Blue Cheese and Buttermilk Cream of Broccoli Soup

October 27, 2013

This isn’t your Grandma’s (or Campbell’s for that matter) Cream of Broccoli Soup.  Seasoned with a touch of Cardamom seed, Black Peppercorn and wonderful Stilton Cheese, it’s perfect for the cooling fall weather

1 medium Vidalia Onion coarsely chopped

3 cloves of garlic minced

6 stalks of celery chopped

2 lb Broccoli Florets

2 Knorr Chicken bullion cubes

12 black peppercorns

6 Cardamom pods smashed and seeds removed

6 T butter

2 cups Buttermilk

5 T all purpose flour

1 1/4 cups shredded Stilton or other blue cheese

7 cups boiling water

In a large stock pot melt 3T butter.  Add in onions, garlic and celery.  Sweat this down until the onions are cooked and add the broccoli florets, cardamom seeds, peppercorns and crumbled bullion cubes.  Reduce heat to low and cover the pot while you make a bechamel.  Go back to the pot periodically and give it a stir to make sure all the veggies are coated with flavor of the butter and spices.


Melt 3 T butter in a 1 qt pot.

Add 5 T all purpose flour to melted butter and stir constantly until you have a rue that is thick and golden in color.

Add 2 cups hot buttermilk (heated to just shy of boiling)

Stir until the sauce begins to thicken and reduce heat to low simmer and cover.


Bring your 7 cups water to a boil and pour into large stock pot over the broccoli mixture.  Reduce heat to medium and allow this to cook at a low boil until the broccoli is cooked soft.

Return the bechamel to low heat and stir in the blue cheese.  Stir this thoroughly until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.  Remove from heat and cover.

Use a stick blender  to blend the broccoli mix until smooth.  Gradually stir in the blue cheese sauce into the blended broccoli and allow this to cook for 20 more minutes on very low heat with the cover on, returning to stir 4-5 times.


Give it a taste and add salt or pepper to taste, though I find the 2 bullion cubes and salty blue cheese give it all the salt it needs.  Float some croutons on top and enjoy!


Spicy Tuna Tartare

August 13, 2013

As with most things food related, eating really, really good stuff isn’t time consuming or complicated.  It’s simply a matter of combining great, fresh ingredients in just the right proportion with flavor profiles that match.  Take this tuna tartare for example.  It’s really just a play on ceviche but cured for less time in whatever acid brine medium you choose.  The most time consuming thing about this recipe is probably just sourcing AAA shashimi grade tuna, followed by the knife work necessary to keep the flavor of each bite consistent with the next throughout the dish.  OK – this serves two.



What you’re need

1 Jalapeno pepper

1 nub of fresh ginger root

Fresh Cilantro

1 fresh lemon

1 fresh lime

1 Cucumber

1 White Onion

8 oz shashimi grade Ahi or Yellow Fin tuna

soy sauce, pepper oil, salt, pepper, habanero based hot sauce, plain yogurt, olive oil or chili infused olive oil


Slice 3 .5cm slices of cucumber and hollow out each disc by removing the seeds.  

Very finely mince 2T white onion (you’ll almost want to make a paste of this) and combine with 4T of yogurt and fill the cucumber discs with the seasoned yogurt and lightly salt.  Refrigerate the cucumbers while you prepare the rest.



Next, very finely mince 4t. fresh ginger, 1T fresh jalapeno from which seeds and pith have been removed and 1T fresh cilantro



Next:  Cut some beautiful, clean, odorless shashimi grade tuna into .5cm cubes.  Be patient, cut with the grain of the muscle as cutting across the grain will mash the tuna somewhat and leave you with some sinew that just won’t be right.



In a glass or stainless steel bowl, toss and thoroughly mix the tuna cubes with the ginger, jalapeno and cilantro and a couple of dashes of hot sauce. DO NOT use a smoky, red  sauce such as Cholula or Valentina.  As wonderful as those are, the smokey flavor will overpower the delicate flavors of the tuna.  Look for a yellow or orange, habanero based sauce, preferable with a ginger component.  Look for a Caribbean style hot sauce such as Grace or Howler Monkey brands which are pretty commonly available.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate this for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, juice one lemon and add to the tuna.  Thoroughly combine making sure the lemon juice hits all the tuna and put back in the ‘fridge for 20 more minutes. 

To plate over the cucumbers, use a 3″ spring mold, pack it and carefully lift the mold to keep the round shape. If you don’t have a spring mold, you can pack a 1/2 cup measuring cup with the tuna and carefully turn out the tartare over the cucumbers. Finish the plating by either zesting some fresh  lime peel or if you have the tool, cutting some mini lime twists over the top of the tartare and drizzling with a really nice peppery olive oil such as made from coratina olives or a chili infused olive oil.

