Monday, December 31, 2012

French Indigo Lentil Soup

(recipe adapted from Cooking From an Ecological Kitchen by Lorna Sass)

2 quarts mushroom or vegetable broth, or water
3 cups chopped onions (2 very large onions)
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. Aleppo pepper (or crushed red pepper flakes)
2 cups chopped celery (3 large ribs, halved lengthwise and sliced)
2 cups chopped carrots (about 2 large carrots)
8 ounces mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
2 cups French indigo lentils, rinsed (also known as Du Puy lentils)
3 small bay leaves
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
3/4 cup shredded greens (baby spinach or Swiss chard)
1/4 cup finely minced parsley
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Add 2 Tbsp. of the broth to a heavy saucepan and heat over medium high heat.  Add the onions and garlic, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes, adding small amounts of broth to prevent burning the bottom of the pan.  Add the thyme, oregano, and pepper flakes, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the celery, carrots, mushrooms, remaining broth, lentils, and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 40 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, shredded greens, parsley, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer an additional 10 minutes.

Taste and adjust seasonings, ladle into bowls, and serve.

(Packed with veggies, hearty and makes a ton!)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tomato Basil Soup

(this is from a food blog, but I can't remember which one - maybe 101 cookbooks?)

3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 large carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 medium sweet onions, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. salt
3 28-ounce cans of whole peeled tomatoes
1 quart (4 cups) broth
10 fresh basil leaves (plus more for garnish)

Combine all ingredients in a heavy-lidded pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low and simmer, covered, for about 2 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.  Allow the soup to cool slightly.  Then puree in batches in a blender until very smooth.  If you like a thinner consistency, add a little bit more stock or water.

Garnish with more fresh basil.

(This may be the best tomato soup I've ever tasted.  And so easy to make!  It simmered merrily for two hours while I decorated my Christmas tree.  Although it's a pureed soup, my dinner guest Mike thought it was very hearty.  We ate it with some grilled cheese sandwiches, yum.  It makes a ton, too!  Enough for a dinner guest, then a week's worth of lunches.)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Roasted Fennel and Mushroom Salad with Radishes

(recipe from Cooks Illustrated magazine)

2 medium bulbs fennel (about 1 1/2 pounds), bulbs quartered, cored, and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices, 1/3 cup fronds reserved and chopped
1 1/4 pounds cremini mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned, and cut into quarters if large or halved if medium
3 Tbsp. olive oil
salt & pepper
1/4 tsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 to 6 radishes, halved and sliced thin (about 3/4 cup)

Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place large rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 500F.  Toss fennel and mushrooms with 2 Tbsp. oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and sugar in large bowl.  Remove baking sheet from oven and, working quickly, carefully transfer fennel and mushrooms to sheet and spread in even layer.  (Do not wash bowl.)  Roast until vegetables are tender and well browned on one side, 20 to 25 minutes (do not stir during roasting).

Meanwhile, whisk remaining tablespoon oil, lemon juice, mustard, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper in now-empty bowl.

Toss hot vegetables with vinaigrette and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.  Stir in radishes and reserved fennel fronds, transfer to serving platter, and serve.

Serves 4.

(I found this to keep ok in the fridge for a few days.  Really interesting mix of flavors and textures.  The fennel was a nice, soft, creamy consistency after roasting.  Love the mustard dressing, really made it pop!)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Spiced Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk

(recipe from Sprouted Kitchen)

1 1/2 cups green lentils, rinsed
4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tsp. tumeric OR curry powder
2 tsp. dried thyme or 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbsp. coconut oil (I used olive oil)
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 stalks lemongrass, outer layer removed, lower portion finely minced
1 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of red pepper flakes to taste
pinch of fresh grated nutmeg (I used dried)
1 1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat)
3 Tbsp. lemon, lime, or orange juice
a few handfuls of swiss chard, spinach or kale
1 cup flake coconut, toasted (optional)
chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Add the rinsed lentils, broth, thyme, and tumeric or curry powder to a large pot.  Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook for about 20 minutes.

While the lentils cook, heat the oil in a pan.  Add the onion and saute until just browned.  Add the lemongrass, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, pinch of red pepper flakes, and some fresh ground nutmeg and saute another minute.  Add the onion mixture to the lentils and stir, keeping the heat on a low simmer.

Add the coconut milk and greens and simmer another five minutes, stirring occasionally until just wilted.  Taste for salt and spice and add as you prefer.  Finish with the citrus juice and serve warm with toasted coconut flakes and cilantro on top.

4 cups broth yield a stewier soup.  If you prefer more broth to your soup, add another cup or two when cooking the lentils.

(Amazing!  I liked the stewier consistency.  I added the toasted coconut flakes and cilantro right in at the end.  This was wonderful for work lunches, so hearty.  The citrus juice really makes the whole thing pop.  Really unique dish.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Roasted Broccoli with Garlic and Red Pepper

(recipe from Bon Appetit magazine)

1 1/4 lbs. broccoli crowns, cut into florets (about 8 cups)
3 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
Large pinch of dried crushed red pepper

Preheat oven to 450 F.  Toss broccoli and 3 Tbsp. oil in a large bowl to coat.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast 15 minutes.  Stir remaining 1/2 Tbsp. oil, garlic, and red pepper in a small bowl.  Drizzle garlic mixture over broccoli; toss to coat.  Roast until broccoli is beginning to brown, about 8 minutes longer.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

(It took 32 years for me to really like broccoli.  Roasting it makes it so good!  Tender, but crisp, garlicky and zippy.  This says it serves 4 to 6 side servings, but I ate most of it in one sitting.  Yum.)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Roasted Carrot-Coconut Soup

(this recipe is from a cooking blog, but I can't remember which one)

1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 small red onions, quartered
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1-inch ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 to 2 tsp. Thai red curry paste
2 cups veggie stock
1 15 oz. can coconut milk (full fat)
1/2 lime
cilantro (optional)
toasted coconut flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 425F.

In a medium mixing bowl, toss carrot and onion with oil, sugar, and salt.  Spread the veggies evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until browned and tender, stirring once halfway through.

Transfer the veggies to a food processor or blender along with the ginger, 1 tsp. curry paste, and the stock.  Blend until incorporated.

Add coconut milk and blend until smooth.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and additional curry paste if you like spice.  Add lime juice and any additional liquid if you prefer your soup thinner in texture.  Spoon into bowls and serve with cilantro or toasted coconut for garnish.

(So simple and tasty.  I used the food processor, but think a blender would have given a better consistency.  Also, I just mixed the cilantro right into the soup at the end.  I think this soup benefits from a day or two of having the flavors blend.)

Hearty Greens Soup with Pasta and Tomatoes

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
4 plum tomatoes, cored and chopped (I used one 15 oz. can chopped tomatoes)
2 carrots, chopped
8 cups water (or broth)
1 bunch Swiss chard (about 3/4 lb.), roughly chopped
1/2 bunch escarole (about 1/2 lb.), stemmed and roughly chopped
1/2 lb. dried bowtie pasta (I used wheat-free macaroni)
1 (3-inch) Parmigiano Reggiano rind, plus grated cheese for garnish (I omitted this)
1/4 lb. baby spinach

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add garlic, onions, bay leaf, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until caramelized, about 15 minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook until most of the liquid is released and absorbed, about 5 minutes more.  Add carrots and water and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

Stir in Swiss chard, escarole, pasta and Parmigiano Reggiano rind, reduce heat, cover and simmer until broth is flavorful and greens and pasta are tender, about 15 minutes.  Stir in spinach and season with salt and pepper.

Remove and discard bay leaf and rind from the soup, then ladle into bowls.  Garnish with grated cheese and serve.

(All of the greens packed into this soup made it so good!  I'd almost rather switch the pasta for beans in this recipe.  It makes a lot, and is very hearty.)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Roasted Green Bean and Potato Salad with Radicchio

(recipe from unknown magazine - Cook's Illustrated?)

