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Carrot Soup with Thyme and Fennel


If you have any leftover carrots that the Easter bunny didn’t eat or your CSA gave you a ton … try this soup. Honestly, if I didn’t make this myself I would have had no idea it was carrot. The combo of thyme and fennel creates a super unique flavor that I could not get enough of. Mike and I really enjoyed this.

Recipe link
Bon Appétit | March 1999

Delicata Squash Soup


I’d never seen or tasted a delicata squash until it arrived in our CSA delivery. After some research I found out that it is sweet and most commonly prepared by simply roasting it in the oven, but I decided to take it a step further and make it into a soup.

You know it's a delicata squash by the cool green stripes

When they said it was sweet I expected flavors similar to a butternut squash but it was much more subtle. This tasted like a potato soup with a touch of sweetness. I’ve made many squash soups and sometimes they turn out bland but this, although mild, I found uniquely delicious.

Recipe link
Food & Wine magazine / Feb 1999

For more winter squash recipes check out other bloggers participating in the Food Network’s Fall Fest (a season long franchise where Food Network editors team up with blogs to share tips and recipes about seasonal produce every week)…

 

 

And Love It Too: Warm Winter Chili
The Sensitive Epicure: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Cooking Channel: Kabocha Squash Pasta
CIA Dropout: Stuffed Winter Squash
What’s Gaby Cooking: Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
Dishin and Dishes: Butternut Squash Bisque With Sage Cream
FN Dish: Simply Roasted Winter Squash
Napa Farmhouse 1885:
Pomme d’or With Wild Mushroom Risotto

Baked Beet Ravioli with Poppy Seed Butter


Our CSA delivery was overflowing with beets in November. Since I was tired of making beet salads I started looking for a unique way to use them when this ravioli recipe grabbed my attention.

If you are not a fan of beets this is not going to convert you. You have to like the flavor because it is prominent. If you enjoy beets like I do you will find these truly satisfying. The only change I would make to the recipe next time is maybe use a more pungent cheese like blue. Other reviewers said they had tried that and I can see that really kicking up the flavor.


I made a few modifications to the  Bon Appétit  recipe.
1. I’m lazy so I chose to use wonton wrappers instead of fresh pasta (they suggested this option to save time)
2. Instead of boiling the ravioli’s I followed the directions on the wonton package to bake them. Preheat oven to 375. Mist a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place filled ravioli onto prepared baking sheet and brush tops of ravioli lightly with olive oil then bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Then I spooned over the poppy seed butter (which I added sage to).

This baked version would be better served as an Appetizer – cut in triangles with the butter on the side for dipping.

Recipe link
Bon Appétit  | May 2005

For more tasty beet recipes check out other bloggers participating in the Food Network’s Fall Fest (a season long franchise where Food Network editors team up with blogs to share tips and recipes about seasonal produce every week)…

 

 

What’s Gaby Cooking: Farro Beet and Herb Salad
My Angel’s Allergies:
Roasted Beet and Potato Vinaigrette Salad
Cooking Channel:
Garlicky Beet Salad With Walnuts and Dates
The Sensitive Epicure:
Simply Sauteed Beets
FN Dish:
Top 3 Beet Salad Recipes
And Love It Too: Raw, Vegan and Sugar-Free Red Velvet Fudge
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Beet Salad With Crispy Leeks and Bacon
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Beet Salad With Bacon Vinaigrette

Potato, Leek and Broccoli Soup with Pancetta Crumbs


It’s all about the bacon crumbs (we didn’t have pancetta)! Really nice creamy soup with a crunchy, salty, herby crumble on top.

Recipe link
Food & Wine Magazine| Nov 2010

Tomato and Pepper Gazpacho with Sherry

Our CSA produce delivery gave us 4-5 lbs of tomatoes in a single week (3 varietals). That’s a lot of tomats! There was also a couple cucumbers so making a gazpacho was a no-brainer. This José Andrés recipe was delightful.

