Tag Archives: soup

Cauliflower Soup… Simple and Delicious

29 Jul

Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that is frequently over looked. Not only can it be a bit intimidating to cook, it can also stir up memories of bitter, soggy, over cooked nightmares from your childhood. Well my friends, cauliflower is no longer the white villain of yesterday. It’s actually very delicate, sweet and tasty!

One of my favorite ways to prepare cauliflower is to roast it. This is simpler than you might think:

Roasted Cauliflower
1 head cauliflower, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt 
Toss the cauliflower with the oil and salt and roast in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Turn the pieces and then cook for another 5 minutes. Serve as desired.

What can you do with this cauliflower once you have have it roasted? Well, eat it for 1 but I like to make soup. The cauliflower creates a delicate flavor that needs minimal enhancements. You can garnish the soup with toasted walnuts, pesto, sour cream, or even plumped raisins, but I like to keep it simple with olive oil, cracked pepper and a few snipped chives. The recipe is below.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup
1 head of cauliflower prepared as directed above
2 cloves of garlic
3-4 cups prepared chicken stock
1/2-1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Puree all the ingredients in a Vitamix blender or in a food processor until smooth. Pour the pureed mixture into a saucepan and reheat to desired temperature. Garnish as desired and enjoy.

Try this recipe with grilled or smoked cauliflower as well. It will stay on the top of your go to list for awhile. It also freezes well and reheats like a dream. And, if you are feeling hot… try it chilled with a fresh herb garnish and drizzle of really good olive oil. Oh, and a perfectly chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc 🙂

Always thinking about the next meal

-Katie

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Sweet Corn Soup

23 Oct

So the other night Ryan and I went out to dinner at Seasons 52. On a seasonal basis, they have the most amazing corn soup. I have tried on countless attempt to duplicate said soup… but alas no dice. Well, until recently…

Sweet Corn Soup
1 1/2 small bags frozen corn
1 container Campbell’s White wine and herb chicken broth
3/4 cup sweet onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

In a sauce pot over medium heat saute the onion in the olive oil. Cook the onion for 5-7 minutes or until the onions are transparent. Season with salt and add in corn. Add in turmeric and cayenne pepper. Add in the broth and cook for 15 minutes or until the corn is fully defrosted and softened. Add in the honey and corn syrup and let the soup cook for another 5 minutes. Puree all of the ingredients in a blender or with an immersion blender. This may take a little while. You are looking for the soup to be velvety and smooth. Reheat as necessary. Finish the soup with 1 tablespoon of butter.
Garnish with blue cheese crumbles and chopped basil.

Enjoy this with grilled cheese or fresh bread.

Always thinking of the next meal-
Katie

Chilled Soup for Dr. Suess

10 Apr

Chilled Tomato and Yellow Pepper SoupAt the end of the month I will be catering a large VIP event for the school that I work for. The PTO holds an annual auction that has an option that allows you early access to the event plus cocktail and appetizers. In the the past this event has been catered by the PTO. Usually a parent steps in and takes on the job. However, this year, they’ve asked for my help.

I’m very excited for the opportunity. You see, I have also donated a dinner party to be auctioned off at the event. Last year, my dinner party sold for $800. And that was without anyone tasting my food. This year, since I’ll be doing the event prior to my dinner party coming to the table for bidding, I’m hoping to raise at least $1000 for the school.

I’ve been given free reign of the menu, with one catch. The theme of the auction is Dr. Suess and so the foods should be colorful and whimsical. On the menu I have things like; green eggs and ham (wasabi deviled eggs with crispy prosciutto), Bratwurst sliders, Black bean and green chili empanadas, a fruit and brie display, cheese ravioli with deconstructed pesto, chilled shrimp with bloody Mary cocktail sauce, and the recipe I tested tonight, chilled tomato and yellow pepper soup.

I always love being at events that pass soup. I’ve had tomato soup served in martini glasses with a pimento cheese garnish, gazpacho, and minted pea soup. There are the fruit soups (a.k.a smoothies) and other chocolaty liquids served in mini bowls or shot glasses. I just think it’s refreshing and unexpected. I knew I wanted to do a colorful soup and I knew I wanted it to be layered. I love chilled tomato soup. It’s light and refreshing and so different than the thick cloying tomato juice that you are probably thinking of. I also love yellow peppers. They are sweet and juicy and taste delicious. Viola! The soup concept was born.

