Wednesday, December 11

Soups on.

Inquiring minds want to know: How do you get more veggies in your diet?

It's hard. I mean do you like to eat a green bean or broccoli floret on your way to work in the morning? Neither do I and this is why whether you are at home or on the road SOUP is great for breakfast!

Although the weather here in Florida is not that chilly, this time of year it is so nice to have a warm cup of something in your hand every morning. For some that may be coffee, or tea. And for others Soup. Varieties I have had for breakfast in the last 6 months include: Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup, Tomato Soup,  Mushroom Soup, Golden Cauliflower Soup.

Before writing me off due to this crazy-out-there idea I am endorsing, you have got to try it first. At least once. Breakfast usually includes a few eggs and maybe some sausage but unless you eat things sporadically like myself then you might not be eating a salad or leftover collard greens with your first meal of the day. Isn't the first the most important? So why wouldn't you include at least one serving of vegetables?

Back to today's Soup. Like a lot of the recipes I make, I didn't invent this. I saw something I liked and I put a twist and revamped it into what I wanted.

Velvety Garlic Vegetable Soup

Olive Oil
2 heads Garlic
6 c Bone Broth*
1 c Onion, diced
2 Carrots, peeled and sliced
1 Jalapeno or Serrano, sliced
1 inch fresh Ginger, peeled and minced
2 c Zucchini, diced

Roast your garlic. Heat up your favorite soup pot over medium and add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Saute the onions, carrots and jalapenos until onions are translucent. Add in the ginger and zucchini, season with salt and saute until fragrant. Add in your broth and roasted garlic and simmer for 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender. At this point it is time to get velvety. To do this you can either use an immersion blender or a blender. Blend until smooth. Serve and eat.

Another great thing about soup. It makes multiple servings so you basically have cooked something for the whole week**. I ate today's soup for lunch and added a bit of leftover Crockpot BBQ beef. It was delicious. Sometimes breakfast, lunch or dinner really can be very easy. 

What is your favorite soup?


*This can be any type of bone broth you have on hand or vegetable broth for a vegetarian soup.
** Of course if you don't want to eat all the same flavored soup all week don't forget that you can freeze it for later.

Thursday, December 5

More Quiche, please.

A few months ago we went to this little french bistro in Hyde Park called Piquant for my girlfriend *Jessica's birthday brunch. It's a place I'd been wanting to try out for a while but was avoiding because I didn't want to be tempted by all of the gluten filled pastries. So this was a perfect excuse to go. Who doesn't love food excuses?

In a french bistro you can really get in trouble with all of the tempting danishes and croissants so I scoured the menu for a healthier choice. I was pleasantly surprised in finding a gluten free Quiche with a petite salad for only $9! What a bargain and it was delicious. Imagine a hashbrown-like potato crust and a cheesy creamy filling all topped off with a drizzle of gravy reduction. Perfection.

Mr. FFF and I have been back a few times and I can't bring myself to **order anything else. Even though I end up making a Quiche about once a month, this was unlike anything I'd ever had. Of course this got my mind racing as to how I could recreate it at home...This is when the spaghetti squash crust was born. The key to this crust is moisture, as in you really don't want the natural moisture from the squash. 

REWIND: Have you already cooked your squash? Don't know how to cook one? Please start here or here.

3 Step Spaghetti Squash Crust: So now that you have a cooked and spaghettied (that can't be a word) squash, go into your linen closet and get an old kitchen towel, maybe two.

Step 1: Once its cool enough to handle, spread a  few handfuls of squash on the cloth towel. Starting from the long side roll up the towel and press with your palm to remove the water. Unroll and place in a bowl. Repeat the process with all of the squash- you might have to get a new towel if the original one gets too wet.

Step 2: Once your squash is dry add a teaspoon or two of melted ghee or coconut oil. Get in there with your hands and make sure it is thoroughly mixed in the squash.

Step 3: Build your crust. Evenly spread the squash in your glass pie pan and using your fingers press the squash on the bottom and sides.
Cook for 10-15 minutes on 425 until slightly browned. Don't try to go for crunchy, unlike potatoes squash is NOT good crunchy. Trust me on this.

Don't have a favorite recipe? I make it different every single time depending on what I have in the fridge. I usually use left overs. Sometimes I used less half & half and more eggs, sometimes I only have four eggs or no meat or no spinach and only left over broccoli. It happens, here is where you get to be creative. But I do have a basic recipe that I like and try to aim for if I have the ingredients on hand. And when I don't its still good.

1/2 c.  chopped onion
6-8 oz. of bacon or sausage
5 eggs
3/4 c. half & half or milk
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
dash of nutmeg
5 oz. chopped, drained Spinach (this is half of a frozen package- save the rest for another dish)
one sliced tomato
1 c. cheese (Swiss or Cheddar)

Lower the oven temperature to 325.

Cook onion and sausage in skillet until meat is cooked and set aside to cool. In large pyrex, whisk eggs, mix in salt, pepper, nutmeg, and half & half. Make sure your spinach is not watery (you can do this by squeezing excess water out over a sink with your hands) and stir into egg mixture. Once the spinach is mixed in add the cheese and cooled onion mixture.

