Fall is almost here, bringing soup to my mind.  But the temperatures are far from dropping, in fact we are cruising along a nice indian summer, with the thermometers showing high 80’s and even mid 90’s.   In tune with the weather, this broccoli soup can be enjoyed hot or cold, is quick to prepare,  and very good for you:  low fat, low carb, but won’t make you go into starvation-response 30 minutes later…  😉

(reprinted with permission from Mark Bittman‘s Quick and Easy Recipes from the New York Times)

2 cups broccoli florets
3 cups chicken stock (I substituted water)
1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
1 cup yogurt
salt and freshly ground black pepper
slivered almonds (optional)

Combine the broccoli and stock in a saucepan and simmer until tender (about 10 minutes).  During the final minute of cooking, drop the garlic in the pan.

Puree the contents of the pan in a blender until very smooth, working in batches if needed (and be careful blending hot liquids, don’t fill your blender’s cup too much).  Once the soup is fully pureed, add yogurt and reheat very gently, adjusting seasoning with salt and pepper.

If desired, top the soup with slivered almonds, or croutons.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  Mr. Bittman says you can use leftover broccoli cooked by any method as a starting point for this soup.  Remove excessive dressing or sauce, boil some stock, add the garlic and the cooked broccoli together for a couple of minutes, then proceed with the recipe.   Instead of yogurt, you can finish it with  milk or cream, but of course those will increase the fat content. I  made this soup to take to work for lunch,  so I kept it as light as possible, just added some slivered almonds for extra crunch.

ONE YEAR AGO: Marbled Rye

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receita em portugues na segunda pagina


I wish I could say that I made this dish, but the credit goes to my dear husband, who prepared petrale sole filets on our griddle, something we’ve never attempted before.   Our default method for this fish is the classic “sole meuniere“, which is ready in minutes in a luscious butter sauce, with lemon, parsley and capers.   Healthwise, it’s a bit of a wash: the fish is so light and healthy, but it’s swimming in butter…   Nevertheless, the taste is awesome (worth every molecule of saturated fat it contains).

Seriously. this griddled alternative was absolutely delicious, undoubtedly also from  the high quality of the fish.  It’s so nice to have a fish monger nearby!

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

filets of sole
lemon juice
all purpose flour
salt and pepper
vegetable oil to coat the griddle
(small pad of butter, optiional)

Rinse the fish briefly, dry with paper towels.   Sprinkle a little lemon juice all over the filets and season with salt and pepper.    Dredge each filet in salted/peppered flour or very carefully shake the filets in a paper bag with seasoned flour.

Coat the surface of the griddle with a tablespoon of oil, set it at maximum temperature (ours goes to 400F), and cook each filet about 5 min per side, until  both sides are golden brown and the fish is cooked through.  In the last couple of minutes squeeze some lemon and drop a small pad of butter among the filets, if you like.  Serve with lemon wedges.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: When your are fortunate enough to find fresh petrale sole, the less you mess with it, the better it will be.  It’s such a terrific, delicate fish, don’t suffocate it with powerful flavors.  We were amazed by how well the griddle fried it.  In a sautee pan, even with high heat, the coating may become soggy.  This doesn’t pose a problem in a classic sole meuniere, because the pan sauce coats the fish and distracts from the texture.   Griddle-frying, on the other hand, resulted in crisp, dry filets that weren’t greasy, and the lemon juice sealed the meal.  Amazing that we had to travel a thousand miles to a downsized kitchen to discover this way to cook a fish filet!

ONE YEAR AGO: Barm Bread

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I’ve grated cheese, old bread, chocolate, lemon peel, and ginger root…  I’ve grated zucchini, potatoes, and apples.  Tomatoes?  Never thought I ever would.  But a dear friend of mine (hi, Heather!) did just that and raved about it.  She is such an awesome cook, I never hesitate to follow her recommendations.  The recipe was published in the food section of the New York Times last month.

(from The New York Times, August 2010)

3/4 pound ripe, locally grown tomatoes
1  garlic clove,  finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2  teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
6 ounces green beans, trimmed
3/4 pound farfalle pasta
2 tablespoons basil leaves, slivered
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmiggiano cheese for serving

Begin heating a large pot of water. If you happen to be cooking in the nano-kitchen, this step should be started 2 hours before dinner, give or take 10 minutes. Cut the tomatoes in half across the equator, and grate on the large holes of a box grater into a wide bowl, discard skin. Stir in the garlic, salt and pepper, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the green beans, cooking them for four minutes.   Transfer to a bowl of cold water, drain and dry on paper towels. Keep the water in the pot boiling for the pasta. Cut the beans into two-inch lengths (I cut smaller), and add to the bowl with the tomatoes.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente.  When it’s done, drain and toss with the tomato mixture, basil and cheese.

(Makes 4 servings)


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: These gorgeous heirloom tomatoes were my first acquisition in the market in Los Angeles.  I’ve made plenty of raw tomato sauces before, normally using a food processor or blender, sometimes just dicing them by hand.  Grating is easy, fast, and produces a very interesting texture.  The skin of the tomatoes act to protect your hand during grating –  just don’t get overly excited – once you feel it laying flat on the surface of the grater, you are done.  I did not bother removing the seeds, but if you want an even smoother texture, squeeze them gently to de-seed, and then grate the flesh.  I am looking forward to using this basic tomato sauce with asparagus, capers, black olives…

Those following my adventures might be wondering how on Earth could I cook pasta without a stove?  Well, we found a little something in the house, still in its box,  never used.   It takes its sweet time to boil water, but beggars can’t be choosers, can they?


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