Silky Zucchini Basil Soup

Soup season has officially arrived!
Sure, there are those crazies that eat cold soup during the summer, and even the sillier folks who sweat bullets in the heat of the season, slurping on piping hot soups and stews.
Me, I am NOT a fan of cold soups (okay, I made an exception for Chunky Summer Gazpacho this year).  I like to reserve the warmth and goodness of a steamy hot bowl of good soup for when the air outside is crisp, and maybe even a tad bit cold.

While I inhale the cool breezes of fall, just a few zucchini remain in the garden.  Thank goodness.
And, the tail end of this year’s outdoor basil crop, along with some chives, continues to hang on for dear life.  I take full advantage of that, while basking in a bowl of delicious, silky, creamy green.  BRIGHT green.

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Silky Zucchini Basil Soup

Serves 1

2 tsp. coconut oil, olive oil, or Kerrygold butter (I prefer Kerrygold here, of course)
1 large zucchini, roughly chopped
1 cup vegetable broth (Pacific is my favorite brand to use at home)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
1/4 cup fresh chives, torn and loosely packed
1 tsp. grassfed gelatin (or use agar agar for a vegan option)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. (or more, if you like it spicy) freshly ground pepper

In a small pot, over medium heat, saute the zucchini in butter or oil until soft and golden.  Add broth and simmer 3-5 minutes.  Transfer to a high speed blender and puree with remaining ingredients.  Serve immediately, topped with Roasted Watermelon Radishes, if so desired.

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Enjoy with a side sammich (turkey roll-up for me, this time)!

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Kerrygold Mélange

Ode to my Kerrygold.

I know it.  You know it.  We all know it.

I simply adore Kerrygold.

With a bounty of goodness sent my way, I had the opportunity to lick my lips and utterly delight in this dairy-gold goodness.
From butters to spreads to a plethora of amazing cheese, for just a short time (a very short time based upon my rapid consumption), I was up to my ears in Kerrygold.

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In cooking I use Kerrygold butter in just about every single thing.  It really makes everything taste better.

For years and years I detested the aroma and the flavor of regular old butter.  Then one day, I took a chance on this Irish gem.  There was no turning back.  It is now slathered upon everything in sight – well, almost – and there is still NO WAY I’ll ever eat just plain jane store-bought stuff.  There is simply no comparison; we are talking an entirely different beast (or dairy cow, in this case).

Try as I might to come up with some new and fandangled recipes featuring Kerrygold, I was faced with a few roadblocks that led to somewhat of a mission “failure.”  (I’m using this term very loosely ~ I don’t like the word one bit).

  1. I use Kerrygold butter every single day, so anything new I would be creating would be accompanying this and using the product anyway.  (As mentioned above).
  2. My first attempt in creating a dish with the cheese involved a small sample…which led to a bigger sample, which ultimately led to consuming the entire block on the spot.  Dubliner, in fact.  Oops.
  3. IMG_4101The products just taste so good on their own, sometimes a mixture of other goodies with the dairy-gold Kerrygold is entirely unnecessary.  Or, just a simple combo will do.  In fact, on several occasions, my meal consisted of a farm fresh peach, a block of Sweet Cheddar or Skellig Kerrygold cheese, a drizzle of honey, and a tad of pancetta.  Heaven.  Amidst another little snackola, I found myself devouring a block of Blarney Castle with a bag of Stahlbush Island Farms Tri Colored Carrots and a dash of salt.  Oh my!IMG_4134
  4. Simple roasted potatoes with the Kerrygold Garlic and Herb Butter is also magnificent.  Nothing added…just those two (maybe some salt and pepper).  That’ll do.

Thus, without further ado, a photo collage, or mélange of Kerrygold goodness.

Oh wait…just a little ado… And, the photos are already displayed!  Just like consuming the Kerrygold.  I couldn’t wait.

I created a salad.  It was amazing.  Fresh greens, fresh berries, fresh herbs, garden picked tomatoes and cucumbers, magnificent sea salt, a few walnuts, a creamy dressing, and my new favorite item on earth: to.die.for.  Kerrygold RED LEICESTER.

Red Leicester – Is There More?

2 cups fresh salad greens
1 small cucumber, sliced
1 small tomato, chopped
1 large handful fresh garden herbs (basil, rosemary, cilantro, chives), minced
1/4 cup raw walnuts, chopped
1 cup fresh berries (blueberries, blackberries, and boysenberries)
3.5 oz. Kerrygold Red Leicester
2 Tbs. creamy dressing (Paleoish Blue Cheese, Paleo Ranch, or Creamy Avocado)
Sea salt and pepper

Toss and devour.  You’ll be asking for more cheese, please.  Trust me.  

Honestly, it was sooooooo good, I sent an email to my contact at Kerrygold.  The rave word for word:

Megan,

I’m still in the process of creating a melange of Kerrygold recipes and features for the blog with the product you sent.  I’m so appreciative of all the product and enjoying every moment of the creation, the sampling, and the finished product.  I feel very blessed to have this opportunity and to share it with my readers.
I have adored Kerrygold butter for quite some time now (I cannot live without it and refuse to consume any other brand).  But, the cheese is relatively new to me.  Last night I opened the RED LEICESTER.  Oh my dear…I have never tasted anything quite so amazing in the world of dairy.  It was an “Oh my good God” moment in our house!  We are still melting over the utter deliciousness of this golden delight.  That said, do you have any way of locating a retailer in my area (Colorado Springs, CO) that carries this variety?  I’ve seen Kerrygold at Sprouts, Whole Foods, and King Soopers (sometimes Natural Grocers), but never this type.  I feel as though this is yet another product of yours that I cannot live without.
Thanks so much!
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Ode to my Kerrygold.

