Tuesday, June 09, 2009

New Chef in the House

It's summer vacation, and my youngest is looking for fun things to do. This is a kid who professes that he wants to be a chef someday. Right now, the dream restaurant he plans to own serves only eggs. So, how encourage him to expand his repertoire of recipes while having a little fun? Monday night dinner.

We've made a deal that Nick will cook dinner on Monday nights during the summer. The menu is up to him. If he plans, I will help him with provisions; if not, he is limited to what he can find in the fridge and in the pantry. I figure this is a good way for him to start learning some basic cooking skills and for us both to have a little fun together.

Yesterday, we found a bunch of broccoli in the crisper and he decided to make an easy soup with some cheese crispies.

Broccoli Soup

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 small onions, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups broccoli florets
3 cups chicken stock
4 oz cheddar cheese

In a large soup pot, saute the garlic, shallot, and onion in a little olive oil until it becomes translucent. Add the potatoes and the broccoli. Add the stock. Salt and pepper. Cover the pot and cook until the vegetables are tender. Turn off the heat. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Return to a low simmer. Shred or finely dice the cheese and add it to the soup. Stir until the cheese melts. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Cheese Crispies

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut a baguette into slices and place the slices on a large cookie sheet. Paint each slice with a little olive oil. Toast the bread in the oven until it is beginning to crisp on top. Remove from the oven and let cool a little. Peel a clove of garlic and rub the toasts with the raw garlic. Flip the toasts over, paint with a little more oil, and toast the flip side. Remove from the oven again, and top the toasts with a small slice of really good cheddar or Parmesan. Return to the oven just until the cheese melts. Serve.

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