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Green Beer Cheese Soup (Broccoli Cheddar) with Pesto Croutons

 Green Beer Cheese Soup (Broccoli Cheddar) with Pesto Croutons (no food dye)

I promise you that this is the last St. Patricks day post. Until next year when I will further assault you with recipes for celebrating my love 'o the Irish, and forcing you to read more stories of my visit to Dublin.

Until then, here is a Green Beer cheese soup that contains not a drop of food dye, relying on the natural pigment of broccoli to get the job done. Although I don’t know who’s to blame for fouling up beer with green dye, I can’t imagine the Irish, with their deliciously dark stouts, are to blame. I’d wager the fault goes to America. No matter how you choose to celebrate, green beer-food just feels festive. I just wish I had some shamrock shaped soup bowls for the occasion.

Green Beer Cheese Soup (Broccoli Cheddar) with Pesto Croutons (no food dye)

To up the Irish in this dish, I used Kerrygold Dubliner cheese. I’ve been using Kerrygold for years, and not just because I have a soft spot for Ireland. Kerrygold uses natural, sustainable methods, uses co-op farmers, grass-fed cows, and zero artificial colors or flavors (not sponsored post, I swear!). While at a pub in Dublin, I met the son of a sheep farmer.

 Green Beer Cheese Soup (Broccoli Cheddar) with Pesto Croutons (no food dye)

We talked for hours about farming (I also grew up on a farm) and even when he wanted to change the subject to his love of Eddie Murphy, I kept steering the conversation back to farming in Ireland. Irish farmers are unlike any farmers I’ve ever met. Because the herds are always small, due to land limitations, the relationships between farmers and animals is unusually devoted and affectionate. Although Kerrygold is readily available at most grocery stores, it has a small farm feel to it.

Even if you do end up throwing in some green food dye to up the color, I hope you love this soup as much as I do, and raise your pint to Ireland.


Green Beer Cheese Soup (Broccoli Cheddar) with Pesto Croutons (no food dye)

Green Beer Cheese Soup (Broccoli Cheddar) with Pesto Croutons

Ingredients
  

For The Soup

  • 3 cups broccoli florets chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ large sweet onion finely diced
  • 1 large carrot peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 cups wheat beer or pale ale
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 7 ounces Dubliner cheese grated (or sharp white cheddar)
  • 8 ounces gouda grated
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Croutons:

  • 1 French baguette cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons pesto

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot of lightly salted water, cook the broccoli until very soft, drain and set aside.
  • In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 4 tbs butter. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook until the carrots are very soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for about 30 seconds, remove from heat.
  • In a large food processor or blender, add 1 cup beer, cornstarch, both kids of cheese and as well as the carrot and celery mixture, process until very smooth, about 5 to 8 minutes. Return mixture to the pot along with the remaining beer.
  • In the same food processor (no need to clean between jobs) add the broccoli and the broth, process until very smooth. Add pureed broccoli, as well as the cream, to the soup.
  • Bring the soup to a low simmer, stirring occasionally until warmed and slightly thickened. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tbs butter. Add the bread cubes and toss until browned. Remove from heat and immediately add in the pesto, toss to coat.
  • Serve the soup topped with croutons.

*This is not a sponsored post. I actually feel this way. 

Creamy Vegan Broccoli Avocado Soup & Five Foodie New Years Resolutions

Creamy Vegan Broccoli Soup

Five New Year Food Resolutions to Make

 

Let’s stop vowing to cut things out of our lives at then beginning of each year, and start promising ourselves we’ll add some great things in.

Can’t we all just agree that those “I’m going to lose weight/stop eating sugar/give up carbs/cut out coffee” resolutions are just going to leave us feeling hungry, guilty and eventually shameful when they go enormously ignored about the second week in January?

Maybe you have a bigger capacity for restraint than I do, or a higher guilt threshold, but I gave up those types of personal promises years ago. Although I do still love a good resolution and tend to make them year round.

How about we agree to ADD things to our lives instead of taking away? There is something about making a decision to add something great to our world that just reminds us what an amazing life we have ahead of us. And adding greatness has a way of pushing out some of those not as great things.

Let’s give it a try.

Here are my favorite food resolutions, all about adding more amazingness, not about taking things away.

 

1.Start a food tradition: Maybe a once a month Sunday Supper with your family, or a quarterly Food Friends Pot Luck, or even just New Recipe Wednesday where you try a new dish. Food traditions are memories that you’ll be glad you made.

2. Read more food lit. Chefs have written most of the best books I’ve read over the past year. There is something about knowing the back story of food, and those who have created it, that give you a deeper connection to the food world.  Plus, food people tend to read food books, it’s an instant conversation starter when you meet a food writer or a chef. My recommendations: Yes Chef, Marcus Samuelson;  Blood, Bones & Butter, Gabrielle Hamilton; Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table,  Ruth Reichl, Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain.

3. Join a CSA or other Organic Produce Delivery Program. Before my recent move, I got a box of organic produce delivered to my doorstep every Wednesday from Love Delivery. Mostly local, in season and very fresh fruits and vegetables. This also gets you to eat more good stuff, because it’s there. And you hate to waste it.  Supporting local farmers and eating healthier, it’s a total win. There are several in most cities and states, consult Google for ones in your area.

