Monthly Archives: November 2009

Mon Petit Chou Soup

How to make a big batch of green, healthy, starch free, gluten free, sugar free, low fat vegan soup for the cold season.

Ingredients:

  • 6 LB        Brussels Sprouts (ends removed, halved)
  • 1              Green Bell Pepper (seeded, chopped large)
  • 1              Red Onion (chopped, large)
  • 6              Garlic cloves (halved)
  • 1 1/2 C   Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 C   Lentils (preferably brown)
  • 4oz          Savory (fresh, cut off stem, chopped rough)
  • 4oz          Thyme (fresh, leaves removed from stem)
  • 4oz          Rosemary (fresh, leaves removed from stem)
  • 1 bunch  Italian flat-leaf Parsley (stems removed)
  • 1 QT         vegan Stock (if available – if not substitute water)
  • 3 QT         Water
  • 1 TB          Black Pepper (fresh, cracked)
  • 2 TB         Sea Salt
  • Chili Pepper (optional, fresh, dried)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450.  Toss the Brussels in a large roasting pan with 1/2 cup of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil and roast until slightly browned – about 30 min.

Heat 1/4 cup of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil in large stock pot on high heat.  Add the garlic, onion and bell pepper and cook until just soft.  Add the herbs and parsley (you can substitute any other fresh herbs you choose, but dried herbs will be overpowering) and stir well.  Add the roasted Brussels Sprouts, approx 2 tbs sea salt and 1 tbs cracked pepper.  Stir well.  Add the lentils, stock and water.  Stir again.  Add the chili pepper (if desired).

Bring to a rapid boil.  Cover and reduce the heat to simmer.  Cook for approximately 35 min (stirring often) until the sprouts are very soft (upon test).  Taste, and adjust for seasoning, if necessary.

Use immersion blender to process into a smooth soup.  Allow to cool to a safe-to-eat temperature, then serve warm.

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Quick Tip – Cooking Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Just sharing a couple quick tips for those of you cooking the turkey on Thursday – lessons learned after many years of trial and error.  Happy Holiday!!

Be sure to brine for an hour or less!
  • The first step is to brine your bird.  Turkey is a relatively light flavored meat, so you will want to add flavor before serving.  Here are some of my favorite brines:
  • It is fun to play around with brine recipes, adding some local flavor or just adjusting spices to better fit your eaters.  I prefer brines, which do not contain oil, to marinades, as the fats block the liquid water-holding capacity in the meat, thus inhibiting the addition of flavor.
  • Allow your turkey to brine on Wednesday, then rinse off and store in your refrigerator uncovered overnight.  It is best to place it on a rack with a pan underneath.  Any access moisture is removed from the skin of the bird and the result is very crispy skin – a big favorite in my house.
  • Remove the turkey and allow it to approach room temperature before cooking – do not allow meat, particularly poultry, to sit unrefrigerated for too long however – 90 minutes at most.
  • Do not cook your stuffing inside the turkey – instead, add some fresh herbs, garlic and cut lemon to the cavity.  This adds some flavor to the meat and it will also create wonderful aromas.
  • During cooking, rotate the turkey.  With a 12-15 pound bird, start with the bottom side up (45 minutes), rotate so one drumstick is up (15 minutes), then the other drumstick (15 minutes), then finally breast side up (30-50 minutes).  The turkey will be evenly browned and look absolutely beautiful at your table.
  • Roast until the thickest part of the breast reaches 165 degrees and the thickest part of the thigh reaches175 on an instant-read thermometer.
  • Allow your turkey to rest for 30-90 minutes before carving.  This allows juices to redistribute to the external portions of the meat.

Roasted Beets

Ingredients:

  • 4             Beets  (unpeeled, medium-sized – about the size of a tennis ball)
  • 2 TB       Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp      Lucini Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tsp      Orange Juice (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp  Salt

Preparation:

Peel the beets, chop the tops off and remove the tail-like root end of the beet and discard.  Cut each beet into eight sections (or halve small beets), as you would cut an apple for pie.  Put the beets on a baking sheet.

