Cauliflower Leek Soup

cauliflower leek soup

Because of my ongoing quest for soup recipes, and because of my newly acquired blender I have been searching for more puréed soup recipes. The ingredients are really simple, so in my opinion the success of this recipe depends largely on using a quality broth. I used my homemade chicken stock, but you could use a flavourful vegetable one to make it a vegan recipe. I make up a big batch of stock, then freeze it in portions to use in future soup recipes. A bit of work to do ahead of time, but it’s really handy and makes better soups.

I found this recipe on freshtart.com, and I made two changes: I cut the amount of oil in half (1 tablespoon per portion is too much for me), and I didn’t serve it with the fried shrimp on top, although this sounds yummy.

Serves 4

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 heaping cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth (homemade is always best)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 generous handfuls of spinach
  • 2 tablespoons chives, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • sea salt to taste

What you do:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the leek to it and sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the cauliflower and garlic and sauté for 5 more minutes.
  3. Add the chicken broth and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very soft. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the bay leaf.
  4. Place the spinach and chives in the blender, then add the cauliflower and broth and purée until smooth. If the liquid is hot it will make a bit of an explosion, se be careful. You could purée on very low to start, then allow some steam to escape, and then continue until it is smooth.
  5. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste. Drizzle with a little olive oil to serve, and add some minced chives for garnish if you like.

Lovely Lemon Loaf

easy lemon loaf

 

Mmmm, I love a good lemon loaf! I’ve made a few before: lemon olive oil cake, and a few that I am just now discovering I haven’t actually posted before… more to come! But this is definitely the first cake I’ve ever made in a blender! Okay, so you need bowls and stuff too, but I liked how quick it was to blend up the liquid ingredients.

Anyways, this one wins points because of the lemon drizzle that adds a nice lemony kick to balance the sweetness of the cake.

The original name, in the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, is Easy Lemon Pound Cake. And it is easy, and lemony, but there’s only 1/2 pound of butter in there!

What you need for the cake: 

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 & 1/2 cups cake flour OR see instruction #2 below if you don’t have cake flour, as I did not
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

What you need for the lemon glaze:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and place the rack in the centre of the oven. Grease and flour an 8 & 1/2 by 4 & 1/2 inch loaf pan. I use the wrapper for the butter to grease the pan, then shake some flour around in it.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. (If you don’t have cake flour: measure 1.5 cups of flour, then remove 3 tablespoons. Add 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. Now sift 5 times; yes, you have to do this to get the right consistency.)
  3. Melt the butter, then whisk it to combine any separation.
  4. Place the sugar and lemon zest in the blender (or food processor) and pulse about 5 times. Add the lemon juice, eggs and vanilla, then blend until combined. With the blender running, add the butter. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
  5. Sift the flour mixture into the batter in 3 steps, whisking gently each time until just combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 325F. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the loaf is a deep golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. This should take about 35 minutes, although mine took much longer.
  8. Let the loaf cool for 10 minutes then turn it onto a wire cooling rack. Poke the top and sides all over with a toothpick. I used a chopstick, which is why the holes are so visible. Cool the loaf for at least one hour.
  9. While the loaf is cooling begin making the glaze. Bring the lemon juice and sugar to a boil and stir occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer until it has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.
  10. Brush the top and sides of the loaf with the glaze.

This loaf will keep at room temperature for about 5 days. It will probably be gone before that, but it won’t go bad if you hang on to it.

 

Caesar Salad Light

light caesar salad - trust in kim

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to cook in my friends’ kitchen with a beautiful view. As we had all been overindulging throughout the weekend I decided to make us this healthier version of a Caesar Salad alongside tomato soup. It was delicious with the croutons, but it would be good without them too.

I found this recipe on Jamie Oliver’s website.

What you need for the salad and dressing:

  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt 
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) grated Parmesan cheese, plus some for the top
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 chopped anchovy fillets (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

What you need for optional croutons:

  • a few slices of bread cut into cubes (I used sourdough)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • salt and pepper, to taste

What you do:

  1. To make the croutons, drizzle a little olive oil in a frying pan and let it heat on medium-high. Add the bread cubes and toss until they are lightly coated in olive oil. Add the garlic, sage, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Toss from time to time, until the cubes are browned and crispy.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the salad dressing.
  3. Chop the romaine, then toss with the dressing just before serving. Don’t use all the dressing to start with, as it might be too much; just add more if needed. I like to add an extra sprinkle of lemon juice to mine.
  4. Top with the croutons and serve.

caesar salad light - trust in kim

 

caesar salad light - trust in kim

jamie oliver caesar salad - trust in kim

 

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing

roasted vegetable salad - trust in kim

Please trust me on this one – this is the perfect fall and winter salad. It is so flavourful because of the combination of roasted vegetables, and the roasted garlic dressing is to die for. I could eat this every day. It makes a great starter, but throw the optional nuts on and it can work as a main course.

