Tag Archives: bisque

Broccoli and Spinach Bisque

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Years ago, while growing up, if I wanted to have a bowl of soup for lunch, it came out of a small bright red and white can.  It was called Campbell’s…  Our family always had Campbell’s condensed cans of cream of mushroom, chicken noodle or tomato available in the cupboard ready to add water and heat up.  Back then, I thought that it tasted great for I did not know any better.  Homemade soup was pretty much nonexistent in our diets because we never made it at home and we rarely ate at what I would call a “sit down restaurant”.  And if we did, I would always order a green salad instead of soup.

I was first introduced to making homemade soups after I moved out of the house in my late teens.  I learned how to prepare soups while working my way through college as a short order cook.  As a short order cook, I discovered how easy, inexpensive and delicious homemade soups can be.  In the commercial kitchen, I learned how to make bean soups, cream soups, vegetable soups, noodle soups and so much more.  I strongly believe that my education in the restaurant was as valuable as the high priced education that I received in college.

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Today, I want to share with you an easy to make Broccoli and Spinach Bisque.  It’s made with fresh organic broccoli, spinach and leeks in a good quality chicken stock with a hint of white pepper and fresh grated nutmeg.  Instead of using heavy cream with a ton of fat and calories, I’ve lightened it up a bit with some 2% milk.

“Toto, I’ve a feeling that we’re not having Campbell’s anymore”.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound broccoli florets
  • 2 cups leeks (white and light green parts only, chopped)
  • 5 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 quart Chicken Stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 4 Tbs flour
  • 2 cups milk (2%)

Begin by cooking the leeks in 1 Tbs butter in a large sauce pan.  Cook over medium flame until translucent, stirring constantly taking care not to burn.  Add broccoli, chicken stock and salt.  Cover and cook until broccoli is tender.  Add spinach, grated nutmeg and white pepper and cook a few minutes more.  Meanwhile in a medium sized sauce pan cook butter and flour mixture (making a roux) until a light golden brown.  Add milk, whisk constantly and cook until thickened.  Add milk mixture to broccoli mixture.  Puree with hand blender and cook for a few more minutes.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Ladle into cups or bowls and garnish with chopped green onion or chives.  Makes 2 quarts or about 8 – 1 cup servings.

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Broccoli Bisque

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I have not posted any recipes for the past couple of weeks… It’s not that I did not want to or that I was being lazy.  Most of my free time after work has been spent trying to figure out why my website was not cooperating with me.  Most of the time food blogging is an enjoyable and rewarding hobby but it can be extremely frustrating at times.  Maintaining a food/recipe website is a combination of being a food writer, photographer and webmaster.  I am comfortable with the first two items, but the web master part, I’m still learning (struggling). And, in my opinion, I have a long way to go…

My website problem was this…  Every time I tried to post my Broccoli Bisque recipe, the body of the post would not stay formatted properly. I tried everything. I uninstalled and re-installed different components on my website.  I tried even changing the look of my website.  My frustration level with my computer was at all time high.  I was seriously irritated and I was questioning why I even want to be a food blogger in the first place.  In other words, my website was seriously “jacked up”.

Then late last night it dawned on me…  I thought to myself that maybe I’m having software conflicts with web browsers.  I’ve seen that before with software applications at work.  I have certain applications that I work with that don’t run very well in Internet Explorer and perfectly in Firefox.  And vice versa.  Since I only have Firefox on my laptop, I thought I’d download a free copy of Google Chrome.  I installed it and then I tried working on my website while on Google Chrome.  Unbelievable!  Problem solved!  I learned something big.  Next time I am having problems with my website I’m going to check if it is an issue  with a web browser before spending the time dismantling my entire website.

Well, I’m back.  I look forward to being back on schedule and creating some dishes to share.  Meanwhile, be sure to try my easy vegan Broccoli Bisque.  It’s simple to make, good for you and most importantly, it tastes delicious!  Enjoy!  Tessa

 Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound broccoli florets
  • 1 Tbs canola oil
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 2 cups russet potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • salt to taste.

