This recipe is a weekly standby for us during football season. It is my husband’s absolute FAVORITE game-time snack. No matter what else we have going on, this dip is mandatory. And it never goes to waste….
I have an obsession with cannellini beans. As I mentioned in my last soup post, they add a wonderful creaminess to just about everything. They are humble yet luxurious. Earthy yet mild. They pair perfectly with strong, hearty herbs, like rosemary and sage. They can definitely take on those more aggressive flavors.
Enter roasted garlic. Pungent. Sweet. Savory. Velvety. Delicious. I love the stuff. My parents used to roast garlic off in large batches in the winter time and serve it to us like butter – just spread on toasted baguette. Heavenly! They even had one of those little roasting crocks just for garlic. You must try it out, if you haven’t already.
I decided to top this soup with a fresh herb oil…to lighten up the denseness of the soup. I threw some fresh rosemary, sage, chives, and baby arugula into my food processor and gave it a whirl with some grapeseed oil. Holy cow. Now I want to add baby arugula to every herb oil or pesto I ever make. Such a great, bright flavor! The color ain’t too shabby either!
This soup is warm, and not just in the literal sense. It is thick, creamy, and comforting and makes you feel like you just ate a warm, garlic-tinged hug. I just burst out laughing at that thought. That would be gross. Ew.
Please ignore me.
But make this soup! SO. MUCH. FLAVOR.
Oh, and eat it with toasted, crusty bread! SO. MUCH. TEXTURE.
What more could you ask for?
Roasted Garlic & White Bean Soup with Herb Oil (makes 4-6 servings)
For the Soup:
2 whole heads of garlic
2 tablespoons butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 shallots, minced
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, stemmed and chopped
1 Russet potato, peeled and chopped
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 (15-oz) cans cannellini or navy beans, drained and rinsed
¾ cup heavy cream (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Crème fraîche or plain Greek yogurt, for serving
Toasted, sliced baguette, for serving
For the Herb Oil:
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, chopped
¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
One sprig of rosemary, stemmed and leaves chopped
½ cup grapeseed oil (you can use olive oil if you don’t have grapeseed)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. For the Soup: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the heads of garlic in half, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap in tin foil. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the cloves are soft and caramelized. Remove from oven and allow to cool before handling.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter together in a large pot. Add the unroasted minced garlic cloves, shallots, and rosemary. Cook for 2 minutes. Add in the potato and stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Season the mixture well with salt and pepper. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the potato is very tender and almost falling apart. Add in the roasted garlic (squeeze the cloves from the head directly into the pot) and the canned beans. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes.
3. Puree the mixture using an immersion blender (or in batches using a standard blender or food processor) until completely smooth. Stir in the heavy cream, if using, and check for seasonings.
4. While the soup is simmering, make the herb oil: in a food processor, combine all the ingredients and pulse until the herbs are very finely chopped. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. The oil can be strained through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer, if a smoother texture is desired.
5. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the crème fraîche/yogurt and herb oil, as desired. Serve with toasted bread on the side for dipping.
Baby, it’s cold outside.
Philadelphia suburbia has had a mild fall so far this year, but boy, did the temperatures drop this past week. Frost-tipped blades of grass and the bitter bite of a cold morning have greeted me each day when I first let the pups outside. They usually take their time with their “business” in the mornings, but lately, they’ve quickly come back to the door, hoping to return to the warmth of the kitchen.
Speaking of that. I will use any excuse to turn on the oven in the winter time. I’m not the only one, right? I’m always looking for reasons to use the oven when it’s chilly – not only for the heat it kicks off (duh), but also because my soul craves the comfort food that it is bound to produce. Breads, muffins, cookies, casseroles, and baked pasta dishes top my list. Food that feels like a hug. Comfort in a dish. Ya know, the foods that makes your thighs hate you.
This is one of my all-time favorite lasagna recipes. It’s vegetarian – unintentionally so – you just don’t miss the meat. At all. As far as lasagna recipes go, this one is on the lighter side. Yes, there is plenty of cheese, but you can always swap out full-fat cheese for lower fat varieties (especially the ricotta and the mozzarella). I don’t really miss the fat in dishes like this. It still comes out super creamy and rich…thanks in part to the butternut squash puree.
I realize that I’ve posted several recipes centered around these flavors. I can’t help it. It’s just that time of year, guys. Hopefully I’m not boring you! This lasagna is worth the redundancy.
Roasted, sweet butternut squash. Warm and spicy sage. Boatloads of cheese. How can you go wrong? Trust me on this one. It will warm you from the inside out.
If they were big on the lasagna circuit, Louie and Frankie would most definitely agree.
