Dee Gourmet Goddess.com

Artichokes with Lemon Cream

Try this delightfully tangy and creamy dip for your artichokes!

DEE’S LEMON CREAM

This quick little recipe is easily whipped up and will impress you with its delicious simplicity!

Serve as your dip for grilled or steamed artichokes.

You will likely never eat artichokes any other way!!

What You’ll Need:

1 cup non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt

3 to 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil Mayonnaise

Sprinkle of garlic salt or 1 fresh garlic clove, pressed

Zest of 1 lemon

About 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons rinsed capers, chopped or whole

Steps:

  1. Whisk together the yogurt and mayonnaise. Add more or less yogurt/mayonnaise to your liking.
  2. Grate the zest of 1 small or ½ large lemon into the yogurt mixture. Add lemon juice and garlic salt. Whisk. Taste and adjust lemon to taste.
  3. Stir in rinsed capers.

Dee’s Lemon Cream can also be served as a salad dressing if thinned with a little buttermilk or regular milk.

Use your imagination!!

Print
September 21st, 2014

Bit of This and That Cheese Spread

Ever wonder what to do with those pesky little leftover pieces of cheese

in your cheese drawer?

Here’s your answer!!

*****

DEEZY’S CHEEZY SPREAD

Here are some cheesy ideas for using up bits of leftover cheese. Make a spread out of them!  The wine in this particular spread helps to bind the cheese, but if you prefer, water works as well. You can spread it on veggies or fruit like cucumber rounds or apple slices, or as a dip, or as a topping for cooked vegetables.

Use your imagination!!

What you’ll need:

1 pound of cheese pieces, any kind you have on hand brought up to room temperature

¼ to ½ cup dry white wine, room temperature

2 to 4 Tablespoons room temperature butter

2 cloves garlic, pressed

Small handful chopped Italian parsley

Few drops Sriracha or other hot sauce

Other variations listed below

How to do it:

The amount of butter and wine will depend upon the types of cheeses you use. The harder the cheese, the more butter and liquid you’ll want to put in. But you will be able to tell this by looking, testing, and tasting as you go.

Start by cutting the cheeses up into ½ to 1 inch pieces, or grate hard cheeses like Parmesan, and throw them in the food processor. Put the minimum amounts of the wine and butter in, and the pressed garlic.

Pulse the food processor at first, then run for a minute or two until everything is smooth.

Add parsley, hot sauce, and any other seasonings you want and pulse until incorporated.

Taste and adjust for flavor and texture. Add more butter and liquid to smooth the mixture out, keeping in mind it will firm up in the refrigerator.

If you find the flavors are too strong for you, add a little sweetener or a little more butter.

Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.

Variations:

Once the basic cheese recipe is done, try some of the variations below. Just put in the suggested combinations and pulse the food processor until the desired consistency is achieved.  Keep tasting and adding until you get the flavor you are looking for! Most of the fun of cooking is experimenting!! Enjoy—after all, you were probably going to throw the cheese bits away anyway!

Mustard-Caraway - Add 1 teaspoon of mustard and 2 teaspoons caraway seeds.

Herb - Add ¼ cup of chives or dill and a chopped green onion (scallion).

Pimento - Add a small jar of pimentos, drained

Maple Brandy Pecan – Add about 1 Tablespoon good quality brandy, 6 to 8 pecan halves and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Sun-dried tomato: Add 2 to 3 Tablespoons of drained sun-dried tomatoes (in oil).

Olive: Pit your favorite olive, halve and add to taste.

*** *** *** ***

Print
June 28th, 2014

CHEESE PLATTER SUGGESTIONS

I get a lot of questions about cheese platters, so here are a few tips

that may help you with your next gathering!

CHEESE PLATTER TIPS

How many cheeses?

There are as many answers to this question as there are cheeses!

The bottom line is…..it’s your party!  I usually like to serve 4 to 6 different types of cheeses as an appetizer if I am having a party for 20 or so people.  If having only a few guests, then I will usually serve only 2 or 3 cheeses.  If you have a remarkable cheese and you want to showcase a single cheese, do that!