Recipe link
Bon Appetit /September 2010

Roasted Pepper Bruschetta


Best Bruschetta EVER! We made two changes to the recipe —

1) added garlic to the tomato mixture (a must!)

2) we used mozzarella & parm because that’s what we had in the fridge.

The peppers are hard to see but they are underneath the cheese & tomatoes

This was even better than many of the tapas we had in Spain and a great way to use up the end of summer heirlooms.

Recipe link
Bon Appétit | September 2002

Shrimp-and-Corn Chowder


The corn is the star of this dish! If you don’t have fresh, sweet corn on the cob don’t bother making this recipe. Unlike most chowders this is light and healthy…don’t let the name fool you. A grand summer supper.

Tip: I made this on the stove top but still grilled the shrimp on the BBQ.

Recipe link
Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine /Aug. 2010

Scallops with Mushrooms in White-Wine Sauce


This was killer…literally. I could hear my heart cry as I devoured every morsel. Mike and I are trying to get back in shape by doing the P90X workout. This is not on the diet but this is what Mike decided to prepare for dinner the other night. He obviously didn’t read the ingredients before going to the store. Heavy cream, butter, cheese, egg yolk, and more butter! It was sinfully delicious though. The sauce was the one of the best I’ve ever tasted. It would be a perfect starter course. Really don’t attempt to eat this as a main dish as we did.

I just decided Mike was preparing us for our trip to Paris. We leave in 1 week!!!

Recipe link
Gourmet | January 2003

Roasted Beet, Onion and Orange Salad


My new favorite thing is roasted pearl onions. Soooo good! I can’t believe this is the first time we made them?!

Recipe link

Italian Wedding Soup

The contessa really put her foot in this soup.

This really should be called super yummy meatball soup. I didn’t think I would enjoy a chicken meatball so much but without them this soup would be boring. I plan on making these meatballs to add to my next bowl of spaghetti.

Tip: Don’t be afraid of the dill. It really adds to the dish.

Recipe link

Bacon and Cabbage Soup


If Willy Wonka made a soup it would look like this. I made some modifications to the original recipe and created something very unique. Instead of Savoy cabbage I used Red and instead of yukon gold potatoes I used Red which is weird because the soup turned out purple. People who know me will think I did this on purpose because purple is my favorite color but I really had no clue that this would be the outcome of my tinkering with the ingredients.

The end result was far from “grape” tasting. It actually just tasted like potatoes. If I closed my eyes it was a little easier to eat.

I garnished with homemade croutons, parsley and additional bacon.

Recipe link

Carrot Soup with Ginger and Lemon


What to do with a bushel of carrots from your latest CSA delivery? MAKE CARROT SOUP!! Man, this was good. Ginger and lemon are a fantastic compliment to carrots. I would have never guessed.

They say to serve with sour cream but it’s good with or without.

Tip: half the amount of butter is plenty.

Recipe link
Bon Appétit | June 1997

Butternut Squash Soup with Brown Butter, Sage and Nutmeg Creme Fraiche

Check it out… We finally made a recipe from our Thomas Keller “Bouchon” cookbook! Mike whipped this soup up on a week night to boot! It was not super difficult to make and it turned out fantastic. Sweet with a little spice. This would be a perfect starter course at a dinner party especially during the holidays.

Recipe link

Creamy Tomato Soup

tomato soup

We just received a copy of a new cookbook published by Mike’s family friend. The book is filled with mouthwatering classic Italian recipes that are simple and quick to prepare. The prominent theme throughout is the importance of eating together as a family and it stresses the benefits of getting children involved with cooking at home at an early age. Recipes come complete with kitchen tips, weekly menus and shopping lists for people on the go. It also includes useful sections that help you decide what to make with the items you have in your fridge and how to turn leftovers into a delicious meal.

The first thing we decided to make was the tomato soup because we had some ripe heirloom tomatoes that needed to be devoured. The soup turned out lovely and surprisingly light. We paired it with a grilled cheese panini. Delightful!

