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low fat creamy carrot-ginger soup with lemon-parsley pesto

friends, I have to tell you… I absolutely love  soup.  I could seriously eat it 365 days of the year. 

I woke up in a healthy cooking mood this am.  I headed to the store unsure of what I was going to make and I saw a beautiful display of carrots and then I knew! I remembered that the  very first dish I made at Johnson &Wales was a carrot soup. So I decided to make my own version! 

vegan creamy carrot-ginger soup with lemon-parsley pesto 

 

( makes 2 servings, it can easily be doubled) 

1 tablespoon coconut oil 

3 carrots

1 small fingering potato 

1 garlic clove 

A few gratings of fresh ginger  

1 tsp turmeric root 

2-3 cups low sodium chicken broth 

1 cup light coconut milk 

Sea salt and pepper 

In a Dutch oven, melt coconut oil.  Peel carrots reserving peels for Stock ( I keep empty freezer bags in my freezer and add to it daily. When they are full I’ll make either a veggie stock or bone broth, depending on what I have in hand ) 

Roughly chop carrots and potato ( no need to peel the potato 😉)

Add to coconut oil and sauté.   Stir a little bit, but not too much, you want the sugars in the carrots to get a little carmalazation ( color=flavor) 

  

When you can see color on the carrots, crush garlic and add, stir once then immediately add 1 cup broth.

Grate the ginger into the soup ( my good friend, Cindy told me that if you keep your ginger in the freezer it’s easier to grate and won’t go bad —-genius! —) 

Add turmeric, salt and pepper.

Bring to a simmer until veggies are tender.

 

   Let cool then add to blender ( alternatively you could us an immersion blender, but I find my blender results in a silkier soup) 

Add another cup of broth and blend until smooth. 

Return mixture to pan and stir in 1 cup coconut milk

  

Taste for salt and pepper. Adjust accordingly .  If soup is too thick, add a bit more broth to make it to your liking. 

lemon-parsley pesto 

1 handful fresh parsley

Juice from 1/2 lemon

1/2 garlic clove

1/4-1/3 cup olive oil 

Sea salt and pepper 

Blend well in a tabletop blender 

  

  

To serve, swirl the pesto atop the soup and garnish with slivered almonds ( pepitas would have been my choice here, but since I had almonds, they won!) 

  

I’m quite sure this soup will be just as tasty cold as it was hot….  I’ll check back in 😎

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one pot roast chicken with vermouth sauce 

hiya friends! 

I’ve been roasting chickens for what feels like my whole life…..  It’s such a homey meal and I’m positively addicted to Making bone broth with the leftover bones.

But the mess after roasting a chicken. Oiy. Vey. The cleanup was never something that I look forward to. 

For about the last year, I’ve been roasting a tad differently, and it’s worked great for me, cleanup is almost nothing, and well, it’s just awesome 

ONE POT ROAST CHICKEN WITH VERMOUTH SAUCE 

1- 4-5 pound chicken, giblets removed

1/2 onion, roughly chopped

2 carrots ( no need to peel) rough chop 

1 celery stock, rough chopped ( I didn’t use in this recipe, but I usually do ) 

Sea salt and pepper 

Flour ( I like brown rice flour ) 

1/2 cup dry vermouth 

1/4-1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth 

Meat thermometer ( under 10 at most stores) 

**Cast iron skillet 

Start by preheating over to 425 degrees.   

Salt and pepper both inside and outside of chicken 

Place all veggies in cast iron skillet 

  I’ve thrown in a few over ripe tomatoes here….  Not necessary, but added another layer of flavor. 

That’s the fun part of this recipe.. Use what you have, make it your own.   You can add fennel bulb, parsnips, lemon, Potatoes..  Herbs..  Have fun with it! 

Place seasoned chicken on top of chopped veggies, strategically placing so that there is a little bit of space underneath 

  

Place in preheated oven and roast for about 20 minutes, until crust looks brown and crispy.   Turn temp down to 325 and continue to roast until thermometer inserted in deepest part of thigh ( without touching the bone ) reads 165. ..  

( juices Should run clear, not pink,from where you insert thermometer) 

Using potholders, remove pan from oven.  

 

* here’s a napkin for you * 😉 

Let rest for a few minutes, then carefully transfer chicken to cutting board, allowing it to rest longer. 

Making the sauce…….  

Using a slotted spoon, remove veggies and set aside. 

