Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gymnastics and Soup

This little girl is growing up.  She's starting to really grab at her toys and bottles while I feed her.  Yesterday I caught her hanging on to two things that dangle above her on her play mat.  She was just hanging on for dear life for several minutes!  I think she forgot to let go.  She has also taken to scooting herself directly under the lowest hanging object and sucking on it with both hands by her sides.  Pretty funny.

Last night I headed over to 101 Cookbooks (link on left sidebar) for the Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe.  I made it for dinner and it was amazing!  I'll list my adjustments below the recipe.  Also, my photo of the soup is awful compared to the one on the original website!  Rob and I agreed that it tasted so much better than it looked.  This is going to be a staple dinner for us throughout the winter.  It was quick and easy to make and very filling.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe

Look for deeply green, tight heads of broccoli. I typically avoid any heads that have yellowing florets or seem died out. If you like a slightly creamier soup, stir in a generous dollop of creme fraiche after pureeing. You can easily make this soup vegan by using olive oil and omitting the cheese/creme fraiche, and you can make it gluten-free by doing something in place of the croutons.

5-6 ounce chunk of artisan whole wheat bread, torn into little pieces (less than 1-inch), roughly 3 cups total

1/4 cup butter or olive oil (I like 1/2 and 1/2)
1 1/2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (1 1/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 1/2 cups light, good-tasting vegetable broth
1 large head of broccoli (12 ounces or 3/4 lb.), cut into small florets

2/3 cup freshly grated aged Cheddar, plus more for topping
1 - 3 teaspoons whole grain mustard, to taste
smoked paprika, more olive oil, creme fraiche (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees and place the torn bread in a large bowl. In a small saucepan heat the butter until it has melted. Whisk the mustard and salt into the butter and pour the mixture over the bread. Toss well, then turn the bread onto a baking sheet and bake for 10 - 15 minutes, or until the croutons are golden and crunchy. Toss them once or twice with a metal spatula along the way.

While the croutons are toasting, melt the butter (or olive oil) in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the shallots, onion, and a big pinch of salt. Saute for a couple minutes. Stir in the potatoes, cover, and cook for about four minutes, just long enough for them to soften up a bit. Uncover, stir in the garlic, then the broth. Bring to a boil, taste to make sure the potatoes are tender, and if they are stir in the broccoli. Simmer just long enough for the broccoli to get tender throughout, 2 - 4 minutes.

Immediately remove the soup from heat and puree with an immersion blender. Add half the cheddar cheese and the mustard (a little bit a a time). If you are going to add any creme fraiche, this would be the time to do it. Now add more water or broth if you feel the need to thin out the soup at all. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Serve sprinkled with croutons, the remaining cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and a tiny pinch of smoked paprika.

Serves 4 - 6.

*Ashley's Adjustments:

- I used a french baguette instead of whole wheat bread for the croutons.  It was a good substitute!  Don't skip the croutons. I almost did, and it ended up being such a delicious topping for the soup and wouldn't have been the same without it.  And I don't even like whole-grain  mustard!

- I used probably twice as much cheddar cheese as the recipe called for.

- I also used about 2/3 cup of heavy whipping cream and added it to the soup at the same time as the cheese, after blending it and returning it to the soup pot.  It mellowed out the flavors.

- I skipped the olive oil drizzle on top of the soup once it was in the bowl.


Rachel said...

thanks for the recipe - can't wait to make it! And what a beautiful picture of ellie - she's sooo sweet!!

The Larsons said...

Joey and I are just admiring beautiful Ellie together. I can't wait to hold her and gaze in those beautiful blues!

I will be trying this recipe some time soon. :)