There were two surprises for me in this recipe: I’ve never really enjoyed turnips before, and I never imagined roasting apples with other vegetables, but I enjoyed every bite.

I made 1/4 recipe of the dressing since this was the first time I was making it, just in case I didn’t like it. I will definitely make more next time, as I imagine it would be good on top of many other foods. If you come up with other ways to use this dressing, please leave a comment so I can try it too. It will keep in the fridge for about a week.

This recipe  comes from Candle 79 restaurant in Manhattan, as printed in Brendan Brazier’s Whole Foods to Thrive. Thanks for sharing!

Serves 4

What you need for the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water (or more)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • tiny pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

What you need for the salad:

  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups new potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup baby turnips, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 medium-sized beets, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 medium apples, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • arugula
  • toasted walnuts or pecans (optional)

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Place the peeled garlic cloves in a baking dish and add olive oil until they are covered. Cover the dish with foil and roast for about 25 minutes. When they have cooled slightly, remove the garlic and put it in a blender (I used an immersion blender). Keep the olive oil to use at another time, like for a stir fry or tomato sauce.
  3. Add all the other ingredients for the dressing to the blender, and blend until smooth. Add a little more water if necessary.
  4. When the garlic is roasted turn the oven up to 400F.
  5. Place all the cut vegetables and apples in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  6. Spread the vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 35-40 minutes, until tender. Mine were slightly browned, which I really enjoyed.
  7. Toss the vegetables in about 2 tablespoons of the roasted garlic dressing.
  8. Arrange the arugula on plates and top with the roasted vegetables. Sprinkle with some nuts if you are using them, and add a little more dressing if you wish.
  9. Serve immediately!

Enjoy!

roasted vegetables - trust in kim

Tarte Tatin-French Caramelized Apple Upside-Down Pie

tarte tatin - trust in kim

Tarte tatin is a traditional French dessert. It is like an upside-down apple pie with the apples coated in buttery caramel. It isn’t too difficult to make this dessert that will be a crowd-pleaser.

I had never eaten a tart tatin before, but loving French food I took it upon myself to make one for a Thanksgiving dinner dessert last weekend.  I found many recipes that used puff pastry, but I really wanted to make my own buttery pastry – and this one is awesome.

The tartness of the granny smith apples works well to balance the sweetness of the caramel. I took a little bit of the caramel out of the pan before adding the apples because I was worried that it would be too sweet, but in the end we agreed that even though it was really delicious, it would have been also been good if I had left all of the caramel in.

I found this recipe in the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook – it is so easy to follow, and they even have diagrams to help you figure out how to lay out the apples.  And best of all – this was delicious! I will absolutely be making it again one day. Soon, maybe.

By the way, it does taste way better than it looks in this photo.  I forgot my camera at home the day I made this, so I hope to make it again one day and take a more appetizing photo.

What you need for the dough:

  • 1 & 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar (confectioner’s)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm pieces and chilled
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

What you need for the apples:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 pounds granny smith apples – peeled, cored and quartered

What you do: 

  1. Combine the flour, icing sugar and salt in a large bowl, or the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and process, or use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal.  Add the egg and mix until it just comes together. Pull the dough into a ball, then place it on plastic wrap.  Flatten it into a disk, then wrap tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. With a wooden spoon stir in the sugar and cook until light golden, about 2-4 minutes.
  3. Take the pan off the heat, then add the apple quarters cut-side down, filling the skillet tightly. You may need to cut the apple pieces in half again to fill the centre. Cook the apples over medium heat for about 3 minutes, then flip them cut-side up and cook for another 3 minutes – the apples should be lightly golden, and the caramel should be darkly coloured.
  4. While this is cooking, lightly flour your countertop, then roll the dough into a 35cm/14 inch circle. Place the dough on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate if you will not be using it immediately.
  5. When the apples are ready slide the dough circle over the top. Work carefully, making sure you don’t burn your fingers on the pan or hot caramel. Fold the edge of the dough back so it fits snugly into the pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes; rotate the pan halfway through baking.
  6. Remove the hot pan from the oven and let it cool for about 30 minutes before attempting to release from the pan.
  7. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, then place an inverted serving plate over the top of the pan. Using oven mitts, carefully flip it to release the tarte onto the serving plate. Some apples may stay in the pan; you can just place these carefully on top to make it look intact.
  8. Serve with vanilla ice cream, creme fraiche, or whipping cream.

