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Posts from the ‘Vegetables’ Category

First Day Of Spring, Vernal Equinox

It was such a weird winter, unusually warm for long periods of time, then bitter cold, recently a snowpocolypse that was more hype than snow accumulation, but it’s finally here, the first day of Spring.  It’s still pretty cold and there is snow and ice on the ground and its official now, we have moved on winter is a thing of the past. For several weeks now I have noticed the crocus bloom, buds coming on the tree’s, the daffodils in my yard will be blooming soon and again this year my chives have returned, I had no idea chives were so resilient.  Going to the farmers markets will yield a plethora of produce and although I am not a warm weather person however,  I do love spring and summer fruit and vegetables, can’t wait for the berries and plums and peaches.

It is rare that I post several days in a row but to honor this day I made soup using spring vegetables, a light and delicate soup using asparagus and leeks. So simple and quick to prepare. So to celebrate the first day of Spring I give you soup that is a lovely shade of green and screams spring. The ingredients are few, no spicing except for salt and pepper this soup is an homage to the beauty of fresh spring asapargus and the delicate flavor of a young leek.

I wish you all a wonderful first day of Spring or if you are in another hemisphere a wonderful first day of Fall.

ready to roast

Pureéd Asparagus and leek soup

Serves 2 or more depending on serving size

1 bunch asparagus cleaned and tough parts snapped off

1 medium size leek cleaned well using only the white and light green parts

3 cups broth of your choice or water

salt, pepper

olive oil to drizzle on vegetables before roasting

1-2 tbs butter (optional)

splash of heavy cream (optional)

Heat oven to 375 degree’s, line sheet pan with parchment. Layer your clean vegetables on the pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, you don’t want them to brown only to develop that lovely deep flavor that happens when vegetables are roasted. Remove from oven and place the vegetables in a medium size saucepan.

Add the broth or water and bring to a boil, turn to low heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool in the pot for approximately 30 minutes. Using tongs place the vegetables in the blender and add a cup of broth. Pureé until desired consistency. Add back to the saucepan with a little more broth if you like your soup on the thin side, season with salt and pepper if needed, add the butter and cream and on low heat cook until it reaches the desired temperature.

Garnish with creme fraiche and chives.

A little peek at whats in store soon.

Granny Phanny And The Giant Rabbit Some Turnip Soup For Womens History Month

Another delightful installment from the joint collaboration with writer/author extraordinaire Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, we planned this post to occur in March, Women’s History Month, we’ve come a long way baby and every month, week and day should celebrate women and their/our contribution to society, this country, our families and communities. I am woman hear me roar, well that is a little cliché I know but we are empowered and accomplished and strong and proud of how far we have come, it amazes me that at one time women didn’t even have the right to vote and in some countries women are still considered objects of disdain, almost subhuman and of less importance than their male counterparts.

I also am including a recipe that I posted years ago for a spring turnip soup, you may turn up your nose when you read turnips but honestly this soup is delicious, I use Hakurai turnips which appear late winter and early spring at the local green markets. They are crisp and sweet and mild and make an outstanding soup. The soup is topped with some crumbled bacon and the turnip greens which are sauteéd in the bacon fat. For vegan and vegetarian option all you do is eliminate the bacon and use vegetable broth or water. For vegan option of course you would not use the cream but you can sub a non dairy option of your choice.

Take it away Teagan…

Granny Phanny and the Giant Rabbit

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Hi, Suzanne.  I’m delighted to be back in your kitchen!  Hello everyone, it’s great to see you.

When I asked Suzanne for an ingredient to use in a story for this collaborative post, right away she said turnips.  Every time I hear that word I think of the “Cinnamon Bun” character from my serial, Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-1.  That’s a 1920s culinary mystery, which is in the works to be “book-ized” this spring.

Many of you are familiar with my flapper character, Pip.  This time the story is told from the point of view of Pip’s grandmother, Phanny Irene Peabody.  I thought that was appropriate since March is Women’s History Month.  Granny lived during the height of the suffragette era, and she was a woman to speak her mind.  It’s also something of a back-story for Cinnamon Bun.  I hope you enjoy the story as much as Suzanne’s recipe!  Although that’s a lot for me to live up to…

Granny Phanny and the Giant Rabbit

“The only true woman is a pious, submissive wife and mother, concerned exclusively with home and family!”

Even more irksome than the words themselves was the fact that they were uttered by a woman.  I was glad that I had already left the building.  Otherwise I might have lost my temper.  What business did anyone with that opinion have at a women’s meeting in the first place?

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In 1920, Georgia was the first state to “reject” the Nineteenth Amendment, which assured women the right to vote.  It was two years later before women actually got to vote in my home state.  Long after that, we were still suffragettes, working for equal rights.  We still wore suffragette white to our meetings.

