Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

By far, one of my favourite classes I took while in culinary school was “Soups & Sauces”.  Along with the five mother sauces, I learned how to make consommé and other traditional soups like Mulligatawny.  But what I learned the most, was the basic skill set that enabled me to make any soup I wanted or turn ingredients that I have on hand into something delicious. The “roux” was a big component to the class, and I remember little of alternate diet considerations.  Hence, with a world trying to cut out, or at least cut back on their gluten intake, I thought it best to skip the roux in this wonderfully thick and delicious Broccoli Cheddar Soup.  

It’s still thickened up a little, but I opted to use potato flakes instead of the traditional roux.  By doing so, I’ve not only cut out the gluten but used less fat, with wonderful results.  It’s also relatively healthy, as there’s minimal added fat and milk is used instead of cream.  Trust me, you won’t be missing a thing with the hints of oregano and mustard. Thick, creamy, loaded with broccoli and swirled with cheddar cheese, Broccoli Cheddar Soup is a must to make this fall. Enjoy!

Recipe source for Broccoli Cheddar Soup:  Compelled To Cook

Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
35 minutes 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
35 minutes 5 minutes
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
35 minutes 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
35 minutes 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Cut stems off broccoli, cutting very close to the flowerettes. Separate flowerettes into small pieces. Set aside 3 cups of flowerettes. Using a vegetable peeler, lightly peel the thick skin from the thicker stem pieces, discard skin. Chop stems, along with any remaining flowerettes into 1/2" chunks.
  2. In a medium pot, heat butter over medium heat until foamy. Add shallots and garlic, cook until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chopped broccoli, 3 cups chicken broth and oregano. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until very tender, 15-20 minutes. Stir in potato flakes and Dijon mustard. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Using a blender or submersion blender, blend soup until smooth. Return to pot, add milk and broccoli flowerettes. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook covered until flowerettes are tender, about 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Adjust thickness with more broth if needed. Stir in cheese. Serve immediately garnished with additional cheese if desired.
Recipe Notes

-recipe yields 5 1/2- 6 cups.

-for vegetarian option, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

-if serving to guests, cook and cool 1 cup of flowerettes separately. Stir into soup to warm just before adding cheese.  This provides wonderful colour and freshness.

Honey Garlic Carrots and Parsnips

Honey Garlic Carrots and Parsnips

With food feasting holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, I find myself thinking about side dishes and how having plenty of options makes meal planning easier.  Honey Garlic Carrots and Parsnips is one of my personal favourites, as it’s not only delicious but simple and a good pairing most anything.

Don’t let the parsnips fool you either, they’re wonderful in combination with the carrots and the honey helps to bring out their natural sweetness and highlights their earthy flavour. Additionally, these amazing Honey Garlic Carrots and Parsnips hold up well both in texture and colour for serving, giving you time to breathe as you rush to get everything on the table.

Recipe source for Honey Garlic Carrots and Parsnips:  Compelled To Cook

Honey Garlic Carrots and Parsnips
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
8-10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
8-10 minutes
Honey Garlic Carrots and Parsnips
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
8-10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
8-10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Peel and trim carrots and parsnips. Cut into 2" lengths and then slice a small amount from one side to allow the piece to sit flat. Slice a small amount off remaining 3 sides to square up the piece (see note). Cut into 1/4" slices and then cut each slice into 1/4" batons.
  2. Heat butter in a medium skillet until foamy, add garlic and sauté for 30-60 seconds, stirring once or twice. Add in carrots and parsnips, stir to coat with butter and garlic. Add water, cover and cook over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  3. Remove cover and increase heat to high to evaporate any left over water and allow the vegetables to finish cooking, about 3-4 minutes ( they will start to caramelize slightly).
  4. Once they are cooked to your liking, remove from heat and stir in honey, parsley, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

-if using salted butter, adjust additional salt to taste.

-the 2" sections do not need to be perfectly square as that much trimming creates a lot of waste. What is important, is to make sure they are similar in size for even cooking.

