Food for Dentistry Part 2 – Broccoli Soup

Broccoli Soup

Broccoli Soup

Going to great lengths to follow recovery instructions carefully, I’m keeping things smooth and liquid with minimal chewing for the time being.   This soup is incredibly easy and really tasty.  Also, my appreciation for the immersion blender is at an all-time high.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 medium-sized heads of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 russet potato, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp herbs de Provence
  • 6 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • sour cream and hard cheese for garnish

METHOD

In a dutch oven over medium heat, sauté onion and celery in olive oil and butter until soft and translucent (about ten minutes).  Add garlic and herbs de Provence and sauté until fragrant (about 1 minute).  Add broccoli, potato and stock and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook until vegetables are tender (25 – 30 minutes).

Season with salt and pepper to taste and blend with an immersion blender (or in a regular blender) until smooth.  Place soup into bowls.

Thin sour cream with milk or half and half and drizzle over soup.  Add some shaved hard cheese (parmesan, asiago, pecorino, etc.) and some cracked black pepper and serve hot.

For those who are able to chew, this soup is great with a dark bread.

Crushed Puy Lentils with Tahini and Cumin

Crushed Puy Lentils with Tahini and Cumin

Crushed Puy Lentils with Tahini and Cumin

Lately we’ve been focused on plant-based recipes, occasionally rounding out with seafood for protein (though an occasional free-range chicken crosses our road from time to time).  Whether that is your focus as well or even if you’re just looking to give a little extra pizzazz to your veggie sides, I can’t recommend Plenty and Plenty More by Yotem Ottolenghi enough.  I am cooking my non-linear way through both of these books just as fast as I can and have yet to find a single recipe that wasn’t just plain amazing.

We made this recipe three times in two weeks.  it’s delicious as an appetizer or even as a main entree.  You can use toast or flatbread or even crackers for your delivery system (I confess when it came to left-overs the next day, I skipped all the above and went straight for a spoon).  You’ll like this one, I promise!  You can find the original recipe at the Ottolengi official site.

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup small green Puy lentils (look for the smaller ones, sometimes called French lentils, not the regular ones)
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cups finely diced tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes which worked perfectly)
  • a full cup of cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup tahini paste
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/3 small red onion, sliced very thinly
  • 4 eggs, hard boiled
  • hot smoked paprika, regular paprika, or sumac to garnish

METHOD

Bring a medium pan of water to a boil. Add the lentils and cook for 15-20 minutes, until completely cooked, drain and set aside.

Put the butter and oil in a large sauté pan and place on a medium-high heat. Once the butter melts, add the garlic and cumin, and cook for a minute. Add the tomatoes, 20g of coriander and the cooked lentils. Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes, then add the tahini, lemon juice, 70ml of water, a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Turn down the heat to medium and cook gently, stirring, for a few minutes more, until hot and thickened. Roughly mash the lentils with a potato masher, so that some are broken up and you get a thick, porridge consistency.

Spread out the lentils on a flat platter, run a fork through to make a wavy pattern on top, and scatter on the sliced onion, the remaining coriander and a final drizzle of olive oil. Serve warm with the hard-boiled eggs alongside.

Sausage, Shitake, White Bean and Kale Soup

Sausage, Shitake, White Bean and Kale Soup

Sausage, Shitake, White Bean and Kale Soup

Part of being more conscious about what we’re eating involves making sure that we’re using the things we have in the fridge.  A while back we bought some spicy chicken sausage thinking we needed to supplement an impromptu dinner party for last-minute guests.  As it turned out, the guests decided at the last-minute that they weren’t coming.  We’re not really grill up a sausage and eat it kinda guys so we opted for soup. I’ve been making soup long enough to know that as long as you have tasty ingredients and you give mind to equal distribution of ingredients for bites, you can pretty much throw it together and it’ll work.  That’s your cue to go crazy with your pantry and my way of saying that the amounts of particular ingredients here should be used as a guideline; add what you have, skip what you don’t and taste throughout the cooking process and you’ll be happy.

Soup for me needs bread and as we were sitting down to eat, the garlic butter toast I had in mind didn’t pan out because I forgot to buy butter.  We’ve said for ages that avocado is nature’s butter and so instead of slathering the toast with butter, we just mashed up an avocado and voila!  All the time we’ve been right!

Weight Watchers Points:  7 (not including toast or avocado)

INGREDIENTS

  • 4  pre-cooked spicy chicken sausages, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Avocado Oil (olive oil will work too)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 gloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans white beans
  • 2 pint containers of Shitake mushrooms, stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 8 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oil in a large pot until shimmering.  Add onions and sautee until beginning to be translucent, about 5 minutes.  In a separate pan, heat sausage until it starts to sweat.
  2. Add sausage, garlic, celery, oregano, thyme and mushrooms.  Stir until mushrooms become tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add white beans and kale and cook until kale starts to wilt.  Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and serve.  (Grate a little parmesan or pecorino cheese over the top as a finishing touch).

Peach and Blue Cheese Toasts

Peach and Bleu Cheese Toasts

Peach and Bleu Cheese Toasts

With my renewed commitment to counting Weight Watchers points and dropping the pounds that have snuck back while I was not paying attention, I’ve been trying to make really diverse meals that are big on flavor and nutrition and small on points.  My main rule above all else is that food has to be satisfying (and should pair well with wine).

This is a great, fast light weeknight dinner that makes delicious use of the amazing peaches that are in season in late summer.

I love Bon Appetit recipes!  This is adapted from the August 2014 issue.

We paired this with a moscato.

Weight Watchers Points:  6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large ripe peaches
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 4 slices country-style bread
  • tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tsp while balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 ounces blue cheese (such as Roquefort or Saint Agur), room temperature
  • 2 cups (loosely packed) baby arugula
  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION

  • Using the tip of a paring knife, score an X 
in the bottom of each peach. Cook in a large saucepan of boiling water just until skins begin to peel back where cut, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl 
of ice water; let cool. Peel; cut over a small 
bowl into wedges, collecting juices. Add lemon juice and honey and toss to combine.
  • Toast bread and season with salt. Spread cheese on toast and 
top with peaches, leaving juices behind. Whisk 
oil and vinegar into juices. Toss arugula with enough dressing to lightly coat in a bowl; season with salt and pepper. Arrange over toasts. Serve the rest on the side as a salad.