Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ramblings - Plus Recipe: Cream of Broccoli Soup

First, a wee bit of rambling, k? (Gotta live-up to the blog's name, right?!)

For those of you who live in remote caves in the Himalayas, or East Bumf**k, or wherever...  While the rest of the country has been digging out from record snowfalls and shivering their way through Polar Vortexes and/or whatever-the-heck kinda Plagues and Pestilence wrought by the Apocalypse of 2014... California is having, like, one of the driest, mildest winters of all time.  It's been so dry and pleasant, in fact, that I not only opened the TiKi BaR in January, but I've spent SEVERAL pleasant afternoons (wearing shorts 'n tank top 'n flip-flops, thankyewverymuch), while savoring Frosty Adult Beverages and generally gloating on Facebook (haven't yet confirmed just how many East Coasters have un-friended me!)

Nevertheless, the lack of rain (and, more specifically, lack of snowfall in the Sierras) is more-than troubling.  I vaguely remember living through imposed water-restrictions (No washing of cars, no watering of lawns, "sharing" flushes, etc.) when I was a kid, and it wasn't fun.  And it really looks like we may be headed down that path, again.  This is particularly troubling with our rather-large (by urban-standards) 1/4 acre lot.  We've got the pool, and lawns, and landscaping and :::GASP::: my GARDEN to worry about.  And I have no idea what the penalties are - for exceeding your monthly water allotments (but I bet hubs'll let me know - QUITE clearly - whenever we exceed them!).

So I have decided to take at least one of my raised beds "out of rotation" for the upcoming summer growing season.  Last year's tomato-harvest was suck-tastic (to say the least), so it's probably just as well.  Indie-Farms (aka Finnyknits) sez I need a "Crop Rotation Plan" so I'll use that as further justification to leave at least one bed fallow, this year...

I'm going to dial-back my tomato plantings significantly this year - and I'll only grow 'maters in my Grow-Boxes *** (self-watering patio planters that I had surprisingly good success with, last year).  I'll probably plant squashes in my raised beds (I'm pretty sure those aren't the same "family" as tomatoes and peppers).  And my Grow-Box/Planters will get fresh soil and will house a few "select" varieties of tomatoes (you have NO idea how difficult it is for me to narrow-down my choices!  It's like a disease or somethin'!).

Anyway, I'll post more about that later...  I thought I might start my seedlings this weekend (WAY fewer than last year, k?!), but it didn't happen.  Stay tuned for updates!

*** Note: I've decided to "pimp myself" on Amazon, since I post so many links to them (because I buy so damned much from them!) (Srsly, there's no sense in sorting my VISA transactions alphabetically 'cause they're all "Amazon!").  Anyhooo, if you click on my Amazon Links, I may get a wee bit o' spliff (although, please bear with me while I work out the kinks!).  Certainly not enough to retire to my own Private Island in the Caribbean - but I'll gladly accept a teensy commission.  Please don't consider me a sell-out, k? (Hell, my traffic #'s are so low, it's almost laughable)  Honestly, I only post links for products that I use (and can vouch for) myself (and have probably purchased from Amazon already)!

Okay.......  Enough "Rambling" - let's get to today's RECIPE, shall we?!

Oh yeah!  The reason I started rambling about weather was because we are FINALLY getting a glimpse of winter - Yay! (I had to wash TWO cars and water my Patio Plants - twice, even - to make it happen!).  Yep.  We've had, like, THREE WHOLE DAYS OF RAIN and rainy, cloudy days call for Hot, Stick-To-Your-Ribs kinda meals. I've been making pot roasts and GALLONS of soups.  Which brings me to today's recipe - which was Ahhh-MAZINGLY delicious! (as evidenced by the fact that Hubs snarfed it ALL down before I could even *think* about freezing it!) (Frankly, I consider myself lucky to have gotten a couple of small bowls out of it!)

QT's Cream of Broccoli Soup (Hubs-Approved, even!)
Yield: I honestly don't remember, but it was WAY MORE than 2 ppl could eat in one sitting!


  • 4 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 6 green onions (reserve green tops for garnish)
  • 1 medium shallot (optional)
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 32 oz carton of chicken (or veggie) stock
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used a "Mexican Blend" of jack+mild cheddar+queso+asadero)
  • 1-2 T butter
  • 1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 C Crema Casera (or Creme Fraiche)*
  • Seasoning salt, to taste**

  1. Chop broccoli into bite-sized pieces (cooks faster that way).  You can also add some of the broccoli stalks, if you like - just make sure you chop 'em into very small chunks
  2. Chop the white part of the onions and (optional) shallot into small chunks
  3. Chop celery into small chunks
  4. Start by melting butter w/olive oil in large soup pot (I used my 4.25 qt dutch oven)
  5. Dump in onions, shallots and celery.  Saute til limp and translucent
  6. Add broccoli and stir around in the oil for about a minute
  7. Add Chicken Stock, bring to a boil - stirring constantly
  8. Reduce heat and let it simmer for appx 30 mins
  9. Hit it, lightly, with an immersion blender to break-up the bigger chunks.  You can puree it as much as you like.  I like it kinda lumpy!
  10. Return to low heat and stir in shredded cheese and cream. 
  11. Garnish with chopped green onions and serve immediately.  Deeeeee-lish!

*From what I can gather, Crema Casera and Creme Fraiche are almost the same thing.  I've never had the latter, so I can't confirm.  In any event, by using Crema Casera (which is pretty easy to find here in San Jose!), I didn't need any thickeners.  If you can't purchase Crema Casera or Creme Fraiche, you can substitute heavy cream + sour cream (I'm guesstimating 3/4 c cream to 1/4 c sour cream), or just use half-and-half.  You might need to add a thickening agent (roux of butter + flour, or water + corn starch, or potato starch)
**I used Goya Adobo with Pepper Seasoning.  I think this might be an East Coast thing because friend, Joysey K, sent me a jar after she raved about it (I concur - it's AWESOME!).  Luckily, Amazon's got it, too.  I suspect I'll be needing more, very soon!

Amazon Affiliate Link (Thanks for your support!)

No comments:


View my page on Meet the Phlockers