Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

This is an American classic that I absolutely love: Broccoli-Cheddar Soup. In fact, Broccoli-Cheddar anything! Some ingredients were simply made for each other. The epitome of a gentle contrast, this match offers a thoughtful balance in many applications. In January, why not go for the soup?

The chunky texture of this soup with a creamy cheesy flavor is reveling.

I love packing a mountain of flavors from different vegetables, in this case, not just broccoli, but onions, garlic, carrots and celery into the soup. Each spoonful has enough flavor to satisfy. I like to add even more cheese on top of the bowl and let it melt with the heat of the soup.

There is a forever argument in my household: for my husband and son, soup is never a complete meal. They need more sustenance than soup. Growing boys need to eat, and I guess the men in the house need a piece of protein. On the other hand, for the ladies (my daughter and I), this soup is absolutely complete; delicious and fulfilling. We need nothing else. Maybe a piece of bread and that’s about it.

Adjust to the needs of your household. It might be appetizer or a main course. I like using in non-traditional soup bowls, like this one in the photo.

A word on the broth: if there is one ingredient that can elevate your cooking by many points, it’s chicken stock. There is a wide variety of broths available in the store today, but if you can buy the home-made version, that’s the best. If you can make your own chicken stock, even better!

And finally, a word about the cheese: be sure to buy a fresh block of orange cheddar and grade it yourself, as it packs so much more flavor than the pre-shredded. This is a recipe to cook often and one to hold on to. Inspired by AllRecipes.

 

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

 

Serves 4

 

3 tablespoons butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ onion, chopped

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup half and half

1 ½ cups chicken broth

Kosher salt and fresh black pepper

freshly ground nutmeg

2 cups chopped broccoli

1 carrot, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1¼ cups shredded mild Cheddar cheese

 

Melt butter in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until it’s just golden, about 2 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until translucent.

Whisk in the flour and continue to stir until mixture turns golden brown, about 5 minutes. Slowly add the half and half to onion mixture, stirring until mixture is smooth.

Add the chicken broth and season with salt, black pepper and nutmeg.

Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the mixture until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the broccoli, carrot and celery.

Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer until the vegetables are tender yet crisp, about 20 minutes.

Add the cheddar cheese to the soup and cook, stirring occasionally until cheese melts, about 5 minutes.

Serve hot in individual bowls.

 

 

 

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Green Goddess Sandwich

Green Goddess Sandwich

This Green Goddess Sandwich is featured in one of the photos I supplied for Best Leftovers Ever, a new competition show on Netflix in which I participate. You can catch me on episode 8, called Bland to Flavor Bombe. In the first few moments of the episode, I talk a little bit about cooking for my kids and how we incorporate leftovers all the time. (No, I don’t make this sandiwch on the show.)

Zero food waste is the name of the game. It’s the theme of the show, it’s the idea of this sandwich, and it’s something I practice every single day in my house.

Inspired by a recipe from Bon Appetit, this sandwich proves that the secret to creating delicious meals, even in the winter, is to be creative with the simple things. Especially this time of the year, when I’m indoors a lot, I want to feel really good about what I put inside my body.

(Speaking of Bon Appetit, a magazine I LOVE to cook from, check out the recent article I wrote for them about Brigadeiros.)

Every ingredient has a variable opportunity. While I love to use Mozzarella cheese, many other types of cheeses go well in the sandwich: Minas cheese (from Brazil), for sure, Feta cheese, or goat cheese. Arugula can be substituted for fresh spinach, fresh basil or green lettuce. The multi-grain bread is my favorite option, but if white bread is what you have in the fridge, go for it.

The Green Goddess spread is a beauty. It’s a sauce, it’s a spread, it’s a dip. It’s one of the most versatile sauces invented in recent times; the taste is fresh and sharp. Keep the recipe and use it as salad dressing as well.

Ready to start cooking in 2021? Ready to incorporate leftovers and turn them into incredible meals? Give yourself an ultimatum. No more take out dinners. No more junk food. Start cooking today! Your health is altogether the effect of your own choices.

