It’s getting closer to St. Patrick’s Day and everyone is making Irish themed dinners and desserts…….if it doesn’t contain beer, or potatoes its green……sigh
Although I do have some Irish in my bloodline, it’s never really been my holiday. There were a variety of naturally green dishes I could make, green chili sauces, pesto, green chicken…..no that would be wrong…… and in the end Cream of Broccoli won out!
Seriously, one of my recent classes on Chefhangout.com was on the cream sauces and soups, and for my soup I made Cream of Broccoli. I decided a little variation was in order and added roasted grape tomatoes and cheddar to the soup. The flavors were in perfect harmony, the subtle hints of aged cheddar, along with the sweet roasted tomatoes added a depth of flavors to the rich creamy broccoli soup. Now I know what you’re thinking, what a fattening unhealthy soup! Au contraire mon ami…..don’t you know that broccoli and tomatoes are both considered super foods, and those nutritional powerhouse foods are loaded with nutrients that are so important to a long and healthy life! Now don’t you feel better knowing that! Just add a few slices of crusty (whole grain) bread and your all set for a healthy delicious lunch!
- 4 oz (114 gm) unsalted butter
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 2 stalk celery diced
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 cups broccoli florets chopped
- 1 cup grape tomatoes roasted
- 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 1 cup heavy or light cream
- Sea Salt and pepper to taste
- toss grape tomatoes with olive oil, sea salt and pepper
- in a 350 degree oven roast tomatoes for about 20 minutes
- In a sauce pot add the stock and broccoli and bring to a boil, cooking the broccoli until very tender
- in another sauce pot melt the butter
- add diced celery, and onions to melted butter and saute for about 5 minutes (this is your roux)
- add flour and mix well, reduce heat and continue to cook without burning roux, for about 7-10 minutes
- add chicken stock and broccoli to roux and mix well with a wire whip until fully blended
- add heavy cream or dairy of your choice and cheddar, mix well until the cheddar is melted
- with heat reduced add roasted tomatoes and continue to simmer for 15 minutes
- If the soup appears to thick thin out with water, reseason as needed.
- Serve with crusty bread!
Ask Chef Dennis
ok once again I’m going to start beating the Google+ drum, I know you’ve heard it all before, I’ve been telling you since August to get on board while it’s still early, and while some of you have and are doing well, others that have opened an account have barely used it. It makes me crazy to find a blogger I know, only to see there are no posts or they haven’t posted since they joined. This is really prevalent among the already established bloggers who have already secured a good following, but I’m telling your missing the boat, big time!
Since I know your tired of me telling you, check out this post by Irvin Lin, he’s a rising star in the food blogging world, and in his post he validated everything I’ve been telling you, so head on over to Eat The Love and get his take on G+ !
While were talking about Social Media and G+, one of my new friends over at G+ is Cali Lewis, shes is a self proclaimed geek and social media whiz, she is offering some great tips on how to see if your social media is working for you, check out her video How Popular Are You On Social Media. Again, validation…..sigh
One last word on social media is while the jury is still out on Pinterest, and what Ben is going to do to keep it safe for us to pin on, there’s a new tool entering the picture called Pinerly , they have come up with a new dashboard to make life on Pinterest not only easier to use, but to make it more of a tool to help measure your success on Pinterest. Check out the link, they’re rolling this out slowly and there is a wait list, so get over there ASAP and check it out, Pinerly!
I haven’t said too much about photography lately, but I wanted to share a few things that I’ve recently learned. I mentioned a few weeks ago about the workshop I went to on light painting by Harold Ross, and while some of the techniques are a little too much for day to day food photography, some of the lessons are quite applicable.
If you do nothing else, you need to work on white balance. Here is an excellent tutorial at MyFudo on using your white balance controls in either Photoshop or Lightroom, and people if you don’t have photo software of some type, make this a priority. It breaks my heart to see a great recipe with excellent picture that have a terrible color tint to them, because they are not color corrected for temperature.
The other valuable lesson I learned at the workshop, was to turn the dam auto focus off, and do it manually, OMG what a difference it has made, and because of auto focus, I forgot I was bright enough to do it! (Don’t worry you’ll stop trying to make it focus by itself after a week). Now that we have the auto focus off, and I know everyone is using a tripod to shoot, you need to get a shutter release cable, trust me on that one, if you’re not using one to shoot your images and manually pressing the release instead, whether you can see it or not, you’re adding some shake to the image, it may not be enough for you to notice, but you will notice your images are sharper with the cable release (you can use longer exposures now too).
My last suggestion is to calibrate your monitor…..WOW, I can’t believe how far off my monitor was in terms of color and brightness. At the workshop Harold showed me it was off at least one stop in brightness, and that my colors were not accurate….Who Knew? So I went on Amazon and picked up a Data Color Spyder Pro 4 on Amazon, it’s not cheap but, I can’t believe the difference it made in processing my images, they now look like they’re supposed to, and more importantly they look the way I’m seeing them when I post my blog. I always had to compensate, because what I saw isn’t what I saw when I posted them to my blog……sigh, once again who knew?
Well my friends that’s it for today, Life threw me a few curve balls this week so my post is a little late, but better late than never!
Have a great midweek and if the weather is a spectacular where you are as it is here, go outside and enjoy it!