Drain all but about 1-2 tablespoons of accumulated fat. Add flour and using a fork or whisk,  mix flour and fat together until it looks crumbly.  Stir mixture continuously for about a minute, 

Turn heat off, add vermouth slowly mixing the whole time, then turn heat back on to medium, and allow to thicken. Add broth a little bit at a time, until desired thickeness. 

  

(Ps… You are  Cleaning the pan as you go!) 

You can serve the sauce like this, but for a smoother sauce, strain through a fine-mesh strainer, using a spatula to get out every last bit . 

  

Cut the chicken breast off each side In one pieces, then slice vertically.   Remove wings and legs. 

Serve with sauce and veggies! 

Finished photo here

Simply rinse your cast iron skillet under warm water, using a brush to remove any last bits, wipe down with a pair towel and brush with a little bit of oil.   

Cleanup done! 

***. Cast iron skillets…  

Ove my years I have used many different kinds of cookware,   In my opinion, there is none superior to the same thing our grandparents used, cast iron. 

They are inexpensive, ( under 20 at your local hardware store) 

They do need to be seasoned, but this is easy and once you do it properly, you should rarely have to do it again 

You can also find them at yard sales ( I would love to have know this magic earlier, because I would have treasured a cast iron skillet from either mine or my husbands’ grandparents ) 

Don’t let rust on a pan at a sale  scare you! You can easily scrub it off, and re season.  A cast iron skillet should last forever! 

Never ever, ever use soap on the skillet.  This is so important . 

Seriously….  This might be the best 20 bucks you’ll spend in your kitchen! 

Save all of your bones and scraps… Next up.. Fail-proof stock! 

Colorado whiskey-peach glazed smoked turkey breast

friends. I have a recipe for you. I have a recipe that has SO much flavor, it’s crazy.

 

Last summer, Scott and I bought a Big green Egg. For those who don’t know what that is, Its a Grill/smoker/pizza oven.

It’s a dream.  I’ve wanted one for years. 

It’s my personal ‘Green Monster’ … a little bit o’ Bosssston right here on my back porchbig green egg

Since owning this sweet little darling, I have become more adventurous with my outdoor cooking. I actually cook outdoors all winter long.

 

Snow storm? Kewl…. let’s fire that baby up a get a steak on there!

I was slow to start to smoke things, but since I’ve actually learned, I’m hooked.  ( or as my friend from River Cat Chili says, I’m smokin’ crazy)

Since Scott was home doing taxes this weekend ( big time boo 😦 ) I was able to get out of the house to go food shopping ( must be something wrong with me,becauseI REALLY enjoy grocery shopping! )

I didn’t have a plan

I didn’t have a list

I was just so excited to get out of the house after being pup-bound all week

( our girl is healing really well 😉 Fenwayall decked out in her Easter-inspired bandana 🙂

 

I stumbled upon a half turkey breast and that was it. I knew what I was doing.

sort of.

I began by brining the turkey ta-ta.

I used kosher salt,( 1/2 cup)

agave ( 1/8 cup ) ( you can swap out for sweetener of your choice)

pepper (dash)

and herbs de Provence ( 1 tablespoon )

If you want to make this, use what you have, just start with the salt/ water/ sugar mixture

 

I boil about 1/2 cup water, mix with the salt and agave , then add about a gallon of ice water to chill mixture and spices of choice.

In the past I’ve added various citrus, fresh herbs.. use what you have.. make it your own!

 

Brine turkey breast for 24 hours in the fridge.

about an hour or two before cooking, soak wood chips in water ( you need the water to create the steam to create the smoke 😉 )  I found pecan wood chunks and that was what I used. Check your hardware store, they are lousy with different flavors…. all of which I want to try

I set up my smoker so that it was at a steady 225 degrees

NOTE * if you do not have a smoker, you can bring your grill to this low temp or your oven and soak wood chips of choice and make a foil packet with      the chips and a bit of water. this will create the smoke and as long as you grill top is closed and over door is shut, the smoke will create a smoky taste in your food. Just make sure that the temp stays low.. 250 max.

I inserted a meat thermometer ( an absolute necessity )  

 

and place turkey breast on grill, add the soaked ships to the fire and shut the lid… and inhale.

( your neighbors will come out of the woodwork 😉 )

smoked turkey breast

 

The finished temp on the turkey ( or any poultry, including ground) needs to be 165 degrees.

