Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Broccoli Soup with Undertones of Onion and Cheddar

I like soup, if you hadn't noticed. Soup is fun to make. It usually keeps well. And, it is easy to get to the table on time.

I often make a cauliflower soup that even my granddaughters enjoy. (This is possibly because even small children can break the head into small florets. Letting them do this, helps to make the soup theirs.)

Inspired, I decided to try a broccoli version of my popular dinner time fare. I believe it worked out quite nicely and, more importantly, my wife liked it. She's my harshest critic.


2 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 lbs. of broccoli, stems peeled and chopped
3 cups of chicken stock
1 cup of 1% milk
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, I like the medium to old cheddar best
a few tablespoons of fat-free sour cream
some crumbled blue cheese
some chopped chives
salt and pepper to taste


Warm the olive oil in a large, stainless steel pot over medium heat. Add the diced onions and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent. This should take from three to five minutes. Add the minced garlic cloves and continue to sauté for another minute. Do not let the garlic burn. Add the broccoli and continue to sauté until the broccoli begins to soften, turning a bright green.

Add the stock and milk and bring all to a simmer over medium heat. When bubbles appears, turn the heat to simmer, partially cover the pot and cook until the broccoli is tender. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Although the following can be done in either a food processor or blender, I like to use a handheld immersion mixer. I find the KitchenAid with the metal housing surrounding the blade very good.

 Stay clear of the handheld immersion mixers with a plastic housing surrounding the blade. This can soften when mixing hot foods allowing the sharp, quickly spinning blade to come in contact with the bottom of your pot. The damage can be extensive.

Purée the soup until smooth and then, with the soup still retaining heat, add the shredded cheese. Blend with a whisk until the cheese disappears. Season with salt and pepper.

Return the soup to the heat, when hot ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Garnish each serving with a tablespoon of fat-free sour cream, some crumbled blue cheese and a few chopped chives. (I forgot the blue cheese when taking the picture. The soup, although excellent, did miss something.)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Fruit and nuts make a great salad

I took my wife out for dinner the other evening. It was our 27th wedding anniversary. The dinner, at The Springs, was very good and very inspiring.

At noon today I served my wife a salad inspired by our anniversary dinner.

I picked up some organic baby greens at Remark, a small, local grocery store specializing in high quality food stuffs: vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses and more.

My salad contained the following;

  • About half a bag of organic baby green
  • Thin slices from one peeled and cored Ambrosia apple
  • A little more than half an ounce of pan-toasted almond slivers - use more if not counting calories
  • About half an ounce of goat cheese feta in large chunks - again, use more if not watching the waist
  • Two Tbsp of Rootham Blackberry/Raspberry dressing - the amount here will be determined by the amount of baby greens you have used. My salad wasn't all that big. Taste your salad and use more if you cannot taste the dressing. The flavour of the berries should be there but not overpowering. The feta and almond slivers and apple slices should all have a presence, too.

I tossed the entire salad until I was sure all was gently coated with the fruit-flavoured dressing and then I served it in a small, salad bowl. It was yummy. It may not have been as good as the one I had at The Springs but on the other hand I can afford to enjoy this one often.

Next, I may try a baked or grilled salmon fillet with a carmelized fruit topping. Another dinner inspired by The Springs.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Vegetarian Lasagna

I got my recipe from the New York Times but there are simply oodles of noodle recipes to be found on the Net. And most are quite delicious.

This vegetable lasagna has layers of zuchini, spinach, ricotta and Parmesan cheeses plus tomatoes, both a marinara sauce and fresh, diced tomatoes.

The hidden little surprise is the pinch of cinnamon. My wife was hesitant when she learned I was putting cinnamon, even a very small amount, into the mix. But, it worked. I liked it, as did my wife.

My doctor has me on a diet that is meatless every other day. The cheese is a bit of a cheat but I'm sure I kept my cholesterol below 100mgs for the day.


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Something fast: pasta

A sprinkle of dried hot pepper seeds, added at the table, kicked up this dish a notch.
I took two of my granddaughters to their ski lessons today. It was cold on the hill and my oldest granddaughter suffered from the the cold today. This is not like her but it does happen and it was a disaster. She didn't want to whine and so she didn't tell her instructor that her feet were feezing. By the time I got her inside, she was sobbing from the pain.

It was quite the morning. When those two left with their dad, I was tuckered. I opened a beer and before I got it down, my third granddaughter arrived. It was a busy afternoon following a very busy morning.

I had no energy for preparing a nice weekend dinner. I rummaged about the fridge and found some Egg Creations, a Danish Fontina cheese, cherry tomatoes, garlic and a big head of broccoli.

