Friday, April 22, 2011

"S" is for Soup

"S" is for soup. I'm getting ready to do a food blog for my company so, I've testing some of my recipes. Both of my parents cooked, my father cooked for a restaurant many years ago in Baltimore, Maryland and my mother was a nutritionist for the school lunch program in San Jose, California. Food has always been an art for my family. My mother taught both of my sons to cook when they were very young and today, they are both very skilled and do very well in the kitchen.

Our store is enormous and amidst the paintings, sculptures, photography, custom jewelry, interior design and home improvement vendors we have also added a certified organic produce department. It has been doing very well since we added it the first weekend in February. I've learned a more about organic food in the last few months than I have in a lifetime. Something that comes up with our customers all of the time is how to prepare some of the items we carry. I find myself going back to the recipes my parents used and new recipes that I've tried and incorporated into my own cooking schedule. I am so surprised how quickly we sell out of basil, garlic and tomatoes when I talk customers through how simple it is to make bruchetta.

One of the first recipes I will be putting on the food blog is my recipe for Broccoli Cheddar soup. This dish is creamy, rich and satisfying, great for vegetarian diets and inexpensive, easy and quick to make. I will debut it here with you. It's absolutely delicious and rivals any restaurant's version. If you have a chance to try it I would love to hear your comments.

4-1/2 cups of fresh, washed, raw broccoli crowns well chopped (please don't use frozen)

1-1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 cup of finely chopped onion

1 single clove of garlic chopped fine

1 T. of olive oil

3 cups of light cream (half and half)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. of nutmeg

1/2 tsp. of cayenne pepper

1 T all purpose flour

1 cup of mild cheddar cheese

1 to 2 tsp. of sugar

Heat broth in a 2 quart sauce pot, add chopped broccoli and simmer until the chopped stems are tender. Do not drain. Set broccoli, broth mixture aside.

In a 4 quart pot add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute onions and garlic until transparent, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and stir. Add 1 tablespoon of flour, stir together and let flour, garlic and onions cook together for about 0ne minute on low heat.

Add 3 cups of half and half and simmer on low until mixture begins to thicken. Add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (more or less to taste), 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, sugar, and black pepper. Stir well and add 1 cup of mild cheddar cheese. Stir until cheese is blended and melted. Add the broccoli and broth mixture and stir well. More salt and pepper to taste if you need to adjust a bit.

Garnish with a basil leaf and a cherry or grape tomato. Serves four to six people.

I hope you like this soup as much as my family and I do.

"S" is for soup.

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