Category Archives: Appetizer

Caldo Verde: A Classic Fall or Winter Soup from Cook’s Illustrated

I admit it. I am totally in love with my magazine and online subscriptions to Cook’s Illustrated, even though I do find some of the recipes a bit fussy for my taste. But this Caldo Verde recipe is quick and easy to prepare, uses inexpensive  and healthy ingredients, and tastes sublime. In this version, I did not change anything in the recipe other than to use leek instead of onion and reducing the amounts proportionately because I only had 7 oz of chorizo sausage on hand instead of the 12 oz called for in the recipe, although I did use the full pound of collard greens.

First, brown the chorizo

First, brown the chorizo

Here is the recipe verbatim from Cook’s Illustrated:

Caldo Verde

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces Spanish-style chorizo sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped fine ( I chopped up some leek, instead)
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1 pound collard greens, stemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

Leeks and garlic

Leeks and garlic

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer chorizo to bowl and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add onion (or leek), garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and pepper flakes and season with pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add potatoes, broth, and water; increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

cooking the potatoes

cooking the potatoes

Transfer 3/4 cup solids and 3/4 cup broth to blender jar. Add collard greens to pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in chorizo and continue to simmer until greens are tender, 8 to 10 minutes longer.

Gorgeous collard greens from Flats Mentor Farm

Gorgeous collard greens from Flats Mentor Farm

adding the greens

adding the greens

Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil to soup in blender and process until very smooth and homogeneous, about 1 minute. Remove pot from heat and stir pureed soup mixture and vinegar into soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve. (Soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

Before adding the processed liquid and potatoes

Before adding the processed liquid and potatoes

Hey, I just realized I forgot the vinegar…Oh well, next time.  🙂

Anyway, there really isn’t much more to say because I pretty much followed the instructions as is, with the only other minor difference being that I used my immersion blender with the handy blending jar it comes with for such purposes to do the pureeing part.

This recipe is a total winner in my book, and Steve loved it, too.  Plus, I can see using it as a jumping off point for a number of variations depending on what I have on hand on a given day.  In any case, it’s a keeper!

DONE!

DONE!

Kale Chips: easy, foolproof, and even the dog likes them!

I have tried making kale chips here and there over the years but was never that impressed with the results. But finally, I have learned a few tricks that guarantee perfect kale chips every time.  It is all in the technique and the proportion of oil and other flavorings to the amount of kale.

By the way, I kid you not in my title; my dog Buster loves kale chips!  You can click HERE to see the proof.  🙂

Here is the recipe I have been using this summer.

Kale Chips with Tamari and Sesame Seeds

  • 1/2 pound bunch of curly kale
  • 1 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoons sesame seeds, hulled or un-hulled
  • 2 teaspoons tamari (soy sauce)
coating the kale

coating the kale

  1. Rinse the kale, shake dry a bit.
  2. Tear leaves off the stem, or remove the stem by folding the leaf in half and slicing the stem off, as shown in this handy video.
  3. Further tear the leaves into pieces approximately 3 or 4” square in size and run through a salad spinner and/or just spread out and let air dry until totally dry.
  4. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and put out two cookie sheets.
  5. Mix together the oil and tamari and, in a big bowl, toss with the now dry kale pieces until the leaves are equally coated.
  6. Next, sprinkle with the sesame seeds and toss to coat evenly.
  7. Spread the seasoned kale pieces out on the two cookie sheets, being sure that there is little or no overlap.

    kale on they tray

    kale on the tray

  8. Once the oven reaches 425 degrees, put the two cookie sheets with the kale in the oven.
  9. After a few minutes (you will hear the oil start to sizzle, but set a timer for 3 minutes so you don’t forget and burn the chips!), turn off the oven and let the kale continue baking as the oven cools for another 20 minutes or until very crispy.

    kale on tray and in bowl

    Here they are!

  10. Remove from oven, use a spatula to gently loosen any chips that are sticking, and then let the chips cool before storing in an airtight container.  Or, put them in a bowl and start eating them!
kale in bowl

Yum!

Notes:  

  • Type of Kale:  Any type of kale will work, but be aware that different types may result in a lesser or greater amount of leaves, once de-stemmed, and adjust the amounts of other ingredients accordingly.
  • Oil and seasonings: You can use any kind of oil, including olive or canola, but I like the light slightly nutty flavor of the sesame oil with the seeds and soy.  You can also add salt or use a totally different flavor combination.  But a tablespoon or so of oil with a 3 to 2 proportion of oil to any other liquid seasoning per ½ pound is a good guideline.