 

Green Goddess Sandwich

Makes 2

 

For the Spread:

¼ cup basil

½ cup parsley

¼ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup plain Greek yogurt

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

 

For the Sandwich:

4 slices multigrain bread

¼ English cucumber, thinly sliced

1 avocado, thinly sliced

8 oz mozzarella, sliced ¼-inch thick

2 cups arugula

 

  • Make the Green Goddess Spread: Place the basil, parsley, mayonnaise, yogurt, and lemon in a blender. Add the olive oil in a steady stream. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Place the cucumber in a small bowl. Sprinkle with salt and let it drain for at least 20 minutes, until it becomes crunchy. Toss with olive oil.
  • Spread one side of each slice of bread with the Green goddess spread. Divide avocado between 2 slices of bread. Season with salt and pepper. Top with cucumbers, mozzarella, arugula, and close the sandwich.

 

 

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Onion Soup

Onion Soup At Home

Talk about iconic French foods and Onion Soup will surely come to mind at top of the list. It just happens that it’s also one of my favorite foods. I can’t make enough of it. And the more I make it, the more I love it.

On a trip to France, I ate plenty of onions soups, and it’s always a special thing to eat typical food in its birth places.

Onion Soup

That’s me, in Paris.

But I have to say, there is nothing about this soup that cannot be replicated exactly at home. I’ve been making onion soup for so long in my home kitchen that I think I’ve mastered the recipe. Specially now, as this pandemic seems unending, traveling to France via the stove is the secret to life!

As simple as this soup may be, there are a few variables that impact on the results. First, the onions. You want to be patient and let the onions caramelize low and slow so that it flavors the soup — I talk about that in the recipe procedure, you will see.

Another important component is the liquid. Of course, you can use store-bought broth, but if you have the chance to make chicken broth, or buy the frozen version of brodo, (you can find plenty options nowadays), your soup will take you straight to France, in one quick shot. Bien sur!

The bread: any country bread will do, but if you have the chance to use a baguette, because of its thin shape, it will fit better in the soup bowl.

The cheese: my favorite for this soup is Gruyere, but Comte or any Alpine cow’s milk cheese will do.

The soup bowl: I have a couple of options at home, but the white soup bowl always wins.

Onion Soup

Soup bowls

Sometimes, I have the colossal courage to turn down the bread and cheese. It’s a way I have developed an appreciation for healthy eating defending my physical condition in the kitchen. Other times, my tolerance for fatty foods in the sake of kitchen travel is deeper that I know it myself.

For those on a diet: The onion and broth are so tasty that’ it’s still worth eating even without the bread and cheese.

When it comes to onions, feel free to use Spanish onions, yellow onions, or Vidalia onions, typical from Georgia. Spanish onions used to be imported from Spain and now they grow all over the U.S. They have a sweet taste and are perfect for all types of cooking. Yellow onions have a medium to strong flavor and are truly all-purpose. Vidalia onions are a bit sweeter than the two above. Any of those are good in this recipe.

 

Onion Soup

Serves 6

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

3 garlic cloves

5 large Spanish onions, peeled and thinly sliced

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Freshly ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

½ cup dry white wine

8 cups chicken or beef broth

6 slices country bread, sliced

2 cups coarsely grated gruyere cheese

 

Cook the Onions: In a large Dutch oven pot, melt the butter and olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic and cook it ever so lightly, until it just starts to become a little golden, about 2 minutes. Add the onions, and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Season lightly with salt, pepper and nutmeg and keep on cooking. This process is going to take a good 20 to 30 minutes. You don’t want to rush this step, or the onions will burn rather than slowly caramelize. The beauty of this soup lies in the caramelized flavor and color of the onions, so keep the heat at low or medium low at all times and stir very frequently.

When the onions are nicely caramelized, sprinkle the flour and stir for a minute or so to cook.

Add the Liquid: Pour in the wine and let it reduce by half.

Pour the chicken stock and let it get hot. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if necessary. It probably will be necessary to add salt and pepper, especially if you use home made broth. If you use store-bought version, it’s the opposite; beware of the sodium component, and you might not need to add any more salt at all. Partially cover the soup and adjust the heat so that the liquid is just simmering; cook for 30 minutes. You can prepare the soup to this point up to 5 days before and keep it in the fridge.

