Saturday, February 6, 2010

It's the Superbowl tomorrow and the pantry is bare

As I sit here with my glass of milk and freshly baked brownie, I can think of nothing to make tomorrow for the Superbowl. I've been considering the standards - veggie chili, nachos, dips, cheese, cheese & more cheese, pizza. Nothing is making me feel good about sitting through hours of football yet. My shopping list is empty and the pantry is bare. It's 4:45 on Saturday so I better get my act together!

Any ideas? What do you want to eat tomorrow?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Vegetarian French Onion Soup with Sweet Vermouth

I love French onion soup - always have, always will. The only problem is 2 years ago we gave up the likes of beef broth (thank you Michael Pollan) so French onion has been missing from the menu.

I am on a soup kick this winter and have changed many recipes from chicken or beef stock to veggie so why would this be any different? Another change was a switch from Brandy to Sweet Vermouth and the results are divine! It really makes a subtle but very interesting change to the flavour of the soup. I have yet to perfect making a crouton and tonight was not the night to start messing around in the kitchen. The "croutons" are sub-par but still had a great taste - perhaps the result of a gooey mess of melty Swiss?

The key to this soup is taking your time with caramelizing the onions. This is the hard part. After that, it's a piece of cake.

The recipe is a compilation of many recipes including Chef Michael Smith, various home chefs from, random recipes on the Internet etc.

Ingredients and Prep:

For the Caramelized Onions:

  • 6 medium sized yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 swirls of the pan of olive oil
  • smidgen of salt
  • smidgen of sugar

For the Soup:

  • 6 cups of vegetable stock (traditional FOS calls for beef stock but this is a veggie recipe so we use that)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme (leaves only, no stems please!)
  • 1/2 cup of sweet vermouth
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • bread of your choice cut to fit the bowls you are using, toasted (or grilled in the pan grilled cheese style)
  • Swiss cheese, your choice on the amount! (Gruyere is often recommended but very expensive)
Add the butter and olive oil to your soup pot. Once hot and before the butter burns add the onions. Stir until coated. Add the salt and sugar. Turn the heat to medium low (more low than medium) and let them cook for about 1 hour. Stir periodically so they don't burn and add more butter/evoo if they need it. Once they are golden and caramelized, add the rest of the ingredients (not the bread and cheese though!) and simmer for 15 minutes.

Put the soup in your oven proof bowls, add the bread on top, then the cheese. Put them on a baking sheet under the broiler until bubbling and golden.

Bon Appetit!!!

Broccoli & Cheddar Soup

I am trying to be good and eat like Oprah tells me to eat (Afterall, she is the boss of advice). Wasn't her diabetes show scary? I can't imagine that 80 million Americans are living with pre-diabetes or diabetes. Crazy.

Anyway, I made this broccoli soup and have no idea what the glycemic index of it may be but it sounds healthy and there is no added sugar. I was inspired by the boss of food, Ms. Martha Stewart.

Original recipe from Martha Stewart -

Martha Stewart's Recipe below:


Serves 8
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bunches broccoli (about 3 1/4 pounds), stems and florets chopped separately into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 7 cups homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock (or veggie stock like I used)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated or crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
  • 8 thin slices crusty baguette
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add onion, garlic, and broccoli stems; cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes. Add stock and salt; cover, raise heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Add broccoli florets; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, until florets are just tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove soup from heat, and let cool, about 10 minutes. Fill a blender no more than halfway to puree soup in batches until smooth. Return soup to pot; stir in milk and cayenne. Cook over medium heat until heated through (do not boil).
  3. Heat broiler. Divide cheese among bread slices; toast under broiler until melted and golden brown, 45 to 60 seconds. Divide soup among bowls. Top each bowl with a cheese toast, and serve.
Instead of making the baguette toasts with cheddar like Martha instructs, I added cheddar directly to the soup at the end of the process. I added approx. 1 cup of shredded extra old cheddar. Healthy? Maybe not in this case, but delicious? Of course!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

This & That Flatbread

Another inspiration from Fresh365. I took Erin's basic recipe for flatbread and tweaked it a little to suit our taste and what we had in the fridge.

Here are the ingredients for Fresh365's basic flatbread recipe:

3/4 c water
1/2 t dry active yeast
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt

I used organic whole wheat flour and had to add more water but you just play it by ear based on what your flour is doing. Here are Fresh365's instructions for preparing the dough.

Preheat oven to 500F. In a small bowl, add water and dry active yeast. Stir well, and set aside 3-4 minutes until yeast has dissolved. In a food processor, add flour and salt. Blend. Through the hole in the cover, slowly pour in the water-yeast. Dough will quickly form into a bowl. Transfer dough to a floured surface and divide into two equal size balls. If needed, knead dough until smooth, 1 minute. Roll each ball out until very thin, but not transparent. Transfer to individual baking sheets."

I put my oven at 450F as it gets very hot. I just added a couple minutes to the cooking time later on. I also used the whole ball of dough and didn't break it up so it was a slightly thicker flatbread. Too crispy = crumbs all over the house which I don't like!

Here are Fresh365's instructions for baking:

Bake dough 4-5 minutes, until beginning to brown. Remove from oven. Top each dough with a drizzle of olive oil, arugula, caramelized onions and Gorgonzola cheese. Bake 5-7 minutes, until edge begin to brown. To serve, slice flatbread and sprinkle with black pepper, to taste."

As I said before, I just added a few extra minutes.

Fresh365 made a Gorgonzola, Caramelized Onion and Arugula Flatbread. I used up a bunch of things from the fridge. That's why it is a This & That Flatbread. Probably one too many ingredients but it was awesome anyway! be creative and add ingredients to suit your menu or what you have on hand.

- sauteed spinach
- sauteed zucchini
- caramelized onions (I was making French Onion soup so borrowed some from that recipe)
- chopped black olives
- chopped green onions
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 1/4 c crumbled feta
- 1/8 c crumbled blue cheese
- drizzled olive oil

Here is a link to Fresh365's original:

Spinach & Tortellini Soup Recipe from Fresh365

I was looking for an easy weekday meal idea for a cold, gloomy January and happened upon Fresh365 - an amazing blog for vegetarians (it`s been in my bookmarks forever but I usually forget about visiting those sites). This recipe was Erin`s 3rd most popular recipe of 2009. Enjoy!

I made the soup and it was very good, very simple and very easy to prepare.

Here is the original recipe from Fresh365 -