Rainy Day Recipes That Will Brighten Your Day
By: Chef Cristian Feher
This summer is off to quite a start here in Florida! I’m not sure whether to buy a new beach umbrella or a kayak - what, with all the rain we’ve been getting! One thing is for sure; I may have to quit my job as a chef to keep my grass under control. The last time I looked out the window I could no longer see my car.
Although the rain can put a kibosh on most of your outdoor plans, it can also be an excuse to stay in and make some really good recipes. I use rainy days to experiment in the kitchen - I’ll come up with an intricate dish and my wife will usually bake something - or in this case - freeze something.
Here are a couple of our favorite rainy day winners.
Cream of Avocado Soup - All the years of preparing multiple-course meals for my customers have conditioned me into the habit of having my meals be multiple course too. It seems I’m not satisfied with a meal unless it’s preceded by an appetizer or combined with a variety of different items- even if I didn’t prepare the main course myself. I’ve also realized that I’m drawn to restaurants that not only have good food, but provide me with a variety of different items in or around the plate (restaurant owners take heed).
This soup is something that I like to pair with Tex-Mex food. Even if I go out and get a beef tongue dinner from Taco Bus in St. Pete, I like to make this and have it before I dig into my white-styrofoam-boxed-entree.
The Recipe - Dice a half onion, mince two cloves of garlic, chop a little cilantro, and begin to cook these ingredients in a small soup pot with some olive oil until the onion starts to get soft. Add 1/2 to 1 tsp of ground cumin, ground black pepper, 1/2 a minced jalapeño pepper, the flesh from 4 avocados and 3 to 4 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes. Take a hand-blender and puree the soup. Adjust salt and serve with a dalop of plain Greek yogurt in the middle. I sometimes sprinkle crispy fried onions over top of the yogurt. For a more authentic experience wear a grow a handlebar mustache, wear a sombrero and fire a gun at the ceiling.
That Stuff with the Condensed Milk and Strawberries - Whenever I want this amazing frozen dessert, I always ask my wife for “That stuff with the condensed milk and strawberries.”
My customers always ask me, “Does your wife cook?”. My response is always, “Well, I do most of the cooking.” But I leave out the part where she earned her early retirement after making me this dessert! If you could capture unicorn breath, strawberries and the winning sound of a slot machine, freeze them - you would have an idea how good this dessert is.
The Recipe - Get a bowl and a mixer. Put 8oz of softened cream cheese, one 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk, 1/3 cup of whipping cream, and 2 tsp of lemon zest in the bowl. Mix well. Freeze for 4 hours. Bring it back out and mix again with a mixer until smooth. Put 1 1/2 cups of strawberries in a food processor and process until smooth (or chunky) it’s up to you. Add the berries to the cream cheese mixture along with 3 graham crackers. Mix well. Freeze for 8 hours. Take out of the freezer 15 minutes before serving to soften it up a bit. Get a gym membership, you’ll need it.
Do you have a favorite rainy day recipe? If so, you can send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to visit my facebook page at www.facebook.com/tampa.personal.chef