Broccoli Cauliflower Soup

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A couple weeks ago I experimented with new concoctions for dinners several nights in a row.  The first night that my husband dished up seconds was when I made this soup.  That was a good sign for the soup.  Not so good for the other dishes which I will probably not make again.  Originally I made this soup with just broccoli.  The second time I added cauliflower and made the soup for our good friends.  It was a hit.  ‘Tis soup season now and I’m sure I will make this often using both broccoli and cauliflower.

Ingredients:

2 cups sliced leeks

2 cups of broccoli flowerettes

2 cups of cauliflower

broccoli and cauliflower stems diced

6 cups of chicken broth

6 T butter

6 T flour

3 cups of whole milk

3 cups shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar and smoked gouda)

1 cup shredded carrots

grated nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

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Slice the leeks and broccoli and cauliflower stems.  Rinse them well, especially the leeks which tend to store up a lot of sand.

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Put the leeks and the vegetable stems in a heavy kettle or Dutch oven with about a cup of the broth and cook over medium high heat until they are softened, 10-15 minutes.  Once the vegetables have softened use an immersion blender off heat and purée.  Add the remaining broth and bring to a simmer.

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Blanch the broccoli and cauliflower flowerettes.  Drop them into ice water to stop the cooking and set aside.  Grate the carrots.

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Next make a cheese sauce.  Melt 6 T of butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook for a couple minutes whisking constantly.

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Slowly whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer.  Gradually add the cheese whisking until it melts.

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Add the cheese mixture to the broth and vegetables.  Stir in the flowerettes, grated carrot and nutmeg.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Simmer until the vegetables are thoroughly heated.  Ladle up and enjoy!  Great served with homemade croutons.

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NOTE:  I took all of my photos when I made the first batch of soup so you don’t see any cauliflower.  But the cauliflower was a great addition.  Also a little cayenne pepper or Frank’s hot sauce is a tasty add in.  Any good melting cheese can be substituted for the sharp cheddar and smoky gouda.

Vegetable and Bleu Cheese Tart

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A few Christmases ago my daughter gave me a Nordic Bakery Cookbook by Miisa Mink.  It has some excellent recipes for  pastries and for savory dishes.  We all get tired of making the same meals over and over so tonight I got the book out and decided to make the Vegetable tart.  Just yesterday I bought some excellent buttermilk Bleu cheese at a local market that sells cheeses, meats, great olives, wine and craft beers.  The cheese was perfect for this dish.  Simple ingredients.  Nothing exotic.

Ingredients for the crust:

13 T butter at room temperature

3 1/2 T sour cream or crime fraiche

1 cup AP flour

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

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Cream the butter and the sour cream or creme fraiche together in a mixing bowl.

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Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Stir into the creamed mixture until a dough forms.  Form dough into a ball, flatten into a disc, and wrap in plastic wrap.  Store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

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Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface.

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Transfer the pastry to a tart pan pressing it into the fluted edges of the pan and neatly cut off the excess pastry.  (I love my tart pan and I rarely use it.  You don’t see how pretty it is until it’s empty.)

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Tart Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups broccoli florets

1 1/2 cups cauliflower florets

1 T vegetable oil

1 onion rough diced

1 cup cherry tomatoes halved

2 1/2 oz. Danish Bleu cheese (I used buttermilk Bleu)

3/4 cup grated Cheddar

fresh ground black pepper

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The Bleu cheese is the star!

Preheat oven to 400.

Cut the florets into chunks.  Boil until they are tender crisp.  Drain well and allow to cool.

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Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Fry the onion until it is soft and golden.  Set aside to cool slightly.

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Once the onion has cooled tip the pan over the pastry and spread the onion evenly.  Top with the broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes.

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Sprinkle the cheeses evenly over the top and sprinkle with cracked black pepper.

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Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

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It’s beautiful!  And it tastes great!  Serve with a green salad and you have a perfect dinner.

NOTE:  You can substitute other vegetables taking care that they don’t become too watery when cooked.  Served as an appetizer the recipe serves 6; as an entree it serves 4.