In a large saucepan on medium heat, add broccoli, onions, canola oil and a big pinch of salt.  Cook, stirring constantly until broccoli is crisp tender or onions are translucent.  Add potatoes, vegetable stock, coriander, and white pepper.  Cook covered until potatoes and broccoli are tender.  Grab an immersion blender and blend until creamy.  Add more stock if necessary.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley or chopped onion.  Serves 4.

Cremini Mushroom Soup and Multnomah Falls

Cremini Mushroom Soup

Oregon has quite the reputation for rainy weather, especially in the northern part of the state.  When our major universities name their mascots after aquatic creatures such as the University of Oregon Ducks (Go Ducks!!!), Clark Honors College Platypuses or the Oregon State Beavers that’s your first clue about the climate…  However, there is a bright side to living in a rainy state, we have gorgeous green forests, lovely rivers and world class waterfalls.  And, if you live in Southern Oregon, it’s an even more of a bonus, you have all of the above, yet the climate is warmer and not as rainy as the northern part of the state.

Bruce and I went on a trip a short time back to the City of Portland along the beautiful Columbia River.  When we visit family and friends in the Portland area I always ask Bruce to take me to Multnomah Falls.  Multnomah Falls is located along the Columbia River about 30 miles east of Portland, Oregon.  If you ever get the opportunity to visit Portland, you have to promise me that you will go there.  It’s so beautiful!

Bruce standing at the base of one of the many falls located along the Columbia River.  There was so much watery mist from the falls that I had to stand way back to get a clear picture.  If you take a camera, be sure to bring a lens cloth…

A Brewers Black Bird on a mossy rock.

A large Rainbow Trout and a drake Mallard Duck competing at the bottom of a pond for a food source.

Multnomah Falls…  Four words to describe it.  Absolutely drop dead gorgeous.  After Bruce had to listen to me whine about wanting to visit the falls, the poor man expects to listen to me whine about taking me to the factory outlet stores on the way back outside of Portland.  Every time when we stop at the outlet stores, I smile at him, give him a big peck on the cheek and before the doors are locked on the car, I make a bee line for the Le Creuset outlet store.  I know exactly what I want by the time I hit the front door.  Before he can catch me, my prize is paid for and bagged up.  And in the rare event that he does catch me, the look of anxiety on his face is priceless. I remind him all that time that he bought his ticket :).  He’s lucky that I don’t have quite the fondness for the Coach outlet store (expensive handbags and wallets) as much as Le Creuset.

My Cremini Mushroom Soup was inspired by a bowl of soup that I ordered at a pub on our way back from Multnomah Falls.  It has a wonderful earthy mushroom flavor, a hint of white wine and savory thyme.  It’s easy, it’s creamy delicious, and without a doubt perfect for a cool day.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms (cleaned, trimmed, and thinly sliced)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used my favorite pinot gris)
  • 1/2 cup onions (chopped)
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper or to taste
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

In a medium sized sauce pan add your mushrooms, chicken stock, white wine, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper.  Cover and cook, bring to a low simmer and cook for about 20 more minutes or until the onions are opaque and tender.  Meanwhile, make a blonde roux in another medium sized saucepan with the flour and butter.  In other words, cook the butter and flour on medium low heat until the flour is lightly toasted.  Don’t brown it or let it burn.

In the sauce pan with the mushroom mixture, remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.  Add mushroom mixture to flour and butter mixture stirring constantly to avoid any lumps in the soup.  Use a whisk if you need to.  Cook until thickened and any flour taste is gone.  Add heavy cream, taste and correct your seasonings.  If soup is too thick for your liking, then add some chicken stock to thin.  Ladle in to bowls. Makes about 4 servings.

Cauliflower Bisque

Cauliflower Bisque

There are times when I just want a bowl of soup.  Just soup…  No sandwich, no salad, not even crackers.  Just a bowl of something warm and soul soothing.  My easy to make cauliflower bisque was just the ticket.  It’s made with fresh picked cauliflower, onions, garlic, coriander and a bit of cream to give it a velvety texture.

While my cauliflower was cooking away on the stove, I grabbed my camera and headed outside.  I had only a few minutes before I needed to get back to my dish.  As soon as I opened my back door and stepped out on the patio, the smell of lilacs caught my attention…

Lilacs are some of my all time favorite flowers.  I love the light purple color and the sweet scent.  They are lovely in a vase.

