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Posts Tagged ‘starter’

Seasonally, this pumpkin soup is probably better suited to mid-October than mid-March, but no matter.  It’s irresistible any time of year.  Do not pass go; do not collect $200. Get in my belly!

Apologies.  That must have been my Id talking.

What my unconscious is trying to say is, you should make this soup happen.  In your kitchen. ASAP.

That is all.

-1 1/2 lbs. fresh pumpkin (I used muscat pumpkin, but acorn/butternut squash or even sweet potatoes should work, too)
-2 tsp. fresh sage, minced (or 1 tsp. dried)
-1 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crumbled
-3 shallots, peels on
-olive oil, for drizzling
-1 leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced and rinsed of sand
-1 Tbsp. butter
-1 carrot, peeled and diced
-1 lg. celery stalk, diced
-1 bay leaf
-1/2 c. white wine
-4 c. chicken/veggie broth
-1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
-1/4 tsp. cinnamon, or to taste
-pinch of ground ginger
-dash nutmeg
-1/2 c. evaporated milk
-3 Tbsp. heavy cream
-3 Tbsp. sherry (optional)
-salt and pepper, to taste

Garnish with your choice of:
-roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), chopped
-ground paprika
-roasted corn (recipe follows)
-chopped parsley
-heavy cream

1. Cut the pumpkin into large chunks, halve the shallots, and place on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with sage, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Roast at 350F until fork-tender and golden.

I peeled the shallots, but roasting with the peels on would have been better.

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For reasons I don’t quite understand, fresh washed, bagged baby spinach costs an arm and a leg in Berlin.  I guess it hasn’t caught on in trendy circles yet.  If only the hipsters with painted on jeans and hideous shaved haircuts had an inkling of the green deliciousness they’re missing.

Anyway.

Here’s a simple recipe for a yummy spinach-potato soup.  The shortcut involves using frozen creamed spinach, which is all my discount grocery store (the U.N. refugee-camp-style Netto) had.  Topped off with some homemade croutons or a drizzle of cream, it makes a nice lunch or starter.

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caviar dip

Sounds fancy, right?  But this dip is a cinch to put together and makes a nice hors d’oeuvres with some champagne or prosecco before a holiday dinner.  It plays off the classic combination of caviar and crème fraîche, swapping out the traditional blini base for root vegetable chips.  Salty, creamy, slightly decadent…what’s not to like?

caviar dip

Although there has been a lot of (justified) talk about saving money and scaling back expenses this holiday season, the tiny bit of caviar in this recipe is worth the splurge.  Not sure where to find it in stores? Look for little jars near the seafood section (often with the smoked fish).  Whole Paycheck…er…Whole Foods almost certainly carries it.

caviarWhat possessed the first person to eat caviar?

-3/4 c. crème fraîche
-1/2 c. sour cream
-4 tsp. caviar (I used generic German black caviar, but whatever suits your fancy/wallet), plus a little extra for garnish*
-1 small bunch chives (about 3 Tbsp. total when snipped)
-1 1/2 tsp. minced shallot
-1 tsp. minced red onion
-salt and pepper, to taste

To serve:  1 bag of root vegetable chips, such as Terra Chips, or kettle-cooked potato chips

1.  In a medium bowl, snip most of the chives, reserving a few for garnish. (more…)

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    chicory     

The poor Belgian endive gets little love. You know it, right? Crunchy, crispy, slightly bitter?

Vaguely overpriced?

Yeah, thought so.

 

Anyway, this appetizer was inspired by a tapa I had at Jaleo. Crunchy, creamy, toasty, sweet, and tart—it’s a wonderful contradiction of flavors worth a little splurge.  Not too heavy, and eaten with the hands, this might just be the perfect starter for your Valentine’s Day dinner. (more…)

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