Sunday, April 24, 2016

It's Spring! Peas, Parmesan and Prosciutto Soup

This soup has been on my menu for years!  I make mine without the prosciutto and it is delicious.  Go ahead and add it for another layer of great flavour.

This recipe will serve six.

8 tbsp         butter or olive oil
1/3 cup       shallots ( or onions) finely diced
1 head        bibb or boston lettuce, washed and coarsely chopped
2 16-oz packages   frozen green peas, defrosted
2 tsp           sugar
2 tsp           salt
4 cups        chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup         Parmesan cheese, grated (please use real Parmesan, not the stuff in the green container)
1 cup         light cream
4 oz           prosciutto

In a stockpot, heat the butter or oil over medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook until softened and translucent.  Add the salt, sugar, lettuce and peas (reserve 1/2 cup peas for garnish) to the pot, cover and cook gently for approximately ten minutes.

Transfer the peas to a food processor or blender and puree in batches.  Return the mixture to the pan.  Stir in the broth, cream, Parmesan cheese and prosciutto and heat gently for an additional ten minutes.


Sauteed Eggplant and Onions- taste those great Indian Spices!

One of my favourite activities in India was shopping for spices in the markets.  A little challenging for a non-hindi speaker; a great way to explore for a geographically challenged explorer (me!).  I was most successful when accompanied by newfound (and great) Indian friends.  Thank you Mehesh and Nina!

I've added mango to this sautee..

Buying local spices was a wonderful experience.  Some of the spice merchants offered their own blends of spices- masalas- which they made up right in from of you.  " A little bit of this, a little bit of that", ummm smelling good.

This recipe, from Vij's in Vancouver, will incorporate some of my spices and will serve six.

4               black cardamom pods
1/2 cup     grapeseed oil
8               cloves
1/2 tsp      asafoetida
1 tsp         turmeric
2 lbs         eggplant, cut into 1/2" dice
1 1/2 stp   cayenne
2 tsp         salt
1 med.     onion (white or red) sliced lengthwise
2 1/2 tsp  mango powder or 2 tsp tamarind paste
1/2 cup    fresh cilantro, chopped

Lightly crack the black cardamom pods to extract the seeds.  Crush them with a rolling pin.  Set aside.

Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot on medium-high heat for 45 seconds.  Add the cloves and cardamom seeds and saute for about one minute, until fragrant.  Add the asafoetida, turmeric and stir.  Stir in the eggplant, cayenne and salt and cook for about ten minutes.  Add the onions, stir well and cook until the eggplant is ready.  Stir in the mango powder (or tamarind paste) and cilantro, remove from heat and serve immediately with rice and naan.


Spicy Cauliflower Steak - Even meat lovers will love it!

This is the Indian version of cauliflower steak- thanks to Vij's in Vancouver...  You can even serve it with a poached egg on top- not so Indian but sooo good!

This recipe serves six to eight.