Petunias in a hanging basket.  The gold color reminds me of sunshine…

My mother gave me this Dogwood tree a few years back…  Notice that the flower has only four petals?  I think that it is simply gorgeous…

I had only a few minutes to spare before my cauliflower was done so I stopped by my pot of fresh chives.  They are almost ready to bloom!  I snipped a few after I took this photo for garnish on my soup.  Now back to the kitchen…

My Cauliflower Bisque takes about a half an hour to make and is just delicious.  Garnish with fresh snipped chives and grated cheddar cheese.  Wrap your hands around a warm creamy bowl of my Cauliflower Bisque and enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 pound cauliflower (chopped)
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 1 cup chopped white onions
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt to taste
  • shredded cheddar cheese and fresh snipped chives for garnish (optional)

Begin by tossing all ingredients except for heavy cream, salt and garnishes in a covered saucepan.  Cook on medium low for about 20 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.  Take a hand blender and blend until smooth.  Add cream and salt to taste.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with shredded cheddar cheese and fresh snipped chives.  Makes about 4 servings.

Roasted Asparagus and Cippolini Onion Bisque

Roasted Asparagus and Cippolini Onion Bisque

For the past couple of days I have been desperately looking for signs of spring.  Even though our winter here in the Rogue Valley has been relatively mild, I am ready for change.  As I look around my yard, I see that the lilacs have started to form buds, the willow tree is starting to change from brown to a light shade of green and my little crocuses started to flower. My koi fish who lay dormant for months are starting to surface and are swimming to the sides of the pond.  Spring is near…

Crocus

Spring brings wonderful vegetables such as asparagus, colorful chard, bright green spinach and tender lettuce.  I especially love asparagus.  Unfortunately, my husband hates asparagus. The poor man, I sometimes think that he suffers needlessly.  When Bruce married me he neglected to read the fine print that said “Tessa really doesn’t care what Bruce thinks about asparagus, she is going to cook it anyway”.   Luckily for my son, I taught him at an early age to always read the fine print :).

Fresh Asparagus

When selecting asparagus, always look for firm tightly closed tips.  If it does not look or feel fresh, it’s not.  Don’t bother buying it.

My Roasted Asparagus and Cippolini Onion Bisque is one fabulous way to serve asparagus when it is fresh and in season.  I oven roast the asparagus and cippolini onions and then blend it in a light chicken stock with potato and tarragon.  Cippolini onions are a variety of Italian onions that I recently found at my local food co-op.  They are mild in flavor and good for roasting. If you can’t find cippolini onions, use half an onion.  My Roasted Asparagus and Cippolini Onion Soup is a delightful first course or an easy lunch served alongside your favorite sandwich or salad.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound asparagus spears (washed and woody part of stem removed)
  • 2 cippolini onions (peeled and quartered)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 white potato (peeled and diced)
  • 1/4 tsp dried tarragon leaves
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  On a small baking sheet toss the asparagus and cippolini onion in the olive oil and salt.  Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes until tender.  Meanwhile in a medium sized sauce pan add your chicken stock, potato and spices.  Cook on medium heat until potato is tender.  Add your asparagus and cippolini onions to the pot.  Take a hand blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Dish up and serve.  Makes about 6 servings.

Roasted Sunchoke Bisque

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Sunchoke Bisque

It’s not too often when I walk through the produce section of my favorite market and find something that I have never seen before…  Sunchokes.  If you could have heard me when I saw them for the first time…  “What in the heck are those things?!”  Knowing how I operate, I went ahead and bought a little more than a pound of the sunchokes not knowing how to prepare them or if I was going to even like them.  They were new, different and I really wanted to try them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raw Sunchokes