Assemble the Soup and Top with Bread and Cheese:

When it’s time to serve pre-heat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and have six deep ovenproof soup bowls ready to use. Carefully ladle the soup inside each bowl leaving some space for bread and cheese and place them all onto the sheet pan. Place a couple of bread sliced on top. (You don’t need to toast the bread.) and top with plenty of cheese over each bowl. Carefully transfer the heavy sheet pan to the oven and broil just until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve immediately.

 

 

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Pork Ramen Noddle

Pork Ramen Noddle

This is how I layer my Pork Ramen Noddle: I make the pork, mushrooms and broth separately. And then, it’s the layers of ingredients that make all the difference.

You can also watch a video of me and my daughter, Bianca, making this dish on You Tube.

 

Pork Ramen Noddle

Serves 4

 

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered

1 shallot, finely minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound pre-cooked pulled pork

1 onion, sliced

1 pound ramen noodles, cooked

2 scallions, white and green parts, cut ion the bias

2 hard-boiled eggs, cut in half

6 cups reduced sodium beef broth

2 radishes, cut into thin stripes

2 baby cucumbers, sliced

1 cup cilantro leaves (not chopped)

 

  • Prepare the mushrooms: heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan on high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, without stirring until it starts to release its oil, about 3 minutes. Add the shallots, and season with salt and pepper. Mix everything and cook until mushrooms are soft and tender, about 5 minutes all together. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
  • Prepare the Pork: using the same pan as the mushrooms, heat the remaining olive oil and add the sliced onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until it soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the pulled pork and break it up in pieces, making sure pork is completely broken up into thin threads. Cook, stirring frequently until pork is completely flavored. Add about ¼ cup water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
  • Meanwhile, heat the beef broth and make sure it’s well seasoned.
  • To assemble the Ramen Soup, place some cooked noodles, about ¼ cup pulled pork and some mushrooms in a bowl. Ladle the broth on top, and garnish with the scallions, cucumbers, radish, eggs and cilantro. Serve immediately.

 

 

I’m so happy that you visited today! Thanks for reading and browsing my site!

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Onion Gratin Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Onion Gratin Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Maybe it will happen tonight, or tomorrow. How many sandwiches are you eating during this quarantine?

I saw a recipe at the NY Times Cooking Section (by Ali Slagle) that inspired me. And oh boy, this Onion Gratin Grilled Cheese Sandwich is just as good as I thought it would be! I brought it up to quarantine cooking club and have been making this sandwich over and over again. It already became a regular in the weekly repertoire in my house.

Caramelizing onions does take a bit of time to prepare.  I usually prepare it when I’m cooking something else so that have it ready in the fridge, and then, when I crave for this sandwich, boom, it’s ready.

I usually like a small sandwich, so I always go for the end parts of the bread as they are smaller than the center cut of a loaf. But if you like a regular sized sandwich, be sure to center slices. I used Italian bread because that’s what I had at home at the time, but any country style or sourdough bread will make a damn good sandwich.

As for the cheese, traditionally, the classic French Onion Soup calls for Grueye cheese. I had cheddar in the fridge, that’s what I used. Feel free to use muenster, gruyere, cheddar or any other yellow cheese of your preference.

You can use a panini press machine, an iron camp cooker or just a simple plain skillet.

You can watch of video of this recipe on my YouTube Channel! And don’t forget to subscribe!

 

Onion Gratin Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Serves 2

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted to mayonnaise point

1 center slices Italian bread

4 slices white cheddar cheese

1 raw garlic clove

 

Cook the onions: in a large skillet heat the olive oil over low heat and add the onions. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until they caramelize into a deep amber caramel color, about 25 to 30 minutes. If you see some onions burning on the sides, add a tablespoon of water. Resist the temptation to turn up the heat; they need to caramelize over low heat or else they might burn too fast. Transfer to a plate or a container and keep refrigerated. You can make the onions up to 5 days ahead of time.

Pre-heat the panini press.

Spread melted butter on the outer parts of the bread.

Mound some onions, about 2-3 tablespoons on one side of the bread, top with the cheese, close the sandwich and take it to press until nice and golden-brown and the cheese is melted, about 4-5 minutes.

 

I’m so happy that you visited today! Thanks for reading and browsing my site!

If you like what you read, tell your friends about it,

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