nutritious and delicious

Thanksgiving break marked the end of our first term of classes.  5 labs down, 10 to go. First up after turkey day: Nutrition and Sensory Analysis. The timing couldn’t have been better, huh? I was really looking forward to this class–I knew the instructor and knew we had very similar views on food.

What a new term also means is new classmates.  A group of about 8 of us “big kids” from our first session got together and all registered for the same classes, which meant about 12 new faces.  The first couple weeks were a little rough. I quickly named a group member “Wonder Boy,” and not as a term of endearment. We’ve all settled in though, and get along pretty well.  But it is VERY exciting to see old friendly faces in the halls.

So let’s get to the good stuff–the food! Each day before service we went down the whole line and each group had to explain why each of their dishes were “nutritious and delicious.”  Not surprisingly, i LOVED all the food in this class. A fellow health nut and I talked so excitedly about how much better we felt after class each day–we had more energy, were in better moods,  and life just seemed a little brighter.  After the land of cream sauces and mushy meat, it was like discovering the promised land.

upper left: shrimp spring rolls with rice noodles and fresh mint
lower left: banana nut bread (barf)
center: buckwheat pancakes! deeeeelicious
upper right: vegan tofu chocolate pudding with raspberry coulis. deeeeesgusting.
(i try to like tofu. i really do. but i just don’t. i don’t hate it like i hate bananas, so that’s something)
lower right: spaghetti squash with tempeh bolognese. tempeh is another meat substitute made of fermented soy beans. infinitely better than tofu.

 here’s a couple shots of the full lot of daily production (well, actually each of these are only about half of it):

two of my accomplishments: brocco-flower cheddar soup and smoothies (blueberry-banana and strawberry-raspberry-peach)

   

hands-down one of my favorite things i’ve made to date: falafel!

wonder boy made the tzatziki. took him approximately 2 hours.

 and the crowning glory after two weeks of very little meat, cheese, or fat:

bacon cheddar sliders with caramelized onions and chipotle mayo on fresh-baked rolls. the southern carnivorous males were in HEAVEN.

For our final, we had to take a recipe and modify it to pretty strict nutritional requirements.  I took a sautéed salmon with a beurre rouge sauce (read: 2 sticks of butter with some red wine) and turned it into:

Ancho Chile Salmon with Clementine Reduction

(after being tasted and graded. A+!)

I marinated the salmon in fresh clementine juice, clementine zest, ancho chile powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. 30 minutes later, they got baked at 375 until cooked through, about 12 minutes.  The brown sugar and the sugars in the juice caramelize on the outside of the fish, and the higher heat allow it to cook quickly and not dry out. Meanwhile, I reduced the exact same mixture as the marinade over medium heat until slightly syrupy. Drizzle that over the fish, top it with some toasted panko breadcrumbs and BAM (he’s a jwu alumnus, ps)!

Nutritious and delicious.

cauliflower soup

Manfriend and I have pretty similar culinary tastes,  (although he still can’t quite grasp my love of hot sauce and processed cheese) which makes dinner quite easy and he’s always trusting when I make something he’s never had and PROMISE it will be delicious.  So when he asked for Cauliflower Soup last week, something I’ve never made and didn’t think I’d like, the least I could do was give it a good-faith effort.  And by “good faith effort” I mean, consult my favorite food blogs to see what they had to say on the topic.

Lo and Behold: just that morning, Macheesmo posted Cauliflower Stilton Soup and the Pioneer Woman also had a very similar recipe.  I used her recipe as the base, but snuck some Stilton into my bowl at the very end 🙂 And, was quite pleasantly surprised! It was rather delicious. Not something I’d put in my weekly repertoire, but I wouldn’t hesitate to make it again.

the essential tools for any culinary expedition

Cauliflower Soup
by Rhee, the Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

  • 1 stick Butter
  • ½ whole Onion, Finely Diced
  • 1 whole Carrot Finely Diced
  • 1 stalk Celery, Finely Diced
  • 1 whole (to 2 Whole) Cauliflower Heads (roughly Chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Or Dried Parsley (chopped)
  • 2 quarts Low-sodium Chicken Broth Or Stock
  • 6 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • 1 cup Half-and-half
  • 2 teaspoons To 4 Teaspoons Salt, To Taste
  • 1 cup (heaping) Sour Cream, Room Temperature

Method

  • In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown. Add the carrots and celery and cook an additional couple of minutes.

ahhh mirepoix, we meet again.

  • Add cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine. Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes.

exhibit A: as low as my burner can go without extinguishing itself. exhibit b: my spotlessly clean stove top.