That intolerable statement was immediately followed by the resounding crack of a slap across the speaker’s face.  I cringed, knowing full well who had likely delivered the smack.  I turned on my heel and hurried back inside.  Veronica Vale was no meek little lamb.  She was a force of nature when her righteous wrath was incurred.  I tried to make my way through the pandemonium to my friend.

1920s woman scientist-microscopeBy the time I got to Veronica, I could hear police sirens.  A quick look around told me several attendees had slipped quietly away, including the woman who spoke the words that started the trouble.

“It was all planned,” I muttered.  “That bunch wanted to make trouble from the minute they asked to join.”

Not much later a handful of us — enough to make an example, but not so many as to cause the coppers much trouble — were hauled down to the police station.  A group of men stood laughing and cat calling while we were hustled outside.  My cheeks heated in a blush.

Detective Dabney Daniels of the Savannah Police got a tip that something was going to happen.  By the time the paddy wagon reached the station, he was already diffusing the situation.

“Miss Phanny,” he began with a smirk and a shake of his head.  “I wish I could say I was surprised to see you,” he told me before turning to Veronica Vale.  “Mrs. Vale your husband is already here.  You’ll be released into his custody.”

I knew that “custody” statement wouldn’t sit well with Veronica.  She was a doctor and a scientist, not some man’s property.  No matter how good the man.  For years Veronica Vale had worked at a hospital in England called Clapham Common.  It had an all-female staff.  She retired and returned to Savannah.  Then she met the widowed Vincent and partnered with him in his veterinary practice.

Before she could complain, I blurted out my puzzlement.  “Dabney, how could you know…?”

“I’d like to claim powers as a mentalist, Miss Phanny.  However, Dr. Vale had just arrived to pick up someone else,” the handsome detective explained as chaos erupted elsewhere in the station.JCLeyndecker Arrow Collar ad

Detective Daniels quickly excused himself and walked toward the sounds of people shouting.

Veronica gave a downright evil chuckle.  I looked a question at her and she laughed out loud at the expression on my face.

“Phanny Irene Peabody,” she said.  “You are indeed a Pip.  I suppose you’ve never noticed the way that young man looks at you.  He probably doesn’t care a whit for the turnips  you’re always giving him, or the meals he gets in return for fixing one thing and another at your cottage.  Tsk-tsk.  Phanny, that young copper is smitten with you.”

“Veronica, don’t be ridiculous.  You couldn’t be more wrong.  Dabney is just a goodhearted young man,” I told my friend most emphatically.

Another crashing sound and men shouting prevented her from talking more of that nonsense.  How absurd.  I was old enough to be that boy’s mother.  We might enjoy one another’s company, but there was nothing more to it.

“Hi, Honey.  Are you hurt?” Vincent Vale asked his wife as he skidded to a stop.  As Veronica shook her head he turned to me.  “Mrs. Peabody, are you well?” he greeted me politely.Christopher Timothy as Vincent Vale

Veronica assured her husband that neither of us had come to any harm.  I noticed Vincent held some kind of harness.  There was more shouting, and then the veterinarian pelted away toward the commotion.

A moment later we heard Vincent shout.  “Got ‘em!”

However there was another crash.  I heard dull thumping noises.  The sound was quite rhythmic, and coming closer.  Veronica and I exchanged puzzled looks.

I stuck my head around the corner and gasped loudly.

“I must be seeing things.  Else I’m just plain zozzled,” I murmured.

Veronica craned her neck to see what had stunned me.

“Well horsefeathers!  In all my born days…” she began.  “A Flemish Giant.”

“Flemish?  Bushwa!” I exclaimed.  “You’re hallucinating too,” I mumbled.  “Somebody spiked our tea a little too much at the women’s meeting.  Or else I’m looking at a cinnamon colored rabbit that’s three feet tall, sitting on his haunches.”

I crouched down, befuddled.  The big bunny hopped over to me and nuzzled my hand.  I scratched between his impossibly long ears.  I helped hold the big bun still as Vincent got the harness around him.

“This big ole boy decimated Godfrey Gilley’s garden.  Dug up every turnip he had,” Vincent commented.  “When the big bun headed toward his grocery store, Godfrey was so upset that he called the police saying there was a bear in his yard!” the veterinarian laughed.  “Trouble is, I’m not sure what we can do with him.  We’ve taken on so many animals lately,” Vincent admitted, but cast a pleading look at his wife, who gave a resigned sigh.

My face ended up against the giant rabbit’s soft hair as Vincent adjusted the harness.  I found that I didn’t want to move.  My fingers sank into the plush fur.

