Broccoli Cheese Soup



I went to the movies with my friend Lynn this afternoon rather than write my blog, or cook dinner.  When I got home late I decided I could throw together a soup to satisfy both needs.


1 softball-sized onion chopped

2 carrots- peeled and chopped

A bunch of fresh thyme tied together in a bundle or 1 T. dried Thyme

2 cups chicken stock

3 big stalks of broccoli

1 can of fat free evaporated milk

1 cup of shredded cheese- I used three kinds, cheddar, parm and jarlsburg

Salt and Pepper


In a big stockpot sprayed with Pam cook the onion on medium heat to soften for about five minutes.  Add the carrots and thyme and cook another three minutes stirring every so often.


Bring a separate saucepan with two inches of water in it to a boil.  Cut the trunks from the broccoli and using a vegetable peeler peel away all the tough outside parts of the broccoli and then chop the trunks up and put in the boiling sauce pan and cook about five minutes until they are tender.


Roughly chop the remaining tops of the broccoli and set aside.


Add the chicken stock to the main big stockpot with the onions and carrots and bring to a simmer.


After the broccoli stalks are cooked use a slotted spoon and remove them from the boiling water and add them to the main stockpot with the onions mixture.


Add the rest of the broccoli tops to the boiling water in the saucepan and cook that for two minutes or until it is tender.  Drain that broccoli and add it to the main stockpot.  If you used a bundle of thyme remove it from the pot now scraping as many little leaves off into the soup as you can. Add the can of evaporated milk and bring the whole mixture to a boil and reduce to simmer for two minutes.  Take the pot off the heat and using a stick blender blend the soup slightly, leaving the vegetables a little big.


Put the pot back on medium heat add the cheese and stir the soup just so the cheese melts, about a minute.  Salt and Pepper and serve.

The Need for a New Green Vegetable

When I was a kid my mother told us we always had to have a green vegetable with every dinner or else we would not be able to poop.  Obviously the threat of constipation was a good one because my sisters and I believed that story for a very long time.  In my case it was not until I was in college and went three days without a green vegetable that it dawned on me that the green vegetable story was related to Santa Clause and the threat of blindness from sitting too close to the TV.


I should have caught on earlier because I had a cousin who as a child ate only roast beef and carrots and I never heard her complain once, in fact she grew up to be an actual rocket scientist so the lack of green vegetables did not hold her back in any way.  I have since learned that fiber, not the color green is what is important, but that rule about needing to have at least one green vegetable a day was fairly well ingrained in me.


Today, between getting ready to host a party tomorrow, playing Mah Jongg, and doing some much needed Christmas shopping it dawned on me that I still had to find something for my family for dinner.  I stopped at the Whole Foods to get a bottle of milk, and a green vegetable.  Finding a vegetable that both my child and my husband will eat while keeping it healthy is a difficult task.  Russ hates broccoli and Carter only wants to eat green beans that are over-cooked.  Zucchini can work, but I grew so much of it this summer that we all are taking a break from it.  Asparagus is fine, but it is a little tough this time of year.  I am the only big fan of Brussels spouts and I just could not bring myself to make spinach again.


I looked at what was available and decided to go with broccoli and hope Russ would not bring up my mother’s myth since he might be forced to eat a vegetable of another color.  The crowns of the green trees looked beautiful all stacked together, florets out, in a giant display; in the way only a high priced market might display them.  I approached the tower and gingerly lifted one tree of broccoli from the pile and along with the dark green crown came a stalk the size of a baseball bat and it was three times as heavy as I thought it should be.  The trunk to branch ratio was so out of proportion that I only imagine some Monsanto Food Engineers invented a hybrid plant that grew extra heavy broccoli so that store could earn more selling it.


Despite knowing it was heavy I took the monster-stalked plant to the check out and only after the clerk rang it up for $13.59 did I come to my senses and decline to purchase it.  I think somewhere my husband’s food angel was standing on the scale so he would not have to even smell broccoli at home.


I left the store with only my milk in tow and right before school pick-up I ran into the Harris Teeter to see what they had.  While looking at their broccoli crowns with no stalk, but fairly brown ends I ran into my friend Michelle who was on the same hunt for a green vegetable that I was on.  She settled on zucchini and I unhappily on frozen broccoli.


That was when it dawned on me that we need some more green vegetable choices.  Somebody invented broccolini in 1994, which is a cross between broccoli and the Kai-lan cabbage so I know it is possible to create new vegetables.  So scientist of the world, lets get on it.  Michelle and I can’t be the only ones who are wandering the produce sections like zombies in search of inspiration.  There is money to be made on a new green vegetable or two or three.