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Posts from the ‘Soup’ Category

All About Pumpkin, Soup And Doughnuts

Recently I ordered 2 cans of pumpkin from my online grocer, I simply added to my cart without looking at the size of the cans, thinking it is the usual small cans of pumpkin puree. What arrived were the big cans, a whole lotta pumpkin and once opened it has to be used. I don’t really like freezing it because it becomes watery. I made 3 mini loaves of pumpkin spice bread, some chickpea pumpkin soup and pumpkin spice donuts and there is still enough leftover for a few pumpkin spice latte’s.

The pumpkin loaves I can practically make with my eyes closed, I use my recipe for banana bread and adapt to pumpkin adding spices.  The soup was my own creation and turned out quite well and is super easy to make. Now Doughnuts are another thing entirely. I have only made doughnuts once I think,  they were less than stellar so I abandoned  making those delicious little fried cakes and opted to buy them (the best doughnuts EVER are in my neighborhood).  We had a brief (2 days) of cool weather, back to warmer temps for the rest of the week but the soup on a cool day was just perfect. I used what I had in the pantry and refrigerator, threw everything in my oval roaster and slow cooked for about 6 hours. I didn’t pre soak the chick peas, just threw them in with some vegetable broth, carrot, onion, celery and everything cooked up beautifully. At the end I pureed some of the chickpeas, added pumpkin, Sri Lankan curry powder and some creme fraiche. So easy really, and no recipe required. You can add whatever you like or have on hand. I think that next I will try making yeast doughnuts now that I have cake doughnuts down.

curried pumpkin chickpea soup

Curried Pumpkin Chickpea Soup

2 cups dried chick peas

1 onion quartered

2 stalks celery

1 large or 2 small carrot

8 cups vegetable broth (you can also use water or chicken broth)

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 tsp curry powder (I used Sri Lankan)

Optional 1/2 cup creme fraiche

salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 325 degree’s. Put everything in the pot, put it in the oven and let it cook slow and long. I cooked it for 6 hours. When done, scoop out about 2/3 of the chick peas and a little of the broth along with the celery and onion. Puree in the blender until smooth, add the pumpkin, curry powder and optional creme fraiche. Add back to the pot, cut the carrots into bite size pieces and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning and if you like at the end add some spinach. I had some that needed to be used and it was nice in the soup.

Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

Makes 12 doughnuts and holes

Recipe from Good Housekeeping

2 tbs softened butter

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp baking soda

dash of ground nutmeg or about 1/8 tsp

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups all purpose flour

vegetable oil for frying

Cream butter until fluffy, it’s only 2 tbs so it won’t be that fluffy. Add the sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat until combined scraping sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the pumpkin, buttermilk, egg and egg yolk and vanilla until combined. Using a wooden spoon stir in flour until well combined. Cover bowl and chill for at least 3 hours or over night.

Heat the oil to 365 degrees. On work surface dusted with flour roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thick. Using doughnut cutter or biscuit cutter cut the doughnuts and place on parchment lined baking sheet. When oil is at the right temperature drop 2 or 3 doughnuts at a time and turn once browned making sure they are evenly brown and cooked through. It takes about 3 – 4 minutest per doughnut. When done place on rack lined with paper bag or paper towels. Prepare some sugar and cinnamon and roll each doughnut while still warm in the sugar mixture. Let cool and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Corn Chowder

Summer doesn’t want to let go. It’s been hot, well really warm out and I long for crisp cool Autumn weather. My last hoorah for summer produce,( the only thing I will miss about summer is the produce) is corn chowder. I can’t believe I’ve never made it before and honestly have never even tasted it either, and now I know what I have been missing out on all these years. It’s so simple to make, sweet and savory at the same time, loaded with vegetables and a fitting tribute to delicious sweet corn. After removing the kernels from the cobs I used them to make a corn cob vegetable stock which I used to make this soup. Note: I used sweet bi color corn, if you want a soup that is a little less sweet use yellow corn, it is slightly less sweet IMHO, or mix the two types of corn.

I am bringing this soup to Fiesta Friday # 193, I am honored to be co hosting this week with the amazing Ginger and Bread.