“I’ll take him,” I spoke up, and questioned my own sobriety again.  “Oh good lord, but I need a hutch for him.”Vintage rabbit driving

I hadn’t noticed that Detective Dabney Daniels was standing beside us.

“Don’t worry, Miss Phanny.  I can take care of a rabbit hutch in a jiffy,” Dabney said.  “Even one big enough for this miscreant,” he added with a grin.

Veronica elbowed me sharply in the ribs.  She gave me an I told you so look and winked.

“He’s sweet on you,” she whispered into my ear.  “So what if he’s younger.  He’s a damn fine figure of a man!”

“Absolutely no!” I told her so fiercely that everyone looked askance.

Fortunately I was spared from an explanation because of Veronica’s loud bark of laughter.

The Vales offered to drive me home.  I got into the automobile with Vincent and Veronica, and of course the rabbit.  Dabney bent down and promised to come by to start on the rabbit hutch that evening.  Veronica wriggled her eyebrows at me.  I gave her a withering look, then turned and smiled at the detective as I thanked him.

“What was all that about?” Vincent wanted to know as we drove away.

Veronica had no inhibitions about sharing her embarrassing speculations to her husband, despite my denial. 

“It simply will not do!” I told her, my patience close to its end.

“She means that dear,” Vincent said.  “You might want to leave it alone before your sense of fun hurts your friendship.”

“You’re right,” she agreed with a sigh.  “I’m sorry Phanny.  I just want to see you happy.”

“I am perfectly happy as I am.  Besides, I told you that my granddaughter, Pip, is coming to live with me.  I’ll have my hands full, teaching her to cook,” I reminded my friends.  “I can’t wait for you to meet her.”

The End

***

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Creamy Spring Turnip Soup With Wilted Greens And Bacon

(Bacon is optional for my vegetarian friends)

Serves 4-6 depending on serving size

4 heaping cups turnips peeled and quartered (Use the small spring turnips if possible)

1 potato peeled and quartered (I used Yukon Gold and it’s Optional to use a potato)

2 cups leeks (cleaned well and sliced) or use a medium size onion or 2 shallots

4 1/2 cups broth (chicken, vegetable or water)

2 tbs butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg (optional)

4-6 slices bacon

Turnip greens cleaned VERY well

In heavy sauce pan heat a little olive oil, add the leeks or onion or shalot and sweat, cook just until tender don’t brown. Add the turnips and potato, now add the liquid (broth or water). Cover and cook until the turnip and potato are tender. Let cool for about 30 minutes and blend either in your blender or use the immersion blender. Note: If using an immersion blender remove some of the liquid you don’t want the soup too thin, you can always add it back in. Add the butter and cream and season with salt and pepper and nutmeg.

Fry the bacon until crisp, remove from the fry pan and add the greens to the bacon fat, season with salt and peppper and saute until the greens are tender and wilted.

To Serve: Garnish the soup with the wilted greens and crumbled bacon.

Soup

Vegetable Lasagna And A Frittata

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Whenever I hear vegetable lasagna I think of that Seinfeld episode when Elaine is on a plane, sitting next to a guy she refers to as “vegetable lasagna” because thats what he ate. That show still makes me laugh. This is not a lasagna in the truest sense of the word, there is no pasta. Instead zucchini and eggplant are layered with ricotta, grated cheese, mozzarella and sauce. This is so good I really don’t miss the pasta, at all. This is me getting back on track, cutting carbs and sugar, trying to eat clean and light. I had some homemade marinara in the freezer, just enough, not having to make sauce made this a quick and easy dinner. This would also be delicious with a béchamel rather than ricotta.

The frittata is a wonderful for any meal, breakfast with a cup of coffee or tea, for lunch/dinner with a salad, it’s a light meal that satisfies. Fritatta is so simple to make and you can add whatever you like to make it your own. I used roasted tomatoes, zucchini and shallot along with taleggio and parmigiana. Please Note, the measurements of my ingredients are not exact. I don’t really measure but they are very close, I’ve gotten pretty good at eyeballing it and am usually really close. You can add more or less cheese depending on your personal taste.

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Eggplant And Zucchini Lasagna (senza la pasta)

Serves 4-6

2 zucchini unpeeled, washed and ends cut off

1 large eggplant

1 1/2 cup ricotta

1 egg

handful flatleaf parsley chopped

1/2 cup grated cheese (I used parmigiana, asiago and romano) for the ricotta mixture

8 oz mozzarella (fresh if possible) sliced thinly or grated

approximately 2 cups marinara sauce

more grated cheese used when layering

Heat oven to 375 degree’s.