Use your imagination for sides.  Baby greens, arugula, pico de gaillo (which is what I did with some cooked millet added) toasted bread will all work.

This dish gives you a delicate yet spicy tartare that will warm your lips but not burn.  Over the cool cucumber and seasoned yogurt, the heat from the ginger and jalapeno will be perfectly balanced.  


Chilli Verde

April 15, 2013


It’s been quite a while since I’ve made something new and creative so I’ve not done much posting to the Druber blog. I’ve done several really nice breads and some great sea food dishes and some pastas and risottos, but nothing that isn’t a variation of stuff already posted, but this chilli – this was inspired.  I’ve made it twice just to make sure I got it right.  Neither Kathy or I have had anything quite like it so, I figure it’s blog worthy.

I got the idea from watching a chili cook off on one of the Food Shows.  Everyone was making tomato and beef and red bean based chilli with variations on the spices, but nothing variable on the the tomato and beans – so while I was out on a long training ride  – which is where most of my inspiration hits, I guess hunger is the mother of cuisine – I got wondering – what if I made a chilli soup that was all green with white beans?  Along the way, I decided to fortify it with some pearl barley and viola!  Here you go.  Hope you find it as good as we did.

In a large stock pot combine

8 cups chicken stock

12 medium to large tomatillos, peeled and rinsed

2 4-5 inch Serrano chilies with seeds and most of the pith removed – leave more pith to increase the heat.

6 gloves of garlic

Bring this to a boil for 3 minutes then simmer until the tomatillos are completely cooked through.

At this point  you can take two paths.  You can use a stick blender to mix everything until smooth or you can take a masher to it and give the tomatillos a more coarse texture.  I prefer the former as it completely integrates the garlic and Serrano flavors.  If you’re going to mash the tomatillos, I find it better to mince the garlic and finely chop the peppers to avoid leaving yourself with larger  bits of those in your soup.

Add to this

1 large onion chopped semi course – about 1cm pieces

6 sticks of celery cut into 1 cm pieces

Juice of two fresh limes

24 oz of chicken breast cut into 2cm cubes (shredded chicken would be good for this as well)

1 cup of Pearl Barley

24 oz of mini white beans – I have no preference for this soup if you use high quality drained, canned beans or beans you’ve soaked overnight.  If you use soaked, beans you’ll need to par boil them so they’re nearly done before adding to the soup

1 cup of chopped green onion, cut into .5cm pieces stopping at the white

2 T. Garlic Salt

2 T Onion Powder

2 T Ground Cumin

Simmer this for at least two hours.  Serve garnished with broken tostadas and fresh cilantro leaves.   This get’s better  the longer it sits so if you want to cook and refrigerate it overnight to serve the next day, your patience will be rewarded


Chicken Mole

February 2, 2013

Chicken Mole

Chicken Mole

Exotic flavors of cocoa, garlic and ancho chile – sweet, spicy and decadent.

1 1/4 c chicken stock

1T Olive Oil

1/2 medium onion finely chopped

3 gloves garlic minced

1t ground cumin

1t ground coriander

1T ground cinnamon

1T onion powder

1T ancho chile powder

2T ground cocoa

1T all purpose white flour

Heat Olive Oil in a sauce pan, reduce heat to medium and add onions, stirring until they begin to cook.

Add Garlic, onion powder, cumin, coriander and cinnamon, stir until this is well mixed and onions are fully tender

Add flour and ancho chile, stir

Gradually add chicken stock, stirring constantly.

Bring this to a boil, reduce to medium high heat, add cocoa and cook until the sauce has thickened and reduced.

Season with salt as needed before serving

Persimmon Pudding

November 24, 2012

I first had persimmon pudding in 4th grade.  Our teacher, Mrs Schreiber was an enormous woman with arm flab that would flap wildly as she wrote out arithmetic equations and spelling words on the chalkboard.  She was also a great, big hearted teacher to whom education was just as much about experiencing as it was memorizing.  Thus, her class would have an annual Thanksgiving Feast the last day of class before being let out for the Thanksgiving holiday.  I don’t know where she was able to obtain the ingredients in the late 1960’s and early 1070’s but every Tuesday before Thanksgiving, she’d show up with corn meal ground from Indian Corn, venison jerky, wild greens and persimmons and the classroom would transform into a make shift kitchen and her 4th grade classes of black kids from the housing projects and lower income white kids would commence  to cooking and getting our feast on.

