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So, you’ve become chef of your castle. Make use of your new-found time by indulging your inner aspiring chef to pick up some culinary skills, starting tasty appetizer recipes.
Enter Rouxbe, an online culinary school that gives access to 75 lessons, hundreds of chef-created recipes, cooking tips and techniques, live events with chef instructors and culinary experts, and 13 courses ranging from pasta to knife skills, available 24/7 and streamed on any device. We worked with Rouxbe to put this online culinary series together.
For this month at home, a 30-day membership is Rouxbe’s gift to us to help us master the skills for making the best appetizer recipes. Let us know if you try the recipes and how it works for you.
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SPLIT PEA SOUP
Step 1: Preparing Your Mise en Place
• 2 medium onions, finely diced
• 2 medium carrots, finely diced
• 3 stalks celery, finely diced
• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 3 cups dried, split green peas, soaked overnight*
• 10 to 12 cups vegetable stock
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
• 2 sprigs fresh thyme, optional
• pinch of cayenne, optional
• 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
• 1/2 tsp liquid smoke, or to taste, optional
Note: While this recipe does not require soaking the peas overnight it does reduce the cooking time considerably so we like to soak them. The great thing about this soup is just how simple it is to make and how few ingredients are needed. With that said, feel free to experiment and add the thyme, cayenne and/or some liquid to smoke to see how you prefer it. We typically add these ingredients for a bit of added depth and flavoring.
Step 2: Making the Soup
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
To make the soup, place a heavy-bottomed pot over low heat and add the oil. Once hot, add the onions, and a good pinch of salt and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Next, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds or so or until fragrant.
Next, add the peas, 10 cups of stock, bay leaves, as well as the fresh thyme, cayenne and liquid smoke (if using) as well as the salt and pepper. Bring the soup just to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for approximately 2 hours, or until the peas start to break down.
Stir occasionally and add more stock as needed to ensure the peas are fully covered. The amount of liquid needed will ultimately depend on the peas, the actual amount of ingredients used, and how thick you like your soup. Note that the soup will thicken considerably once cooled.
Once the peas are almost fully cooked, add the celery and continue to cook until the peas and celery have fully softened. At this point, add the carrots and let cook for another 10 minutes or so, or until the carrots have just cooked through.
Lastly, taste for seasoning. If desired, the soup can be partially, or fully puréed. We like to take a few scoops of the soup and purée it in a high-speed blender and then add it back to the soup. This just gives the soup a bit more binding power, which helps to prevent it from splitting as it cools. Either way, the soup is delicious.
GREEK PITA PIZZA
Step 1: Preparing the Vinaigrette
• 3 tbsp red wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
• 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 small clove of garlic, minced
• 1 tsp sweetener
• 1/2 tsp dried oregano (optional)
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Note: If you are making your own Greek Pita Bread for this recipe, which we highly recommend, you will need to that first. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl or in a container with a lid. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.
Step 2: Assembling the Dish
• 1 cup hummus
• 1 cup tomatoes, diced
• 1 cup cucumber, diced
• 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
• 2 tbsp red onion, diced (optional)
• 1 avocado, diced (optional)
• 4 pieces Greek Pita Bread
To assemble the dish, first gather and prepare your mise en place.
Grill or heat Pita Bread. Once done, spread a generous amount of hummus onto each piece of pita. Top with diced tomatoes, cucumber, olives, optional onion and optional avocado.
Drizzle with the balsamic vinaigrette and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
ITALIAN WHITE BEAN SOUP
Step 1: Soaking the Beans
• 2 1/2 cups dried cannellini beans (about 1 pound)*
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1 bay leaf
*Note: Any small, white, dried beans can be substituted for cannellini beans (i.e., white kidney beans, Great Northern beans or navy beans).
Before soaking the beans, first sort and rinse them to remove any dust or debris. Place the beans into a large bowl and cover with cold water plus at least 2 inches.
Peel and smash the whole cloves of garlic and add to the bowl along with the bay leaf. Let soak for 8 hours or even overnight.
Step 2: Cooking the Beans
• 4 liters (or quarts) of cold water
• 3 bay leaves
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tsp sea salt
First drain and rinse the soaked beans. To cook the beans, place them into a large, heavy-bottomed pot and cover with the cold water. Add the bay leaves and extra-virgin olive oil and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Once the beans come to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover the pot with the lid slightly ajar and let cook for about an hour until the beans start to become tender.
After the first hour, add the salt and continue to simmer for another hour or so until the liquid has reduced to about 3 liters (or quarts). Stir the beans occasionally to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pot.
Step 3: Finishing the Soup
• 6 to 8 cloves garlic
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 tsp dried red chili flakes
• sea salt, to taste
• freshly ground black pepper. to taste
• 1 large bunch kale
• 4 plant-based sausages (see Rouxbe for plant-based sausage recipe)
• 2 tsp grapeseed oil
• extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing
Julija Dmitrijeva / Shutterstock
Once the soup has reduced to about 3 quarts and the beans are nice and tender, make the soffritto.
First, émincé the garlic. Place a small skillet on the stove top. Add the extra-virgin olive oil, garlic and chili flakes. Slowly heat the mixture over medium-low heat. Cook just until the garlic releases its aroma and just starts to turn color. Do not let it brown or burn. Add about 1 cup of the broth to the pan and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
Pour the soffritto into the pot and stir to combine. Simmer the soup for about 5 more minutes. Season further to taste. The soup can be served as is, or it can be finished with a variety of other ingredients, such as fresh kale and plant-based sausage.
To do this, remove the tough stems from the kale and tear or cut into 1 to 2″ -inch pieces. Wash and spin dry.
For the sausage, either prepare the Vegan Sausage or cut sausages of choice into bite size pieces. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil.
Fry the sausage until cooked through and golden on all sides. Once done, transfer the sausage to plate lined with paper towels to drain. Drain any excess oil from the pan and add the kale. Toss, season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste and cover for about 2 minutes until it wilts and becomes tender.
To serve the soup, place a bit of kale into a warmed bowl, followed by a few pieces of sausage. Ladle the hot soup over top. Serve with some Plant-Based Parmesan and a splash of quality olive oil.