Saturday, February 19, 2011

Carrot Coconut Soup

Today was a busy day...I spent all day at the Renaissance Festival with my little Daisy Scouts. We were there from 10am until 4pm...thats a LONG day in the hot sun with little 5- and 6-year-old girls.

We had a great time, but by time I got back, I was EXHAUSTED.

And, of course, as soon as I walked in the door, the kids that got left at home started clambering for dinner.

My first instinct was to go get pizza. I had my sunglasses on my head and my keys in my hand.

But then...I thought about what pizza would do to my diet. is one of those "trigger foods" for me...if it's around...I HAVE to have it. And I can never stop at one slice...I can easily polish 4 or 5 slices in one sitting...sometimes more if it's really good and there's a big selection to choose from. Pizza isn't my only "tigger food"...but it is a MAJOR one...

I've done SO WELL on my eating since my Master Cleanse shock treatment...having pizza would just BLOW IT.

So...despite my exhaustion and my childrens' impatience, I came back inside and put my keys in the basket and my sunglasses on the desk, and went to my fridge to make a delicious and satisfying dinner.

I knew what it would be, too. Something delightful that was made at our December Iron Chef...where the secret ingredient was "coconut".

Sherrie McKenna made a Carrot Coconut Soup...and as far as I'm concerned, it should've won.

It didn't win, though...there were three winners that day...I won "Most Original" with THIS...

Coconut Chicken Avocado Bites

And Valerias friend, Sonja, was another winner in the "Best Taste" with THIS entry...

Coconut Candies dipped in sugar (note: DO NOT EAT CLOVE!!)

And Valeria herself won "Best Presentation" with THIS...

I don't remember what this is called...but it's a Brazilian dish made with coconut milk and cornstarch and served with stewed prunes...very very pretty...and Valerias favorite dessert from her childhood...but not my favorite...

Sherrie didn't win...but in my mind, she should have. Hers was my FAVORITE entry that month...and I've been DYING to make it myself.

Incidentally, this soup is completely serve it with pride.

So here it is...

Be prepared to chop LOTS of carrots...

Carrot Coconut Soup

12 large carrots, peeled and chopped small
2 medium onions, chopped small
4 tsp fresh ginger, minced
4 and 1/2 tsp curry powder
6 cups vegetable broth (essentially a box and a half)
2 14 oz. cans coconut milk
sea salt, to taste
lime wedges

1. Simmer the carrots, onion, ginger, and curry powder in vegetable broth until carrots are SUPER soft...about 20-25 minutes

I hate the florescent lighting in my kitchen...everything looks yellow-er (is that a word?)

2. Allow to cool slightly, and then puree in blender, working in batches, if needed (you DO need to, by the have an extra pot or bowl close by)

3. Return to heat and slowly add coconut milk, stirring constantly, until combined. Do NOT let boil again...just heat through.

4. Season with sea salt to taste

5. Serve warm with lime wedges to add extra kick, or chill and serve cold on hot summer days.

Yummy Yummy Yummy...

Note: Soup will thicken as it cools, so be prepared to add extra liquid if necessary.

This thick and creamy soup is excellent served with crusty's GREAT for dipping!!

Ya a child I wouldn't eat carrots. My father told me they'd make my hair redder, and being that I was always teased in school for being a ginger, redder hair is the LAST thing I wanted. Had I not already been cured of this silly childhood phobia...I guaruntee this soup would've done the trick!!

courtesy Sherrie McKenna

Monday, February 14, 2011

Homemade Vegetable Soup

Sooo...this is a real treat...because this is a recipe that I didn't pilfer from anyone...I completely made it up.

Which may...or may a good thing.

See, I just got off 14 days of Master Cleanse...I have eaten anything but this lemon juice/maple syrup/cayenne water for 14 days.

And the first day you're off, you have to SIP orange juice all day (best damn orange juice I ever tasted)...and THEN...depending on your stomach (listen to your body, they say)'re supposed to eat vegetable soup. Homemade vegetable soup, with vegetables only minimally cooked. No seasoning. Nothing canned or processed.

Vegetables...and water.

I can't TELL YOU how excited I was to make this soup.

The first day you eat it, you're supposed to really just stick to the broth...minimal solids. Then each day introduce more and more solids into your tummy.

So...I think you know that I cheated. First of all, I used a Vegetable Stock and Vegetable Broth as my base. I used certified organic stuff...but still.

And I didn't MINIMALLY cook stuff...but here...I'll let you see for yourself...

So, first I poured a whole box of vegetable stock in my pot, and a whole box of vegetable broth. I put the stove on warm and let it heat oh-so-slowly.

Then I diced a whole onion and several stalks of celery, and sauteed them with a couple tablespoons butter and some pepper and sea salt.

I'm just a rule breaker.

Oh, yeah, Baby Bellas...come to mama...

When those were soft, I added about 8 oz sliced Baby Bella mushrooms and cooked them just until they smelled DIVINE, and then I dumped them in my waiting (and now lukewarm) broth.

