So I know I’ve been woefully neglecting this feature, not to mention the rest of my blog lately. What can I say? Between work deadlines, kid stuff, and trying to keep my house from looking like a nerf bomb went off, I haven’t had as much motivation to sit down and write some more.
But one thing I have been doing is cooking. And today, when faced with a head of cauliflower that needed to be used OR ELSE (or else I’d have to throw it out, but throwing away anything from my beautiful organic box of goodies makes me sad), I decided to make soup! Because not only did I have the cauliflower, this week I also got leeks in my box, and had some potatoes hanging around that I didn’t use for St. Patrick day’s half-corned beef, so called because someone did not read the complete recipe until 4 days before St. Paddy’s only to discover the brisket was actually supposed to sit in the brine for 8 days, not 4. But anyway…
So, since everyone knows potatoes and leeks make an awesome soup, I thought, why not invite some cauliflower to the party? So, if you’re in one of the parts of the country NOT experiencing unseasonably warm spring like weather, here’s recipe for a yummy, creamy soup that will warm you up on a cold rainy afternoon.
2 large leeks
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
4 small-medium potatoes (about 2-3 inches in diameter) peeled cut into chunks.
1 qt chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
Discard all but the white parts of the leeks. Slice the whites in half and rinse thoroughly as leeks can contain a lot of dirt. Chop leeks into thin pieces – it doesn’t have to be super fine since you’ll be pureeing the soup. Coat a large pot with olive oil and heat over medium low heat. Add leeks and a pinch of salt and saute until leeks are tender but not browned, about 5-7 minutes. Add cauliflower, potatoes, and broth to the pot. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Turn off the heat. Blend in batches until smooth and return to the pot (or you can use an immersion blender I love mine). Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in heavy cream, and enjoy!
By the way, both this recipe and the last one are meant to serve 2. Also, a bonus about this recipe is that it’s relatively light, so even after stuffing yourselves silly you won’t be too sluggish to get a little, uh, romantic enjoy! Happy Valentine’s Day!
Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna with Sauteed Spinach
1 lb sushi grade ahi tuna
1 T soy sauce (plus more for dipping)
1 T Sesame oil
3 T toasted sesame seeds
1 T vegetable or olive oil
1 lb fresh baby spinach
2 cloves garlic, cut into thin slices
1 T olive oil
To prepare tuna:
Combine soy sauce and sesame oil, and coat tuna with the mixture. Spread the sesame seeds on a plate and turn the tuna in them to create an even coating. In a cast iron or grill pan, heat vegetable oil over high heat. Cook tuna, 1-2 minutes per side, set aside on a plate to rest.
To prepare the spinach:
In a sautee pan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook until garlic is tender and just starting to brown, 3-5 minutes. It’s really important not to let the garlic burn! Add spinach to pan and stir until it’s coated with the olive oil. Cook until spinach is cooked down, about 5 minutes. Season with soy sauce to taste.
To serve, pile the spinach on two plates and cut the tuna into thin slices. Be sure to cut against the grain of the fish, or the slices will be chewy. I like to serve mine with soy sauce and wasabi on the side to dip, just like sushi.
When my editor first asked me to join @Foreverromance’s Valentine’s day Twitter party and talk about romantic recipes, I immediately went to my husband. I love to cook, and when he and I were first dating, I took the whole “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” seriously. These are his 2 top picks for what we like to call “courting recipes.”
Grilled Flank Steak with Grilled Vegetable Salsa
Note – if you don’t want to mess with the grill, this can easily be done on the stovetop on a grill pan, or using your oven’s broiler
1 lb Flank steak
2 tsp each salt, pepper, and cumin
1 red onion, cut into eighths
4 firm fleshed tomatoes, (i.e. Romas) cut in half
1-2 jalepenos, depending on how much heat you like
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 avocado, cut into chunks
Juice of 1-2 limes
salt, pepper, and cumin to taste
1 hour before you grill,season steak liberally with salt, pepper, and cumin. Let it rest at room temperature for an hour before cooking. Coat grill or pan with olive oil, heat to high, and grill steak to desired doneness. Let the steak rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
To prepare the salsa:
toss vegetables will in olive oil to coat. Using a vegetable grill pan, or under your broiler, grill or broil vegetables until they are just starting to char, about 10 minutes. If desired, remove seeds from the jalapeños before chopping. Chop all the vegetables roughly – you want this to be a big, chunky salsa, and add the avocado. Season with lime juice, salt and cumin, and serve with the thinly sliced steak. Serve tortillas on the side, and voila, you’ve got steak tacos!
After spending a lot of time in New Mexico over the past few years, I’ve developed a serious love for green chiles. And while I love the traditional pork based green chile stew, it’s kind of labor intensive, not to mention pork shoulder is not the world’s leanest cut of meat. Recently I’ve tweaked my traditional chicken soup recipe to incorporate this new favorite ingredient. This has become one of my favorite ways to use extra roast chicken and it’s been a great addition to the family menu as we’ve all suffered from various ailments this winter. I find the potatoes are a nice change from noodles for your starch, and they have the advantage of not turning to mush if you have leftovers. If you are fortunate enough to have access to roasted hatch green chiles from New Mexico, that’s awesome. Otherwise you can use canned – Trader Joe’s sells canned hatch chiles. Either way, it’s a great way to warm up a cold winter’s night!
1 medium onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 T chile powder
1 tsp cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium size red or other waxy potatoes, cut into bite size chunks (you want roughly 2 cups of potatoes)
1 quart chicken broth
1 7 oz can roasted diced green chiles, or 4 roasted hatch chiles, peeled and diced
2 cups roasted chicken, shredded or chopped into bite size pieces
1 T Olive oil
sour cream, avocado, lime wedges and shredded cheese to garnish
In a dutch oven or large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, and salt, cook until vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Add pepper, oregano, chile powder, cumin, and garlic. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add potatoes, stir to coat with spices. Add chicken broth to pot. Bring to a broth to a boil then lower to a simmer and cover, cooking until potatoes are tender, 15-2o minutes. Stir in green chiles and chicken, simmer until heated through and green chile flavor permeates soup, about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary. Garnish with sour cream, cheese, avocado and lime if desired.
The winners of the Resolutions contest are Jane and Ashley. email me with your snail mail addy’s. Books will go out tomorrow, and I’ll figure out the iTunes deal as quickly as I can
Hey everyone, today is your last chance to comment or tweet me with your #resolutions progress. 2 random commenters will be chosen to win an ARC of RUN FROM FEAR and a copy of the iTunes playlist that helped inspire me as I wrote.
As for my resolutions (eating more mindfully and lowering the volume on my inner critic), I would give myself a B- on both. While for the most part I’ve made a point to put everything I want to eat on a plate and actually sit down at the table to eat it, I still catch myself picking things off my boys’ plates and walking around the house with food in my hand. And yesterday there was a bit of a cheeto incident at the park…
My inner critic has taken a back seat, but I can’t decide if it’s because I’ve brought her back down to a manageable level, or because I’m just don’t care as much about certain things right now. Hmmm. things to ponder.