March – Deconstructed Wanton Soup

March – Deconstructed Wanton Soup

Why is this deconstructed? Because it has all the delicious parts of pork wanton soup, but without the wanton wrappers. Leaving those out makes it both gluten free and low carb. I was inspired by a recipe for egg roll soup and thought…why not wanton? This is a lighter version of regular wanton soup, without the wanton wrappers. It’s perfect when you want a quick, healthy, vegetable laden and warming bowl of soup for lunch or a light supper.

Deconstructed Wanton Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound of ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon of neutral oil like grape seed
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 cup of shiitake mushrooms, stems trimmed and sliced
  • 1/2 bunch of scallions, sliced white and light green portions
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 2 baby bok choy, rinced and sliced thinly
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil for drizzling when serving
  • chopped cilantro for serving

Method:

  1. Heat the 1 tablespoon of neutral oil in a large stock pot or saucepan over medium heat and sear the ground pork until browned.
  2. Add the carrots, garlic, ginger, mushrooms and scallions. Saute until softened and fragrant.
  3. Add the chicken broth, soy sauce, and fish sauce.
  4. Bring to a simmer and add the bok choy, cook until softened, about 5 minutes. It should still be bright green. if the white stems are large, add them first and cook for a few minutes before adding the tender greens.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  6. Serve with a drizzle of sesame oil and a sprinkle of cilantro.

Deconstructed Wanton Soup with Wantons

If you want a heartier meal for dinner, extra bulk can be added with a few steamed wantons. A request from the husband when serving for dinner. I found the lighter version perfect for me.

I think the folks at Fiesta Friday would enjoy this, especially anyone wanting to cut down on the carbs. Angie hosts Fiesta Friday and this week her co-host isJhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook. It’s Fiesta Friday #270. Click the link to read interesting posts about cooking, crafts and gardening.

March – Cauliflower Colcannon for St. Patrick’s Day

March – Cauliflower Colcannon for St. Patrick’s Day

Yes, here is yet another cauliflower recipe but you won’t believe these aren’t potatoes! I bring you this just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale. You can serve it with a hearty lamb stew or lamb chop, or just on its own with a big salad.

The idea for this dish came from two blog posts, the first was a recipe for mashed cauliflower “Better than Potatoes”  from the blog ibreathe, I’m hungry. That blog is full of ideas for low carb and gluten free meals. Her recipe for creamy mashed cauliflower is the best I’ve found anywhere and a big hit on Pinterest. The second blog post was from Angie at Fiesta Friday. She used mashed potatoes with the addition kale, bacon and brown butter to make her more traditional “Colcannon“. Oh my, did it look delicious!

I thought, what happens when you combine those two fabulous recipes? I tell you, it was amazing. My husband couldn’t believe these were not “real” mashed potatoes, he was completely fooled. I didn’t tell him until after he had eaten two servings, he was amazed.

A few notes about the cauliflower puree, it is extra creamy and rich tasting but you need to be careful to avoid adding any of the tough skin on the stem. Peel the stem if you want to add it before cooking the cauliflower. I don’t recommend using the “riced” cauliflower found in the stores just now. They are great for cauliflower rice but not so good when you want creamy mashed cauliflower. I think they must have a high percentage of the tough stem included. If you think about it, it would make sense as that is the “leftovers” from those packages of florets.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp butter – Irish from grass-fed cows if possible

    Kerrygold Irish Butter

    Kerrygold Irish Butter

  • 2 ounces Irish dubliner or other sharp cheese –

    Dubliner Cheddar

    Dubliner Cheddar

  • 4 slices of bacon, cut into 1/4 cubes
  • Large handful of baby kale or larger kale leaves, de-stemmed and thinly sliced (you could also used thinly sliced green cabbage)
  • salt and pepper to taste
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Clean and trim the cauliflower, breaking it into medium sized pieces. Peel any tough stem. Place in a microwave safe bowl with 2 Tbsp of cream and 1 Tbsp of butter. Microwave, uncovered, on high for six minutes. Stir to coat cauliflower with cream/butter mixture. Microwave for another six minutes on high.
  2. Meanwhile cut 4 strips of bacon into pieces about 1/4 inch in width. Saute on medium heat until starting to crisp. Drain on paper towels, reserving the bacon fat in a small dish.
  3. Remove cauliflower from the microwave and put into a high speed blender or food processor along with the cheese. Puree until smooth.
  4. Add the cauliflower puree to the pan you cooked the bacon in, scraping up any crusty bits. Stir in the bacon and a good sized handful of baby kale or finely sliced larger kale leaves (de-stemmed).
  5. Stir until the kale or cabbage is wilted.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can adjust the cream and butter to your preference. A little bacon fat is also nice if your Dr. allows it.

This is good without the kale as well. Shred a little extra cheese on top.

Creamy mashed cauliflower with bacon

Creamy mashed cauliflower with bacon

But especially nice with the addition of kale.

Colcannon with mashed cauliflower

Colcannon with mashed cauliflower

And try a vegetarian version without bacon. It will still be delicious.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone.

February in the kitchen – Cauliflower Croquettes

February in the kitchen – Cauliflower Croquettes

These cauliflower croquettes are amazing! My husband and I ate the entire recipe in a single sitting! Forget the meat (we did), you won’t need it. Made small they would be wonderful as a starter, or larger as a main or side dish. Gluten free, vegetarian (if you leave out the bacon), low carb, and delicious! Isn’t cauliflower a wonderfully adaptable vegetable?

I served the croquettes topped with avocado sauce. They would also be good with a fresh salsa verde or green sauce or a dollop of sour cream.

  • 1 small to medium head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 4 slices of bacon, fried crisp and crumbled – keep 2 tablespoons of the fat
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 scallions, very thinly sliced (white and green parts)
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup of garbanzo flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. In a food processor rice the cauliflower florets (it should be evenly chopped but not completely pulverized).
  2. Transfer cauliflower rice to a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 4 minutes, or until cooked.
  3. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  4. Transfer the cauliflower to a strainer lined with a tea towel. Let it cool until safe to handle, the twist the towel to squeeze out as much moisture as possible. There will be a lot.
  5. Transfer the cauliflower rice to a mixing bowl, and add the next 8 ingredients. Up to the olive oil. Mix well. add egg, scallions, parsley, salt and pepper and mix well.
  6. Heat two tablespoons of the bacon fat (if using) and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  7. Form the cauliflower mix into a loose croquette or burger shape. The mixture will be quite loose but will firm up when cooked. Press the patties flat with a spatula. Fry until brown on one side, then flip and cook the other.
  8. You may need to do this in batches adding more olive oil to the pan.
  9. As you finish one batch, place the cooked croquettes on a cookie sheet in the oven to keep warm while you finish frying the rest.
  10. Serve with avocado sauce, salsa verde, or sour cream with a garnish of parsley.
Cauliflower Croquettes

Cauliflower Croquettes

Cauliflower Croquettes with Avocado Sauce

Cauliflower Croquettes with Avocado Sauce

I’m taking this to Fiesta Friday #57 to serve with my avocado sauce. Come join Angie and the gang at the Novice Gardener.