Cauliflower Soup

Soup

Soup season has arrived and this recipe was at the top of my list to make.  I made a few substitutes from the original recipe in my Food and Wine Magazine and I think it turned out great.  It was really quite easy to make and will definitely make it again.

Cauliflower Soup – Serves 4-6 

The Goods:

  • One 2 1/2 lb. Head of cauliflower, cored
  • 1/4 C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Leek, white and light green parts only (clean the stalks and coarsely chop)
  • 1 Large garlic clove, minded
  • 1 Large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 C. dry white wine (I used a Chardonnay and yes drank a glass too)
  • 1 Quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1/4 C Milk (recipe calls for heavy cream)
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The Process:

  1. Cut the cauliflower into coarse pieces about 1 inch.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbs. olive oil.
  3. Add the leek, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt and cook over medium heat until soft.
  4. Stir in the potato, red pepper flakes, and chopped cauliflower
  5. Add the wine and cook over high heat until reduced by half (4 minutes)
  6. Add the stock and bring to a boil
  7. Reduce to moderate heat and let simmer until the vegetables are tender (30 minutes)
  8. In a blender, puree the soup in batches until very smooth.
  9. Return to the pot and add the milk/cream and stir well to incorporate.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste

Lentil Salad

IMG_2275I never knew I was known for my  salads until I asked a friend what to bring to a BBQ and he said “well you’re known for your salads so one of those would be great.”  I got to thinking what made my salads so distinct and came to the realization that I rarely keep them traditional.  Lettuce and dressing, no thank you.  I load on chopped fresh veggies, quinoa, goat cheese, roasted veggies, nuts, etc…

This Lentil salad is a perfect dish to bring to a BBQ.  It’s insanely easy to make ahead and keep cool in the fridge; which also allows the flavors to meld.  And it will hold up in  the heat so you don’t have a wilted mess of lettuce.

IMG_2276

I got this recipe from my Mom and of course put my own few touches on it.  This is a simple recipe to have in your arsenal and great to bring to a BBQ or dinner party.

Lentil Salad

The Goods

  • 16 oz (about 2 1/2 C.) Lentils – Rinsed
  • 1/2 C. Chopped Sundried tomatoes
  • 1 C. Chopped Cucmber
  • 1 C. Kalamata Olives
  • 3 Heaping Handfuls Chopped Spinach
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • 3/4 C. Red Wine vinegar (more to taste)
  • Olive Oil (3/4 C.)
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Cracked Black Pepper

The Process:

  1. Cook the lentils to the package directions
  2. Chop the cucumber, sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, and Spinach and put in a large mixing bowl
  3. Add the vinegar, olive oil, and spices to the veggies mixture and toss to mix.
  4. Once the lentils are done cooking, strain the excess liquid from them and toss them into the veggie and vinegar mixture. Stir everything to combine well.
  5. Taste to add more spices.
  6. Let sit overnight. Serve cool.

 

 

 

Kale Apple Salad

Kale2

Have you ever had a dish at a restaurant and immediately thought about how to re-create it at home?  Since imitation is the highest form of flattery, I took special note of all the ingredients I was picking up while eating this salad filing them away into my next grocery list.   What I ended up picking up from Trader Joes was: 1 bag of pre-cut Kale, 1 Granny smith apple, Parmesan, and honey roasted almonds (candied almonds would work too).  In my pantry I had everything for the dressing I planned to make: Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Honey(agave would work too), Dijon Mustard, and Pepper.

Kale

I personally love the tartness from this salad but I can see how it may not be for everyone.  Kale is bitter to begin with and then coupled with a tart green apple, and vinaigrette dressing.  This is where I would recommend playing with the dressing to your liking.

 

Kale Apple Salad with Honey Roasted Almonds (Ingredients from Trader Joes)

The Goods:

Salad:

1 Bag of pre-cut and washed Kale / 1 big bunch

1 Granny Smith Apple

Parmesan Cheese (finely grated)

Honey Roasted Sliced Almonds

 

Dressing: Mix the below together and adjust to your liking.

1/4 C. Olive Oil

1/4 C. Red Wine Vinegar

3 Tbs. Honey

1 tsp. Dijon Mustard

Cracked Black Pepper

 

The Process:

  1. Use a mandoline* with the setting that makes thin strips and shred the green apple. Cut the strips in 1/2 or even 1/4 them to make them the same size as the kale.
  2. Finely chop the kale until is is shredded thinly.
  3. Combine Kale and Apple in a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the dressing a little bit at a time to the Kale/Apple Mixture and toss until well incorporated.  You may have some dressing left over.
  5. Add the shredded Parmesan Cheese and Almonds and toss again
  6. Top with a bit more Parmesan Cheese and Almonds and serve

*If you do not have a mandoline, I would finely slice the apples lengthwise, then cut thin strips, lastly cut them in 3rds so you have small 1/2 inch pieces.

