After a few feet of snow that have been piling up throughout eastern Canada (and mostly the US), the temperature is dropping, so it’s time to curl up with a hearty and satisfying soup. This soup was inspired by a recipe in one of the fall issues of Bon Appétit magazine and has since taken on many phases of evolution.
First I made the original one from Bon Appétit which you can find here. You have to try these chickpeas; they are seriously addictive. Spicy, nutty and crunchy; best of luck getting them from the baking sheet to the table. The key really is in the toasted cumin and coriander seeds spice blend that I also used for the catfish sandwich.
On another occasion I had planned on making the same recipe but had cauliflower sitting in my fridge that really needed to be consumed asap. So I added the cauliflower florets to the baking sheet along with a couple of cloves of minced garlic.
Then this other time, I was having some friends over for dinner and was serving a cauliflower purée as a side (boil cauliflower until tender, blend with a little olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and that’s all folks), and needed some sort of presentation topping. Eureka, the roasted chickpeas were perfect!
Finally, one dreary weekend in January I had a craving for something hot and filling…and that is how this Spice Roasted Chickpea and Cauliflower Soup came to be.
Wanna make it? Here’s how:
- 1 small onion, halved and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained rinsed and patted dry
- 1 tbsp toasted cumin and coriander seeds spice blend
- 2 tbsp olive oil, for roasting
- 4 cups diluted broth (broth mixed with water, half and half)
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the chickpeas, cauliflower, onion, garlic with the spice blend and spread onto a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until brown and caramelized, tossing the vegetables once in a while to cook evenly.
Allow to cool slightly then process in your blender gradually adding the diluted broth until you have reached the desired consistency. I used chicken broth, but for all the vegetarians out there, you can easily substitute with veggie broth. Pour into a pot and bring to a simmer. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!
Note: The soup will thicken when reheated on the stovetop. Either add more diluted broth while blending or reheating.
So the tools and techniques don’t come around all too often mainly because I don’t usually think about my kitchen that way. There are many tricks that I use regularly and because they are habit I tend not to really notice them.
Recently I was hanging out with my friend Jon visiting from Toronto and – as we often do – we talked about consuming food. With consumption often comes waste. Jon went on about how much he hates wasting food and that there are some ingredients he just won’t buy in order to avoid a potential waste. I applaud his actions as I too, hate wasting food. I rather stuff myself than to leave food on my plate. I try to maximize every ingredient in my kitchen and pantry, and have come up with a couple of tricks to do just that.
Using his words “What the hell am I supposed to do with a huge bunch of cilantro when all I need is one cup?” My answer: “Why not make a batch of chimichurri? Freeze it in a jar or in ice-cube trays.”
Well, have no fear, Kristel’s Kitchen is here!
Let me share a few tips on how to maximize the use of your ingredients and minimize your waste:
Ice-cube trays! It’s convenient to have at least one ice-cube tray unused, that way you can easily portion out leftover ingredients and freeze for later use. Here are some examples:
- Tomato paste or sauce when you do not need to use the full amount; use individual cubes add depth of flavor to sauces, soups or
- Pesto, any kind. Pesto essentially just means to pound, crush to make a paste. Use basil, parsley, cilantro, arugula… basically anything that comes to mind or that may be lurking in your fridge.
- Fruit: purée and freeze, great for smoothies; or, cook down with sugar for a quick dessert topping.
Make soup! Often my soup creations spur from whatever is left in the fridge and pantry. The last creation was a Mexican influenced vegetable soup. From the fridge: the remainder of a bag of carrots and celery, an onion, a leftover ¼ cabbage from a previous dinner and shredded zucchini. From the pantry: a can of diced tomatoes, an ancho pepper (whole), a handful of coarse cornmeal and a handful of red lentils. All combined in a pot, topped off with water, seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin and coriander seeds, simmered for a about 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Stale bread? Make breadcrumbs or croutons! Make sure the bread is hard and stale. Cut it up into smaller pieces then grind into crumbs using a blender or food processor. Store in the freezer. For croutons, toss with spices, garlic or parmesan (whatever you like), drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven until brown. Store in an air-tight container.
Fresh ginger, always on hand! It is always convenient to have around for many recipes and marinades or even to spice up some tea, but like any fresh produce it doesn’t have the longest shelf life. When I bring home some ginger (and I am not talking about my better half here), the first thing I do is peel it and store it in a container in the freezer. Whenever I need some I just take it as is – frozen – and using a grater I shave off the needed amount.
Start composting! Contact your city, local borough office or Eco-quartier to find out what services are available to you. If you have the space for it, set-up compost bin in your yard. For Montrealers, get in touch with the nice folk at Compost Montréal to find out how you can get a compost pick-up service set-up for your residence, condo complex or even apartment building.
There’s a lot more where that came from. The key is to try to be a little creative, to think out of the ice-box when you’re looking at the leftovers you fear may be wasting away their shelf-life. Do you have your own tricks for minimizing waste? Please spread the word, share your comment on this post and help all of us make better use of our food consumption economy.
After the holidays, come the leftovers! No matter how much we give away to friends and family, we always tend to be left with more food than we know what to do with. Since our family meal just this Saturday, I had turkey sandwiches on Sunday, warmed up risotto, turkey and Brussels sprouts on Monday; another turkey sandwich on Tuesday for lunch, but by then I had to come up with something creative. Following with the theme of leftovers, here is the breakdown of my week of meals:
Tuesday Dinner: Mexican Soup
A few years ago I came up with what I call a “Mexican” soup. I put a few ingredients together but hadn’t really thought it through. Turned out to be souperbe! I tried to recreate it a few times but just couldn’t get the same flavors to mix together just right. Bottom line, it is simply a tomato vegetable soup with a Mexican twist. So here is how it begins:
Content of my fridge: extra leeks, carrots, parsnip, red bell pepper, onions, garlic, turkey meat and broth.
