Thursday, September 23, 2010

Puree of Pumpkin Soup with Maple Apple Compote

I should just change my blog theme to soup because that is all i seem to make these days. What can i say??!! They are tasty, easy, and comforting. I made a french onion soup the other night but the camera was dead and i was starving so i killed the bowl of soup before i could take a picture, opps-e.. This pumpkin soup was inspired by my Chef at school, he was making some pumpkin soup for an open house. The Chef rattled off the ingredients that he used and i tried to write them all down but when i went back to read them i could barely read my writing. I went with what i know is good and added some stuff along the way that i thought would be delish. I hope you enjoy this soup. i can not think of anything more Fall-ish that this bowl of goodness.

Puree of Pumpkin Soup
  1. 3 strips bacon
  2. 1 tbsp butter
  3. 1 small red onion ( small dice)
  4. 2 stalks of celery
  5. 1 large leek ( white & light green only, chopped)
  6. 4 cloves garlic ( chopped)
  7. 2 russet potato ( cut into small dice)
  8. 1tsp Cinnamon
  9. 2 cans pumpkin (puree)
  10. 1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  11. 6 cups chicken stock
  12. 4 tbsp maple syrup ( 2 tbsp for soup & 2 tbsp for apples)
  13. 1/2 cup cream
  14. kosher salt and pepper to taste

Maple Apple Compote

  1. 1 large honey crisp Apple
  2. 2 tbsp butter
  3. 4 sage leaves
  4. 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  5. 1 tsp Cinnamon

Cook bacon over low heat and this will render the fat from the bacon, cook bacon until crisp. remove the bacon when crispy and put on a paper towel. Leave the rendered bacon fat in the pot, add 1 tbsp butter and saute the red onions and celery until soft. Add the leeks and garlic, saute for a minute. Add diced potatoes, Cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin, & stock. Bring soup to boil, then reduce to simmer, allow to simmer for 30 mins. Add 2 tbsp pure maple syrup and puree the soup with immersion blender or blender. Add back to pot and add cream, season with salt and pepper.

Maple Apple Compote

Heat butter and sage in sauce pan and brown the butter, once the butter is browned ( reserve 2 tsp sage Brown butter) add the sliced apples and saute for 10 minutes, add 2 tbsp maple syrup and cinnamon, keep warm.

To assemble the soup, ladle soup into bowl, top with crispy bacon, apple compote, and drizzle with sage brown butter.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Roasted Orange Tomato & Pepper Soup with Parsnip Chips

I had a bunch of orange tomatoes left from my shopping spree and I could not think of anything to do with them except for soup. I know, I know, it's summer, but I'm crazy and think that a great tomato soup has to start with fresh, in season tomatoes, and what a better time to get them then the summer??!! I also had beautiful orange bell peppers, so I thought, hey why not. This soup has a great deep flavor since the tomatoes and peppers are roasted. I also made a nice crostini with Italian bread and local onion Havarti cheese. I added some fresh basil towards the end to complete this marriage... I might replace/rename this soup Italian Wedding Soup because I couldn't think of a better marriage of ingredients..I kid, I kid, My mother in law makes an amazing Italian Wedding Soup that nothing can replace although she only makes it once a year for some unknown reason. <-- hint, hint..

Roasted Orange Tomato & Pepper Soup with Parsnip chips

  1. 4 orange tomatoes
  2. 3 orange bell peppers
  3. 4 cloves garlic ( minced)
  4. 1 leek white & green part ( chopped) about 1 cup
  5. 1 tsp dried basil
  6. 1/4 cup white wine
  7. 4 cups chicken stock ( or vegetable )
  8. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  9. kosher salt & fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  10. 1 parsnip ( peeled & sliced into rounds)
  11. 2 cups vegetable oil ( to fry parsnip chips in)
  12. 1 loaf french bread
  13. 2 cups onion harvati cheese ( or any good melting cheese like mozzarella, fontina, or gruyere)
  14. 2 basil leaves ( chiffonade)
  15. 4 tbsp olive oil ( 1 tbsp for saute, 3 tbsp for tomatoes)

