Instant Pot White Velvet Soup

Soups come together so quickly and easily in the Instant Pot, I hardly make them any other way. I was making soup for a friend recovering from surgery and wanted to bring over a few varieties. The only requirement was that they were pureed. I knew my Instant Pot Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup would hit the spot, but I needed another idea! I saw a recipe on the Food Network for White Velvet Soup, but wanted to make a few adjustments to the ingredients and knew it would come together more quickly in the Instant Pot. The creamy, velvety texture of this surprisingly healthy soup is fantastic.

Ingredients (serves 6):
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 bulbs fennel, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
4 cups water
½ cup heavy cream
Crispy cooked bacon, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Press sauté on Instant Pot. When display reads “Hot” add olive oil, onion, parsnip and celery. Sauté until vegetables are beginning to soften, 4-6 minutes. Add chopped fennel bulb, salt, pepper, fennel seeds, bay leaf and water. Give it a quick stir and then close the lid. Press “manual” and set timer to 8 minutes. When the timer is done, quick release pressure before opening the lid. Remove bay leaf and blend using an immersion blender. Stir in cream and serve. Enjoy!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

There are certain kinds of cookies that I associate with Christmas; for me those are Anginetti Cookies, Spritz Cookies and Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.  I don’t know why I reserve making them for the holidays, they really should be made all year.  Each cookie is like the perfect bite sized soft, gooey center of a brownie.

 

 

 

Ingredients (Makes 24 cookies):
¾ cup cocoa powder
1 ½ cup white sugar
⅓ cup canola oil
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
160 grams (1 ½ cups) flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup confectioners’ sugar

In a large bowl, mix together cocoa powder, white sugar and canola oil.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla.  In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt.  Fold into the sugar mixture and stir until well combined.  The batter should resemble a thick brownie batter.  Put into refrigerator for 2-4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Form batter into 1” balls and roll into confectioners’ sugar.  Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.

Enjoy!

Paul Dolan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Paul Dolan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
California – Mendocino County
14.5% ABV
$15.99
My Rating: 90 points
Costco

It can be hard finding a robust California Cabernet in the sub $20 range, but Costco has been getting in several cabs from Mendocino County that are terrific values. Big and bold, Paul Dolan has the drying tannins that pair nicely with a marbled ribeye. At this price, it’s worth stocking a few bottles for grilling steaks at home.

Deep ruby, cherry, cedar, drying tannins.

Pair with: grilled ribeye, braised short ribs, sharp cheeses

Recipe Pairing
Perfectly Seared Steakhouse Steaks

From the winemaker:
“Paul Dolan Vineyards is located in the heart of Mendocino County, Northern California, a secluded land of rich biological diversity and unique microclimates. Grapes are sourced from meticulously tended vineyards, and our balanced winemaking practices support each bottling’s expression of terroir for wines of unforgettable character.