Then I sliced up a zucchini, and a yellow squash, and one, whole, peeled eggplant. I didn't bother peeling the zucchini or squash...but I DID the eggplant. I'm weird like that. I also cut those zucchini and yellow squash slices in half to make little half-moons, but I cubed the eggplant.

Shapes and colors...

I like varying shapes and textures in my soups.

Then I added, like, 4 or 5 tomatoes, all chopped up...seeds and all.

Just put the whole bunch in there...seeds and all...

 About now I saw I had more veggies than broth, so I added another box of vegetable broth. My eyes are DEFINITELY bigger than my stomach...this is a LOT of soup. But since it's all I'm supposed to eat for the next couple days, I'm going BIG.

After the broth, I added a whole bag of spinach...stems removed.

Spinach added...pre-wilt...

Now here's where I break the rules AGAIN...I added a can of water chestnuts. I know, I know...but I like them in soup!! What can I say?

I know, I know...nothing processed...but I couldn't HELP myself!!

I added some sea salt and generous amounts of pepper, and I turned up the heat to make it boil. Once it boiled, I turned it back down to a low simmer and cooked until everything was soft and yummy (except those water chestnuts).

Now I'm gonna eat it...slowly...and I'm gonna chew the veggies (which are already soft) until I can pretend they're just broth, too.

I love soup.

I love vegetables.

I am SO HAPPY to eat again!!

Heaven in a stock pot...

courtesy me!!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Meatball Subs with Carmelized Onions and Gruyere (if you've got it)

I made this tonight...stole the recipe of a Smitten Kitchen post. I was tired of posting old Iron Chef recipes...and wanted to cook something yummy...even though I can't actually EAT it (stupid Master Cleanse).

I served these with fried mozzarella sticks and potato it was a carb heavy dinner. I tried to make up for it by making the meatballs from ground turkey...but not sure that was enough to take away the lack of GREEN at the table. Kids sure loved it, though.

The one thing I can say is that the meatballs are very soft and require a delicate hand...but it makes for a GREAT sandwich (or so I'm told)...

Also...I couldn't get Gruyere. It wasn't I substituted with plain old, completely UN-fancy Italian blend shredded cheese in a bag. I'm sure the Gruyere is if you can get it (without making some kind of special trip)...then go for it.

Meatball Subs with Caramelized Onions and Gruyère


The baguettes or seeded sandwich rolls you’ll use for your sandwiches
2 pound ground meat of your choice (I used turkey, but have in the past used beef, veal, chicken, pork, or a blend thereof)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg
Olive oil
4 cups prepared tomato sauce (plus extra if you like a lot of extra sa uce)

Caramelized onions

2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil


2 cups coarsely shredded Gruyère

Make the meatballs: Split your rolls almost the whole way through, leaving one side attached. Scoop out some of the roll to create a channel for the meatballs to rest in. Grind the bread you pulled out in a food processor or tear it into minuscule bits. You will need 1 1/3 cups or 2 3/4 ounces of fresh breadcrumbs for the meatballs. If you’re not making subs, you can get this same amount of breadcrumbs from 2 to 3 sandwich bread slices. Set rolls aside until later.

Place the fresh breadcrumbs in a large bowl with 3/4 cup warm water and all of the meatball ingredients except for the olive oil and tomato sauce. Combine with a fo rk, breaking up clumps of meat until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Form mixture into 2-inch meatballs are arrange on a tray. I find wet hands make it easier to form meatballs without them sticking too much.

Heat a generous slick of oil (few tablespoons) in a large saute pan with a lid. Brown meatballs in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan or nudge them before they are nicely browned or they will stick and you’ll leave delicious meatball bits in the pan. These meatballs are soft, so use a gentle hand. Transfer meatballs to a paper towel-lined tray and continue until they are all browned.

Discard the oil and heat your tomato sauce in the pan. Add the meatballs, cover the pan and simmer them on the lowest heat possible for 25 to 30 mi nutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.

Caramelize onions: While the meatballs are simmering, you can cook the onions. Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion, sprinkle with salt and a little pepper and cook until they’re tender, sweet, and a deep golden brown, stirring occasionally. This takes me about 30 minutes.

Assemble subs: Arrange meatballs with sauce in the hollowed-out roll(s). Drape caramelized onions over the top and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Place subs under a broiler or in an oven at top heat to melt the cheese.


Iron Chef Pembroke Pines February 2011 - Strawberry Nutella Crepes

3 eggs
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 ¼ cups milk
¾ cup sifted flour
½ tsp. vanilla
Nutella cream
Chopped strawberries or strawberry freezer jam
Whipped cream
Beat eggs; stir in milk and vanilla. Sift in dry ingredients. Mix until smooth. Drop batter onto hot buttered griddle to make thin cakes. Turn when underside is light brown. When finished cooking, spread with Nutella and sprinkle with cut strawberries or strawberry freezer jam and roll. Serve with whipped cream or powdered sugar, hot or cold.


courtesy Heather Wangeman

Iron Chef Pembroke Pines February 2011 - Strawberry Crumb Cake

Strawberry Crumb Coffee Cake

2 1/2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. sliced strawberries

Crumb Topping:
1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. pakced light-brown sugar
1/4 c. cold butter, cut in pieces
1/3 c. walnuts, chopped
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 8x2" square baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl mix egg, milk, oil and vanilla.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add egg mixture; beat with wooden spoon 1 minute until evenly moistened. Spoon into prepared pan. Top with strawberries.

