Cauliflower Leek Soup

Any good Irishman knows that potatoes and leeks just go together, much like peas & carrots!   As an Irish-Italian woman getting ready for a beach vacation, I think cauliflower and leeks are even better friends.  (Ok, I added 2 small yukon golds.  The Irish made me do it!)  The small amount of potato added to this giant pot of cauliflower soup adds the creaminess and satisfying texture that you're looking for with no added cream, milk or butter.  

All I can say about this soup is my ever picky, carnivorous, veg-adverse husband said  "Its surprisingly really delicious!"

Here's what you'll need:

  • leeks, 4-5 stalks, cut, soaked and rinsed well
  • garlic, 2-3 cloves, chopped
  • olive oil, 2 tbsp
  • potatos, 2 small or 1 large, peeled and roughly chopped
  • cauliflower, 1 large head, chopped
  • vegetable broth, 32 oz.
  • salt & pepper
  • cheddar, (we used vintage Irish Cheddar "KerryGold"), shredded for topping
  • chives or scallions, chopped for topping

1.   Over medium high heat, add olive oil to a Dutch oven or large soup pot.  Add garlic and leeks.  Cook for 8-10 minutes or until leeks are softened.

2.  Add potatoes, cauliflower, vegetable stock to pot. Season with salt & pepper.  Let pot come to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer for approximately 25 minutes, when all vegetables are softened.    Taste to adjust salt & pepper.

3.  If you are using a blender, let the soup cool completely.  Then, in batches, blend mixture until smooth with some small chunks (if desired).  Then re-heat to serve.

4.  Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth or your desired consistency.

5.  Ladle into bowls and top with shredded cheddar and chopped chives.

"For each petal on the shamrock this brings a wish your way. Good health, good luck, and happiness for today and every day." 

xo & a pinch

Kelly


Herb Roasted Vegetables with Feta

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"Eating Clean" what does it really mean? 

Everyone has their way of eating, their diet, their lifestyle.  Lately, there seems to be a label for every type.  Personally, I've always loved vegetables, felt so-so about meat, loved local farm fresh produce and fish, fish, fish.  I'll eat anything that swims, crawls or burrows in any body of water.  Also, I'll also eat any cookie, any type, any time, always.  It turns out, I'm an "80/20, wanna-be vegetarian, locavorte, pescatarian cookie monster."   By the way, I learned all of these labels from Instagram, so please don't quote me.

Anyway, this type of "recipe" has been part of my diet since birth.  Turns out my mom was also an 80/20, wanna-be vegetarian, locavorte, pescatarian, cookie monster!   (giggles from Heaven)   Ultimately, I think the goal is a nice balanced  healthy "clean" diet that also includes wine & treats.

This is a roasted vegetable dish that's eating clean without even knowing it.  (is cheese unclean?)  Fresh vegetables, naturally rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber.. all the good stuff.   I toss in the salty, feta for richness and some dill to brighten it up.   Its perfect on its own or as a perfect accompaniment to any pesca-loca-carnivore meal!

Here's what you'll need:

  • 3-4 peppers, mixed colors, chopped
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1-2 zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • rosemary, small bunch, stems removed
  • dill, small bunch, chopped
  • thyme, small bunch, stems removed
  • 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled or cubed 
  • salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees while you chop your vegetables and herbs.  Add all vegetables and herbs to a large shallow sheet pan.  Toss with olive oil, salt & pepper.  Roast for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables soften and brown.  Let rest for 5 minutes.

Toss roasted vegetables with feta cheese.  Garnish with extra herbs.

Vegan, Vegetarian,  Carnivore, Carb-phobe, Paelo, etc....So, what type of eater are you?

xo & a pinch,

Kelly

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Italian Wedding Soup

How perfect is Italian Wedding Soup on Valentines?  It says it all; comfort, home, warmth, love, Italian-ness... best of all, its easy.  My little boy Valentines like it too!

Here's what you'll need for the meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 5 links Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 white onion, grated or minced
  • 2/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • fresh parsley, small handful, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

Gently combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Create 1 inch balls and set aside until ready to brown. 

In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.   Brown meatballs on all sides 8-10 minutes total, set aside.   Brown in batches.

For the soup:

  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 32 oz box of chicken stock
  • White wine, a splash
  • 1 cup of small cut pasta.  We used Stelline
  • baby spinach or escarole, a small bunch, washed and roughly chopped

Heat the olive oil pn medium-high heat in the (unwashed) Dutch oven, (the brown bits from the meatballs adds delicious flavor).  Add the chopped onion, carrots and celery, season with salt & pepper,  and cook for about 5-8 minutes.  Add wine and cook for a 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, meatballs and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Reduce heat to low, add the greens and cover for 1 minute until wilted.   Salt & pepper until you love it. 

Cook the pasta in a separate pot according to package instructions and add desired amount of cooked pasta to each serving of soup.  OR Stir in the pasta and cook for 8 minutes, until pasta is cooked.  

*When heating left-over soup, the pasta gets too soft and I cringe. To avoid this, I cook the pasta separate.   If you don't mind, or you don't care for left-overs, feel free to just cook the pasta to the soup pot.

be sure to put your heart in it!

be sure to put your heart in it!

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Garnish each bowl with extra grated parmesan and enjoy.

A glass of wine and a kiss makes it a perfect meal!

What special dinner will you make for your Valentine?

xo and pinch,

Kelly