- Full Title: Christmas Favourites
- Autor: Peter Kuruvita
- Print Length: 60 pages
- Publisher: Murdoch Books
- Publication Date: October 1, 2009
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: B006J24YZU
- Download File Format | Size: epub | 7,23 Mb
The Nature Magpie
The Antiques Magpie
A delicious melange of culinary curiosities, fascinating facts, amazing anecdotes and expert tips for the food-lover
Published in the UK in 2014 by
Icon Books Ltd, Omnibus Business Centre,
39–41 North Road, London N7 9DP
Sold in the UK, Europe and Asia
by Faber & Faber Ltd, Bloomsbury House,
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Distributed in Canada by Penguin Books Canada,
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Toronto, Ontario M4P 2YE
Text copyright © 2014 James Steen
The author has asserted his moral rights.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, or by any means, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.
We believe the information contained in this book to be accurate. However, neither the author nor the publishers can accept any responsibility for any personal injury/illness or other damage or loss arising from the use or misuse of the information and advice in this book.
Typeset in Fournier by Marie Doherty
Printed and bound in the UK by
Clays Ltd, St Ives plc
In memory of my mum, the original Kitchen Magpie.
And for my children, Charlie, Billy and Daisy,
with their ever-open beaks.
Let’s eat in Prague!
1. The first aid kit
On burning or scalding the skin
On curing a headache (and jet lag and wrinkles)
On bee and wasp stings
On cuts to the hand
On curing a cold
On ‘curing’ the Black Death
On breaking a bone, or bones, in Parma
On the subject of bladder stones
The tansy: a must-have for the medicine box – and hey, you can make a pudding with it, too!
Paul Hollywood, what is the food of love?
2. The teapot
Who invented tea?
So what do we know for certain?
Tea: the wine connection
The arrival of clippers
A word about ‘caddy’
Growing tea in England
Tregothnan Earl Grey Sorbet
How to stop a tea bore boring you
Ken Hom, what is the food of love?
3. The coffee machine
Johann Sebastian Bach’s Coffee Cantata
Honoré de Balzac’s day went like this
Coffee is for men because…
How to make Dublin Coffee James Joyce
The rise and fall of saloop
On the subject of baristas
Antonio Carluccio, what is the food of love?
4. The oven
On the Beeton track
The reign of Regulo
Roast beef with the oven off – how is that done?
The resting period
The chef in the life of Florence Nightingale
The haggis: myths and legends
Pizza without the oven
A shoulder of lamb…
A leg of lamb…
The roasting of turkey
The ‘juices running clear’ myth
Marco Pierre White, what is the food of love?
5. The table
The Roman feast
Nap, map and kin
In posh restaurants
To be read out loud
To the manner born by Matthew Fort
The peculiar tale of the maitre d’ who gave his life in pursuit of the perfect banquet
Lent when Lent was obeyed
Food, taste, and our palates
Meet the Poles: The Kitchen Magpie’s diary of feasting in Poland
6. The cutlery drawer
The traveller who returned with the fork
7. The fridge and freezer
Freaky fridge facts
What did we do before we had the fridge?
Ice cream comes to the streets
How to stop an ice cream bore
Famous last words
The cows of St James’s
The cow that was milked the most (by an ad agency)
The cowboy’s cow of Hollywood
Bacon’s final experiment
8. The store cupboard
Bovril: the soldier’s sustenance
On matters concerning the salt pot and pepper mill
The hot dog by ‘Hot’ Doug Sohn
What on earth do astronauts eat?
Jason Atherton, what is the food of love?
9. The spice rack
The science of heat on the palate
Three recipes for Mauritian chutney
Dealing with spice bores
The mysterious curry cookbook
Francesco Mazzei, what is the food of love?
10. The toaster
The Grand Dame
Can toast be drunk?
Michel Roux, OBE, what is the food of love?
11. The fruit bowl
The Banana by Marcus Wareing
Which month, which orange?