If you’re looking for easy, healthy and flavorful dishes pick up a copy of Cooking Dinner: Simple Italian Family Recipes Everyone Can Make by Rima Barkett & Claudia Pruett

Recipe for Creamy Tomato Soup
Adapted from Cooking Dinner by Barkett & Pruett

1/4 cup olive oil
1 minced garlic clove
1/2 cup onion, chopped fine
1 carrot, chopped fine
1 celery rib, chopped fine
4 fresh basil leaves
1 small sprig fresh oregano
1 small sprig fresh thyme
1/2 tsp sea salt
dash ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 28-oz can quality diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, optional

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic,onion,carrot and celery. Saute 5-8 minutes, stirring often. Add herbs, salt, pepper and wine, reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes more. Add diced tomatoes and 1 cup broth. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 min. Remove from heat. Remove herbs and blend soup with an immersion blender or in small batches in blender. Be careful of hot liquid! Add remaining broth and cream. Reheat over low heat until barely boiling. Taste and adjust salt/pepper.

*We used 1/2 canned and 1/2 fresh tomatoes. Makes 4 small bowls or 2 large.


Corn Chowder

cornchowder

We received 4 ears of corn in our produce delivery so we decided to make a chowder. We made a couple changes to the Tyler Florence recipe we found included adding BACON! Instead of using the butter we used the bacon drippings to saute the onion, garlic and thyme. We also sprinkled in some additional herbs and we substituted half and half for the cream to make it nice and light. Delish!

Recipe link

View more Tyler recipes here: http://tylerflorencefridays.blogspot.com/

Guinness Corned Beef and Cabbage

cornedbeef

I married an Irish man so I now celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. For the first time we made a St. Paddy’s day meal for Mike’s family.

pearsalad

Simple awesome salad

The menu:

  • Pear Salad with blue cheese, bacon, walnuts and shallot vinaigrette (recipe)
  • Guinness Corned Beef with cabbage, potatoes and carrots
  • White Soda Bread w/ caraway seeds (recipe)
  • Sprinkles Irish cupcakes

The main dish was corned beef. I am a corned beef fiend although I grew up eating it in another form… corned beef on rye with mustard and a dill pickle. This was the first time Mike or I had attempted to cook the beef at home. When I read the recipe Mike found I was very concerned that it would not turn out right. The whole idea of boiling meat just sounded wrong but I would find out it was sooo right. The result was amazing. It was tender yet firm and the flavor was perfection. I can’t wait to make it again next year. I’m already planning the menu. Seriously.

Happy St. Patrick’s day!

Beef Recipe link

Tasty Tip: Don’t be tempted to sample the braising liquid before adding the veggies. It will taste like a pool of salt. The Guinness flavor throughout is very mild. We will use 2 bottles of beer next time and less water.

French Onion Soup

onion-soup

I finally prepared my first Julia Child recipe. I figured if I’m gonna do something French I better refer to the master. This was easy but time consuming. Next to lobster bisque and tomato, onion is my favorite kind of soup. It’s so comforting and rich. Good the first day, outstanding 4 days later. The flavors really change over time. If you can wait (I couldn’t) prepare this a few days before you want to serve. It tastes like an item from a five star restaurant.

what lies beneath the cheesey goodness

what lies beneath the cheesy goodness

Recipe link

Chicken Soup with Miniature Leek-Chive Matzo Balls

matzosoup

OMG! How cute are these matzo balls?!? Usually this isn’t the case. I once went to a deli in NY and my colleague ordered matzo ball soup and all she got was a single ball the size of my head. No joke. This is a time intensive dish. Don’t think you can whip this up on a weeknight. The recipe for the soup seemed a little on the bland side so I made some enhancements. I added carrots,onions,celery and chopped roasted chicken breast to the stock. It turned out soooo good. Mikes reaction… “This is the best thing you’ve ever made.” My mom is going to be impressed.

ballssmall balls2

Tasty Tip: Want to save some time — stick the ball mixture in the freezer for 1 hour instead of the fridge for 2.