Slice the zucchini in approximately 1/4 inch slices and lay on parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, turn and drizzle more so each side is covered. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast in the oven until the zucchini starts to brown, turning after approximately 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Save the parchment and keep the oven on.

Slice the eggplant with skin on in approximately 1/4 inch thick rounds. Rub or brush olive oil on one side, turn over and rub more olive oil on the other side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in the oven until lightly browned, turn and roast the other side. You want the eggplant and zucchini lightly browned. Removed from oven and set aside. Because eggplant absorbs the oil I recommend using a pastry brush and brush each side with oil to make sure it’s evenly coated.

Mix ricotta with egg, grated cheese, parsley and some salt and pepper.

Slice or grate the mozzarella. Now you are ready to assemble. Spread some of the marinara in the bottom of your baking dish. Layer some of the eggplant, add a few dollops of ricotta, spread as evenly as you can (doesn’t have to be perfect) add some of the mozzarella, grated cheese and a few spoon full of sauce. Next a layer of zucchini and repeat the layering. I used eggplant as the top layer, spread some sauce on top of the eggplant, sprinkle some grated cheese and put mozzarella on top. Bake uncovered on a sheet pan for approximately 45 minutes until browned and bubbly.

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Frittata

Serves 4

1 zucchini unpeeled, cut into thin rounds

1 shallot, sliced

8-10 (approx) small tomatoes, cherry, kumato, zima, whatever you can find that look good sliced in half

olive oil, salt and pepper

8 large eggs

3 tbs sour cream

approx. 1/2 cup grated parmigiana or blend of grateable cheese

approx. 1/3 cup taleggio grated plus a little more to sprinkle on top before baking.

Heat oven to 425 degree’s.

Place tomatoes, zucchini and shallot on parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil lightly coating both sides of zucchini and tomato, season with salt and pepper. Roast until the zucchini and onion are lightly browned and the tomatoes start to caramelize. Approximately 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Add a little olive oil in a non stick skillet (cast iron is great) and heat on medium high heat. Meanwhile beat the eggs with a fork, add the sour cream, and grated cheese (parmigiana and taleggio) season with salt and pepper. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degree’s.

Pour into hot skillet (oven proof) and when you see the egg is starting to set on the edges move the eggs gently (I push towards the center) letting the liquid stream to the fill in where you have moved the eggs that have set. When the egg is cooked about a third of the way add the vegetables and sprinkle with the rest of the taleggio. Place in the oven for approximately 10 minutes, cut the oven off and turn on the broiler. Cook for another 5 (or so) minutes until it’s lightly browned. Remove to serving platter or board and let cool a bit before serving.

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Coconut Caulifower Soup With Ginger And Turmeric

 

Looking through Clean Soups the one that leapt out at me was the Coconut Cauliflower Soup, actually I decided on this soup before I chose which broth to make. You all know my love affair with cauliflower and I am such a big fan of pureed soups, this was the one I had to make. Turmeric has amazing medicinal, nutritional properties and I have it every day with milk and a grind of black pepper. When I saw the gorgeous golden yellow soup it was love at first sight. I am also a big fan of Thai flavors, lemongrass, ginger, lime and coconut are a happy marriage of flavors and make this silky pureed soup exotic and delicious. A touch of red Thai chili paste provides a gentle bite and the sum of all of the ingredients is wonderfully comforting and so yummy.

I made the soup exactly as written in the recipe but ended up tweaking just a bit as I wasn’t quite satisfied with the results. The cauliflower is roasted in a hot oven drizzled with olive oil and turmeric and what ended up happening is that it started getting too dark and the cauliflower was not tender enough,  I kept turning it and moving it around until the prescribed length of baking time was reached. I didn’t think the cauliflower was quite soft enough but continued, blending it with the other vegetables and I didn’t like the texture. Now it could be my wonky oven or maybe the florets were too big,  I don’t know. I ended up cooking the pureéd soup for about 20 minutes and then put it back in the blender so that it was velvety smooth. The soup is delicious and I would definitely make it again.

Coconut Cauliflower Soup With Ginger And Turmeric

2 1/2 – 3 lb cauliflower cut into 1 1/2 inch florets

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

sea salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 yellow onion peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

2 carrots peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery chopped

2 tsp Thai red chili paste

6 cups Thai coconut broth plus more if needed (I did need more)

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tbs freshly squeezed lime juice plus more if needed

garnish with fresh chopped mint or cilantro

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425 degree’s. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the cauliflower, 2 tbs olive oil, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp salt and the black pepper in a large bowl and toss until coated. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and spread to an even layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and tender.

