Sunday, November 21, 2010

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

When I was a little girl, I liked very few foods.  I didn’t even like cheese!  I went through a phase where I would  even scrape the cheese off of pizza.  Needless to say, my mom had quite a time getting me to like many of the dinners she prepared.  One dinner I really enjoyed however was a simple potato soup with bacon.  As the weather starts to turn cold, I’ve been thinking about this soup.  As you’ve read, I’ve found that cauliflower is a wonderfully satisfying stand-in for potatoes.  So, I set out to find a simple cauliflower soup that might satisfy my craving for  my mom’s potato soup.  The recipe below is modified from one I found on 

2 small heads cauliflower
3 garlic cloves
¼ large red onion, cut into large pieces
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus more for sprinkling on top
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut cauliflower into 1-inch flowerets (about 10 cups).  In a large baking pan toss cauliflower, garlic, and onion with extra virgin olive oil to coat.  
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in middle of oven about 30 minutes, or until golden.
In a large pot simmer broth, water and herbs together with the roasted cauliflower mixture until the cauliflower is very tender (about 20 minutes). 
Discard bay leaf and transfer half the contents of the pot to a blender and puree.  Add the rest of the mixture to the blender and puree until incorporated.  Puree for only a few seconds for a chunky consistency or until smooth if you prefer.  Stir in salt and pepper to taste and cream if using.  Sprinkle more fresh thyme on top if desired.
This recipe yields approximately three or four main course servings.  It would be delicious sprinkled with some crisp, turkey bacon bits if you want a little something more.  

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gundry Thanksgiving - What To Do!

First of all - don't fret!
Second of all (as I often tell my mother) - embrace the cheat!

Gundry is a way of life and it is always there to get you back on track.  If you want to be 100% Gundry all the time - I support you and admire you.  If that seems overwhelming - well, then you're probably normal.  Thanksgiving is a once-a-year event that is, in many ways, about the feast itself.  So, if you want to cheat a little bit - do so.

In my family there are a number of us that are on Gundry and many who are not.  So, when planning our potluck feast, I assigned the traditional non-Gundry items to members of the family not on Gundry - i.e. my uncle and his lovely new wife were assinged stuffing and bread - and I asked each of the Gundry followers to contribute a Gundry-friendly side dish.

While we're making an effort to have lots of delicious Gundry-approved options available, we will still be prepareing some of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes.  Despite their dedication to the Gundry lifestyle, my dear Max is still making his famous Cheesy Potatoes and my aunt is still in charge of baking pies - it's tradition!  I wait all year to indulge in my aunt's famous chocolate chip pie!  Although, word has it she is working on a Gundry-friendly pumpkin pie using almond meal in the crust and a combination of agave and stevia to sweeten the pumpkin (we're allowed 1 cup per day).

For most of the Gundry-ers in the family, we will probably partake in a bit of the traditional stuff, but moderate ourselves more than we would have pre-Gundry.

If you are participating in a Thanksgiving feast in which you are the only Gundry'er, offer to bring a side dish and bring a Gundry-approved vegetable or green salad.  You can load up on veggies and some turkey and partake in a few bits of the traditional items like mashed potatoes, candied yams and stuffing.

Here are some delicious, festive and Gundry-friendly recipes from the latest issue of Sunset magazine:

side dishes
Warm Brussels Sprout Leaves with Toasted Garlic and Lemon
Warm Brussels sprout leaves with toasted garlic and lemon
Roasted Cauliflower with Capers
Roasted cauliflower with capers
Southwestern Roasted Green Beans
Southwestern Roasted Green Beans (Sunset, Nov. 2001)

Roasted Chile-Lime Broccolini
Roasted chile-lime broccolini

I'm thinking of trying this recipe using the cheese as the base instead of the bread and reduced balsamic instead of honey -
Chestnut and Sharp Cheddar Crostini
Chestnut and sharp cheddar crostini
Try this dip wtih veganaise or yogurt instead of mayonnaise.  You can bring endive leaves for Gundry'ers and bread for everyone else -
Warm Crab and Artichoke Dip with French Bread
Warm crab and artichoke dip
Whatever you decide to cook and eat, enjoy yourself!  The feast aside, Thanksgiving is truly about giving thanks for all the good in your life and spending time with friends and family!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Smoked Salmon Frittata with Goat Cheese, Capers & Red Onion

We had a guest in town recently, and while I know he wouldn't care what I fed him, I still feel obligated to step it up a notch when I'm feeding someone other than Max or myself.  Looking through the frige on Sunday morning I was inspired by some smoked salmon and left over goat cheese.  Try this lovely combination of flavors the next time you want to make an impressive and Gundry-friendly breakfast or brunch.  Actually, this hearty frittata could stand up as lunch or even dinner.
Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
8 eggs, whisked with salt and pepper
2 slices smoked salmon, torn into pieces
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon capers

Turn the broiler onto high heat.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add onion and cook until translucent.  Add whisked egg.  Carefully place pieces of salmon, goat cheese crumbles and capers into the egg.  Cook until the sides are set and will separate from the edge of the skillet.  Place the skillet under the broiler and cook until the frittata is lightly browned.
Serves four.

For more on frittatas check out these recipes here and here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Zucchini & Watercress Soup

This recipe comes courtesy of Sophie Dahl, granddaughter of famous author Roald Dahl, via Food & Wine Magazine.  I really enjoy zucchini and am always looking for new ways to enjoy veggies.  When I saw this recipe, I had to try it.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small pinch of saffron threads (about 10), crumbled
1 pound zucchini, coarsely chopped
3 cups chicken stock
8 ounces watercress, chopped*
1 tablespoon heavy cream (optional)*
Salt and freshly ground pepper*

In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onion and saffron threads and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 7 minutes. 
Add the zucchini and chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
Cook over low heat until the zucchini is tender, approximately 10 minutes. Add the watercress and cook for 5 minutes longer.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onion, zucchini and watercress to a blender. Add the cream and 1/2 cup of the stock and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and pour into bowls.  
Drizzle some good olive oil over the top.
I never quite know how much to buy when ingredients are given in weights (i.e. 8 ounces of watercress).  For most veggies, you can use the scales in the store to make sure you're buying the right amount.  As a measure for the watercress - a typical bag or box of lettuce is 4 or 5 oz.  

Heavy cream is not technically on the diet.  However, it doens't have any sugar.  The recipe calls for only a slight amount which adds a nice richness and creaminess to the soup.  You can weigh the pros and cons and omit if you'd like.

As I've mentioned before, my inclination is always to slightly under salt and then allow each individual to season her meal to her liking. Ruining an entire batch of soup by adding too much salt is pretty upsetting!

This dish is protein light, so in the initial Tear Down phase, eat some protein as well - perhaps a couple hard boiled eggs or a grilled chicken breast.