Happy New Year! I took the last couple of weeks off from blogging for the first time in several years just to enjoy life, and think about this upcoming year. I know many of us have been pondering our future and what it holds for us, and I’m no different — there are some big things to consider. I’m going to try some new creative outlets this year, and I’ll keep you posted on many of them in the next few months. As for my personal goals, well…more reading is in store because I sort of dropped the ball last year on some amazing books, and also to continue with my workout regime of running, Peloton biking and classes, and to include some more tennis, golf, and to start playing pickle ball up here in Santa Ynez. For some, resolutions and diets are a big deal every January. I’m not that person. Resolutions are only there to break, in my opinion, and the same for goes for diets. I prefer to focus on incorporating more fruits and vegetables into my recipes, and therefore increase my eating of good-for-you foods. If the word diet falls into my vocab, it’s only based on normal eating patterns, and not focused on foods I will no longer indulge upon. I’m funny that way, the minute I do the latter, it’s the only thing I can think about and I want it even more than I did before. So, it’s a big No to special diets for me, but don’t let me discourage those who are currently on a specific diet, or choose to go that route this week, month or year. Exercise has always been a favorite of mine and I’m lucky enough to have been doing it since I was a kid, so it’s not hard to continue. If there’s one thing I know, it’s great to increase your movement, any kind of movement, and adjust your meals to smaller portions that include many more vegetables.
Over New Year’s, we had some friends come stay in Santa Ynez with us. I cooked, we played games and yes, we completely over did the wine. On New Year’s Day, I smoked a brisket on my new Recteq smoker (yes, I do need to work on my brisket), and I made a big sheet pan of roasted vegetables to serve on the side. Asparagus are so good in the oven, and that was the bulk of my side dish. I added some sweet bell peppers to the top of the asparagus, so they would caramelize and create a bit of contrasting flavor, and tore up a few balls of burrata cheese and placed them over the top after the sheet pan came out of the oven, to melt delicately on top. I overcooked the vegetables slightly because I was focused on that darn smoker, and left things in the oven a hair too long. That being said, they are the base of this recipe, which whizzed up into the best tasting soup the next day.
I recommend you start this recipe by making a fresh batch of roasted vegetables, but if you’re like me and happen to have some leftover in your refrigerator from last night, or you want to roast up a batch to serve for dinner tonight, and double down on extras for soup, go for it. This soup comes out creamy, not just from a few pieces of burrata, but from the beautifully hued asparagus and slightly charred peppers. Ladle it up in a big bowl and serve with some good bread and butter. I think I’m allowed to say, “butter” in the month of January, right? Here’s to a great year ahead!
1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
1 large red, yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into wedges
2 ounces burrata or mozzarella cheese, torn into pieces
salt & pepper
oil for roasting
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle sheet pan with 2 tablespoon oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Add asparagus and toss to coat.
- Place peppers on top of asparagus and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast in oven for 12-14 minutes. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Add roasted vegetables to blender or food processor. Add cheese and 1 cup warm water. Puree until smooth. Add more water if necessary to thin. Add soup to sauce pan to warm. Ladle into bowls. Enjoy!