Escarole Soup with Grass Fed Beef

It’s SO nice to have the farmers market back in my life. Not just for all the great food, but for my wallet too.

Yesterday morning I spent $85 for a week’s worth of food, (including two pounds of fresh shrimp) $35 of which was for¬†grass fed beef, the bones and bacon from Whole Foods.

The local organic farm has a stand at the market and is loaded with goodies right now, one of my favorites being the “Asian cukes”. They don’t have a lot of seeds and are so full of freh cucumber flavor. They also had some tremendous looking escarole. Escarole is a little less bitter compared to endive and this simple escarole soup is easy to make and oh so delicious.

It’s cold here in sunny Florida. It was 59 degrees here yesterday. Cold right? ūüėČ Well I thought soup would be perfect for a crisp day.

Question; do we tolerate “roughage” better when cooked and pureed?

Try this…

Wash your escarole (and wash it well, especially if you picked it up at a farmers market, to get all the “sand” off) and break it into the pieces. ¬†You do have a salad spinner don’t you?

Next slice up some shallots (or yellow onion) and scallions. Chop about 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary or grind it with your mortar and pestle.  Also add some lemon zest and lemon juice, about a teaspoon of each.  Sauté the onions and fresh rosemary in butter, then add a  splash of olive oil when the onions are soft and translucent.

Now add your escarole (for this recipe use one large head of escarole). Mix togehter well and cook for about 2 minutes.

Add 3 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and let the soup cool a bit.

Next I used my blender (if you have an immersion blender, use it right in the pot of soup) and pureed the soup. Return to the pan.

While the soup was cooking, I cooked some grass fed ground beef in a bit of butter sprinkled with sea salt, fresh gound pepper and red pepper flakes. Get yourself a nice looking soup bowl, ladel in your soup and add some cut/crumbled ground beef to it. Enjoy.

The rosemary and lemon blend¬†working together with the escarole is what gives this soup it’s really intense flavor. You could add a potato for a thicker soup. I’ve tried heavy cream before, but the cream takes away a lot of the flavor of this soup.

This Sunday I have a 20K race to run. I’m looking forward to it.

Be nice…

Tomato Soup and Beef Jello

A few weeks ago I made a big batch of bone broth. My preferred way is to use the crockpot. I let this batch simmer for 48 hours. After putting it in the fridge and letting it cool, I skimmed the fat (saved for later use) and made a bunch of individual portions and stuck them in the freezer. My kids call bone broth “beef jello”. They love watching and helping me skim off the fat, and then putting the “beef jello” in ziplock bags. When your bone broth looks like “beef jello”, you’ve been succesful in making a super nutritious broth.

Last night I made a quick tomato soup. In a saucepan bring your “beef jello” to a boil and reduce down a bit to intensify the flavor. (2.5-3 cups of broth reduced down to 2 cups, recipe for two people) Now add 4 diced roma tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes, 1/4 of a red onion and 2 cloves og garlic. Fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste. Bring to a boil.

Next I transferred the soup to the food processor and pureed it.
Toss back in the pan and add a shot of heavy cream. (just add a little first, you can always add more)
It looks like the soup is very light from the cream, but it is the poor lighting for the picture that makes it look like that. Instead of the more traditional creme fraiche, I added a small dollop of greek yogurt.
I ate 2 nice bowls of it. If you are a person that doesn’t sleep well if you eat late, see if soup has a different result. I didn’t get to eat till about 9pm, which is usually on the late side to eat for me. But soup doesn’t have the same effect as a meal does. Warms the body nicely for sleep mode ūüėČ
What do you like to make with your bone broth?