 

apples in caramelized sugar - trust in kim

upside down tarte tatin  -trust in kim

 

John’s Tuna Sashimi

Tuna Sashimi - trust in kimOh, my mouth is watering as I type this.  This is one of the simplest and most pleasant ways to eat tuna.  And one of my favourite things to eat, period.

My friend John brought a piece of frozen tuna up to the cabin this summer and served it with buckwheat soba.  It is so tender and tasty, and takes only minutes (a minute?) to prepare.  The vital factor in the success of this dish is the quality of the fish. Only the very best will do. If you’re in Vancouver Fujiya on Clark, or Seafood City in the Granville Island Market are sure bets to get amazing quality tuna.

What you need:

  • the freshest sushi-grade ahi tuna you can find
  • spring onions/scallions
  • soy sauce
  • chopsticks
  • small bowls for soy sauce

What you do:

  1. If the tuna is frozen then take it out of the freezer about an hour before you want to serve it.  If it is fresh you will want to put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes before serving.  This makes it easier to cut.
  2. Slice the tuna with a very sharp knife. Arrange the tuna on a plate.
  3. Chop the green part of a spring onion and sprinkle them on top of the tuna.
  4. Each person should have a small bowl of tuna to dip their tuna in. Serve immediately.

Wondering what to do with the root and white part of the spring onion? Did you know that you can grow them to use a few days later, or just enjoy watching them grow? Here are the simple instructions.

 

Nicoise Salad

nicoise salad - trust in kim

Niçoise salad makes a great meal salad. I made this one in the summer, and am finally getting around to posting it now.  Of course you can make it in the winter, but just make sure to try to get the freshest tasting ingredients.  A good bet for tasty winter tomatoes is to buy cherry tomatoes; they seem to have more flavour. It is still September, so I still have a few tomatoes on the vine that I’m going to use to make this again soon.

Oops! I never measure when I make salad dressings, so I’ve given approximations. When the dressing is mixed you’ll have to taste and see if you need a little more of anything.

Part of what makes this a successful recipe is that you add some of the dressing to the potatoes while they are hot. When they are still hot they absorb the dressing really well. No more of those cold, bland potatoes sitting on the side of your niçoise salad!

What you need for the salad:

  • one large free-range egg per person
  • tomatoes
  • fresh green beans, or a mixture of green and yellow
  • tender salad greens
  • new potatoes, cut in half
  • olives (niçoise if you can find them – I could not – kalamata work too)
  • (niçoise salad often has tuna on it; add that if you wish)

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • white wine vinegar
  • olive oil

What you do:

  1. Begin by placing the eggs in a small pot; cover with a lid and let this heat up until they have just barely reached a boil.  Now turn off the heat, keep the lid on and set the timer for 12 minutes. Pour the hot water out of the pot and place the eggs in cold water. There are many methods for boiling egg – in this one we don’t actually boil it; boiling an egg makes it tougher.  12 minutes works for a large egg; use more or less time with different sizes of eggs, and longer if you are at a high altitude. When they have cooled (I actually like to add them when they are still slightly warm) you can peel and quarter them.
  2. Place the halved potatoes in a pot with some salted water and bring to a boil.  Cook until you can pierce the potato easily with a sharp knife. You will need to prepare the dressing while they are cooking.
  3. Chop the onion.  Add the Dijon, sugar, a pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper to a bowl. Mix the onion into this.  Now slowly add a few tablespoons of white wine vinegar as you mix with a fork until combined.  Drizzle in a few tablespoons of olive oil, constantly mixing with the fork, and stopping to taste as you go. Add as much olive oil as you think tastes good, then adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
  4. When the potatoes are cooked, drain the water.  Keep the potatoes in the pot and add about half of the dressing to them while they are still hot, and then give them a gentle stir.  Set them aside to cool.
  5. Bring another liberally salted pot of water to a boil while you clean and cut the ends off the beans. Some of the salt will absorb into the beans as they cook. Have a large bowl of ice water waiting for the beans when they come out. Cook them for only a few minutes; they should still be bright green and tender-crisp. I say better to err on the side of undercooked. As soon as they are done, drain the boiling water and add the beans to the ice bath. Leave them there until completely cooled.  This stops the cooking process, so you don’t end up with sad wilted beans. I like to drain them and then roll them in a clean dish cloth to dry them off.
  6. Wash the tomatoes and cut into wedges if you are not using cherry tomatoes.
  7. Toss the salad greens with a little bit of dressing, then arrange on the plate.  Decorate with the beans, potatoes, eggs tomatoes and olives. You can add a drizzle more dressing if you want. I like to add another little sprinkle of salt and pepper to the top.

 

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