As soon as I got home with my prize, I started some research.  According to Wikipedia, it is the tuber portion of a specie of sunflower that is native to the North American continent.  Seriously?  I am thinking to myself why is it that nobody told me about this?  The sunchoke tubers look similar to knobby little potatoes or ginger roots.  From what I read, they can be prepared a variety of ways including raw in salads, steamed, or baked.  I decided to oven roast my sunchokes and make a creamy Roasted Sunchoke Bisque.  My Roasted Sunchoke Bisque has a hint of sage and a wonderful earthy flavor.  It’s a creamy hearty soup well suited for a cold winter afternoon.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound whole sunchokes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • a few pinches salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbls. flour
  • 2 Tbls. canola oil
  • 1 quart chicken stock (or good quality vegetable stock)
  • 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Begin by scrubbing the sunchokes under cold water with a stiff brush.   Slice into 1/4 inch slices.  Peel and cut onion into quarters.  Grab an oven proof dish and add the sunchokes and onion. Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Place in oven and cook for about an hour or until fork tender.  In a medium sized sauce pan make a roux with the flour and canola oil.  Cook the flour in the oil on low heat until a very light golden color.  Add the stock, the roasted sunchokes and onion, sage, white pepper and salt.  Take an immersion blender and puree until smooth.  Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until thickened.  Add stock if needed.  Makes about  6 servings.

Red Kuri Squash Bisque

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s feeling like fall here in Southern Oregon.  The leaves are starting to turn vibrant colors and the nights are starting to get crisp and cool.  Yesterday, my dear friend Janie gave me a Red Kuri Squash that she picked up from Seven Oaks Farms while out on her lunch hour.  I was pleasantly surprised for I had never seen or heard of a Red Kuri Squash before.  Red Kuri Squash are similar to pumpkins but with a bright reddish orange color and have shapes almost like tear drops.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since I have not worked with this variety of squash before, I decided to oven roast it with olive oil, onion and a couple of carrots and then blend it with a rich vegetable stock to make a creamy Red Kuri Squash Bisque.  I added some of my favorite spices such as coriander, roasted ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and fresh grated nutmeg to flavor the bisque.  Oven roasting the vegetables adds a nutty caramel depth of flavor to the soup.  In my opinion, this soup is so creamy and rich it does not need heavy cream on the finish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bowl of my Red Kuri Squash Bisque is perfect for a healthy lunch or as a first course on a cool fall day.  Be sure to serve with some of your favorite crusty bread and sweet cream butter.  Thanks Janie!  Enjoy! – Tessa

Ingredients:

  • Red Kuri Squash (1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 Tbls olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. roasted ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • chopped parsley and a pinch of cinnamon for garnish

Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees.  Peel and seed the Red Kuri Squash.  Throw the seeds and rind into the compost bin.  Cut the squash into medium sized pieces.  Peel and coarsely chop your onion and your carrots.  Toss squash, onions, and carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place on a foil lined (easy cleanup) cookie sheet in a single layer and bake about 35 minutes until squash is fork tender and slightly caramelized.

In a medium sized pot add all your ingredients with the exception of the garnish.  Cook on medium low heat covered for about 35 minutes.  Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth.  Ladle up and garnish with parsley and cinnamon.  Makes about 6 servings.

Zucchini Basil Bisque

In my little garden I planted only one zucchini plant this year.  I have learned my lesson from prior years and I made sure that I did not grow any more zucchini than I needed this season.  Everything was going fine until I realized that I have generous friends with tons of zucchini in their gardens.  Lately, I have found bags of zucchini on my front porch, bags of zucchini on my back porch, my husband comes home with zucchinis from work, my sister even secretly shoved a couple of the zucchinis in my handbag the other night when we were at at her home for dinner.  Seriously, if everyone in this world planted just one  zucchini plant in their yard I believe that we would on the way to ending world hunger…

Here is a simple recipe for Zucchini Basil Bisque for those extra zucchinis that you may have grown or have been  gifted.  It’s light, tasty and is perfect with some crusty French bread or a grilled cheese.  It’s easy to make and it tastes fabulous.  Makes about 2 quarts or 8 servings.  Enjoy! – Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 6 c. zucchini (chopped)
  • 1/8 c. shallots (sliced)
  • 1 Tbls. butter
  • 1/4 c. fresh basil leaves packed lightly
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. mace
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 c. heavy cream

In a large saucepan saute the zucchini, shallots, and butter until tender, about 15-20 minutes.   Add remaining ingredients except heavy cream.  Grab an immersion blender and blend until smooth.  Cook for an additional 10 minutes and then add the heavy cream.  Cook for a few minutes more until heated through.   Taste and correct the seasoning if necessary.  Ladle into bowls or cups.  Garnish with fresh basil, zucchini threads or with finely chopped red bell peppers.