Broccoli and Cheese Soup

1 head broccoli, removing stems and cut into small florettes
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1-4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan soften onion and garlic in olive oil.

Add broccoli and broth. Season.

Bring to a boil then reduce and simmer until broccoli is soft. Remove from heat and let cool.

In one-cup batches puree in food processor until smooth.

Return the soup to the stove top and heat until warm adding 1/2-1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese. Stir until cheese is dissolved. Season as desired.

Serve with warmed Panini.



Artichoke Soup

1 package of artichoke hearts, cut in small pieces (or 6 fresh artichokes-see directions below for preparing)IMG_2219
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2-4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 potatoes, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon reconstituted lemon juice or juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
4 cups cold water
1 bay leaf
peperoncino flakes (as desired)
salt and pepper to taste

In the bottom of a large saucepan add olive oil and cook onion until softened.  Remove the onion and put aside.  In the same saucepan with olive oil heat the garlic slices until softened (don’t burn as they will be bitter).

Combine the potatoes, artichokes, onion, and garlic in the large saucepan adding enough water to make approximately 4 cups of liquid.

Add the thyme, bay leaf, parsley, pepperoncino (add a little at a time during cooking or omit entirely).  Add the lemon juice.

Cook, covered until potatoes and artichokes are soft (approximately 1/2 an hour). Remove from cooktop and put aside to cool.  Once cool put one cup at a time in food processor and pulse until smooth.  Remove after each batch and put aside in another pot or casserole.   Taste to see if the soup needs more salt.

Combine the contents of both saucepans into one keeping water.

Once all soup is smooth serve and sprinkle Parmagiano-Reggiano grated cheese on top.

NOTE: If you use fresh artichokes the soup will take another hour to cook.

Fill a bowl with approximately one quart of cold water and the juice of a lemon, plus the used lemon halves. Peel and trim the artichokes pulling off the tough outer leaves and discard. Using a paring knife trim away any tough parts around the base and stem of the artichoke. With a serrated knife, cut the top third of the artichoke and discard. Put cleaned artichokes in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice. If you make the soup using fresh artichokes you don’t need to add lemon juice to the soup.

Source: adapted from a recipe by Lidias-Italy

Meringue Easter Egg Nests

½ teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
shredded coconut
candy eggs, jelly beans, chocolate, malt ball eggs

Preheat oven to 250F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, whip together the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until soft peaks form.

Slowly add sugar, beating constantly until the mixture is glossy and stiff (another minute or so). Beat in the vanilla until just combined.

Spoon three mounds of the mixture onto each baking sheet. Use the bowl of the spoon to shape each mound into a 4-inch wide circle with a 2-inch deep depression in the centre. Sprinkle shredded coconut over each one.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until meringues are dry and coconut has turned golden brown. Once cool, tuck candy into the centre of each nest.

Makes 6 nests.

Grilled Tomato & Feta Cheese Sandwich

2 slices bread
1 tomato
feta cheese

Slice the tomato as thick or as thin as you prefer. Remove the seeds.

Heat a frying pan to medium-high heat.

Spread margarine on the outsides of the two slices of bread.

Put the bottom slice of bread margarine side down in the frying pan. Add the tomato slices and cover with feta cheese. IMG_2196

Add the top piece of bread buttered on the top side.

Carefully brown the bread and flip to grill top side. Make sure to watch as you don’t want to burn the bread.

Slice and enjoy!