 

 

 

Coconut Green Curry Soup

curryI love making soups, I really do!  It is one of my favorite meals to make homemade because it can be really easy and I get goosebumps at the thought of canned soup with meat in it.  I have mentioned, in other posts, the ample meals that come from a rotisserie chicken and I always use the carcass for soup stock and freeze it.  You, more than likely, have all the ingredients already in your fridge to make your own chicken stock.  I personally use a couple of large carrots, 2 celery stalks broken up, 1/2 an onion, chicken carcass and bones, put everything in a large pot and just cover with water, add a bit of salt and pepper, boil for 45 mins and voila you have chicken stock!  I do this in between loads of laundry and chasing my dog around with the vacuum cleaner.  Doesn’t get any easier than that!

This soup was the product of something my Mom said she made coupled with a meal my friend said she had and loved. So I decided that I would put my own spin on it and bring it up to the mountains for a ski weekend.  Oh Rancho Relaxo how I love thee!

I wish I could say I was a stringent recipe follower but I am not.  Pros: I can be as creative as I want and just wing it based on what I have in my pantry and fridge.  Cons: I have to remember everything I did and how much of the ingredients I used. Often I just wing something and it turns out amazing and then I have to recall everything I did but this time I chose to write everything down I included so if it was good, I wouldn’t be racking my brain.  So here is another non-official yummy recipe to warm your belly and soul.

 

Coconut Green Curry Soup

Serves 10-12 people.  I made this ahead and froze it and thawed it to serve.

The Goods:

  • 2 Chicken Breasts, Cooked and cubed
  • 3 – 14oz. Cans of Coconut Milk
  • 8-10 C. Chicken Broth
  • 2 C. Rice
  • 1 12 oz. Jar of Trader Joes Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce
  • 2 Carrots, cut into 1/4 inch chunks
  • 1/2-1 Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
  • 1 C. Frozen/Fresh Peas
  • 1 tsp. Ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp. Galic. minced
  • 1 Tbs. Lemongrass, minced
  • 3 Tbs Green Curry Paste
  • 2 Tbs Red Curry Paste (optional)

 

The Process:

  1. Cook the rice according to the package instructions.
  2. In a pot, add the coconut milk, chicken broth, green curry paste, and green curry simmer sauce and whisk over medium heat until smooth.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients (minus the rice) and let cook until the carrots are soft, about 30-45 mins.
  4. Taste to make sure the seasonings are to your liking.
  5. Turn off heat and add the rice and stir well.
  6. Serve warm

 

Citrus Salad

Citrus Salad

Oranges, mango, Avocado

After being quarantined in my house for 3 weeks with a virus and eating nothing but soup and saltine crackers, I’ve finally felt well enough to start dirtying my kitchen again.

Sunny Orange

I love going home for Christmas for our family’s traditional Swedish Smorgasbord extravaganza. Basically it’s a giant feast on Christmas Eve consisting of a variety of fish, cucumber salad, Swedish meatballs and potatoes. Continue reading

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash SoupIt’s the first week of December, I have a ton of homemade chicken stock waiting to be made into soup and un-touched winter squash lines my kitchen counter.   Rather than making my standard soups, frito pie , and hearty dishes, I am walking around outside in shorts and a t-shirt.

Butternut Squash

Now, one of my best friends in the world is a soup fanatic and unlike me, craves it year round.   Her foot surgery was approaching and I knew that she would be immobile for a little bit so I decided to put together a goody bag for her.  Fulfilling her ongoing cravings for soup, I figured a batch of Spicy Butternut Squash Soup would absolutely help aid in her recovery.

Onion

chopped onion Continue reading

Frito Pie

You might call it “Chili” but those of us from New Mexico have a special name for it: Frito Pie.   It got it’s name from an old Woolworth’s tradition of serving the  soul-satisfying mixture in a small Frito bag.  Even though the Woolworth’s Store (located in the downtown Santa Fe Plaza) was converted into the Five & Dime, insiders know that they are still serving Frito Pie the traditional way.  True to my roots, it would be sacrilegious to serve this mixture without it’s accompanying players: Frito Chips, cheese, sour cream.  The Frito chips provide a salty crunch component,  the cheese adds a sharp melty ooey-gooey goodness, while the sour cream rounds out the mixture with a hint of tang and can mask an overly-spicy batch.

This recipe has been a staple in my family’s household for as long as I can remember and I knew I could never leave home without the recipe in hand.  During these cold months when I crave all things warm, this is my go-to as I love holding the warm bowl in my hands while the spiciness adds another element of heat traveling from your throat to your nose and finally to your scalp.  It’s that satisfying meal you crave during a cold day on the slopes or at the end of the day once the layers are peeled and it can be coupled with a glass of red wine.  Whatever time of the day you want to eat this, there is a key factor to this recipe, TIME.  While Frito Pie is a quick recipe to make, this baby needs a few hours to rest to allow the flavors to meld. Continue reading