Saturday, February 11, 2012

weekend lunch: Broccoli Spinach Soup with Avocado Toasts

Fresh from a feature in Whole Living Magazine (a Martha Stewart publication), "Naturally Brilliant", a beautifully photographed spread on eat-your-colors I bring you a light dinner or weekend lunch suggestion.  You might have noticed that I am just not a big fan of cold food for meals unless it's mid-summer or if it's peanut butter sandwich day (which it is quite often when I work).  I am struggling with cooking dinner for myself after working, but I've always made a nice hot lunch when I've been lucky enough to be home.  Some days my lunch is so delicious I lose the hunger, and therefore the motivation to cook dinner for the family or the husband or just me as it were.  This pretty and tasty green palette meal is a light one which will keep me going, but not ruin dinner.  Good news for Greg.

When Sara was home she really drove the fresh whole foods centered on veggies meal-planning.  And it was so much easier to be veggie centered when the Farmer's Market was bursting with fresh, local produce.  My body misses it.  It's my goal to bring more color to my plate.  Join me and let's go green first!

The nutritious and bright broccoli spinach soup takes about 20 minutes start to finish if you have an immersion blender.  I just had a discussion of the merits of a good immersion blender with Amanda one of my co-workers/work daughters (truly, I was married before almost all of them were born and they all have wonderful real mothers).  If you've been reading for a while you know the story of my lucky purchase of my Cuisinart Smart Stick hand blender with the beaker, whisk and chopper attachments for the price of just the immersion blender due to a misplaced price sticker.  Anyway, I love that thing.  I put all my smoothie ingredients in the beaker and puree it with the immersion blender and pour it into my go cup on warm work mornings.  If I only have a small batch of something to chop, I use the little chopper/mini food processor bowl attachment instead of my gigantic 11-cup food processor (which I also love).  So, if you are in the market of saving yourself from pouring hot soup in a blender in batches (messy and dangerous) or you have a small kitchen and need a multi-tasker, here's a link.

There's my commercial endorsement for the day.  The soup is creamy without cream and hearty from just the pureed vegetables, tahini (sesame seed paste sold in a jar and needing stirring) and a little Parmesan.  Now onto the crazy goodness that is avocado toasts.  I still have a few avocados from Super Bowl weekend that have been ripe and chilling in my refrigerator.  I bought a nice artisan loaf of 7 grain bread at the grocery yesterday and cut a few slices for this recipe.  I made three toasts with about 3/4 of the avocado and managed to eat them all with the soup.  So very wonderful.  In the summer you could omit the lemon juice and put fresh acidic tomato slices in their place.  You could use the grill for toasting.  Mmmmmm.....the possibilities.  I will be eating these little toasties for lunch on a regular basis.  Now if I can just get a toaster oven in the backroom at lulu......



Broccoli Spinach Soup

1 T olive oil
1 leek, well cleaned, white and pale green parts only thinly sliced
4 C chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
1 bunch broccoli, including stems, chopped to yield about 6 cups
6 oz. baby spinach (6 cups)
1/2 C freshly grated Parmesan
2 T tahini paste, well-stirred
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in large saucepan or small dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Cook leek until tender, stirring for about 3 minutes.  Add stock and bring to a boil.  Add the broccoli and cover and cook for 2 minutes until bright green.  Turn off heat and stir in spinach, tahini and Parmesan.  Let cool for a few minutes and  either puree in batches in a blender or use an immersion blender to puree in the pan.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Avocado Toasts

4 slices artisan whole-grain bread
1 or 2 avocados, pitted and sliced
1/2 C radish or spicy sprouts, rinsed and patted dry
1 lemon
good olive oil (I love Luccini for drizzling and dipping)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Place bread slices on baking sheet and toast for 5-7 minutes.  Top with avocado slices and sprouts.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Squeeze lemon juice over each toast and finish with a light drizzle of olive oil.

ingredients

leeks softening

stock, leeks and broccoli

adding the spinach, tahini paste and parmesan

stirred in, wilted and seasoned

pureeing

avocado toasts!!

lunchtime!

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