Monday, December 31

Healthy New Year's Recipes

A healthier take on a breakfast hash that uses bulgur wheat instead of potatoes. Pictured: Bulgur, Kale & Squash Hash with Fried Egg

New Years always bring resolutions and for many people it's a goal to eat healthy and lose weight. It's also a great time to detox from the holiday excess and get yourself back on track with a normal routine. In that spirit, I've shared some of my favorite healthy recipes to start 2013 off right (that is, after I complete my New Year's Day tradition of eating two double-double cheeseburgers from In-N-Out).

The raw carrots in this salad are full of nutrients and look as good as they taste. Pictured: Indian Carrot & Lamb Salad
These cakes are full of nutrient-packed salmon and vegetables. Pictured: Salmon Cakes with Chive-Yogurt Sauce
This vegetable soup uses Greek yogurt instead of cream and can be made in thirty minutes. Pictured: Asparagus Soup 
Grilled chicken is the quintessential high-protein low-fat meal, but this version is anything but ordinary. Pictured: Grilled Chicken with Salsa Verde

Friday, December 28

Marsala Mushroom & Artichoke Pasta

Words and photos can't describe how good this pasta is, but I'll try. Inspired by this recipe, pasta is tossed with a meaty marsala mushroom sauce, artichoke hearts, and a generous amount of Parmesan cheese. The slightly sweet, creamy marsala sauce is reminiscent of the classic chicken marsala dish but with even more flavor since the mushrooms soak it up like a sponge. Since the mushrooms are diced finely it's easy to get a perfect bite of pasta, vegetable, and sauce every time. We had it for two dinner two nights and already can't wait to eat it again.

Marsala Mushroom & Artichoke Pasta:
  • Heat 3 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add in 1 diced onion and soften for a 1-2 minutes, then add in 1 lb. diced cremini mushrooms.
  • Season with salt and cook for 10 minutes, or until vegetables have cooked down and softened.
  • Add in 1 c. dry Marsala wine and scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Let the wine reduce until nearly all liquid has evaporated, about 3-5 minutes then turn heat to a simmer.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt, and cook 1 lb. pasta* until al dente.
  • Drain pasta and add to the skillet with the mushroom sauce.
  • Add in 8 oz. thawed artichoke hearts, 3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 c. heavy cream.
  • Stir until artichokes have warmed and pasta has absorbed most of the sauce.
  • Stir in a large handful of minced fresh parsley and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Divide onto plates and serve.

Serves four - six
*I used farfalle, but any small and short variety will work.

Thursday, December 27

Crispy Pancetta Brussels Sprouts

Crispy Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite side dishes and are so easy to make. This version only requires three ingredients but tastes like it came from a restaurant kitchen. The pancetta fries up into nice crunchy bits and the rendered fat adds a great salty bite to the sprouts, which I like to caramelize until the outer leaves get dark and charred. This recipe makes a lot of food, so make sure you use a large skillet or the vegetables will steam instead of getting crispy. It makes a great side dish for a crowd but I like to top some with a fried egg for a light meal. Leftovers reheat really well too.

Crispy Pancetta Brussels Sprouts:
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook 1/2 lb. pancetta, diced into small cubes, until crispy, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon and increase the heat to high.*
  • Add in 1 lb. halved brussels sprouts and cook for 5 minutes on one side.
  • Flip the sprouts and cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until darkly caramelized. Season with salt and pepper.**
  • Transfer to a 425F oven and cook for another 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  • Remove from the pan and stir in the cook pancetta bits and the zest of 1/2 a lemon.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Serves six (side dish)
*Leave the fat in the pan. If not much fat is rendered, add in a little oil.
**The pancetta will add some salt, so make sure to taste.

Friday, December 21

Malaysian Black Pepper Clams

The cold weather had me craving a warm bowl of steamed clams, so I decided to use this recipe for a Malaysian black pepper version. The manilas I used are much smaller than other types of clams, but I love their colorful shells and delicate flavor and texture. They get quickly steamed in a little water and then tossed with a sweet-spicy-tangy sauce and topped with bright fresh herbs. Make sure to have a lot of toasted crusty bread on hand for mopping up the sauce - we nearly went through a whole loaf!