For the Tomato Soup:
2 large beefsteak tomatoes
1/2 garlic clove
1/2 med shallot
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Concasse 2 beefsteak tomatoes
Step 2: In a hot saute pan, heat 1/2 a medium shallot and 1/2 garlic clove
Step 3: When the garlic and shallot start to become arromatic, add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes
Step 4: Puree in a food processor
Step 5: Season to taste
Step 6: Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour

For the Yellow Pepper Soup:
2 large yellow bell peppers
1/2 garlic clove
1/2 med shallot
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Roast the shallot and yellow peppers in the oven for 30 minutes
Step 2: Put the peppers and shallots in a plastic bag and zip shut until the peppers are cool enough to handle
Step 3: Peel the peppers and add everything into the food processor
Step 4: Puree in a food processor
Step 5: Season to taste
Step 6: Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour

Gently layer the tomato soup on top of the pepper soup. I like to serve soup for a crowd in shot glasses. It’s fun and little so your guests don’t feel like they are eating too much before the main meal. I garnished with basil oil and a few leaves. On the night of the event I think I’m going to garnish with chive oil since the basil oil has a tendency to blacken if not properly pureed.

I think this one is a real winner.

Always thinking of the next meal

-Katie

100th post! Chicken Tortilla Soup

27 Apr

Chicken tortilla soup is working it’s way up to the top of my list. It’s a spicy, flavorful soup that’s garnished with avocado, chicken, and tortilla strips. This soup made a great dinner tonight. It’s chilly out so soup seemed to be the right choice. This soup is a nice alternative to chili. It’s light and spicy and completely satisfying.

Traditionally, or at least familiarly chicken tortilla soup is a thick, starchy soup that will stick to your ribs. My version however, is brothy.  You will find that this soup has been evolving into this version on the culinary stage. With people looking toward healthier options, a soup like this one can really knock your socks off.

Since the stock is a flavorful the soup is garnished with what would normally be in the soup. Chicken, tortillas, avocado and lime are all served in the soup bowl and the stock is poured on top right before serving.

Stock:
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 poblano pepper, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 jalapeño, whole
1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water

In a hot stock pan add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add all the ingredients into the pot and sauté for 10 minutes. Add in the stock and the water. Cook at a simmer for 1 hour. Strain the liquid and set aside. Season and serve.

Garnish:
1 chicken breast, poached and shredded
24 corn chips
1 avocado, cut into 8 pieces
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges

Arrange the garnishes in the desired serving dishes and pour the broth on top.

This only gets better with a margarita or a Dos Equis… Enjoy 🙂

Always thinking of the next meal

-Katie

A Classy Simple Soup

25 Jan

Potato leek soupI love potato leek soup. It’s filling and warms you right down to your toes. It’s a classic soup that sometimes gets overlooked when it’s time to decide what to make for dinner. My recipe is not only elegant, but easy to make.

Katie’s Potato Leek Soup:

2 large or 4 small leeks, sliced into 1/4 in pieces, dark green tops reserved
1 pound red bliss potatoes, washed, skins left on, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
5 cups leek broth (recipe below)
salt and pepper to taste
chives and bacon to garnish

Start by melting the butter in a pot. Then add the leeks and stir. Let the leeks cook until translucent. Keep an eye on them since they have a tendency to burn if not stirred every so often. When the leek are softened, add the leek broth to the pan, reserving about a 1/2 cup just in case you need to adjust the consistency at the end. Add in the potatoes and stir. Let the soup cook for 30-45 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. (You want the potatoes to slide right off a knife when they are pierced) Using a blender or an immersion blender, puree until the soup is thick and velvety. Season and garnish with chives and/or bacon. It is also great with fried onions or potato chip crumbled on top.

Leek Broth:

Dark green leaves reserved from the leeks, roughly chopped into 1 inch pieces
6 cups water

Put the leaves and the water in a pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and let cook for 45 minutes. Strain the liquid out and set aside for the soup.

Chef’s Note: You can use other varieties of potatoes but the texture will vary, sometimes resulting in a mealy soup texture. If you use russett potatoes, be sure to peel them

I love how versatile this soup is. You can serve it hot, or serve it chilled as vichyssoise. Either way this soup is a simple way to get your veggies in, and because of the potatoes, the soup is luscious and creamy. For an even lighter version, use olive oil instead of butter. If you want to go the other direction and make something more decadent, use bacon fat instead of the butter.

Always thinking of the next meal

-Katie

Gorgeous Soup

3 Dec

So I had all of these peppers roasted from earlier this week, and although I had been playing with them, roasted red pepper soup sounded like a great dinner tonight. After work, I picked up a few small balls of mozzarella and melted them on top of toasted french bread.

Here’s the recipe:

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

2 cups roasted red peppers
1 small shallots
1 clove of garlic
1 spring fresh thyme
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 cup cheery tomatoes
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil

Garnish:

Balsamic reduction
Toasted crostini with melted mozzarella

Sauté garlic and shallot in hot olive oil. Add in peppers and cook for 10-20 minutes. Add in stock, paprika, and thyme. Simmer for 10 minutes and puree with an immersion blender. Serve hot and garnish with crostini and balsamic reduction.

