Tag Archives: Garlic

Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic Soup

Yesterday, with the storm blowing outside, I was ready with a fist full of recipes. Sausage and Lentil Soup was already on the docket, along with sprouted wheat bread recipes, both dinner rolls and French bread.  Mid-morning, the creative process kicked in and this recipe lined up in my head like a military march.

I often wonder why these flashes of creativity strike during a shower, at 3:00 a.m., or when I am already committed to something else for the day. 

Oh well, I have learned to grab a pen and something to scratch it out on, because you can bet money on the fact it will NOT come back to me later.  Fortunately, I had more than the back of an envelope at hand, so the recipe made its way from my head to the paper.

Roasted cauliflower and roasted garlic … these would carry the show. 

Wanting it as creamy white as possible, I chose parsnips over carrots, and declined the notion of celery. Cauliflower creates a creamy texture all on its own once pureed, so a small amount of cream is all it took to hit the mark for texture.  Roasted garlic brings a smooth, deep flavor to quick soups, making it taste like it has simmered all day. Stir in extra roasted cauliflower just before serving, garnished with bacon and scallions for a little crunch and satisfying finish.

This recipe was so easy to put together it was ready in time for lunch with plenty of energy for my breads and lentil soup, which we had for dinner.

Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic Soup

Serves: 2
1      small head  garlic (8-10 cloves) — roasted
2     tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
1/2    small head  cauliflower — sliced 1/4″ thick
lemon pepper
2     slices  bacon — fried, crumbled
3/4   cup  parsnip — peeled and diced
1/2    cup  sweet onion — chopped
2      cups  chicken stock
2      tablespoons  cream
scallions — for garnish
sea salt — to taste
pepper — to taste

Heat oven to 400°F Cut top of garlic bulb off so that the majority of the cloves are exposed. Place in a small oven proof dish, pour 2 tablespoons olive oil over garlic bulb, and roast at for 30 minutes or until garlic is soft.

Arrange sliced cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet, brush with additional olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2-1 teaspoon of the lemon pepper. Place in the oven beside the garlic and roast for about 10 minutes, stirring midway through, until cauliflower is lightly browned. Remove cauliflower from oven and set aside. When garlic is soft and top is lightly browned, remove from oven, place garlic bulb on a plate and let cool. Reserve roasted garlic oil for garnish, if desired.

Cook bacon in a medium sauce pan until crisp and fat is rendered. Drain on paper towel, crumble, and set aside. While bacon is cooking, finely chop 1/2 cup of the roasted cauliflower and reserve.

Cook onion and parsnip in bacon fat in the same sauce pan over med heat until vegetables are softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add cauliflower except for the reserved 1/2 cup to the onions and parsnips. Squeeze the garlic bulb from the bottom to remove garlic cloves and add cloves to the pot.

Pour 1 1/2 cups of the broth over the vegetables and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until vegetables are all cooked through.  Puree soup in a blender until smooth, return to sauce pan and add remaining broth, reserved cauliflower, and cream.

Heat on low for 2 minutes to heat through. Serve in warmed bowls and garnish with crumbled bacon, scallions, and drizzle with reserved roasted garlic olive oil.


Stone Soup and The Well-Fed College Student

College is a season of life with precious little time or money for nutritious food. Most meals are heavy on carbs to fuel the schedule, yet light on the sustaining nutrition the brain requires. However, being a well-fed college student goes beyond checking the mail for the next care package or searching the grocery aisles for cheap convenience foods.

How do you avoid buying Ramen in bulk or the nutritional void of fast food?

Don’t try to do it alone, make Stone Soup.  I don’t know if this old folk story is read anymore, but the lesson is timeless—there is enough for everyone when we pool resources for a common goal. In this case, eating was the goal and the soup was far better than the bits of food they would have had independently.

So how do you make Stone Soup these days?

Share resources, both talent and financial. It does not take an entire village just a handful of people with the same goal of escaping the grab-n-go trap. Divide the responsibilities and a few dollars and you’re on your way. One student told me she cooked for a group of guys who agreed to buy the food if she would prepare it. Her labor and their funds meant they all ate well.

My friend and I cook together once a month to prepare meals in advance for our family. We both save money on bulk items and enjoy the ease of having a menu of items to choose from for dinner. She has the benefit of a freezer (not all students do), so she can pull something out for dinner when she is studying for a test.

Whether it is one cooking for others, a small group cooking together, or two families making multiple meals to last a month, the concept is the same—you are sharing resources (and great food) instead of trying to do it alone.