Pour into the crust, top with sliced tomatoes and cook for 40-50 minutes. Toothpick inserted in the center that comes out clean is your cue to take it out of the oven. Let it rest for 15 minutes and then slice up and Enjoy.


*She has a great blog too! Some uplifting whimsical reading over there.
**That is how I get, once I find an amazing dish a restaurant I don't even get to try other items because I always order the same thing.

Monday, December 2

Thanksgiving and After Turkey Day Sammie

Although I didn't buy a turkey, of course we did have a wonderful Thanksgiving turkey dinner with family on *Casey Key-Nokomis Beach. The spread was great and the company even better. Below is a picture of my two appetizer offerings: Artichoke & Caramelized Onion Tart and Stuffed Mushrooms. The tart is a mix match of recipes that I put together and I think it turned out really great. 

The tart is a mix match of recipes that I put together and I
 think it turned out really great.


1 onion, thinly sliced
1-2 tbsp  olive oil
14 oz. can of quarters artichokes
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 eggs
8 oz. Mascarpone cheese
1/2 c Half & Half ( or whipping cream)
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 c Jagerberg cheese
1/2 c Parmesan cheese

Make tart crust, follow all directions except only cook for only ten minutes.  Preheat oven to 350. Over medium-low heat olive oil, add sliced onions and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until caramelized, golden brown but not burnt- low heat is key here. **Cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • Brush the crust with the Dijon. Drain the artichokes and evenly spread both artichokes and  caramelized onions on crust. Whisk eggs,  Mascarpone, cream, white pepper, nutmeg and cheese then pour filling in tart pan; sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until tart is set in the center ( about 40 minutes). Cool for about 15 minutes before serving. 

Ok so now for the important stuff. The leftovers. 

This is my "turkey" club "sandwich" that I whipped up this weekend. It has no turkey and no real bread but it was delicious. I have been wanting to make some paleo bread for a while now but haven't gotten the chance and I am so glad I waited for Thanksgiving leftovers! It was a match made in heavan. 

This recipe is super simple. Left over poultry, leftover ***cranberry sauce, avocado, lettuce, and paleo bread. Simple. Delicious. The smoothness of the avocado and the tartness from the cranberry sauce plus the tiny bit of sweetness from the bread makes a perfect balanced bite of yumminess. 

The sandwich does look pretty small but that bread really feels you up since it is made of mostly almond flour. 

*Doesn't everyone visit the beach on thanksgiving? Or is that just a Florida thing?

** I did this the day before so the tart could be fresh but I wouldn't be trying to get it cooked in the morning before we left. 
*** Please do not use that much honey! Are you crazy AB? (I used 1/3 pomegranate juice, 2/3 fresh squeezed OJ, and 1/3 cup honey.)

I didn't buy a turkey.

I have to admit I didn't buy a turkey this year. 

  • I  have been making a turkey every year since we have been married because I wanted to get in some good practice before we ever had to host. Plus when you go to someones house sometimes you get left overs and sometime you don't. Not getting leftovers is tragic; then you wouldn't be able to create delicious leftover recipes. Plus Turkey is usually on super sale after Turkey day. Since I am at home now I didn't want to wait until next week to cook up my bird so I just decided to go ahead and make the *big meal before hand. Then my common sense that took over when I was at the market and I bought a chicken instead of a turkey.   Roaster chickens were only $1.89 lb and turkeys were $4.99 lb. Really? Three dollars and ten cents difference. Does this make me Un-American? I got the chicken because I am cheap; I couldn't fathom buying a $30 turkey for just the two of us.
  • Chicken, Turkey- pretty much the same. 
I tried a few new things this year for the bird. I did a dry brine and I **flat roasted the chicken. I have done a wet brine before but I didn't like it. Its takes up tons of space in the fridge, if it sloshes you get turkey water everywhere and I didn't think it was worth the time and effort. Dry brine I loved. Super simple, and doesn't take up tons of room in the fridge. 

Dry Brine: 1/3c Kosher Salt, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp pepper. Rub mixture over ever inch of the bird. Cover and set in refrigerate overnight. Before your are ready to cook, thoroughly rinse bird. Make sure there is no remaining visible salt and then pat dry. 

Butter rub: Salt & Pepper (not too much salt since we dry brined it), Zest of one lemon, 3 cloves garlic, 10 sprig of thyme, 1 sprig of rosemary, 2 tbsp ghee.  Chop up fresh herbs & garlic, mix all ingredients in semi soft ghee.

I based my butter compound off of Ina's Roast Chicken recipe. Then I took the butter compound and rubbed it in between the skin and meat of the bird.  Flattening the bird turned out really great. I didn't have to worry about the white meat getting dry or the dark meat not cooking and it only took 30 minutes! How come no body cooks their birds like this for Thanksgiving? It would be a big time saver especially for larger birds. 

It turned out fabulous. Juicy, flavorful. 
What is your favorite poultry cooking technique?

* Our day before Thanksgiving meal. 

** This is also called spatchcock chicken or butterflied.