Meanwhile heat the remaining tbs of olive oil in a soup pot, then add the onion, a pinch of salt and the remaining 1/4 tsp of turmeric and sauté until translucent about 3 minutes, add the garlic, carrots and celery and 1/4 tsp salt and sauté until the vegetables begin to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Add the chili paste and stir to coat the vegetables. Pour in 1/2 cup of the broth to deglaze the pot, stirring to loosen any bits at the bottom of the pot. Let cook until the liquid reduces by half.

Pour 1/3 of the broth into a blender, add the ginger and 1/3 of the vegetables and cauliflower and blend until smooth adding more broth if needed. Continue to blend until all of the broth and vegetables are pureed. Pour back into the soup pot and cook over low heat until warmed,  add salt if needed and the lime juice.  Soup will keep 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.

Clean Soups- Magic Mineral Broth and Thai Coconut Broth

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I’m a cookbook hoarder, well hoarder may be too harsh but I love my cookbooks, collect them and can literally spend hours in the bookstore looking at them and almost always leave the store with at least one if not more. When I received an email from the editors at Food52 asking if I would be interested in reviewing a cookbook for the Piglet Community Picks  there was no pause in my answer, a resounding YES.  I was given a choice of 6 cookbooks and Clean Soups was my first choice. It is not a voluminous cookbook, but offers some fantastic healthful and delicious basic broths used as a base for a variety of different types of soups.

I chose to make the Magic Miracle Broth,  a vegetable broth, and a stepping stone to another recipe Thai Coconut Broth which will  become a pureed soup. One thing I loved about this broth is that the vegetables are used unpeeled, everything, onion, carrot, garlic with the peels and all, it’s so easy to just throw it all in a pot and let it cook. If you love soup and clean eating I really recommend you purchase this cookbook. Part two of this post will be published in a few days, the finished soup.

Magic Mineral Broth

Makes approximately 1 gallon of broth

6 unpeeled carrots cut into thirds

2 unpeeled yellow onions, quartered

1 leek, white and green parts cut into thirds

1 bunch celery including the heart, cut into thirds

4 unpeeled red potatoes

2 unpeeled Japanese or regular sweet potatoes, quartered

1 unpeeled garnet yam, quartered

5 unpeeled garlic cloves, halved

1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley

1 (8 inch strip) kombu

12 black peppercorns

4 whole allspice or juniper berries

2 bay leaves

8 quarts cold filtered water

1 tsp sea salt plus more if needed

Rinse all vegetables well including the Kombu.
In a 12 quart or larger stockpot, combine the carrots, onion, leek, celery, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam, garlic, parsley, kombu, pepper, allspice berries and bay leaves. Add the water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for at least 2 hours or until the full richness of the vegetables can be tasted. As the broth simmers some of the water will evaporate, add more if the vegetables begin to peek out.

Strain the broth through a large course mesh sieve (use a heat resistant container underneath) and discard the solids. Stir in the salt adding more if desired. Let cool at room temperature before refrigerating or freezing. Store in the refrigerator up to 5 days or in the freezer up to 6 months.

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Thai Coconut Broth

Makes approximately 2 1/2 quarts of broth

8 cups Magic Mineral broth

2 13.5 oune cans coconut milk

3 1 inch pieces of fresh ginger

2 shallots peeled and halved

3 kaffir lime leaves or 1 tsp lime zest

1 stalk lemongrass, cut in chunks and bruised

1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more if needed

In a 6 quart pot combine the broth, coconut milk, ginger, shallots, lime leaves or zest, lemongrass and salt, bring to a low boil over medium heat. Cook for about 20 minutes. Decrease to low and simmer for another 30 minutes. Remove the solids, taste and add more salt if desired.

Let cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing. Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days and 6 months in the freezer.

 

Tomato Soup

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I have a good friend who used to live in Brooklyn and a couple of years ago moved into Manhattan, we don’t get to see each other that often and I was so happy that we set a date to meet and decided we would catch up over lunch. I offered to cook and thought since it’s cold outside a bowl of soup would be good, she lives near Sullivan Street Bakery and said she would bring bread. The first thing I thought of was tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve made tomato soup before, posted it a few years ago, it was actually an accident that turned into soup. This one is intentional and it’s phenomenal. I got the recipe from food network and reading it I thought OMG, there is something wrong for example it called for 3/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup on the tomatoes and sauteeing the vegetables in 1/2 cup of olive oil, REALLY, don’t think so. Luckily the recipe from Michael Chiarrello had an accompanying video from his show. I followed what he said in the video and not what was written and the soup is awesome. I made a few changes adding some fresh tomatoes, rind of parmigiana but other than those two things I stuck to the recipe. The soup is delicious and quick and easy and I highly recommend. Who can resist dunking a gooey grilled cheese in tomato soup, it’s one of lifes great pleasures.