On the subject of apple sauce
While sauce is on my mind…
How to stop a fruit bore
Five ‘different’ fruits to grow at home according to botanist James Wong
Why do the best raspberries come from Scotland?
gluten free shampoo, cut out cookies, baking videos, easy cocktail recipes, chinese places that deliver,
Tomato Sauce—Salsa di Pomodoro
Butter and Sage Sauce—Salsa di Burro e Salvia
Mushroom Ragù—Ragù di Funghi Misti
Raw Summer Tomato Sauce for Pasta—Salsa Cruda di Pomodoro
Sides and Vegetables
Smothered Escarole—Scarola Affogata
Swiss Chard Potatoes—Bietola e Patate
Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes—Pure di Patate all’Olio
Braised Swiss Chard and Cannellini Beans—Zimino di Bietole e Fagioli
Brussels Sprouts Braised with Vinegar—Cavolini Brasati con Aceto
Marinated Winter Squash—Zucca Gialla Marinata
Eggplant Parmigiana—Melanzane alla Parmigiana
Stuffed Tomatoes—Pomodori Farciti al Forno
Shrimp Prepared in the Scampi Style—Scampi
Grilled Calamari—Calamari alla Griglia
Sole Meunière—Filetto di Sogliola al Limone
Savory Seafood Stew—Zuppa di Pesce
Shrimp Buzara Style—Gamberoni alla Buzara
Lobster in Zesty Tomato Sauce—Aragosta in Brodetto
Poultry and Meats
Lamb Stew with Olives—Agnello ’ncip ’nciape
Sausage and Peppers—Salsiccia con Peperoni
Sausages with Fennel and Olives—Salsicce con Finocchio e Olive
Chicken in Beer—Pollo alla Birra
Chicken Cacciatore—Pollo alla Cacciatore
Chicken Parmigiana, New Style—Pollo alla Parmigiana
Chicken Breast with Eggplant and Fontina Cheese—Pollo alla Sorrentina
My Mother’s Chicken and Potatoes—Pollo e Patate della Mamma
Roasted Loin of Pork Stuffed with Prunes—Arrosto di Maiale alle Prugne
Braised Pork Ribs with Rigatoni—Costolette di Maiale Brasate con Rigatoni
Meatloaf with Ricotta—Polpettone di Manzo con Ricotta
Veal Ossobuco with Barley Risotto—Ossobuco di Vitello con Risotto d’Orzo
Scaloppine Saltimbocca, Roman Style, with Sautéed Spinach—Saltimbocca alla Romana, con Spinaci Saltati
Veal Chops with Fontina—Costolette alla Fontina
Braised Beef Rolls—Braciole di Manzo
Pan-Seared Steak with Pizzaiola Sauce—Bistecca alla Pizzaiola
Beef Braised in Barolo—Stuffato al Barolo
Almond Pine Nut Cookies—Amaretti con Pinoli
Roasted Pears and Grapes—Pere e Uva al Forno
Chocolate Biscotti Pudding—Budino di Gianduia
Apple Strudel—Strudel di Mele
Blueberry Apricot Frangipane Tart—Crostata di Mirtilli ed Albiccoche al Frangipane
Plum Tart—Crostata di Prugne
Ricotta Cheesecake—Torta di Ricotta
Cannoli Napoleons—Cannolo a Strati
Crêpes with Chocolate and Walnuts—Palacinke
Limoncello Tiramisù—Tiramisù al Limoncello
Chocolate Bread Parfait—Pane di Cioccolato al Cucchiaio
Ricotta Cookies—Biscotti di Ricotta
Almond Torta with Chocolate Chips—Torta di Mandorle con Gocce di Cioccolato
A Note About the Authors
Also by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich
I want to thank my great team for the creativity, enthusiasm, hard work, guidance, ideas, testing, and tasting that have gone into creating this book.
To Jessica Freeman Slade, thank you for your enthusiasm, for fresh perspectives, and for your incredibly thorough editing. And dear Ken Schneider, thank you for pulling it all so diligently together. Thank you also to the newest members of my Knopf team, Peter Gethers and Christina Malach. I look forward to working on many more projects together. Thanks to my ever-dependable kitchen companion, Amy Stevenson, for her shopping, testing, and contribution in writing to the recipes for the book as well as for being our culinary producer for the companion TV series.
For capturing my food through his eyes, I thank Marcus Nilsson. For tying up all the efforts and hard work into a wonderful design, thank you to Carol Devine Carson, Kelly Blair, and Kristen Bearse. A special thanks to my old friend Paul Bogaards for his endless efforts in marketing and promoting my works.
Thanks to Robert Barnett and Deneen Howell from Williams Connelly (wc.com) for helping me when I most needed assurance and security. This book would not have happened without your guidance and counsel.
