Saturday, March 13, 2010

Broccoli Soup with Croutons

Broccoli Soup
© All rights reserved, Thorsten Kraska, 2010

Broccoli, some love it, others hate it. This broccoli soup is flavorful and you can make it as thin or thick as you like it. By adding more creme you can make the soup more smooth.

Broccoli Soup with Croutons
(serves 4)

For the soup:
1000g Broccoli
300mL milk
400ml vegetable broth
2 tablespoons Creme (Creme fraîche)
Nutmeg, salt and cayenne pepper to taste
Creme for serving

For the croutons:
4-6 slices toats bread (without crust)
1 clove garlic (halved)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste

Clean and divide the broccoli into single florets. Cook the broccoli in salted water for 15 minutes. Decant the water and rinse broccoli under cold water. Set some nice florets aside for garnish. Put the other broccoli back into pot and add milk, broth and 2 tablespoons of creme. Puree the broccoli to make a creamy soup. If you like the soup thin you can add some more milk (or water). Add salt, nutmeg and cayenne pepper to taste. Keep soup warm.

Meanwhile cut toast bread into cubes. Preheat oil in a pan and add the garlic to flavor the oil. When oil ist hot enough add the bread and sear until goldden brown. Remove garlic. remove croutons from pan and dry on paper towels. You xcan add some salt to taste.

Serving: put the soup into bowls, add some broccoli florets and serve with croutons and the some of creme on the side (so everyone can thicken the soup)

About the photo
The photo is based on a green (broccoli) and blue (towels) contrast in an otherwise brownish setting. The focus is set on the broccoli and croutons in the soup. The two glasses in the back should refer to a table setting with more than just one serving. The main viewing line is from lower left to upper right with the towels as starting and end point. A 2nd line is build by the two bowl. Both lines meet in the bowl in front. The towel in the back is also making a reference to another bowl with soup. I have used a bright setting with amore shallow depth of field so that the green of the broccoli florets are standing out more. Eveything behind the bowl is more or less out of the focus to reduce the meaning of these elements. The main light source is coming from upper right (window). A sheer curtain was used to smooth the light. A bounce was used on left side in the back to make the back brighter. Another bounce was used in lower right to reduce the shadows on the towel a bit. A third bounth is coming from upper front to give some fill ligth on the florest in the soup.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Swiss Chard Quiche

Swiss Chard Quiche
© All rights reserved, Thorsten Kraska, 2010

Quiche sounds like a fancy french recipe, but when it comes to the cooking and baking they are easy to make, can easily be made for a large number of guests in advance, you can reheat them and they are fantastic for having them in the freezer when you are mucht too lazy for any type of cooking. The making of the shortcrust is not time consuming and again you could sore the dough in the freezer to have it at hand. For this one I have used swiss chard.

Swiss Chard Quiche
(for one large quiche form 26cm diameter or for some smaller ones)

200g all-purpose flour
130g butter (right from the fridge, cut into pieces)
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 tablespoon vinegar
1-2 tablespoons water
butter for greasing the form
flour for working with

1 bush swiss chard
2 onions
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
grated peel of 1/2 lemon
200g whipping cream
100ml milk
4 eggs
75g Gruyère cheese (grated)
salt and pepper to taste
nutmeg to taste

Making the dough: Put flour, butter, salt and eggs into your food processor and mix until the butter and flour are mixed (about one minute). While machine is running add the vinegar first and then 1-2 tablespoons water and mix until dough is formed. The dough will be crumbly still. Knead with hands a few times to form the dough. Then wrap into clinch film and let rest for at least one hour in the fridge. You can prepare the dough the day before you will bake the quiche.

Making the filling: Divide the swiss chard into single leaves and rinse under water. Cut the white stem part of the leaves. Cut the leaves into stripes. Cut the stems into small pieces. Cut onions into rings and garlic cloves into small pieces. Preheat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan. Add onions, garlic and the stem parts and cook for about 43 minutes. Then add the leaves and let cook on low heat for five minutes or until the leaves are soft. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Remove from heat and let cool.

Preheat oven (200°c) and greas the form with butter. Get dough out of the fridge and roll out thinly (to avoid sticking use some flour). Line out the form with dough and form a rim. Prick the dough several times with a fork. Arrange the swiss chard mixture on dough.

Mix whipping cream, milk, eggs and 60 grams of the cheese until well blended. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Pour this mixture over the swiss chard. Sprinle with the rest of cheese. Bake quiche in the oven for 35-40 minutes until quiche is done and golden.

Note: if you don't like shortcrust you can use store bough puff pastry too.

About the photo
This is a very basic recipe, easy to make and rustic. I wanted a very basic setting and so I used just the quiche (still in the form) on a towel with a fork on the side. The colors are subdued and earthern to reflect the rustic impression. An old-fashioned looking fork and the wooden board do the same. The quiche is almost centered on the vertical line to get a more quite image. The lighting is coming from upper right from a window (the fork is in the line of light). A bounce on lower left is giving a slight fill light to brighten the front part of the towel a bit. In upper left I have used a flag (black cardboard) to get shadows here. This is enhancing the direction of light coming from upper left.