Posted in Soups, Vegetarian, tagged caramelized onion, Celeriac, garlic, golden beets, pretty, roasted vegetables, Soup, two colours on November 11, 2012 |
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Let’s take a moment to remember today.
*From Microsoft Clip art.
Have you ever had a dinner party cancellation at the last minute? We’ve not had them often but every few years it happens. This time it was friends who let us know Friday that the guy came down with a cold but should be OK if we don’t mind. I talked to him and he sounded fine so we said we’re on. But then at 9:25 on Saturday morning he called sounding very bad and very apologetic that he must cancel. You’re probably thinking that at 9:25am we should be OK, but the truth is I start kinda early. It’s my own fault but at that precise moment, I had just finished the gorgeous Cappuccino Panna Cotta I saw yesterday at Smidges, the bread was rising and the Moroccan Braised Beefwas already made and in the fridge (because we all know these stews are better the next day). Oh, and I just finished snapping the pic of this delicious soup. My diligence has screwed me today. I put out some feelers for the last minute stand in’s and came up short (we checked with neighbours and friends with no kids as baby sitters are hard to come by last minute). So now, I have a five course dinner for four ready, but no guests. Fortunately, I hadn’t yet made the hors d’œuvres (in fact, I was just about to get a cup of java and sit down with my new tapas cook book from Barcelona) nor had I set the table. I am sorry most of my blogging friends live so far away, otherwise, you would have received a call from me for sure. So tonight JT and I shall eat like kings and queens with a full five-course dinner and dessert to boot!
Have you ever had a last minute cancellation and how did you solve it?
The earthy golden beet was a nice compliment to the creamy celeriac.
Very tasty indeed.
Roasted Golden Beet Root with Caramelized Onion and Roasted Celeriac with Roasted Garlic Soup
Serves 4 (about 1 1/4 cup or 300 mL portion)
- 200 g golden beets
- 300 g celeriac
- 30 g garlic
- 80 g sweet onion
- Vegetable stock
- Carnation Evaporated milk or cream
- crispy fried onion for garnish (I hadn’t prepared it yet)
- Peel and dice the beets and celeriac, spray with a bit of EVOO and roast separately for about 1 hour or until soft (I didn’t want to bleed the colours into each other). After about 30 minutes add enough water to cover the pan about 0.5cm or 1/4″ and continue roasting.
- Roast the garlic in a bit of EVOO and sea salt until soft.
- Slice the onion very thinly and caramelize on the stove top on a low setting using a bit of EVOO. This will take about 30 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, combine the golden beats, caramelized onion and vegetable stock and purée until smooth and a consistency of creamed soup. Set aside.
- Using an immersion blender, combine the celery root, roasted garlic and evaporated milk and purée until smooth and a consistency of creamed soup. Set aside. Make sure ONE soup is slightly thicker than the other, this will help keep them separate in the bowl.
- Prior to serving, reheat both soups. Carefully pour the thicker of the two soups into half of the bowl. You can do this by tipping the bowl up a bit and use a large spoon to help keep that side clear of the other. Then, pour the thinner soup into the other side. Garnish with crispy fried onions.
We put a little crispy pancetta on top when we knew no one was looking !
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Posted in Recipes, Soups, tagged chili, cumin, delicious, Mexican, smoked paprika, Soup, tomatoes, tortilla on November 7, 2012 |
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We adore Mexican food, not the fast food kind, but a genuine ma and pa Mexican restaurant. Sadly we have few and far between in Toronto but there are a couple of good ones. The one I love for lunch is Cucina Lucerno down by Maple Leaf Gardens and why I love it for lunch is that they make a TO DIE FOR Sopa Azteca. Full bodied, flavourful and filling, the three F’s! When I saw the link to slow cooker chicken tortilla soup on Barb’s blog (Profiteroles and Ponytails) in her weeknight survival techniques post, I was immediately drawn to it. The sound of the ingredient combo, just made me think of Sopa Azteca (cue mouth watering), which according to Rick Bayless is one and the same! Go figure!
As Yorkesgirl recommends, I BBQ’d a couple of chicken breasts with a flavourful dry rub*, and then I shredded them and ‘finished’ them off in the slow cooker for about 20 minutes. The soup is divine and is so darn easy. You can even drop the chicken breasts directly into the slow cooker and just let it cook for hours and hours, the chicken is best shredded so over cooking is not a problem!