1 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 lb. red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1/2 tsp.)
1 small head radicchio (about 6 oz.), washed and cut into 2- by 1/4-inch slices (about 4 cups)

Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place large rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees.  Toss beans and potatoes with 2 Tbsp. oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and sugar in a large bowl.  Remove baking sheet from the oven and, working quickly, carefully transfer beans and potatoes to sheet and spread in an even layer.  (Do not wash bowl.)  Roast until vegetables are tender and well browned on one side, 20 to 25 minutes (do not stir during roasting).

Meanwhile, whisk remaining 1 Tbsp. oil, vinegar, garlic, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper in now-empty bowl.

Toss hot vegetables with vinaigrette and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.  Stir in radicchio, transfer to a serving platter, and serve.

(Very earthy.  Radicchio is bitter, and I found that eating this salad with some other greens mixed in (like romaine) can reduce the bitter a bit. I found this salad to hold up pretty well for a few days in the fridge.  Simple and satisfying, and different.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Yellow Split-Pea Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale

(recipe from

2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. whole cumin
1 tsp. black mustard seeds
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. canola oil
2 tsp. ginger paste or 1 Tbsp. finely minced fresh ginger
2 tsp. finely minced garlic
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
8 cups water or broth
3 cups dried yellow split peas, picked over and rinsed
1 - 2 Tbsp. mild curry powder (to taste)
salt to taste
1 bunch kale

In a large pot, saute the onions with oil or cooking spray for about 5 minutes.  When they are becoming translucent, push them to one side and pour the cumin and mustard seeds directly onto the bottom of the pot.  Pour the canola oil over the seeds and stir them lightly.  As soon as the seeds begin to pop, mix them in with the onions.  Add the ginger and garlic, and cook for one more minute.  Add the sweet potatoes, water, split peas, and 1 Tbsp. curry powder.  Stir well.

Cover the pot and simmer until the split peas are tender and beginning to break down, about an hour.  Stir regularly to make sure that the split peas don't stick to the bottom of the pan, and add water if necessary.

While the soup is cooking, wash the kale and remove and discard the tough central rib.  Chop the leaves coarsely.  When the split peas are cooked, add the kale to the pot, season to taste with salt and additional curry powder, if necessary, and add additional water if the soup is too thick.  Cover the pot.  For kale that retains some crunch, simply leave the pot covered for 5 or 10 minutes without heating, allowing the kale to cook in the heat of the soup.  For kale that is more tender, you may return the pot to low heat for 10 minutes.

(I couldn't find yellow split peas in Whole Foods Market!!  So I used green split peas.  This soup is not exciting, but it is hearty and satisfying.  The sweet potatoes and kale add a little interest.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Harissa Spaghetti

(recipe from

3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
a big pinch of fine grain sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. harissa paste

8 oz. (1/2 lb) spaghetti (I used a quinoa/corn/amaranth pasta, since I'm trying not to do wheat)
1 small bunch kale, washed, deveined, and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted (I also cut these into quarters)
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
zest of 1 lemon

Bring a big pot of water to a boil.  In the meantime, place the cloves of garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle them with a big pinch of salt.  Crush with the flat side of a knife.  Now crush and chop, crush and chop until you have a garlic paste.  Alternately, you can use a mortar and pestle.  In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic paste, harissa, and olive oil.  Set aside.

Generously salt the boiling water, add the pasta, and cook per package instructions.  Just before the pasta is done, add the kale to the pasta water, count to six, drain and set aside.

Heat half of the harissa dressing in the now empty pasta pot.  Add the pasta and kale, black olives, pine nuts, and lemon zest.  Stir over the heat for a minute or so, then turn everything out onto a platter and drizzle with the remaining harissa olive oil.  (I just stirred all of the harissa olive oil into the pot along with the other ingredients.)

(Amazing.  At first, it seemed a bit too salty, but after a day (I split this up for lunches over many days) the flavors blended into an amazing spicy yummy dish.  So good.  And with that, I finally used all of my small can of harissa!  Yay!  What a culinary adventure!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Butternut Squash with Shallots and Sage

(recipe from Gourmet: Italian Kitchen magazine)

2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 shallots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (3/4 cup)
1 (1 3/4 lb.) butternut squash, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (4 cups)
1/2 cup broth or water
1 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. finely chopped sage
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook shallots and squash, stirring, until shallots are softened, about 5 minutes.

Add broth, brown sugar, sage, and 1/2 tsp. salt, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.

(I overcooked my squash, so it became more of a mash.  Ah, well.  Very yummy, with strong shallot flavor, hint of sweetness, herby sage, and the balsamic pulling it all together.  Flavorful!)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Miso Harissa Delicata Squash

(recipe from

1/2 lb. small fingerling potatoes, washed and dried
3/4 lb. delicata squash
1/4 cup olive oil
scant 1/4 cup white miso
scant 1 Tbsp. harissa paste
3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 ounce kale, de-stemmed and finely chopped
4 radishes, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 ounce Marcona almonds, toasted pepitas, or other toasted nuts

Preheat the oven to 400F.  If the potatoes aren't tiny, slice them into pieces no larger than your thumb.  Cut the delicata squash in half length-wise, and use a spoon to clear out all the seeds.  Cut into 1/2-inch wide half-moons.  You can leave the peel on these squash.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, miso, and harissa.  Place the potatoes and squash in a large bowl with 1/3 cup of the miso-harissa oil.  Use your hands to toss well, then turn everything out onto a baking sheet.  Bake until everything is baked through and browned, about 25 to 30 minutes.  Toss once or twice along the way after things start to brown a bit.  Keep an eye on things though, you can go from browned to burned in a flash.

In the meantime, whisk the lemon juice into the remaining miso-harissa oil.  Taste, it should be intensely flavorful, but if yours is too spicy or salty, you can dilute it with a bit more olive oil or lemon juice.  Stir the kale into the leftover dressing and set aside.

Place the warm roasted vegetables in a bowl and toss with the kale mixture, radishes, and almonds.

Serves 2 to 4.

(Absolutely amazing!  Make this at once!!)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Green Soup with Ginger

(recipe adapted from Love Soup by Anna Thomas, via

1 large yellow onion
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
1 large sweet potato (12 ounces)
1 large leek, white and light green parts (5 ounces)
1 bunch spinach (8 ounces)
1 large bunch green chard (12 ounces)
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger, plus more to taste
2 cups vegetable broth
2 to 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
freshly ground pepper

Chop the onion and cook it slowly in the olive oil with a sprinkle of salt, stirring now and then, over low heat, until it is soft and golden, about half an hour.

Meanwhile, peel and dice the sweet potato and put it in a large soup pot with 4 cups water, 2 cups broth, and a teaspoon of salt.  Thoroughly wash the leek, spinach, and chard, chop them coarsely, and add them to the pot, along with the chopped ginger.

Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer the soup, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are competely tender.  Add the caramelized onions when they are ready.  Decide whether you want your soup chunky, like this, or smooth.  If the latter, puree the soup in a blender, in batches, or with an immersion blender until it is smooth.

Stir in 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice and a few grinds of black pepper.  Taste, and correct the seasoning with additional salt or lemon juice.

Serves 5-6.

(Absolutely delicious and flavorful, packed with greens.  I did not puree mine.  An instant favorite.)

Tunisian Bean and Chickpea Stew

(recipe from

1 15-ounce can navy beans, drained
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
4 to 6 cups water or broth
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium tomatoes, chopped, or one 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cups raw pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I used butternut squash)
2 to 4 tsp. harissa
1 tsp. paprika
salt and pepper to taste
parsley, for garnish (optional)

In a large pot, saute onions until they are beginning to brown.  Stir in the garlic and tomatoes, and cook for another 10 minutes (5 minutes for canned tomatoes).  Add the beans, water, harissa, and seasonings and bring to a boil.  Cover and cook over medium heat until pumpkin is very tender, about 30 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

(On a mission to use all of my small can of harissa!  This was a tasty stew.  The harissa gives it a nice little kick.  Beans, tomatoes, and squash are a nice combo for fall.  I added some kale with good result.)

Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad with Watercress

(recipe from an unknown magazine)

2 lbs. beets, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
2 lbs. carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
6 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 tsp. honey
2 medium shallots, minced (about 3 Tbsp.)
12 ounces watercress, washed and trimmed (about 8 cups)

Preheat oven to 400F.  Toss beets and carrots with 4 Tbsp. oil, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. ground pepper, and sugar in a large bowl.  Transfer beets and carrots to a baking sheet, spread in an even layer.  (Do not wash bowl.)  Roast until vegetables are tender and well browned on one side, 20 to 25 minutes (do not stir during roasting).

Meanwhile, whisk remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, vinegar, honey, shallots, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in now-empty bowl.

Toss hot vegetables with vinaigrette and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.  Stir in watercress, transfer to a serving platter, and serve.

Serves 8.

(Delicious!  I took this for work lunches.  Best to mix watercress just ahead of eating, but I found that the watercress holds up well enough when mixed in and kept refrigerated for several days.)

Broccoli Salad with Almond and Chile Dressing

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

1/2 cup almond butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. chopped pitted dates, raisins, or prunes
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. salt or 1 Tbsp. tamari
1/2 small serrano pepper, finely chopped (optional)
1/3 cup water
2 heads broccoli, cut into florets and lightly steamed
1/3 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts

In a food processor, puree almond butter, lemon juice, dates, ginger, garlic, salt, pepper, and water until smooth.  Transfer dressing to a large bowl, add broccoli and cilantro and toss well.  Cover and marinate for up to 1 hour, if you like.  Arrange bean sprouts on a large platter, top with broccoli, garnish with cilantro and serve.

Serves 6 to 8.

(The dressing was very tasty! - it would probably be delicious on soba noodles, too.  Make sure to drain your broccoli well after steaming, as mine was a bit watery and it made the sauce too thin.  Also, instead of the mung bean sprouts, I bought a mix of sprouts (like chickpea, lentil, etc.) and I think that tasted nicer, more like a salad.  This salad does not keep too well.  I kept the broccoli and sauce in a separate container from the sprouts, but the sauce breaks down after a day or two.  Perhaps keep the sauce separate and whisk well before using, if you'd like it to keep longer than a day or two.  I also added harissa to the sauce, which gave it a bigger kick than the pepper.)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tempeh Chili

(recipe from

2 tsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 8-oz. cake of tempeh, crumbled
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 small can chipotle chili en adobo (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the chopped onion, red and green peppers, jalapenos, and crumbled tempeh and stir-fry for 5 to 6 minutes.  Stir in the cumin and salt.  Add the canned tomatoes, kidney beans, chopped cilantro, and chipotle pepper.  Allow the mixture to simmer for about 40 minutes.

(Super easy.  You really can't go wrong with tempeh chili - you could add any veggies you like to this.  The chipotle pepper makes it killer!  So good.)

Soft Zucchini with Harissa, Olives, and Feta

(recipe from The Wednesday Chef)

1/8 tsp. ground caraway seeds
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. harissa paste
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled
4 zucchini, sliced into thick rounds
Handful of Kalamata olives, pitted
1/4 to 1/2 cup coarsely crumbled feta
Small handful parsley leaves, chopped

Put the ground caraway, lemon juice, harissa, and olive oil in a serving bowl.  Crush the garlic clove through a garlic press and add to the bowl.  Whisk to combine.

Fit a vegetable steamer into a pot with an inch or two of water and bring to a boil.  Steam the zucchini until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.  They should not be falling apart.  Add the zucchini to the serving bowl and gently toss with the harissa vinaigrette while still warm.

Dress the zucchini with the olives, feta, and parsley.  Serve immediately.

(Keeping it vegan, I did not add feta.  Still very tasty (the olives give it plenty of saltiness).  Note:  harissa is spicy, yo!!  I brought this to eat for lunch, so ended up eating it room temperature most of the time.  It was also good heated up and served with quinoa.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

1/4 cup raw sunflower kernels
3 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk, divided
3 tsp. mild curry powder, divided, more to taste
1 cup chopped yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
5 cups (about 1 pound) cauliflower florets

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a small bowl, toss sunflower kernels with 1 tsp. almond milk and 1 tsp. curry powder.  Spread out on a small parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake, tossing once or twice, until toasted and fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes; set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 1/2 cup almond milk in a large pot over medium heat.   Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add cauliflower, remaining 2 tsp. curry powder, and almond milk, cover and simmer until cauliflower is very tender, about 40 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning with more curry powder if you like.  Working in batches, carefully puree in a blender until smooth.  Transfer to bowls, garnish with sunflower seeds, and serve.

(Another delicious and simple-to-make soup!  I doubted the bother of the curry-baked sunflower seeds, but ended up mixing them right into the soup after I pureed it, and they gave a nice surprising texture to the soup.  The curry flavor and the creaminess of the soup were perfect.  I brought this to work for lunches and enjoyed it every time.)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Winning Hearts And Minds Cake

(recipe from A Homemade Life, by Molly Wizenberg)

"This recipe is as simple as can be:  all it takes is five ingredients, a bowl, a spoon, and a cake pan.  Because it's all about chocolate, you'll want a good one whose flavor you love, with 60 to 70% cocoa solids.  I like Scharffen Berger quite a bit, but in a pinch, I've also used Ghirardelli 60% chips.  They have a nice flavor and are very inexpensive, and you don't even have to chop them, which saves a lot of time.
Also, note that this cake freezes surprisingly well.  In fact, its texture and flavor are actually improved by freezing.  Try to make it far enough in advance that you can freeze it for at least a day or so, and be sure to allow 24 hours for it to then return to room temperature before serving.  It's worth the trouble."

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 3/4 sticks (7 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 375F, and butter an 8-inch round cake pan.  Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper, and butter the paper, too.

Put the chocolate and butter in a medium microwavable bowl.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds at a time, stirring often, until just smooth.  (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over, but not touching, barely simmering water.)  When the mixture is smooth, add the sugar, stirring well to incorporate.  Set the batter aside to cool for 5 minutes.  Then add the eggs one by one, stirring well after each addition.  Add the flour and stir to mix well.  The batter should be dark and silky.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is lightly crackled, the edges are puffed, and the center of the cake looks set.  I usually set the timer for 20 minutes to start with, and then I check the cake every 2 minutes after that, until it's ready.  At 20 minutes, the center of the cake is usually still quite jiggly; you'll know it's done when the center only jiggles slightly, if at all.

Remove the cake from the oven to a cooling rack, and let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes.  Carefully turn it out of the pan and then flip it onto a serving plate, so that the crackly side faces up.  Since the cake is fairly delicate, this can be tricky, but I've found that the easiest way is as follows.

Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the pan, and place a large, flat plate - not the serving plate - on top of the foil, facing down.  (A small sheet pan would also work.)  Hold the cake pan and plate firmly together and quickly, carefully, flip them.  The pan should now be on top of the plate, with the foil between them.  Remove the pan, revealing the cake, which is now upside-down.  Remove the parchment paper.  Place the serving plate gently atop the cake.  Wedging your index fingers between the plates to keep from squishing the cake, flip them so that the cake is now right side up.  Remove the foil.

Cool completely before serving, preferably with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Note:  This cake can be kept at room temperature, sealed in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days, or it can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.  (Be sure to bring it to room temperature before serving.)  To freeze it, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then foil, and it will keep for up to a month.  Before serving, defrost at room temperature for 24 hours, still fully wrapped.