Sashimi, Salad and a Silly Band Queen

I don’t live in a big city as you know, so my sushi restaurants locally are not the greatest. Don’t get me wrong, they’re ok but just not fantastic. Sadly, they are all pretty expensive. So every now and then I treat myself to an order from Catalina Offshore Products.  (no compensation) They are located in San Diego, and sell some terrific products, including some of the best Uni (sea urchin roe) I have had. When you sign up as member, you will receive emails with specials. I took advantage of one of those specials and ordered some wild California King Salmon. Now the product is frozen, but let me tell you how good this is. I have a friend who is a chef and he laughed at me that I ordered frozen fish. He said “I can order you anything you want fresh”. Yes folks, fresh is better then frozen, BUT…..I brought my “non believing” friend a small sample to try and I can tell you he was blown away.
Take a look at this nice fatty salmon sashimi;

This salmon is so tasty, you don’t even need soy/tamari sauce and wasabi. I had some with and with out. I also put a tiny dollop of garlic chili sauce on the salmon instead of tamari and wasabi dip. Delicious.

I don’t know if you have ever tried this in a sushi restaurant;

This little treat is called “Ankimo
It’s monk fish liver. It is sometimes called “foie gras of the sea”
A bit of ponzu sauce really let the flavors stand out.
A quick home made ponzu sauce you can make (and use for many other dishes) is just adding some lemon juice to your soy/tamari sauce. It makes for a nice change of flavor.
When you order this as an appetizer in a sushi restaurant, it usually costs between $9.95 and $15.95. A whole roll from Catalina costs $15.99. Ahhh affordable sushi/sashimi what could be better?
Life can’t always be filled with the above delicacies, and other days we make do with the basics. Like a salad.
Just a nice lunch salad consisting of romaine lettuce, cucumber, peppers, red onion and salami.
Dressing is just some evoo and fresh ground pepper and a dash of sea salt.
And here my Silly Band Queen
Amazing isn’t it? Some one decides to manufacture some plastic bracelets in all sorts of shapes and becomes a multi millionaire pretty much over night. Has this crazyness hit your area too?
“You can get everything in life you want…..if you will just help enough other people get what they want”

Fish and Sweet Potato Soup

Someone asked me the other day if I like soup. I love soup. I especially love cream and coconut milk based soups. I like the thicker texture. An easy way to make thicker soups is to add some potato.

When it comes to soup, your stock is KEY. Tasty stock = tasty soup (well most of the time anyway)

On Saturday I made fish stock with the shrimp heads and shells I had saved. Making stock is easy and my criteria is as follows; make stock so flavorful, that it can stand on it’s own. Meaning you can give someone a spoonfiul, and they say “hmmmm that’s good soup”.

Try this for fish stock;

Cut onion, celery and carrot (this is called mirepoix in classic French cooking). You want onion to be twice the portion of the celery and carrots. In butter (butter is best here for flavor) cook the mixture. Don’t let it brown, but let it sweat until translucent (onion that is). Now it’s time to get Feel Good Eating creative.
Next I add a  heavy splash of white wine. I let that all simmer a bit. Next I added half a red jalapeno, dill and salt to taste. Let that all cook together a bit, stir. Next add your shrimp heads (or fish head and or fish bones etc). I really like shrimp heads for stock, the flavor is just a tad different then fish head and tail.

Mix all ingredients together well. Now add water. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer. I let it simmer for an hour or so. If there are people in your house that don’t like fish…you might want to have a little talk with them…as this stock WILL make your house smell nice and fishy. When done, pour your stock through a mesh colander. Now you have delicious fish stock to make soups with. The stock should have a dark color to it.

So Sunday I used the stock to make a salmon and sweet potato soup.
In a pan gently heat the stock. Add half of a thin sliced and peeled yam/sweet potato.
Once the sweet potato is soft, transfer to a blender and puree. Transfer back to the pan again and add a splash of heavy cream. Next I opened a can of salmon and mixed that in with the soup, stir and heat.
Dice a bit of red onion. Add a teaspoon of Fage (greek yogurt) and top with the red onion.
Gourmet on a budget. The canned salmon works very well with this.
The stock is perfect for a nice coconut soup too.
Have a great week!