  • After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.

threat level: orange. will all the milk and cream fit in the pot too?

  • In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Mix the flour with the milk and whisk to combine.

I have a tendancy to let my melted butter go brown...so I mixed the flour THEN carefully monitored my butter.

  • Add flour-milk mixture slowly to the butter, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup half-and-half.

  • Add mixture to the simmering soup. Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.

we made it! threat level has returned to green.

mouse in the house? no. just a grazing manfriend.

  • Just before serving, place the sour cream in a serving bowl or soup tureen. Add two to three ladles of hot soup into the tureen and stir to combine with the sour cream. Pour in remaining soup and stir.

they didn't design urban apartments with the storage space for soup tureens.

a little freshly cracked pepper, some lovely stilton (maybe a shake or two of hot sauce), and dinner is served!

you can find me in the towers

“I feel like a dope addict waiting outside the Towers for my first hit of the day.” –Manfriend, scratching his arms like an addict eagerly waiting for me to finish photographing this soup.

If you get The Wire reference, give yourself 5 bonus points. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you need to immediately dedicate the next four months of your life to watching every. single. episode.

Anyways, back to the soup. This is, proudly, my first DTMS Original Recipe®. About a year ago, I decided to attempt black bean soup, but none of recipes I found were quite what I wanted–relatively quick and easy, and supremely flavorful. So, I read a few different takes, went to the store, and grabbed what struck my fancy. For reasons unknown to me, I had the amazing forsight to actually write down every step of the madness that was about to ensue. And praise Jesus because this is DELICIOUS. Next time you see me, pat me on the back.

Bubbles’ Black Bean Soup
A DTMS Original

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, mince
  • 1 large shake cayenne pepper (don’t be scared.)
  • 1 small shake each:
    • thyme
    • allspice
    • sugar
    • garlic powder
    • white pepper
    • salt
    • black pepper
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and lightly rinsed
  • 1 can refried beans (I use fat-free and they work great)
  • 1 small can tomato sauce (NOT paste)
  • 2 cups chicken broth

Method

  • Saute onion until tender, about 5 minutes.

    standar

  • Add garlic, spices. Stir and cook another minute or so.
  • Add refried beans and tomato sauce, heat through.

not the prettiest picture, but bear with me. you'll be glad you did.

  • Add black beans, heat through again

  • This is where it gets fun. You need to run the soup mixture through a food processor. I have a baby one, so I do it in batches. I like to use an old family heirloom to transfer the soup:

process until fairly smooth--don't pulverize all the beans, you want some still in-tact for texture.

  • In the same stock pot, warm your broth.
  • Add back the bean mixture and bring to a boil. Simmer…mmm 20 minutes or until your boyfriend gets the shakes.

full disclosure: i added a couple shakes of chipotle tabasco at this point. we like things spicyyyyyyy

  • Top with (light) sour cream and cilantro (parsely works great too if that’s what you have). Or if you have no herbs, no one will judge you.

arm-scratching good. god this is a terrible photo. i had an addict breathing down my back.

and for my next act…

I will use every new appliance acquired in the last month.   This recipe caught my eye recently as I enjoy soups and you all can’t freaking get enough bacon out of me.   After a crazy weekend in the office, it was just the thing to rejuvenate me and break in my le creuset!

(which, for the record, is a fantastic blog you should read….right after this one 😉 )

Ingredients
  • 4 strips of lean bacon
  • 3 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 15 1/2-ounce cans white beans, drained
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Method

First things first:

did you catch the "weekend in the office" part?

  • In a large Dutch oven, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Let cool, chop, and set aside.

SERIOUS bacon.

a fitting first task.

  • Over medium heat, add the carrot, celery and onion to the pan drippings in the Dutch oven and sauté for 7 minutes; add the garlic and sauté for an additional 60 seconds, stirring constantly. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.

tried out my new mandolin and promptly took off my manicure.

also broke in the new garlic press. this thing is a WORKHORSE. thanks manfriend 🙂

  • Add 2 cans of beans, bay leaf and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the carrots and celery are soft.

now we're cooking.

you're so pretty.

  • Uncover and remove the bay leaf. Using a potato masher or an immersion blender, partially mash the bean mixture until it thickens slightly. Stir in the last can of beans, parsley and bacon. Taste and re-season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, if needed. Enjoy.

Yum! On the side, I sliced (much more successfully) some leftover yukon golds, tossed ’em in salt, shallot pepper, a little cayenne, and baked at 400 until cooked through and browned. Then, because I was feeling frisky and had a new microplane, I microplaned some parm on top and broiled until cheese bubbled. No recipe. Just culinary brilliance.