A very tasty soup, if I do say so myself
Sopa de Tortilla
- 2 small chicken breast, BBQ’d* with dry rub (see notes below)
- 1 can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed, low sodium
- 300g enchilada sauce (I wouldn’t bother putting this in next time).
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
- 1 fresh green chilli, minced finely
- 4 cups water
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp unsweetened chocolate
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1 tsp lime juice
- Place everything but the chicken into the slow cooker on high, stir. Cook for 2-3 hours and then add the frozen corn and cook five minutes and then add the shredded BBQ’d chicken* and cook for 20 minutes until thoroughly heated through.
- Serve with a dollop of low fat Greek yogurt, a sprinkling of cheese of your choice (I had cheddar), some green onions and of course some oven dried tortilla strips. Enjoy.
*BBQ Chicken Rub
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp unsweetened chocolate
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp granulated garlic (not garlic salt)
- 1 tsp ground dehydrated onion flakes
- Mix the spices together in a small bowl.
- Remove skin from the chicken breasts and cover with the dry rub. Grill on medium heat until chicken juices run clear (around 165° F).
- Tent and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Using a couple of forks, shred the chicken into bite-sized bits.
I’ve had this soup a couple of times now and still have a serving in the freezer which I’m saving for a particularly ugly day when I need some soup to cheer me up.
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Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Recipes, Soups, Vegetarian, tagged cold, goats cheese, red pepper, roasted, sesame, Soup, tangy, tomato on July 24, 2012 |
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I knew I wanted to make a chilled soup for our dinner party last weekend because it’s been so darn hot (not complaining) and I knew I wanted something a little unexpected than the traditional vichyçoisse, cucumber, avocado or even gazpachio — although all worthy soups in their own right. On top of it all Barb had posted a lovely asparagus soup recipe with a herb crusted goats cheese ball that really intrigued me. What to do, what to do? Off to the internet I went to find an unusual cold soup; my first stop was Epicurious and as luck would have it, there on the summertime meal feature page on my iPhone was a roasted red pepper and tomato soup. Call it kismet, serendipity or fate, this soup and I were meant to be.
The warm goats cheese ball is a nice surprise in the cold soup
The soup is a lovely balance of sweet red peppers and the acidity and sweetness of oven roasted tomatoes (or, in our case, BBQ roasted). There is a little raw green onion and a smidgen of garlic with a delightful earthy undertone of coriander. I also wanted to incorporate Barb’s goats cheese balls but I wanted a little contrast, so I rolled the goats cheese balls in sesame seeds and lightly fried them to brown the sesame seeds but more importantly, to heat up the goats cheese ball. Yup, I did the ole’ switcheroo and made the soup cold and the balls warm. It was a lovely contrast. JTs only comment was that there could have been more soup.
Chilled Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
with Warm Sesame Crusted Goats Cheese Balls
Recipe adapted from Epicurious
Serves 8 small bowls (125mL or 1/2 cup) or 4 large dinner sized bowls (250mL or 1 cup)
- 4 red bell peppers, roasted on the BBQ (or oven), seeded and skinned
- 3 medium plum tomatoes, cut into 1 cm thick slices and roasted on the BBQ
- 1/4 red chili pepper, roasted on the BBQ (or oven), seeded and skinned
- 1 green onion
- 1 small garlic clove, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- water to achieve desired thickness
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar (check for sweetness, and omit if the soup is sweet enough)
Goats Cheese balls ingredients:
- 10 g (about 1 1/2 tsps) goats cheese per ball (I did one per serving)
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds per ball
- non-stick cooking spray
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and blitz with the immersion blender until smooth, adding water until the desired consistency is achieved. You can use chicken stock or vegetable stock, but it’s not necessary as there is a already a plethora of flavours going on.
- Strain soup through a fine sieve. Don’t skip this step as it does ensure a very velvety soup without the addition of cream or butter. Refrigerate until serving. (the soup actually gets better if made one day and served the next).