Homemade Tomato Soup

Makes 2-3 generous portions or 4 moderately sized portions

1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes- juices drained and reserved

1 cup fresh tomatoes cut into pieces or if cherry or grape cut in half

1 stalk celery

1 small onion

1 carrot

1 1/2-2 cup (approximately) stock, chicken or vegetable or water

reserved juice from tomatoes

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil to drizzle on tomatoes and to cook the vegetables

small piece of parmigiano rind (optional)

fresh basil chopped (I used 3 large leaves)

1 tbs butter (optional)

heavy cream- I didn’t measure but if I had to guess it was a bit shy of 1/4 cup (optional)

Heat oven to 450 degree’s. Drain canned tomatoes and reserve the juice. Place on baking sheet along with fresh tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until caramelized – it took approximately 20 minutes

Heat some olive oil in heavy non reactive sauce pan or saucier. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook until they start to soften and caramelize. Add the roasted tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, stock or water, bay leaf, rind of parmigiano and cook approximate 25-30 minutes until vegetables are tender add the basil now.  Remove bay leaf and you can use either your immersion blender or your blender and puree until smooth. Return to pan and add the optional butter and cream. Serve hot.

A Green Smoothie-Fiesta Friday Healthy Recipe Challenge

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Every Friday Angie, you all know Angie right, hosts the virtual party Fiesta Friday.  We all link our recipes on her site and you can bring whatever you want,  well this is a little different, she gave all of us that participate in Fiesta Friday a challenge. She listed two ingredients, leafy greens and pineapple and asked us to make something using them. This recipe has never posted on the blog before only a photo. I found this on Williams Sonoma website and searching it’s no longer there but luckily I had posted it on Instagram,  I put my own spin on it, adding some different ingredients and it turned out great, it’s delicious and healthful and uses both leafy greens and pineapple. I am so glad that Angie gave us this challenge because this smoothie hadn’t been on my radar and I am happy to have rediscovered it because it’s delicious, easy to make, nutritious and such a pretty color green.  There will most likely be dozens of green smoothies and they will be very similar but thats ok, here is mine and I love it. You can use whatever leafy green you like. I actually mixed kale and spinach. You get great results when you freeze your pineapple and banana, the smoothie is cold and thick and creamy. Oh I also should add that there are GREAT prizes for the winners of this challenge, yes first, second and third place winners will be chosen by a panel of judges. How exciting is this! You can submit as many recipes as you like. Hope you all enter.

A Healthy Green Smoothie

adapted from a recipe on Williams-Sonoma

makes 2 generous portions

1 cup cleaned baby spinach

1 cup kale, leaves only and tender stems – discard the tough ones

1/2 ripe avocado

1 cup frozen cubed nicely ripe pineapple

1 ripe banana cut into chunks and frozen

1-1 1/2 cups coconut water (freeze your coconut water in ice cube trays for a colder creamier smoothie) start with one cup and add more if you like a thinner smoothie

1/2 cup full fat coconut milk or 1/4 cup of the coconut cream scooped off the top of cold canned coconut milk

1 tsp fresh ginger grated or finely chopped

1 tbs fresh mint leaves chopped (or just throw in a few mint leaves)

juice of half a lemon

1 tsp matcha powder (optional)

Put all of the ingredients into your blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Enjoy immediately.

 

 

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Thanksgiving

Photo by James Ransom

Photo by James Ransom

Every year I make the same meal for Thanksgiving, there is little to no variations year to year because everyone loves it that way. It makes things easier sort of, the only planning involves the shopping and of course the preparation. I try to make as much in advance as possible to save myself work on the big day. This will be Percy’s first Thanksgiving with me and I plan on giving him a plate of food along with the rest of my guests. I am excited that this year my two cousins will be joining me as well. My menu is very basic, nothing fancy but everything is homemade and has withstood the test of time. The dishes on the menu are linked to former posts so that you can see the recipes. Mashed potatoes, well, no recipe required, so my potatoes have not lumps I use the food mill and then simply add sour cream, butter and salt and pepper, thats all, the same goes for the pumpkin pie, I used canned pumpkin and follow the instructions on the back of the can, I’ve tried other methods and quite honestly the results are so similar it’s not worth the extra effort. The meal is always served with wine, this year a Cabernet Sauvignon, Lambrusco, Sparkling blanc de blanc and I am still undecided on whether to serve a Chardonnay or white bordeaux.