Spinach and Cheddar Potato Cakes

Spinach and Cheddar Potato Cakes

Spinach and Cheddar Potato Cakes recipe is an oldie but a goodie.  A simple way to use the cold, hard mashed potatoes that have been hiding in your fridge for three days. I can say with confidence that I always make too many mashed potatoes.  With the same confidence, I can also say that I’ve had that forgotten Tupperware container of mashed potatoes buried in my refrigerator.  I think we’ve all been there. So the next time you’re sifting through your fridge, desperately trying to find something for lunch and can’t believe you have nothing.  Dig deep and move a few jars to find the lost and lonely tub of mashed potatoes, begging to be consumed.  Mix with a few pantry items and a give a quick pan fry, you’ll find lunch is served.

What I like about this recipe, is the ratio of potato to egg and breadcrumbs.  I find the cakes stay moist and hold together very well during forming and frying.  While this is my own little version, you could easily customize the flavours to your liking. Maybe try different greens and herbs, garlic, parmesan, corn or sautéed onions. I also used sour cream and fresh dill as an accompaniment, but tzatziki would also be great. Use whatever you have on hand and enjoy!

Recipe source for Spinach and Cheddar Potato Cakes:  Compelled To Cook

Spinach and Cheddar Potato Cakes
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Spinach and Cheddar Potato Cakes
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together egg, spinach, seasoning salt, onion powder and pepper Add mashed potatoes and mix until well combined. Stir in cheese, bread crumbs and chives. Mix until combined and bread crumbs have been absorbed.
  2. Heat oil in a non stick frying pan over medium high heat. While pan is heating, form 1/3 cup potato mixture into approximate 3" patties about 1/2" thick and place into pan as you form them. Cook 4-5 minutes per side until heated through and golden brown.
  3. Stir together sour cream and dill and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep chilled until ready to serve with cakes.

Tempura Asparagus with Soy Dipping Sauce

Tempura Asparagus with Soy Dipping Sauce

Some years ago, one of my favourite appetizers served at The Keg was a tempura battered asparagus.  In the mix was also snow peas or green beans, but it’s been so long that I just can’t seem to remember.  What I do remember, is that the asparagus was the star of the show, hands down!  Crisp green spears, lightly battered and fried golden were amazing with a soy dipping sauce.  Since the dish is no longer on the menu, I decided to make it for myself, and share with you today Tempura Asparagus with Soy Dipping Sauce.  You see, it’s simply the best when you can enjoy your favourites at home.

The recipe uses crisp fresh asparagus spears, but truthfully, you could use a multitude of vegetables of your liking.  Think zucchini, green beans, mushrooms, a vegetable Fritto Misto really. For me, it’s asparagus all the way, lightly coated and fried till just tender and plunged into a garlic and ginger studded soy sauce.  They’re addictive to say the least. Enjoy!

Recipe source for Tempura Asparagus:  Compelled To Cook

Tempura Asparagus with Soy Dipping
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Tempura Asparagus with Soy Dipping
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Soy Dipping Sauce
Asparagus
Servings: people
Instructions
Soy Dipping Sauce
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients except sliced scallions. Set aside.
Asparagus
  1. Add enough oil to a large deep pot or dutch oven to come up the sides at least 3 inches. Attach a high heat thermometer to the side and heat oil to 350℉. Alternatively, you can use a deep fryer set to 350℉.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together water, flour, white wine, egg, cornstarch, baking soda and salt until smooth. Set aside while oil is heating and asparagus is prepped.
  3. Trim woody ends from asparagus (about 2"). If some stalks are quite a bit thicker than others, thin by lightly peeling with a vegetable peeler to create more uniform stalks.
  4. Once the oil is hot, dip individual asparagus spears into batter to evenly coat and tap off excess batter. Add to hot oil one at a time, cooking 6-8 per batch and cook for about 2 minutes per side depending on size. Remove with a slotted scoop to a paper towel lined tray and repeat with remaining asparagus.
  5. Divided soy dipping sauce into small serving bowls and serve asparagus along side. Garnish with scallions and serve immediately.

