Friday, December 4, 2015

Recipe: Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Gluten Free Garlic-Herb Croutons

You say hangover, I say broccoli cheddar soup bread bowl. 

Or, I did say.

In college, (pre-Celiac diagnosis), my go-to for nursing a rough but probably well-deserved hangover was a Panera bread bowl filled to the carby brim with broccoli cheddar soup. 

That's right. A bowl of gluten, filled with gluten. I am so, so sorry, body. I just had no idea. 


These days, I still LOVE me some broccoli cheddar soup, with or without the prerequisite hangover. I'd like to think this recipe is a tad healthier than Panera's version, since it only has a cup of cheese and a quarter cup of heavy cream (which really you could leave out if you wanted to). The soup gets a lot of body and richness from cooking and blending the broccoli stalks, which I'm happy to use instead of tossing them!

In place of the bread bowl of days past, I top each bowl of soup with a handful of crispy, garlic-herb croutons made from Against the Grain Gourmet baguettes. Have you guys had these baguettes? They're incredible. I can't even keep them around at my parents' house because my sister (non-Celiac) likes them better than regular bread. Go figure! 

This recipe ROCKS if you have an immersion blender. (I have this one.) You can totally transfer the soup to a blender in batches, but if you make a lot of pureed soups and sauces you should really think about making the switch. There's less cleanup, and honestly it's SO fun to whiz everything up right in the pot. Though beware of splashing. Or your dog will end up with a splash of bright green broccoli cheddar soup on his head.... that you don't find until 4 hours later. MMM LEFTOVERS. 

Recipe: Broccoli Cheddar Soup
[original recipe by Jeff Mauro]

2 stalks of broccoli (about 1.5 pounds)
2 tbsp butter
1 small white or yellow onion, roughly diced
2 tsp dry mustard 
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper 
2 to 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tbsp red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar 
4 cups gluten free chicken stock, plus extra if needed (can sub vegetable stock)
2 cups fresh baby spinach 
1 cup extra sharp, grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream

Remove the florets (tops) from the broccoli, and separate into individual florets. With a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler, remove the outer layer of the remaining stalks. Roughly dice. 

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot (like this one), melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the onion, broccoli stalks, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, and cook for 2 more minutes. 

Deglaze by adding the vinegar and 1 cup of the stock. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pot. Add all of the broccoli florets, and enough additional stock to cover the broccoli. (I added 3 cups, making it 4 cups total.)

Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes until broccoli stalks and florets are tender. (Should be able to easily pierce them with a knife.) 

Remove the soup from the heat. Stir in the spinach. Using an immersion blender, blend until the soup is completely smooth. (If you're using a blender instead, CAREFULLY transfer the soup to the blender, filling only halfway, and blend until smooth. You'll probably need to do this in two batches, then return it to the pot.) If your soup is a bit too thick, add more stock to achieve the desired consistency. 

Stir in the shredded cheese and heavy cream. Serve warm, garnished with gluten free croutons (recipe below). 

Recipe: Gluten Free 
Garlic-Herb Croutons 

1 gluten free baguette (such as Against The Grain), thawed and diced into 1-inch cubes
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning 
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp chopped, fresh herbs (e.g. basil, parsley, chives)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Add the bread cubes to a large bowl. Drizzle the olive oil around the inside of the bowl, and toss to coat. Sprinkle the garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper over the bread, and toss once more. 

Spread the seasoned bread cubes in an even layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden and toasted, tossing halfway through. 

Remove croutons from the oven, and immediately sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs. Toss to coat. 

Can be served immediately, or made ahead of time and stored in an air-tight container. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

HEAVEN ON EARTH aka Sweet Potato Casserole with Brown Sugar & Pecan Streusel Topping

These potatoes. They're uh, not good for you. 

But what they lack in nutrition they make up for in sweet, nutty streusel topping.

And BELIEVE YOU ME THEY ARE WORTH IT. I've been eating them for as many Thanksgivings as I've had the ability to form memories, and I'm still here. I also plan to eat them for every future Thanksgiving forever and ever AMEN. 

I tried to secure the original original recipe, but it's on a food-stained, torn-out page of Bon Appetit and smooshed between the pages of one of my mom's cookbooks. In good news, it's also on the internet

The way our family makes this is pretty close to the Bon Appetit recipe, with a few exceptions. One, we increase the amount of streusel for a topping-to-tater ratio that is actually probably illegal. Two, we change up the preparation a bit, including using a hand mixer instead of a food processor to puree the potatoes. (My mom doesn't have a food processor, and my lil baby processor would only fit about 3 spuds.)

The entire recipe is fairly painless, with the exception of peeling 5 pounds of potatoes. No way around that, unfortunately. But the reward is GREAT and SUGARY and BUTTERY. So get to peelin'. Or task someone else with gettin' to peelin'.

Either way, these are a welcome addition to any Thanksgiving spread. We're still a few days out from the big event, so check out the 'make-ahead' options below if you're looking to get a head start.

