Monday, November 21, 2011

Garlic and Sea Salt has moved!

To all of my readers, I have decided to combine my two blogs so Garlic and Sea Salt will now be a part of my Fragrant Vanilla Cake and all of my savory posts and recipes will be a part of that page.  I will keep this page here so that the past recipes will be available, but visit my blog, Fragrant Vanilla Cake for future ones!  Here is the link:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Roasted Squash and Carmelized Onion Soup Au Gratin

We all have one of "those" days once in a while.  You know, the character building type where you get home and ask..."Where is my big glass of wine and comfort food?"  I had one yesterday.  We were short at work, I wasn't feeling the best due to a cold, and I felt like I was wishing there were 3 Amys to do my job as it seemed like there was not enough time to get everything done.  Alright, so maybe it wasn't so least my coworker's and I had time to laugh in between the chaos and joke about the glass of wine we would all be needing after work!  I was tired when I got home, but was in a good mood at least despite the character building day at work.  As I walked in the door I was feeling a bit chilled due to the cool weather that has found its way to Minnesota this week, and so I decided I needed a big bowl of something comforting and delicious for dinner.  Afterall, I needed something to go with my wine. My favorite soup came to mind, roasted squash and caramelized onion soup au gratin.  Who doesn't love a soup topped off with toasted bread and bubbly cheese? 

I hadn't made it in a while, and it was about time!  So I poured myself some wine and got to work.  Little did I know that a bit of the sort of work day I had would follow me I was trying to unclog the cooking spray so I could roast my squash to go in the soup I totally nailed myself in the face.  So I admit, it was rather funny, and at least I didn't get my eyes...but really?  I hadn't even drank but a few sips of wine either!  Luckilly the rest of the soup making went smoothly and my kitchen was starting to smell of sweet onions and herbs from the pot simmering on the stove.  By the time I had ladled the soup into a bowl, topped it off with toasted bread and cheese and broiled it to perfection I was about drooling.  It was just as amazing as it always is.  Sweet squash and caramelly onions, fragrant herbs, and crusty bread with ooey gooey cheese...pure deliciousness!  I can't believe I haven't shared this one on my blog yet, but it is amazing, and sure to make you forget anything unpleasant that happened earlier in the day.  What Wednesday?  Did that really happen?  Well, if you would like to enjoy some for yourself, here is the recipe!

Roasted Squash and Carmelized Onion Soup Au Gratinserves 4

This is the perfect fall soup, great for warming you up on a dreary fall or winter day! This is my absolute favorite soup recipe.

1 large kabocha or buttercup squash, cut in half from top to bottom, and seeded
non-stick spray
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 medium red onions, halved and sliced thinly
6 garlic cloves, pressed
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 cup white wine (of the quality that you would drink)
4 cups veggie stock
1 baguette, cut into 1 inch thick slices (there should be 12), and toasted
6 oz gruyere cheese, grated
6 oz mozzarella cheese, grated

Heat the oven to 475, and line a baking sheet with foil. Spray with non-stick spray, and place squash cut side down on the sheet. Roast for about 40 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and let cool slightly, then remove skin, and cut flesh into large cubes, and set aside. In a large dutch oven or pan, heat the oil, over medium heat and add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally until starting to turn golden and carmelizing, about 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaf, and herbs, as well as salt and pepper, and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Add wine, and scrape up any brown bits or carmelization on the bottom of the pan. Add the stock and squash cubes and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and let cook for at least 20 minutes until squash is falling apart. Add more salt if needed. Turn the oven on to broil. Ladel the squash into 4 large shallow bowls, and top each with 3 pieces of toasted baguette, and the gruyere and mozzarella cheeses. Place under the broiler, and broil until the cheese is brown and bubbly, about 3 minutes more or less depending on the oven. Let cool a few minutes, then serve!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Melange of Roasted Autumn Veggies with Tempeh Bacon

No use crying over spilt milk...or burnt carrots.  Yesterday I had sliced 25 lbs of carrots for a salad at work, and thrown them in the oven to roast thinking they were going to come out all delicious and toasty, only to have my timer fail on me and smell burnt carrots about 45 minutes later.  Oh the joys of relying on technology...but that is what happens when you are multitasking and can't keep an eye on the oven yourself!  But you know what?  I didn't get upset, in fact I found it kind of funny the fact that I went through all that work and would have to do it again.  Sometimes I wonder with the amount of chopping I do with my right arm why it isn't twice the size of my left.  I sliced more carrots, placed them in the oven and this time they emerged perfectly roasted.  Success!  I am not one to give up...especially in the kitchen.  When I got home I did not simply heat up some soup I had in the freezer for dinner, instead I decided that I would like some roasted veggies!  How odd, after my carrot burning experience, but that is what I craved.  I had all sorts of delicious things to roast that I knew would make a delicious melange of sorts. 

Some chanterelles and lobster mushrooms I was expecially excited to enjoy along with brussels sprouts, carrots (yes I didn't hate them), red peppers, purple potatoes, and rutabagas.  I threw in some onions as well and roasted them all to deliciousness.  I needed some protein, so some tempeh bacon was added as well, and to give it all a wonderful flavor a balsamic thyme vinaigrette with a touch of truffle oil.  It was nice and hearty, which was nice for a cool night.  Never mind the burnt carrots, when I have a plate of good food in front of me I don't remember the negatives of the day.  Here is the recipe for my roasted veggies if you would like to try it.  It is simple to prepare, but so good!

Melange of Roasted Autumn Veggies with Tempeh Bacon
Serves 2

olive oil
2 cups purple potatoes (or other small potatoes), halved if bigger
2 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
3 cups mixed mushrooms, cut into bite sized pieces if large
1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1 cup sliced rutabaga
2 large carrots, sliced
1 8 oz pkg tempeh bacon

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp truffle oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dried thyme
2 cloves of garlic, minced
sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Since the veggies take different times to roast, they need to be dine separately.  Toss the potatoes and brussels sprouts with olive oil and spread out on a baking sheet.  Do the same with the mushrooms, bell pepper and onion on another sheet. Then the carrots and rutabagas on another.  Place the sheets in the oven and roast for about 15-20 minutes until the veggies are tender and browned at edges (may take longer for potatoes) then remove from the oven and place in a large bowl.  Meanwhile, Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a non-stick pan and cook tempeh bacon until crisp on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.  Remove from pan and when cool enough to handle, cut into small pieces.  Place in a bowl, along with roasted veggies.  Whisk together olive oil and truffle oil, balsamic, garlic, thyme and sea salt and pepper to taste, then toss it with the veggies and serve!