 

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SHUN CUTLERY – Product Review: Sora

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I feel more than blessed, once again, to take part in a product review for such an outstanding company and line of products.  In past reviews, I’ve delighted in the food and flavors, as well as in the pure ecstasy of tried and true testing of cookware.  This time, though, the enchantment came upon me in the way of a kitchen utensil…the Chef’s Knife.

I’m a fanatic in the kitchen when it comes to quality.  Food quality is of utmost importance, for sure.  I simply will not cut corners nor will I skimp in any way shape or form.
When it comes to quality cookware, I’m all over that as well.  (The boys at home will never truly understand this, try as I might to equate a Le Creuset or Staub to a Gibson Les Paul guitar ~ they may never truly understand my love affair with a La Cornue ~ ).  In any case, I may never completely convince those not immersed in the culinary world of the utter necessity of quality tools – you really do get what you pay for – but I refuse to back down on my stance.  Furthermore, no matter what, when creating in the kitchen, the need for a high quality knife ranks supreme in my book.

Enter the Sora.

Touted as the “essential kitchen knife,” this particular 8″ Chef’s Knife truly is ideal for all-around food preparation.  I remember reading years ago that with all the fancy-schmancy knife collections available for hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, and a giant knife block to fill up the coveted space atop your kitchen countertop, all a true chef really needs is an essential chef’s knife and a good paring knife companion.  And it’s so true…professional chefs travel with their one or two essentials – and that’s it – and THIS is it!

Having grown accustomed to the shape of several of my “Western” knives, the fact that the Sora displays slightly less curve was a change.  The shape and curvature, as the knife fit into my hand took a bit of getting used to.  You know, the proper way to handle a knife involves a bit of gripping on the end of the blade, just above the handle.  This blade felt entirely different and foreign at first, almost as though the potential to develop a callus would ensue with extended use.  Fear not, I definitely extended my use of this masterpiece over the first few days and no callus arose.  My hand and the knife grew into one – an extension of each other – as should be the case, and the results were fantastic.

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Speaking of the shape of the blade, constructed with less curve, the knife contacts the board (and the food) with greater length, and thus greater efficiency.  The knife needs to be lifted less, creating quite an experience.

The weight of the Sora is also pleasingly addictive.  The composite blade certainly is not heavy, but provides just enough weight in the palm of your hand for the ideal chopping and slicing rhythm.
As I investigated not only the feel and performance of the Sora, I carefully inspected the intricate appearance:
Sora uses Shun’s proprietary Composite Blade technology to bring together a VG10 san mai cutting edge with a Japanese 420J stainless steel upper. This technology puts high-performance material exactly where it’s needed—on the edge. The two blade sections are laser cut, then fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Braze welding permanently joins them. The attractive wavy pattern at the joint is based on traditional Japanese sword hamon lines. While Sora’s blade shapes and handle design are traditional Japanese, the textured PP/TPE polymer blend handle material provides a contemporary look, secure grip and balance, and is easy to maintain.

Pretty fantastic, right?
Sleek, sexy, superb…practical and downright perfect.

As I read about the knife and watched the promotional video, I felt as though I was transported into an alternate universe.  A culinary dream, if you will.  Way to go, Shun!

So, there are certain items, in my opinion, that truly put a blade to the test.  Meat, tomatoes, herbs, and fibrous veggies.

I tried and tested them all.

A poorly shaped and incorrectly constructed knife will simply tear apart the precious fibers of a good cut of meat.  The Sora delicately rendered the fibers of both raw and cooked meat, and hot and cold alike as well.  I was impressed.
Tomatoes…oh, with a bad knife and a dull blade, tomatoes are a no-go.  In fact, the blade can even slip across the delicate skin creating a “no bueno” situation.  The Sora and a garden fresh tomato: miraculous.

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I tested fresh herbs, cilantro and basil in particular.  The Sora, quite literally, rocked in this category.  (You foodies will know the pun and multi-use of the term “rock” in this case).  Outstanding.

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I also took a pass at the all too fibrous roots of rutabagas, parsnips, and even fresh kohlrabi.  Shun performed over and above any kitchen knife I’ve used in the past.  Excellent.

Oh, and finally, having a quite a plethora of Kerrygold cheese on hand at the moment, I certainly tested the laser cut blade to a hearty block of cheese (or two).  Precision, indeed.

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Thus, without a doubt, the Shun Sora may be both touted and deemed, “THE ESSENTIAL KITCHEN KNIFE.”  It most certainly is in my kitchen.

And, as I’m caught in the midst of a much dreaded housing transition once again, I’ve completely packed my kitchen for 3 months of storage with the exception of one item in particular that will be traveling with me and with me alone: my Sora.

Brian and Ashley at Shun

 

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September 10, 2014 · 7:30 am