Corn Chowder

Serves 6-8

The stock

6 ears of corn, kernels removed and set aside (see video)

3 stalks celery

3 carrots

1 large onion

10 cups water (or vegetable broth)

salt and pepper to taste

Place everything in a large pot and bring to a boil on high heat. Turn heat to medium and cook for approximately 2 hours. It will reduce to about 6-8 cups. Remove the vegetables and strain if necessary.

Making the chowder

1 onion chopped

1 stalk celery chopped

1 large carrot chopped

1 red bell pepper chopped

Corn

2 potatoes peeled and cut into bite size pieces

6-8 cups corn stock

pinch of turmeric

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 tbs flour + 2 tbs water to make a slurry

2 tbs butter

salt and pepper to taste

Add a little olive oil to a dutch oven or soup pot, heat on medium high and add the celery, onion, carrot and bell pepper. Sauté until soft. Add the stock and cook for approximately 45 minutes to an hour.  Stir in the slurry and turmeric and continue to cook until it thickens a little, add the corn and potatoes and cook for another 20-30 minutes (until potato is tender). Scoop out about 3 cups of the corn and vegetables and puree in the blender until smooth. Add back to the pot along with the cream and butter, salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot or room temperature.

Watch this video on how to strip corn from Food52, I hate it when the kernels fly, this helps and there is very little flying kernels.

 

 

First Day Of Spring, Vernal Equinox

It was such a weird winter, unusually warm for long periods of time, then bitter cold, recently a snowpocolypse that was more hype than snow accumulation, but it’s finally here, the first day of Spring.  It’s still pretty cold and there is snow and ice on the ground and its official now, we have moved on winter is a thing of the past. For several weeks now I have noticed the crocus bloom, buds coming on the tree’s, the daffodils in my yard will be blooming soon and again this year my chives have returned, I had no idea chives were so resilient.  Going to the farmers markets will yield a plethora of produce and although I am not a warm weather person however,  I do love spring and summer fruit and vegetables, can’t wait for the berries and plums and peaches.

It is rare that I post several days in a row but to honor this day I made soup using spring vegetables, a light and delicate soup using asparagus and leeks. So simple and quick to prepare. So to celebrate the first day of Spring I give you soup that is a lovely shade of green and screams spring. The ingredients are few, no spicing except for salt and pepper this soup is an homage to the beauty of fresh spring asapargus and the delicate flavor of a young leek.

I wish you all a wonderful first day of Spring or if you are in another hemisphere a wonderful first day of Fall.

ready to roast

Pureéd Asparagus and leek soup

Serves 2 or more depending on serving size

1 bunch asparagus cleaned and tough parts snapped off

1 medium size leek cleaned well using only the white and light green parts

3 cups broth of your choice or water

salt, pepper

olive oil to drizzle on vegetables before roasting

1-2 tbs butter (optional)

splash of heavy cream (optional)

Heat oven to 375 degree’s, line sheet pan with parchment. Layer your clean vegetables on the pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, you don’t want them to brown only to develop that lovely deep flavor that happens when vegetables are roasted. Remove from oven and place the vegetables in a medium size saucepan.

Add the broth or water and bring to a boil, turn to low heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool in the pot for approximately 30 minutes. Using tongs place the vegetables in the blender and add a cup of broth. Pureé until desired consistency. Add back to the saucepan with a little more broth if you like your soup on the thin side, season with salt and pepper if needed, add the butter and cream and on low heat cook until it reaches the desired temperature.

Garnish with creme fraiche and chives.

A little peek at whats in store soon.

Granny Phanny And The Giant Rabbit Some Turnip Soup For Womens History Month

Another delightful installment from the joint collaboration with writer/author extraordinaire Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, we planned this post to occur in March, Women’s History Month, we’ve come a long way baby and every month, week and day should celebrate women and their/our contribution to society, this country, our families and communities. I am woman hear me roar, well that is a little cliché I know but we are empowered and accomplished and strong and proud of how far we have come, it amazes me that at one time women didn’t even have the right to vote and in some countries women are still considered objects of disdain, almost subhuman and of less importance than their male counterparts.

