Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup

We need to go to the grocery store.  Like bad.  Like probably three days ago.  Oh well.  We have tons of pasta and beans, as well as a fair supply of wine, but not much else.  We don’t even have yogurt right now because one of the little jars for the machine has mysteriously disappeared in our 1150 square foot mansion.  Good thing I ordered a whole new set of jars from Amazon (so I can make multiple batches) the other day and that set has an extra jar!!  I bet the cat stole it…she’s always out to get me.  There is no pizza dough (although there are two pieces of leftover green olive and garlic pizza that we ordered last night because neither Jake nor I wanted anything to do with cooking), there is very little cheese, and there is not a bit of romaine or spinach with which to make a salad.  I did notice this morning, however, that there was an unloved cauliflower and bag of broccoli florets languishing in our crisper.   What to do?  What to do?  And the answer is SOUP!!  My love for roasted cauliflower is no secret, but I’ve never roasted broccoli before.  I wanted something simple, easy, and that would highlight the flavors of these two vegetables.  I cobbled this soup together from two recipes that I found online (cited below–check them out…they look good) and my Roasted Curried Cauliflower Soup.  What follows is what came out of my need to feed my family and use up some very nearly past their prime vegetables!

Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup

Inspired by The Vegan Yogi and The Italian Dish

Ingredients:

*1 head (smallish) cauliflower

*1 12 oz bag (or 1 head) broccoli

*3 tablespoons olive oil

*6-8 cloves of garlic

*4 cups vegetable broth

*1 medium potato

*Salt and pepper to taste

(*2 tablespoons of Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast Seasoning–optional–adds a nutty and slightly cheesy flavor)

To Make:

*Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

*Cut both the cauliflower and broccoli into manageable florets.

*Toss veggies and garlic in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

*Spread onto a baking sheet, and when oven is ready roast for 30-40 minutes. (I check them about 20 minutes in to toss them again and make sure that they are roasting as evenly as possible)

*While veggies are roasting, chop the potato and add it and the vegetable broth to a stockpot.

*Bring to a boil, and then let simmer.

*Once the vegetables are roasted and tender, add them to the pot with the broth and potato.

*Add the Nutritional Yeast Seasoning, if using.

*Cook like this for 10 minutes.

*After 10 minutes, blend with an immersion blender until you reach your desired texture.

*Cook on low for another 10 minutes and then serve.

Survey Says:

This is fantastic!  Super-filling and tasty!  Gemma gobbled up her bowl, as did Jake and I!  It’s definitely not pretty, but it is a main course kind of soup that would be great with a simple salad.  So there you have it.  I managed to feed the family without making a trip to the store.  But we seriously have to go tomorrow.  We’re out of coffee and coffee filters.  Coffee trumps food every time.

Baked Panettone French Toast

Panettone is one of those holiday items that pops up right around Thanksgiving every year!  I didn’t buy one for a long time because they traditionally have bits of candied fruit in them and that’s just something that I’m not a fan of.  A few years ago, however, I started seeing chocolate chip versions in the store and I couldn’t resist.  What does one do, however, with a big loaf of chocolate chip bread?  I don’t really have a sweet tooth, so it would sit around and get stale as I worked on it a little bit at a time.  This year I resolved to not let my panettone go unloved and went on a search for an easy casserole recipe that I could put together the night before.  I found it!  I assembled the casserole before our New Year’s Eve guests arrived so it would be ready to pop into the oven whenever we managed to crawl out of bed the next day!

Baked Panettone French Toast

adapted from Parents Need to Eat Too

Ingredients:

*1 large loaf chocolate chip panettone, halved vertically and sliced about ¾” thin

*4 egg whites

*4 whole eggs

*2 cups milk

*2 splashes of vanilla extract

*pinch of salt, 2 dashes of cinnamon, and 3 pinches of unsweetened cocoa powder

To Make:

*Coat a large baking dish with cooking spray and layer the panettone slices into it. (Don’t be afraid to manhandle them a bit to get them in there!  My whole loaf fit into my 9×13 baking dish)

*In a large mixing bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.

*Pour evenly over the panettone.

*Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover the tray, oil-side down (the casserole puffs as it cooks so this will help keep it from sticking).

*Refrigerate overnight. About 90 minutes before you plan to eat, turn on the oven to 350.

*Remove tray from the fridge while the oven warms up and when it  reaches 350, put in the French toast (still covered with aluminum) and bake for 45 minutes.

*After 45 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until top is golden brown.

Survey Says:

Delicious and so incredibly easy!!  I put a little bit of butter on mine, but I think (in my non-sweet tooth opinion) that syrup or powdered sugar would be complete overkill and mute the subtleties of the panettone.  I used the cocoa powder to complement the chocolate, but the original recipe calls for orange juice in conjunction with the candied fruit.  This would also be great with brioche or any dense bread.