Pre heat oven to 425, wash & cut tomatoes in half, place tomatoes in a roasting pan lined with foil flesh side down, drizzle tomatoes with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast for 50- to 60 minutes. The skin will start to caramelize. Set the tomatoes aside when done to cool, when tomatoes are cool peel skins off. While the tomatoes are cooking, roast the peppers either on the gas stove over the flame or if you have electric stove place the peppers directly on the coil. When the peppers are roasted place in a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 15 minutes. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, scrap charred skin off and seed peppers, do not rinse them. Set peppers aside. Saute the leeks over medium heat in 1 tbsp olive oil for 2-3 minutes, add garlic, saute 1 minute, add the wine, allow to reduce, 2 -3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with all reserved roasted juices, peppers, dried basil, allow to cook for 45 minutes. Once the soup is cooked you can puree it in batches in a blender or use immersion blender. add the soup back to the heat and cook another 15 minutes over a simmer. Add the cream and fresh basil.

Parsnips chips

Heat vegetable oil, place chips in oil and fry over 350 degrees for about 30 - 45 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon and put on a plate lined with paper towels and season with salt.

Cheese Crostini

Cut loaf of french bread, bake the bread in the oven at 400 degrees for 5 minutes, remove and add shredded cheese, place back in over and cook another 3-4 minutes or until cheese is nice a bubbly.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Creamy Mushroom Barley Soup with Prosciutto & Sage Brown Butter

I really should just call this soup O.M.G!!! I can't believe I created this soup!!. I am in shock and awe!! Maybe I have a bias to judge this soup because I'm proud of it. This is the first time I have cooked with barley and was pleasantly surprised! The barley is similar to the texture of rice but a thickening agent like a legume (bean). I love the earthiness of the mushrooms and leeks together, and then when it couldn't get tasty enough I added sage brown butter! WHAT??? If you haven't tried it than you really are missing out on greatness. Sage Brown Butter is just sage sauteed in butter over medium heat until it turns brown, sounds simple right?!! Well it is and worth the minute it takes to make it. I first experienced this awesomeness when I saw a recipe from Giada on I knew instantly that Sage Brown butter was the Mecca of food pleasure. I honestly could go on and on about it, but I wont. I just hope that you try it and put it on anything you think butter would taste good with. I should probably get back to the soup I made because it is the reason for this post, sorry I got side tracked, but you will understand once you make it. This soup was created when I was sitting home and had all the produce and other products I love in the refridgerator . I wanted something creamy and had some leftover red onion, leeks, and Chicken stock. I also had this package of barley I picked up because it looked interesting. This will be on the Thanksgiving menu for sure. I love the texture and flavor of every spoonful. I didn't want to share this soup, but the family needs to eat so I had to give up a couple bowls....boooo.... Luckly Princess Teagan was just as thrilled as I was to eat it. I love that kid. She will try anything I make from sctrach, I couldn't ask for a better daughter! ( luv u Tinky Winky!)

Creamy Mushroom Barley Soup with Prosciutto & Sage Brown Butter

  1. 1 tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 cup sliced leeks
  3. 1 cup red onion ( chopped)
  4. 8 oz sliced button mushrooms
  5. 2 stalks of celery
  6. 3 cloves garlic ( minced)
  7. 1 bay leave
  8. 5 slices of prosciutto
  9. 1/2 cup pearl barley
  10. 14 oz of beef stock
  11. 28 oz of chicken stock
  12. 10 fresh sage leaves
  13. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  14. 4 tbsp butter
  15. kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees, Saute the leeks, onions, celery, mushrooms, prosciutto & garlic in a stock pot, season with salt and pepper. When the veggies are soft add the bay leaf and barley along with both stocks and 2 sage leafs chopped. bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, simmer for 1 hour. The soup with be very thin, either use an immersion blender or a regular blender and puree the soup. Add the soup back to the heat and add the cream. the soup should be a creamy texture. While the soup is simmering in a saute pan add the butter and sage leaves over medium heat and brown the butter. Also put the prosciutto on foil and place in oven for 5 minutes or until crispy. Plate the soup in a bowl, top with prosciutto, fried sage leaves, and brown butter, season to taste with salt and pepper. ENJOY!!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Chimichurri Style Burger with Cotija Cheese

