Bloody Mary is the girl I love…

IMG_3592Remember that song by Rodgers and Hammerstein from “South Pacific”? They sang about a native woman tribal leader, but what they really should have sung about is the nifty cocktail of the same name made with vodka and spicy tomato juice and these days garnished with everything from olives to lobster to a slider sized cheeseburger.

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I recently ran across a recipe for Bloody Mary Soup that sounded perfect for a wreath making and shopping party I was attending on the holiday weekend. I made it in about 10 minutes and it tasted just like a cocktail. You don’t actually put vodka in the soup until after it’s cooked and if I had more time, I would have actually infused some vodka for service. But tempus fugit, so no infused vodka. Maybe next time. Basically it’s 4 cans of whole plum tomatoes, 3 cups of vegetable stock, garlic, a chunked up onion, 2 large peeled and chunked up carrots, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil and the key to success and authentic taste…Old Bay seasoning. Throw it all in your slow cooker and put on high for 3 hours or more, or your pressure cooker on soup setting (about 30 minutes).

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Once it’s cooked, smooth it out in your blender in small batches or put your stick blender in and move it around while smoothing it out.

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I brought it to the party in my Instant Pot because you can transport it with the cover locked down. I made skewers with these ginormous olives stuffed with blue cheese and the sweet hot peppers, both from Trader Joe’s and put them on a nice tray, put some vodka in a cute little bar pitcher and put out extra Old Bay seasoning and some creme horseradish for a little extra something.

It would be a great soup for brunch over the holidays, super bowl party, a football weekend and more. Highly recommended by the Hubs and all the guests at the decorating and shopping party!

Just Another Meatless Monday

Inspiration and instructions from Lidia Bastianich…

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I binge watched a Saturday afternoon full of Lidia Bastianich cooking shows on PBS a couple of weeks ago and as evidenced by the success of the poached egg, Lidia makes it look so easy. One of the episodes was about the Italian love for bitter greens like mustard greens, chicory, radicchio and escarole.

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Nothing that starts out with garlic will end badly, so I knew this recipe for Escarole soup would be terrific. I started with some garlic and olive oil in large heatproof pot ( my le Creuset, medium size).

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I added canned white beans instead of using dried ones that have been soaked. Saves time and really doesn’t change the end result. I added 2 quarts of water, bay leaves, more olive oil and left it to simmer for about 30 minutes. (If using soaked beans the time is longer by 1.5 hours)

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Once the beans have cooked down, turn the heat down and add 4 cups of shredded/torn escarole and simmer again for about half an hour.

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Meanwhile, heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and toast some dried hot pepper flakes in the oil.

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Add about a cup of the soup from the larger pot to the hot oil and pepper. It WILL sizzle, so be cautious.

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Add the contents of the skillet to the soup pot and stir well. Season to taste and serve! Mangia!

Counting Carbs…

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My boss is a licensed, card carrying registered dietician and fond of saying occasionally…”carbs will kill you”. So occasionally, I listen.And feel guilty about bread, breading, stuffing, cakes, cookies etc. But only occasionally. That’s when I look to vegetables to get me out of the fix…

So in the middle of one of the snowstorms and in celebration of weekly meatless monday endeavor, I ginned up this creamy leek and cauliflower soup. I started with frozen leeks from Trader Joe’s

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I cooked them down in some olive oil with some yellow onion, till they were all soft and see through and a little caramelized.

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Added cauliflower florets and stems, cut to about 1″ size all around. Added salt and pepper and about 4 cups of vegetable broth. I cooked it all until very soft and then hit the mixture with my trusty stick blender while still in the pot. Adjusted the seasoning and added a tiny bit ( about 1/2 cup) of light cream, just to smooth it out and reblended. I also put in a bit of shredded parmesan that I had on hand and topped with some sliced green onions. Serve with crusty dark bread and a dark green salad with simple oil dressing. See, I still need to have the carbs with the meal!

 

Green and yellow makes….

  

Really yummy soup! I found this recipe in my in box the other day, courtesy of Food and Wine Daily.

I thought it would be good to make it over the weekend and serve it some night for a light supper later on in the week, especially after overindulging during the holiday weekend. In the spirit of transparency in cooking, I did not include the mushrooms…I was not going back to the  grocery store again…

   
 

I’ll let you read the recipe for yourself, but basically you cut up and boil the heck out of a bunch of asparagus, 2 pounds to be exact. I saved some of the tips  for garnish.

   
 

I added a couple of carrots for sweetness, you know just in case.

   
   

Once cooked the recipe recommends using a blender to purée, however I DO NOT have a good track record with hot liquids in blenders, so I used my handy mix stick with the same results. Actually after pureeing it looks kinda dangerous in a pea soup kind of way. Then you strain the liquid and press everything against the sieve to smooth it out. You wind up, as noted in the recipe with asparagus broth.

   
 

You whisk lemon juice and egg yolks together and then trickle in the hot broth so the eggs don’t curdle. Once stable, you can add the remaining broth and bring back to a simmer.

  
I stored in the fridge and then reheated and topped with the roasted asparagus tips and dill and little crumbles of feta cheese. Parmesan would be a good choice also.

  
Very creamy and lemony and satisfying !