Malaysian Black Pepper Clams:
  • Place 2 lbs. of manila clams* in a colander and run under very cold water for 5 minutes, or until clams have released all their grit and sand.
  • Meanwhile, mix 2 tbsp. soy sauce, 2 tsp. oyster sauce,** 1/4 c. brown sugar, 1 tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper, and the juice of 1 large lime in a bowl.
  • Heat 2 tbsp. canola oil in a large pot and add in 2 tbsp. minced garlic and 2 tbsp. minced ginger.
  • Cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant but not brown, then add in the clams.
  • Pour 1/4 c. water into the pot and cover with a lid.
  • Allow the clams to steam open for 5 minutes, then uncover and turn off  the heat.***
  • Immediately stir in the soy sauce mixture and 2 tbsp. butter until melted.
  • Divide clams into bowls and top each with a handful of cilantro and torn basil leaves.
  • Serve with bread for dipping.

Serves two (main course)
Serves four - six (appetizer)
*If you can't find manilas, any variety of clams will do but cooking times may vary.
**Available in the Asian section of most grocery stores.
***If you listen carefully, you will actually be able to hear the clams opening. Wait til the majority of clams have opened, then discard any that didn't.

Thursday, December 20

Homemade Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread

As I get older and my social circle continues to expand, I feel like I have more and more people to get gifts for over the holidays. I love spending time shopping for things that I think my family and close friends will really enjoy, but for others it's just nice to give them a little something. Homemade gifts are a great option for the latter, since they are relatively inexpensive and a sweet way to let people know that you're thinking of them. My go-to gift around Christmas is this peppermint bark, but I changed it up this year with homemade nutella. It's super quick and easy to make, and one batch can make four to eight gifts. I had to save a little for myself, which tasted great on a warm croissant.

Homemade Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread:
  • Place 10 oz. of hazelnuts* on a baking sheet and roast in a 350F oven for 5-10 minutes, or until lightly toasted.**
  • Let nuts cool, then place in a food processor and puree on high speed until a smooth paste forms, about 1-3 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place a heat-proof bowl over a simmering pot of water and add in 1 lb. high-quality bittersweet chocolate.***
  • Stir chocolate until melted, then turn off the heat and stir in 1 stick of room-temperature butter.
  • Once butter melts, stir in 1 c. heavy cream and 3/4 tsp. salt.
  • Whisk in the hazelnut paste until smooth, then transfer into jars.
  • Nutella will get thicker as it cools.

Makes 4 cups
*Preferably without skins. If nuts have skins, rub them off before transferring to the food processor.
**Be careful, nuts can burn very easily.
**I used Scharffen Berger.

Tuesday, December 18

Mashed Celery Root

There's something very nostalgic about serving mashed potatoes with a holiday meal, but there are many ways to upgrade the classic without sacrificing the dish's integrity. I've done mashed sweet potatoes in the past, but this celery root (also known as celeriac) version is even closer to the original. It can be intimidating to work with celery root since the big, gnarly heads are one of the uglier vegetables I've seen, but after you slice away the outer peel it very much resembles the white flesh of a potato. I just boil it until tender, drain off all liquid, and then mash it with butter and milk. The end result looks exactly like mashed potatoes but with a nuttier, more pronounced taste. It's a great way to sneak extra vegetables into a meal, and you might even like it better than the traditional dish.

Mashed Celery Root:
  • Trim the ends off of 1 large head of celery root, cut off and discard the outer skin, and dice into uniform pieces.
  • Place into a pot, along with 1 peeled and diced Russet potato, and cover with cold water.
  • Bring pot to a boil and cook for 10-20 minutes* or until vegetables are tender.
  • Drain all water out of the pot and return to the stove over very low heat.
  • Allow vegetables to dry out for a minute on the stove, then mash with 1/2 c. milk and 1 tbsp. butter.
  • Season with salt and pepper and add more liquid if necessary until you have a smooth, flavorful mash.

Serves three-four (side dish)
*Cooking time will depend on how large the vegetables are diced.