(No, this is not vegan!  I made this cake for Ashley's birthday; our celebration was held out on Diamond Cove island at Alison's parents' place.  Molly, herself, says this cake is "no beauty queen", but it is decadent (nearly half a pound of chocolate!!) and delicious.  I made it ahead and froze it for a few days, as recommended.  Since it thaws still wrapped tightly, I transported it on the ferry still wrapped on a plate, and it was a cinch.  We served it topped with homemade whipped cream and sliced strawberries, and birthday candles, of course!  It is surprisingly light and airy, kind of like a more solid mousse.  A big hit!  Almost the entire cake was eaten in the one evening.  I, myself, had two servings.  A real treat.  Also, I used the Ghirardelli 60% chips, which were, indeed, super easy since no chopping was needed.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Crisp Fennel and Radish Salad

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

Serves 6.

1 bunch red radishes
3 medium fennel bulbs
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper

Trim roots and stems from the radishes and halve them lengthwise.  Slice into thin half-circles.  Put the radishes in a medium bowl. Trim feathery fronds from fennel bulbs and reserve for garnish.  Cut bulbs in half lengthwise and then into quarters.  Remove the tough core at the base of each quarter.  Slice each quarter crosswise as thinly as possible.  Add to the radishes.

Add the lemon juice and zest, olive oil, and salt and pepper to radishes and fennel.  Garnish with reserved fronds and serve.

(A tasty and simple salad, very spare - so you really have to like fennel and radishes.  I would recommend eating this pretty soon after making it.  I kept it in the fridge and ate it for several days for lunch at work, and, though the taste was still good, the salad got a little watery over time and the radishes kind of bled their color.  There was an online comment for this recipe which suggested adding dill, which sounds, and would probably taste, really good.)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fresh Tomato Farfalle with Sweet Corn and Basil

(recipe from Vegetarian Times magazine, 2010)

1/4 cup lime juice
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. grated lime zest
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 lb. tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces (5 cups)
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup torn basil leaves
9 oz. farfalle pasta (I used fusilli)
1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

Combine lime juice, oil, lime zest, and cumin in bowl.  Add tomatoes, chickpeas, and basil; toss to coat.  Set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Add corn to pasta water 2 minutes before end of cooking time.  Drain, and toss with tomato mixture.

(Nice, fresh, flavorful salad.  I used an assortment of heirloom tomatoes for color variety.  Since I am currently reading the book Wheatbelly, about the unhealthiness of modern wheat, I used a rice & millet pasta, which tasted fine.  This pasta salad was perfect for work lunches.)

Cherry Arugula Salad with Almonds and Tarragon

(recipe from

2 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 small shallot, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. water
6 Tbsp. slivered almonds, divided
1/2 lb. cherries (about 2 cups), pitted and halved, divided
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
5 oz. baby arugula
1 1/2 cups cooked whole grains (ie: barley, farro, wheat berries, wild rice)

In a blender, combine vinegar, shallot, mustard, water, 3 Tbsp. of the almonds, and 1/4 cup of the pitted cherries.  Blend until very smooth, about 1 minute.  Stir in tarragon.

Combine arugula, cooked grains, and remaining cherries in a large bowl.  Toss with the dressing and garnish with the remaining 3 Tbsp. almonds.

(This is a lovely salad.  I altered it quite a bit:  used tarragon vinegar in place of real tarragon, used onion powder since I didn't have a shallot, only had half the amount of almonds so I didn't blend any with the dressing...  Still it turned out nice!  Big cherry flavor.  I used barley as the grain.)  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Peanut Butter and Greens Soup

(recipe from online, not sure where)

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil (I use canola)
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
6 cups vegetable broth
2 tomatoes, diced
1 bunch collard greens, cut or torn into strips or small pieces (I used kale)
1/3 tsp. cumin
dash cayenne pepper
1/3 tsp salt
1 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice

Sautee the onion and garlic in oil for about 3 minutes, or until onions start to turn clear and soft.  Add ginger and heat one more minute.  Add broth, tomatoes, greens, cumin, cayenne and salt and allow to cook for about 15 minutes.

Carefully add the peanut butter, and stir well to combine.  Allow to cook until the peanut butter is melted and incorporated.  Drizzle with lime juice just before serving.

(What a simple preparation, and unusual soup!  I brought this for work lunches, and it kept getting better and better each day.  Very light.  I liked to add a bit more cayenne to each serving.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sesame-Peanut Noodles

(recipe from

Serves 4.

1 (8-oz.) pkg. 100% whole grain soba noodles
2 cups snow peas, strings removed (I used snap peas, and I roughly chopped them.)
2 Tbsp. roasted, unsalted, unsweetened smooth peanut butter or almond butter
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame tahini
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced green onions
3 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Cook soba noodles according to package directions.  Add snow peas with 1 minute cooking time remaining.  Drain noodles and snow peas thoroughly.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together peanut butter, vinegar, tamari, tahini and crushed red pepper.  Add a splash of warm water if needed to thin the sauce so it will coat the vegetables and noodles.  Add noodles, snow peas, carrots, bell pepper, green onions, and sesame seeds.  Toss to coat noodles and vegetables thoroughly with sauce.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.

(I actually doubled the sauce for this, I think because I had a little more vegetables than called for.  This is a simple salad, but it has a nice taste.  Perfect to bring for work lunches.  Nice for the summer.)

Desert Sun

(recipe from a magazine, I'm not sure which one)

"Summaiya Peterman has developed drink recipes for bars all over Manhattan, most recently the trendy Blue Water Grill.  This cocktail is among her summer favorites."

1 serving:

3 oz. Stolichnaya vodka
1 oz. Grand Marnier
1 oz. orange juice
Splash of lime juice

Combine the vodka, Grand Marnier, and citrus juices.  Shake and pour into a martini glass.  Finish with a splash of grenadine and serve.

(I made this in a pitcher for Ladies Night in my garden.  Joann, Alison, Ashley, and Kristen were in attendence, while Amy Casey joined us for a bit via wi-fi (!).  Since I don't have martini glasses, I served them in flutes, with an ice cube or two, and a splash of grenadine on top (found a lovely real grenadine with actual juices at Whole Foods).  Everyone agreed that these were VERY strong drinks.  And they looked like a sunset in a glass.  Cheers!)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ratatouille Barley Salad

(Recipe from 101 Cookbooks)

Serves 8.

1 cup pearled barley (can also use quinoa, farro, bulgar, rice, etc.)
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. agave nectar
1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2" slices
about 3 zucchini, 1/2" coins
olive oil & lemon pepper for cooking
2 cups baby tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup finely chopped basil
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
salt, as needed

Rinse the barley.  Put it in a pot with about 3 cups of water.  Bring it to a boil then down to a simmer, add a few pinches of salt and cook for about 25-30 minutes until tender.  Drain any excess water and transfer the grains to a big mixing bowl.  Add the minced garlic and a pinch of salt while the grains are still hot, and stir.  Add the oil, vinegar, and agave and stir to coat.  Set aside.

Heat a hearty drizzle of olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat (you can alternatively grill the eggplant and zucchini).  Add the zucchini and a generous sprinkle of lemon pepper and saute until well charred and cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to the barley bowl.  Rub lemon pepper or similar seasoning on all sides of the eggplant.  Sear the eggplant in the pan; this will have to be done in two batches.  Cook both sides with a bunch of seasonings until the eggplant starts to soften and then add a drizzle of oil.  (Turns out a bit less greasy this way.)  Let the eggplant cool slightly.  Chop it into 2" chunks and add it to the barley bowl.  Add the halved tomatoes, basil, parsley and toss everything to mix.  Taste for salt and pepper and maybe a bit more vinegar, if you prefer.  Serve at room temperature.

(I chopped the zucchini and eggplant into small, bite-size chunks, put on a baking sheet with drizzles of oil and sprinklings of lemon pepper and roasted them in the oven to cut down on frying in oil.  This salad is delicious!)

Tangy Bean Salad with Carrots and Green Onions

(Recipe from Whole Foods Market)

Serves 4.

3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp. mustard, preferably German
1 Tbsp. sesame tahini
3 Tbsp. water
2 1/2 cups cooked and drained garbanzo or cannellini beans (I used half of each)
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

Whisk together vinegar, tamari, mustard, tahini and water in a medium bowl.  Add beans, green onions, carrots, and parsley, toss to combine, and set aside at room temperature to let marinate for at least 15 minutes before serving.