Accompaniments:

The types of cheese you are serving should decide the accompaniments.

  • If you are serving a soft and rich brie, then you may want to choose an earthy jam, like fig or a subtly sweet-tangy tangerine or orange preserve. Grapes or fresh figs also go well with brie
  • Bleu cheese is its own best friend! I like to serve it drizzled with a robust honey, like avocado or eucalyptus (if you don’t live in California, you may not be able to find these…any honey you like will do). Lavendar honey is more delicate and just fabulous with a really nice bleu cheese.  Pear slices are also a nice accompaniment to bleu.
  • Swiss and gruyere: Almonds, walnuts, cashews, and dried apricots or pear slices. Rye cocktail bread or rye crackers are also good.
  • Cheddar:  Try serving cheddar with a spiced quince spread or tomato or other chutney. I also like to serve cheddar with plain, thinly sliced crusty bread and good quality balsamic vinegar.
  • If you are serving Italian cheeses, consider making an antipasto platter and serve with olives, nuts, salami, proscuitto, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil leaves.
  • You can decide on either serving plain crackers (like water crackers) or flavored crackers. Just be sure that the flavor of the cracker doesn’t overwhelm the taste of the cheese. I would avoid cheesy or vegetable flavored crackers. Plain crostini works well with most platters as does sliced breads, such as cocktail rye or whole wheat or thinly sliced French or Italian bread.
  • If you want to focus on the cheese, then avoid the crackers and bread and serve with the accompaniments I have suggested or EXPERIMENT!

Arranging your platter:

  • Arrange cheeses from mild to strong and young to old
  • Look to create contrast and try to alternate types of milk (cow, sheep, goat, etc.)
  • End with bleus because the stronger acids pierce your palate and the sharp flavor lingers.
  • Set the cheese out at least half an hour before eating to bring them up to room temperature before serving.
  • Offer a different knife with each cheese.
  • Quantity for cheese as hors d’ oeuvres: 1 to 2 ounces of each cheese per person
  • Quantity for cheese as a dessert course: 1 to 1 ½ ounces of cheese per person
Print
June 28th, 2014

Basic Mayonnaise

Home made mayonnaise takes only a few minutes to make and makes all the difference!

BASIC MAYONNAISE

1. Place 2 large egg yolks (from pasteurized eggs) in a food processor.

2. Add 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard and 4 teaspoons lemon juice

3. Pulse ingredients until well combined.

4. Now pay attention!  With the motor running, add 1 cup of canola oil or olive oil in a slow, thin, steady stream.  It will get thick and emulsify.  Don’t over process! Season with salt and white pepper.

5. You can store in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

Change it up!

GARLIC MAYO:   In step 2, add 2 garlic cloves that you have put through a garlic press

RED PEPPER MAYO:   In step 2, add 1 jarred roasted red pepper, patted dry and 2 garlic cloves pressed as above

HERBED MAYO:   In step 3, after adding the oil, stir in 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs like parsley, tarragon, chives

CESAR MAYO:   In step 3, add 2 minced anchovy fillets and 1/4 cup Parmesan

TARTAR MAYO: In step 3, after adding the oil, stir in 2 Tablespoons chopped gherkins (sweet pickles) and 2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion.

Print
September 16th, 2013

Chiffonade of Basil

Here is an easy way to chiffonade basil, which means to cut them into long strips.

Here’s how it is done

1.  Remove the leaves from the basil stalk.  Try to remove all the stems.

2.  Layer the leaves like this:

3.  Roll the leaves up like so and cut into thin strips:

And there you have it: Chiffonade of Basil! (or mint or whatever you want!)

Print
February 6th, 2013

A Dicey Job: Dicing a Mango!

If you are avoiding adding mangoes to your recipe because they turn to mush

when you try to cut them up, stay tuned!

 

I was taught this technique by a friend of a friend for whom I cooked dinner several years ago. After she saw me struggling with cutting up my mango for black bean mango salsa I was making for grilled salmon, she showed me this technique. She later told me that she was a sous chef for Alice Waters at Chez Panisse!

 

Gulp.