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year to all of you, and I hope that you’ve had a fantastic holiday season!  It’s been fun and a whirlwind of activity around here, but I am definitely ready for some of that excitement to die down!  I’m ready to get back to blogging and back to finding new (tasty and simple) recipes because I don’t want to disappoint myself or you, my faithful readers!  There will be a new recipe tomorrow…this morning’s breakfast, no less!!  But I wanted to share with  you the awesome gift that Jake gave to me on Christmas morning!!  It’s…a…

Image courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

YOGURT MAKER!!!

I am so ridiculously excited to start making my own yogurt!!  I’m sure there is a steep learning curve, so I will keep you apprised of my trials and tribulations! 😉  Once again, HAPPY NEW YEAR, and thank you for sticking by me!  I will do my best to earn your readership! 🙂

I cooked dried beans in the slow cooker! Ask me how!

Well you don’t really have to ask me how.  That’s the point of this post.  I’m not only going to tell you how to do it, but I’m going to give you a little info about why you should.  Boom.  It’s like two posts in one.  One where I’m all helpful and out to teach you something that’s going to save you money.  Another one where I’m all super bossy and up on my proverbial soapbox, because seriously…does soap even come in boxes anymore, or are those just something that we can find at Pottery Barn?  “My living room will SO not be complete if I don’t get the PB Soapbox to put in the corner, but if you think yours is going to be OK without it, then you’re probably right.”  **insert disapproving look and shaking of the head here**

Yeah…so…fun with dried beans.

You are all very aware of my legume obsession.  I have not made any attempt to hide it from you.  The worst part about this obsession, however, is the sheer number of cans that come through my house and out into the recycling pile in any given week.  Disgraceful.  Not only disgraceful because although I’m recycling that metal still took a lot of resources to make, but also because there are some pretty nefarious things that can be found in cans.  BPA is the big one, and although I am FAR from an expert on cans and BPA it is still something that concerns me.  BPA can leech from the cans into the food within.  Yuck.  I also decided to embark on this adventure because it is in my interests financially to make my own beans.  If you only eat them every so often, then this may not be for you.  If you are like me and you find yourself spending half of your Trader Joe’s bill each week on canned beans, then you’ve come to the right place.  All right.  I think that’s enough with the crazy.  The process that follows is SUPER simple and really easy.

Cooking Dried Beans in the Slow Cooker

from A Year of Slow Cooking 

Ingredients:

*16oz (by weight) dried beans (so far I’ve used garbanzo and white)

*Water

*Yes…that’s it!

To Make:

*Pick through the dried beans and get rid of any that are broken in half or that look gross.

*Put the beans in a large bowl and cover (+ 2 inches)  with water.

*Soak overnight, or at least 6 hours.

*Dump the water from your beans and move them to your slow cooker (at least a 4qt cooker).

*Add enough water to the slow cooker to cover (+ 2 inches) the beans.

*Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. (the chickpeas were perfect at 8 hours, but the white beans were ready at 7.5.  Get to know your cooker and see what really works for you.)

*Drain the beans and let them cool.

*When they’ve cooled, add about 1 2/3 cups to plastic freezer bags. (This is the right amount for a can of beans)

*Store in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer (flat for more convenient storage)  for 6 months.

 

Survey Says:

This is just awesome.  You all know how much I love (and depend on) beans, so to finally have a super easy way to deal with them myself is liberating!  I think I’ve always been afraid of overcooking them or having to spend hours monitoring them on the stove, but the slow cooker eliminates both of those problems.  Use them as you would any canned beans!!

Vegan White Bean Burgers

This cooking thing that I seem to have gotten myself into has changed my life in a rather unexpected way.  You see, my friends, I have lost the taste for some of my (previously) favorite convenience foods.  Frozen pizzas (and even take-out pizzas) are bland and greasy, jarred pasta sauce is sweet and fake tasting, and worst of all…my beloved Gardenburgers just plain old don’t taste good anymore.  Like not at all.  Like to the point where that when I smell them cooking (when Jake or I cook one up for Gemma) my stomach lurches.  This, my friends, is both a blessing and a curse.  Blessing:  a pack of 4 runs between $3.50-$5+ a pop.  Curse:  It is seriously one of the easiest lunches around.  I’ve been trying to figure out how to cope with this not only for myself, but also for Gemma.  She has a Gardenburger for lunch or dinner at least twice a week and that’s a convenience that I’m not quite ready to give up.  So here I venture into the world of making my own “burgers”.  I’ve been looking for something that will freeze well so I can have it on hand much like I would with the Gardenburgers, and I’m hoping that what follows fits the bill and will put me well on my way to freedom from store-bought veggie burgers!

White Bean Burgers
(makes approximately 4 thin, round burgers)

adapted from What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyway?

