Pureed Broccoli and Carrot Soup

This recipe is flavorful, delicious, oh so creamy and pack with tons of veggies. It’s perfect to accompany any salad, grilled sandwich or a slice of grain bread ( which I made and super excited that my bread came out better than the last attempt). It is one of the first soups I had ever made back in college. Back then, I had been a practising vegan for a few years and was always looking for the best ways to incorporate vegetables into every meal and what substitutes were good for making things creamy. But that’s a post for another day.

This Creamy Broccoli and Carrot Soup is simple and easy enough to make without needing a grocery store haul. Most of the ingredients you may already have. Yes I know we are closing in on summer, but I’ve been in the mood for soup lately for some reason. Soup is not just for Winter as many may assume. The hubster and I can eat soup everyday. I MEAN REALLY, EVERYDAY! And today is no different.

Initially I sorted out to make a simple broccoli soup. But as I got to chopping, I may have added one to many carrots which is not a bad thing. I love carrots. Who doesnt right? Okay, I know, maybe a few picky eaters. But the majority of us do. Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene. And guess what? Beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant which helps to slow down the aging process, promotes healthy skin and hair and is said to prevent heart disease and cancer. Apart from it being a good source of vitamin A for our eyes, they are also low in calories. Impressive huh? I thought so. I read an article some time ago from WebMD that carrots were originally used as medicine. No wonder I feel like taking on the world 😊.  Plus I think they peer very well with broccoli. They add a bit of suttle sweetness to the soup.

Broccoli needs no introduction. It’s one of the most healthiest foods on the planet. It is a powerhouse of loaded nutrients. Along with all that carrots offer, they help with digestion, detoxification, they help to reduce cholesterol,  diabetes and promotes a healthy heart. So there is no surprise why this soup is in my top 5 favorite soups.
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Ingredients
• 8 cups broccoli florets and stems, roughly chopped
• 4 carrots, peeled and diced
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 2 clove garlic (optional)
• 4 cups vegetable broth*
• 1 stalk celery, diced
• 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 cup heavy cream, room temp (optional)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil**
• Salt and pepper to taste (optional)

Topping
• ½ carrot, diced
• 1 celery stalk, diced
• ½ small red onion, diced
• 2 broccoli florets, finely chopped
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions
1. For the soup:In a large pot heat oil over medium-high. Add the diced onions, celery and carrots. Saute until onions are translucent. Add in garlic and broccoli. Stir ingredients together and reduce to medium heat and cook for 3 minutes.
2. Sprinkle flour generously over vegetables and blend well. Add in broth, stir and reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes.
3. For the topping: In a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onions, carrots, celery and broccoli. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes until veggies have a nice crisp to them (This method was used for the sake of time)***. Set aside for garnish.
4. Using an Emerson stick or blender, puree soup to your liking using the pulsing method.
5. Add cream and stir gently. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Serve hot or at room temperature. Garnish with crisp veggies.
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Note

*You can feel free to substitute the vegetable broth for chicken or beef broth. I used vegetable  as it is just my preference and didn’t want stray away from the base of the soup.

**If you prefer using butter, it is okay. Or if you do not have olive oil on had, vegetable or canola oil will do just fine. I used the oil I had on hand.

*** For the topping, I normally roast them in the oven for about 15 minutes at 400 F.  The texture is much crisper. Spray baking sheet with a little oil and spread vegetables on the sheet. Season with salt and pepper and roast.

Avocado Aioli

I have never been much of an Aioli fan to be honest. My first encounter was a few years ago at a party we attended in a city car garage surrounded by a rowdy crowd watching the Eroupa Manschaft (German for championship) and of course cheering on our German National team. Maybe this setting wasn’t the best for trying new dishes. After all, we were in a working car garage. But what could it hurt right?

StomachXAcheWell lets just say, I paid for it severely later that night and the day after that. My husband really likes the stuff and begged me to give it another chance. But this time with my own making.

To me, aioli seems to be so much like mayonnaise of which I barely touch. Its not my favorite condiment. But sometimes you have to take one for the team.

So I did some research and found that Aioli in its purist form does not use egg or yokes. The name itself means garlic and oil which in France and Spain is used to make this condiment. Sounded great to me. So I decided I wanted to go this route and create a recipe that we both can enjoy without me having any regrets. I am so glad I did!

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I settled on an Avocado Aioli because, why not? Avocado is quite popular in my house. Plus it has natural oils which allows for less to no oil in this recipe and will give us the creamy consistency I am looking for. And you already know how I love coconut milk. It just adds that depth I like.

 

What you need :-

  • 1 ripe, fresh avocado
  • 1 teaspoon avocado oil
  • ½ of lemon lime
  • 1½ teaspoon cilantro
  • 1 tsp of fresh diced garlic
  • ¼ cup coconut milk (more or less depending on your preferred consistency.)
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seed
  • salt and pepper to taste.

What to do :-

  1. Blend all ingredients together in food processor or blender and at medium speed, mix until desired consistency.
  2. Store in an air-tight container for up to 2 days (but it tastes best when used immediately).
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Delish

 

I enjoy this creamy goodness with my Zesty Cajun Sweet Potato Fries. Oven Roasted of course!

 

Pear Tart w/ Almond Frangipane

Spring makes me feel all happy inside. All I can think about are warm pies and brightly colored fruits. Looking out the window yesterday, I was inspired by the yellow tulips to make something cheerful.  And thought, hmm how about a tart!

Tarts are always fun to make. Although the process can seem a bit time consuming, the delicate precision needed is well worth it. Whether sweet or savory, tarts are one of those desserts perfect for any occasion.