 

 

DICING A MANGO

 

Stand the mango on end and slice it lengthwise just about in half, alongside the large pit.

 

Cut the other side off the pit in the same way.

 

Hold one of the halves in your hand and make crisscross cuts almost down to the skin

 

Now, bend the mango backwards so that your scores pop up

 

At this point, simply cut the mango away from the skin with a slice and there you have

PERFECTLY DICED MANGO!

 

 

Print
August 14th, 2011

Grilling Food Safely

 

Grilling season is upon us!  Be safe and keep it simple!

 

I love grilling, whether it is on my gas, charcoal or smoker grill, direct or indirect cooking.  There is little or no clean up AND the flavors are endless, just by changing the marinade or adding a touch of smoke from different types of wood chips available.

 

My favorite grilled foods include fresh thickly sliced veggies (onions, eggplant, squashes, mushrooms, tomatoes, artichokes, corn, peppers, potatoes).  There is so much you can do with grilled veggies — salads, sandwiches, omelets– the possibilities are endless! 

 

To make a quick and fabulously delicious garlic bread, just slice your favorite bread (whole wheat, sour dough, ciabatta) into 1 inch slices.  Brush with a little garlic-infused oil and grill over medium heat until golden. Sprinkle with finishing salt and OMG!

 

And fruit! When you grill a fresh peach, nectarine or fig, the flavor transforms into this melt-in-your mouth treat that you never expected!  A simple sweet balsamic vinaigrette or a drizzle of lavendar honey and a little bleu cheese and VIOLA!  A healthy and fabulous grilled dessert!

 

 

 

Whatever your tastes, grilling is something well-worth practicing until you get it right! Don’t be intimidated! Food is to be enjoyed and shared, so what are you waiting for! 

“LOVE PEOPLE.  COOK THEM GREAT FOOD.”

 

I thought I’d share some tips with you that I gleaned from Mayo Clinic health tips.

Here goes:

 

  • THAW THOROUGHLY   Plan ahead so that frozen meat and poultry are completely thawed before grilling. Slow- thawing in the refrigerator (on a shelf away from produce) is recommended. To avoid nasty cleanups and possible contamination of other food, put the package on a plate or bowl just in case the package leaks!  Another option is to use cold water to thaw sealed packages. Your frozen item is thawed very quickly and safely. This is my favorite method of thawing.  Using the microwave is also an option, but not my favorite because it changes the texture and flavor of the meat, but it is acceptable according to the Mayo Clinic. Food must be grilled immediately after using the microwave method.
  • USE MARINADES PROPERLY   Marinate foods in the refrigerator, not on your countertop.  If you plan to use the same marinade to baste while grilling or as a sauce on cooked food, set aside a portion of the marinade before putting the raw meat, poultry or seafood in in.  Never resuse marinade that has been used to marinate food! 
  • DON’T SKIMP ON COOKING TIME    Consider indirect cooking to prevent charring, as charred meats may contain carcinogens.  Remove visible fat prior to grilling to avoid flare-ups.
  • THE MAYO CLINIC suggests you use a food thermometer to test internal temperatures, especially if you are new at grilling. Fish and medium rare steaks should be cooked to 145 degrees. Ground beef and all types of pork are cooked safely at 160, whole or ground poultry to 165.  Personally, I find that these temperatures are a little high for most items, except the ground beef and poultry. By using the method I mention below, you can keep your meat tender and cooked thoroughly at the same time!
  • REMEMBER! Your meat continues to cook after you remove it from the grill. By placing an inverted bowl over top of your cooked item immediately or securely snugging the plate with aluminum foil, the steam from the hot meat will continue to gently “cook” and the internal temperature will continue to rise, tenderizing as it steams.  Leave the meat alone for at least 5 minutes, or up to 15 minutes before carving so you don’t lose all of those lovely juices.
  • BEWARE OF CROSS-CONTAMINATION  Always use clean utensils and platters to serve grilled food. Never reuse items that came in contact with raw meat, poultry or seafood.  Clean all surfaces that poultry or other sources of contamination touch with soap and water or a bleach solution.  Personally, I couldn’t cook without  my Clorox Clean-up!
  • CLEAN YOUR GRILL before each use and make sure it’s HOT before you place food on it. Try to remember to clean the grill after you take off what you have cooked by turning the heat to high and using a wire brush to scrape off all bits you have left behind.  That way, when you are ready to use it again, just heat ‘er up, oil your grates and GET GRILLIN’! 