4. Try New Foods. This is for the picky eaters. Pick one new food a month and cook it, and eat it. Or, order that one thing on the menu that you would never normally eat. After a year you’ll have 12 foods that you never otherwise would have tried. And I’m going to bet you a batch of cookies that you will be surprised at how much you like at least one of those new foods.

5. Master A Recipe or Technique. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to make a soufflé, or homemade pasta. What better resolution to make than the acquisition of culinary knowledge you can someday pass down to future generations? Just go into assuming that the first time may not be a huge success, and by that I mean don’t plan an entire dinner party around skills you haven’t acquired just to end up in tears when your husband has to have pizza delivered. It will probably go fine, and you will probably post the results on Facebook (yay!), but take it slow and know that to master a technique takes a lot of practice, each time you try it you’ll learn something new.

 

One of my resolutions is to explore vegan cooking more, even though I have no plans to give up meat or dairy. There really isn’t any arguing with the fact that produce is the best thing you can put in your body. The more I focus on the beautiful flavors of fruits and vegetables, without using meat and dairy as a crutch, the better my cooking becomes over all.

Here is a vegan soup, inspired by this Bon Appetite recipe. Without garnishes, it’s about 170 calories a serving.

Here is a How To Roast Red Peppers post by Kitchen Treaty. If you are going to use them right away, you can skip the oil and the jar.

Creamy Vegan Broccoli Soup2

Beer Cornbread Topped Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients

    Filling:
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 2 tbs butter, plus 2 tbs, divided
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 2 large carrot, peeled and sliced into rings
  • 1 cup peas
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 4 sage leaves, minced (about ½ tsp)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • (1/3 more, plus more chicken)
  • Cornbread top:
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ½ cup beer (pilsner or low to medium hopped pale ale)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbs melted butter
  • Yield: 6 servings

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Cut the corn off the ears, set aside.
  3. In a large pot, melt 2 tbs butter. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots, peas, and celery, cook until the vegetables have soften about an additional 5 minutes. Remove from pot, set aside.
  4. Heat the olive oil. Add the chicken, cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes, remove chicken from pot.
  5. Add remaining 2 tbs butter, heat until melted. Spinkle flour on top, whisk until well combined. Add the chicken broth and bring to a low simmer. Return the chicken and vegetables to the pot along with the corn, allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  6. Place 6 individual, oven safe bowls (about 1 ½ cup sized) on a baking sheet. Pour chicken soup into bowls until about 2/3 full.
  7. Ina large bowl, add the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and stir until combined. Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the beer, egg and melted butter. Stir until just combined.
  8. Top the bowls with cornbread mixture (it’s OK if the batter sinks, it’ll rise during baking).
  9. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until cornbread is golden brown.
https://domesticfits.com/creamy-vegan-broccoli-avocado-soup-five-foodie-new-years-resolutions/

 

If you want to know how I made the garnishes "float" on top of the soup for the picture, check this out.

Creamy Vegan Broccoli Soup3

Broccomole: Broccoli Guacamole

 

It’s broccoli guacamole. You’re skeptical, I can tell. But this is really great, and with a creaminess that was slightly shocking, I will be making this again.

And, if you set a serving size at an ounce, as Livestrong is telling me to do, it’s only 22 calories a serving. And only about 250 calories if I eat the entire bowl, which I am prone to doing.

I love guacamole. I profess honest culinary devotion to avocados and guacamole. It is chocked full of healthy fats, vitamins, and protein. A great food that can not be improve upon. This recipe isn’t about improving guacamole. It’s a new food, a lower calorie creamy green dip that is about 1/3 the calories of that guacamole I love. But with twice the protein and less fat.

And broccoli is known cancer fighter, bone strengthener, cardiovascular health champion, bone-fide superfood and one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. We could all stand to be a wee bit addicted to a bowl of this stuff.

And it was so tasty, I ate it for lunch. And dinner. It’s like a dip with a mission, you don’t even have to feel bad about it. You are preventing heart disease and stroke one bite at a time. Really, it’s like medicine.

 

This recipe was inspired by Ludo Lefebvre. While giving an interview about his book, Ludo Bites, he spoke about a Broccomole he made. This is my version.

 

Roasted Garlic & Parmesan Beer Cheese Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 large heads of garlic
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 12 oz cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup Reggiano or Parmesan cheese, plus an additional 1/4 cup for top
  • 6 oz smoked Gouda or smoked mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup Saison or IPA beer
  • 1 tsp red chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbs cornstarch (very important. Keeps the dip from separating)
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions (green onions)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Cut the top tip of each head garlic off, just enough to expose all of the cloves. Place each head on a separate piece of tin foil. Drizzle with olive oil and seal the foil around the garlic.
  3. Place both garlic packets on a baking sheet or baking dish. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  4. Reduce oven temp to 350.
  5. In a food processor, add the cream cheese, 1 1/2 cup reggianno, gouda, beer, red chili sauce, salt, pepper and corn starch. Squeeze the roasted heads of garlic until the soft cloves comes out, add the roasted cloves to the food processor, taking care that none of the papery garlic skin is added to the food processor. Discard the empty garlic head. Process until well combined.
  6. Add to a baking dish, top with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
  7. Bake at 350 until melted and the top has started to turn a light golden brown, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven, top with green onions, serve warm.

Notes

Use a saison or a wheat beer if you want a more subtle beer flavor, use an IPA for a bigger, bolder beer taste.

https://domesticfits.com/broccomole/