Recipe link

Pan Fried Onion Dip

oniondip
Another well received appetizer at my sister’s “b” day bash was this onion dip by the Barefoot Contessa. This took some time to prepare (40 minutes) but was well worth it. The final concoction was sweet and creamy with a bit of a kick. I served this with long pretzel sticks (which everyone thought was a yummy and interesting combo). Now that I think back, kettle potato chips would have also gone well.

Tip: cut the oil/butter in half!

Recipe link

Port-Glazed Walnuts with Stilton

stilton-walnuts

Take a look at my new favorite appetizer! This received rave reviews at my sisters’ surprise birthday party last weekend. Simply magnificent.

Tasty Tip: Stilton is insanely expensive so I substituted Gorgonzola. Serve with a side of the port syrup and sliced baguette.

Recipe link

Minestrone Soup

minestronesoup

This recipe is a keeper! But it was much more work to make than I expected. In my mind we were going to throw a bunch of veggies in a pot and ta-dah — Minestrone. Not exactly. You do toss a bunch of veggies in a pot but it’s done in numerous intervals. It all starts with bacon (or pancetta) which is what brings out all the magnificent flavors. Each layer is slowly bathed in bacon fat and eventually transforms into a cauldron of love.

Tasty Tip: We didn’t bother with the drawn out overnight bean procedure. Instead we popped open a can of white beans and it turned out just fine.

Recipe link

Spicy Shrimp and Bok Choy Noodle Soup

shrimpsoup
This was phenomenal. I never thought we would be able to make a Pho like soup at home, much less in 30 minutes and all in one pot. I was astonished at how good this was. I slurped my bowl up with a side of hoisin sauce to add a little sweetness. I could eat this every week. Hats off to you Rachael Ray!

Tasty Tip: We cut the amount of ginger in half and used just under 1/2 tsp. of chili flakes in order to keep the heat to a minimum. It was perfect.

Recipe link

Potato Soup with Kale and Chorizo

kalesoupfinal

Kale arrived in our produce delivery. I’d never had Kale before. Looking at recipes, potatoes seemed to be Kale’s most popular accompaniment. I decided to make a soup. In the end the flavors/consistency turned out to be a cross between a minestrone and tortilla soup. The kale had a unique taste. The soup was a bit spicy from the chorizo (but not hot) and smokey from the paprika.

We followed the online suggestions to add more onion and cut the amount of Kale. I think adding chicken would be good next time.

Don’t skimp on the croutons. The salty crunch really made the dish. The method for making croutons at our house is to cut up some sourdough then sprinkle with olive oil and garlic salt and bake for 7-10 minutes. It was a light and hearty winter soup.

Recipe link

Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto

check out those vanilla beans!

You all know I purchased Giada De Laurentiis’ new cookbook “Giada’s Kitchen” in order to attend the signing event. Well, the book is actually really nice. The pictures are beautiful and the recipes are inventive. The first recipe we decided to make was the “Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto” (we used acorn squash). Mike “the king of risotto” was intrigued by the use of vanilla in the stock*. I was super surprised to find out a single vanilla bean was $12 ($8 on sale)!!! The dish turned out fabulous. The vanilla was not at all overpowering. It just sits in the background adding a bit of sweetness. The modifications we made to the recipe included using 1.5 cups of wine (a santa lucia highlands chardonnay worked perfectly) and we puréed some of the squash and added it in along with the chunks. I would suggest serving this as a side or starter since it is a bit heavy.

Recipe:Buy the book or grab the recipe from Serious Eats.

*this was the subject of Mike’s chit chat session with Giada.🙄

Radish, Apple and Onion Salad

I’m not really a salad person. I will have one as a starter but never as a main course. The salads we eat at home are not usually worthy of a post. That is until now. This salad was the bomb! The dill dressing went perfectly with the spicy radish, sweet onions and tart apples. We continued to use the leftover dressing throughout the week on any piece of lettuce we could get our hands on.