Monday, December 17

Christmas Menu

Roast beef is a Christmas classic, but this recipe is so simple that you'll want to make it year round. Pictured: Roast Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Cream Sauce

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The holiday is just a week away, and with gifts purchased and made(more on that soon), parties attended, and trees decorated, it’s almost time for the big event. This year is extra special for me because it’s the first year that my fiancĂ© and I will be spending the day together. I’m so excited to share my family’s traditions with him and to start creating some of our own. This year we’re expecting twenty people at my parent’s house – our biggest crew yet – and will be creating a huge family-style feast. Here are some dishes that are perfect for celebrating, no matter how big or small or party is.

A rich side dish is a great way for vegetarian guests to indulge. Pictured: Mushroom Risotto
Cocktails always make the holidays a little merrier and kids will love the non-alcoholic version. Pictured: Bourbon-Spiked Hot Apple Cider
Add some festive color to your table with a beautiful make-ahead salad. Pictured: Roasted Beet, Arugula, & Burrata Salad
Tis the season for chocolate. Pictured: Chocolate-Hazelnut Espresso Mousse

Friday, December 14

Mushroom Chicken & Buttered Egg Noodles

Winter weather is in full effect, and most nights I can't wait to change into my flannel pajamas, cozy up with my fiance, and enjoy a hot meal. This recipe is just the type of warm, comforting food I crave but it doesn't require any low and slow cooking. Sliced chicken and mushrooms get bathed in a quick, light gravy (adapted from this recipe) that's full of deep umami flavors. I like to serve it over buttered egg noodles - always a comfort food for me - so that they absorb some of the sauce.

Mushroom Chicken & Buttered Egg Noodles:
  • Microwave 1 c. chicken broth until warm, then add in 8 dried porcini mushroom pieces. Let sit for at least 20 minutes.
  • Heat 1 tbsp. canola oil in a large skillet over high heat and add in 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts.*
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, or until golden.
  • Transfer chicken to a sheet pan and place in a 375F for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, add a little more oil to the skillet and toss in 6 oz. sliced mushrooms.**
  • Season mushrooms with salt and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until soft and starting to caramelize.
  • Remove mushrooms from the pan and set aside, and lower the heat to medium-low.
  • Add 1 1/2 tbsp. of butter and 1 minced shallot to the pan.
  • Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until softened, then add in 1 1/2 tbsp. flour and stir until thickened, about a minute.
  • Remove the porcini mushrooms from the stock and finely chop, then strain the liquid to remove any grit.
  • Pour the strained stock into the pan with the shallots and stir to avoid any lumps.
  • Add in 1/4 c. heavy cream, 2 tbsp. soy sauce, a splash of Sherry, and 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves.
  • Cook for another minute, then check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  • Slice the chicken and add to the gravy, along with the dried and fresh mushrooms.
  • Let chicken and mushrooms simmer for a few minutes to absorb flavors.
  • Toss 2 c. cooked egg noodles with a pat of butter and season with salt.
  • Divide noodles onto plates, then top with the chicken, mushrooms, and gravy.
  • Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.

Serves two - three
*About 6 oz. each.
**I used cremini mushrooms.

Thursday, December 13

Horseradish Steak Sandwich

The great thing about making a roast beef tenderloin for two people is that you get to feast on the leftovers for days. Some people might think it's absurd to make a sandwich out of filet mignon (and maybe it is), but you can definitely still appreciate the tenderness of the meat. I used some leftover horseradish cream sauce so the prep work for this dish was nearly non-existent. I like my sandwiches to be simple but flavorful, and a toasted ciabatta roll, some baby greens, and balsamic caramelized onions are the only extras needed. The sandwiches were so good that we had them twice, and I can't wait til the next time I make too much steak so that we can do this again.

Steak Sandwich with Horseradish Sauce & Balsamic Onions:
  • Heat 1 tbsp. canola oil in a small skillet and add in 1 thinly sliced red onion.
  • Cook over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until soft and starting to caramelize.
  • Stir in 1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar and cook for another 5 minutes, or until dark and soft.*
  • Meanwhile, slice two ciabatta rolls in half and and toast until golden.
  • Top the bottom half of the rolls with a handful of baby spinach, a layer of warm thinly sliced steak, a drizzle of horseradish cream sauce,* and some of the onions.
  • Top with the other half of the bread and serve.