I know this isn't an authentic Chimichurri sauce but boy was it scrumptious!!!! I got inspired to make this after i saw a recipe for steak with Chimichurri sauce and i thought that would be a great burger. I have been on a cilantro kick lately and knew when i saw oregeno as one of the main ingredients i immediatly thought...--> SWITCH, so the oregano got kicked to the curb and cilantro moved in. Next i knew i had to find a nice cheese to go with it. I was thinking Manchego but couldn't find it anywhere! i even ventured into a Latin market we have in town. This place was amazing!!! I guess you can say i am deprived because i only shop at Publix and my local farmers market. That will be changing as of today! Although i couldn't read half of the stuff that did not stop me from picking up a couple things, i wont lie though i did have to Google how to prepare it and what it was when i got home. I must have spent an hour in the store looking and smelling everything i could get my hands on. Their cheese isle wasn't as big as i hoped for though, but they did have the Cotija Cheese i have been hearing about and dying to try. Cotija Cheese is pretty interesting, It is only produced during the months of July through October because the cows are only fed rich grass that is grown on the mountains in Mexico during the raining season, This is how the cheese gets it's unique color and flavor. The flavor can be similar to Italian Parmesan but it crumbles like a feta. I love the flavor, it's pretty salty though. If you can not find Cotija Cheese you can substitute Parmesan. Next time i make this burger i will without a doubt use ground turkey or chicken since the sauce has a lot of olive oil and will add that fattiness i miss when i use them. I also found these phenomenal orange tomatoes at the market.

Chimichurri Style Burger with Cotija Cheese

  1. 2 tbsp cumin
  2. 1 cup lightly packed fresh parsley
  3. 1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro
  4. 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  5. 2 garlic cloves
  6. 1/4 cup olive oil
  7. 1 tsp kosher salt
  8. 2 lbs lean ground beef ( makes 6 patties)
  9. 1 tbsp onion powder
  10. 1 tbsp montreal steak seasoning ( i use this on all my burgers no matter what)
  11. 6 hamburger buns
  12. 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  13. 1 orange tomato ( or any other tomato)
  14. 1 red onion
  15. 6 oz Cotija Cheese
  16. 1/4 crumbled blue corn chips

Start to make the Chimichurri sauce by adding the parsley, cilantro, 1 tbsp cumin, garlic, red wine vinegar, and salt in a blender container and cover with lid. Slowly blend in the olive oil. set aside sauce. Add the onion powder, 1 tbsp cumin, and montreal steak season to the burger patties. Cook patties 1 tbsp vegetable oil or any other kind of oil you want to use over meduim high heat, when patties are done, set aside to allow them to rest. Meanwhile, toast the buns.

To assemble the burgers add the Chimichurri sauce to the toasted buns on both side, add burger patty on bottom bun and top burger with 1 oz Cotija cheese ( it doesn't need to be melted on the burger) and top with crumbled blue corn chips, on the top of the bun add tomato and onion.

I can without a doubt say this is one if my favorite burgers I've made to date.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

I went to the farmer's market today and they had some beautiful local corn, so I grabbed as many as I could carry in my arms ( not sure why I didn't get a basket, but anyway...) I am actually surprised I still like corn considering it was the only vegetable I ate as a kid and I would like to blame my mother for that! ( sorry Mom ) Sure I was introduced to vegetables, ya know the ones that come in a can.... Canned green beans, Canned Peas, and wait for it......... Canned asparagus, gross!!... No wonder I hated vegetables. The difference between fresh and canned is unbelievable and I did not discover this until early adulthood. I understand that families do not have the time or convenience to have fresh veggies all the time but I think that if you gave a kid some roasted asparagus with Parmesan cheese verse a mushy can of asparagus they would choose (and love) the roasted asparagus. Anyway, don't get me started, don't even get me started, Where was I? Oh yeah, fresh local corn!!! I know its summer and I know that chowders are really heavy but I love this recipe and think you will too. The leeks and fennel add a nice layer of flavor in the chowder. I made my own shrimp stock from the shells but you can use clam juice. I boiled the shrimp in old bay seasoning but think that already cooked shrimp would work great.

