May 24, 2012

Lunch for Friends

If you've been following my instagram pics or tweets, you probably know that I bought a Vitamix this week. To say that I'm in love with that machine would be an understatement. I'm in LOVE with it and I tweeted this the other day:

Between my Vitamix & my pasta maker, I've been spending lots of time in my kitchen and it feels so good. Cooking has always been meditative for me & I needed some nurturing "me" time after a great Mother's Day season.

Me time has also included lots of trips to the Union Square farmers market with my friend Lora, to stroll & pick up fresh veggies for green smoothies, sauces, salsas and salads. The green market is one of my happy places and I usually walk away inspired to whip up some fantastic meals. Lucky for me, my friends Seth & Mahri were coming over for lunch today so I had reason to shop my heart out at the market yesterday. I bought radishes, cilantro, parsley, apples, asparagus and peonies at yesterday's market and got to working on my menu:

 Roasted Eggplant & Bell Pepper Soup with Roasted Corn & Porcini Oil garnish
Salad of fresh Greens, Radish, Apple, Orange, Cucumber, Cilantro & Parsley with Leon Vinegar dressing
Gluten Free Lasagna with Ricotta, Asparagus, Lemon Zest & Mint, drizzled with Truffle Oil (inspired by Chef Abbe Lew. She is my pasta guru)
 Gluten Free Banana Brownies with Chocolate, Mint, Almond Tea

The soup was a surprising hit and since it was one of the easiest recipes I've ever made, I felt compelled to share it right away. Since I made mine in my Vitamix, I didnt need to heat up the soup at all and served straight from the blender. If you don't have a vitamix, puree in your blender and then heat in a saucepan.

Roasted Eggplant & Bell Pepper Soup
serves 4
1 large Eggplant, cubed
2 sprigs Rosemary
4 cloves Garlic, peeled
Olive Oil
1 Jar Roasted Bell Peppers (I used Trader Joes)
32 fl oz Vegetable Stock
1/4 cup fresh Parsley, rinsed
Porcini Oil & Roasted Corn (I use Trader Joe's frozen) to garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line baking sheet with tin foil. Toss the cubed eggplant with rosemary sprigs, garlic, a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt on the baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes, tossing at the mid point to promote even cooking. Set aside until ready to make the soup.
Place the remaining ingredients except the garnishes in your blender and process until pureed. If using the Vitamix, process on high until soup is heated, about 5 minutes. If using a regular blender, heat once all ingredients are pureed. Season with salt & freshly ground pepper. Garnish with a drizzle of porcini oil and roasted corn. Enjoy!

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