Since then, I’ve loved persimmon pudding but it’s difficult to find the right persimmons at the market because the sweet, soft, pulpy Hchiya persimmons needed to make proper pudding are difficult to transport and display without smashing them literally to pulp.  So, most of the time when I’ve seen persimmons in the store, they’re the hard, fibrous Jiro persimmons that are bitter and tough and need to be cooked to soften and don’t even make good bread or pie, let alone a good pudding.

Pudding in the sense of Persimmon Pudding doesn’t refer to the Bill Cosby Jello pudding or tapioca pudding variety.  Persimmon Pudding is more of the English style bread pudding genre.

Butter a 9 x 9 pan and set it aside

Pre head oven to 350

In a mixer bowl, combine 2 cups of Hachiya persimmon pulp (no skin).  You can remove the pulp simply by piercing the skin and gently squeezing.  It will take about 8 average sized persimmons to yield 2 cups

1/3 cup of sugar

Give it a quick stir and set aside to combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl

Sift 2 cups of all purpose flour

1 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

pinch of salt (about 1/4 t)

1/2 t cinnamon

1/8 – 1/4 t ground nutmeg

1/8 – 1/4 t ground cardamom

combine all the dry ingredients and stir in with the pulp and blend on slow speed


1 3/4 c milk

1 large egg

When fully mixed throughout pour into the 9 x 9 baking pan and bake for 1 hour

If you like a firmer more “brownie”  like pudding bake uncovered.  For a softer pudding that will be scooped not sliced for serving cover the pan with foil for the duration of the cooking time.

It can be served hot or cold.

Risotto with White Truffle Bechamel

October 23, 2012

Risotto is wonderful comfort food.  Rich, creamy, decadent goodness…  But with all that melted cheese and oil in with the carbs – is there a way to make it as good but cut  some of the fat?  I tried this out and it worked.

Prepare a Bechamel sauce and substitute White Truffle Oil – Olive Oil infused with White Truffle in lieu of the Butter when making the Roux.  Do  it like this.

  • 2 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of White Tuffle Oil
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups skim or 1 % fat milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a light, golden nutty color, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the roux 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. It should coat your spoon but not be pasty thick.  Season with salt and nutmeg, and set aside until ready to use.

Prepare Risotto according to my prior post here using the basic risotto recipe – without going into the peas and fava beans and saffron.  I simply added 1/2 cup of chopped mushrooms at the proper time and when the time came for grating in the cheese, I added about 1/3 cup of the bechamel sauce and cooked the risotto down to the proper consistency then garnished with chopped chives.

The result?  Creamy, delicious, perfectly al dente rice and the truffle infused oil just popped out – didn’t miss the cheese in the least.  Bonus is – now you have a wonderful truffle infuse mother sauce left that you can use as a sauce of it’s own over all manners of meats and vegetable or you can use for the base of some other beautiful truffle cheese sauce.

If you want to keep the becahmel for a while, it will store in the fridge for a couple of weeks.  Cover it directly with waxed paper and store in an air tight container to keep it from forming a skin.

Risotto without cheese? You bet!


October 19, 2012



Zipp Vuka Sprint Road Bar


Zipp Super 9 Carbon Clincher Disc


Legal PED’s


(Performance Enhancing Designs)



Got an email in August – “Hey Druber, we here at Zipp know you’re a gimpy one legged shadow of your former self but you still write don’t you?  We’d like you to give our new Vuka Sprint Road Bar a run through”.


Absolutely.  Thank Goodness I took creative writing lessons at the feet of Max Kash Agro and Rev. William H Stone because every once in a while I get asked to test and review some cool stuff.


Here is what Zipp says about their new carbon fiber road bar:


The new VukaSprint carbon drop bar adapts the VukaBull’s advanced airfoil top section to be more aerodynamic at the angles most commonly found in a drop bar setup. Internal cable routing (mechanical only not compatible with electronic systems) and a sculpted top section provide comfortable hand positioning, while the broad profile and stiff carbon fiber layup yield a responsive ride quality. Even so, the VukaSprint weighs just 235 g (44 cm).

The VukaSprint is available in Short & Shallow and Traditional Bend drop shapes in 42 and 44 cm widths.

This product is UCI compliant.


Retail is about $350.  Zipp tells me that more and more riders in the pro pel are going to flat bars.  Something about saving a few watts in wind resistance versus tradition round profile bars.  My thought was sure, if you’re Bradley Wiggins saving 3-4 watts every day over 3500 kilometers accumulates to be worth it but in a 40 minute Fatty Master crit – is it really worth it?  That is for you to decide but here is what I’ve found…

I got a 44cm Short and Shallow bend bar.  It came in actually a shade under the advertised weight at 231g on my digital scale.  Out of the box I couldn’t help but admire the sleek lines and perfect finish on the bar.  Well done Zipp on pure aesthetics.


