Tag Archives: cheese

Broccoli, cauliflower, cheese soup


There has been half a head of fancy organic local cauliflower languishing in our vegetable crisper, and we added some fancy organic local broccoli to the collection on Sunday. Since it’s a chilly 61 degrees in Los Angeles today, I’m making a broccoli, cauliflower, and cheese soup for lunch. My version will be healthy-ish, as I like to preface a meat-heavy dinner with a vegetarian lunch.

We use 1% milk, so I added a couple of tablespoons of cream for richness. You can probably skip this step if you use whole milk, or add more if you prefer a richer soup.

Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Cheese Soup

1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T butter
2 T flour
Kosher salt
Black pepper
2 cups of milk
2 cups of chicken stock
(optional) Half-and-half or heavy cream for richness
5 cups of broccoli and cauliflower florets
3/4 c (or more) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Nutmeg or mace

Melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic in the butter until soft, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the flour stir into the butter to make a roux. Allow the flour to cook for about 30 seconds to a minute.

Add the milk, chicken stock, and cream or half-and half. Bring to a simmer, then add the broccoli and cauliflower. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

When the vegetables are soft, you can puree the soup in a blender or use a potato masher to break up the florets. Add the cheese and stir until melted.

Taste and season with nutmeg or mace and black pepper. Serve with lots of Tabasco!


Chicken meatball sandwiches


Since last night was the casual portion of our Valentine’s Day celebration, I wanted to make something comforting but light-ish to eat at home before going to the movies.  Chicken meatball sandwiches totally fit the bill.  I love these in a sandwich, but you can of course eat them over spaghetti for a Lady and the Tramp style Valentine’s Day!

Chicken Meatball Sandwiches

For the meatballs:
1 lb ground chicken
3 cloves garlic
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1 egg
1/3 c breadcrumbs
1/4 c parsley, finely chopped
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
kosher salt
black pepper
1 T olive oil

For the tomato sauce:
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, chopped
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried oregano

For the sandwiches:
mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

To make the meatballs, combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in a mixing bowl. Mix together with your hands (don’t over-combine though, it will make them tough). Drizzle the olive oil onto a baking sheet, then roll the balls into one-inch balls. Place the balls on the baking sheet and roll around in the oil.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Set one meatball aside for your chihuahuas!

To make the sauce, heat a pot over medium heat with the olive oil and butter. Saute the onions and garlic until soft. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Add the tomatoes and about a cup of water. Simmer for at least 20 minutes. I would normally add some finely chopped basil towards the end, but we were out because Paco made an enormous batch of pesto. Luckily, the canned tomatoes that I used had basil in them (not as much basil flavor, but definitely enough for this recipe). When the meatballs are ready, add them to the sauce, and simmer for at least five minutes (or up to an hour).


To assemble the sandwiches, slice the baguette into 4-inch pieces. Cut long-ways, but not all the way through. Arrange meatballs and sauce on the bread.

Sprinkle cheese on top.

Place in a 400 degree F oven for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Emmentaler stuffed mushrooms


Stuffed mushrooms are really easy to make, and you can stuff them with almost anything you have on hand. They are definitely one of my go-to hors d’oeuvres. This version is vegetarian, but I often incorporate sausage or bacon.

Emmentaler Stuffed Mushrooms

15 large button or crimini mushrooms
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
kosher salt
black pepper
1 egg
1/3 c bread crumbs
1/4 c parsley, finely chopped
1/2 c grated emmentaler
1/4 c red wine (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop the stems pretty finely.
3. Heat a small skillet over medium heat with the butter and olive oil. Add the garlic and mushrooms, and saute until the mushrooms are soft. Season with thyme, salt, and pepper, then pour the red wine in and allow it to reduce.
4. While the mushroom stems are cooking, add the egg, bread crumbs, parsley, and emmentaler to a small mixing bowl.
5. Allow the mushroom stems to cool. Once they are room temperature, add them to the bowl with the bread crumbs and egg. Stir everything to combine.

6. Put a spoon of filling into each mushroom cap. Rest them face up on a baking sheet, and bake for 25 minutes or until the mushrooms have released a little bit of liquid and the filling is golden brown.

If you are going to take these somewhere, they are good room temperature as well.

An assortment of tiny grilled cheese sandwiches


I thought it would be fun to make a few different types of small grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. It’s just as easy to make a few different types as it is to make one. I also love making mini grilled cheese sandwiches to pair with slow-roasted tomato soup. They are perfect for dipping!

I used half of a seeded baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices (I wish I had gone a little bit thinner), cheddar cheese, emmentaler cheese, apricot preserves, and some thinly sliced sausage.

I buttered one side of each slice of bread, then tried a few different combinations inside: cheddar and sausage, plain cheddar, emmentaler and apricot preserves, and emmentaler and sausage.

The emmentaler/apricot combination was the winner, in my opinion!