The soup was beautiful in it’s simplicity. Sweet and slightly spicy. The vinegar added enough acidity to compliment the sweet peppers but didn’t overwhelm the soup. The crostini added crunch and the cheese added a bit of chew and fat that helped the flavor of the soup linger on the palette.

In the past I have communicated my love of soup, but tonight, it seemed to be the perfect answer to the dinner question.

Always thinking of the next meal

-Katie

Dinner Party

16 Nov

Last night I played chef for 2 of my favorite clients. They asked me to go with them to a friend’s house to make dinner. I didn’t have much time to plan, so I kept the menu simple. A classic combination of French and my own personal flare. I love making things that are fresh and flavorful, but not overcomplicated. Here’s the menu:

Cheese Course
Le Coutances and Foi Epi with apples and French bread

Appetizer
French Onion Soup

Dinner
Honey Mustard Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Ratatouille and Creamy Polenta

Dessert
Classic lemon crepes with ginger cream

I wanted to start with French Onion simply because it’s classic, and easily turned vegetarian. With one client being vegetarian, I wanted to make something that wouldn’t make her feel like she was having a different meal than everyone else. French Onion Soup is typically made with beef stock and is not veggie friendly, but my version is. I substitute mushroom and vegetable stock to maintain the intensity of flavor that French onion usually has. By adding dijon mustard instead of worchestershire sauce you get a delightful bright flavor without the extra saltiness that worchestershire sauce can sometimes bring to the party. Top the whole thing with buttery nutty guyere cheese and this is one flavorful vegetarian version of French Onion soup.

Dinner needed to have the same intensity of flavor that also had a fulfilling flavor in a vegetarian version. The polenta and ratatouille made a satisfying main course for my vegetarian client, and adding pork tenderloin medallions to the other dishes, made for a well rounded meal. I served the pork with a honey mustard sauce that was equal parts whole grain dijon mustard and clover honey. I cooked the pork to a perfect medium and then added the sauce sparingly. The pork was so perfectly cooked, I didn’t want to mask the flavor or the color of the meat.

The flavor that tied all the dishes together was thyme. Thyme in the soup and thyme in the ratatouille pulled both courses together. Someone once told me that repeated an ingredient in 2 courses was repetitive, and repeating them in 3 was a theme. But, I think that the thyme was so subtle that it didn’t come off as the same thing.

Dessert was very simple. Hand whipped cream with a 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger, 1 teaspoon vanilla, a pinch of cinnamon, and 2/3 cup of powdered sugar. The cream was rich, but still light and refreshing. It was served on top of the lemon crepes. The crepes were made with a basic sweet crepe recipe and filled with a combination of lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar. The combination of lemon and ginger was a refreshing way to finish a meal of hearty flavors.

It was a great night. I had a lot of fun cooking and chatting with my clients. I hope to do it again soon.

Always thinking of the next meal.

-Katie

Pozole… Spicy Mexican Chicken Soup

19 Oct

Yes, another post about soup. But seriously I love this stuff. It’s 50 degrees here and breezy. Fall is definitely here and soup is just so warming and fulfilling. This soup is a little different. A traditional Mexican soup, it has hominy, a chewy, hulled kernel of corn, and ancho chilies. The soup itself is pretty simple, but it is garnished table side with any number of things. My version is garnished with cilantro and lime juice, but you can also use radishes, red onion, scallions or corn chips.

The other thing to note here is that I roasted my own chicken but you can certainly you can use a purchased rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. You can also use leftover grilled chicken or if you are looking for a vegetarian version just omit the chicken and use vegetable stock.

Here’s the recipe:

Pozole
serves 4
1/2 sweet yellow onion, julienned
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 12 oz can hominy, rinsed
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 large ancho chili, julienned
2 cups shredded chicken
32 oz chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

for garnish:
1 lime cut into wedges
1/2 cup cilantro, rough chopped

Steps:

IMG_08951. Sauté onions in oil until soft, about 10 minutesIMG_0897

2. Season and add in the hominy

3. Cook to heat hominy through

4. Add tomatoes and chilies

5. Add stock and bring to a boil

IMG_08966. Reduce to a simmer and add in chickenIMG_0898

7. Cook for 15 minutes to heat chicken

8. Garnish and Serve

This is a great twist on chicken soup. The ancho chilies are not overly spicy so they don’t overpower the soup. Like chicken noodle, every version is different, so feel free to use different chilies. You can make a green version by using tomatillos and poblano peppers instead of the tomatoes and ancho chilies. If you’re a  bit nervous about how spicy the end result is going to be, you can garnish with some queso fresco or sour cream.