I had to take the bar to my local shop (shout out to Get A Grip on Irving Park Rd) to have the bars wired up after I’d attached them to the bike and put the shifters on.  They’re compatible with mechanical (SRAM is a perfect fit of course) systems – and meant to internally route the shift and brake cables through the bar, exiting near the head tube.  This is great and completely eliminates noise from cables jostling together on rough pavement.  It also provides a really nice clean look from all angles.


Despite having larger hands than the average cyclist – I can palm a basketball – I found the short and shallow bend to be extremely comfortable regardless of my position in the drops and when standing out of the saddle with hands at the furthest point on the drops, my fore arms don’t come close to making contact with the flat bladed tops of the bar – excellent ergonomics.



Riding with hands on the tops is more comfortable than I suspected it would be.  I rode several times sans gloves just to get an accurate feel for the bars and the way to top foil of the bar is shaped, it provides a very comfortable fit and the mirror smooth finish isn’t hard on the hands in the least even while riding the mean streets of Chicago.


In the races, you’ll find the bars are stiff and secure when you’re sprinting and attacking and the entire “cockpit” feel elicits a great deal of confidence and control.


So – will the aero design and watt savings help you win races?  For most of us probably not, but the light weight, strength and over all bling factor will certainly give your confidence a boost and THAT is performance enhancing.





Y’all may have noticed that a certain German World Time Trial Champion has been rolling around on a clincher disc wheel the past couple of years.  If you hadn’t noticed, here’s a photo




Here is what Zipp says about the Super 9:


Game changer. Barrier breaker. The Zipp® Super-9 Carbon Clincher Disc is the fastest wheel ever, with the performance and convenience of Zipp’s Carbon Clincher technology. When it comes to disc wheels, we’re obsessed with aero excellence. After all, our first product was a disc. Our quarter-century-long quest for the knowledge of speed allowed us to create the Super-9 Carbon Clincher. We’ve validated our findings in the wind tunnel and refined them further in the “virtual wind tunnel” using powerful Computational Fluid Dynamics software analysis. The result? The Super-9 Carbon Clincher optimizes supreme aerodynamics, power transfer, stiffness, lightweight and durability — all with the convenience and low rolling resistance of a clincher.



Retail is about $2375.  The Super 9 takes off on the design of the Sub 9.  Where the Sub 9 is wide at the rim and tapers in beyond the “808” depth, the Super 9 remains wide all the way to the hub.  The result is a wheel that feels incredibly stable.  During my injury induced absence I had team mates Moso-Man and Doughty do the field testing and the first word both of them used was “stable”.  Moso-Man is about as big around as a pixie-stick and even on days with strong cross winds, he had no stability issues on the Super 9.  Doughty gave the road feel top grades.  He said that you could actually “feel that it’s perfectly round” if that makes sense.  Most likely that sensation can be attributed to the clincher tire being in the bead without any chance that it’s mounted with some squirms or imperfections that might be possible with a glued on tubular tire.


Another thing that really helps with rolling resistance and road feel is that the wider bead will “round out” the  tire, making it more of a half circle when fully inflated rather than a half oval if you can get that picture in your head.  More contact with the road surface, better road feel, less rolling resistance.  We rode the Super 9 with a 23 mm Zipp Tangente clincher tire.


One other advantage that Zipp found in the wind tunnel is that a new tire has a fairly significant advantage in drag than even a slightly used tire.  Having a clincher wheel allows you to put a brand new tire on for big events much more easily than replacing a tubular tire.


OK – now for the anecdotal part.  Doughty has for years and years been a very strong time trial racer.  In 1980 he won the Olympic Trials and he won the Pan Am games ITT in 1979.  In 2000 he won the Masters Nationals Road Race and he’s been trying to win the ITT since then.  Well, this year he made the full switch to Zipp wheels – 808 Firecrest on front and after we obtained the Super 9 he swapped out his former brand (rhymes with Head) and started using the Super 9.  He ran 3 time trials on the Super 9.  Won a 20k, Won the State Time Trial Championship (60+) and finally won the Masters Natz 60-64 title out in Bend in September.  Coincidence?


At 1175 g (ours came in at 1181) it’s certainly not the lightest disc on the market but for most TT Courses, what you might lose on acceleration, you’ll more than make up when you’re at speed.