Ingredients:

15 oz. can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1 tsp. rosemary, minced

salt and pepper to taste

To Make:

*In a mixing bowl, mash the beans with a potato masher.

*Add the remaining ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.

(if you find that your mixture is wet, add more breadcrumbs to get desired texture)

*Form into patties of your desired shape/thickness. (I prefer patties that are on the thin side)

* Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

*Heat a pan over medium/medium-high heat with enough olive oil to coat the pan.

*Add patties, and fry until browned.

Survey Says:

I think we have a winner!!!  These were tasty and really easy to make.  Most bean burger recipes have an egg in them, but I’ve found that this makes the mixture much harder to work with.  If you keep your hands wet with these, you shouldn’t have any problem getting them to stick together.  Gemma inhaled hers (that I topped with melted shredded mozzarella cheese) and Jake tried to go back for more.  We topped ours with Trader Joe’s pesto and tomato slices.  I can’t wait to make more of these to stash in the freezer!

Pasta e Ceci

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  I don’t do meal planning.  I am in AWE of the people who can plan their meals a week or a month at a time and stick to it.  I never know what I’m going to feel like from one day to another, so I just keep my arsenal of basics stocked up and I go from there.  This morning while catching up on Facebook, I was reminded exactly why meal planning isn’t an attractive notion in this household.  My friend Chiara, who happens to live in Rome, posted something about the weather getting cooler, and that this would be a good time to snuggle up and eat some Pasta e Ceci. I actually have eaten Pasta e Ceci in Rome & had totally forgotten about it until Chiara mentioned it!  It was at the Antica Birreria Peroni one afternoon when we popped in for lunch on our trip this summer.  Super simple and delicious, but I had never made it.  That has all changed now, and I give you…

Pasta e Ceci

adapted from italian-ate.com

Ingredients:

*1 can chickpeas, drained with some liquid reserved

*14 oz crushed tomatoes

*8 oz ditalini pasta (I suppose another smallish pasta would suffice, but ditalini seems pretty traditional)

*2 tbsp olive oil

*6 cloves of garlic, grated or minced

*salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

To Make:

*Saute garlic in olive oil until it begins to become fragrant.

*Add the tomatoes to the garlic.

*Season mixture to your taste (salt, pepper, red pepper flakes) and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

*Add chickpeas to the sauce with reserved liquid and continue to let simmer.

*Boil pasta until it is about halfway cooked, then add it to the sauce to finish cooking completely.

*Pour yourself a glass of Italian red wine (Chianti, Montepulciano, Nero d’Avola) to congratulate yourself on what promises to be a fantastic dinner.

*Sip on your glass of wine.

*This is ready to serve when the pasta has reached al dente doneness and when you’ve refilled your wine glass.

Please excuse the terrible phone photograph, but the battery for the real camera was dead!!

Survey Says:

Perfection in a bowl!  I think that Jake was a little wary of it to begin with, and seriously, who could blame him?  We eat a lot of pasta/legumes/tomatoes/garlic in this house!  He did, however, love it and tell me that it was definitely something that needed to be made on a regular basis.  Awesome, because although it’s not necessarily quick, it’s an easy and filling  meal!

Mini Veggie Fritattas

Jake and I never really used to do much on Halloween, but that has definitely changed since Miss Pants made her appearance just over 2 years ago.

For her first Halloween she was a lobster.

Last year she was a ladybug.

And this year she was a pumpkin.

Because of Jake’s unpredictable work schedule, he’s not really around on Halloween if it falls on a weekday, so to maximize the costume fun, we’ve been having friends and their kids over for a costume brunch the Sunday before (or of) Halloween.  NM is still having GORGEOUS weather right around Halloween, so we all get together, everyone dresses up and we hang out in the backyard with snacks and mimosas!!

Group Photo!

I made mini fritattas last year, and they were a big hit, so I decided to make them again!!  Super easy, and a good way to get eggs and veggies into the kids without them really realizing it.  I made two different kinds:  Asparagus and Feta + Zucchini and Mozzarella.

Mini Veggie Fritattas

from weelicious.com

Ingredients:

*6 eggs

*1/4 cup of milk

*1/2 cup asparagus diced OR 1 medium zucchini, grated, with the water pressed out

*1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese OR 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

*salt and pepper to taste

To Make:

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees

*Spray or grease your mini muffin pan.

*Whisk the eggs and milk together, then incorporate the remaining ingredients.

*Add a FULL tablespoon (I used my tablespoon measure for this and it is the PERFECT size) to each muffin cup.

*Bake for 12-14 minutes.

*Let cool before serving.

Asparagus and Feta

Zucchini and Mozzarella

Survey Says:

These were SO good!  They were perfect for a party, but I really need to start making them for breakfasts!!  There are so many possible combinations, so don’t hesitate to use ingredients you love or happen to have on hand!

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