(This gets better and better the longer it sits.  I added some dill and lemon juice.  Delicious in a whole wheat wrap with Dijon mustard and watercress.  Also good over salad greens.  So easy to make.)

Collards with Lentils, Tomatoes, and Indian Spices

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

Serves 4.

1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tsp. garam masala (an Indian spice blend)
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 bunch collard greens, thick stems removed and leaves sliced into 1-inch-thick ribbons
1 cup red lentils

Bring 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.  Stir in garam masala and cook 1 minute.  Add tomatoes and their juices with 1 cup water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in collards.  Cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine lentils and 2 cups water in a medium pot.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook about 8 minutes, or until lentils are tender.  Stir lentils into skillet with collards and serve.

(Very easy and tasty, served alone or with some sort of grain.  I added more spice, as well as salt and pepper, to my taste.)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lisa's Granola

(recipe from Eating Well magazine)

6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raw, unsalted pepitas
1/2 cup maple syrup
6 Tbsp. canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 325F.  Line a roasting pan or large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine oats, almonds, walnuts, and pepitas in a large bowl.  Whisk maple syrup, oil, honey, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl until blended.  Pour over the oat mixture and toss to coat. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan.

Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until lightly and evenly browned and starting to dry out, 50 minutes to 1 hour.  Let cool completely in the pan before serving or storing.

Store airtight in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.

(Delicious!  I added a bit less oil.  Also, monitor the cooking - my oven is hotter, I think, so I didn't have to bake for as long as they say.  I ate this with blueberries, bananas, and coconut milk and it was yummy.)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pasta With Lentils and Kale

(recipe from Gourmet - Italian Kitchen magazine)

Serves 4.

1/2 cup French (small) green lentils
2 cups water
5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
3/4 lb. kale, preferably Tuscan (lacinato)
3/4 lb. dried short tubular pasta (I used radiatore)

Simmer lentils in 2 cups water with 1/8 tsp. salt in a small saucepan, uncovered, adding more water if necessary to keep lentils barely covered, until tender but not falling apart, 20 to 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and season with salt.

While lentils simmer, heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then saute onion with 1/4 tsp. pepper and 1/2 tsp. salt, stirring, 1 minute.  Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and golden (stir more frequently toward end of cooking), about 20 minutes.  Remove lid and increase heat to medium, then cook, stirring frequently, until onion is golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes more.  Sitr in lentils, including their liquid, and simmer, scraping up any brown bits, 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper.

While onion cooks, cut out and discard stems and center ribs from kale and coarsely chop leaves.  Start cooking pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of well-salted boiling water, according to package instructions.

Seven minutes before pasta is finished cooking, stir in kale and boil uncovered, until pasta is al dente. Reserve about 1 cup pasta-cooking liquid, then drain pasta and kale in a colander.  Add pasta mixture to lentils along with about 1/3 cup of pasta-cooking liquid (or enough to keep pasta moist) and cook over medium-high heat, tossing, 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil.

(Ate for my lunches at work.  Found that it got better after a few days, once the flavors combined.  The step of cooking the kale along with the pasta was so easy!  I cut down on the oil and salt a bit.  Also, my onions didn't really brown, but the slow, long cooking time made them sweet and tender nonetheless.)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Not-Tuna Salad

(recipe from

1 15oz. can (or equivalent cooked dried) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 apple, cored and chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 Tbsp. dill relish
2 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. kelp granules (I just used some herby salt)
ground pepper to taste

Pulse the garbanzo beans in bowl of a food processor until coarsely chopped.  Transfer to a medium bowl and add apple, celery, pecans, relish, red onion, dill, lemon juice, and kelp granules.  Stir until well combined.  Season with pepper and chill until ready to use.

Perfect for sandwiches, wraps, or spread on crackers.

(I ate this within whole wheat wraps, spread with a little Dijon mustard, along with a few small kale leaves.  I love dill, so I thought this had marvelous flavor.  Oddly tuna salad like in texture and taste...  So easy, and so delicious.)

Wild Rice and Mushrooms

(recipe from

1 cup dried porcini or shitake mushrooms (I used fresh shitake and skipped the soaking step)
2 1/2 cups water, approximately
1 cup wild rice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup sliced carrots
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
salt or soy sauce to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Soak the dried mushrooms in water to cover until they are soft.  Squeeze them out, reserving liquid, and slice.

Wash the wild rice in cold water:  set in a bowl, cover with water and let the debris float to the surface; pour off, rinse and drain.  Place washed rice in a pot with the mushroom-soaking liquid (minus any sediment) and add enough additional cold water to total 2 cups.  Add the orange juice, sherry and carrots. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add mushrooms and continue cooking until rice is tender and all (or most) of the liquid is absorbed.  (Don't cook too long or you'll get starchy, wimpy grains that have lost much of their flavor.)

Add the chopped parsley and salt or soy sauce to taste.  Stir in the nuts.

(I found that, with using fresh mushrooms, I maybe could have used a little less water to cook the rice.  I simmered uncovered for a little while after adding the mushrooms because I had a lot of liquid still.  I worried about over cooking my rice, but it turned out ok.  This dish has the most incredible flavor!  So good!  The orange is not too overpowering, just right.  The nuts add great texture and flavor, chopped very fine.  I actually ate this at room temperature like a rice salad for lunch.  Good both hot and cold.)

Vietnamese Salad

(recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow's blog, GOOP)

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. soy sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce (I left this out)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. agave nectar
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. minced ginger
2 Tbsp. finely diced red onion or shallot

Mix everything together.

4 large bok choy leaves, rough bottoms discarded, stems cut into 1/4" bias and leaves shredded
4 big Napa cabbage leaves, shredded
1 bunch watercress, thick stems discarded, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
the leaves from about 8 stems each basil, mint, cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 small cucumber, thinly sliced on the bias
1 red Thai chili (or more... or less), thinly sliced
1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts, roughly chopped (I also used walnuts to good success)
grilled fish, shrimp, tuna, chicken, or tofu for serving (optional) (I used tempeh)

Toss the bok choy, cabbage, watercress, carrot, herbs, cucumber, chili, and 1/4 cup of the peanuts together with enough dressing to coat.  Serve sprinkled with the remaining peanuts and whatever protein you like.

(This is my new favorite salad.  So good!  Amazing flavor.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dandelion Greens with Toasted Garlic & Almonds

(recipe from Eating Well magazine)

Makes 4 side-dish servings.

1 large bunch dandelion greens or 1 head curly endive, escarole, or chicory, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and about 2 inches of the greens only
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 tsp. salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Drop greens into the boiling water and cook until bright green, stirring one or twice, 30 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on the type of greens.  Drain in a colander, then rinse well with cold water.  Drain again, pressing on the greens to remove excess water.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and scallion; cook, stirring, until the garlic starts to turn golden brown, 30 seconds to 2 minutes.  Add the greens and cook, stirring, until tender and heated through, 1 to 3 minutes.  Stir in almonds and season with salt.  Serve immediately.

(Note from the magazine:  to make the recipe with mellower greens like spinach or chard, skip the blanching step.  Blanching tames the bitter greens.  I still found this to be quite bitter.  It grew on me, though, and I loved the element that the almonds add to the dish.)

Carrot Soup with Miso and Sesame

(recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

2 lbs. carrots, thinly sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 regular or 6 small garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 Tbsp. finely chopped or grated ginger, or more to taste
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup white miso paste, or more to taste
2 scallions, very thinly sliced
drizzle of toasted sesame oil, to garnish

Saute carrots, onion and garlic in 1/2 cup of broth until onion is translucent.  Add remaining broth and ginger.  Cover and simmer until carrots are tender when pierced, stirring occasionally, about 30-40 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in blender, or all at once with an immersion blender.  In a small bowl, whisk together the miso and a half-cup of the soup.  Stir the mixture back into the pot of soup.  Taste the soup and season with salt, pepper, or additional miso to taste.