A constant support throughout my life, Erminia, my mother, is a source of wisdom and good laughs for me. Thank you to my daughter, Tanya, for being my researching and writing companion as well as my confidant and partner, and thank you to my son, Joseph, a solid business partner; a family to be proud of. And not enough could be said about my love for my five little darlings: Olivia, Lorenzo, Miles, Ethan, and Julia. They make all the long hours and hard work easy; they make me so proud to be a grandmother.
I also want to thank my strong office team, led by Shelly Burgess Nicotra, who has stood by me for the past fifteen years: Lauren Falk, together with Sara Eagle from Knopf, who have kept me and my book in the limelight during and after my promotional travels; Rebecca Fornaby, who has kept our website visitors and Facebook fans informed; and Meghan Liu, my assistant, who has kept me and my ever-changing calendar updated and on schedule.
I would als
quick easy desserts, minestrone soup recipe, special tea, bull bbq, indian food,
6 x 3-inch baking pan. You can use any ovenproof dish that fits in your air fryer, but plan ahead. When the food is done, how are you going to remove the dish from the air fryer basket without burning yourself? You can fashion one from folded aluminum foil, but it’s easier and safer to buy a pan with a handle. Some pans are rather pricey but well worth the investment so you can enjoy air fryer cooking to the fullest.
In addition to Oil for Misting (see page xiii), this is another option for adding a light coating of oil to foods. Cooking sprays are convenient, they nicely prevent food from sticking in your air fryer basket or baking pan, and they’re a good choice for misting delicate foods when even extra-light olive oil would add unwanted flavor.
This assembly line setup makes quick work of breading foods for air fryer cooking. Depending on the recipe, you’ll need two or three shallow containers lined up on the counter in the order in which you plan to dip foods. For example, you may have flour in one dish, a beaten egg in a second dish, and breadcrumbs in a third. Proper organization speeds up the coating process. Dredging stations appear in recipes throughout this cookbook, but for convenience we include specific instructions in each recipe.
Occasionally our recipes instruct you to mix by hand because that’s the best—and sometimes only—way to accomplish certain tasks. You can buy disposable food-grade gloves from restaurant supply stores and numerous vendors online. Poly gloves aren’t great because they fit loosely and are less flexible. We prefer powder-free, food-grade vinyl or latex with a snug fit. Gloves are a necessity for handling hot peppers because the oils can cause chemical burns when transferred from bare fingers to eyes.
Each recipe indicates which kind of muffin papers to use. With very liquid batters, foil muffin cups hold up better. You may even need to double or triple them. In that case, remove the paper liners, stack two or three foil cups together, and then mist with oil if the recipe requires it. You also can use oven-safe silicone muffin cups, which are sturdy enough to hold most fillings without losing shape while cooking.
Oil for Misting
Most of the time we use a pump-style oil sprayer. It’s easy to use and works well whether you need a heavy coating or just a light mist. Refillable oil misters also help reduce the number of cans that end up in landfills. In our misters, we use extra-light olive oil. It has a higher smoke point than extra-virgin olive oil, and it has a very mild taste that won’t interfere with other seasonings or overpower the flavor of your foods (except some sweets or very mildly flavored dishes). You can use a pastry brush in a pinch, but we don’t recommend it because you’ll end up using far more oil than necessary.
These definitions and explanations apply throughout the book.
Breadcrumbs are finely crushed and relatively dry. Sometimes used as filler, they’re also commonly used as a coating to produce a light crust. Always use plain, unflavored breadcrumbs unless a recipe specifically calls for a seasoned variety, such as Italian breadcrumbs.
Panko breadcrumbs, sometimes referred to as Japanese style, consist of firmer and bigger flakes than traditional breadcrumbs (above). When you want a coating with lots of crispy crunch, panko is the way to go. Some recipes call for crushed panko because it produces a different texture that tastes better on certain foods. Use a food processor or crush by hand by placing the crumbs in a plastic bag and using a rolling pin or tenderizer.
Butter should be pure sweet cream salted butter, not margarine or imitation spreads.
Cornmeal is available in enriched or whole-grain varieties. We mostly use enriched cornmeal except where specified. You can find stone-ground cornmeal in your local supermarket, farmer’s market, or online. As with whole wheat flour, store stone-ground cornmeal in a glass container in the refrigerator.
Cream cheese and sour cream can be low fat but not fat free unless the recipe states otherwise. Fat-free cream cheese and sour cream can make a dip or sauce watery and produce other unexpected results. Low fat is a compromise, a healthier choice that still yields a texture similar to the full-fat products.