I actually start off with a full pound of kale and double the amounts of oil, tamari, and sesame seeds because my oven has enough room and shelves to accommodate four cookie sheets at a time, and, due to more bulk going into the oven at once, I preheat to 435 degrees and cook for the full 5 minutes before turning off the oven.

This recipe is foolproof because, as long as you don’t forget to set a timer and thus forget to turn the oven off and let the kale bake to long at full heat, you will not end up with a mass of charred, disintegrated leaves.  And, the sticking to the proportion of oil and liquid per pound of kale ensures that you won’t end up with chewy, versus crispy chips. You may have to experiment a bit because everyone’s oven is a bit different, but with these guidelines, at least you won’t burn your chips!

Another shot of the kale chips

Another shot of the kale chips

These chips really are good, and a great way to use kale that, however tasty in a salad, soup, or stir fry, can end up abandoned in the fridge.  And we don’t want that to happen, do we?

Enjoy!

So Simple Broccoli Soup

Why broccoli soup? Well, one reason is the two full bunches of broccoli (read: over three pounds) that Steve brought home instead of the 2-3 broccoli crowns I requested…They say necessity is the mother of invention but, in this case, too much of a good thing ended up inspiring a wonderful new favorite way to get our vegetables.

Soup was the logical way to use up that much fresh broccoli when the household is comprised of just two people, even two who love their veggies.  I have recently been making a lovely roasted cauliflower soup (I’ll post the recipe soon, I promise!) that is basically just roasted cauliflower and onion with stock and seasoning, so I was wondering if I could do something similar with the broccoli.  So…off to the Internet went I.

The short story is that, at least during my hasty search, I did not find any broccoli soup recipes that did not use something to thicken it, whether it be a flour roux, dairy, nuts, or soy or rice milk. I did, however, find one that added carrot and another that included apples.  Well….since I had plenty of broccoli to spare, I decided to just go with no thickener as see how it would turn out.  Of course, I knew I had the option of adding a roux or cream at the end if the texture was to0 thin for the taste.

soup

The final product. Yum!

Here is what I used:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1/2 or a bit more dried thyme
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 smallish apple, peeled and chopped
  • about one pound or 8 cups  of broccoli florets
  • 4 cups  stock – I used chicken*
broccoil florets

The 8 cups florets

First, I melted the butter and olive oil and added just the onions, cooking on low  until starting to soften, and then added the diced carrot and the dried thyme and ground pepper and continued cooking, now over medium, for a few more minutes.

Starting with the onions, carrot, and seasonings.

Starting with the onions, carrot, and seasonings.

I then added the chopped apple, stirring for a bit to coat it in the oil and seasoning, then stirred the broccoli to coat as well. Next, I added the 4 cups of stock, brought it all to just a boil and then simmered for about 15 minutes or so, until the broccoli was fork-soft.

*A Note about stock:  I used chicken stock, but if you want a totally vegetarian version, I am sure veggie stock, or even plain water will work, albeit you might want to add some tamari or better yet,  miso, and/or other seasonings to give a bit more depth to the flavor.  OR, keep it light and punch up the brightness with a dash of rice vinegar or lemon juice.

Cooked and reeady to blend!

Cooked and ready to blend!

The last step was to blend.  I used an immersion blender, but a regular blender would work, as well, as would just using a potato masher or food mill – whatever you have available.

DONE!

DONE!

It sure looked tasty, although it was not as thick as the typical “Cream of whatever” soup. But the taste was superb and Steve and I both agreed that the texture was perfect as is – no additional thickening needed.  In fact, I think any thickener would reduce the brightness of the flavor…hmmm, I bet a squeeze of lemon would be a nice touch, albeit perhaps not on a cold winter day…

I will add that I don’t think using a thickener would hurt the recipe – but the change in texture would probably inspire, and possibly necessitate, some additional seasoning.  But, it is all a matter of taste.  Adding a  1/2 cup of cream at the end, or adding a few tablespoons flour and cooking with the veggies before adding the stock are two options, as is adding a roux at the end.