  • Stiff at start up and sprinting out of turnabouts
  • Stable in cross winds and tight corners
  • Second to none engineering and wind tunnel testing


If you’re looking for a Christmas gift for yourself or dreaming of building up your next season TT bike – give this disc strong consideration.


Find out more



Filet Mignon

October 4, 2012

Maple syrup glazed beef tenderloin with parmigiano reggiano crust, served with pesto baby potatoes and asparagus finished with truffle oil and smoked sea salt


Coat a 6 oz prime filet in real maple syrup.  Sear on  all sides over high heat.  After all sides are seared, remove  to oven broiler to finish at degree preferred from rare to well done but really if  you do a filet at well done you just as well eat a pizza.  Just sayin’.  With 5 minutes left to preferred level of  “done” drop a slice of parmigiano reggiano over the top and broil  until the  cheese is melted and slightly browned.  Viola!

Tiara del Fuego

October 3, 2012

Ultimately, it’s just greens, grits and shrimp but how do you put it all together?  Southern cooking takes on a lot of various influences from French, to Caribbean.  This fusion dish combines influences from Low Country to Thai to Indian and it’s brilliant.


Clean  and de-vein a dozen oxymoron’s (jumbo shrimp).  In a plastic bag, combine 1.5T hot curry, hot paprika and 1t cayenne pepper with 3T white flour.  Dry and drop the shrimp into the baggie and shake to fully coat.  Set in the ‘fridge until ready for use.

Prepare white corn polenta as per package which will be 3 to 1 ratio of water to grits with 1T of salt and 2 T butter.  Bring the water to a boil and whisk in the grits gradually so as to avoid clumping, stirring vigorously with a whisk.  Reduce heat to simmer and continue to stir until the grits absorb all the moisture and the consistency is similar to oatmeal.  For this spicy preparation add 3 T Aji Panca paste – a Peruvian pepper paste.  If lacking that use a slightly smoky alternative such as Adobo, Cholula, or Valentina hot sauce.  Whatever it takes to make the polenta spicy – do it.

Spray two soup bowls with non stick spray and pour the polenta into the bowl to half full and allow these to set to firm.  This will be the “dome” that the shrimp crown is set into.

In a large covered pot, wilt 4 cups of chopped kale in about 1/2″ of water over low heat.  When the greens show signs of wilting down and reducing, add a pinch of sea salt and cut off the heat, leaving the cover on the pot.  When the green are cooked and bright, strain to remove excess liquid.  Dump the greens back into the pot, add 1/4 c Coconut Cream and blend with a stick blender.  Cover and keep warm.

Heat a large skillet with 1T of Olive or Grape Seed Oil and spread the oil so it covers the bottom of the skillet.  Cook the shrimp on each side for about 3 minutes over medium heat until the shrimp is cooked through


Take a large plate deep enough to hold liquid and turn the dome of polenta into the center of the plate.

Evenly space six of the shrimp around the exterior of the dome anchoring each shrimp into the dome by the tail

Top the dome with the wilted creamed Kale

Blast some heat onto the pan used to saute the shrimp and add 1/4c coconut cream and 1T Thai Fish Sauce into the pan (trust me, this works) and reduce until the sauce is thickened.  Spoon the sauce around and over the plated dish

Eat the Hell out of that!


Black Angus Filet with Spicy Grape Compote

July 19, 2012



I think you’ll like this.  The flavor profile mates some not too common components together with fantastic results.  TLK is out of town (it’s the only time I eat mammal flesh) so this is for one serving:

I seasoned a 5 oz Black Angus Filet with ground coriander, nutmeg and sea salt.  Set that aside and cut two medium white potatoes into cubes and boil. You’re gonna make some pesto mashed potatoes.  YUM!

Set another pot to boil and drop in an ear of fresh sweet corn.  I shouldn’t have to explain how to boil corn so I’ll move on…Get working on the compote

Slice 1/4 of a medium onion razor thin

Cut 12 medium/small red table grapes in half

Slice off a half dozen razor thin slices of a green Thai chile

Add all this to some heated grape seed or olive oil and saute until the onions are caramelized and the grapes have wilted.  Remove from heat and set aside to warm up when the steak is done

Pre heat you oven to 350.  

Heat an oven ready pan on high heat, add a bit of oil and sear the steak on both side for two minutes an pop the pan into the oven.  A medium steak will take about 12 minutes.

Drain your potatoes, and add 2 T Basil Pesto (you can find my recipe by searching pesto on the blog) and mash.  

Drop some baby bok choy into the hot water you boiled the corn in for no more than 2 minutes to get a nice wilt.

Plate it as you see in the photo and finish with some smoked sea salt.




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