Sunday, November 11, 2012

Another great, cold-weather soup recipe !

White Cheddar and Roasted Cauliflower Soup

2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion diced
1 head cauliflower, about 2.5 lbs, cut into florets
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream (or sub with yogurt)
2 tsp kosher salt to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 oz white cheddar cheese, shredded
toasted crusty bread for garnish

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, approx 5-7 minutes.

Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, cream the 2 tsp salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the cauliflower is easily pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, blend the soup to a fine puree. (You can also use as food mill or if nothing else a blender but the blender probably will not give you the smoothest texture). Blend with stick (immersion) blender for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until melted well and combine with the soup. Adjust seasonings.

Ladle the soup into individual bowls, serve hot with toasted bread, or garnish with croutons or chopped chives.

A better holiday recipe for green beans ....

Green Beans with Lemon-Butter Bread Crumbs and Toasted Almonds

Fortunately, this is not the classic Thanksgiving green beans that our grandmothers made. This version replaces the condensed mushroom soup with lemon juice and adds a delightfully buttery-crispy topping of panko bread crumbs.

5 tbs unsalted butter
¼ cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Zest of 1 lemon (a microplane works great for this step)
1 tbs kosher or sea salt, more may be  needed after tasting
1 ½ lb fresh green beans, stem ends trimmed
1 ½ tbs fresh lemon juice
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
Salt, fresh ground pepper to taste

In a small skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbs of butter. Add the panko and toast crumbs, stirring constantly, until golden brown and crisp- about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

Fill a large saucepan two thirds full of water and  bring to a boil over high heat. Add 1 tbs of salt. Add the beans and  cook until bright green and still very crisp, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl two-thirds full of ice water. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, immediately transfer the beans to the ice water. Let cool in water for about 2 minutes and then drain thoroughly. Blot dry with paper towels and set aside.

In large skillet over medium heat,  melt the remaining 3 tbs butter and swirl to coat the  pan. Add the green beans and sauté, stirring constantly until the  beans are heated through, but still crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add the  lemon juice and almonds, sauté for 1 minute longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle with panko topping and serve immediately.

To make this dish ahead: Blanch green beans up to one day in advance. Spread the cooked beans on dry paper towel or a clean cotton towel, roll up in ‘jelly roll’ style and place in sealed plastic bag and refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator 2 hours before sautéing. The panko topping and toasted almonds can be prepared up to 1 day  in advance. Cover and store in separate airtight containers at room temperature.

Warm Up With Leek and Potato Soup !

Leek and Potato Soup

2lbs leeks
3 tbsp olive oil
1tbsp chopped thyme
1 bay leaf
1 lb Yukon gold or yellow
6 cups chicken stock
champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley or chives

Prepare the leeks by trimming off the root ends and the upper green tops. Halve the white part of the leeks lengthwise and then, without cutting through the root end, cut lengthwise into ¼ in wide strips. Then cut the leeks crosswise into ¼ in dice. Wash the diced leeks thoroughly in a large basin if cold water. Once the dirt has settled, scoop them out with a sieve or strainer. Drain and set aside.

Heat a heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, followed by the leeks, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook stirring occasionally, until the leeks are tender, about ten minutes. Peel the potatoes and cut them into ¼ in dice. Add the potatoes to the pot and cook for 3-4 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock, season with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a low simmer and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender, still maintain their shape. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Let the soup cool to room temperature and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Before serving, remove the bay leaf and reheat the soup over medium heat and taste again for salt. If you like, add champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar to sharpen the flavor. Ladle the soup into warm bowls. Finish with ground pepper, olive oil drizzle or garnish with fresh chopped parsley or chives.

My most popular Fall soup recipe...

Farmer’s Market Roasted Pumpkin and Green Apple Soup

Note: There are several ways to prepare this recipe. Originally, I made this recipe using heavy cream and bacon! It was delicious, but when cooking for my health conscious mother and sister, I decided to make this delicious soup a bit more healthy to eat. I've listed a few substitutions for various ways to prepare.

3lbs Roasted Pie Pumpkin
1.5 tbsp Olive Oil
4 oz Turkey Bacon (turkey bacon is THE substitute for pork bacon!)
½C Onion, Diced
2 Granny Smith Apples (or other tart green apple), peeled, cored, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
12 oz Soft (silken) Tofu (sub with 8oz heavy cream or 8 oz yogurt)
4C Chicken Broth (or sub with veg broth)
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Sage (dried or chopped fresh)
1C Apple Cider
¾ tsp Pepper
½ tsp Salt


Preheat oven to 350F. Cut pie pumpkins in half, scoop out seeds and loose ‘strings’. Place on baking sheet, cut side down, with thin layer of water covering bottom of baking sheet. Bake 30-45 minutes at 300F. When done, pumpkins should be dark brown to slightly black around edges on skin. Texture of pumpkin flesh should be moist, separating easily from skin. Scoop out filling with large spoon and put aside in separate container.

In pan (or dutch oven) on stove top, sautee ½ C diced onions, diced apples, 1.5 tsp olive oil and 4 oz diced turkey bacon. Sautee all ingredients until soft and translucent. Add minced garlic, sautee additional minute. Add roasted pumpkin, 1tsp sage, 1 bay leaf, 1 C apple cider, 4 C chicken broth. First bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for approx 30 min. Place ½ contents from stove top in blender. (or use a stick blender and blend on stove top). Add half tofu or cream. Put blended contents aside, then blend second half of stove top ingredients. Add second half of tofu or cream to blender. (Hint: Never fill a blender more than half way, always blend first on slow speed and hold lid on top of container!) After second round of cooked ingredients are blended and all tofu is added, return soup to stove top pot. Reheat soup and serve hot. Garnish with chopped chives or spoonful of cream. Enjoy!

Baked Butternut Squash Recipe

Baked Butternut Squash

1-2lbslb Butternut Squash, peeled, medium dice in uniform shapes and sizes.
Olive oil
Salt, pepper
1/4 tsp/1ml Cinnamon
1/8 tsp/0.5ml Cardamom, ground
2 tbsp/30ml Brown Sugar
2 tbsp/30ml Lemon Juice
2 oz/60g Melted Butter

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place diced squash in mixing bowl, coat evenly with drizzled olive oil and approx half of melted butter. Coat squash with salt, pepper, cinnamon, cardamom evenly. After diced squash is evenly coated, place squash on baking sheet.
2. Drizzle lemon juice, olive oil and remaining melted butter over the top of squash.
3. Bake uncovered in 350 F oven until tender, approx 50 minutes.

Squash should be brightly colored and slightly crisp, and show little moisture loss when done.

The Perfect Fall Salad (with my favorite fall ingredient!)

Sweet Potato Salad with Orange-Maple Dressing
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

6 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup brown raisins


For dressing:
Whisk all ingredients to blend in small bowl. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
For salad:
Steam sweet potatoes in batches until potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes per batch. Transfer sweet potatoes to large bowl. Cool to room temperature. Add green onions, parsley, pecans, and all raisins. Pour dressing over; toss gently to blend. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)