- Roll the goats cheese into nice round balls and coat evenly with the sesame seeds (I used black and white). Heat a cast iron pan, spray with non-stick spray and gently fry the balls at medium temperature — you want to brown the sesame seeds and heat the ball through, you don’t want to melt the ball. Brown all sides evenly.
- To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and carefully place one (or more) balls onto the soup. My soup was thick enough that the balls did not sink. Serve immediately.
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Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Gluten Free, Soups, Vegetarian, tagged broth, cold, cure, mushroom, Soup, tasty on November 23, 2011 |
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I thought my cold was over and done with…I was left with a few sniffles, but certainly not bad considering it started in Morocco. Sunday it returned with a vengeance! It is everything a head cold is supposed to be, annoying, noisy and gross! So here I am, week 2 since we’ve been back and I’m sick as a dog, AND I have to drag my sorry butt into work because we are so busy, I cannot let my friend (boss) and clients down. Fortunately I have a wonderful husband who has totally looked after me since the sniffles returned. It’s been strictly soup and JT makes enough for me to have a lunch the next day! Tonight’s dinner was Chanterelle Mushroom Soup, a variation from Epicurious (he has kindly made a healthier version for us!) and it was so delicious, I had to write about it. This soup is a light mushroomy broth and the chanterelles give it some sweetness. If you’re really hungry, you could add some dumplings, or even egg drop noodles.
Chanterelle Mushroom Soup
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup finely chopped shallots
- 3 cups Chanterelle mushrooms coarsely chopped
- 2 cups button mushrooms coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1 tablespoons brandy
- 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- Melt butter in large pot over medium-high heat, add onions and sauté until golden.
- Add all mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms begin to brown lightly.
- Stir in stock.
- Add brandy, stir 30 seconds and bring soup to boil.
- Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.
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It’s raining cats and dogs as I type this. It’s been raining for two days and they are predicting more. Me. Not happy. This is the not so pretty part of autumn.
We’re having JTs “step brother’s” over for dinner tonight; Alan is from Vancouver and Peter is from Wasaga Beach. Our nephew Brian (the one we visited in Calgary in June, just moved back to Toronto and is staying with us for a couple of weeks) is also joining us. Wow, that’s me with four handsome men! I decided to make an all time favourite that really only works with a crowd, Paella.
But first our appetizer: the beautiful fall inspired butternut squash velouté. What’s a little different about this soup is that there is no Roux, or cream, just vegetables. And a Granny Smith apple (you see how I snuck that in?). I always oven roast my vegetables for the most flavour, and for this one, I also roasted an entire head of Ontario Garlic. The roasting happened a little quicker than expected because of all the moisture in the pan from the onions and the apple, I didn’t get the anticipated caramelization on the squash. Next time, I’ll roast the squash and potato separate to the apple and onion; it still made a mighty fine autumn soup. I have modified the instructions as such.
Going into the oven at 400°F
The recipe is really just to taste, if you love something, add more, hate something, omit it!
- 1 large butternut squash, cut into cubes (save the seeds)
- 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cubed
- 1 medium Vidalia, or Mayan onion, peeled and chopped into eighths
- 1 head of garlic, remove some of the outer peel, leaving the cloves intact
- 1 Granny Smith apple, washed and cut into similarly sized cubes as everything else
- Chicken or vegetable stock (we used no salt stock, we’re getting back into home made chicken stock time soon).
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
- Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp all spice
- sea salt to taste
- 1 tsp EVOO
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Make sure your vegetables are cut to similar size so they cook similarly.
- Roast potatoes and squash drizzled with EVOO and salt in one pan; the onions and apple drizzled with EVOO in another for 30-45 minutes until soft.
- Put the trimmed garlic head in a ramekin that just fits it, drizzle with EVOO (about 2 Tbsp) and salt lightly. Cover with tin foil and bake until bulbs are soft, about 45 minutes.
- Combine everything in a large high sided bowl (the apple skins should just peel off, but don’t worry if the don’t) and purée with an immersion blender until smooth, adding stock to desired consistency.
- Press through a fine sieve or chinoise strainer, so it’s velvety smooth. Keep warm or refrigerate for later. Reheat before serving.
- Clean off the reserved squash seeds, drizzle with EVOO, sprinkle on the spices and bake until slightly toasted (or when they begin to pop).