Ladle into bowls and garnish each with a drizzle of sesame oil and small mound of scallions.

(Very easy and very delicious!  Since I take soups to work for lunch mostly, I just mixed the scallions right into the pot of soup at the end and drizzled a little sesame oil.  The soup has a really lovely flavor and consistency.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ribollita Soup

(recipe from Eating Well magazine)

Ribollita, a traditional hearty Tuscan soup typically uses day-old bread to add body and thicken the broth. This version uses a bean mash, which keeps the soup gluten-free and adds fiber.

Serves 8.

1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 15-oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed (I used equivalent amount cooked dried beans)
1 medium leek, halved lengthwise and sliced, white and light green parts only
1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced zucchini
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 head Savoy or green cabbage, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups diced russet potatoes
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp. celery seed
crushed red pepper to taste

Using a potato masher, mash half the beans into a paste.  Set aside.

Saute leek and garlic in 1/2 cup broth, stirring, until translucent and tender, 2 to 3 minutes.  Do not brown.  Season with 1/8 tsp. pepper.  Stir in carrots, celery, and zucchini; cook, stirring, until nearly tender, 3 to 5 minutes.  Season with 1/8 tsp. each salt and pepper.

When the carrots and celery are nearly tender, stir in cabbage.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 4 to 6 minutes.  Add potatoes, broth, water, tomatoes and juice, the bean mash and whole beans, thyme, and bay leaf.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Season with celery seed, crushed red peppper and the remaining 1/4 tsp. pepper and 1/8 tsp. salt.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, until all of the vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

(A hearty and delicious vegetable soup!  I added 1/2 of a small can of tomato paste to this.  Makes a lot!)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Potato, Asparagus & Mushroom Hash

(recipe from Eating Well magazine)

Serves 4.

1 lb. new or baby potatoes, scrubbed, halved if large
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 bunch asparagus (about 1 lb.), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 oz. shitake mushroom caps, sliced
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed
1 Tbsp. minced fresh sage
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
fresh chives for garnish

Place a steamer basket in a large saucepan, add 1 inch of water and bring to a boil.  Put potatoes in the basket and steam until barely tender when pierced with a skewer, 12 to 15 minutes, depending on size.  When cool enough to handle, chop into 1/2-inch pieces.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large (not nonstick) skillet over medium heat.  Add asparagus, mushrooms, shallot and garlic and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove to a plate.

Add the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil to the pan.  Add onion and the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up the browned bits with a metal spatula, until the potatoes are browned, 4 to 8 minutes  Return the asparagus mixture to the pan along with the roasted red pepper, sage, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute more.  Serve sprinkled with chives, if desired.

(This is meant as a breakfast entree, served with toast and topped with an egg.  However, I ate this cold for my lunches, kind of like a potato salad.  It's a tasty combination of vegetables.  Topped with fresh chives, very light and springtime-y.)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Barley Vegetable Stew

(recipe from Christina Cooks - I altered it from the original recipe which uses a pressure cooker)

1-inch piece kombu
1 small onion, diced
1 cup button mushrooms, diced
1 carrot, diced
1-2 stalks celery, diced
1 1/2 cups whole barley, rinsed and soaked for 6 to 8 hours
4 cups water or broth
soy sauce and ground pepper

Saute kombu, onion, celery and carrot in 1/2 cup broth until beginning to soften.  Add mushrooms and saute a few minutes more.  Add barley and remaining broth, a sprinkle of soy sauce, and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for about an hour.  Season to taste with additional soy sauce and a few grinds of pepper.

(This is quite good.  Surprisingly flavorful despite its simplicity.  Add more broth/water to create a soupier version.  Christina says, "The great taste of barley is surpassed only by its energetic value.  Creating wonderful dispersing energy in the body, barley not only keeps you cool in warmer weather, but regular consumption can help in ridding the body of excess fats and protein.")

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bavarian Red Cabbage

(recipe from The Yoga Cookbook by The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers)

Serves 4 to 6.

1 Tbsp. oil
1 small red cabbage, coarsely shredded
1 carrot, grated
2/3 cup water or broth
6 whole cloves
2 slivers of cinnamon stick
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a heavy pan and saute the cabbage and carrot over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add the water and spices.  Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, until the cabbage is tender.  Season with the lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and serve warm.

The cabbage and spices can be baked in a 350F oven instead of on the stovetop, if preferred.

(Quite delicious!  Tasted like a tangy, spiced sauerkraut.  I added a little more carrot than called for.  Ate this with brown rice, warm, for lunches.  Yum!)

Friday, May 4, 2012

White Bean and Mushroom Stew

(recipe from Whole Living magazine)

Serves 4 to 6.

2 Tbsp. olive oil (or 1/2 cup broth to water saute)
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 sprig fresh rosemary (I used dried)
2 cups cooked white beans (equivalent to one 16-oz. can), drained
1/2 cup water or vegetable broth
salt and pepper

Heat oil (or broth/water) in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Cook onion, celery, and carrots until tender, about 8 minutes.  Increase heat to medium-high, add mushrooms, and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Deglaze with wine, scraping up any brown bits with a wooden spoon.  Add tomatoes, rosemary, beans and 1/2 cup water or broth.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

(This is a nice, easy, and satisfying vegetable soup.  Very tomato-y.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

East-West Marinated Asparagus

(recipe from Vegetarian Times magazine)

Serves 6.

3 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbsp.)
1 Tbsp. agave nectar or honey
Pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
1 Thai bird chile, seeded and thinly sliced for garnish, optional

Cook asparagus in large pot of boiling salted water for 5 minutes.  Drain, and plunge into ice-water filled bowl.

Whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, oil, ginger, garlic, agave, and cayenne.  Pour over asparagus in a large baking dish, submerging them (add some water, if necessary).  Cover and chill in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.

Drain off marinade, and arrange asparagus on plates.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chile slices, if using.

(Very delicious.  I added the chile pepper right into the marinade.  I ate the asparagus with some brown rice that I stir-fried along with a little bit of the marinade mixed in.)

Apple Cinnamon Oat Squares

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

2 cups unsweetened almondmilk
1 1/2 cups steel cut oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 (about 1 pound) Pink Lady apples, cored and grated

Preheat oven to 350F.  Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Transfer to a parchment paper-lined 9-inch square baking pan, press down and smooth out the top and bake until firm and golden brown, about 1 hour.  Let cool in pan; cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

(These were tasty, but a little too moist for my liking in my quest for perfect homemade granola bars.)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Coconut Red Lentil Soup

(recipe from

1 cup yellow split peas
1 cup red split lentils
7 cups water (I replaced 3 cups water with vegetable broth)
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 Tbsp. fresh peeled and minced ginger
2 Tbsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. olive oil
8 green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 14-oz. can coconut milk
1 tsp. salt
one small handful cilantro, chopped

Give the split peas and lentils a good rinse - until they no longer put off murky water.  Place them in an extra-large soup pot, cover with the water, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrot and 1/4 of the ginger.  Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft.

In the meantime, in a small dry skillet or saucepan over low heat, toast the curry powder until it is quite fragrant.  Be careful though, you don't want to burn the curry powder, just toast it.  Set aside.  Place the oil in a pan over medium heat, add the green onions, the remaining ginger, and raisins.  Saute for two minutes stirring constantly, then add the tomato paste and saute for another minute or two more.

Add the toasted curry powder to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and salt.  Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so.  The texture should thicken up, but you can play around with the consistency - add more water, if you like, or simmer longer for a thicker consistency.  (I liked it thicker.)

Enjoy ladled over brown rice, or any grain.  Sprinkle generously with cilantro.  (I just mixed the cilantro right into the soup.)