Rachael Ray, I don’t care what others say about you, I have yet to try a recipe of yours that I didn’t like…

Recipe link
The only thing I left out was the poppy seeds (didn’t have any).

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

We received a Sugerpie pumpkin in our produce shipment from Farm Fresh to You. I really didn’t know what to do with it. My plan was to stick it by the front door and see if it would make it to Halloween but Mike had other ideas. He wanted to make soup and that’s exactly what he did (with a little help from me….).

spiced pumpkin soup garnished w/ heavy cream, cilantro & roasted pumpkin seeds

The ingredients used in this dish were pretty unique for a pumpkin soup (banana, coconut and curry) but they all melded perfectly. The flavor was not overly sweet and the spice was subtle. I actually added a little extra condensed milk because I prefer the sweetness. When we make this again I might even use regular coconut milk instead of unsweetened. I wish I had smell-o-vision because this had a wonderful aroma. If you want an early taste of the holidays try this sumptuous soup. I’m glad Mike saved the pumpkin from its Halloween demise…

Recipe source: Bon Appétit Magazine – November 2002
Recipe link
Need instructions for cooking a pumpkin? Look here

Note: This is my entry for the First Thursday: Color orange event (Hey, it started out orange!) held by Michelle @ Thursday Night Smackdown

Seared Scallops with Roasted Corn and Herbs

Pete, the winner of Rachael Ray’s Hey, Can you cook?! competition returned to the show to prepare a meal. His dish looked really good so we made it. What do you think? The scallops were grand and the corn I could totally see eating at our next Thanksgiving dinner. They were super buttery and had all those memorable holiday flavors. I think Pete deserves his win…

Recipe link

Sauvignon Blanc Steamed Mussels

I was in the mood for mussels. I order them at restaurants all the time but have never made them at home. I didn’t think it would be so easy. Once you take the time to clean them the actual prep/cook time is minimal. Mike and I picked up 2 lbs of farm raised black and New Zealand green lipped mussels for $10 at Whole Foods market. What a deal! We got a mixture because we didn’t know which was better. Now we know… go for the green lipped, they were much more meaty and sweet. I like my mussels drenched in garlic. The recipe I used only asked for 1 measly garlic clove. I used 3 and when I make this again I will probably use 4. We served this up with a side salad and crusty garlic bread (yes, more garlic). Excellent meal.

Recipe link

Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes

Tis the season to be eating tomatoes! I was watching the Tomato episode of Jamie Oliver’s show Jamie at Home and decided to make a tomato feast. Mike and I went to the farmers market and got a bevy of heirlooms. They look soooo good this time of year.

We followed Jamie’s instructions for making the “mothership tomato salad”. As seen on the show this is the starting point for numerous dishes. From this we made a caprese salad as well as a tomato pasta salad. The tomatoes we purchased were perfect. Ripe and juicy. Jamie suggests that you salt your tomats before eating to concentrate the flavors. This salting process really does make a difference with the final product. Preparing the two dishes was super easy. For the caprese layer tomato, mozzarella, black pepper, balsamic, red chile and basil, and then you’re good to go.

For the salad you smash up the remaining tomatoes with your hands, add to cooked rotini pasta and dig in. Pop it in the fridge for a bit and it’s 10Xs better. Quick, simple and delicious recipes.

Recipe link

Caprese Salad

A couple times a year we have a wine & food night with friends. The evening consists of decadent food and many bottles of fantastic wine. This time Mike and I were assigned the salad course.

I attempted to make the Caprese Salad Mike and I ate at Enoteca San Marco last month. I had found an adaptation of the recipe online. I will admit I didn’t have time to make the pesto so I picked some up at Whole Foods. It was fresh and had the exact same ingredients the recipe called for but it was not as garlicky as I would have liked.

The 2 hour roasted tomatoes turned out well but didn’t have the same consistency as I remember at Enoteca. Enoteca looked and tasted more like stewed tomatoes.

Final verdict: No complaints from the foodies but I think I could do better.

You can find the original recipe in Mario’s cookbook:Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home

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