When the temp reached 155, I placed some Peach- whiskey jam in am oven safe stoneware dish and place next to turkey so that it can melt a little

 

colorado peach whiskey jamthis is what I used. Scott and I picked this up at the farmers’ market this summer ( along with some other fun flavors  jalapeno-tequilia anyone ? )

 

you can buy it Here or you can use peach jam and add your own whiskey.

It is a bit on the pricey side, but trust me, this is like no other jam that you’ve ever tried. And a little bit goes a loong way.

 

smoked turkey and baby carrotsafter about 5 mintues, baste the trukey with the melted jam, ( reserve a little for the carrots )

remove stoneware and add some carrots

I  peeled baby carrots , tossed them in olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs de Provence  and place around the turkey

 

close lid and when temp comes up to 165, using tongs, remove turkey from smoker ( don’t pull the thermometer out just yet )

 

Place under broiler for about 4 minutes to get a final crispy crust

 

place on cutting board to rest and close lid to finish cooking carrots ( I like mine al dente.  cook to what your preference) when cooked to your desired crunch, glaze carrots with remaining melted jam

 

Colorado peach whiskey glazed turkey breast

 

look at that baby!

When ready to serve, cut the entire breast off of the bone by carefully insert knife along the breast bone, then slice horizontally so that each piece has a small bit of that amazing glazed crust

 

peach glazed turkey breast

 

here’s a napkin for you 😉

 

A friend asked me recently what was the biggest thing that I took  away from culinary school

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about this.  The number one thing that I learned?

 

I love to write. One of the core classes that I had to take was English Lit and I was scared to death. I hadn’t written since high school ( I was 32 when  I attended J & W )  My first paper that I had to write was about myself.  I approached it in the 3rd person and wrote a summary of my life on 2 pages

When the professor handed it back to me he said, ” I’ve been teaching for over 30 years, this was one of the best papers that I have ever had the pleasure of grading”

those were his exact words. I’ll never forget them.

From then on  I looked forward to every writing assignment.

 

The second thing that i took away.. not so much recipes, but Flavor Profiles. I understand what flavors complement each other. How to take simple ingredients and bring them together to make some tasty food.

 

Like here.. you notice that I used the herb de Provence in both the turkey brine and the carrots. I used the same glaze on both.

I made a kale salad to go along with this, and added golden raisins and slivered almonds, adding about a teaspoon of the jam to the dressing to bring the whole dish together.

 

I learned how to make a dish mine and to have fun in the kitchen!

So go ahead, use some of my recipes as a guide, but fins a way to put your personal touch on them. You’ll start to see how much fun it can be and you’ll go from making dinner to making a little bit of love on a plate.

bon apetit!

baked spaghetti squash… via true food kitchen

friends. If you are connected with me on my  Facebook page , then you’ve had a sneak peak at what’s cooking in my kitchen

Get yerself a sketti squash, because trust me, you will want to make this!

I mentioned in my massaged kale salad post how I am obsessed with True Food Kitchen

I’ve eaten here many times and have tried many things on the menu. ALL fabulous.

Twice now, I’ve had friends order the spaghetti squash casserole, and both have raved about how good it was.

( truth be told, both friends offered me a bite, of which I accepted  and wow! I just knew I had to make it at home)

I did a little research * puffy heart google* and voila! found the recipe!

click the link for complete recipe

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Ingredients
1 spaghetti squash
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
Red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of ground allspice
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 pound part-skim mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheesenow since I’m home with a healing pup, I had to improvise the recipe just a littleI did not have the peppers, but I did find a sad little jalepeno in my crisper drawer, and we like it hot 😉 so I used that in place of the red and yellow peppers. 

IMG_3833

 

Start by cooking the squash. The recipe says to add entire squash into a big pot of water, bring to a boil for 50 minutes.

 

check on pup 

Now, I usually cook squash in the oven but I was intrigued to try this method. So I did.

My only comment would be that cooking it in the oven it was easier to separate the seeds from the flesh, but over, I would cook the squash either way.

while the squash is cooking ( whichever way your little heart desired) Chop up your veggies

Add a small amount of olive oil to a pan ( I’m a die hard believer in cast iron.. I’ll explain why if ya wants to know 😉  )

 

add the onions and carrots to hot oil, season with a bit of salt and cook for 5 min

 

check on pup 

next, I  added the the pepper and celery with a dash of red pepper flakes

 

IMG_3835

 

allow to saute for about 10 minutes, until veggies were soft. Taste for salt, if it needs a little more, go ahead and knock your self out 😉

* I kept adding little bits of water throughout so that the veggies didn’t dry out and stick while softening.. maybe 2 tablespoons at a time each time I stirred it ? )

 

check on pup 

The recipe called to squeeze the garlic in, but I rid myself of my garlic press years ago, as it only had that one purpose, and its easy enough to smash garlic with the side of a chef’s knife. garlic smash

If you have a press, by all means use it

add the crushed tomatoes m sprinkle of allspice (the secret ingredient, we discovered) , the garlic.

now you may have noticed the dish of roasted tomatoes.  I had some maters that were to ripe to eat raw, so I roasted them like I did when I made my

Creamy Roasted Tomato and Garlic soup

I  added these sweet babies  in addition to the crushed tomatoes

I also added a sprig of rosemary.