Butternut Squash, Sage, & Goat Cheese Lasagna (makes 6-8 servings)
For the Butternut Squash Puree:
1 large onion, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Cheese Layer:
8 oz crumbled goat cheese
1 (15-oz) container ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)
1 (10-oz) package of frozen spinach, defrosted, and squeezed dry
½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated
½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Fresh sage, chopped (I used about 2-3 tablespoons, which leads to a strong sage flavor. If you aren’t a huge sage fan, start with 1 tablespoon and adjust as necessary)
Marinara sauce (when making dishes with a lot of prep, I use store bought. Feel free to make your own)
No-boil lasagna noodles (I use these. They make my life so much easier)
4 cups low-moisture mozzarella cheese, freshly grated (I used part-skim)
1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. In large bowl, toss onions, garlic cloves, and squash with oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Spread out in an even layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes or until the squash is tender and onions are browned, stirring halfway through. Allow the vegetables to cool slightly and then puree the mixture in a food processor until smooth. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.
2. Meanwhile, mix together the goat cheese, ricotta cheese, defrosted spinach, parmesan cheese, pecorino cheese, and chopped fresh sage. Grate in a little nutmeg and season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Butter a 9 x 13-in baking dish and pour a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom. Layer the ingredients in the following order: noodles, squash puree, ricotta cheese mixture, a drizzle of marinara, grated cheeses, and finally noodles. Repeat the layering until the ingredients are used up, ending with a layer of lasagna noodles. Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the final layer of noodles. Add the last of the grated cheeses over the top and place whole sage leaves on top of the cheese.
4. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes for easier serving.
You guys. I discovered something about myself recently. No, not the new set of wrinkles across my forehead (my mother fondly refers to it as the “hereditary bear claw marking.” Sigh)… or how my metabolism broke up with me a couple years ago and neglected to tell me that the relationship was over (double sigh). No. It’s something far less devastating…
…much to my surprise, I actually ADORE brussels sprouts. No. Really. I’m obsessed with them. OBSESSED.
Since childhood up until a few months ago, I was convinced that brussels sprouts were one of the foulest vegetables out there. They were on my most-hated list…runner up only to mushrooms…and Miley Cyrus (I just don’t get it). I am not a picky eater. Never have been. But there was no way I was going to eat those bitter, slimy, odd-smelling mini cabbages.
I attribute the hatred to never having them prepared properly. Growing up, my father was the only person in the family who enjoyed brussels. He would force them, simply BOILED, UNSALTED, and UNBUTTERED, on us every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Blech. Never understood his undying love for them. Even my mom resisted the b-sprout (In my dad’s defense, he is actually an excellent cook and a huge contributor to my love of food. He just didn’t realize the b-sprout’s full potential back then).
…UNTIL I discovered that you could roast them. Everything tastes better when roasted, right? So I took a chance and purchased some b-sprouts. And then I roasted them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. To crispy, salty perfection. As soon as they came out of the oven, I stood over the hot pan and STUFFED my face with them. I was devastated and thrilled all at the same time. I was sad for my former self. I had seriously been missing out.
And then to make matters more confusing, I combined them with some of the best things on the planet: caramelized onions, bacon, and CHEESE. All cushioned together in an egg custard and housed in a buttery, delicate pastry. Anything can taste good when you do that! Except mushrooms. I don’t trust them.
Granted, I took a shortcut and used a store-bought pie crust here, but by all means feel free to make your own. I’m just lazy. I reserve homemade crusts for special occasions. This was made for a regular workweek.
This quiche, however, could totally be worthy of a special occasion. Buttery, rich, salty, cheese-y, and smoky all at the same time. Perfect for a nice brunch or holiday breakfast. Or just reheated for lunch. It’s versatile.
Give the humble b-sprout a chance. It won’t disappoint!
Brussels Sprout, Gruyere, & Bacon Quiche (makes 6 servings)
1 (9-in) store-bought pie crust
1 cup brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
4 strips of bacon, diced
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
½ cup grated Gruyere cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 large eggs
1¼ cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper
⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spread the brussels sprouts out evenly on a sheet tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Roast, shaking the pan occasionally, until they are crispy and starting to caramelize (about 15-20 minutes). Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.
2. Meanwhile, in a sauté pan, crisp the bacon. Remove from pan using a slotted spoon and distribute evenly over the bottom of the pre-baked pie crust. Top with the roasted brussels sprouts.
4. To the fat remaining in the pan, add the butter, sliced onions, and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Scatter the onions over the brussels sprouts in the pie crust and top with the grated cheeses.
3. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper and then pour the egg mixture over the other ingredients in the pie shell.
4. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the custard is set and the top is golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving.
