Thursday, September 22, 2011

Roasted Vegetable Soup Recipe

Fall is my favorite season.  The air is crisp, the leaves are changing to warm colors, bright orange pumpkins grace front stoops, and soup makes a perfect meal. 

I wanted this vegetable soup to be filling, healthy and full of flavor.  I decided to roast the vegetables first to bring out an additional layer element by caramelizing them in their own natural sugars.  This step is essential to this soup and worth the extra time.  The roasting technique for the soup can be used on any hearty fall vegetables and not just the combination that I used below.  It was just what I had in my house at the time. 

Roasted Vegetable Soup Recipe
Serves 6-8

5 carrots
1 medium eggplant
3 tomatoes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can chicken stock
1/2 cup water

Pre-heat oven to 425o. Roughly chop the carrots, tomatoes and eggplant.  Place the vegetables on a roasting sheet and coat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast the vegetables in the oven for 45 minutes.

Once the vegetables are roasted, move them into a food processor and puree.  I pulsed the vegetables a few times to leave some texture in the soup so it wouldn’t resemble baby food. 

In a large soup pot, heat up remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté onion and garlic.  Add in the pureed vegetables and slowly mix in the chicken stock.  Depending on the consistency you prefer in your soup, start adding a 1/2 cup of water to continue to thin out the soup.  Once the soup is at your desired thickness, serve soup topped with garlic croutons.

1)      If you want to keep this recipe vegetarian, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock
2)      This would also be delicious with butternut squash, turnip, celery root, etc.  Any hearty vegetable that roasts well.
3)      As I have mentioned before, I love to make larger batches of food and freeze them for later.  This is a huge time saver for those busy evenings, which provides a satisfying and healthy meal. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fried Squash Blossoms Recipe

Hello Everyone!  Sorry for the delay in sharing delicious recipes.  I was out of the country on vacation.  My husband and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary in France!  It was an amazing two week taste through the country with lots of wine, cheese, bread, crepes, champagne, escargot, boeuf bourguignon, macaroons and lots more.  France is a true food blogger food haven.  I will share more on this food adventure in another post, but for now let’s get the main attraction, fried squash blossoms.

Even though we joined the CSA this summer, Bill and I wanted to test our green thumbs and plant a small vegetable garden with summer squash.  At the beginning of the crop we were getting beautiful, large orange squash blossoms.  I wanted to expand my culinary skills and try frying them stuffed with ricotta cheese like the pros do. 

These little fried flowers tasted as good as they looked.  The sweet ricotta stuffed into the delicate flowers, surrounded by the crispy batter was a surprisingly perfect combination.

Fried Squash Blossoms Recipe

10 Squash blossoms
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 egg white
1 ½ cups flour
3/4 cup beer or sparkling mineral water

Remove the pistol from the blossoms and cut the stems to a desired length.  {I left mine on the longer side to give me a little handle to make it easier to dip them into the batter.}

Mix the ricotta, Parmesan cheese, egg white, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Using a small spoon or a piping bag, fill each of the squash blossoms with the cheese filling.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour and beer until smooth.  You can adjust the consistency of the batter to how thick or thin you want the batter.  I left it thinner to keep the focus on the squash blossoms. 

Heat olive oil in a frying pan, do not bring oil to a smoking point.  Once oil is heated, dip each blossom into the batter.  Coat well and allow any excess to drip off before placing in the hot oil.  Cook until golden brown, remove from hot oil to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb any extra oil.  Serve hot.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Banana Whip "Ice Cream" Recipe

One of my favorite things about summer is ice cream!  I love how this velvety smooth indulgence pairs perfectly with beautiful, warm summer nights.  There is just nothing like it.  Going for an ice cream makes anyone smile. 

As much as I love ice cream, I try to eat it in moderation.  This is a difficult battle for me, as I crave this creamy luxury often.  When I heard that I could make ‘ice cream’ with only one {healthy} ingredient, I didn’t believe it.  I had to try it for myself and I was pleasantly surprised.

Who would have thought that whipping frozen bananas could create a soft, silky texture as ice cream?  Since discovering that amazing recipe I have added in peanut butter and cocoa powder to enhance the flavor of this snack.  I just love finding healthy and inexpensive substitutes for food!

I dare you to try this new recipe…you will be happy you did!


Banana Whip “Ice Cream”  Recipe
Serves 2

3 ripe bananas

Peel and cut bananas into pieces.  Wrap the cut bananas and place them in the freezer for a few hours.  Once the bananas are frozen through, place them into a blender or food processor.  Blend on high until smooth and creamy.  The mixture will stick to the sides, so make sure to stop a few times to scrap down the bowl to blend everything smooth.

If you want to add in peanut butter or cocoa, you can do that at this time.  Continue to blend until fully incorporated.  The ice cream will be the texture of soft serve.  If you prefer, place the mixture in an air tight container to freeze a bit more for a hard ice cream.

1)      As mentioned before, feel free to enhance the flavor of this ice cream with peanut butter (1 tablespoon), cocoa powder (1 teaspoon), honey (1 teaspoon), chocolate chips, crushed oreo cookies, chocolate syrup, pecans, etc. 

What did you add to your banana whip?  Share your suggestions. 
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