 

 

Print
May 16th, 2011

Refrigerator Salad and Other Pearls

If you are anything like me, you have a ton of small amounts of leftovers in your refrigerator that will eventually grow penicillin! 

Stop making penicillin and make a salad!

 

 

Today, I was perusing my refrigerator for something to put together for lunch quickly so that I could return to the computer and complete a summer class I am working on.

 

Granted, most normal people do not have the kinds of things I have in my refrigerator, but it doesn’t matter. You can make a delicious salad with just a few ingredients if you top it with a simple and complimentary dressing.

 

Try something like this:

REFRIGERATOR SALAD

Leftover salad greens — mix them up.  Arugula, spinach, baby lettuces, iceberg, Romaine … whatever you’ve got!

Leftover veggies like a few pieces of asparagus, green beans, potato, Leftover grains like rice, bulgur, quinoa

Leftover chicken, fish, meat or cooked tofu (which I used above)

A beautiful ripe tomato (my tomatoes aren’t ready yet, so I get them from the Farmer’s Market in Ventura, from the  Beylik Family Farms stand. These are hydroponic tomatoes and are available all year round, grown right here in Fillmore. If you want to read about them and their produce, see  www.beylikfarms.com. ) 

If you don’t have a gorgeous ripe tomato, you can use grape or cherry tomatoes as well. 

Or toss in a few dried cranberries, tart cherries, dates, raisins or other dried fruit.

Herbs!  Don’t forget to use fresh herbs.  Whatever you have will only compliment your salad!

If you don’t have any refrigerator protein, not to worry, just open a can of tuna or salmon and sprinkle chunks on the top.

Nuts make a nice addition in lieu of other protein. 

Canned kidney, garbanzo or cannelini beans that have been rinsed are also good.

*************

Citrusy Dressing

A simple and flavorful dressing will make this type of salad shine and compliment, not overwhelm the salad if you keep it light.  Mine is made from only 3 ingredients!

My favorite flavored olive oil is Pastamore’ Meyer Lemon Olive Oil. I whisked about 2 teaspoons of that with Pastamore’ Citrus Balsamic Vinegar, about 2 Tablespoons, and a little salt for the salad pictured above.  I get the lemon olive oil and this particular vinegar from http://nansgourmetfoods.com/

A sprinkle of freshly grated black pepper and your salad is complete! 

Not too many calories, good-for-you fat and

very tasty!

**************

Pink Finishing Salt

Several people have asked me about the “pink” salt I use as a finishing salt.  It is called Murray River flake salt from Australia. I first found it at Cost Plus, but when I went back, was unable to find it again. So, I went online and found it at http://www.saltworks.us/ .  I buy it in larger quantities as I find it less expensive that way. Sometimes, this company offers free shipping.  I know it’s a long way to go for salt, but it is one of my many weaknesses!  

***************

Here’s a tip for a quick and delicious appetizer that you can put together in no time.

Great for a wine party or as an appetizer before an Italian meal!

 

LEMONY BOCCANCINI w/BASIL AND PROSCIUTTO

 

20 Baby bocconcini (baby mozzarella balls)

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

20 fresh basil leaves

20 pieces of prosciutto

Party toothpicks or little skewers 

Just mix the olive oil and lemon juice together in a big enough bowl to accommodate the boccancini.  You can also use a re-sealable plastic baggie for this if you like.  Gently add the boccancini and roll the balls around until they are completely coated.  Let marinate for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Wrap each little cheese with a basil leaf (if too big, just cut the leaf), then wrap with a piece of prosciutto. Secure with a toothpick or a little skewer and arrange nicely on a platter.

These will disappear VERY quickly! So, make lots if you are having a wine party.

As a compliment to the cheese, put out some crusty sliced bread or toasted slices of baguette that you have rubbed with a fresh garlic clove.