I know I may be late to the b-sprout partaaay, but goodness, I am most certainly going to be the last to leave.
Does anyone else out there buy obscenely large bunches of bananas with the hope that at least half of them will overripen before they can be eaten? Because bananas always taste better when whipped up with butter, flour, and sugar? I have a feeling I’m not the only one.
I love banana bread. Loooooove. It’s such a comfort food for me. It goes perfectly with a hot cup of coffee in the morning. Throw some chocolate in the mix and I’m done for. I’ve made many variations of banana bread, but this one is up there as a fav. It’s sweet, satisfying, and feels way more indulgent than it actually is. At least that’s what I tell myself as I cut off my third “healthy” slice in one day.
Really, though. This ba-noo-noo bread is a lot lighter than many versions out there. It’s super moist and dense, but the ingredients are fairly healthy! Greek yogurt, mashed bananas, buttermilk, and ground flax seed. Those are the major moisture factors. Yes, there is some butter, but it’s waaaay less than more traditional recipes call for.
Is there anything better than the smell of banana bread baking away in the oven? Mmmm.
One problem: Dan doesn’t like banana bread, which means that I’m left with an entire loaf to myself. Well, I guess that’s only a “problem” by certain definitions. Do you hear that? I think my stretchy-waist-banded yoga pants are calling my name….
Totally worth it.
Espresso-Chocolate Banana Bread (makes 1 loaf)
1½ cups mashed, ripe bananas (about 4 medium)
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt (I use nonfat)
¼ cup buttermilk (or sour cream)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (or regular size)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour one loaf pan and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the mashed bananas, sugars, butter, yogurt, buttermilk, egg, and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, espresso powder, ground flax, baking soda, and salt. Toss the chocolate chips in the flour mixture. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until just combined.
3. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (baking time will vary by oven). Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Slice and eat…one piece at a time, if you can manage it.
I know. These burgers may sound strange. I mean, who puts blueberries on a burger?! This weirdo right here.
Trust me. It’s incredible.
Blueberry BBQ sauce is something I came up with after watching someone on TV make a BBQ sauce with peaches. I thought the sweetness of blueberries would be perfect if balanced with something super savory. Bonus: you can totally make this sauce year round with frozen blueberries. It comes out just as well. This recipe took me awhile to get just right…BBQ sauce can be tricky! It needs to be a perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and tangy. After much tweaking, I finally got it right!
To complement the spice of the sauce, I schmear on some softened goat cheese and add my favorite homemade topper of any kind: pickled red onions. Dan and I eat these on EVERYTHING. Burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, cheese and crackers, and even pizza from time to time. They are sooo good. Spicy, sweet, and vinegary without the bite of raw onions. They are totally addicting. Dan, a former onion hater, is even more obsessed with them than I am. He eats them straight out of the jar. He forgoes his right to smooch me for a few hours afterward, but he thinks it’s worth it (not sure how I feel about that…).
I tend to keep my burger patties pretty simple most of the time. That way, I can really have a lot of fun with the toppings. So can you. Add on some crispy bacon. Swoon. Slap on some lettuce and sliced tomato. Always a good choice. Swap out the cheese to something more mild, if goat cheese ain’t your thang…just don’t tell me about it.
You can put just about anything on a burger. This recipe proves it. So, even if this sounds strange to you….give it a shot.
It is lip-smacking, napkin-destroying juicy goodness!
Burgers with Blueberry BBQ Sauce, Goat Cheese, & Spicy Pickled Red Onions
For the Pickled Onions:
1 cup cider vinegar
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
2 red onions, sliced thinly
1 jalapeño, sliced
For the Blueberry BBQ Sauce:
1 tablespoon oil
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced (seeded if you don’t like things too spicy)
¼ cup ketchup
¼ cup mustard
¼ cup diced tomatoes (canned works)
¼ cup brown sugar
Splash of red wine vinegar
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Salt and pepper
For the Burgers:
1 lb lean ground beef
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper
6 oz goat cheese, softened
1. For the Onions: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and peppercorns and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Arrange the onions and pepper rings in a large, heat-proof container with a tight-fitting lid and pour the pickling liquid over top. Cool, cover, and store chilled for a minimum of 4-6 hours. The longer they sit in the fridge, the better they get.
2. For the BBQ sauce: sauté the onions and peppers in the oil until soft. Add all the other ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the blueberries are very soft. Puree using a blender or food processor until completely smooth.
3. For the Burgers: Combine the beef, Worcestershire, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Mix the flavorings in without overworking the meat. Form into patties and grill or pan-griddle for 4 minutes per side. Slather the buns with the softened goat cheese, top with a burger, then the BBQ sauce, and finally the pickled onions and arugula. Serve immediately.