Thanksgiving Menu

butter and herb roast turkey

dressing

mashed potatoes

oven roasted brussells sprouts

corn

cranberry sauce

dinner rolls

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Dessert

Pecan Pie

Apple Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Happy Halloween, Cheesy Cauliflower Puree With Roasted Vegetables And Pear With Poire William Creme Anglaise

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Halloween is a big day in our neighborhood, our community group the Society for Clinton Hill sponsors a Halloween Walk and other events, there are months of planning that go into this. Last year there were over 3000 children and adults that participated and this year I think there will be more, judging from the response we have gotten so far. We have a halloween map showing houses that hand out candy, a theatrical production at 313 Clinton Avenue, the Dead Zombie Band puts on an incredible show and everyone looks forward to it. Because we are a not for profit organization local business donate to help us defray the expense of putting this whole thing together. I am on the board of directors for the community organization and am in charge of the PR, social media and the website as well as helping to coordinate.  It’s a tremendous amount of work but very rewarding. I will post photo’s this week. Happy Halloween to all!!

Sorry about all the cauliflower recipes, as I said in the last post it’s an obsession of mine and a filling and delicious sub for carb laden rice or potatoes or pasta. In this case I probably would have served over polenta but instead served with a cauliflower puree made rich with a little creme fraiche and grated comte cheese. The vegetables are simple, a small graffiti eggplant roasted with whole cherry tomatoes and shallot. For a textural diversion I sauteed some fresh bread crumbs in garlic, butter and olive oil and sprinkled over the top.

In an effort to satisfy my sweet tooth and still stay away from refined sugar and flour I created this simple dessert by poaching pears in Poire William (pear liquor) with a touch of maple syrup to sweeten and served with a créme anglaise again with a little maple syrup to sweeten and some Poire William.  Créme Anglaise is a custard sauce made with eggs, milk or cream, sugar, vanilla and rum or some sort of spirit or liquor. Because I am not really eating refined sugar I chose to lightly sweeten with maple syrup, this was adapted from Julia Childs recipe in her book, “Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom”.  I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t thicken properly because there is no sugar but it worked just fine.

Cauliflower Puree with Roasted Vegetables 

Really no recipe required for this I made enough for 2 servings

Cauliflower puree follow instructions but use creme fraiche rather than cream.

1 small eggplant cut into bite size pieces

cherry tomatoes

1 shallot peeled and cut into quarters

cheese of your choice I used comté and didn’t measure- grated – add as much cheese as you like

olive oil

salt and pepper

fresh breadcrumbs

1 small garlic clove thinly sliced

butter

Make the cauliflower puree and set aside. Clean and cut your eggplant and shallot, heat the oven to 400 degree’s. Place parchment on sheet pan and lay the vegetables and whole cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for approximately 20-30 minutes. The eggplant and shallot should be soft and the tomatoes nicely caramelized.

Heat a little olive oil and butter in a skillet on med high heat, add garlic and sauté until soft. Add the breadcrumbs stirring so that the fat is absorbed by the breadcrumbs. Toast in the skillet until crisp and browned.

Heat cauliflower puree in saucepan add grated cheese. Serve immediately with the roasted vegetables spooned on top, sprinkled with breadcrumbs and garnish with a little parsley if you like.

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Créme Anglaise

2 servings

Adapted from a recipe by Julia Child

3 egg yolks

2-3 tbs maple syrup

1 cup half and half or whole milk

2 tsp vanilla

2 tbs Poire William (you can use the juices from the poached pears for this)

Whisk egg yolks with the maple syrup until the yolks are thick and pale yellow. Heat milk to scalding and add in a slow steady stream to the egg yolks whisking constantly. Pour into the saucepan and cook on medium to medium low heat until it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon, using your finger swipe a line and if it stays intact it’s done. Remove from heat immediately, pour through a fine sieve to remove any bits of egg that may have cooked and add the vanilla and pear liquor.  Refrigerate until ready to use, since this is best served warm heat over simmering water (bain marie) until warm to the touch. The créme anglaise which is usually a light yellow because of the maple syrup and vanilla is more beige in color.

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Poached Pears

Heat oven to 375 degree’s. Peel, cut in half and core the pears,  place in a buttered baking dish adding some Poire William, pear nectar or whatever liquid you like. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until pears are soft when gently poked with the end of a sharp knife.

If your créme anglaise is cold you can warm over simmering water. Spoon onto a plate and top with the pear.

You can add a cinnamon stick, star anise, cardamom pod or whatever spice you like to the pears and this will infuse with a gentle warm spice that would be delicious as well.

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Count Dracula

Percy as Count Dracula

Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower Cake And Apple Pear Crumble With Creamy Cider Syrup

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I just have to say what a lifesaver it has been to have the guest posts. I have been so extremely busy I really haven’t cooked much of anything and most of what I have cooked is not noteworthy enough to blog about. Thank you so much to everyone who has submitted guest posts, you truly are amazing. I also have been delinquent in reading and commenting on your blogs. I will not be able to catch up there are just too many, once Halloween is done I should be able to breathe and get back to my routine.