I also am including a recipe that I posted years ago for a spring turnip soup, you may turn up your nose when you read turnips but honestly this soup is delicious, I use Hakurai turnips which appear late winter and early spring at the local green markets. They are crisp and sweet and mild and make an outstanding soup. The soup is topped with some crumbled bacon and the turnip greens which are sauteéd in the bacon fat. For vegan and vegetarian option all you do is eliminate the bacon and use vegetable broth or water. For vegan option of course you would not use the cream but you can sub a non dairy option of your choice.

Take it away Teagan…

Granny Phanny and the Giant Rabbit

suffragettes-in-white

Hi, Suzanne.  I’m delighted to be back in your kitchen!  Hello everyone, it’s great to see you.

When I asked Suzanne for an ingredient to use in a story for this collaborative post, right away she said turnips.  Every time I hear that word I think of the “Cinnamon Bun” character from my serial, Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-1.  That’s a 1920s culinary mystery, which is in the works to be “book-ized” this spring.

Many of you are familiar with my flapper character, Pip.  This time the story is told from the point of view of Pip’s grandmother, Phanny Irene Peabody.  I thought that was appropriate since March is Women’s History Month.  Granny lived during the height of the suffragette era, and she was a woman to speak her mind.  It’s also something of a back-story for Cinnamon Bun.  I hope you enjoy the story as much as Suzanne’s recipe!  Although that’s a lot for me to live up to…

Granny Phanny and the Giant Rabbit

“The only true woman is a pious, submissive wife and mother, concerned exclusively with home and family!”

Even more irksome than the words themselves was the fact that they were uttered by a woman.  I was glad that I had already left the building.  Otherwise I might have lost my temper.  What business did anyone with that opinion have at a women’s meeting in the first place?

suffragettes-marching

In 1920, Georgia was the first state to “reject” the Nineteenth Amendment, which assured women the right to vote.  It was two years later before women actually got to vote in my home state.  Long after that, we were still suffragettes, working for equal rights.  We still wore suffragette white to our meetings.

That intolerable statement was immediately followed by the resounding crack of a slap across the speaker’s face.  I cringed, knowing full well who had likely delivered the smack.  I turned on my heel and hurried back inside.  Veronica Vale was no meek little lamb.  She was a force of nature when her righteous wrath was incurred.  I tried to make my way through the pandemonium to my friend.

1920s woman scientist-microscopeBy the time I got to Veronica, I could hear police sirens.  A quick look around told me several attendees had slipped quietly away, including the woman who spoke the words that started the trouble.

“It was all planned,” I muttered.  “That bunch wanted to make trouble from the minute they asked to join.”

Not much later a handful of us — enough to make an example, but not so many as to cause the coppers much trouble — were hauled down to the police station.  A group of men stood laughing and cat calling while we were hustled outside.  My cheeks heated in a blush.

Detective Dabney Daniels of the Savannah Police got a tip that something was going to happen.  By the time the paddy wagon reached the station, he was already diffusing the situation.

“Miss Phanny,” he began with a smirk and a shake of his head.  “I wish I could say I was surprised to see you,” he told me before turning to Veronica Vale.  “Mrs. Vale your husband is already here.  You’ll be released into his custody.”

I knew that “custody” statement wouldn’t sit well with Veronica.  She was a doctor and a scientist, not some man’s property.  No matter how good the man.  For years Veronica Vale had worked at a hospital in England called Clapham Common.  It had an all-female staff.  She retired and returned to Savannah.  Then she met the widowed Vincent and partnered with him in his veterinary practice.

Before she could complain, I blurted out my puzzlement.  “Dabney, how could you know…?”

“I’d like to claim powers as a mentalist, Miss Phanny.  However, Dr. Vale had just arrived to pick up someone else,” the handsome detective explained as chaos erupted elsewhere in the station.JCLeyndecker Arrow Collar ad

Detective Daniels quickly excused himself and walked toward the sounds of people shouting.

Veronica gave a downright evil chuckle.  I looked a question at her and she laughed out loud at the expression on my face.

“Phanny Irene Peabody,” she said.  “You are indeed a Pip.  I suppose you’ve never noticed the way that young man looks at you.  He probably doesn’t care a whit for the turnips  you’re always giving him, or the meals he gets in return for fixing one thing and another at your cottage.  Tsk-tsk.  Phanny, that young copper is smitten with you.”

“Veronica, don’t be ridiculous.  You couldn’t be more wrong.  Dabney is just a goodhearted young man,” I told my friend most emphatically.