- 8. Serve in soup cups with the squash seeds as garnish.
The soup, excuse me, velouté
Happy Friday Everyone, I hope you enjoy your weekend.
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Posted in Beef, Gluten Free, Meat, Soups, tagged comfort food, hoisin sauce, Pho, rare beef, Soup, Sriracha Sauce, Vietnamese on September 29, 2011 |
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Toronto has a diverse cultural population and we love it. For example, did you know that Toronto has the largest Italian population next to Rome? We have Little Italy, Little India, Greektown, Korea Town, Chinatown, well you get my drift. When you enter these small areas (sometimes only one street, or two or three blocks) you are transformed from being in big city Toronto to being in Italy or even India! We are indeed very fortunate to be able to live safely, peacefully and embrace our diverse cultures. We LOVE this, particularly the FOOD!
Very close to where I work, there are a couple of Vietnamese restaurants; we sometimes go to a place called Asia 21. It’s not pretty, but the food is fresh and good and family run; the only bad side is that they only take cash, and they are not licensed (somehow this type of food does not pair well with wine anyway, but I still love it!) I am addicted to Phô, a clear beef broth with very thinly sliced rare beef, rice noodles and herbs; it’s ‘Happy food’ or Vietnamese comfort food. I totally get it, I can eat this for every meal, every day! Sadly, there is so MUCH salt in the restaurant versions that I swell up like a dirigible on Superbowl Sunday — not a pretty site! We’ve started making our own so we can control the salt. I must say, I like it even better. The temperatures in Toronto couldn’t be less like soup weather…but I have to say, I have missed my Phô! It’s humid and unseasonably warm, NOT complaining! JT made an excellent Phô last night, and I had it for lunch today (did I mention that I can eat this EVERY DAY?). We’ve adapted Canadian Living’s Beef Phô (click for original recipe) A delicately fragrant beef broth, with ginger, cinnamon, cloves, star anise. It’s really a flavour explosion in your mouth. We season it with fresh mint, cilantro and thai basil. I also add hoisin sauce (sweet) and Sriracha Sauce (hot, they call it Asian Catsup). My mouth is watering as I type this on my iPad (sitting at the island in the kitchen while JT cooks up another specialty, Israeli Couscous and Grilled Shrimp). YUM! I am a very fortunate woman.
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Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Bread, Moroccan recipes, Soups, tagged Broad beans, dip, faba beans, Fava beans, hummus, Soup on September 18, 2011 |
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I’ve been cruising the net trying to find the right combo of courses for our Moroccan themed dinner party on Saturday; it’s not as easy as it sounds, there are so many interesting recipes and flavours, it’s difficult to choose. We found the main course and side first, then the desserts. Then I thought OMG, we need a soup! And the temperatures in Toronto have plummeted to a chilly 7°C overnight – great soup weather! And, last but not least i went scouring the net for hors d’œuvres.
This post is all about the hors d’œuvres. I was enamored by this recipe because it sounded like hummus, and I adore hummus. The flat bread reminded me of something my Mom used to make with ‘leftover’ bread dough, Langos (pronounced langosh, it’s a traditional Hungarian pan-fried flat bread). Plus, it has so many names…I knew it was the one for us! I have linked the original recipes in their titles. It is rather odd to make this flat bread using a food processor, but it does seem to work, and the dough is not too heavy to bog down the processor’s motor. It’s a chewy, tasty bread, something like Naan. Of course, my alteration is the substitution of two to one all-purpose flour to whole wheat flour. (it had to be done).
Batbout or Matlouh or Mkhamer or Toghrift or Matlou with Bessara
aka Moroccan Flat Bread with Fava Bean Dip
Batbout and Bassara
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup warm (not hot) water
- 1 tablespoon herb (I did not add this)
- Combine all the dry ingredients in the food processor by giving them a whirl of the blades.
- Stop the machine and add the water all at once. Close the machine and mix until the dough forms a ball of slighly sticky dough. Add more water by the tablespoon if you find your ball of dough is a bit tough. You want a very supple, soft dough.