The end result

The end result

Always thinking of the next meal

-Katie

Chicken Corn Chowder… simple pleasure

29 Sep

What is the best medicine for a cold rainy night? Soup. If you’ve been reading my blog you know that I love soup and make some any chance I get. Last night I was really in the mood to make one of my all time favorites, chicken corn chowder.

What makes a chowder different from just a soup? Potatoes. It’s true a chowder without potatoes is really just a soup. Technically, a chowder should also have some sort of cream as well, but if they can call Manhattan Clam Chowder, chowder then I’m calling mine chowder (just so we’re on the same page, that’s the red.)

Here’s my recipe for the chowder. Like I said it doesn’t have cream, but you can certainly add a little to finish and it will give the chowder that rich creamy texture that you might be used to. My version is also a broth chowder not the usual thick and creamy version. It makes the soup lighter and makes you feel less guilty eating it 🙂

Katie’s Chicken Corn CowderIMG_0851
serves 4-6

1 pound chicken breast
1 large red bell pepper, small dice
1/2 sweet yellow onion, small dice
1 large stalk of celery, small dice
2 medium sized red potatoes, small dice
1 tablspoon bacon fat
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 small bag of frozen corn
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup chopped chives
salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated parmesan for garnish

In a large pot melt bacon fat and add celery, onion, and pepper and cook until soft. Add in corn , potatoes and seasonings. Add in chicken broth and the raw chicken breasts. Bring to a simmer and let cook until the chicken is cooked through. When the chicken is finished, pull it out of the soup and cut it into small pieces and add it back into the soup. When you are ready to serve, stir in the chives. Ladle each portion and top with parmesan cheese.

If you want a thicker, creamier soup, add 2 tablespoons flour to the sweating vegetables. Make sure all of the vegetables are coated evenly before adding the broth. At the end of the cooking process, stir in 1/4-1/2 cup of heavy cream. Remember that the cream will thin the soup, not thicken it. If you the soup is too thin for your liking, combine 1 tablespoon of cold butter with 1 tablespoon of flour and add it to the simmering soup until it has reached the consistency you are looking for.

Always thinking of the next meal

-Katie

Velvety Garlic Soup, Duxelles, and Monte Cristos

14 Sep

So today was another fantastic day recipe testing. I’m making Velvety Garlic Soup, Duxelles, and Monte Cristo Sandwiches. I have to say it is a strange combination, but I have the ingredients, so that’s the menu. First, the garlic soup. Yes, garlic is a very potent herb/vegetable but handled correctly, it is beautiful.

Ok so here’s the deal. When garlic is roasted it become something better, something magical. When garlic is roasted it transforms into this beautifully sweet and slightly bitter. The soup is gentle. Don’t get me wrong it tastes like garlic, but unlike an Italian dinner the garlic is mild and understated. Here’s the recipe:

Velvety Garlic Soup

Garlic Soup ready to be frozen

Garlic Soup ready to be frozen

2 cups garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil

2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup of yellow onion, medium dice
1 tablespoon thyme, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream

Make a small pouch out of aluminum foil and put the garlic and olive oil. Roast in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, sweat the onion and thyme together in a saucepan. When the garlic is finished roasting, add it to the the sautéing onions. Add the stock and season. Purée the soup and finish with cream. Re-season and serve hot. Garnish with shaved parmesan and fresh minced parsley.

The garlic soup is a wonderful dish for this time of the year. It’s easy to find garlic and the warmth makes you thankful that the seasons are finally turning.

Duxelles before puréeing

Duxelles before puréeing

Next, duxelles. Now this a a classic french recipe that is typically used in dishes like beef Wellington. But, it can also be used as a spread, dip, or appetizer. In perfect English, this is a mushroom purĂ©e. It’s very simple. Start with a 1/2 cup minced yellow onion. Melt 2 tablespoons over medium heat and add the onions. While the onions are sweating, mince 8-10 large button mushrooms. You can use any type of mushroom you like but the more wild the mushroom, the more intense the mushroom flavor will be. When the onions are soft add in the mushrooms. Cook on low for 20-25 minutes. When the mushrooms are soft purĂ©e the whole mixture together, adding water as needed. Season and serve. I’ll be serving mine as an appetizer in crostini with manchego cheese and parsley.

The monte cristos are one of my favorites. This classic dish is very simple to make. First, assemble the sandwich. You need two slices of bread (I like an egg bread like challah, or white bread). In between the bread put 2 slices of american cheese and 2 slices of honey ham. Here’s the best part. Make a custard. Yes, you read correctly, custard. In the simplest terms, a monte cristo is grilled ham and cheese that is dipped in a sweet custard and cooked like French toast! The custard I like is 3 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Assemble the sandwiches and the dip in the custard. On a greased griddle, fry the sandwiches. Garnish with powdered sugar and strawberry jam or mustard on the side.

Always thinking of the next meal

-Katie