I was first introduced to Frangipane on a trip to our favorite city in South France a few years ago. It didn’t take much convincing as the main ingredient was one of my beloved nuts, Almonds. Frangipane is a custard made and flavored with almonds and can be used in a variety of ways. Peered with a sweet poached fruit, the flavors combined makes a wonderful explosion in your mouth.

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This pear frangipane is a classic French tart. Don’t be deceived by the appearances. It is unbelievably simple, and a perfect way to showcase the main ingredients. The sweet poached pears are fanned out in an almond cream baked in a buttery pâte sablée shell. The results are intoxicating. You can smell the sweet fragrance of the Pear liquor, cinnamon and vanilla throughout the entire house.

Here is what we need:-

Ingredients

Pâte Sablée (Shell)

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons almond powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch sea salt
  • 4 oz unsalted butter, cold cubes
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frangipane

  • 3 oz toasted almonds (3/4 cup)
  • 1/3 cup  sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 tablespoons Williams- Christ Pear Liquor
  • 1 large egg, room temp

Poached Pears

  • 3 medium, ripe Bosc pears, halved
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 fresh ginger slices
  • 2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • all spice or peppercorn
  • 1 split vanilla bean pod
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon Williams- Christ Pear Liquor
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 cups water

Preparation

  1. For the shell: You make the Pâte Sablée pretty much the way you would make any pastry dough. I normally make mine by hand, but you can use a food processor to make it a bit easier and faster. Combine flour, sugar, almond powder in a bowl and blend together. Add butter cold butter cubes and begin to cut the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly. Add milk and vanilla and blend by folding everything together until dough forms. place dough on a workplace and form a ball. Press slightly to form a circle. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Roll out dough to fit a tart tin with a removable bottle (14″ x 4″ x 1″) Cover with foil and bake the shell for 15 minutes or until pale yellow.

I’m always tasting always sampling in this second part!

  1. For the Poached Pears: Peel the pears, trim both ends, then cut each pear in half lengthwise and core them. In a large pot, place the butter, Williams liquor, and sugar. Heat over medium until sugar dissolves. Add water, and all spices and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add pear halves ( Although the recipe calls for 2 pears, I always add an additional just in case). Reduce boil to a low simmer and cook pears for 15 to 20 minutes or until soft to touch. Then remove from heat and allow pears to cool in the liquid.

  1. For the Frangipane:  Using a food processor, finely ground the almond. Pour in a large bowl and add sugar, butter and the Williams-Christ liquor. Blend together with a hand mixer. Continue whipping until the mixture is creamy, about 1 minute. Add the egg and continue whipping at medium speed until thick, about 2 more minutes. Spread the almond frangipane in the prepared tart shell.
  2. Slice each half lengthwise into about 7 even slices, hold the pear as you slice them. Slightly fan the slices and arrange them on top of the frangipane. Whatever design you would like.
  3. Bake the tart for 30 to 35 minutes until the frangipane is golden. Remove from oven, brush the pears with a bit of the sauce the pears were boiled in and allow to cool at room temperature. Sprinkle the tart with powdered sugar.
  4. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. Alone is great too.

Although this is classically made with almonds, you can use just about any nut. And undoubtedly, any poached fruit can find it home in this creamy delight.

Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Adopted: From My Home to Yours

Yummy Creamy Butternut Soup!

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There is nothing I love more than a hot bowl of soup on an drabby day here in Germany. And seeing that we are pretty much still feeling the winter affects, what better than to sooth and warm the tummy than with a creamy bowl of Butternut Squash soup.

To be honest, I’m not much of a recipe follower. Really! I just throw things together that I like and hope for the best. Most times, it works, other times it needs a bit of tweaking here and there. Not with this soup! I think I hit the nail on the head the first time and have been using it ever since (with variations depending on my crowd). Its been a starter at our dinner parties, and just a hearty mean dish on a rainy day for the fam. I’ve tried a few other recipes of this soup, some were good but none satisfies my desire than to just taste the delightful flavor of the butternut squash.

This recipe is pretty simple: all fresh produce, very little sodium, keeping the soup as natual as can be.

Ingredients

  • 2 large pitted butternut squash (skinned and cubed)
  • 2 peeled carrots (chopped)
  • ½ sweet potato (skinned and cubed)
  • 1 cup of heavy cream (or half and half)
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

Broth (or low sodium store bought)

  • ½ mayan onion roughly cut (these are mild in taste, mostly found in winter/fall) but you can also use 4 pearl onions.
  • half garlic clove
  • 1 stick celery chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ roman tomato
  • pinch salt
  • 3 cups water

Here we go:

In a sauce pan, sauté onions, garlic, celery and tomato, with a teaspoon of olive oil for about 3 minutes. This process releases the natural flavors of the vegatables. Add in the pinch of salt and bay leaf to pan. Let simmer for 1 minute then add 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil for about 6-8 minutes covered (covering helps to retain the water. We don’t want more than a half cup to evaporate). Strain the broth.

At this point you are half done!

In another pot, add the chopped butternut, carrots and sweet potato. To this, pour in the broth. Boil until veggies are tender. DO NOT discard the remaining broth. Using an Immersion hand blender, begin to puree the vegetables until smooth. Add in the heavy cream and nutmeg and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.

WALA! You have a heavenly, thick, creamy butternut squash soup. If you prefer a thinner soup, add more water or cream/milk and season to taste. Top it off with whip cream/cream fresh, sunflower seeds and a dash of pumpkin oil.

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