But honestly this is great as is – and note that I added no salt.  AND, Steve didn’t even add any!  THAT’S saying something.  🙂

And that’s that!  I suspect Steve and I will eat this batch of soup in a day or so, but I’ll make another batch with my OTHER big bunch of broccoli and see how it freezes.  I’ll report back when I do.   In the meantime – take this recipe out for a spin and make it your own.  I will again say: YUM!
UPDATE:

I froze some of the first batch and defrosted it the next day.  Still fabulous!  Make a big batch when you find nice fresh broccoli on sale. 🙂

Perfect last-minute dip recipe! Quick, Tasty, AND Healthy!

In a matter of minutes, I made a really tasty dip with ingredients I always have on hand – canned beans, garlic, plain yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh parsley, this last ingredient being for optional garnishing.

Given I am writing this on the day before Christmas, I am thinking that there might be some folks out there panicking because they don’t know what to bring as a potluck offering to a family gathering or other sort of holiday get-together. WELL, look no further.  🙂

You can see the original recipe on Allrecipes.com (one of my favorite recipe sites) by clicking HERE.

And, here is my interpretation, which doubles the recipe, replaces curry powder with cumin, and has a few minor adjustments of the amounts of some ingredients upon the suggestions of some of the recipe reviews on the Allrecipes site.

Image

Black Bean and Garbanzo Bean Dip

Black Bean and Garbanzo Bean Dip

Ingredients:
1 14 or 15.5 oz can black beans, drained
1 14 or 15.5 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed high recommended
2 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons water
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin powder
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley sprigs (optional)

Directions:
Place black beans, garbanzo beans, olive oil, lemon juice, yogurt, water, and garlic into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Season with the cumin powder, salt, and pepper. Cover and puree until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.

While perhaps not the most attractive looking dip (as you can see, a sprig or two of parsley can help with that), it has a wonderfully bright and light yet satisfying flavor and a nice texture.  And, with no tahini and little oil, it provides a healthier option than much of the standard holiday fare.

I am thinking I might try adding a 1/4 cup or so each of chopped fresh parsley and grated carrot to the mix next time to further boost the healthy factor.  But, as is, it is already a winner in my book — and my kitchen!

Homemade Egg Rolls – Baked not Fried, and it works!

Disclaimer – forgive any typos, etc.  Posted after a long day!  🙂

When food shopping a few weeks ago, I picked up some egg roll wraps, just for fun.  A few weeks later, I realized that I needed to use them soon, as their freshness date (as a refrigerated product) was fast approaching.  I just happened to have a half a head of cabbage that needed to be used up, too, and I always carrots in the fridge and cooked chicken in the freezer.  No worries that the recipe from which I decided to start (the one on  the Nasoya wrap package) called for lean ground pork.  While starting with raw meat versus cooked adds yet another level of complexity to any dish, I had also found egg roll recipes that called for cooked chicken, so I decided to create my own recipe based on a few that I found online.

Here are the links to the two recipes from which I was working:

Nasoya Egg Roll Recipe
Baked Egg Rolls

Here is what I used:

  • 1-2 tablespoons oil for sauteing (I used peanut but canola is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 2 cups finely chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/3 cup small-diced daikon radish
  • 1/8 cup chopped chives
  • 2 cups finely diced cooked chicken
  • 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon + water to add to cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon additional water
  • 2 Tablespoons tamari (soy) sauce
  • 12 egg roll wraps

Okay – let me start by saying that you should feel free to look at other recipes for seasoning ideas!  I was playing around and what I used tasted yummy, but not all the same ingredients are necessary for excellent results.

For example, one recipe called for oyster sauce and I didn’t have any, but I had hoisin sauce.  After reading various opinions as to what was a suitable substitute for what, I figured I would add a bit of anchovy paste to add some depth without being overly “fishy.”  (Anchovy paste has a way more subtle effect than you would think.) And, I had no bean sprouts but I figured that the daikon radish I had on hand would add an extra texture, albeit not quite that of the sprouts but in step with an oriental dish. And, both recipes called for green onions, another ingredient I lacked.  But, I have some chives growing in a pot, so I tossed some of them in.

You may also notice that of the two recipes I cite as sources, one calls for minced ginger and one for minced garlic.  Well, hey, why not both?  Fun fact: Pearl, my cat of 18 years, whom I adopted when I was in my mid 20s, loved anything, including broccoli, if it was sauteed in garlic and ginger.  That cat had good taste. 🙂

Anywhoooo…the process was quick and easy.  First, I chopped the veggies.

chopped veggies

Then I sauteed the garlic and ginger:

garlic and ginger sauteeing

Then I added the veggies and cooked for just a few minutes until a bit soft but still with some crunch.

veggies cooking

Next, I added the chopped chicken and heated until warmed through, then added the sauce and cornstarch mix – everything from the hoisin sauce on in the ingredient list that I had mix together until smooth before adding.