Serves two
**This should make enough onions for four sandwiches. Leftovers can be covered and kept in the fridge for a few days.
**To make the sauce, combine 1/4 c. creme fraiche with 1 heaping tbsp. prepared horseradish and 1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper.

Wednesday, December 12

Beef Tenderloin & Creamy Horseradish Sauce

Christmas is less than two weeks away, and I'm really starting to get into the spirit. I've already finished most of my gift shopping but there’s still a ton of things I want to do: make a gingerbread house, drive around our neighborhood looking at Christmas lights, and enjoy some festive meals. This is really the best time of year to break bread with friends and family, and such celebration should come with outstanding food. This beef tenderloin is a special-occasion cut of meat (after all, it’s basically a huge filet mignon) that’s still super low maintenance to prepare. The horseradish cream sauce adds more elegance (especially served in a silver bowl) and gives the meal a great steakhouse quality. It’s fancy enough to be the star of your Christmas dinner but easy enough to prepare on your busiest weeknight.

Beef Tenderloin & Creamy Horseradish Sauce:
For Sauce
  • Whisk 1/4 c. creme fraiche in a small bowl until thickened, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in 1 tbsp. prepared horseradish* and 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper.**
For Beef
  • Let a 1 1/2 lb. beef tenderloin sit at room temperature for an hour and generously season with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, melt 1 tbsp. canola oil and 2 tbsp. butter in a large heavy skillet until very hot.
  • Sear beef on all four sides until deeply brown, about 2-3 minutes a side, then transfer to a baking sheet and place in a 400F oven.
  • Cook the meat for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.
  • Let the meat rest for 15 minutes, then slice and serve with horseradish sauce.

Serves four - six
*Or more, depending on how spicy you like it.
**Sauce can be made a day ahead and kept covered in the fridge.

Tuesday, December 11

Delicata Squash Rings with Pomegranate & Feta

This is a festive, easy side dish that looks as good as it tastes. The sweet delicata squash gets complimented with the salty feta cheese and acidic pomegranate and lime and is a nice change from the overly-sweet yam dishes that show up on tables this time of year. The squash doesn't need to be peeled, just thinly sliced into rings (I love the way it looks) and crisped in a pan. It's a dish that bursts with flavor, texture, and color despite its simplicity.

Crispy Delicata Squash Rings with Pomegranate & Feta:
  • Wash 1 large delicata squash and trim off ends.
  • Cut squash into thin 1/4" rings and scoop out any seeds.
  • Season squash with salt and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.*
  • Meanwhile, coat the bottom of a large heavy skillet with canola oil and heat until very hot but not smoking.
  • Wipe the salt and moisture off the squash and, in batches, add some of the rings to the pan.
  • Cook for 3 minutes per side, or until squash is golden brown and tender.
  • Remove squash to a paper towel and repeat until all squash is cooked.**
  • Arrange squash on a plate and top with the zest of 1 lime, 1/4 c. crumbled feta cheese, and 1/4 c. pomegranate arils.

Serves four (side dish)
*This will draw some of the moisture out of the squash and make it easier to crisp during frying.
**You may need to add more oil to the pan.

Monday, December 10

Salmon Tacos

I ate a lot of fish tacos during our trip to Costa Rica last month and it reminded me what an easy, delicious meal they can be. Generally fish tacos are made with some sort of white fish (see here), but I switched it up and used salmon. The weather here has been pretty chilly (at least by L.A. standards) so I roasted mine in the oven instead of grilling it, although this would also be a great way to use leftover salmon from the night before. The topping possibilities are endless, but I kept it simple with some avocado, pico de gallo salsa, and lime.

Salmon Tacos:
  • Place one 2/3 lb. salmon fillet on a foil-lined baking sheet (skin-side down), 
  • Brush fish with oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Roast fish in a 400F oven for 12-15 minutes, or until just cooked through.
  • Heat 4-6 corn tortillas* and divide onto plates, then top with some of the salmon** and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
  • Arrange a couple thin slices of avocado on each taco and top with pico de gallo salsa.