Flours vary greatly and aren’t always interchangeable. In recipes that don’t give a specific type, use plain all-purpose white flour. Bleached, unbleached, or all-purpose flour is refined and has had the bran processed out. Manufacturers add nutrients back in to enrich it and compensate for the vitamins and minerals lost in processing. Self-rising flour contains leavening agents to help baked goods rise.
Nineteenth-century cooks prized white flour for its keeping qualities. White-brea
paleo cereal, caramel custard, chai tea latte, jamaican coffee, coffee cake,
processor with some salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste, and whizz to form a smooth paste. With the motor running, gradually add the cream. Put into a bowl, sit this in a larger bowl of iced water, cover, and set aside to chill and firm up.
Whiting is undervalued by
3 To make the broth, melt half the butter in a large saucepan over many people as it has a light,
high heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrot and cook, stirring, for delicate taste, but it is very low
5 minutes. Next, add the prawns and brandy and cook, stirring, for a in fat and tends to be less
expensive than other members
further 2 minutes. Then add the wine, tomatoes, and hot stock and of the cod group. The skin of
bring just to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
a whiting is particularly thin
4 Blend the broth, in batches, in a hand-held blender or food and care should be taken when
processor until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve into a large bowl, skinning the fish, although
using the back of a soup ladle to push out as much as possible. You leaving the skin on, particularly
for grilling, protects the
should end up with about 1.7 litres (3 pints) of broth. Set aside.
delicate flesh. Always buy
5 Return the stockpot to medium heat. Add the remaining butter, fresh whiting and use quickly
leek, and potato and cook, stirring, for 3–4 minutes. Add the saffron as they can become almost
and broth and bring just to the boil. Reduce the heat so the mixture tasteless with age.
is barely simmering. Season to taste.
6 For each quenelle, scoop a generous spoonful of the fish mixture onto a dessert spoon. Then, with a second, equal-sized spoon, shape the mixture into a rugby-ball shape, moving it from one spoon to the other. Lower into the broth and repeat to make 4–6 quenelles. Poach for 5 minutes, turning halfway. Divide between 4–6 warmed bowls and spoon the broth all around. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to serve.
CELERIAC SOUP WITH CURRIED SCALLOPS
Tim Kinnaird paediatrician and 2010 finalist
50g (13⁄4 oz) butter
1 litre (13⁄4 pints) chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large or 8 small scallops
1 large leek, finely sliced
1 tbsp good-quality curry powder
1 medium to large celeriac, approx.
1 tbsp olive oil
550–600g (11⁄4 lb–1lb 5oz) in weight,
peeled and chopped into small cubes
1 Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat, add a little salt and black pepper, and cook the leeks, stirring for 8–10 minutes or until softened but not coloured. Add the celeriac, pour in the stock, and bring to the boil.
2 Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the celeriac is tender. Purée the soup using a hand-held blender or by transferring to a food processor, dividing it into batches for a smoother result.
Season to taste then reheat gently.
3 Meanwhile, dust each scallop with a little curry powder and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and quickly fry the scallops for 1–2 minutes only, turning once. Take care not to have the heat too high or the curry powder will burn and taste bitter.
4 To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and place a scallop or scallops in the centre.
MICHEL ROUX JR’S
This is a beautiful, deep mussel broth that originated in one of Paris’s finest restaurants. Although it looks simple, the flavours are rich and delicious and it’s a wonderful start to a meal.
2 tbsp olive oil
FOR THE BREADED MUSSELS
25g (scant 1oz) butter
2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 large egg, beaten
1 onion, finely chopped
40g (11⁄4 oz) breadcrumbs, reserving
2 sprigs of thyme
1 cube of bread
small handful of flat-leaf parsley
groundnut oil, for deep frying
salt and freshly ground black pepper
150ml (5fl oz) white wine
400ml (14fl oz) fish stock
1 leek, finely sliced
2kg (41⁄2 lb) mussels
1 carrot, finely sliced
1 carrot, finely chopped
25–50g (scant 1oz–13⁄4 oz) Parmesan
1 leek, finely chopped
100ml (31⁄2 fl oz) double cream
1 Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and the butter in a large, deep sauté pan.
