Craving Comfort Foods?

4 Aug

There really is nothing like comfort food. Each of us has our own foods that we turn to for comfort. For most of us, these are foods that we grew up with, and are often determined by how, where, and when we grew up. I know a lot of people in California, for example, who cite avocados as the ultimate comfort food. My friend Vivian, whose parents are Chinese, always turns to dim sum when she needs to spoil herself. My husband likes a big plate of raw vegetables, and when he eats this he reminisces about how his mom would give him the same thing as a snack when he was young. For me, my comfort foods are the favorite meals that my mom made when I was growing up. I associate these meals with family, safety, and home. One such meal is a simple broccoli soup. My mother used to make it when I was young, and I remember my grandmother making it, too. The recipe has varied over the years, and I have a few versions of it that I make, depending on the season, and how hearty I want it to be. Tonight, I was feeling a little homesick, so to comfort myself, I decided to make a light broccoli soup for dinner.

Broccoli Soup

2 TBSP butter or olive oil
1 large white onion
3 heads of fresh broccoli
4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
3 TBSP nutritional (brewer’s) yeast
salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated cheddar cheese to taste

This soup couldn’t be easier! First, saute the onion in the butter or olive oil until translucent.

these smell so good!

these smell so good!

Next, add the broccoli to the pot and mix with the onions and oil. Saute on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes.

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Then add the stock. I used leftover chicken stock that I had made over the weekend. The stock may not cover the broccoli, but no worries, as it will cook down quickly. Bring the soup to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and cover.

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Simmer the soup, covered, for 15- 20 minutes, until the broccoli is tender.

Puree the soup in batches until it is of desired consistency. I usually puree about two thirds of the soup, enough so that is is smooth, but still has some larger chunks of broccoli left.

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At this point, I like to season with some nutritional yeast. I started cooking with nutritional yeast when I was a vegan, as a replacement for cheese. I still love it, although to many it is an acquired taste. Feel free to leave it out if you are not sure about it. Instead, at this point, it might be nice to grate in a few ounces of sharp cheddar cheese into the pot. You may also stir in some cream as well. Season the soup with salt and pepper until it’s to your liking. Serve with fresh bread, and some grated cheese or nutritional yeast sprinkled on top!

For a heartier soup, add potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, chickpeas or cream!

To accompany the soup I made some open faced chicken salad sandwiches. On two pieces of Ezekiel bread, I put a mixture of:

1 chicken breast, cooked in chicken stock, cooled and diced
1 small shallot, diced
12 grapes, halved
1 handful of raw walnuts
1 carrot, grated
2 TBSP mayonnaise or yogurt
salt and pepper

To serve, I added some spinach!

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A nice, simple (and comforting) Tuesday night dinner!

Of course, with all of this talk of comfort food, dessert is a must. I got the idea from Laura to halve a cantaloupe and put ice cream in it. However, instead of ice cream, I used my favorite ice-cream alternative — frozen bananas! I had three bananas in the freezer, which had been peeled before freezing. I threw these in my food processer for about 5-7 minutes until they were whipped into a smooth ice-cream like consistency. While they were processing, I added a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of vanilla. I then filled the melon halves with the banana “ice-cream” and topped with chopped walnuts. Awesome!

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On a non-cooking note, my fiberglass Eames chair finally arrived today!! I’m so excited to have it (at last) in our new place. Here’s a picture of it with one of my cushions from Bookhou.

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Sashi likes the new chair, but (as usual) thinks the box it came in is far more exciting!

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Take care!

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3 Responses to “Craving Comfort Foods?”

  1. pearsandplums August 4, 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    I know I’ve made some version of that soup before! Thanks to your recipe of course! I can attest and it is wonderful. And the banana ice cream looks creamy and delicious! I think having at least one picture of Sashi in every post should be a tradition? I really look forward to it every post!

    • sunandmoonandstars August 5, 2009 at 1:03 pm #

      Thanks Laura! The melon and banana ice cream were so good!! Thanks for the idea.

  2. emily August 7, 2009 at 2:38 pm #

    great sounding soup, and omigosh, love the chair and the le crueset pot! what a pretty color.

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