Practical items you will need:
♦  A stove or a good countertop burner
♦  1 large pot (8 qt or larger)
♦  Skillet (optional, but helpful)
♦  Large casserole dish 9″x13″ (optional, and requires an oven)
♦  Cutting board
♦  Sharp knife – even old knives get a second chance with AccuSharp
♦  Utensils – spatula, stirring spoons, tongs
♦  Mixing bowls
♦  Storage bowls with lids to divide the food amongst the group
♦  Recipes, and patience to work things out
*Many of these items can be found at thrift stores or garage sales for little cost.  Borrowing larger pots or mixing bowls can work too, my friends and I have shared a stock pot for years.

Divide the Responsibilities:
♦  Organizing, searching out the recipes, creating shopping lists
♦  Shopping
♦  Prepping/Cooking
♦  Clean-up
♦  Managing the money/contributions
Note: If you have food sensitivities or strong food preferences, it is ideal to cook with a like-minded group.

Agree on a time to put it all together, enjoy good food, and divide the leftovers.  Cooking together enables students to have nutritionally superior, great tasting food, while building community at the same time.  This is not limited to soups, that’s just an easy, inexpensive way to begin. Spaghetti or skillet suppers, salads, and casseroles work well for groups too.  Below is a recipe to get started.

White Chicken Green Chili

Source: Mary Schoenecker
Yields 7 servings
1       pound boneless chicken, cut into 1″ cubes
1       medium onion, chopped
1       ½ tsp. garlic powder
1       tablespoon oil
2 15  ½ oz. can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1       can 14 ½ oz. chicken broth
2      cans (4 oz.) green chilies
1       tsp. salt
1       tsp. cumin
1       tsp. oregano
½    tsp. pepper
¼    tsp. cayenne pepper
1       cup sour cream
½    cup heavy whipping cream

In a large pot, sauté chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add the beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered, for 30 minutes.  Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and cream.

Other recipes to consider:
Chicken & Dumplings
Curry Chicken Salad
Red Beans & Rice
Smoked Turkey & Bean Soup
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Skillet Beef Fajitas
Sausage & Vegetable Pasta Bake

Savoring Today was nominated for a Top Foodie Blog Award at eCollegeFinder and asked to write a student centered post, which is what you find here. Dedicating this to my friend, Pati, who went back to school much later in life. I admire her courage and determination.

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
EKat’s Kitchen Friday Potluck
Premeditated Leftovers Gallery of Favorites

Roasted Vegetable Medley with Rosemary & Thyme

Roasted Vegetables Ready to Serve

Roasted Vegetable Medley

I love versatility, using my imagination or current cravings to make something new out of something ordinary.  Vegetable medleys are the flexible foodie’s dream—utilizes what you have, gives everyone something they like (or will eat without a fuss), nutritionally well rounded, easily introduces new vegetables at dinnertime.  Choosing colorful varieties adds interest while roasting caramelizes natural sugars, developing flavors that complement any meal. Follow the suggested combination listed, or choose your favorite vegetables and spices to create an entirely new side dish each time you make it.

Roasted Vegetable Medley

Serves 4
1 1/2    cups  cauliflower — sliced 1/4″ thick
1          cup  broccoli — separate florets into bite-sized pieces
1/2       cup  carrots — julienned
1/2       cup  radishes — halved
2          cloves  garlic — sliced thin
8          whole  radishes — halved
3          tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil or clarified butter
1          teaspoon  rosemary
1          teaspoon  thyme
Mr. Spice or Paul Prudhomme Vegetable Magic, optional
salt and pepper
Move oven rack to upper third part of the oven. Preheat oven to 400°.  Toss prepped vegetables in the butter or oil to coat.

Sprinkle-in herbs, seasonings, and salt & pepper incrementally while tossing.

Spread vegetables in an oven safe dish and roast for approximately 15 minutes or until vegetables and garlic are crisp-tender and lightly browned in spots.

Remove from oven, toss briefly, and serve.

Posted on the following Blog Hops:
The Healthy Home Economist Monday Mania

Hot Artichoke Dip is a Key Player on the Super Bowl Buffet

Skip boring ranch dip, this Hot Artichoke Dip will make your veggie tray disappear in no time.  Some party dips make cold broccoli and cauliflower palatable, this artichoke dip with its creamy, tangy, smoky flavors take them from palatable to party favorite.  Pita and tortilla chips will fly off the table too when sitting next to Hot Artichoke Dip, so be prepared to refill often.