From my pantry: dried ancho pepper, cumin, oregano, coarse corn meal and a can of diced tomatoes (usually I have some type of beans that I would throw into the pot as well, but not this time).
Needed from the store: an avocado.
Cut up your vegetable into even pieces. In a large pot drizzled with olive oil, sauté the chopped garlic, onions and leek. Add the rest of your vegetables, one teaspoon cumin, ½ tablespoon oregano, the dried ancho chili (or any dried chili of your choice) and the can of tomatoes. Stir to mix and add the measure of two cans of broth to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer for about 30 minutes. At this point the pepper should be soft. You can add about ¼ of a cup of coarse corn meal and let it cook for another 20 minutes until the corn meal has completely swelled up. Right before serving remove the pepper and add your leftover turkey. You can use chicken, beef or no meat at all. Serve hot with pieces of avocado on top. I didn’t quite nail it like I did that first time but I’m starting to think it was simply a figment of my imagination…
Wednesday Lunch: ate out at Pranzetto for a friend’s birthday.
Wednesday Dinner: Turkey Enchiladas with Mole Sauce
Can anyone else other than me sense there’s a theme going on here? I always wanted to try making these at home. With all the leftovers, I had the perfect chance!
Content of my fridge: turkey, squash, onions, mushrooms, cheese and broth.
From my pantry: soft tortillas that I always keep around to make wraps.
Needed from the store: a jar of mole sauce.
Start by cutting the squash into small cubes and then steam until cooked through. In a pan drizzled with olive oil, sauté the onion and mushrooms. Add the turkey to heat through. In a large bowl, combine the onion, mushrooms, turkey, squash and a small handful of shredded cheese. Put some of the mixture in a tortilla, roll up and place seam down in a baking dish. Make as many as you’d like.
For the mole sauce, follow the directions on the jar and pour over the rolled up tortillas. Top with shredded cheese and bake in the oven at 400ºF until barely bubbly. I served this with my leftover mushroom stuffing, candied yams and a simple green salad. Like the recipe above, you can also use chicken, beef or veggies.
Thursday Lunch: Leftover Mexican Soup
Thursday Dinner: Turkey Curry
From the fridge: onion, garlic, cabbage, turkey, pineapple
From the pantry: a can of coconut milk, curry spices
Slice the cabbage into thin shreds, cut the onion in half and slice it, chop the garlic and in a pan drizzled with oil sauté together until barely soft. Add about a tablespoon of the curry powder / spice / paste of your choice and cook for a couple of minutes until the flavours melt into the other ingredients. Chop about ½ of a cup of pineapple and add it to the pan. Add about one cup of the leftover turkey and half of a can of coconut milk. Adjust seasoning with more curry, salt and/or pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes and serve with rice or nan bread. This basic recipe is incredibly versatile: use leftovers or fresh ingredients, use any vegetables you want, any protein you want and any fruit you want (however, I would not recommend harder fruits like apples).
Friday Lunch: Leftover Turkey Enchiladas with Mole Sauce
Friday Dinner: Spaghetti with a Mushroom-Leek Wine Sauce
Well, it’s Friday. Although it has only been a four day work week it definitely was a busy one, well worthy of a bottle of wine that I picked up on my way home to accompany dinner: C’est La Vie, Sauvignon Blanc – don’t you just love the name?
From the fridge: garlic, leek, mushrooms, turkey
From the pantry: spaghetti pasta, Dijon mustard, thyme
Cook the spaghetti until al dente, following the instructions on the box but making sure your water is well salted. Meanwhile, in a large pan drizzled with olive oil, add a square of butter. When melted, add the sliced leek, chopped and mushroom. Season with salt, pepper and a large pinch of thyme; cook until leeks are slightly browned. Add the rest leftover turkey, just enough white wine to covers the vegetables and two heaping spoonfuls of Dijon mustard. Stir to combine and let simmer for a couple of minutes to let the flavors melt into each other. Add the cooked spaghetti to the pan, with a ladle or two of pasta water. Stir and serve. This was a pretty good first try but the recipe needs a bit of tweaking… more on that later. Suggestions anyone?
Saturday Brunch: Pancetta and Brussels Sprouts Hash Topped with a Fried Egg
From the fridge: pancetta, Brussels sprouts, onion, eggs
From the pantry: potatoes, paprika
Steam or boil a potato and a few Brussels sprouts. Once cooked, cut them into smaller pieces and slice a small onion. Chop the pancetta and sauté in a pan. Once it starts to crisp add the onions and cook for a couple of minutes. Bring down to medium heat and add the potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Season with a pinch of paprika, salt and pepper, allow mixture to brown. In another pan fry an egg to your liking. Serve the hash in a plate and top with the fried egg. It is a great start to the rest of your weekend!
After six days of leftovers, the turkey is finally all gone and none of it went to waste! With the exception of a few carrots and an acorn squash, all the fresh ingredients in my fridge were used up.
I must admit that finding something creative and versatile for Thursday and Friday was more of a challenge than I would have thought, but there you have it, a full week of leftovers with only one trip to the store. Now, it is time for me to head back to the market to fill up my fridge!