Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

Fall is a great time for getting a few meals out of a roasted chicken …. the house smells great 2 days in a row.

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup
 

In a roasting dish combine:

beets – quartered

turnips (optional!) – quartered

onion – halved and cut into wedges

carrots – thick slices

squash – peeled and cut into wedges

leeks – cut into pieces

garlic cloves – whole

Season everything with olive oil, crumbled dry basil, oregano and parsley.  Toss well and season with salt and pepper.

Place cut pieces of chicken into a bowl, along with the same herb blend, salt, pepper, olive oil, juice of 1 lemon and 1 tbsp of dijon mustard – this can be pretty versatile so if you prefer feel free to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or if you would rather use a vegetable stock for the soup just roast vegetables on their own.  

Roast in a moderate oven (375) until all vegetables are fork tender and ready for dinner, and the chicken is cooked through.  

This is a great fall or winter weather dish – fill up your roasting pan with as many fresh vegetables as you can find and roast away.  It does take quite a while for the vegetables to soften, so just keep testing them.

For a complete dinner, whip up some mashed potatoes and you are good to go!

The next day, take all the leftover vegetables (of which I hope there are lots) and simmer in either chicken or vegetable stock.  Taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.  If you want a little more flavour in there, simmer a parmesan cheese rind or drop in a little tomato sauce.

Pulverize everything with an immersion blender, or a standing blender.  If using a standing blender, PLEASE MAKE SURE TO HAVE A SPACE FOR THE STEAM TO VENT – OTHERWISE YOU RUN THE RISK OF BURNING YOURSELF AND MAKING A DISASTER OF YOUR KITCHEN!!!.  

Taste again and adjust for salt and pepper.  Serve with some freshly baked biscuits for a great fall dinner.

Jalapeno Roasted Broccoli

Roasted broccoli gets such nice crispy bits on the florets, and really intensifies the flavor with it’s crunch.  Love it!

In a ziplock bag, or well sealed bowl blend:

1/2 minced jalapeno (seeds if you like it spicy)

1/2 garlic clove, minced

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp dry mustard powder

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Taste this marinade and adjust seasonings to your preference.  Add enough broccoli florets to feed 4.  

Toss well and allow to sit at room temperature – the longer the better but it works well if you don’t have time to do much more than toss and roast!

Put on rimmed baking sheet and roast in a hot oven (425) just until florets get crispy bits and are nice and crunchy.

Sweet Basil Pesto

I think one of my favorite herbs is basil – always makes me think of summer and freshness – drinking Holy Basil Tea right now in fact!!

Basil Pesto

3 cloves garlic

4 cups packed fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

1/3 cup finely grated best quality parmesan cheese

2 tbsp lemon juice

2/3 cup olive oil

1 tsp kosher salt

drop garlic cloves into food processor while it is running, continuing with basil, pine nuts, parmesan, lemon juice and salt.  Pulse after it is finely chopped, and with motor still running slowly add oil – scrape down the side of the bowl a few times. Do another couple pulses just to make sure it is all finely blended.

This keeps easily in the fridge for up to a week, and will store well in freezer also.  Either freeze in small containers, or in ice cube trays.  Once they have frozen in the trays, pop them out and store in a ziplock bag.

This makes an amazing pasta dish – toss it with freshly cooked pasta, adding either a bit of the pasta cooking water or heavy cream, whichever is your preference that night!  

Other suggestions:

Pizza topping, with prawns and carmelized red onions – sprinkle with fresh spinach

Blend with butter and spread on french bread for an alternative to garlic bread

Top a grilled steak with a tbsp of pesto

blend 1 tbsp with 2 tbsp red wine vinegar & 5 tbsp olive oil for a salad dressing

Peanut Sesame Vegetables

Tonight I wanted some stir fry vegetables that would compliment Kung Pao Chicken and Chinese Chow Mein – this was perfect!  Feel free to try out different vegetables, and even add a protein if you like – let me know what you think.
Peanut Sesame Veg

 

assortment of vegetables, prepared for stir fry

tonight mine included cauliflower, broccoli, orange pepper, zucchini

sliced scallions

toasted sesame seeds

SAUCE

2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter

1 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

Stir fry vegetables lightly, just enough to give them a bit of carmelization in spots – then add a wee bit of water to allow them to steam a bit.

