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Posts Tagged ‘whole foods’

Usually at the end of the holiday season, after grazing at more buffets than one thought possible, the idea of eating another celery stick, another broccoli floret or yet another leaf of endive does not appeal one bit.

Many hosts face this problem:  a platter half filled with subtly wilting crudités sitting atop the coffee table–and the party is over.

A popular “save” for these fresh foods is the peerless Vegetable Stock.  Vegetable stock is a great way to use up the leftover food, save the dollars invested and derive some healthy meals out of the foods.

However, I like to get right on top of things and use those vegetables while they are still fresh.  One of the easiest recipes for leftover crudités is soup.  A collection of food from party platters usually is enough to provide most of the ingredients necessary.

My favorite leftover crudités recipe is as simple as it gets!

Fresh Cream of Broccoli Soup*.

2 tablespoons butter

1 celery rib, chopped

2 carrot sticks, chopped (not whole carrots, remember these are party

leftovers)

1 whole medium onion, chopped

1 smashed garlic clove, peeled

1 russet potato, peeled and diced

6 cups homemade (hopefully) chicken stock (or vegetable stock)

4 cups broccoli florets (trim any dried stem ends)

1 spring fresh thyme

Salt and black pepper to taste

Leftover cubes of cheddar cheese or grated Monterrey jack

(or grated, imported gruyère cheese)

In a large pot, over medium high heat, melt the butter.

Add the celery, carrot and onions.  Sauté briefly until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the smashed garlic and potatoes.  Stir to coat with butter.

Add the 6 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Add the 4 cups broccoli florets and simmer until they are bright green and tender.  Be careful not to overcook the broccoli because it will turn slightly bitter in flavor and become an unappealing khaki green color.  At this point, add the sprig of thyme and let it simmer along with the broccoli.  Remove the thyme before you blend the soup!

When the broccoli florets are knife tender, turn off the heat and remove the pot from the stove.  Cool slightly.  (Are you certain that you removed the sprig of thyme?)  Using an immersion blender, a blender or a food processor, puree the soup in small batches until smooth and creamy.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When you serve these puréed crudités as soup, only you will know the simple leftover crudités secret.  You can also make this soup using florets of cauliflower but I reduce the stock to 4 1/2 cups stock and add 1 1/2 cups white wine to equal 6 cups liquid and add some grated nutmeg.

For a Gluten Free Soup, be sure to use gluten free or homemade stock.

Diet Buster: If you choose to do so, you can garnish this soup with those leftover cubes of cheese from the crudités platters or use some freshly grated cheese. Some of the folks in our household also like to melt the cheese into the soup when they reheat it.

*Note there is no cream in this cream soup. The potato gives enough of a creamy body to the soup that you can omit the cream (FAT) and enjoy a healthy yet rich tasting soup as you embark on your after holiday dieting.

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Whether hosting large holiday parties, a small neighborhood get-together or an intimate family gathering for two, food seems to take center stage.

Especially in the wintertime, on these occasions, when we huddle together to keep warm there is almost certainly a shared hot meal coming from the kitchen exuding an aroma that tempts our taste buds and spins our heads!

After a couple of days of entertaining, my refrigerator bulges with containers of “a little bit of this,” “a tidbit of that,” and “a pinch of unused cheese” along with “a mystery sauce.”

In keeping with the season of sharing, giving, and adhering to our steadfast kitchen rule of wasting nothing, we count our eggs and then invite as many people as we have eggs for omelets!

Ah, the satisfaction of sautéing leftover vegetables, folding warm creamy eggs around them and topping it all with a savory sauce seems like a little bit of heaven on a chilly morning.  Hot, seasoned hash browns and home cured bacon strips balance the flavors and the plate.  When served with a mug of hot coffee, tea or chocolate, and some friendly conversation, contentment fills the room.

There’s nothing like a Leftovers Omelet* for a wholesome, no additive, no preservative, vitamin packed, inexpensive and deliciously shared meal with family and friends.

*No recipe necessary:  plan approximately 1-2 eggs per omelet, a handful of any combination of leftover vegetables, about 2 palmfuls of potato cubes per person and either two strips of bacon, fried tofu or Quark. if desired.  Any leftover holiday sauce (whether meat, poultry, sriracha, tabasco or green/red chili sauce) makes a fine accent.

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