******************

Print
May 12th, 2011

Try Something Different!

Here are a few ideas for you to try.  Add new flavors, ideas and styles into your everyday food preparation. Enjoy!

 

 

DIFFERENT TUNA SALAD

Instead of the usual mayonnaise, simply chop some sweet onion and add it to the tuna after draining. Grind lots of coarse black pepper into the tuna and mix together. Now, drizzle with lemon-flavored olive oil, such as the one pictured below.  Tuna salad made this way makes a great pannini when grilled on ciabatta bread with a slice of tomato and a slice of your favorite low fat or soy cheese. I use provolone flavored veggie cheese and it is great!

  

The oil pictured above, Meyer Lemon, is from Nan’s Gourmet Foods http://nansgourmetfoods.com  and I have found it to be of exceptional quality and taste.  Another local olive oil is from Ojai, California, which also makes very flavorful oils.

 

Look for local flavored olive oils, if there are any near you, and change to a healthier fat!

 

************************

MAYO TRICK

If you simply must have that mayo taste and can’t stand the flavor of non-fat or lower fat mayo, try mixing 1 Tablespoon of regular mayonnaise (I use olive oil mayo) with 2 Tablespoons of non-fat Greek yogurt. You will find that not much is lost in the translation except fat and calories.  

 

 

Think of the possibilities:  you can make traditional potato or egg salad, dips, dressings (such as Ranch, which most kids love) and even tarter sauce this way!

 

 

I prefer the texture of the non-fat Greek yogurt (I get the organic Trader Joe’s brand) because it holds up when making sauces and dressings.  Low fat sour cream is also a good substitute with fewer calories and fat than the mayo, but I prefer working with the yogurt, not only because of the texture, but I appreciate the creaminess it adds.

 

 

1 Tablespoon (olive oil) mayonnaise has 50 calories and 5 grams of fat

1 Tablespoon of non-fat Greek yogurt has 9 calories and 0 fat.

You do the math.

 

 

************************

 

VEGGIES

Microwaved veggies may retain their vitamins better than stovetop-cooked ones. That’s because the microwave zaps it quickly and without much water. One study found that spinach retained only 77% of the B-vitamin folate when cooked on a stove, but retained ALL of its folate when cooked in a microwave.

 

If you don’t already, microwave your veggies.  Just put in a microwave-safe bowl, add very little water and cover with waxed paper or a paper towel.  I avoid plastic wrap, the jury is still out on that one.

 

************************

 

DIFFERENT SALAD DRESSING

For a delicious and full-flavored salad dressing, try something different! Whisk together equal parts low-sodium soy sauce, dark brown sugar, balsamic vinegar (the real stuff) and canola oil. Yum.

************************

 

FRESH THYME – NOT JUST FOR POULTRY!

 

  • Try adding 1 teaspoon of chopped thyme to the filling of your apple crisp or pear tart for a different twist!

 

  • Make a savory pancake by stirring 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme and 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese into your batter.

 

  • Combine 1 Tablespoon of honey, ½ teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme (I prefer lemon thyme) and ¼ finely grated lemon rind and drizzle over Greek non-fat yogurt. Top with toasted pine nuts or toasted almond slices for a lower calorie and delicious dessert.

 

 

 

 

 

************************

SWEET ROSEMARY ORANGES!

Here’s a change of pace for oranges.  Make a simple-syrup (2 parts sugar to 3 parts water), add 6 large rosemary sprigs and boil until all sugar is dissolved. Steep 2 hours.  Peel and slice oranges and put into a decorative glass bowl. Pour desired amount of syrup over oranges and chill. Top with a little finely minced rosemary and serve!

 

 

 

************************

 

ROSEMARY LEMONADE

Steep a couple of sprigs of rosemary in simple-syrup and make lemonade with it!

 

 

************************

 

POLENTA SECRET

To avoid the lumps in your polenta, simply pre-mix the desired amount of cornmeal with some of the pre-measured cold cooking liquid prior to adding it to the boiling liquid. 

 

 

************************

 

GOT A NASTY COLD?   TUMMY UPSET?