Serves two-three
*I like to heat mine by placing each one directly on top of a burner on my stove for 15 seconds a side.
**You should be able to easily break the salmon into pieces with a spatula. The skin will stick to the foil on the baking sheet and should be discarded.

Friday, December 7

Teryiaki Sauce

Teryiaki sauce has always been a favorite of mine (I used to live on Hapa's teryiaki chicken bowls during my freshman year at CU), but I never realized how easy it was to make until I came across this recipe. It takes just a few ingredients to create that familiar sweet-salty flavor and a batch can keep for weeks. The consistency is pretty thin, so it works well as a quick marinade and for drizzling and brushing on cooked meat and vegetables. The sugars in the sauce help to caramelize and create a nice crust on everything when it hits the heat. I made some and used it on grilled flank steak one night and to liven up some boneless skinless chicken breasts (pictured) another night.

Teryiaki Sauce:
  • Combine 1 c. brown sugar and 1 c. water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Stir to dissolve the sugar and boil for 3-4 minutes, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Add in 1 c. mirin, 1 c. soy sauce, 1/2 c. peeled and roughly chopped fresh ginger, 5 whole black peppercorns, and 1 tbsp. ground coriander.
  • Simmer sauce for 1-1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until sauce has reduced and thickened.
  • Let cool, then pour into a jar or tupperware and cover with a lid.
  • Store in the fridge and use as needed.

Makes two - three cups

Thursday, December 6

Soy-Lime Roasted Rockfish & Bok Choy

I’m all for embracing seasonal flavors, especially now that the weather is matching up, but I can only take so much squash, cider, and greens before I need to change it up. This recipe provides a nice respite with a light citrus vinaigrette and delicately roasted rockfish over bok choy and brown rice. Usually I must have a crispy skin on my fish, but quick roasting it keeps the texture firm and meaty and plays nicely with the slightly-crunchy vegetables. It’s a quick, easy meal that will remind you of warmer weather and healthy enough to keep around for New Year’s resolution time. P.S. Can’t find rockfish? Any delicate white fish will do – try subbing flounder, sole, or halibut.

Soy-Lime Roasted Rockfish & Bok Choy:
  • Combine 1 minced scallion, 1 handful chopped cilantro leaves, 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh lime juice, 1 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tbsp. rice vinegar,  and 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger in a small bowl.
  • Whisk in 3/4 tbsp. canola oil and set aside.*
  • Meanwhile, add 1 tbsp. canola oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add in 5-6 halved heads of bok choy, cut side down, and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until starting to brown.
  • Turn bok choy over, season with salt and pepper, and turn off the heat. Pour in 1/4 c. sake.**
  • Lay 2 fillets of boneless rockfish on top of the vegetables and season fish with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer skillet to a 400F oven and roast for 8-12 minutes, or until fish is just cooked through.
  • Spoon some of the soy-lime sauce over the fish and bok choy, then divide onto plates.
  • Pass around more sauce as needed.

Serves two
*Can be made a day ahead and kept in the fridge.
**Can substitute with a dry white wine, if needed.

Wednesday, December 5

Five-Ingredient Bacon Hash

I make a lot of hashes since they’re a great way to use up any random ingredients I have in the fridge. Sometimes I don’t have much at all lying around, but it’s still possible to make a satisfying one-skillet meal. This recipe only calls for five ingredients (and small amounts of them): potato, eggs, bacon, scallions, and garlic. It’s a perfect meal for a single cook, or really any cook who’s dining alone, but it can easily be doubled or tripled to feed a crowd. And such is the beauty of a hash, feel free to add (or take away) ingredients as your fridge allows – see here, here, here, and here for inspiration.

Bacon-Scallion-Potato Hash:
  • Dice 4 slices of thick-cut bacon and place in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until fat has rendered and bacon bits are crisp.
  • Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving fat in the pan.
  • Add in 1 large peeled and diced potato* and cook for 5 minutes, turning occasionally, or until potato is starting to brown.
  • Add in a 1/4 c. of water and cover skillet with a lid.
  • Cook potato for another 5 minutes, or until nearly tender, and all liquid has evaporated.
  • Uncover and stir in 4 sliced scallions.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until scallions have softened, then stir in 1 clove of minced garlic.
  • Stir in the bacon to combine then transfer hash to a plate.
  • Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel and cook an egg to your liking.
  • Serve egg on top of the hash and enjoy.