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

  1. 5 strips of bacon ( 3 tbsp of bacon drippings reserved)
  2. 2 leeks ( white and light green parts, chopped)
  3. 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  4. 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  5. 8 oz bottle clam juice ( or homemade shrimp stock)
  6. 3 cups whole milk
  7. 1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  8. 1 pound of devein uncooked shrimp
  9. 3 ears of fresh corn ( or a 10 oz package of frozen corn)
  10. 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  11. 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  12. 2 tbsp old bay seasoning
  13. 1 tbsp kosher salt
  14. 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

For the shrimp

  1. 1/2 vinegar
  2. 1/2 water
  3. 1 tbsp old bay

Saute the bacon and render the fat. When the bacon is crisp remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. (Reserve 1 tbsp of bacon grease for the corn) Saute the leeks and fennel in the bacon drippings until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the clam juice or shrimp stock, milk, and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally for 12 minutes. Meanwhile, bring to a boil 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup water, and 1tbsp old bay seasoning, add shrimp and cover cook for 3-5 minutes. Remove the shells ( save if you are making shrimp stock) set cooked shrimp aside. If using fresh corn, cut it off the cobb ( use a bunt pan to make it easier) Saute the corn with the reserved tbsp on bacon drippings for 2 - 3 minutes. Stir in the corn, shrimp, and 1 tbsp old bay seasoning into the chowder and heat through for 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to your liking and top with crumbled bacon.. Serve with a nice crusty French bread and ENJOY! <- i know i did....

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Crispy Cilantro & Lime Chicken Thighs

This chicken dish is so quick and easy to make. I suggest you get your local butcher to remove the bones for you to save some time, I on the other hand welcome the pratice. The skin on this chicken becomes so crispy its like fried chicken minus the thick breading. The lime zest adds a nice freshness to the skin. I love this recipe because you can honestly use any herbs you have. I like using lemon zest with fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, or fresh dill. I even think orange zest with ginger or basil would be great combinations.

  1. 4 ( 1 1/4 lb) chicken thighs
  2. 2 tbsp cilantro ( chopped)
  3. 2 tsp lime zest
  4. 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  5. 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  6. 1 tbsp olive oil
  7. 2/3 cup low sodium chicken stock
  8. 2 tbsp lime juice

Remove bones and excess skin from chicken thighs, leaving skin intact. Combine cilantro (reserve 1/2 tbsp), lime zest, salt, & pepper. Rub mixture all over chicken. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a non stick skillet over medium heat, add chicken skin side up, and cook 5 minutes, turn chicken skin side down and place a heavy pot or skillet on top of the chicken, this will help the skin get really crispy. Cook the chicken for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through.

Transfer chicken to plate, set aside. Pour out all grease and oil from pan and add the lime juice, then add the chicken stock, let this reduce down on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. Spoon over chicken.

Chicken Chili Verde

Tomatillos, Tomatillos, Tomatillos where have you been all my life?? Maybe I've seen you before but was creeped out by your looks, I mean you are green, have an awkward tomato shape, and are covered in a husk <- I thought only corn had husks?! Boy am I glad I decided to give you a try! This soup certainly highlights the tomatillo and is without a doubt a refreshing summer soup. The ingredients in this soup can be switched up to your liking by omitting the beans and adding a small pasta, or white rice. I also will add sweet summer corn next time I make this <--- which will be very soon! Adapted from

  1. 3 cups cooked chicken ( I used a rotisserie)
  2. 1 lb Tomatillos ( husk removed, cleaned, cut into quarters)
  3. 1 large white onion ( chopped)
  4. 4 cloves of garlic ( minced)
  5. 3 limes ( the juice of two, and one cut up into quarters)
  6. 2 jalapenos ( chopped & seeded unless you like it spicy)
  7. 1 can cannellini beans ( drained and rinsed)
  8. 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  9. 2 tsp cumin
  10. 1/2 chili powder
  11. 6 cups low sodium chicken stock
  12. olive oil
  13. salt and pepper

Saute the onions on medium in a large pot in olive oil until soft but not brown, add garlic cook another minute, add cooked shredded chicken, tomatillos, jalapenos, chicken stock, rinsed & drained beans, lime juice, cumin, and chili powder, let simmer for 30 - 40 minutes uncovered or until the tomatillos are tender. Add chopped cilantro the last ten minutes of cooking to keep the color and freshness.

I added lime wedges and a couple pinches of fresh cilantro to my soup bowl..