Emulsify the vinegar and orange juice in the olive oil.  Add the salt and stir.  Drizzle one half of this mixture over the beets to coat well.  Roast until they are soft and well caramelized (40-60 minutes, depending on the size of the beets).

Toss the beets gently with the remainder of the olive oil mixture before serving.  Season to taste with vinegar, salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Garnish with fresh herbs and/or onion for color, if so desired (i use mint parsley, thyme, chives, scallions, red onion or chervil – whatever I have on hand).

Turkey Brine

I’ve found (5 years experience) this brine to impart more flavor than the simple, sal-only brines.

Ingredients:

  • 2 gallons cold water
  • 2 C      Kosher Salt
  • 2         Lemons (halved)
  • 2 TB   Lucini Balsamic Vinegar
  • 5 TB   Brown Sugar (optional)
  • 2 TB   Peppercorns
  • 2 TB   Coriander seeds
  • 4         Chilis (dried, optional)
  • 6         Bay Leaves
  • 2 sprigs Thyme
  • 1 sprig    Rosemary

Preparation:

Fully dissolve the salt in the cold water.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir.  Submerge your turkey and refrigerate or keep in a cool (40 degree) spot 5-8 hours.

Mashed Potatoes with Olive Oil

I came up with this recipe after wondering whether one could make tasty mashed potatoes with out dairy.  The obvious fill in was olive oil and using the best infused oils gives you an amazing dish – one that will pleasantly surprise your Thanksgiving guests.

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Cut your potatoes into even, large chunks (2 inches is optimal) and boil in salted water until they are just cooked through (12-20 minutes).  Strain under cool water to stop the cooking process.

Meanwhile, in 1/4 C olive oil, cook the garlic on medium-low heat until it just turns golden (3-6 minutes).  Pour this mixture into a bowl.  Add the salt, paprika, turmeric, black pepper, lemon juice, vinegar and remaining olive oils.   Whisk until well mixed.

Mash your potatoes (if you use a food mill, etc., process the potatoes now) and then add to your serving bowl. Add the olive oil mixture and stir until well distributed.  For some color, top with chives or scallions.

Grilled Leeks

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Cut off the bottom end and top, rough green stalks , then remove the external layer of skin from the leeks.  Cut into even 1-inch discs and then soak in a large bowl of cold water for 15 minutes to remove any sediment.  Rinse the leeks in strainer or colander, then place in another large bowl.  Add the olive oil, vinegar, paprika, salt and pepper and marinate for 10 minutes.  Heat your grill pan outside on a grill or on your stovetop until the pan is fully heated (10 minutes outside, 5 inside).  Add the leek discs to the pan, flat-side down.  Cook on medium-high for 6 minutes until the leeks are browned.  Turn and cook for five more minutes on the other flat side.  Remove the leeks and place back to the marinade bowl.  Add the basil-infused olive oil and lemon juice, toss, and serve.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Pancetta

If you prep everything before hand ( I do it the night before), you can complete this entire recipe while your turkey is resting.  That way, you can serve the dish hot and the smell of the sprouts wafts through the air  and mixes with that wonderful turkey aroma!  I also make the stuffing the day before and then cook in the oven with the Brussels Sprouts – just start the stuffing 10 minutes before the veggies.

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Heat oil over medium heat in a skillet or oven-safe pan.  Add the pancetta and cook until golden brown and just crisp.  Remove the pancetta to a plate lined with paper towels and remove any access oil.  Add the onion to the pan and cook until soft.  Add the Brussels Sprouts and toss to combine, then season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven until the sprouts are cooked through and golden brown (about 15-20 minutes).  Remove the vegetables from the oven and stir in the infused oils and fig balsamic.  Top with the reserved pancetta and parmigiano-reggiano before serving.