Thursday, April 29, 2010

Green Garlic Soup

It's spring! Well, I guess technically it's been spring for awhile, but now I know for certain that it's spring. Wanna know how I know? This soup, that's how! Many people know it's spring when the asparagus first appears in the market, or when the daffodils begin to bloom. For me, I know it's spring when I've made the first batch of green garlic soup.

This recipe came about completely by accident the first year I became a member of our CSA. We got this beautiful bunch of (what I thought were) leeks, and I found a great recipe in Cooking Light for Cream of Leek soup, and proceeded to make it. Only then did I discover that what I thought were leeks was actually green garlic. But no matter, we loved the soup, and I look forward to it every spring when we have the abundance of green garlic from the CSA

Green Garlic Soup

adapted from Cooking Light

3 Cups Green Garlic, Cleaned and Sliced
2 Cups Broth, Veggie or Chicken
1 tsp Fresh Thyme (or Rosemary)
1 Tbsp Flour
2 Cups Milk (I use 1%)
Dash of Ground Nutmeg
2 tsp. Butter
1/2 tsp. Grated Lemon Zest (optional, but gives a nice pop to the soup)

Put the sliced green garlic in a medium sauce pan with the broth and thyme (or rosemary). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 10 minutes until the garlic is soft. Remove the garlic to a food processor with a slotted spoon. Process until smooth, adding cooking liquid as needed to get a nice smooth consistency. Set aside.

In another pot (or the one you just used, rinsed out), whisk together the flour and the milk. Add the pureed green garlic and the nutmeg (and any leftover cooking liquid from the garlic if the soup seems too thick). Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and lemon zest, if using.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Creamy Cabbage Casserole

My sweetie was away for the weekend a few weeks back, and I had a big craving for macaroni and cheese, but, knowing I would likely eat a LOT of it, decided that maybe making a big pasta dish wasn't such a great idea. In order to satisfy my craving, I came up with this cabbage casserole. It's basically macaroni and cheese, but with cabbage instead of pasta. I really enjoyed this dish, and have made it a few times in the intervening weeks.

Creamy Cabbage Casserole

2 tsp Olive Oil
1/2 Onion, thinly sliced
1 Medium Head Cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Flour
2 Cups Milk
Freshly Grated Nutmeg
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 - 1 1/2 Cups Shredded Cheese (Cheddar, Jack, Fontina, any good melting cheese you like, or a combination)
2 Tbsp Melted Butter
1/4 Cup Dry Breadcrumbs or Panko
1/4 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking dish

Preheat Oven to 350

Heat the 2 tsp olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook until just wilted, stirring often, about 8-10 minutes more. Remove the cabbage from the heat and set aside.

In a medium sauce pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat until the butter melts. Whisk in 2 tbsp of flour, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes to remove any raw flour taste. Slowly whisk in the milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese a handful at a time, making sure each handful is melted before adding more. Reduce the heat to low and gently cook the sauce for a few more minutes. Stir in nutmeg and black pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Combine the cheese sauce and the cabbage onion mixture in whichever pan/pot will hold both easier, and transfer the mixture to your prepared baking dish. Combine the melted butter, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the cabbage in the baking dish.

Bake in the 350 oven until the top is nice and brown, 15-20 minutes.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Braised Celery and Leeks

Last spring or summer I went on a soup kick, where I was eating soup for breakfast every day. This year, I seem to be on a 'veggie sides for breakfast kick'. I am over the rutabagas and carrots that I have been eating so much of, so today for a change of pace I tried this braised celery.

I will admit, again, that this is not your normal breakfast, but I did find it to be pretty satisfying with a big glass of milk. If you're not into weird veggie breakfasts, this dish would make a nice side to any sort of roast or grilled meat or fish.

Braised Celery and Leeks

1/2 tsp Butter
1/2 tsp Olive Oil
1 Small Leek, White and Light Green Parts Only, Halved Lengthwise and Thinly Sliced
4 - 5 Stalks Celery, Cut in 1-inch Pieces
1/4 Cup Broth, Stock, or Water (if you use water, add a pinch of salt)
1/2 tsp Corn Starch
1 Tbsp Broth, Stock, or Water
Freshly Grated Black Pepper

Heat the butter and olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute until beginning to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add the celery and saute another 5 minutes or so. Add the broth, stock, or water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the celery is somewhat soft, but still retains some crunch, 5-7 minutes.

Stir together the corn starch and 1 Tbsp of broth, stock or water. Stir into the celery and cook for 1-2 minutes until the liquid is thickened and coats the celery nicely. Serve with plenty of fresh ground black pepper.

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Glazed Rutabagas and Carrots

I made this for dinner one night last week, and as odd as this may sound, I can't get enough of it. Like, I have eaten it for breakfast nearly every day since, can't get enough of it. Perhaps I had been experiencing some sort of weird rutabaga shortage in my system.

Well, whatever the reason, I am still loving this recipe. It would make a great side dish with just about anything, or even a nice salad course on top of either spinach, or as in the picture, sunflower sprouts. (Or if you're weird like me, you can have it for breakfast!)

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Glazed Rutabagas and Carrots

2 Small Rutabagas, peeled and cut into 'sticks' (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 Cup Baby Carrots, or larger carrots cut into 'sticks'
1/2 Cup Water (more as needed)

Glaze Option #1

2-3 tsp Brown Sugar
2-3 tsp Butter

Glaze Option #2

1 Tbsp Apricot Preserves
Squeeze of Fresh Lemon Juice

Sunflower Sprouts or Baby Spinach for serving (Optional)

Put the rutabagas, carrots, and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When the water boils, reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the vegetables are soft, 10-15 minutes. If the pot gets too dry, add more water.

When the vegetables are done there should be just a little bit of water left. If there is a lot, go ahead and raise the heat a bit to boil it off.

For option #1:

With just a little bit of water left in the pot, add in the brown sugar and butter. Continue cooking over low heat until a glaze has formed on the vegetables.

For option #2

With just a little bit of water left in the pot, add in the apricot preserves and stir to coat. Squeeze in a bit of lemon juice and cook about one more minute.

If desired, serve over a bed of sunflower sprouts or baby spinach. The heat from the rutabagas and carrots will wilt the greens.

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