Saturday, January 14, 2017

Adirondack Game Night

This past summer, my friend Vicky was on the hunt to find an old-fashioned, hand-cranked, ice cream machine to make ice cream with her little grandson, but she struck out. So for Christmas, I found one online and made a gift of it. Last night, she decided that she wanted to give it a test run--in the middle of winter, no less--and have a few people over to her cozy cabin deep in the Adirondack woods for game night and homemade ice cream. FUN!

Vicky dishing up the good stuff!
Old-fashioned wooden ice cream bucket, as befits her cabin-in-the-woods lifestyle.

Mmmmmm....hand-cranked ice cream with real vanilla beans!
We were asked to bring our favorite ice cream toppings. Our friend Mia brought sprinkles!
Vicky and her beautiful Mennonite stove.
My friend Sally insisted that we pose in front of the stove for a selfie.

Mia the Care Bear (and youngest in our group) won the 80s Trivial Pursuit game.
More games! More fun! YAY!
Instead of bringing an ice cream topping as assigned, I decided to bring broccoli cheese soup that I made in my magic pot, sort of an homage to Panera's Broccoli-Cheese Soup. It looks a little thin in this photo, because I added some extra broth for travel out to Vicky's house, as I knew it would thicken up en route. And indeed, it was quite thick and hearty when I reheated it on the wood stove and we finally ate it. Also, I blended it almost smooth because I was hiding the vegetables from one of the finicky guests. But feel free to leave it chunkier if you prefer.

Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 cup julienned carrots
1 (16-ounce) package frozen broccoli
3 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups half-and-half
8 ounces (2 cups) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
16 oz. sharp cheddar-flavored Velveeta, cubed
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 

Add the olive oil to the IP insert on sauté mode and cook the onions for a few minutes until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in the julienned carrots, frozen broccoli, and broth. Cook on soup mode for five minutes. 

Meanwhile, on the stove top in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute or two. Slowly whisk in the half-and-half, and keep whisking and cooking until thick and smooth. 

Do a quick release when the vegetables are done cooking. Using a stick blender, purée the soup to desired level of chunkiness or smoothness. Stir in the prepared white sauce and both the shredded cheddar and cubed Velveeta. Turn the pot on low sauté, and keep stirring occasionally until the cheeses have completely melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

P.S. PLEASE don't start about the Velveeta! If you don't like it, don't use it. I would use four cups of shredded cheddar (total) instead, though of course, it won't have the same consistency. Your choice.

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