Another crashing sound and men shouting prevented her from talking more of that nonsense.  How absurd.  I was old enough to be that boy’s mother.  We might enjoy one another’s company, but there was nothing more to it.

“Hi, Honey.  Are you hurt?” Vincent Vale asked his wife as he skidded to a stop.  As Veronica shook her head he turned to me.  “Mrs. Peabody, are you well?” he greeted me politely.Christopher Timothy as Vincent Vale

Veronica assured her husband that neither of us had come to any harm.  I noticed Vincent held some kind of harness.  There was more shouting, and then the veterinarian pelted away toward the commotion.

A moment later we heard Vincent shout.  “Got ‘em!”

However there was another crash.  I heard dull thumping noises.  The sound was quite rhythmic, and coming closer.  Veronica and I exchanged puzzled looks.

I stuck my head around the corner and gasped loudly.

“I must be seeing things.  Else I’m just plain zozzled,” I murmured.

Veronica craned her neck to see what had stunned me.

“Well horsefeathers!  In all my born days…” she began.  “A Flemish Giant.”

“Flemish?  Bushwa!” I exclaimed.  “You’re hallucinating too,” I mumbled.  “Somebody spiked our tea a little too much at the women’s meeting.  Or else I’m looking at a cinnamon colored rabbit that’s three feet tall, sitting on his haunches.”

I crouched down, befuddled.  The big bunny hopped over to me and nuzzled my hand.  I scratched between his impossibly long ears.  I helped hold the big bun still as Vincent got the harness around him.

“This big ole boy decimated Godfrey Gilley’s garden.  Dug up every turnip he had,” Vincent commented.  “When the big bun headed toward his grocery store, Godfrey was so upset that he called the police saying there was a bear in his yard!” the veterinarian laughed.  “Trouble is, I’m not sure what we can do with him.  We’ve taken on so many animals lately,” Vincent admitted, but cast a pleading look at his wife, who gave a resigned sigh.

My face ended up against the giant rabbit’s soft hair as Vincent adjusted the harness.  I found that I didn’t want to move.  My fingers sank into the plush fur.

“I’ll take him,” I spoke up, and questioned my own sobriety again.  “Oh good lord, but I need a hutch for him.”Vintage rabbit driving

I hadn’t noticed that Detective Dabney Daniels was standing beside us.

“Don’t worry, Miss Phanny.  I can take care of a rabbit hutch in a jiffy,” Dabney said.  “Even one big enough for this miscreant,” he added with a grin.

Veronica elbowed me sharply in the ribs.  She gave me an I told you so look and winked.

“He’s sweet on you,” she whispered into my ear.  “So what if he’s younger.  He’s a damn fine figure of a man!”

“Absolutely no!” I told her so fiercely that everyone looked askance.

Fortunately I was spared from an explanation because of Veronica’s loud bark of laughter.

The Vales offered to drive me home.  I got into the automobile with Vincent and Veronica, and of course the rabbit.  Dabney bent down and promised to come by to start on the rabbit hutch that evening.  Veronica wriggled her eyebrows at me.  I gave her a withering look, then turned and smiled at the detective as I thanked him.

“What was all that about?” Vincent wanted to know as we drove away.

Veronica had no inhibitions about sharing her embarrassing speculations to her husband, despite my denial. 

“It simply will not do!” I told her, my patience close to its end.

“She means that dear,” Vincent said.  “You might want to leave it alone before your sense of fun hurts your friendship.”

“You’re right,” she agreed with a sigh.  “I’m sorry Phanny.  I just want to see you happy.”

“I am perfectly happy as I am.  Besides, I told you that my granddaughter, Pip, is coming to live with me.  I’ll have my hands full, teaching her to cook,” I reminded my friends.  “I can’t wait for you to meet her.”