Add half the celery, the onion, the thyme, and a few sprigs of parsley, and season well. Fry, stirring, over medium heat for 5 minutes until softened but not coloured. Add the wine and bubble for a minute. Add the stock and the mussels, turn up the heat, cover with a lid and cook for 3–4 minutes or until all the mussels have opened. Discard any unopened mussels and pick the meat from the rest. Discard the shells.
Strain the stock and discard the vegetables and herbs.
2 Heat the remai
hawaiian coffee, plant based diet, cockatiel, peppermint tea, gluten free dinner recipes,
hen they are still dirty from the earth, their flavor is one of the freshest I’ve ever tasted. In this dish, we are trying to re-create that first bite into the crunchy asparagus, at the same time as pairing it with canned white asparagus, which is one of Navarre’s best-known vegetable products. Think crunchiness, sweetness, and softness.
4 TABLESPOONS SPANISH EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
1 TABLESPOON SHERRY VINEGAR
SALT TO TASTE
2 16-OUNCE CANS SPANISH WHITE ASPARAGUS, DRAINED
6–8 FRESH WHITE ASPARAGUS SPEARS, TRIMMED AND PEELED
2 OUNCES RONCAL (SPANISH SHEEP’S-MILK CHEESE FROM NAVARRE)
FRESH EDIBLE FLOWERS (OPTIONAL)
1 TEASPOON CHOPPED CHERVIL, FOR GARNISH
Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar in a mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt and set aside. Cut the canned asparagus spears in thirds and divide the pieces among 4 plates.
Slice fresh asparagus thinly on an angle and set aside.
Slice off the top and bottom of the orange. Using a sharp knife, cut down the sides of the orange to remove all of the peel and pith. Slice along the sides of each membrane and pull out the segments. Arrange the segments around the canned asparagus spears on each plate. Divide the asparagus slices among the plates. Drizzle some dressing over the salads. Use a vegetable peeler to slice ribbons of cheese onto each salad. Drizzle with a little more dressing, garnish with edible flowers and fresh chervil, if you like, and serve.
Roncal is a slightly nutty and firm sheep’s-milk cheese. If you can’t find it, try Manchego, the classic Spanish cheese. If fresh white asparagus is out of season, you can use fresh green asparagus instead.
Shredded Salt Cod with Tomatoes and Olives
Shredded salt cod with tomatoes and olives
“Esqueixada” de bacalao
In many markets in Catalonia, you’ll find stands selling salt cod, or what we call bacalao. The cod is often sold from small water baths, with the bacalao at different stages of desalination. Lucky for us, in Spain and the United States, there’s a company called Giraldo that sells the best salt cod at the perfect moment of desalination, ready to be served.
8 OUNCES SALT COD (SEE TIP)
4 RIPE PLUM TOMATOES
1 TABLESPOON SPANISH EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, PLUS MORE FOR DRIZZLING
¼ CUP PITTED BLACK OLIVES
2 TEASPOONS THINLY SLICED SCALLION
SALT TO TASTE
2 TEASPOONS MINCED CHIVES
Put the cod in a large bowl, skin side up. Cover with water and refrigerate for 36 hours, changing the water at least 3 times to remove the salt. Drain the cod and pat dry with a paper towel. With your fingers, shred the cod into small strips and set aside.
Slice the tomatoes in half. Place a grater over a mixing bowl. Rub the cut surface of the tomatoes over the grater until all of the flesh is grated. Discard the skins. Strain the tomato pulp through a fine-mesh strainer, then stir in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and set aside.
Spread a thin layer of shredded salt cod across 4 plates. Spoon a layer of the tomato pulp on top of the cod. Arrange the olives around each plate and sprinkle with sliced scallion. Drizzle each plate with olive oil, season with salt, and garnish with the chives.
It is important to use the highest-quality salt cod you can find for this dish. If you buy it already desalted, you can skip the first step of soaking the fish. To test your cod’s readiness, pinch off a bit of fish from the center of the piece and taste. You’ll find the time needed to release the salt will vary depending on the thickness of the fish.
Lentil Salad with Blue Valdeón Cheese
Lentil salad with blue Valdeón cheese
Ensalada de lentejas con queso Valdeón
Lentils remind me of the stew we ate at home at the end of the month, when money was running short. Although it was a meal that cost very little, I always looked forward to the delicious and hearty stew, with a little bit of carrot, garlic, and onion. Best of all, any leftovers made a perfect salad the next day. The acidity of the vinegar elevates this humble dish to the point where it’s difficult to stop after one bite; you’ll find you always want more.