Once the sauce was added to the chicken and heated through, I moved the mixture from the pan to a bowl so it could cool off enough to handle.  Then I started assembling the egg rolls.  I used 1/4 cup of filling for each wrap.

filling on wrap Just so you know, I had no idea that for the first 5-6 egg rolls, I didn’t realize how thin the wraps were and used two per roll.  Those that had a double wrap were fine, but not additionally good enough for me to recommend using double wraps all the time unless you try it and find you prefer a thicker egg roll wrap. 🙂

Then I folded up from the bottom and then from the side.

folded

Next, I used just a bit of water when finishing and securing the fold, put them on a very lightly greased cookie tray, brushed just a bit of olive oil on the tops, and put them in my convection/toaster oven at 425 for 12 minutes.

Both recipes noted above said between 10-15 minutes at 400 or 425 degrees in a regular oven, so I would pick your temperature and keep and eye on them.

final product

I thought these tasted great as is, but I did make a dipping sauce from soy sauce, a bit of rice wine vinegar, some sugar and a bit or minced garlic and onion.

So, the verdict is – homemade egg rolls are easy to make and, while there are plenty of recipes with instructions for frying, I think baking works just as well and even better for crispness, especially when reheating (10 minutes at 350 works) and, obviously makes for a lower fat content.

Next time I will make a bunch and freeze to bake at a later date.  Quick easy, and healthy – works for me!

Fresh Pressed Olive Oil

I guess I could be considered a food snob or foodie, or both. Why? Because I pay a chunk of change, like $90 plus the shipping, every three months for three very modestly sized bottles of olive oil from Fresh Pressed Olive Oil.  But, you know what? The flavors of these olive oils that have been pressed recently from all over the world taste…out of this world.

Green was the first word I used to describe the flavor of the first olive oil I received from the club, and that descriptive has worked for all subsequent olive oils I have received.  Very green and fresh.  Some even have a bit of a bite – something not usually associated with olive oil.  And each batch does have its unique taste.  And so far, they have all tasted just heavenly.

Here is the latest. The color is amazing. Never mind the flavor.

Mind you, I don’t cook with the hi-test!  Steve and I enjoy it predominantly as a dip for bread – sometimes with some red pepper flakes and/or freshly ground black pepper added to the oil.  I always add a bit of this wonderful olive oil to just cooked pasta, and also  use a splash of it when appropriate to finish off a soup, stew, or sauce after it is cooked. And, of course, when summer is with us, I use only the fresh pressed olive oil with the fresh mozzarella cheese and just picked tomatoes and basil.

Another view. Hard to really show the wonderful green color!

Yeah – I know it is an extravagance.  $360+ a year for a small amount of olive oil. But then again, there are expenses that other folks see as necessities for them that I would never consider, so I guess it is all relative. Whatever, it works for me! And, it may just be worth a try for you.  🙂

Fiddleheads !

I LOVE fiddleheads.  You will too if you like Brussels  sprouts, asparagus, or brocolli. And, even if you don’t, you just might like fiddleheads the way I prepare them with olive oil and Parmigiano reggiano cheese.  🙂

only available in the spring!

If you live around Wakefield, go to the refrigerated section in the far right corner of Farmland and look for this package:

From my favorite neighborhood grocery

Some folks simmer and then saute and/or marinate.  But here is my favorite way of preparing fiddlehead ferns:

While bringing a pan of water to a boi, rinse the fiddleheads well, swirling around in cold waterl.  Add the fiddleheads to the boiling water and simmer (NOT a roaring boil!) for 15 minutes.  Drain.  While the fiddleheads are still hot, add a BIG handful(s) of grated cheese, with freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano my recommendation, and a tablespoon or two of olive oil as desired. Unbelieveably delicious.  Good served over pasta, too.

NOTE:  When simmering the fiddleheads, don’t be alarmed at all the brown flakes, etc. that end up in the water.  It is just part of the plant.

Remember, fiddleheads are only available in the spring, as far as I know.  So, if you are going to try them, do it now!

Anything Goes Quesadilla Casserole

Talk about easy – and, if ingredients are chosen  with a bit of thought, healthier than one would think.  And really tasty, too!