The End

***

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Creamy Spring Turnip Soup With Wilted Greens And Bacon

(Bacon is optional for my vegetarian friends)

Serves 4-6 depending on serving size

4 heaping cups turnips peeled and quartered (Use the small spring turnips if possible)

1 potato peeled and quartered (I used Yukon Gold and it’s Optional to use a potato)

2 cups leeks (cleaned well and sliced) or use a medium size onion or 2 shallots

4 1/2 cups broth (chicken, vegetable or water)

2 tbs butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg (optional)

4-6 slices bacon

Turnip greens cleaned VERY well

In heavy sauce pan heat a little olive oil, add the leeks or onion or shalot and sweat, cook just until tender don’t brown. Add the turnips and potato, now add the liquid (broth or water). Cover and cook until the turnip and potato are tender. Let cool for about 30 minutes and blend either in your blender or use the immersion blender. Note: If using an immersion blender remove some of the liquid you don’t want the soup too thin, you can always add it back in. Add the butter and cream and season with salt and pepper and nutmeg.

Fry the bacon until crisp, remove from the fry pan and add the greens to the bacon fat, season with salt and peppper and saute until the greens are tender and wilted.

To Serve: Garnish the soup with the wilted greens and crumbled bacon.

Soup

Coconut Caulifower Soup With Ginger And Turmeric

 

Looking through Clean Soups the one that leapt out at me was the Coconut Cauliflower Soup, actually I decided on this soup before I chose which broth to make. You all know my love affair with cauliflower and I am such a big fan of pureed soups, this was the one I had to make. Turmeric has amazing medicinal, nutritional properties and I have it every day with milk and a grind of black pepper. When I saw the gorgeous golden yellow soup it was love at first sight. I am also a big fan of Thai flavors, lemongrass, ginger, lime and coconut are a happy marriage of flavors and make this silky pureed soup exotic and delicious. A touch of red Thai chili paste provides a gentle bite and the sum of all of the ingredients is wonderfully comforting and so yummy.

I made the soup exactly as written in the recipe but ended up tweaking just a bit as I wasn’t quite satisfied with the results. The cauliflower is roasted in a hot oven drizzled with olive oil and turmeric and what ended up happening is that it started getting too dark and the cauliflower was not tender enough,  I kept turning it and moving it around until the prescribed length of baking time was reached. I didn’t think the cauliflower was quite soft enough but continued, blending it with the other vegetables and I didn’t like the texture. Now it could be my wonky oven or maybe the florets were too big,  I don’t know. I ended up cooking the pureéd soup for about 20 minutes and then put it back in the blender so that it was velvety smooth. The soup is delicious and I would definitely make it again.

Coconut Cauliflower Soup With Ginger And Turmeric

2 1/2 – 3 lb cauliflower cut into 1 1/2 inch florets

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

sea salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 yellow onion peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

2 carrots peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery chopped

2 tsp Thai red chili paste

6 cups Thai coconut broth plus more if needed (I did need more)

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tbs freshly squeezed lime juice plus more if needed

garnish with fresh chopped mint or cilantro

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425 degree’s. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the cauliflower, 2 tbs olive oil, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp salt and the black pepper in a large bowl and toss until coated. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and spread to an even layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and tender.

Meanwhile heat the remaining tbs of olive oil in a soup pot, then add the onion, a pinch of salt and the remaining 1/4 tsp of turmeric and sauté until translucent about 3 minutes, add the garlic, carrots and celery and 1/4 tsp salt and sauté until the vegetables begin to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Add the chili paste and stir to coat the vegetables. Pour in 1/2 cup of the broth to deglaze the pot, stirring to loosen any bits at the bottom of the pot. Let cook until the liquid reduces by half.

Pour 1/3 of the broth into a blender, add the ginger and 1/3 of the vegetables and cauliflower and blend until smooth adding more broth if needed. Continue to blend until all of the broth and vegetables are pureed. Pour back into the soup pot and cook over low heat until warmed,  add salt if needed and the lime juice.  Soup will keep 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.

Clean Soups- Magic Mineral Broth and Thai Coconut Broth

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I’m a cookbook hoarder, well hoarder may be too harsh but I love my cookbooks, collect them and can literally spend hours in the bookstore looking at them and almost always leave the store with at least one if not more. When I received an email from the editors at Food52 asking if I would be interested in reviewing a cookbook for the Piglet Community Picks  there was no pause in my answer, a resounding YES.  I was given a choice of 6 cookbooks and Clean Soups was my first choice. It is not a voluminous cookbook, but offers some fantastic healthful and delicious basic broths used as a base for a variety of different types of soups.

