Homemade Vegetable Broth

Since Steve and I returned from Asia we’ve been trying to reduce our waste, which has meant using cloth napkins for all meals, making food from scratch, natural cleaning products and skin care, naturally fermented food and drinks, vermiculture composting, and trying to reduce the amount of pre-packaged stuff we buy…. it’s been a big lifestyle change for us, and we have to make a CONSTANT effort.

Anyway, here is a link to an AMAZING homemade vegetable broth from Simply Recipes. It’s such a great way to use up vegetable scraps too.

When I get home from Portland I am going to make a huge batch of it and put it in the freezer! I’m loving soup season!

Toasted Hazelnut and Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower hazelnut soup

Steve and I are always trying to find ways to incorporate more veggies into our diet and we’ve been on a cauliflower kick lately. We’ve made a cauliflower pizza crust…yum; and now we’ve made this AMAZING soup…I think it’s just as good as the fennel kabocha squash soup that we make, but this soup cooks up way faster. The hazelnuts really give this soup a rich, creamy texture. It’s perfect for this cold, winter weather we’ve been having in Bend.


1 head of cauliflower, florets only
3-4 large shallots, sliced into 1/4 inch ribbons
2/3 cup toasted hazelnuts
4 roasted garlic cloves, minced
7-8 cups of chicken broth (veg broth would be tasty too)
1/2 T. olive oil
2 T. butter (totally not necessary, but I love butter)
salt and pepper to taste


1. Toast the hazelnuts in the toaster oven or regular oven. Our toaster oven gets nice and hot and it took less than 8 minutes to get them a nice golden color. Be careful not to overcook (ie. burn) the hazelnuts. Once the hazelnuts are toasted remove the skins by rolling them between your hands.

2. Heat oil and butter on medium in a large soup pot. Add shallots and saute until soft and then add garlic being careful not to burn the garlic.

3. Add the cauliflower florets to the pot and saute for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Now it’s time to add the chicken broth. Start with 5-6 cups. Bring it to a boil, then let it simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes. Depending on how much liquid cooks off you may want to add another cup or two of broth, so your soup won’t turn out like baby food.

5. Once the cauliflower is tender and the broth has simmered down let it cool slightly, then add it to your blender or food processor with the toasted hazelnuts. Blend until the soup reaches your desired consistency. We were able to put the entire batch into our blender, but it might be necessary to blend in batches.


Vietnamese Grilled Sesame Beef

When Steve and I were in Hoi An, Vietnam we took an amazing cooking class and this was one of our favorite dishes. If you ever find yourself in Hoi An and have some dong to spare take a class with Gioan Cookery. We ate so much food we were nearly comatose by the end of our class…it was amazing!!! We unfortunately misplaced our recipe book, so this is our version of Vietnamese Sesame Beef…and it turned out delicious!!!

Steve and I with our cooking instructor.

Steve and I with our cooking instructor.

1 lb. top sirloin, thinly sliced
1 T. oyster sauce
1 T. rice wine vinegar
1 T. fish sauce
1 t. soy sauce
1 t. sesame oil
2 lemongrass stalks, cut into 1 inch piece
5 dried red chilies, (more or less to taste)
4 cloves garlic
1 fresh red chili (optional)
3 green onions, minced
1 T. sesame seeds
1 t. sugar
2 t. ground ginger or fresh, peeled and minced


1. Blend lemongrass, garlic, dried chilies and fresh chilies in food processor.

2. Combine oyster sauce, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and ginger in a large bowl. Add in the beef then the blended mixture, sesame seeds and half of the green onions.

3. Allow beef to marinate in the fridge for an hour minimum.

4. Grill in a grilling basket (or cook in a skillet) over high heat for approximately 5 minutes per side.

5. Sprinkle the remaining green onion over the beef.

Voila!!! Vietnamese Style Sesame Beef!!!

P.S. Sur la Table is having a spiffy sale on cookware and bakeware!!!

Veteran’s Day Sale! Save 20% on American-Made Cookware & Bakeware at SurLaTable.com! Offer ends 11/11.