Pour sauce in, and toss with vegetables just until they are crunchy cooked and well coated.

Top with freshly sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds.

If you want to kick up the heat a notch, and haven’t overwhelmed your taste buds with a bunch of other peppers in other parts of your meal I recommend adding a tsp or so of chile flakes … yum yum yum.

Chinese Chow Mein

This is great served as a side dish for Kung Pao chicken or on it’s own as a full meal by adding stir fried chicken, pork, beef or shrimp.

Chow Mein

8 oz steamed chow mein noodles

1 tbsp finely minced ginger

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

1/2 cup finely shredded cabbage

1/2 cup finely sliced celery

1/2 cup snow peas

Steam chow mein noodles until tender, or soak in cool water until tender.  Be careful not to leave them in water too long or they will get soggy.  :o(

SAUCE

1 tsp corn starch

2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp water

 

cooking oil

scallions

toasted sesame seeds

In a small mixing bowl mix sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat wok, add cooking oil and lightly saute cabbage and celery – add ginger and garlic.

Remove from wok to a bowl – add sauce to bowl and bring to a boil, allowing it to thicken and become glossy.  Add noodles and stir fry quickly just allowing them to soften and absorb the flavor of the sauce.  Return sauted vegetables to wok and quickly stir through.

Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.

If you want to make a meal in one – stir fry any type of protein you choose in the wok and add it to the chow mein – so versatile with any number of vegetables.  Go ahead and experiment – let me know what you try and how you like it!

Kung Pao Chicken

When the weather turns a little colder I don’t mind standing in the kitchen chopping and stir frying rather than prepping for the grill.  Truth be told, I enjoy the methodical prep time after a stressful day at work!  I have tried a number of Kung Pao recipes, and was wanting to have a great one before I added it to my list.  Finally found/tweaked the one we like best so here it is – hope you love it as much as we did.
Kung Pao Chicken 1

Serves 4

 

3 chicken breasts – diced into bite size pieces

dried red chiles or jalapeno chiles (I needed to use up some chopped jalapenos so that was today’s choice!)

3 tbsp peanut oil

1 tbsp fincely minced ginger

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 scallions, sliced thinly on the diagonal

1/2 cup roasted peanuts

MARINADE:

1 tbsp corn starch

2 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium)

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar (or cooking sherry)

1 tsp minced jalapeno (or chile flakes)

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp peanut oil

 

SAUCE:

3 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp black vinegar

4 tbsp water

2 tsp corn starch

Prepare chicken pieces and stir into marinade – allow to rest at least 30 minutes.

Mix sauce ingredients in bowl and set aside.

Heat wok, add spash of cookng oil and stir fry the chicken until almost done – remove.

Wipe out wok, drizzle with a little cooking oil and add ginger, garlic and sauce.  When sauce has thickened and become glossy add chicken back in.  Stir to coat well and complete cooking.

To finish serve tossed with roasted peanuts and sliced scallions. 

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

This is great served as an appetizer with taco chips, drizzled over eggs and served as a topping for any meat.

 

 

1 pound tomatillos – husked and washed

1 large white onion, sliced thickly

4 cloves garlic

2 jalapenos

1/3 bunch cilantro

We like our salsa grill roasted, so everything but the cilantro gets a little time on the grill before hitting the blender.  Give it a zap or two until purified.  Taste for seasoning and adjust a bit if you need to – adding salt and pepper to your preference.

If you don’t have a grill handy you could either use a comal, as they do in Mexico, which is just a simple flat fry pan, or your own favorite fry pan.  Nothing wrong with just blending it all fresh either – try it both ways and see which you like best.

This can be processed in a hot water bath to preserve it for the winter, or put it in the freezer.  Either way works really well. Bring it to a boil on the stovetop prior to processing and use hot jars.  If you do a hot water bath, make sure your jars and seals are all sterilized and the seals are new – place carefully in hot water bath with 2 inches water over top of the jar and process pint jars for 35 minutes.