Just look at this:

final quesedilla plate

This was SOOOOO good....and easy to make!

Note: Click  HERE for my guacamole recipe.

This was my second time making quesadillas – both times as a baked casserole with layers of flat tortillas rather than folding the tortillas in the traditional manner.   For cookware, I used glass pie plates and made enough filling for  two “casserole/pies.”

Here is a basic outline of ingredients:

  • Olive, canola, or other vegetable oil or spray as needed for sauteing and “greasing” pans.
  • 1-2 cups veggies – For example, I used onion, ½ green pepper, 1 smallish carrot, and 2 cloves if garlic
  • 1 or 2 fresh chili peppers (I used 2 salsa chilies from my bedroom “garden,” one green and one more ripe and thus red.)  OR, red pepper flakes or cayenne, to taste.  Maybe start with 1/2 teaspoon? Depends on your taste and how hot your chili power or taco seasoning is.
  • 2-3 cups of any combo or just one: poultry, beef, pork, beans.  Any meat should be ground or, if using leftover cooked poultry or meat, shredded. I used 1/2 lb ground beef and a cup of kidney beans, both of which I found in the freezer.  🙂
  • 3 or so cups grated cheese, divided.  Your choice of cheese(s).  (I used mostly sharp cheddar with some smoked cheddar this time.  Smoked Gouda is really good in quesadillas, too!)
  • Salsa, as needed or desired.

And, here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Chop veggies, including any fresh chilies, and saute in olive or canola oil until somewhat tender, then remove from pan.  (If using dried red pepper flakes, include them here with the fresh veggies.)
  3. If starting with raw meat or poultry, add to pan and cook before adding other ingredients. Then, combine any meat, poultry, and or beans with the package (or homemade equivalent) of taco seasoning, and 1/2 cup or so of water.
  4. Heat until thickened.

To assemble a pie:

  1. Lightly grease pie plate.
  2. Place a tortilla in the pie plate and spread a little sauce on it, flip over, and repeat.
  3. Cover with some meat/veggie mix, sprinkle with cheese, and to with dots of salsa to taste.
  4. Place another tortilla on the pie and repeat layers.
  5. Top with one more tortilla and cover with a light coating of sauce and cheese.
  6. Pop in the oven and check after 20 minutes. If it is bubbling and toasty brown on top, it’s done!

Serving suggestion: As show in the picture at the beginning of this post, serve with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream (or yogurt).

First the veggies - oops! I took this before adding the chilies.

Cooked ground beef, beans, and veggies before adding taco seasoning

Lightly coat both sides of bottom tortilla with sauce

Add the meat/veggie/bean mix

Sprinkle with some cheese

Dot first layer with salsa to taste

add another tortilla and coat with more sauce

Add another tortilla and coat the top with sauce

then more veggies...

Then more cheese...

top off with a tortilla, with a bit of sauce and cheese to cover

I didn’t remember to take a picture of the the fully assembled pies until after they were the oven for a minute or two.

As shown, I used the top oven of my new dual-oven, five-burner gas range.  🙂  For those wondering, it is a Maytag Gemini.  Pricey for home cooking, but a reasonable deal if you want some features approaching the  professional level (I love the 16,000 BTU burner!)  at a relatively modest price.

But, I digress.  Once the quesadilla casserole (or pie) is done, you can leave it in a warm oven (170 degrees works well) until you are ready to eat.   And, it reheats wonderfully, which is why I always make enough for a few meals.

The best thing about quesadillas, though, is that you really can’t go wrong.  Whether you just use cheese in a folded tortilla that you heat in a frying pan, or compile a complex, multi-layered creation, it is all good.  And, you  can stretch your dollar by using more or all veggies and/or beans, and reduce calories by using low-fat cheese and accompany with low fat sour cream or yogurt. And, for you non-lacto vegetarians,  just use soy cheese and “yogurt.”

Now I am going to have start  experimenting with homemade salsa recipes.  Can you believe I have never made my own salsa?  One of these days…  🙂

I’ll leave you with an offering of food art:

Just a fun shot of the salsa chilies and some guacamole ingredients

Salsa chili peppers from our indoor plants and two guacamole ingredients

Guacamole – Sometimes simple is better

I adore avocados. I love the texture, the taste, and the color.  I am happy eating plain slices of avocado, but given my love of garlic, tomatoes, and onions, guacamole is a big favorite of mine.