Pickled Corn

Pickled Corn

I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say you can never have too many side dish options. We’ve all been the one who’s put out five different dishes to please the masses.  While this quick and super easy Pickled Corn would maybe be considered more of a condiment, it’s fantastic along side hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled meats and a great addition to any meat and cheese platter.  It’s briny, spicy and sweet all in one, making Pickled Corn a must to make this summer.

 

Need a salad in a hurry, try adding Pickled Corn to black beans, chickpeas and avocado for a healthy and hearty dish.  So the next time you’re thinking of setting out a dish of pickles, you need to stop yourself and amp up your game with this wonderfully spicy mix of sweet corn, red pepper, garlic and onion.  Enjoy!

Recipe source for Pickled Corn:  Adapted from Epicurious Pickled Corn

Pickled Corn
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
5 cups 30-35 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
5 cups 30-35 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Pickled Corn
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
5 cups 30-35 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
5 cups 30-35 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cups
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, toss together corn, red onion, red pepper, jalapeño, and garlic. Divide into heat proof mason jars, leaving enough room to add liquid to cover. I used 3-500ml jars because it's nice to have one ready to use and two to keep stored. See note.
  2. In a medium sauce pan heat water, vinegar, lime juice, sugar, salt and pepper to a simmer. Pour hot liquid over corn mixture just to cover corn. Add hot water by the tablespoon to top up if needed. Seal jars and allow to cool at room temperature, then refrigerate.
Recipe Notes

Will keep up to 4 days once opened and up to one month if unopened.  This is why I chose to use 500 ml mason jars, so one or two can stay sealed if needed and one can be used right away.

Kohlrabi Crab Cakes

Kohlrabi Crab Cakes

Are you growing kohlrabi in your garden this year? Fresh kohlrabi is amazing, and with it, you’ll be able to treat yourself to these lovely Kohlrabi Crab Cakes.  They make a wonderful lunch served with dill sauce and a green salad. Not home for lunch most days?  Try them as an appetizer, or top with a poached egg for a heartier meal.

If you happen to have a little fresh kohlrabi left, trim, peel and cut into sticks.  Dunk the fresh sticks in leftover dill sauce or your favourite veggie dip.   You will love how crisp and refreshing the kohlrabi is and wonder why you haven’t been munching on it sooner.  Kohlrabi is also great in stews, soup, gratins, and salads.

Recipe source for Kohlrabi Crab Cakes:  Compelled To Cook

 

Kohlrabi Crab Cakes
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
10 3-4" cakes 25-30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 3-4" cakes 25-30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Kohlrabi Crab Cakes
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
10 3-4" cakes 25-30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 3-4" cakes 25-30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Dill Sauce
Kohlrabi Crab Cakes
Servings: 3-4" cakes
Instructions
Dill Sauce
  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl and keep chilled until ready to use.
Kohlrabi Crab Cakes
  1. Trim ends off kohlrabi and peel with a vegetable peeler. Grate using a large grater and add to a separate bowl. Sprinkle with salt and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Drain and squeeze dry with a paper towel. Using the same large grater, peel and grate potato and pat dry with a paper towel. Add to kohlrabi.
  2. In a large bowl stir together egg, dill, dijon mustard, celery salt and pepper. Stir in drained crab meat, prepped and dried grated kohlrabi and potato, bread crumbs, flour and green onions.
  3. Add about 1 tbsp of oil to a large non stick skillet and heat over medium heat until hot. Form approximately 1/4 cup of batter into a 3-4" round patty. Flatten as much as you can while still retaining its shape. Pan fry for 5-6 minutes per side, adjusting heat if necessary. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and keep warm in a low oven while cooking any remaining cakes. Serve immediately with dill sauce.