Hot Artichoke Dip

28       ounces  artichoke hearts — well drained, coarsely chopped
2         8 oz packages  cream cheese — room temperature
1/2     cup  mayonnaise
1/2     lb  bacon — fried crispy and crumbled
1          tablespoon  Dijon mustard
1          tablespoon  lemon juice
1          teaspoon  Worcestershire sauce
1          teaspoon  hot pepper sauce — Chipotle Tabasco is our favorite
1          bulb  roasted garlic — roasted and chopped fine
1           clove  garlic — minced
1           bunch  green onion — finely chopped
1           cup  mozzarella cheese — cut into 1/2″ cubes
1/2      cup  Parmesan cheese — grated
3/4      cup  Gouda cheese or other distinct semi-soft cheeses — grated
8           ounces  pepper-jack cheese — grated

Cut the top of the garlic bulb off to expose the tips of the garlic cloves.  Put garlic bulb in an oven proof dish and pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over it to wet the outer skin; roast in a 350° oven for 30 minutes or so while preparing the other ingredients.

Cut bacon into 1/4 inch slices and fry until well browned and crispy.  Drain and rinse the artichoke hearts.  Set them on end in the colander after rinsing so they drain well.  (Gently squeeze to release remaining water.)

Chop the onions only up to the dark green part.  Chop some of the dark green part of the onions and save for garnish when serving. Grate cheese.  Coarsely chop 1/2 of the drained artichokes and set aside.

Remove garlic from the oven and let cool slightly.  Remove garlic from the bulb by applying pressure to the bottom of the bulb—garlic should pop right out. In a food processor or mixer, combine cream cheese, onion (only the white part), all garlic, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire, and hot sauce.  Blend well.  Fold in remaining cheeses and all artichokes.

Pour into an oven safe dish and sprinkle bacon on the top.  Bake in a 350° oven until cheese melts and mixture is warmed through (about 10-15 minutes).  Remove from oven, garnish with chopped green onion, and serve with fresh vegetables and chips.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Roasted Garlic

Sweet potatoes, like most root vegetables, are not very exciting by themselves, which may be why they usually get dressed-up with marshmallows or brown sugar.  Personally, I have never been a fan of sweet food during dinner—I like dessert to follow the main meal—so I prefer sweet potatoes more sassy than sweet.

Building on a sweet potato recipe I discovered in Cooks Illustrated, roasted garlic fits with mashed sweet potatoes like a hand in a glove.  The subtle nuttiness of the roasted garlic creates a sweet and savory side dish to accompany hearty meats or delicate seafood.  No need for a string of marshmallow pearls that only come out at the holidays, the natural goodness of sweet potatoes paired with savory spices suits the weekday dinner table like your favorite pair of jeans.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with roasted garlic

3       medium  sweet potatoes
4       tablespoons  butter
2       tablespoons  heavy cream
1/2  teaspoon  sea salt
1       small  garlic bulb (6-8 cloves) — roasted
2       tablespoons  extra virgin olive oil
pepper — to taste

Peel and cut sweet potatoes into equal pieces approximately 1/4″ thick. Combine sweet potatoes, cream, butter, and salt in a saucepan. Cover and cook on low heat for 30-40 minutes or until potatoes are soft and tender.  (That’s right, no boiling in water first, this braising technique works great with less fuss when it’s time to mash them.) Try not to lift the lid to check for at least 30 minutes. If the potatoes are not tender after 30 minutes, stir and replace the lid for 10 more minutes or until tender.

Roast garlic by cutting the top of the bulb off, exposing the tops of the garlic cloves; place in a small oven safe dish, drizzle oil over garlic bulb and roast in oven at 375° for 30 minutes or until garlic is fragrant, lightly browned, and soft. Allow to cool until easy to handle. To remove the roasted garlic from the bulb, squeeze the bulb at the bottom releasing the cloves out the cut end. Cloves should pop right out.

Once the potatoes are soft and tender, add roasted garlic directly into pan of sweet potatoes and smash together with a potato masher for a chunky texture, or use a hand mixer to whip to desired consistency. Season with pepper and serve in a warmed bowl or keep warm in the oven in a covered casserole dish until ready to serve.

Note: Celery root can be sliced and cooked along with the sweet potatoes to add even more complexity to the flavor of this dish.

Also posted at: The Healthy Home Economist Monday Mania

Chicken Piccata

In the midst of compiling recipes for a cookbook, I pay attention when my husband says, “this just made it into the top 10” while eating dinner. It’s not a new recipe, but rather than making do with I had on-hand to pull it together, we made a trip to the store for fresh ingredients. I had to agree—it was the best Chicken Piccata I had ever made.