 

 

Try making home made ginger tea.  It’s easy! Just buy some fresh (look for non-wrinkled skin) ginger root and peel it. The best way to peel ginger is by scraping the peel off with a small spoon.  Then you can either chop, grate or slice it up into pieces. Place about 3 inches of the prepared ginger into a quart of water. Bring to the boil and turn off the heat. Let it stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  It will turn golden yellow.  Strain.  At this point, you can sweeten it to taste with your favorite sweetener, such as honey, agave, raw sugar or a sugar substitute.  Personally, I use honey.  Drink it hot to soothe sore throats and soften the grumbles in your stomach or put it in the refrigerator and drink cold. You can even make your own “ginger ale” by mixing either with sparkling water or club soda.  Ginger is believed by many to have several healing properties.

 

 

************************

 

EASY CHEESE CUTTER

Try cutting your fresh goat cheese or other soft cheese with dental floss! If cutting a cylinder of goat cheese, simply slide a piece of floss underneath  and cross both ends above to create an “X”.  Pull both ends in opposite directions, and voila!

 

 

By the way, it also works on cakes, cheesecakes, etc.  Simply use the dental floss to cut through the soft cake! 

 

************************

 

POUNDING CHICKEN OR MEAT

When making roulades or cutlets, wet the inside of a plastic gallon baggie with water or wine.  Place the meat in a single layer inside the bag and lay on a flat work surface. Now pound away to the desired thickness! You won’t tear your meat and the liquid inside the bag keeps it from sticking.

 

************************

 

FLUFFY SCRAMBLED EGGS

If you want to fluff up your scrambled eggs and lower the fat at the same time, try this.  For every whole egg you use,  scramble in 2 eggwhites and 2 Tablespoons of low fat cottage cheese.  Whisk everything into a frenzy, add seasoning that you like; you can even snip in a little parsley, chives or whatever you like.  Cook in olive oil and viola~! Healthier and delicious fluffy scrambled eggs!   You can also use all eggwhites, as I have done in this photo.   It really is delicious!

 

 

 

 

************************

 

SOFT BREAD CRUMBS

 

How often do you toss those few pieces of almost-stale bread? Well, no more!   I just put them into a zip lock bag and toss them into the freezer until I have accumulated several pieces.  When I’m ready, I thaw them out and put them into the food processor to make bread crumbs. You can make them as fine or coarse as you like. When complete, just toss back into the bag and freeze again until ready to use. You can take out as much as you like and put the rest back into the freezer.  I have a one bag with coarse white crumbs and one bag with finer whole wheat crumbs.  They come in really handy for things like my Stuffed Artichoke Scampi (see recipe section)!

 

************************

 

KEEPING BREAD WARM

Wrap some dried beans in a tea towel and microwave until they are hot. Place the beans while wrapped inside the towel, into the bottom of your bread basket. Keeps your bread warm throughout the meal!  I can’t remember where I heard this, but it really works!

 

************************

 

PREVENT SOGGY GREENS

The French have an excellent way of keeping their salad greens from getting soggy and being able to enjoy that glass of wine with their guests.  Pour your prepared salad dressing into the bottom of a large salad bowl. Now take your  salad forks and crisscross them over the dressing. Gently place your salad greens on top of the forks, using the largest pieces of lettuce on the bottom. When you are ready to mix the salad, just take out the forks and mix!

 

 

************************

 

 

 

Print
January 25th, 2011

Dee’s Tips for Creative Cream-style Soups

 

Winter time is soup time. 

I prefer cream-style soup but I make it without the cream!

Making delicious, organic, home-made soup is simple and healthful for you and your family.  Opening a can or box or soup mix is certainly an alternative, but firstly, they are LOADED with sodium (read the label per serving) and, frankly, you just don’t know what is in that can!