- Divide the dough in 4 balls. Oil them well with good quality, peppery olive oil and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- There are a complex number of rolling steps which my source describes wonderfully with photos. Here is my simplified version:
- Flatten each ball to a rectangle about 1/2cm thick, fold in the long sides (like a business letter, she describes!) Flatten a bit more with your fingers and then roll it up like a small, tight jelly roll. Punch down the top and allow to rise another 30 minutes. I covered with EVOO and plastic wrap and put them in the fridge overnight (a trick to slow down the yeast so I can make the bread when I have more time tomorrow).
- Pre heat your cast iron pan to very hot for about 15 minutes. We have natural gas, so it didn’t take as long.
- Bring the rolled up dough balls to room temperature. Once at room temperature flatten to a large circle about a 1/2cm thick – this bread will thicken slightly in the pan. Oil generously (I would switch to an oil with a higher flash point, like peanut or grape seed). Fry both sides until cooked through and golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
This is a slightly soupier dip than hummus. You can even thin it down and serve it as a soup!
- 1 1/2 cups canned fava beans (also known as Broad Beans)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/3 cup olive oil (I used chipotle oil oil for a bit of a kick!)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons vegetable stock, as required
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin, lightly roasted
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika or cayenne pepper (I omitted since I used the chipotle olive oil).
- For garnish, mix a small amount of roasted cumin, paprika, chopped cilantro. Drizzle with EVOO.
- Put beans into a food processor, add garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of vegetable stock and spices.
- Process on high speed until smooth, adding additional liquid if necessary to thin the Bessara. It should be thin enough to pour or spread out on a plate. Taste the Bessara and adjust the seasoning if desired.
- To serve, heat until warm and serve with the flat bread above. Garnish the Bessera with any of the following: ground cumin, paprika, hot paprika, EVOO, or chopped parsley.
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Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Gluten Free, Soups, Vegetarian, tagged cilantro, cold, Cucumber, healthy, low fat, Soup on August 17, 2011 |
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This soup was part of a five-course dinner we made for a good friend who recently suffered a heart attack. The theme was heathy, healthy, healthy!
Chilled Cucumber Soup
Serves 4 (1/2 cup servings each)
Ingredients for the Soup:
- 1 large English cucumber, washed but unpeeled, roughly chopped or grated
- 4 shallots, peeled and diced finely
- 3 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 cup low sodium stock, either chicken or vegetable
- 1 cup fat free unflavoured yogurt (or buttermilk)
- Splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Non-stick spray
Ingredients for the Cilantro Oil:
- 4 tbsp EVOO
- 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
- Pinch of sea salt
Directions for the Soup:
- Make this a day or two in advance to allow flavours to combine.
- Heat a cast iron pan and spray with non-stick spray lightly.
- Sauté shallots until translucent, add the garlic and stir just until you smell it. Remove from heat immediately. Allow to cool completely.
- Add cucumbers to a deep bowl, add cooled onion, garlic and yogurt and start blending with an immersion blender. Add stock little by little until the desired consistency is achieved.
- Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
- Store in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Stir well before serving.
Directions for the Cilantro oil:
- Mix both oil, cilantro and pinch of salt.
- Mash cilantro gently with the back of a spoon (I used my gorgeous olive wood mortal and pestle from Provence). Set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.
- Pour cucumber soup into serving bowls, drizzle with the cilantro oil, serve chilled.
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This is a lovely soup for a cold rainy day (which it was).
- About 265g variety of mushrooms (not the white button type, but dark forest mushrooms) cleaned well and chopped coarsely
- 1 large sweet onion (chopped)
- 1 clove garlic (minced finely)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 cups of chicken stock (or stock of your choice)
- Optional cream if desired (1/2 cup)
- 1 tsp per cup of good quality cognac or brandy
- In a large skillet, sauté onions in olive oil until soft. Add garlic and sauté 1 more minute.
- Add mushrooms and sauté until soft. Add butter until melted (this is important, butter and mushrooms are an AMAZING combo).
- Put mushroom mix into a blender, add warm chicken stock and blend until creamy (to desired consistency, I like it creamier) add cream now if desired (I don’t!).
- Return to stove to heat thoroughly.
- Pour into bowls and serve with a tablespoon of cognac or brandy for guests to add themselves. I served this soup with croûtons and some cheddar biscuits (previously posted recipe).
- Serves 4 to 6 depending on size of bowls.
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