I chose to make the Magic Miracle Broth,  a vegetable broth, and a stepping stone to another recipe Thai Coconut Broth which will  become a pureed soup. One thing I loved about this broth is that the vegetables are used unpeeled, everything, onion, carrot, garlic with the peels and all, it’s so easy to just throw it all in a pot and let it cook. If you love soup and clean eating I really recommend you purchase this cookbook. Part two of this post will be published in a few days, the finished soup.

Magic Mineral Broth

Makes approximately 1 gallon of broth

6 unpeeled carrots cut into thirds

2 unpeeled yellow onions, quartered

1 leek, white and green parts cut into thirds

1 bunch celery including the heart, cut into thirds

4 unpeeled red potatoes

2 unpeeled Japanese or regular sweet potatoes, quartered

1 unpeeled garnet yam, quartered

5 unpeeled garlic cloves, halved

1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley

1 (8 inch strip) kombu

12 black peppercorns

4 whole allspice or juniper berries

2 bay leaves

8 quarts cold filtered water

1 tsp sea salt plus more if needed

Rinse all vegetables well including the Kombu.
In a 12 quart or larger stockpot, combine the carrots, onion, leek, celery, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam, garlic, parsley, kombu, pepper, allspice berries and bay leaves. Add the water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for at least 2 hours or until the full richness of the vegetables can be tasted. As the broth simmers some of the water will evaporate, add more if the vegetables begin to peek out.

Strain the broth through a large course mesh sieve (use a heat resistant container underneath) and discard the solids. Stir in the salt adding more if desired. Let cool at room temperature before refrigerating or freezing. Store in the refrigerator up to 5 days or in the freezer up to 6 months.

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Thai Coconut Broth

Makes approximately 2 1/2 quarts of broth

8 cups Magic Mineral broth

2 13.5 oune cans coconut milk

3 1 inch pieces of fresh ginger

2 shallots peeled and halved

3 kaffir lime leaves or 1 tsp lime zest

1 stalk lemongrass, cut in chunks and bruised

1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more if needed

In a 6 quart pot combine the broth, coconut milk, ginger, shallots, lime leaves or zest, lemongrass and salt, bring to a low boil over medium heat. Cook for about 20 minutes. Decrease to low and simmer for another 30 minutes. Remove the solids, taste and add more salt if desired.

Let cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing. Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days and 6 months in the freezer.

 

Tomato Soup

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I have a good friend who used to live in Brooklyn and a couple of years ago moved into Manhattan, we don’t get to see each other that often and I was so happy that we set a date to meet and decided we would catch up over lunch. I offered to cook and thought since it’s cold outside a bowl of soup would be good, she lives near Sullivan Street Bakery and said she would bring bread. The first thing I thought of was tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve made tomato soup before, posted it a few years ago, it was actually an accident that turned into soup. This one is intentional and it’s phenomenal. I got the recipe from food network and reading it I thought OMG, there is something wrong for example it called for 3/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup on the tomatoes and sauteeing the vegetables in 1/2 cup of olive oil, REALLY, don’t think so. Luckily the recipe from Michael Chiarrello had an accompanying video from his show. I followed what he said in the video and not what was written and the soup is awesome. I made a few changes adding some fresh tomatoes, rind of parmigiana but other than those two things I stuck to the recipe. The soup is delicious and quick and easy and I highly recommend. Who can resist dunking a gooey grilled cheese in tomato soup, it’s one of lifes great pleasures.

Homemade Tomato Soup

Makes 2-3 generous portions or 4 moderately sized portions

1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes- juices drained and reserved

1 cup fresh tomatoes cut into pieces or if cherry or grape cut in half

1 stalk celery

1 small onion

1 carrot

1 1/2-2 cup (approximately) stock, chicken or vegetable or water

reserved juice from tomatoes

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil to drizzle on tomatoes and to cook the vegetables

small piece of parmigiano rind (optional)

fresh basil chopped (I used 3 large leaves)

1 tbs butter (optional)

heavy cream- I didn’t measure but if I had to guess it was a bit shy of 1/4 cup (optional)

Heat oven to 450 degree’s. Drain canned tomatoes and reserve the juice. Place on baking sheet along with fresh tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until caramelized – it took approximately 20 minutes

Heat some olive oil in heavy non reactive sauce pan or saucier. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook until they start to soften and caramelize. Add the roasted tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, stock or water, bay leaf, rind of parmigiano and cook approximate 25-30 minutes until vegetables are tender add the basil now.  Remove bay leaf and you can use either your immersion blender or your blender and puree until smooth. Return to pan and add the optional butter and cream. Serve hot.

