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Archive for November, 2011

Soup the other Great Meal…

November 21st, 2011
by Bernard Kinsella

Make, refrigerate and let the flavors blend!

One of the best ways to start off your Thanksgiving dinner is a simple soup. This menu option is one that can be created in advance and crossed off the list with a sigh of relief. I think soup can be a meal in itself; original, seasonal and always satisfying! (If made correctly) Yes, it is like any thing you cook, if you don’t give it a bit of love you can screw it up.  What I enjoy about making soup this time of year is the abundant supply of firm whole squash available. The numerous varieties, their taste and textures add to the creativity of anyone’s imagination. The following recipe is one you can produce with ease’ take pride in and if its your contribution to the family gathering, it taste better when it sits for a day or so and the flavors have time to come together. The garnish is a bit different, but don’t tell your guest, let them think it’s ……

Butternut Squash Soup                               Serves 6

Ingredients:                                                                    Preheated Oven-350

1 medium butternut squash (about 2 1/4 pounds)

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger, optional

2 tablespoons canola oil

3 cups vegetable broth

1-2 cups water, as needed

Salt and pepper to taste

Tofu cream for garnish (RECIPE FOLLOWS)

 Directions:

  1. Cut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Arrange the halves cut side down in roasting pan that has been sprayed with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Bake squash in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until very tender.
  2. Set aside to cool. When the squash is completely cool, scoop the flesh from the skin.
  3. While the squash is baking, cook the onion and the ginger in the oil in a saucepan, over moderately low heat, for 5 minutes or until the onion is softened,
  4. Add the broth and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, covered.
  5. Add the squash pulp to the sauce pan. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor, in batches, and puree until smooth. Add enough water to achieve the desired consistency, and salt and pepper to taste. Return the soup to the sauce pan and cook over moderate heat until it is hot. Garnish each portion with the heaping teaspoon of “tofu-sour cream”.

Jalapeño Tofu Cream

        Ingredients

1 pound of tofu, firm

2 tablespoons of brown rice vinegar

1 tablespoon of jalapeno or more if desired 

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

Water or Vegetable stock to blend, about 1/3 cup

1 bunch of chives, sliced thinly

Directions

  1. Steam or simmer tofu for 3 minutes. Then blend with remaining ingredients. Add chives as a garnish, minced fine.

Soup recipes are those that are passed down through the ages from family members and each member seems to add there own twist. I think this course is one of those that help’s to get you cooking, because as you master the art of making a great soup, even if it takes a bit of time, it opens you up to being in the kitchen and crafting something from the heart. What’s your favorite soup or where do you go for the best soup in town?

Ciao and thanks, Bernard

Having Turkey? Give it a Brine!

November 13th, 2011
by Bernard Kinsella

Here is a recipe for brining; I have used this for my Turkey multiple times. The process results in great tasting, very moist and tender bird so if your looking to do something different this holiday, give it a try.

Ingredients:

1 cup salt (kosher or sea salt)

1 cup brown sugar

2 oranges, quartered

2 lemons, quartered

6 sprigs thyme

4 sprigs rosemary

1 (10 to 12-pound) turkey

1 large orange, cut into 1/8ths

4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

Salt and pepper

1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/8ths

1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 bay leaves

2 sprigs thyme

2 sprigs rosemary

1/2 bunch sage

3 or 4 sprigs parsley

1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken or turkey stock, for basting                    

Directions:

  1. To make the brining solution, dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 gallons of cold water in a nonreactive container (such as a clean bucket or large stockpot, or a clean, heavy-duty, food grade plastic storage bag). Add the oranges, lemons, thyme, and rosemary.

Note: if you have a big turkey and need more brine than this, use 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar for every gallon of water.

  1. Remove the neck, giblets, and liver from the cavity of the turkey and reserve for the sauce. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold running water.
  2. Soak the turkey in the brine, covered and refrigerated, for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours. Discard the solution and you are ready to roast!                 

        Thanks and ciao, Bernard Kinsella

Sunday, November 6th, at 5PM EST, Ellie Krieger…tweeting!!!

November 3rd, 2011
by Bernard Kinsella

She’ll be answering questions along the way and tweeting photos of her progress. At the end of the hour-long chat, Ellie will also send free copies of her newest book to those who submit the best photos of their own “Skillet Mac and Cheese”! Ellie will tweet step-by-step as she recreates her “Skillet Mac and Cheese” in the digital world for followers. She’ll also be sharing her tips for indulging in your favorite food holiday without going overboard.     

LIVE via Twitter – Macaroni and Cheese

https://twitter.com/ellie_krieger

Skillet Mac and Cheese                                       Makes 6 servings / Serving size 11/4 cups

 Serving mac and cheese in the skillet it’s baked in amps up the homey comfort factor. The secret ingredient in this bread crumb-topped beauty is the finely chopped cauliflower that blends in subtly with the pasta. Using three different cheeses guarantees maximum flavor and meltability.

2 cups 1-inch-wide cauliflower florets

11/4 cups Light-and-Crisp Whole-Wheat Bread Crumbs (page 73)

3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons olive oil

3 cups cold low-fat (1%) milk

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

11/4 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (5 ounces)

1/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese (1 ounce)

2 teaspoons mustard powder

3/4 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 ounces (11/2 cups) whole-grain elbow macaroni, cooked for 3 minutes less than the package directions (about 3 cups cooked)

Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Place the cauliflower into a steamer basket fitted over the pot, cover, and steam until just tender, about 5 minutes. Finely chop the steamed cauliflower.

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and oil.

In a large saucepan, whisk together the milk and flour until the flour is dissolved. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cheddar, Gruyère, mustard powder, paprika, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Whisk until the cheeses are melted and the mixture is smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chopped cauliflower and macaroni and stir until well coated.

Spray an ovenproof 10-inch high-sided skillet with cooking spray. Pour the mixture into the prepared skillet. Sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture, place on a baking sheet, and bake until the top is browned and the cheese is bubbly, 35 to 40 minutes.

Per Serving Calories 360; Total Fat 14 g (Sat Fat 8 g, Mono Fat 4.7 g, Poly Fat 0.8 g); Protein 20 g; Carb 40g; Fiber 5 g; Cholesterol 40 mg; Sodium 540 mg

Excellent source of Calcium, Iodine, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Protein, Riboflavin, Selenium, Vitamin C

Good source of Copper, Fiber, Folate, Iron, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Potassium, Thiamin, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, Zinc

BEFORE: 540 Cal, Sat. Fat 20g, Chol. 195mg, Fiber 1g, Sodium 940mg

 AFTER: 360 Cal, Sat. Fat 8g, Chol. 40mg

Comfort Food Fix: Feel Good Favorites Made Healthy by Ellie Krieger

(Wiley Hardcover; October 17, 2011; $29.99)