I hate to follow directions 😉

 

IMG_3838

and btw~ this smelled heavenly 

Next I used a pair of tongs to remove squash from boiling water ( CAREFULLY) and place on a cutting board until cool enough to cut

IMG_3842

 

scoop out seeds ( if you cooked it in the oven, you’ve already done this. great job, you overachiever, you  😉 ) spaghetti squash filling

 

add to tomato mixture and stir

 

check on pup 

Now full disclosure… since I was cooking this for just Scott and myself, I spooned out half of the tomato mixture and reserved for another recipe ( veggie chili, perhaps? ) and only used half of the spaghetti squash itself.   Had I known I could have halved the recipe, but being my first time making it, I wasn’t thinking.

IMG_3846I mean just look at this! Incredible.

 

next, layer 1/2  the squash mixture in baking dishes , add 1/2 the cheese, the rest of the squash mixture, and top with remaining cheese

baked spaghetti squash

guess which one was mine 😉

 

As far as the cheese goes, I used shredded because I had it and on Sunday when I played around with

SMOKED TOFU, I smoked a few mozzarella balls as well ( just curious how it would come out) so I cut those up and topped  our dishes with a bit of that crazy cheese flavor.

I baked it in a 350 over for about 20 minutes, topped with shredded basil and a tiny drizzle of olive oil

Baked Spaghetti Squash

do I have your attention yet?

 

baked Spaghetti squash

yeeeeeaaah…  this was pretty awesome.  and healthy? CRAZY healthy!

If you would like to make this vegan, substitute Daiya cheese. simple!

My friend, Cindy stopped by yesterday to visit with me and brought me lunch. From where? True food of course!

I had the edamame dumplings and they were incredible. Together we disected the taste and came up with what we think would be a good recipe.

 

I have my next challenge!true food edamame dumplings

 

 

Thank you, Cindy, for lunch and the company 😉

My next immediate project is making Frozen Pup treats or Home made Peanut butter biscuits  With all of the treats I’ve been given Fen, I’m starting to run low and need to last until the weekend when Scott is home

 

IMG_0820

 

My sweet girl ❤

Congrats, friends.. you’ve almost made it through humpday!

 

oxox

 

the next food network star ( possible spoiler depending on when you are reading)

hands up.. who is watching this season?

 

* raises hand* 

If you are watching then you know that tonight is the season finale.  Ryan and I have been watching since the beginning, and the very first episode, he looked at me and stated, ” Demaris should be the winner” .

 

At first  was unsure, I mean she did a few things that I kind of thought were on the outrageous side..

 

but as time went on I realized that I LOVED her outrageousness and here we are at the finale, and she is one of the last 3! 

We watched her pilot last week, and Ryan turned to me and said, ” mom, you MUST make this”

 

* for those of you who do not know, Ryan is our middle child, on summer break from college, and a huge foodie ( like his mama 😉 ) *

 

so guess what i did last night? 

yuppers.. I made her recipes.

Sweet Potato Biscuits with Peppered Pork Loin, Apple Mustard Butter and Salad

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/damaris-phillips/sweet-potato-biscuits-with-peppered-pork-loin-apple-mustard-butter-and-salad-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

 

ImageImageImageImage

 

 

trust me. you should too!

 

this was my first time making biscuits ( go ahead, be shocked, Ryan was) and ya know what? they came out really good!  Demaris does a good job of explaining how to not make them *humpy*

yes, Humpy. She said that on tv…  which is why I hope she wins, I would LOVE to watch her show. 

Image

 

 

I know that I promised you a recipe yesterday, but the weekend got away from me and I spent a lot of time outside, enjoying the perfect weather.

I promise, tomorrow… Roasted onion, garlic and red pepper sauce.

so simple, so good 🙂 

Make the most of the rest of your weekend! 

oxox

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