Creamy Cauliflower Soup

This cauliflower soup has a bit of spice to it from the pepper, and it’s very comforting on a rainy night!

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup chopped sweet onion (about 3/4 of an onion)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small chunks
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 4 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil on medium and add the onions. Saute for about 5 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and saute another 30 seconds or so.
  3. Add the cauliflower and pour in the chicken broth. Add the salt and pepper and stir well.
  4. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  5. Once the soup has cooled, use an immersion blender to blend it into a creamy consistency. Serve with hot bread!

Advertisements

Sweet Potato Soup

I’m trying out lots of new soup recipes. So far, I’m happy with the carrot soup I tried a few weeks ago, and I’ve been making it nonstop. Next step: sweet potato soup! I found this recipe on Greatist. I used 3 1/2 cups of chicken broth instead of 4, and the soup came out very thick. I might add the additional 1/2 cup next time. It has a very comforting autumn-like butternut squash soup flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1-2 tsp salt (I used 1 tsp)
  • Black pepper (I used 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 shallot, diced (I omitted this)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 sweet potatoes, about 2 pounds, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (I used 3 potatoes)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (I used 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tsp paprika

Directions:

  1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions. Saute the onions until they are soft and fragrant, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper.
  2. Add the minced garlic and saute another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the sweet potatoes, chicken broth, cinnamon, and paprika. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork (this took about 45 minutes for me).
  4. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. I found it easier to start off with the immersion blender and then pour the half-pureed soup into a large blender, since the potato chunks can be difficult to break up with the immersion blender.

 

Rainy Day Sweet Iced Tea

It’s been raining for several days in Florida, and what better way to beat the rainy day blah feelings than by brewing up a small batch of sweet iced tea? The original Lipton recipe calls for 8 cups water, 2 tea bags, and 1/2 cup sugar. Stick it in the fridge for several hours. If you want a fast Lipton iced tea, steep 4 cups of water with 2 tea bags and stir in 1/2 cup sugar. Then, add 6 cups ice cubes! Here is the recipe I made today:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag Lipton Iced Tea
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar + 1/8 cup more if you want it sweeter

Directions:

  1. Boil 4 cups of water and pour into a large Pyrex with the tea bag. Let steep 3-5 minutes.
  2. Remove tea bag and stir sugar in. I like to add 1/4 cup sugar when I want a basic sweet tea but if I’m looking to have a really sweet drink I add the extra 1/8 cup in there!

 

Carrot Soup with Cashew “Cream”

I’ve found a way to recreate the creamy soups I love without dairy! It’s called cashew cream, and there are tons of websites out there with recipes for it. This carrot soup calls for heavy cream, so I simply used 3 T of the cashew cream in place of the heavy cream. It turned out tasty!

Creamy Carrot Soup, courtesy of Cooking Light

Ingredients:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cups chopped sweet onion (about 3/4 of an onion)
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Dash of ground ginger
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 T heavy cream, divided (I used 3 T cashew cream for this)

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the onions and carrots. Cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.
  2. Stir in salt, pepper, and ginger. (I added mine after 10 minutes of simmering)
  3. Add the 2 cups of water and 2 cups of chicken broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.
  4. Add 3 T cashew cream and use an immersion blender to puree it.

Cashew “Cream”

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 3/4 cup water

Directions:

  1. Soak the cashews in the water for about 15 minutes.
  2. Blend on high speed for about 30 minutes, until it has achieved a thick consistency. Replace dairy with equal parts of this cream for delicious thick soups!

Avocado-Red Pepper Salad

We like to eat this salad at family dinners. It’s delicious with Makoto ginger dressing.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box mixed lettuce greens (arugula is a nice addition too)
  • 1 seedless cucumber, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1 box baby tomatoes, cut into slices
  • 1 avocado, pitted and cut into chunks
  • 1 large pear, peeled and sliced
  • 2 T slivered almonds

Note: If I don’t have pears available, I use 2 T dried cranberries for a touch of sweetness.

Sweet Onion Lentils and Rice (Mother’s Day 2017)

For our Mother’s Day celebration this year we made a delicious recipe courtesy of Buzzfeed. Get a large pasta pot for this if you’re going to double the size! I’ve included the doubled ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 3 red onions (2 will be thinly sliced, 1 will be diced)
  • 4 T olive oil, divided in half
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups green lentils
  • 2 cups long grain rice (we used Basmati)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, for serving
  • 2 lemons, for serving

Directions:

  1. Make the caramelized onions: Heat 2 T olive oil in a large skillet on low heat. Add the onion slices, stirring for about 30 minutes, until they are caramelized and brown.
  2. In a large pot, saute the diced onion and garlic in 2 T olive oil until soft and translucent. This will take about 5 minutes.
  3. Add 7 cups of water, salt, and the lentils to the pot. Bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Add the rice, cumin, cinnamon and bay leaves to the pot. Stir well and replace the lid. Cook covered on low for 15 minutes, or until rice is soft and cooked through.
  5. Fluff the lentil-rice mixture and serve topped with the caramelized onion slices and lemon slices. Top with parsley.

Cast Iron Steak

A cast iron skillet is the single best investment in a skillet you can make, in my opinion, and you don’t need to break the bank to do it! Bed Bath and Beyond sells a good one, but I’ve always heard the “gold standard” is Lodge. You can find a preseasoned Lodge skillet at Target for about $17, and it will last you years.

A note on cleaning cast iron skillets: Don’t use soap! Get a nice scrubbing brush or a Lodge pan scraper and release the browned bits under a stream of hot water. Dry the skillet right away so it doesn’t get rusty. To keep it seasoned and oiled, drizzle about 1/4 tsp-1 tsp vegetable or coconut oil onto the dried skillet and use a paper towel to work it onto the entire surface, including the sides. When you’re cooking with it, use a rubber skillet handle to grab it or use oven mitts because it will be very hot!

Here is my recipe for creating the tastiest filet mignon steaks (or rib eye, or whatever thick steak you can find) on a cast iron skillet.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of filet (sliced 1 inch thick)
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 T butter

Directions:

  1. Heat the cast iron skillet to medium-high for a few minutes. Drizzle in the olive oil and add the butter, making sure the bottom is coated.
  2. Add the steaks and let cook for about 4-5 minutes per side, flipping once, depending on how well done you want them. For medium rare to medium I cook them a total of 8-9 minutes, and for medium to well done, I add an additional 4-5 minutes, or until the food thermometer reads 155F-160F. I recommend cooking them for less time, though, since they will taste better that way!