FOR THE SALAD
1 CUP DRIED FRENCH GREEN LENTILS
½ HEAD OF GARLIC, PAPERY OUTER SKIN REMOVED
1 BAY LEAF
2 TABLESPOONS SPANISH EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
1 TEASPOON SALT
½ CUP DICED GREEN BELL PEPPER
½ CUP DICED RED BELL PEPPER
½ CUP DICED, SEEDED PLUM TOMATOES
1 SHALLOT, DICED
FOR THE DRESSING
3 TABLESPOONS SPANISH EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
2 TABLESPOONS SHERRY VINEGAR
2 TEASPOONS SEA SALT
2 TABLESPOONS CHOPPED CHIVES
2 OUNCES VALDEÓN (SPANISH BLUE CHEESE FROM CASTILLA Y LEÓN), CRUMBLED
Prepare the salad: Put the lentils, onion, garlic, bay leaf, olive oil, salt, and 4 cups water in a medium-deep pot and bring to a boil ove
lentils (also known as Puy lentils) for this soup. They hold their shape better than other lentils, which can get a little mushy when overcooked. Sometimes little pebbles can get mixed in with lentils, so be sure to pick through them and rinse them to remove any stone dust before cooking.
Basic Cream of Vegetable Soup
This soup is so easy to make and yet so satisfying to eat. Because you are puréeing the soup at the end, there is no need for precision when chopping the vegetables – just try to keep them roughly the same size so that they cook evenly. Adding cream at the end is completely optional, although it does give the soup a luxurious texture. As for what vegetables to use, try any combination of vegetables that you like!
6 – 8
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 to 2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 potato, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cups vegetables, chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
water, as needed
½ to 1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1. Melt the butter along with the olive oil in a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. The onion should be translucent, not brown. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
2. Add the potato, vegetables, thyme sprigs and bay leaf and continue to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. Add enough water to just cover the vegetables. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs and the bay leaf.
3. Using a blender, food processor, food mill or immersion blender, purée the soup until no lumps remain and the soup is smooth. Return the soup to the stovetop and add the cream, salt and freshly ground black pepper. If the soup needs to be thinned, just add water until you’ve reached the desired consistency. Heat through and serve.
•You can always make a hearty and nonfat vegetable soup by just boiling vegetables in water and then puréeing them. However, in this version, I start by cooking the vegetables in a combination of butter and olive oil. Butter adds great flavor, but it burns at a relatively low temperature. Olive oil can reach a higher temperature before burning. Using the two together gives you the best of both worlds – flavor and higher heat potential. By cooking the vegetables in fat before adding liquid, the vegetables can release more of their natural flavor.
•The potato is included in the ingredients to help thicken the soup, regardless of what vegetables you choose to use. For instance, if you make a zucchini soup, you might need a little thickening help from the potato. On the other hand, if you are making a sweet potato soup, the potato is really not necessary.
•I use only as much water as I need to simmer the vegetables – just enough to cover them by an inch. This is because it is a quicker process to purée the vegetables in less liquid (fewer batches). If you need more liquid in order to purée the vegetables, just add a little water. Once everything is puréed, you can add more liquid until you’ve reached the desired consistency. It is much easier to add liquid than take it out!
Cream of Tomato Soup
Cream of tomato soup is one of the most popular soup flavors. The key to this soup is to use the best tomatoes you can find. Only use fresh tomatoes if you’re making this at peak tomato season (late summer). Otherwise, you’re better off using good quality canned tomatoes.
6 – 8
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 to 2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
4 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped OR 2 (28 ounce) cans tomatoes
¾ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh basil (optional)
1. Melt the butter along with the olive oil in a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. The onion should be translucent, not brown. Add the garlic and dried basil, and cook for an additional minute.
2. Add the tomatoes and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the soup with the lid askew for 30 minutes.
3. Using a blender, food processor, food mill or immersion blender, purée the soup until no lumps remain and the soup is smooth. Return the soup to the stovetop and add the cream, salt and freshly ground black pepper. If the soup needs to be thinned, just add some water until you’ve reached the desired consistency. Heat through and serve with fresh basil sprinkled on top if desired.
If you’re using canned tomatoes for this soup, look for San Marzano tomatoes. These are a variety of plum tomatoes originally from a small town near Naples, Italy. They have a thicker flesh and fewer seeds than Roma tomatoes, with