I am not allowed eggs. The yolks contain too much cholesterol. Therefore, I eat Egg Creations Original with the yolks removed. And the Danish Fontina cheese may be a knock off of the Italian original but it is less expensive and melts wonderfully when chopped into small pieces to be added to steaming hot pasta. I always love cherry tomatoes fried with a little olive oil and chopped garlic. I knew I could not go wrong.

I cooked the pasta and drained it, added the tomatoes fried with chopped garlic, added the Egg Creations and stirred. When the eggs stuff began to set, I added the Dutch Fontina cheese. The small cubes began melting immediately.

I divided the pasta in half in order to serve both my wife and me. I dressed the dinner with the steamed (micro waved) broccoli and voila, dinner was served -- and it was good, not great, but damn good. (I hope my one granddaughter, the one with the cold feet, is feeling better and will be up for skiing next weekend. A bad experience can sour a person . . . )

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Cauliflower as a side dish

Forgive the picture. It's winter and the sun sets before I serve dinner. I must shoot my pictures under the glaring light of the kitchen pot lights. Ugh.

Now, that I've got that out of the way. Check out the pan-roasted cauliflower with garlic, parsley and rosemary posting in the cooking section of the New York Times. I served this to company and the woman, a fine cook in her own right, wanted the recipe.

I add some large, cherry tomatoes and some sliced almonds to my version. It was yummy. And the squeeze of lemon added at the table proved very important. So, don't forget the lemon slices.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

I made a fast dinner using leftovers on Hallowe'en.

The kids start ringing our doorbell early on Hallowe'en. This makes it the perfect evening for a quick, clean-out-the-fridge dinner. I made pan fried sole fillets topped with pan roasted sliced almonds and grilled minced garlic with large chunks of sundried tomato. Off to the side, I served oven roasted red peppers and cherry tomatoes plus pan-grilled romaine. All came on a bed of long, grain rice.

I roasted the tomatoes and pepper slices in the oven at 400-degrees for about forty-five minutes. The next time I will cut the time back to half and hour. Luckily, Judy loves the pepper slices slightly crispy and caramelized. Overdone or not, she loved 'em. (You gotta know your audience.)

The romaine was half a head, a leftover from last night's dinner. I chopped it in half and quickly grilled it in a little olive oil with minced garlic. It took less than five minutes and was flipped once.

The almond slices were toasted in a small frying pan. It took but a few minutes and then I left them to be sprinkled later on the sole. To add a little extra punch to the pan fried sole, I gently fried some minced garlic and sundried tomatoes in a little olive oil for about a minute. The mix was drizzled on the sole before serving.

The sole was fried in a little hot olive oil for five minutes - two and a half minutes per side. It had a nice browned look. I like that. But, it wasn't overcooked. I salt and peppered it in the pan while it cooked.

And the long, grain rice was put on the burner about twenty-five minutes before I planned on serving it. It was done in about twenty minutes. Rice can be cooked and then left as it stays warm in the pot with the lid in place. Just remember to turn off the burner.

Being retired and living on a fixed income means I must cook often I must not toss leftovers. Seniors, like me, must watch their money. I'm rather proud of this dinner made from ingredients hanging about in our fridge. It was tasty and cheap. . . . Oh, gotta run. Some ghost or goblin is at the door.

Monday, September 25, 2017

An amazing salad featuring raw brussel sprouts

I love the fall. Real field tomatoes and freshly picked brussel sprouts. I managed to put both into tonight's dinner. Judy gave my effort a two thumbs up.

The brussel sprouts were inspired by a recipe found online in the Cooking section of the New York Times. The writer of the piece thought the recipe a winner but many of the comments said otherwise. Many folk found the dish boring as published. I kicked it up with lemon, green onions and pan roasted minced garlic.


  • Two dozen brussel sprouts, stems removed, exterior leaves peeled, and then coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of very coarsely chopped, pan-roasted, walnuts
  • 1/4 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese, again very coarsely chopped
  • 4 coarsely chopped green onions
  • 1 minced garlic clove, pan roasted in a little olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp good extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • salt to taste

  1. Remove the stems of the brussel sprouts and the exterior leaves. Coarsely chop the raw sprouts and place in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, pan roasted minced garlic, coarsely chopped green onions, Pecorino Romano cheese and walnuts.
  3. Add olive oil mixture to brussel sprouts and mix well. Feel free to use your hands. Salt to taste.

I served this with some slices of roast chicken on a bed of Basmati rice with fresh field tomatoes on the side. At the table I sprinkled some grated Parmesan on both the brussel sprouts and tomatoes. The Parmesan was an afterthought. I had some grated Parmesan in a bowl in the fridge. It looked nice on the plate but it wasn't necessary.

The bread, by the way, came from Angelo's on Wonderland Road North in London. For good bread, I always go to Angelo's. The bread featuring sun-dried tomatoes is now available only on weekends. It is one of my all-time favourite breads.