(Amazingly good!)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Homemade Granola Bars

(recipe from

1 1/3 cups rolled oats, divided
a pinch each of salt, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and ground ginger
1/4 cup flax seeds (I used hemp seeds)
1 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped (or any combination of roughly chopped dried fruit and/or nuts) (I used 1/2 cup apricots and 1/2 cup pecans)
1/4 cup canola oil (I used mashed banana)
1/4 cup maple syrup (I used agave syrup)
2 Tbsp. brown rice syrup

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line a 8" square baking pan with parchment paper, letting a bit of excess paper hang over the sides.

Grind 1/3 cup of the oats in a food processor until powdery.  Add them to a large mixing bowl with the remaining oats, salt & spices, flax seeds, and apricots.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients and then stir them into the dry ingredients.

Put the mixture in the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula.  Bake for 1/2 hour, or until evenly browned.  Remove from the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes.  Remove to a cutting board (the parchment paper will act as a sort of sling, making this very easy).  Cut into individual granola bars.

(I am on a mission to find a recipe for really good breakfast bars.  This was tasty, though a bit dry, and didn't hold together so well in bar form.  Also, loads of sugar syrups and not much healthy substance.  The mission continues!)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Colorful Vegetable Coleslaw

(recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)

Serves 8 to 10.

1 lb. white cabbage (1/2 small head)
3/4 lb. red cabbage (1/2 small head)
5 carrots
1 cup mayonnaise (I used tofu mayo, recipe in previous post)
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. sugar (I used agave syrup)
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. celery seeds
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Fit a food processor with the thickest blade.  Cut the cabbages into small wedges and lace horizontally into the feed tube.  Process in batches.  Next, fit the food procesor with the grated blade.  Cut the carrots in half and place in the feed tube so they are lying on their sides.  Process in batches and mix in bowl with the grated cabbages.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients to make a dressing and pour enough of the dressing over the grated vegetables to moisten.  Serve cold or at room temperature.

(Really nice, tangy cole slaw.)

Tofu Mayo

(recipe from Christina Cooks)

8 oz. firm tofu
3 Tbsp. stoneground mustard
2 tsp. umeboshi vinegar
3 tsp. brown rice syrup
sea salt
juice of 1 lemon
3-4 Tbsp. corn oil (I used 2 Tbsp. canola oil)

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and cook tofu for 5 minutes.  Drain well.  Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth and creamy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


(recipe from

2 ripe avocadoes, cut in half (but save the pits)
2 Tbsp. minced white onion (I used red onion)
3 Tbsp. cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1 lime
coarse salt

Score the avocadoes, scoop them into a mixing bowl and mash gently with a fork - you don't want it to be completely smooth.  Stir in the onion and cilantro.  Cut the lime in half and squeeze in enough juice to taste.  Season the quacamole with salt, and either serve immediately or stick the pits in to keep from browning (remove the pits before serving).

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Asparagus, Peas, and Basil

(recipe from Gourmet Italian Kitchen magazine)

Serves 6.

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (I used red onion)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 1/2 cups (12 oz) shelled fresh peas (1 3/4 lbs. in pods) or 1 (10 oz.) package thawed frozen peas
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Handful of torn basil leaves (about 3/4 cup)

Cook shallots in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 4 minutes.

Stir in asparagus, peas, salt, and pepper; cover skillet with a lid.  Cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender but still slightly al dente, about 8 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in basil.

(So good!  So unbelievably good!  I ate this with some brown rice.  One of those recipes that makes me happy that I try new things.)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Yam Scones

(recipe from Food & Wine magazine)

Makes 6 scones.

One 7 oz. yam or sweet potato
1/3 cup sugar (I used agave syrup)
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 large egg (I used egg replacer)
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest (I used more)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Prick the yam with a fork and bake for about 45 minutes, or until very soft.  Let cool, then peel and mash the yam until smooth.  Leave the oven on.

Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray (or line with parchment paper).  In a large bowl, combine the yam with the sugar, oil, egg, orange zest and vanilla.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and salt.  Stir the dry ingredients into the yam mixture just until combined.

Working on a lightly floured surface, pat the dough into a large round.  Cut the round into 6 wedges and brush the tops with maple syrup.  Arrange the wedges on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.  Serve warm.

(For 12 smaller scones, divide the dough in half and pat into two rounds.  Then cut each round into 6 wedges.)

These are yummy!  Good for breakfast.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rise and Shine Oatmeal

(recipe from Cooking Light magazine)

4 servings.

2 cups water
2 cups oats
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
6 Tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted
maple syrup, for serving

Bring water to a boil over medium heat.  Stir in oats; cook 5 minutes.  Remove from heat; stir in remaining ingredients.  Serve with maple syrup.

Chickpea, Collard Greens, and Sweet Potato Stew

(recipe adapted from Whole Living magazine)

Serves 6 to 8.

2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 bunch collard greens, coarsely chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice

In a large pot, sautee onion, garlic, and celery in 1/2 cup broth until tender, about 4 minutes.  Add vinegar, sweet potatoes, collard greens, broth, and 2 cups water.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until sweet potatoes are tender, 10-20 minutes.  Add chickpeas and rice to pot and cook until heated through.  Season with salt and pepper.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Quinoa Salsa

(recipe from Whole Living magazine)

Serves 4 to 6.

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
pinch red pepper flakes
4 red bell peppers
3 cups vegetable broth
coarse salt
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 small onion, diced
1 avocado, diced
2 Tbsp. freshly chopped cilantro
1 lime

Char peppers over flame of a gas stove, turning, until blackened and blistering.  Transfer to a bowl, cover with a plate, and let stand until cool.  Scrape skins off with a paring knife and clean with a paper towel.  Then remove stems, ribs, and seeds.  Avoid running the peppers under the faucet; water quickly dulls their flavor.  Cut peppers into quarters.

Heat 1/2 cup broth in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.  Add roasted peppers and rest of broth.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, 10 minutes.  Let cool slightly, then puree in a blender until smooth.  Season with salt.

In a small bowl, mix together quinoa, red onion, avocado, and cilantro.  Season with salt.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls, top with quinoa salsa, and squeeze with lime.

(This soup is delicious!  So refreshing!  I think the quinoa salsa would be good on its own with chips, etc.)

Quinoa with Watercress, Pears, and Pomegranates

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

Serves 4.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 bunch watercress, stems removed and leaves sliced (about 1 1/2 cups packed leaves)
2 ripe pears, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp. pomegranate juice
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until quinoa is tender and all of the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.  Place cooked quinoa in a large bowl with watercress, pears, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, juice and vinegar.  Stir to combine, then serve.

(This is a simple and delicious salad!)

Green Curry Noodles

(recipe from

Serves 1 or 2.

3 cups veggie broth
Green Thai curry paste, added to taste and preferred heat level (start with 1/2 tsp.)
4 oz. rice noodles
1 cup greens (pak choy, bok choy, napa cabbage, chard, or spinach)
1 cup broccoli, cut into bite-size flowerets, stems peeled and chopped
Chopped cilantro for topping (or basil, or green onions)

Optional additions: Splash of soy sauce, fish sauce, or Sriacha sauce to taste.  Squeeze of lime juice.

Cook the noodles in boiling water according to package directions, drain and rinse, set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a strong simmer and add the green curry paste.  Start with 1/2 tsp. and then add little by little until desired level of flavor and heat.  Stir to allow the curry paste to dissolve completely.  At this point, add a few drops of soy sauce, fish sauce, or lime juice, if desired.

Add the cooked noodles to the curry broth; stir to detangle.  Add the broccoli; stir and allow to simmer for 1 minute.  Add the chopped greens; stir and remove from heat.  Add a sprinkle of cilantro (or other herb of your choice), serve immediately.

(I made a version of this non-soupy, too:  just sauteed in a small amount of broth in a skillet.  Very tasty and easy!)

Spinach and Mushroom Salad with Cumin Dressing

(recipe from Food & Wine magazine)

8 servings.