What was different?  Fresh ingredients proved worth the trip.

No jars of prepared garlic or bottled lemon juice this time; fresh lemon, garlic, capers, and tender chicken create a memorable, classic Italian dish. Everyone knows that fresh is always better, but when it bumps an ole stand-by into the top 10, there is no better confirmation.

Chicken Piccata

2-3    chicken breast cutlets
2        tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4    cup dry white wine
2        cloves garlic
1/2    cup  chicken broth
2        tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1        tablespoon capers, drained
2        tablespoons butter, unsalted
fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
fresh parsley

Season cutlets with salt and pepper then dust with flour. Add olive oil to a skillet and heat over med heat.

Sauté cutlets 2-3 minutes on one side.  Flip cutlets over and sauté the other side 1-2 minutes with the pan covered.  Transfer cutlets to a warm plate.

Deglaze pan with wine and add minced garlic.  Cook until garlic is lightly browned and liquid is nearly gone, about 2 minutes.

Add broth, lemon juice, and capers.  Return cutlets to pan and cook on each side 1 minute.  Finish with butter.  Once butter melts, serve cutlets with sauce poured over each one. Garnish with fresh parsley and grated Parmesan.

Spaghetti Squash

Serve with roasted spaghetti squash tossed with tomatoes, garlic, basil, feta and olive oil—top notch combo!

Hearty Beef Chili

It’s Monday night in October, which means another chance to watch football and enjoy a warm, hearty meal like Beef Chili.  Sure, turkey chili has its place, but tonight its beef for dinner and a lot of it in this chili recipe—the carnivores in your life will love you for it.  Serve with cheddar cornbread, FRITOS® Corn Chips, or saltines on the side; just be sure it is done before kick-off.

Chili is a dish of preferences: some like it hot, with more beans, chunky tomatoes, or hearty and meaty—like any soup, there are endless variations. This recipe is the hearty and meaty variety and makes about 8 quarts, so there’s plenty to invites friends over for the game. If the game isn’t exciting enough, pass some Chipotle Tabasco Sauce to liven things up!

Hearty Beef Chili

5    pounds  ground beef
2    medium  onion
4    coves  garlic
3    cans  chili beans
2    cans  black beans
3    cans  kidney beans
2    cans  Rotel tomatoes
1    package  Carol Shelby’s Chili Mix
5    cans  stewed tomatoes
1    cup  mild green chilies
3    cubes  beef bouillon — dissolved in 1 cup hot water
2    teaspoons  onion powder
2    teaspoons  garlic powder
1    tablespoon  oregano
1    tablespoon  cumin
1    tablespoon  Paul Prudhomme Meat Magic
1    tablespoon  liquid smoke flavoring — if desired
1    cup  red wine
salt and pepper — to taste

Mix onion powder, garlic powder, Meat Magic, oregano and cumin in a small dish, set aside.  Mince onion and garlic.  It is important to add onion power and garlic powder even though fresh onion and garlic are already part of the recipe because one enhances the other.

Saute 1/3 of the onion and garlic in a large skillet with 2 tablespoons oil until softened.  Add 1/3 of the meat (small batches of 1-2 lbs will allow the meat to brown better) in the skillet and brown over medium-high heat.  Brown meat without breaking up too much in order to maintain some good sized chunks.  As the meat is browning, sprinkle with 1/3 of the mixed spices.  When meat is browned, add 1/3 cup of the red wine to loosen any browned bits and simmer to evaporate some of the wine, 2-3 minutes.  Repeat these steps with each batch.  Transfer each to stock pot.

While meat is browning, add the following to a 10-12 quart pot: Puree stewed tomatoes in a food processor or mash with hands until desired texture is obtained.  Drain beans (except chili beans) and to the pot along with the chilies and Rotel tomatoes.  Continue adding the batches of browned meat and onion to the larger pot when done.

Dissolve beef bouillon in 1 cup of hot water, and add to the pot with liquid smoke and 1/2 of the Carol Shelby’s chili seasoning (more can be added, to taste).  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer.  Once all the ingredients are in the pot, cook covered for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally, or place in a crock pot on low for up to 6 hours.

Mix masa flour (little yellow packet in the chili mix package) with 1/2 cup of water in a small bowl until smooth.  Add to chili and cook for about 10 minutes – this will thicken the chili and round out the flavors.

Serving Ideas: Serve with cheddar corn bread on the side and sprinkle with cheese and scallions.