Happy Halloween, Cheesy Cauliflower Puree With Roasted Vegetables And Pear With Poire William Creme Anglaise

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Halloween is a big day in our neighborhood, our community group the Society for Clinton Hill sponsors a Halloween Walk and other events, there are months of planning that go into this. Last year there were over 3000 children and adults that participated and this year I think there will be more, judging from the response we have gotten so far. We have a halloween map showing houses that hand out candy, a theatrical production at 313 Clinton Avenue, the Dead Zombie Band puts on an incredible show and everyone looks forward to it. Because we are a not for profit organization local business donate to help us defray the expense of putting this whole thing together. I am on the board of directors for the community organization and am in charge of the PR, social media and the website as well as helping to coordinate.  It’s a tremendous amount of work but very rewarding. I will post photo’s this week. Happy Halloween to all!!

Sorry about all the cauliflower recipes, as I said in the last post it’s an obsession of mine and a filling and delicious sub for carb laden rice or potatoes or pasta. In this case I probably would have served over polenta but instead served with a cauliflower puree made rich with a little creme fraiche and grated comte cheese. The vegetables are simple, a small graffiti eggplant roasted with whole cherry tomatoes and shallot. For a textural diversion I sauteed some fresh bread crumbs in garlic, butter and olive oil and sprinkled over the top.

In an effort to satisfy my sweet tooth and still stay away from refined sugar and flour I created this simple dessert by poaching pears in Poire William (pear liquor) with a touch of maple syrup to sweeten and served with a créme anglaise again with a little maple syrup to sweeten and some Poire William.  Créme Anglaise is a custard sauce made with eggs, milk or cream, sugar, vanilla and rum or some sort of spirit or liquor. Because I am not really eating refined sugar I chose to lightly sweeten with maple syrup, this was adapted from Julia Childs recipe in her book, “Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom”.  I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t thicken properly because there is no sugar but it worked just fine.

Cauliflower Puree with Roasted Vegetables 

Really no recipe required for this I made enough for 2 servings

Cauliflower puree follow instructions but use creme fraiche rather than cream.

1 small eggplant cut into bite size pieces

cherry tomatoes

1 shallot peeled and cut into quarters

cheese of your choice I used comté and didn’t measure- grated – add as much cheese as you like

olive oil

salt and pepper

fresh breadcrumbs

1 small garlic clove thinly sliced

butter

Make the cauliflower puree and set aside. Clean and cut your eggplant and shallot, heat the oven to 400 degree’s. Place parchment on sheet pan and lay the vegetables and whole cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for approximately 20-30 minutes. The eggplant and shallot should be soft and the tomatoes nicely caramelized.

Heat a little olive oil and butter in a skillet on med high heat, add garlic and sauté until soft. Add the breadcrumbs stirring so that the fat is absorbed by the breadcrumbs. Toast in the skillet until crisp and browned.

Heat cauliflower puree in saucepan add grated cheese. Serve immediately with the roasted vegetables spooned on top, sprinkled with breadcrumbs and garnish with a little parsley if you like.

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Créme Anglaise

2 servings

Adapted from a recipe by Julia Child

3 egg yolks

2-3 tbs maple syrup

1 cup half and half or whole milk

2 tsp vanilla

2 tbs Poire William (you can use the juices from the poached pears for this)

Whisk egg yolks with the maple syrup until the yolks are thick and pale yellow. Heat milk to scalding and add in a slow steady stream to the egg yolks whisking constantly. Pour into the saucepan and cook on medium to medium low heat until it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon, using your finger swipe a line and if it stays intact it’s done. Remove from heat immediately, pour through a fine sieve to remove any bits of egg that may have cooked and add the vanilla and pear liquor.  Refrigerate until ready to use, since this is best served warm heat over simmering water (bain marie) until warm to the touch. The créme anglaise which is usually a light yellow because of the maple syrup and vanilla is more beige in color.