Crumb Topping: In a small bowl mix flour adn sugar. Cut in butter with fork until blended and crumbly. Stir in nuts. Sprinkle topping over strawberries.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Let cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares, dust with powdered sugar.
courtesy Rachel Quinton

Iron Chef Pembroke Pines February 2011 - Parmesan-Stuffed Strawberry Chicken


3 cups fresh strawberries (halve or quarter if large berries)

2 Tbsp. White balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar

1/4 cup strawberry jam

Sea salt or salt and black pepper

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 3 lb.)

3 oz. Parmesan or white cheddar cheese

6 large fresh basil leaves

1 Tbsp. Olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

Snipped fresh basil


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a 3-quart baking dish combine strawberries, vinegar, and jam. Sprinkle salt and pepper; set aside.

2. Cut a horizontal pocket in each chicken breast half by cutting from one side almost, but not through, to the other side. Cut Parmesan cheese in six 3x1/2-inch pieces. Wrap a basil leaf around each piece of cheese; stuff into chicken breast pocket. Secure pockets closed with wooden toothpicks or skewers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. In 12-inch oven-safe skillet cook garlic in oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add chicken and cook 5 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Transfer to oven. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes. Add baking dish with the strawberry-jam mixture to oven. Bake 10 to 13 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees F) and the berries are softened and jam mixture has thickened. Serve chicken with melted strawberries. Sprinkle with basil. Makes 6 servings.

courtesy Sherie McKenna

Iron Chef Pembroke PInes February 2011 - Strawberry Tartlets

I made this yummy treat...the graham cracker crust is to DIE for...

Strawberry Tartlets

1 ½ cups hulled, quartered strawberries

3 TBS granulated sugar

Nonstick cooking spray

5 ounces graham crackers (about 10 whole crackers)

¼ cup packed dark brown sugar (may use finely chopped piloncillo for a decidedly Mexican's that cake of dark maple sugar wrapped in plastic wrap)

½ cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

2 8-ounce pkgs. Cream cheese, softened

½ cup sour cream

½ cup granulated sugar

To Make:

1. In a small bowl, combine strawberries and 3 TBS granulated sugar. Let stand at room temp for one hour.

2. Preheat oven to 350. Place six 3 ½ x ¾ -inch tart pans with removeable bottoms on a baking sheet. Coat tart pans with cooking spray.

3. For tartlet shells, in a food processor, combine crackers and brown sugar; cover and process until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add butter; cover and process until the crumbs come together. Press the crumbs on bottoms and up the sides of prepared tart pans. Bake in a preheated oven 10 to 15 minutes or until tartlet shells are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

4. For strawberry filling, in a large bowl, combine cream cheese and sour cream; beat with an electric mixture on medium speed until fluffy. Add the ½ cup granulated sugar; beat until well mixed. Drain strawberries, reserving 2 TBS of liquid. Fold strawberries and reserved liquid into the cream cheese mixture. Divide the strawberry filling evenly amoung the tartlet shells. If desired, cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

5. Makes 6 tartlets…

courtesy BH&G Special Interest Mexican

February 2011 Iron Chef Pembroke Pines...Strawberry Extravaganza Shortcake

We've been doing Iron Chef since September...but I haven't been very good at compiling the recipes. I might be able to go back and enter my least the winners!!!...from the past months...but I figure the best thing to do is just start fresh.

In February, Iron Chefs secret ingredient was "Strawberries". Jason has been coming to Iron Chef with me for over a year, but he only started competing last month.

This month he whipped out an amazing dessert, and he won!! Here it is:

Jasons Strawberry Extravaganza Shortcake


2 box Strawberry Supreme Cake Mix
8 eggs

2 box (small) Strawberry Jello (gelatin dessert)

2 ½ cup water

½ cup oil


2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon
vanilla extract

2 quarts strawberries, hulled and sliced thickly
1 TBS Lemon juice
White sugar


2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice

Make It:

1. Mix all cake ingredients and pour into 4 round cake pans pan greased with cooking spray.

2. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes or until done.

3. Remove from oven and pierce with holes all over.

4. Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice from "Topping" and pour over the tops of each cake. Spread evenly.

5. When cool, remove from pans and chill until cold (a couple hours).

6. While cake is chilling, masterate strawberries in the 2 TBS sugar and a TBS lemon juice from "Filling" for at least one hour.

7. Make filling by combining cream, confectioners sugar, and vanilla and whipping at high speed with a blender until stiff peaks form.

8. Remove cake layers from fridge and alternate cake layers, cream filling, and masterated strawberries. Repeat.

9. Decorate top with more berries and additional cream filling, if desire.

10. Chill remaining cake until eaten.

courtesy Jason Johnson