Some of my recent fall planning has included working on my menus, what I'm going to cook and when so I can feel a little more prepared and a little less... 'grab bag dinner' night-ish.
Planning: so all this glorious planning is going on. I'm even writing down my weekly menu, like I used to do on our white board in the kitchen. I did that when we were first married to a: maintain my sanity and b: reaussure everyone who sets foot in our house that there will be dinner. Another one of my mom-isms I have adopted.
Planning: a couple of days ago I proclaimed it was fall and I planned some lovely and delicous fall meals. Because it's fall.
Yeah. Apparently that fickle Mother Nature enjoys playing tricks on us Pacific Northwesterners because yesterday was gorgeous. And not just gorgeous for a few hours before the sun went down; gorgeous all day from the moment the sun rose.
Gorgeous aside, after my run I hesitated, then sighed and began making my delicious fall broccoli soup. Soup! Oh well... it was delicious and today, even judging from the sky as the sun rises, appears to be a little less gorgeous than yesterday. I'll just wait though; you never know.
Also... I have to run again today. I have to! So let's hope it's as nice later on. A couple months ago, in my 'I'm running again!!' gung ho attitude, I signed up for the Bellingham half marathon which is this Sunday. Yeah. Um... I did the Fairhaven Runners 15k two weeks ago and it kicked my booty! I have to add another four miles onto that? What the h-e-double hockey sticks was I thinking??
My 15k time did surprise me though... I finished faster than I thought I would. But another four miles on top of that? I'm petrified someone is going to find me on the side of the road hallucinating about floating marshmallows or a three footed pygmy goat or something like that.
Ok, recipe: this soup was really good! There isn't a bad thing in it, it's super easy to make and quite flavorful. Broccoli is Noodle's favorite thing to eat ever and I love it too. Honey isn't a huge broccoli fan but he loved the soup. The garlicky croutons on top provided a lovely alternate texture and the green onions gave it some bite.
Give it a try for your next fall meal :)
1 onion, chopped
1 small clove garlic, diced or smashed
1 teaspoon savory
2 bay leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
2 large heads broccoli, about 1 inch of the end chopped off and the whole thing roughly chopped
4 cups (1 quart/1 tetrapak) vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 loaf crusty french bread... works best if it's day old or so. Remember the po boy sandwiches? Remember the parsley pesto crostini? Yep! I used the leftovers... want not, waste not.
Extra virgin olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, diced or smashed
Salt and pepper
In a large pot, heat some olive oil on med/high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to a good medium and add savory and bay leaves. Let cook for about another 3 minutes until soft and glossy.
To your pot of onion, add coarsely chopped broccoli, broth and salt and pepper. Stir well and cover. Let cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occassionally.
Meanwhile, prepare to make your croutons:
Preheat oven to 425 or use your toaster oven. As mentioned multiple times, I use my toaster oven if at all possible... it takes far less time to heat up and it much more 'green' if you ask me.
Slice your bread in half lengthwise, from there, cut it into about 1/2 inch strips, rotate and cut the strips into about 1/2 inch cubes.
Put all cubes into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. On top of that, smash garlic cloves over the top. Finish with a little salt and pepper and give it all a good rigorous toss, ensuring proper coverage on all bread chunks.
Pour your cubes onto a baking sheet and toast in the oven or toaster oven for about 10 minutes, checking and 'stirring' every couple of minutes. These babies burn fairly quickly so don't be afraid to check and move them around.
When done, remove and let cool.
Back to your soup: When broccoli is tender, turn the heat off and use a hand blender to puree. Hand blenders rock. If you don't have one, you should get one. It prevents extra dirty dishes. If you don't have one you can transfer the soup in batches to the blender, then return it to the pot.
Once pureed, add the coconut milk and stir to incorporate. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Chop three or four green onions for garnish. If you added more salt and pepper, now is the time to taste your soup again. It needs time to allow the additional salt and pepper to infuse.
In a bowl, ladle in the lovely soup. Start your garnish with five to 7 garlic croutons. You can, of course, add more or less depending on the size of your bowl.
Finish with a sprinkle of green onion and you're ready to serve.
The croutons give the soup a little more 'bulk' but it is very filling and hearty on its own.