I have tried many different recipes over the years, some complicated, some less so.  I ended up finding what is for me the perfect balance of flavors and textures by using as few ingredients as possible.

Here is how I do it.  First, the ingredients:

  • 2 avocados, peeled and chopped
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste.

First, the lovely avocado, with lemon juice added once all is in the bowl

Next, 1/2 a tomato, chopped

Next, 1/2 a tomato, chopped

Then, some diced onion - a quarter or more

Then, about 1/4 of a medium onion, large diced

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced will do the trick

two or three cloves of garlic, minced, does the trick

Mix and mash, leaving some lumps and add the ground black pepper

Mix and mash, leaving some lumps, and finish with fresh ground black pepper

So simple, so easy. The flavor is  clean, fresh, and zesty,and I find the “fork-mashed with some lumps left” texture to be more satisfying than guacamole that is pureed.

If you want some complexity, try adding some cumin or cayenne pepper.  And, for a bit more richness, add some olive oil.  But, I really enjoy the simple version.  And, I NEVER add salt.  I did once and found it brought out a bitter flavor, which surprised me, since salt can bring out sweetness.

In any case, if you are new to making guacamole, or have been using a more complicated recipe for years, give this one a try.  I bet you’ll like it.

Rosemary Cauliflower Soup

Get ready to die, as in “this is to die for!”  A BIG thank you to Béatrice Peltre, the author of La Tartine Gourmande.  I am not even going to post the recipe ingredients or procedure here,  just the link to the details.  If you love to cook, you should check out her blog!

Rosemary Cauliflower Soup.  Just click the name to go to the recipe.

This soup is exquisite enough for company or a very special romantic dinner for two.  It is also quite suitable as the main course or vegetable of a quick weekday meal.  Truly a winner.

The total prep and cooking time is not much over an hour,  with more cooking than prep going on, leaving plenty of time to prepare and/or cook  the rest of the meal, whether it be something along the line of the rosemary chicken leg quarters I paired with my first batch, or perhaps just some substantial  crusty bread and a light dessert.

Here are a few pictures of my first time making this soup, followed by the results of my 2nd go-round when I used a homemade but not recipe-specific vegetable broth and a combination, about 1/2 each, of broccoli and cauliflower.

The ingredients for the broth.

This made a most wonderful broth or stock.  And, even for those who think they don’t like fennel, you won’t dislike this.  The fennel adds depth without contributing a specifically “fennel” taste.

Main Soup Ingredients

Just a picture showing the amounts/proportions.  Of  course, for soups, casseroles, and the like, proportions are not as crucial as they are when baking.

1st saute

Shallots add such a nice color to things, along with a smoother texture than most types of  onions provide.

2nd batch of ingredients done!

It is time to add the broth when the bottom is getting a bit browned.

Ready to simmer for a bit.

This is the last picture I took when making this soup for the first time.  I am hoping to remember to take a picture after finishing up my second batch, which I have been making as I FINALLY write up and post this recipe on my blog!  Of course, it will look different, since I used half broccoli…

Well, here is the picture:

the 2nd time - broccoli and cauliflower with standard broth base

Well, it looks pretty and all, but…no way as good as when I followed the original recipe.  FYI, I had lots of both leftover broccoli and cauliflower florets from the veggie tray we did for the Wakefield UU Church auction last week, which is why I used both veggies.  Here is my take:

I added the requisite chopped fresh parsley (about a HEAPING tablespoon) salt (1 tsp) black pepper (1/2 tsp freshly ground) after adding a tsp of salt, and “dash” of nutmeg (about 1/4 tsp freshly grated) PLUS a tsp of coriander power to make up for not using the original vegetable broth recipe and…certainly pleasant and edible, but NOT to die for.  To live forso as  to enjoy, yes, but NOT the great shakes of the original recipe.    …  Okay, I am letting it stay at just below a simmer on the stove for a bit.  Then I will see if I can fix it up a bit….  1/2 an hour or so later…

Hey!  It’s very good after some low temp simmering, beyond the just “pleasant” flavor.  Yes, the broccoli is too strong for this recipe as to getting the exquisite results obtained from the original version using just cauliflower. But, I really like that this is a “creamy” soup that does not use dairy for that special texture.  Nothing against dairy from me, but it is nice to have a way to prepare a veggie dish or soup that has a comfort food taste and texture without the usual comfort food fat and calories – or lactose tolerance issues.

Anyway – this recipe is a keeper for me, in both the original and experimental formats.