Serves one-two
*I used a Russet potato.

Tuesday, December 4

Sesame Chicken Tenders

This recipe is an elevated, healthier spin on chicken fingers that kids and adults will both enjoy. The tenders get quickly marinated in a ginger-soy mixture (that does double duty as a dipping sauce) before getting lightly coated in a panko-sesame seed topping. Unlike most breaded chicken tenders, there is no extra egg or flour used to adhere the breadcrumbs, which means a thinner, crispier crust and less cleanup. The chicken then gets quickly sautĂ©ed in a pan until golden brown and then served alongside the extra sauce. It’s a fun finger food that makes a great weeknight meal when paired with a green salad or veggie.

Related Recipes:
- Sesame Peanut Chicken Satay
- Mustard Chicken Milanese
- Chicken Picatta

Sesame Chicken Tenders with Ginger-Soy Dipping Sauce:
For Sauce
  • Whisk together 1/4 c. soy sauce, 1 tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 tbsp. sesame oil, 1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger, 1 tsp. sugar, and 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes.
For Chicken Tenders
  • In a bowl, combine 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken tenders with 3 tbsp. ginger-soy sauce mixture.
  • Let chicken marinade for 15 minutes at room temperature. Reserve remaining sauce for dipping.
  • Meanwhile, combine 1 c. panko breadcrumbs with 1/4 c. sesame seeds in a large, shallow bowl.
  • Heat 1/4" of canola oil in a large non-stick skillet until very hot but not smoking.
  • In batches, add chicken into the panko mixture and roll around to adhere as much topping as possible.
  • Shake off any excess panko and place in the hot skillet.
  • Cook for 3 minutes a side, or until golden brown and cooked through.*
  • Repeat with remaining chicken, adding more oil as necessary to the skillet.
  • Serve with soy-ginger sauce and enjoy.

Serves two-three (main course)
Serves five-six (appetizer)
*To keep tenders warm and crisp before serving, place them on a wire rack over a baking sheet and keep in a 300F oven.

Monday, December 3

Cheddar Cauliflower Soup

We've had rain for five consecutive days now and I'm actually enjoying it. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I hate anything but blue skies, but after so many months of above-average heat it feels good to get some winter weather. I have a long list of soups I've been wanting to try, but this cheddar cauliflower recipe (taken from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day) was at the top of my list. I was able to track down  orange cauliflower at my farmer's market in between the storms - hence the color of the final product - but regular white cauliflower works too. Make sure to be generous with the garnishes; I think they really make the dish sing.

Cheddar Cauliflower Soup:
For Croutons
  • Whisk together 1 tbsp. melted butter, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 3/4 tbsp. Dijon mustard, and a pinch of salt.
  • Toss butter mixture with 1 1/2 c. baguette, torn into bite-size chunks.
  • Cook croutons in a 350F oven for 10-15 minutes, turning once with a spatula.*
For Soup
  • Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a large dutch oven and add in 2 chopped shallots and 1 chopped yellow onion.
  • Cook onions for 5 minutes, turning occasionally, and season well with salt.
  • Add in 1 peeled and diced Russet potato, cover the pot, and cook for 4 minutes.
  • Add in 2 chopped garlic cloves and give the mixture a stir.
  • Pour in 4 c. low-sodium vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
  • Cook until potatoes are almost tender, then add in 1 large head of cauliflower that has been cut into very small florets.
  • Cover the pot and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender.
  • Let mixture cool slightly, then transfer to a blender and puree til smooth.
  • Return back to the pot at low heat and whisk in 1/2 c. grated aged cheddar cheese** and 2 tsp. Dijon mustard.
  • If necessary, thin soup out with some more stock or water.
  • Check soup for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.
  • To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with more grated cheddar and a handful of croutons.

Serves four-six (main course)
Serves eight-ten (appetizer)
*Optional, you can omit or use store-bought croutons. Leftover croutons can be cooled, then stored room-temperature in a jar or bag for up to a week.
**Use the sharpest, most aged cheddar you can find - it will add a lot of flavor to the dish.