Mariel here. As I mentioned in a previous post, I spent the first few weeks of January house-sitting for a family member who owns a lovely little plot in a scenic beach community outside of the city. The off-season is quiet – dead quiet – which afforded me more than enough time to get my affairs in order. While I didn’t write a novel, pre-pay my taxes or sell a screenplay, I did tick a few boxes off the ol’ to-do list. Most notably, I got out ahead of my magazine deadlines AND I churned out a backlog of meals for Feast. The eerie calm of an off-peak resort town can’t be beat, but what really got my heart racing was the kitchen in my new – albeit temporary – digs: a full-size kitchen with two ovens, a six-burner stove and a center island. Even the natural light was better. During those two weeks, I cooked like a pioneer woman prepping for the Oregon Trail. One of my favorite meals was this healthy broccoli soup recipe, which makes for a hearty lunch or a light dinner and is packed with flavorful but mercifully devoid of heavy cream…. Although I did sprinkle mine with cheddar cheese and dunked a big fat Whole Wheat Parmesan Drop Biscuit right in the center. This saves beautifully for up to a week in the fridge and, in my opinion, gets better with every passing day. PS: During my “winter break,” my mom and I finally hired a professional web designer to give Feast the facelift she deserves. We’ll be debuting our new look in a few weeks, so stay tuned. And if there’s anything YOU’d like to see, let us know!
Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup Serves 7 to 8
Ingredients: 1 large cauliflower head (about 1½ lbs), roughly chopped – $3.00 2 bunches of raw broccoli (about 2 lbs), roughly chopped – $5.00 ½ of a large sweet onion, finely diced – $0.89 2 Tablespoons of fresh parsley, finely chopped – $1.49 7½ cups of low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock – stock 4 cloves of garlic, minced – stock ¼ teaspoon chili powder – stock 2 cups of low-fat or skim milk (you can also use whole milk) – stock 6 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour – stock 5 Tablespoons butter, divided – stock 1 Tablespoon honey – stock Salt & pepper to taste – stock 1 cup shredded cheddar or parmesan cheese (optional) – $3.59 Whole Wheat Parmesan Drop Biscuits (optional) – $4.69 Grand total assuming “well-stocked” kitchen (and without optional toppings): $10.39 Cost per serving: $1.30 Directions: 1. In a large stockpot, melt 2 Tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions start to brown, about 6 minutes (stir frequently to avoid burning). Reduce heat to low, add the parsley, cauliflower and broccoli and stir well to Combine. Cover and cook for 15 minutes (until the broccoli starts to become tender). 2. After 15 minutes, add the chicken or veggie stock and chili powder and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. 3. Transfer the soup, in batches, to a food processor or blender and puree. Leave approximately 2 cups-worth of soup unpureed (it adds a little texture). Return the soup to the stockpot and simmer uncovered over low heat. 4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt 3 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until fully incorporated (you’ll create a thick paste). Slowly pour in the milk and honey and whisk constantly for about 10 minutes until you form a thick, creamy sauce – keep whisking or the bottom will burn. Once the pot has thickened, add the cream sauce to the broccoli-cauliflower soup and stir well to incorporate. Taste and season with salt & pepper according to preferences. 5. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with cheddar or parmesan cheese. Dunk a Whole Wheat Parmesan Drop Biscuit in the center, if desired, and enjoy!