to set. Refer back to the * above.

NOTE: Another shortcut I use when short on time is to add enough of the milk to make the biscuits a drop consistency and replace the shortening with butter to make a drop biscuit topping.

Enjoy!

16 comments:

culinography said...

Lots of great entries! I'm drooling already! :)

Thanks, Eve, for pulling together a great event!

Aimée said...

Didn't see my submission in the line-up. I've resent it to you.
Thanks.

Eve Fox said...

Hi Aimee,
sorry, I didnt see your email - did you send it to me at gardenofeatingblog@gmail.com?

you can also just put the link in comments if that is easier.

I will add it right away!

mompie said...

dynamite entries from some very articulate, creative and downright Cozy people in the FoodBlog universe. can't wait for the next rainy/snowy or bad-luck day to scan the list and choose me some sweet or savory spirit-raisin' concoction!

Delilah Hinman said...

Wow, there are some great recipes here! I will definitely have to give some of them a try! Thanks for putting all this together, Eve!

Good luck to everyone who entered :D

Psychgrad said...

The recipes look great!

I was confused for a second because I submitted this post for a Comfort Food Round Up. But, I see that is is a different food event. Similar name/concept, different event.

Can't wait to try some of these recipes!

Eve Fox said...

Thanks Delilah!

Psychgrad, Chicken soup is definitely one of my top comfort foods, too. Mine is also modelled on my grandma's recipe with one small difference - she was always disappointed when her knadels (aka matzoh balls) turned out dense but I LIKE mine to be as hard as rocks.

Great step by step directions and pix on your post.

Mansi Desai said...

Great roundup Eve!! enough to go through the remaining winter here:)

thanks for doing this!

DK said...

thats a lovely round up Eve. Thanks for making it so simple :-) and gorgeous!

Eve Fox said...

My pleasure! I really can't take credit for the gorgeousness though.

glamah16 said...

Really great enteries. Thanks for putting this together!

Núria said...

Wow Eve, thanks for having all these wonderful recipes together... I don't know where to start with... they all look great! It's interesting to see how everyone associates comfort food with such different meals and feelings.

Holly said...

Hi! I just resent my entry that I sent a while back. I didn't see it in the roundup. Thanks!

bird's eye view said...

Fabulous round-up and so many recipes sound enticing...as I was reading this, half my mind was busily planning to cook some of my other comfort foods as soon as I get home, now that the mercury is down to 2 degrees C

Sophie said...

Wow, such a fantastic selection. I can see why you recruited a bit of help to decide on a winner!

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Loved the round-up Eve. Great collection of recipes & well presented. Its nice to browse through them on the same page!