Also! Here are a few other holiday recipes to round out your feast:
AppetizersEndive w/ Smoked Salmon & Boursin CheeseSalted Rosemary Marcona AlmondsCaprese Bites w/ Balsamic DrizzleBrie-Apple Bites w/ Pecans & Honey
MainsApple & Cranberry Studded Stuffing w/ Quinoa & SausageApple & Cranberry Studded Stuffing w/ Sausage (no quinoa) 
CocktailRosemary & Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail
DessertsEasy Pumpkin Pudding Cranberry Lemon CakePumpkin Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crust

Recipe: Sweet Potato Casserole with Brown Sugar & Pecan Streusel Topping
[original recipe by Bon Appetit

Options for Make-Ahead
Option 1: Spread the potatoes in the pan, add the streusel topping, and refrigerate until ready to bake. 
Option 2: Spread the potatoes in the pan and make the streusel topping. Refrigerate both separately. Once ready to bake, sprinkle the streusel on the potatoes. 
Option 3: Complete the recipe (baking the casserole for 1 hour), refrigerate, and reheat in the oven until heated through. 

5 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks 
3 tsp kosher salt, divided into 1 tsp and 2 tsp
4 large eggs
3 tbsp real maple syrup
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1.5 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup roughly chopped pecans (can up to 1.5 cups if you'd like)
1 stick chilled butter, cut into small cubes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Add the cubed sweet potatoes to a large pot. Cover with water, and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cook for 10 minutes until the potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork. 

Drain the potatoes, and return to the hot pot. Let sit for at least 5 minutes to steam off any excess liquid. For the next step, you can either transfer the potatoes to a large mixing bowl, or blend them right in the pot. 

Use a hand mixer to puree the potatoes until no chunks remain. (If you don't have a hand mixer, you can use a food processor.)

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of salt. Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl of pureed potatoes. Mix once more with the hand mixer until the liquid is incorporated into the potatoes. 

Scrape the potatoes into a greased 13 by 9 inch pan (glass or metal). Use a spatula to evenly smooth the top. 

In another small bowl, make the streusel topping by combining the brown sugar, pecans and cold butter cubes. Use your fingers to work the ingredients together and break up the bits of butter. Continue until the mixture resembles the texture of clumpy, wet sand. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the potatoes. 

Place the pan in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 1 hour until top is bubbly. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. (Topping will harden a bit.) 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Recipe: Quinoa Tabouli Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

There's nothing quite like eating a REAL lunch to make you feel like you actually have your shit together. 

Not knocking the string-cheese quesadilla or an almond-butter & fluff sandwich, of course. They just feel a bit, ehm, desperate. As in I desperately need to go food shopping and reacquaint myself with actual foods that grow out of the earth. (HELLO VEGETABLES WHAT R U.)

Any time I'm in a lunch-rut (which is........ often), this quinoa tabouli salad pulls me right on out. I make one big batch in the beginning of the week, then keep the salad and the dressing separate in the fridge. Each day when I'm ready to eat, I mix up a smaller bowl of the quinoa salad with a big glug of lemon vinaigrette. This way the herbs and veggies stay nice and crisp throughout the week. 

When I'm feeling especially hangry or when feeding a boy who thinks there is no such thing as 'too much protein', I'll throw in a drained can of tuna or a few scoops of drained, rinsed beans (white cannellini or garbanzo). I'm sure you could get away with chicken, too, but... meh. Chicken.

Oh PS: shake up your salad dressings in jars!! They don't even have to be of the mason variety. Any clean jar will do. (I hoard Talenti gelato containers & Trader Joe's roasted red pepper jars.) Vinaigrettes tend to do that rude separating thing when they sit for a while, and it's easy enough to just give the jar a quick shake each time you use it.

PPS: I have not a clue what makes sprouted quinoa different from regular quinoa, but TruRoots was kind enough to send me a bag to try and it seemed to cook up just the same. A quick google tells me it's healthier, so basically after one bowl of this stuff I'm SUPER-HUMAN. 

Recipe: Quinoa Tabouli Salad with 
Lemon Vinaigrette 

Recipe Notes
- This makes a really big bowl of salad. It's great for a crowd, or to portion out for lunches throughout the week.
- If you don't like or have mint and/or chives, just leave them out! The parsley is key, so I wouldn't skip that. 
- The salad is pretty filling as-is, but for extra protein toss in drained, canned tuna or a can of drained, rinsed beans (maybe white cannellini or garbanzo).

For dressing (makes just over 1 cup):
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from ~3 lemons)
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp dijon mustard 
2 tsp honey
2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated on a microplane (~1 tsp)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper 

For salad:
1 cup uncooked quinoa (yields ~3 cups cooked; I used TruRoots sprouted quinoa)
1 cup gluten free chicken stock (sub another cup of water for vegetarian)
1 cup water
Olive oil for quinoa 
2 cups cucumbers cut into quarter-moons (equals 4 persian cucumbers)
2 cups diced grape tomatoes (equals almost one 16 oz. container)
1 cup roughly chopped, Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped chives

To cook quinoa:
Add quinoa, chicken stock and water to a pot. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low (as low as possible), and cover with a lid. Set timer for 15 minutes. Check after 13/14 minutes. As soon as all of the liquid is absorbed, remove from heat. Drizzle cooked quinoa with a bit of olive oil, gently toss, and cover with lid. Let sit for 10 minutes with lid on. 

To make dressing:
Add all dressing ingredients to a jar with a tight fitting lid. (Talenti ice cream containers work great!) Tighten lid, and shake vigorously until dressing is emulsified (will be thicker, creamy and pale yellow). 

To assemble salad:
In a large bowl, gently toss cooled quinoa (MUST be cooled or herbs will wilt) with cucumbers, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. Keep the salad and dressing separate until ready to serve. (I keep both in my fridge and mix up just enough for lunch each day.)

To serve:
Toss your desired portion of the quinoa salad with some of the dressing. Eat cold or room temp.
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