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Poblano & Potato Soup

I really am loving soup these days, it might have something to do with being able to use random ingredients in your refrigerator, or the convenience of them being so easy to make <- either way I am smitten with them. The Poblano & Potato Soup on it's own is stunning! When you add the smoked paprika oil, crispy bacon, and cilantro lime sour cream you get a mouthful of tasty morsels that will blow you away! no lie... The spiciness of the poblanos is softened with the sour cream and the potato's add a nice texture to the soup. Next time I make this I will add lentils because I think it will add that protein I was missing.

Adapted from Bitchin Camero
Poblano & Potato Soup

  1. 4 slices thick cut bacon
  2. 1 large white onion (diced)
  3. 3 garlic cloves (chopped)
  4. 1 shallot (diced)
  5. 2 poblano peppers ( sliced)
  6. 1 lb of red, yellow, or purple creamer potatoes ( peeled & diced)
  7. 3 cups chicken stock
  8. salt and pepper to taste

Cook bacon over medium low heat in a large pot until the bacon is crispy, remove with a slotted spoon and drain the bacon on a paper towel. set aside. Drain all the bacon fat except for 2 tbsp

Use 2 tbsp of the bacon fat to saute your onions.

Saute the onion for 7-8 minutes but do not brown, add poblanos, saute for another 5 minutes, add garlic & shallot, saute for another minute. Add the potatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and allow to simmer for 20- 30 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.

While the soup is cooking prepare your toppings

Smoked Paprika Oil

  1. 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  2. 2 tbsp olive oil

Combine the oil and paprika in a cup, stir to combine, set aside.

Cilantro Lime Sour Cream

  1. 1/2 cilantro ( chopped fine)
  2. 1/2 cup sour cream
  3. 1 tbsp lime zest
  4. 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice

Chop cilantro, zest lime with a microplane grater, add lime juice, and sour cream, stir to combine. set aside

When the soup if done cooking, take it off the heat and use either an immersion blender or blender. Puree the soup until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Put soup into bowls and drizzle with paprika oil, top with cilantro sour cream, and crispy bacon.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sun Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese stuffed Burger topped with Caramelized Onion Relish and Garlic Aioli

  1. Of course my first blog post would be a burger! I love burgers and plan on making one burger a week for the rest of my life! Tonight I made a burger stuffed with creamy goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes marinated in herb oil. I topped it with an onion relish I learned how to make in culinary school. The onions really turn into something special when you reduce them in rice wine vinegar then caramelize them. I also made an aioli <- don't let the name scare you away, it's just a fancy way of saying garlic mayonnaise. If you have never made homemade mayo before you do not know what you are missing! The taste is so fresh and light...

  • Goat Cheese and Sun Dried Tomato stuffing
  1. 6 oz fresh goat cheese
  2. 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes in herb oil ( chopped)
  3. 1 1/2 lb ground round ( 80/20)
  4. Montreal steak seasoning

Mix the goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes together in a bowl, set aside. Form 8 even thin patties, about 1/2 inch thick, put 1 1/2 tbsp of the stuffing into a ball then place it in the center of 4 patties. Top each with another patty and seal edges. Season patties with Montreal steak seasoning. In a medium skillet over medium high heat, sear the burgers 4 minutes on each side.

Caramelized Onion Relish

  1. 1 large white onion (sliced thin)
  2. 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  3. tbsp butter
  4. salt and pepper

In a non stick skillet over medium low heat saute the onions in butter and season with salt and pepper. Add the rice wine vinegar and reduce down. Once all the rice wine vinegar has cooked out lower the heat to low and allow the onions to caramelize. The onions will take about 10 - 15 Minutes to caramelize.

Garlic Aioli

  1. 1 garlic clove
  2. 2 egg yolks
  3. 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  4. 4-6 tbsp of a good olive oil
  5. salt and pepper to taste

Grate the garlic clove on a *micro plane grater* ( I recommend this highly) if you do not have a micro plane grater you can chop the garlic very fine till it is almost into a paste. Combine the egg yolks, garlic, rice wine vinegar, salt, and pepper into a food processor or blender and puree. Add the oil in a slow stream and continue to process until the mixture has formed a thick emulsion.

***** A micro plane grater is such a great kitchen tool. You can use it to grate cheeses easily, its a great zester for citrus, and I love to use it to grate my garlic into recipes. It's a lot faster than chopping it and makes it turn into a paste.