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Searching through the hundreds of cookbooks I have (and rarely use) I happened upon this recipe from “Plenty More” by Yotam Ottolenghi. Since my latests obsession is cauliflower this immediately grabbed my attention, the list of ingredients sounds delicious, I decided this is a recipe I have to try. It does contain some flour, one cup of all purpose flour but I subbed spelt flour making it lower in carbs and more healthful. It’s a simple recipe, easy to put together and with my current crazy busy schedule this was a must. I really do love Ottolenghi’s cookbooks, the photo’s are drool worthy and recipes are not complex they use simple ingredients but how they put it all together is genius.

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Cauliflower Cake

from Plenty More- Yotam Ottolenghi

Serves 6-8

1 small head cauliflower broken into 1 1/2 inch florets

1 medium onion (recipe calls for  a red onion)

5 tbs olive oil (I didn’t measure)

1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

7 large eggs

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1 cup all purpose flour (I used spelt flour)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/3 tsp turmeric

1 1/2 cups grated parmesan or your favorite grating cheese

melted butter for brushing – about 1 tbs

1 tbs white sesame seeds

1 tsp nigella seeds (I misplaced them so just used sesame)

salt and pepper to taste

Pre heat oven to 400 degree’s

Place cauliflower florets in saucepan filled with salted water, simmer for 15 minutes until the florets are quite soft, they should break when pressed with a spoon. Drain and set aside in a colander.

Cut 4 round slices approximately 1/4 inch thick from one end of the onion and set aside. Coursely chop the rest of the onion and place in a pan with some olive oil and the rosemary. Cook for 1o minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time until soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer the onions to a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and basil and whisk well, then add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, cheese and 1 tsp salt (I used less salt) and plenty of ground pepper stir to combine and add the cauliflower stirring gently so as not to break up the florets.

Line the base and sides of a 9 1/2 inch springform pan with parchment paper. Brush the sides with melted butter then mix together the sesame and nigella seeds and toss them in the pan and swirl the pan around so that the seeds stick to the buttered sides. Pour the cauliflower mixture in the pan smooth the top and arrange the onion rings on top ( I sprinkled some of the grated cheese on top as well). Place in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown and set. A knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes before serving. It should be served warm or at room temperature rather than hot.

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For Dessert was an apple Pear crumble using no refined sugar and almost no flour. To sweeten the fruit and crumble I used a little bit of maple syrup and served it with a creamy cider reduction, again made completely without sugar. The natural sweetness of the cider when cooked down into a syrup is intensely sweet, I softened it with a little heavy cream (to make even more decadent you could add a little butter also) and the end product was amazing on this simple crumble. The cider syrup would be great on oatmeal, pancakes or waffles also, instead of adding cream just add a little butter.

This dessert is great and you don’t feel badly eating it, you could even use a little less maple syrup because the cider syrup is sweet enough that you would never know that this is not loaded with sugar.

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Apple Pear Crumble

Made 2

Crumble topping

1/4 cup whole oats

1/4 cup spelt flour

2 tbs toasted hazelnut flour (or any nut flour)

pinch of salt

2 tbs softened (not melted) coconut oil

1 tbs cold butter

2 tbs maple syrup

Mix everything together with your fingers until it is blended completely (it will look more like a cookie dough). Pre heat oven to 375 degree’s

2 -3 apples  (if you don’t have pear use 3 apples)

1 ripe pear

1 tbs maple syrup

pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg and salt

Peel and slice the apples and pears. Oil or butter the baking dish, mix the fruit with the maple syrup, spices and salt, lay the fruit in the pan. Add the crumble topping and pour a little apple cider over it. Bake for 30-40 minutes until crumble is browned and fruit is soft.  Note: The crumble topping was patted into place rather than dropping in crumbles, after baking I broke it up  kind of like a cookie crust.

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Creamy Cider Syrup

Apple cider

Heavy cream

Pour about 1 cup cider in saucepan  over medium high heat until reduced to a very thick syrup, it took about 20 minutes. One cup of cider reduced to about 1/4 cup of syrup. The more cider you use the longer it will take to reduce of course. One cup of cider in a saucepan took a little over 20 minutes on medium high heat.

Reduces to almost nothing

Reduces to almost nothing you can see my hand reflected in the pan, LOL.

Add some heavy cream about 2 tbs and continue to cook another 30 seconds approximately. The sauce will be thick.

Spoon over the crumble and enjoy.

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