Memorial Weekend Ready with Healthy Summer Soups!

IMG_1860Here at Pace Public Relations we like to keep our readers entertained by posting about a variety of topics and having guest bloggers. Today’s guest blogger is 35-year-old Chef Briana Swanson, who has opened restaurants in Aspen, Miami and New York.

You may recognize Briana from FOX’s Hell’s Kitchen, as she was one of the contestants braving judgement from Chef Gordon Ramsey.  When she isn’t battling rival culinary masters in the kitchen she is a personal chef and runs her own catering company.  Today she brings you some healthy crowd pleasing recipes to kick off Memorial Day Weekend and welcome in summer!

It’s that time of year again where we no longer have the safety of clothing.  We have to start actually shaving our legs and stand in the tanning lotion section of the pharmacy trying to decipher which SPF will ward off wrinkles while still allowing for a chic summer glow. On top of that there’s trying to lose those 5 or so pounds of winter weight….by like…Friday.

The answer to being bathing suit ready in no time is fish and veggies.  Annoying? Absolutely. But, I have a couple of tasty recipes for you that will satisfy the palette and not add inches to the waistline.

Hell’s Kitchen Photo Courtesy of FOX

I grew up on a farm in Iowa, so I’m very much a meat and potatoes girl. Carbs can be a killer, as we all know, so I usually replace the potatoes with cauliflower for a delicious puree. Instead of using butter and whole milk, I use a little olive oil, skim milk and chicken stock. Ramps are in season now and they add a ton of flavor! They look like a large scallion but have a strong garlic smell (use sparingly unless you WANT to be left alone the next day).

Now I hate to start-up with the “kale propaganda” as Jim Gaffaghan would say, however it goes amazingly well with the fish soup recipe below and there is a plethora of fresh fish right now, so take advantage of the good prices!  If you don’t have time to make a chicken stock from scratch (no one does) there’s a dirty little chef trick called bouillon cubes :). Throw a few of these into hot water and you get instant stock.  They make almost anything taste good without adding fat. Ugh, I suddenly feel like Gwyneth.

Summer Fish Soup
1lb white fish, cubed, cod works well
6cups water
2cups white wine
3 ramps, can replace with 2-3 Tablespoons garlic
1 vidalia onion, chopped
1 bunch of kale, chopped, middle vain removed
4-5 roma tomatoes, cored and chopped
1/2 bunch of asaragus chopped
5-6 small red potatoes halved (optional)
5-6 shitake mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 Tbls sfresh oregano
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp fresh parsley
3 bouillion cubes 🙂

2 Tbsp olive oil

This is SUPER easy. Saute the ramps, mushrooms and fish in the olive oil with a little salt and pepper until they get a little color, and the wine, let it reduce for 2 minutes then add everything else, except the parsley and let simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, garnish with fresh parsley.

Cauliflower Puree
1 head of cauliflower, broken down into cube size
2 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp salt

1/2 tsp white pepper

Now you make these just like you would mashed potatoes. Boil them until tender and them mash, add a little olive oil if you want a smoother consistency, but it’s not a necessity.

For a fun Memorial Day Weekend party platter, the photo below says it all, no directions needed!


And don’t forget to wear gloves when applying the tanning lotion! Have a great weekend!

By: Briana Swanson, Guest Blogger

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