 

 

 

  Here are some cream-style soup-making tips for you:

 

  • Use whatever vegetables are in season and on sale! I make creamed soups out of potatoes, potatoes and leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, squash (any kind), beets, carrots — pretty much anything veggie!
  • If you can afford it, invest in an immersion blender that is heat resistant. It will change your life!! Lots of sales after Christmas!
  • You will always need some kind of base ingredient such as onion, leek, garlic. The more they are cooked or caramelized, the more nutty the flavor. If you want to keep the flavor lighter, just sweat them before adding the liquid.
  • Use one or two small diced potatoes to naturally thicken a pot of soup.
  • When you are serving a creamed soup, such as cauliflower, and you want a cheddar or bleu cheese flavor, don’t put the cheese in the cooking pot. Instead, serve a couple of different cheeses at the table and have your guests or family choose the one they want to top their soup with. You will find less is more this way!
  • Either make home made broth from left-over chicken parts or if eating vegetarian, left-over veggie pieces and stems.  Make it in larger batches and freeze it for later use.
  • If using boxed or canned soups, look for the organic and less sodium variety. Trader Joe’s has a vegetable broth that is a nice blend.
  • You can blend flavors by using half broth and half almond milk.
  • You can use all almond milk to cook your veggies instead of broth.
  • If you want to “finish” the soup with a little “cream”, try using soy cream.  It’s yummy!
  • If using boxed or canned chicken or veggie broth, use 1/2 broth to 1/2 water ratio.
  • For thicker soups, always use just enough liquid to cover the veggies. You can always add more liquid later, but can’t take it out!
  • One Serrano or Jalapeno chili is really nice to add a bit of fresh spice to a soup. You might want to take it out of the pot before you begin to puree it, though. 
  • I add one Serrano to a pot of cauliflower or potato soup. To make it taste like something great from Mexico, I also add a sprig of fresh lemon oregano.  This can then be topped with a little Mexican blend shredded cheese.
  • For an Asian flair, try putting in some peeled ginger. Ginger can be pretty spicy, so again, start small. Good in squash soups, beet and carrot soups.
  • You can also create a more Asian flavor by adding a small amount of coconut milk to soups such as butternut squash. You can get “light” coconut milk, which has 4 Grams of fat per 1/3 cup, so go lightly. There is no cholesterol in coconut milk.
  • Make a big pot and freeze the rest in individual portions or family portions. Vacuum sealing bags do the job nicely and don’t take up as much space in your freezer. Always label and date them so you know what you are eating in 3 months!
  • When adding spice, a little goes a long way. Again, rule of thumb is, you can always add more, but can’t take it out once it’s in there. Start off slowly and ramp up as needed.
  • If I’m using herbs, I ALWAYS use fresh because the flavor is more subtle. You get an essence and not a blast!  For example, I like to put a large sprig of fresh thyme into my potato leek soup. It’s OK just to wash it and toss it in there, stem and all. By the time the veggies are cooked, all the leaves have fallen off the stem into the soup. Then you can  just scoop the stem out. Saves a lot of time (or is that thyme??) Oh goodness, Dee!
  • I usually add a grind of fresh nutmeg or a dash of grated nutmeg to soups such as potato, cauliflower, potato-leek and sometimes others. Experiment and see if you like the flavor. I think it “grounds” the soup. 
  • Sauté your base ingredients, such as leek, onion, garlic, fennel, or whatever you are using, in olive oil to save on cholesterol.  It won’t save you on fat (all the same), but is healthier. You won’t need much oil, maybe 1 Tablespoon or so per pot.  If you really want the flavor of butter (and sometimes you just do!), add only a couple of teaspoons of butter for flavor into the olive oil.
  • If using a stand alone blender, be sure to cool the soup a little before you put it in the glass or plastic!
  • If using an immersion blender (heaven on earth), keep the blender near the bottom of the soup and just slightly tilted. Move it around the bottom that way because if you lift it up, whooosssshhhh! You won’t like your soup all over your walls!

 

So, see? You can make creamy soup without the cream and make so many variations that you won’t realize how good you are being to yourself! Practice and experiment.

 

Use the Cream-less Creamy Butternut Squash Soup as a basic recipe and GO!

See the “Recipes” tab

Print
January 7th, 2011


Home | Classes | Testimonials | Recipes & Tips | Seasonal Cuisine | About Chef Dee | Newsletter | Contact
Dee Gourmet Goddess © 2017 | designed by FD