Friday, December 9, 2011

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This soup is adapted from a Food Network Magazine recipe.  

Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 2 cups half-and-half 
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 
  • 4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head) 
  • 1 large carrot, diced 
  • 2 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated sharp white and yellow cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish  
Directions

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth; you'll still have flecks of carrot and broccoli. Return to the pot. (Or puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender.)

Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. Add up to 3/4 cup water if the soup is too thick. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cheese.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Paleo Diet: Sundried Tomato Chicken Bake

This recipe is so easy. You just dump chicken in a dish and top with sliced garlic and a jar of sundried tomatoes, bake and you're done! I absolutely love sundried tomatoes, so this dish is right up my alley.

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in half
8.5 oz jar of julliane cut sun dried tomatoes
8 garlic cloves, sliced thin
2 tablespoons dried basil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Place the chicken breasts in a large glass baking dish. Sprinkle with the dry spices and mix well. Sprinkle the sliced garlic on top and spread the sun dried tomatoes and the olive oil that it’s in the jar over the entire dish. Seal tightly with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the tin foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle.

Paleo Diet: Cilantro-Pork Stir Fry

I used to hate cilantro, and now I am obsessed with this herb. So naturally I loved this dish. I do, however, hate ginger, so I left this ingredient out, but if you like it, go for it! I am always looking for new ways to cook pork and this recipe is a great solution to that dilemma. A squeeze of lime juice at the end adds a great freshness and acidity to this dish.

Ingredients
Fat for cooking;
1 lb tender pork, thinly sliced;
4 finally chopped garlic cloves;
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger;
1 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped;
1/4 cup olive oil;
2 onions, thinly sliced;
1 red or green bell pepper, thinly sliced;
1 tbsp lime juice;

Technique
Mix the garlic, ginger, half the cilantro and olive oil in a bowl, add the pork and put in the refrigerator to marinate for an hour or two. Heat your wok and stir-fry the pork. Remove the pork, add more cooking fat and stir-fry the onions for about 3 minutes. Add the bell pepper and stir-fry for another 3 minutes, until soft. Return the pork to the wok with the lime juice and the other half cilantro leaves and cook for another minute while tossing to blend the flavors.

Paleo Diet: Hungarian Beef Goulash

This is one of the best goulash recipes I have ever made and it follows the Paleo Diet. I suggest making extra of the dish and freezing for leftovers. Grass-fed beef is suggested, but the dish will still be delicious if you use regular beef. Also, don't allow "bone stock" scare you. Just use beef stock, and the kind in a box is fine. Goulash is all about the paprika, so if you can find a good smoked or Hungarian paprika - even better!

Serves 2-3
Ingredients
Cooking oil (lard, tallow, or butter are three good choices)
1/2 Lb stewing beef, cut in cubes (choose grass-fed beef);
2 medium onions, sliced;
1 large garlic clove, crushed and minced;
1 bell pepper, sliced;
2 tbsp paprika (this can be adjusted to taste, don’t be scared to use a lot of it);
2 tsp caraway seeds;
1 can chopped tomatoes (fresh tomatoes is even better);
1 1/2 cups of bone stock (beef stock is best, but anything will do);
Chopped parsley for garnishing.

Technique
Preheat your oven to 350 F. You can also use a crock-pot, on low temperature.

Brown the beef cubes in a pot with the cooking oil.

Put the beef aside and now brown and soften the onions. Add the garlic and bell pepper and cook to soften about 5 minutes on medium heat.

Put back the beef to the pot and add the spices, tomatoes and stock.

Put a lit on the pot and transfer to the hot oven or put the preparation in your crok-pot.

Let it cook for about 2 hours to 2 1/2 hours, until the beef is fork tender.

Paleo Diet: Olive, Garlic and Lemon Chicken

I am trying to follow the Paleo Diet, but I am following it loosely because the Paleo Diet is a bit extreme - no potatoes, no pasta, no bread, no grains at all. But I have found quite a few good Paleo recipes that leave you satisfied. Even my husband has had no complaints. Here is one of those recipes. The recipe calls for chicken thighs, but if you're not a fan of dark meat, you can use bone-in chicken breasts.

Serves 4
Ingredients
1/4 cup butter (or ghee), tallow, coconut oil or poultry fat;
1/2 lb black olives (kalamata), cut in half;
8 chicken thighs, with bones and skin (or 4 bone-in chicken breasts);
3 cups onions, sliced thin;
30 gloves garlic, minced and smashed almost to a paste;
1/2 cup lemon juice;
2 extra lemons, thickly sliced (remove seeds with the tip of a knife);
1 1/2 cups chicken stock;
A bunch of picked thyme leaves;
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;

Technique
Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Melt the first 1/4 cup fat in a large and hot pan and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. It will take about 6 minutes total. Set the chicken aside.

Cook the onions until soft, about 3 minutes, and make sure to scrape all the delicious chicken bits off the pan while doing so.

Add the garlic and cook for about a minute, until fragrant. You can season with salt and pepper at this point.

Add the chicken stock, thyme and lemon juice and return the chicken thighs to the pan, skin side up.

Bring to a simmer and put the pan, covered, in the hot oven for about 20 minutes.

Remove the lid, add the halved olives as well as the lemon slices and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes uncovered.

Serve the chicken with the olive, garlic and lemon sauce as well as with some of the lemon slices.