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Poached Pears

Heat oven to 375 degree’s. Peel, cut in half and core the pears,  place in a buttered baking dish adding some Poire William, pear nectar or whatever liquid you like. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until pears are soft when gently poked with the end of a sharp knife.

If your créme anglaise is cold you can warm over simmering water. Spoon onto a plate and top with the pear.

You can add a cinnamon stick, star anise, cardamom pod or whatever spice you like to the pears and this will infuse with a gentle warm spice that would be delicious as well.

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Count Dracula

Percy as Count Dracula

Happy New Year, Some Favorites And 2015 in review

Taken from Pinterest

Taken from Pinterest

I wish each and everyone of you an amazing, healthy, happy, joyous and prosperous 2016. I want to thank you all for being such great friends, for leaving such uplifting and kind comments and for being my source of inspiration. Below is the report compiled by the WordPress helper monkey’s. I don’t really keep track of the stats, but do appreciate the work that WordPress puts into these reports, thank you to the good people at WordPress!! Both 2014 and 2015 were hard years for me, harder than I can even express. The start of a new year brings with it hope and we also reflect on the past year, the good and the bad, the sad and the happy, triumphs and failures. Life can sometimes be like a rollercoaster ride.

Going into my 4th year of blogging in January is quite momentous for me. I can’t believe I am still doing this,  have made such great friends and learned so much. Hope you all have a wonderful time on New Years Eve and joyously welcome 2016, peace, love and joy to all. Below are some photo’s I compliled with some of my favorite dishes both sweet and savory.

Savory favorites

Savory favorites

Baked, desserts and the epic biscuit!

Baked, desserts and the epic biscuit!

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Minestrone And Meatball Soup With Tortellini

Hearty soup

Hearty soup

A few years ago I saw this recipe on Bourbon and Brown Sugar’s site. I immediately knew I had to make it. It’s a great recipe, simple to make, hearty and delicious. You can see the link above for the original recipe. I have adapted to my taste making a few alterations and substitutions but keeping with the basic premise of the original. The soup is a real meal, warm and filling and comforting. It is pretty much my favorite soup. I make this every year, many times over and it never fails, it’s a crowd pleaser and although I think it would freeze well I never seem to have any leftover at all. If you have never visited MB’s site and seen the gorgeous and delicious food she cooks up, do yourself a favor and check it out. I used to get notifications by email when she posted new recipes but it stopped so I just followed again. The photo’s are gorgeous and the recipes are delicious. Here is my adaptation of MB’s amazing Hearty Minestrone With Tortellin and Mini Meatballs:

Adapted from a recipe from Bourbon and Brown Sugar

Meatballs:

1 lb ground beef

1 lb ground pork

1 heaping cup fresh breadcrumbs

1/2 cup grated cheese, parmigiano, romano or a mix

2 eggs

1/3 cup chopped parsley

1/3 cup water

salt and pepper

Pre heat oven to 375 degree’s and line a sheet pan with parchment. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until all the ingredients are incorporated.

Spray a little oil on the parchment and start rolling small meatballs about the size of a quarter and line them up on the sheet pan. I used about half of the meat and froze the rest. It made 35 small meatballs. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until done and lightly browned.

Soup:

1 smallish yellow onion chopped

1 shallot chopped

2 stalks celery chopped

2 carrots chopped

2 cloves garlic chopped

1 1/2 cup chopped (into bite size pieces) uncooked butternut squash

7-8 cups chicken broth

26 oz canned chopped or fresh tomatoes

a piece of rind from parmigiana cheese (always save the rind)

1 medium size zucchini washed and cut into bite size pieces

2 cups fresh baby spinach

1 15 oz can cannellini beans drained and rinsed

the cooked meatballs.

8 oz fresh tortellini

Heat some olive oil in a large dutch oven, add the onion, shallot, celery, carrot, garlic and butternut squash and cook until the vegetables become tender, it took about 15 minutes. Add the chicken broth, tomato and rind from the cheese. Bring to a boil and cook on medium heat for 30-45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Add the beans, zucchini, spinach and meatballs and let simmer for about 30-35 minutes. Soup will be quite thick with all the ingredients. Add the tortellini at the end simmering for about 10 minutes and serve with some grated cheese and warm bread and butter,  a good glass of wine and a fresh salad make this an outstanding cold weather meal.

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