1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds, lightly toasted
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/4 lbs. firm white mushrooms, stems trimmed, sliced
freshly ground pepper
2 lbs. spinach, large stems discarded, leaves torn into large pieces
8 small scallions, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

In a spice grinder or mortar, crush the cumin seeds to a powder.  In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, and garlic with 1 tsp. salt.  Whisk in the cumin, paprika, and coriander, then whisk in the olive oil.

In a medium bowl, toss the mushrooms with 1/2 cup of the dressing and season with salt and pepper.  In a large bowl, toss the spinach with the scallions, cilantro and the remainng dressing.  Add the mushrooms and toss well.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

(Delicious spiced dressing!)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hearty Morning Cereal

(recipe from Yoga Living)

1/2 cup amaranth
1/2 cup millet
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

Lightly toast all of the above ingredients in a dry skillet.  Toast only until a distinct nutty aroma is apparent. Allow cooling.  Grind all ingredients in a food processor, until fine.  Keep mixture in the refrigerator or freezer.

Cook 1/2 cup of the ground cereal with 1 cup milk or water in a small pan over medium heat.  Cook until thick.  Stir frequently to avoid burning.

(I found that this does not cook terribly quickly, and that you may need to add more mixture to the milk till your preferred thickness.  Tastes good, though.  I added some chopped prunes and maple syrup on top.)

White Bean and Kale Soup with "Sausage"

(adaption of a recipe from Whole Foods Market)

Serves 8 to 10.

8 cups vegetable broth
1 package Gimme Lean vegetarian sausage, sliced
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
salt & pepper to taste
7 cups cooked white beans (cannellini, navy, or great northern)
1 bunch kale, stems and tough ribs removed, leaves roughly chopped

Heat 1/4 cup broth in a large pot over medium heat.  Add sausage slices and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and sausage is just browned, about 10 minutes.  Add onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes more.  (Add a generous splash of broth to the pot if the onions begin to stick.)

Meanwhile, put 3 cups beans and 2 cups broth into a blender and puree until smooth; set aside.  Add remaining broth to sausage mixture in pot and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits.  Add kale, reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until wilted and softened, about 5 minutes.  Uncover, add remaining 4 cups beans, bean puree, salt and pepper and simmer until hot throughout, about 5 minutes more.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sweet Potatoes with Collards and Adzuki Beans

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
4 green onions, sliced and dark green parts reserved for garnish
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 bunch collard greens, thick stems removed and leaves sliced 1-inch wide
1 (15 oz.) can adzuki beans, rinsed and drained (or about 2 cups cooked)
4 tsp. toasted sunflower seeds
juice of 1 lime

Preheat oven to 400F.  Place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until tender when pierced with a fork, 45 minutes to an hour.  Let cool, then peel and cut into 1-inch chunks.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, bring 1/2 cup broth to a simmer over medium high heat.  Add white and light green parts of green onions and red bell pepper and cook about 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.  Reduce heat to medium and stir in remaining 1/2 cup broth, collards, and beans.  Cover and cook 10 to 12 minutes, or until collards are wilted and tender, stirring occasionally.

Divide greens between 2 bowls.  Top with potatoes, sliced reserved green onions, sunflower seeds and lime wedges and serve.

(I made this to bring for my lunches, so did not plate as recommended.  Instead, I mixed the potato chunks, sunflower seeds, and lime juice into the peppers, collards, and beans after they'd cooked.  This dish was really good - very delicious vegetable combination, which didn't need much in the way of salt and pepper.)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Better Than Chicken Soup

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

Serves 4.

1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp. ground turmeric
8 fresh shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups julienned fresh kale
1 cup cubed butternut squash
2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger (or minced)
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
1 tsp. miso

In a pot, over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in 1/2 cup broth.  Add turmeric and mushrooms.  Saute 2 minutes.  Add broth, kale, squash, ginger, and cayenne.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly, add lemon juice and miso (adding miso when still very hot will diminish its probiotic benefits).  Cover and let sit 5 minutes before serving.

(I also added 1 small chopped sunchoke to this soup.  Good soup, very spicy!)

Pumpkin Pecan Cookies

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

Makes about 30 cookies.

2 cups pecans, toasted and cooled
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 cup pureed pumpkin
1 Tbsp. orange zest (from 2 small oranges)
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from 3 small oranges)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chopped, pitted dates

Preheat oven to 375F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Put pecans and oats in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until a fine meal forms, about 25 times.  Add flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves and pulse another 20 times to combine all the ingredients.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Add pumpkin, orange zest, orange juice, vanilla extract and dates to the food processor.  Blend until a smooth puree forms, scraping the sides down occasionally, about 1 minute.  Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Scrape the pumpkin mixture into the well and fold all the ingredients together with a spatula.

Scoop little heaps (about 2 Tbsp.) of batter onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Flatten the batter slightly.  Bake 20 minutes, until the bottoms are just browned.  Remove to a cooling rack and cool slightly before serving.  Store in an airtight container.

(I made these on Christmas day.  They are nice little cookies, spiced not sweet.  Everyone loved them.)

Veggie Chowder

(based on a recipe from Whole Foods Market for Salmon Chowder)

Serves 4.

1 large yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup celery
2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 cups vegetable broth (maybe more, if chowder seems too thick)
1/2 cup milk alternative (I used coconut milk)
1/2 cup silken tofu, blended with a small amount of water till creamy
2 cups cooked white beans (I used navy beans)
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup cooked millet
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. dried dill
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. minced chives for garnish

Saute onion and celery in a soup pot with 1/2 cup of the broth, until onion is translucent.  Add potatoes and saute about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Do not brown.  Add carrots and remaining broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are fork tender, about 10 minutes.

Add milk, tofu, beans, mushrooms, millet, parsley, dill and pepper.  Simmer over low heat 5 to 8 minutes.  Add more dill, pepper, or salt to taste.  Garnish with chives.

(This was tasty enough, and seemed to get better after a day or two.  In hindsight, instead of the silken tofu, I might use some blended, soaked cashews next time I am looking for creaminess in a recipe.  I believe cashews add a "buttery" quality, which may work well in this type of chowder.  I added the mushrooms, beans, and millet in place of the salmon in the recipe, which seemed to work well.)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Carrot-Ginger Soup

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

Serves 4.

4 cups vegetable broth
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp. freshly chopped ginger
1 lb. carrots, coarsely chopped
1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives

Heat 1/2 cup broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in ginger, carrots, potato, and remaining broth and heat to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  In batches, carefully puree in a blender.  Add water or broth, if needed, to thin to desired consistency.  Reheat soup if necessary.  Stir in lemon juice and garnish with chives.

Vegetable and Brown Rice Soup

(recipe modified from a chicken and rice soup recipe from Whole Foods Market)

8 cups vegetable broth
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups water
1 cup long-grain brown rice
6 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 small can white beans
1 bay leaf
1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and leaves thinly sliced

In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring 1/2 cup broth to a simmer.  Add onion, carrots, and celery and cook about 8 minutes, or until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally.  Add remaining 7 1/2 cups broth, water, rice, mushrooms, and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook about 35 minutes or until rice is tender.  Remove bay leaf and stir in kale and beans.  Continue cooking just until kale is wilted and tender, and beans are heated through, 3 to 5 minutes.

(So good!  And easily adjusted to include whatever veggies may be on hand.)

Winter Squash and Apple Soup

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

3 lbs. winter squash such as butternut, kabocha, acorn, or delicata (or mixture), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 8 cups)
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 yellow onion, chunked
4 cloves garlic, halved
1 tsp. ground ginger
3 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line rimmed baking sheet(s) or shallow roasting pan(s) with parchment paper.  Mix squash, apples, onion, and garlic and spread mixture on baking sheets in a single layer.  Roast squash mixture until tender and beginning to brown, about 45 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking, if needed.  Remove from the oven and puree squash mixture with broth, ginger, 1 cup water, and nutritional yeast in a blender in two batches until smooth.  Transfer to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Add more water if needed to thin soup to desired consistency.  Serve garnished with parsley.

(A lovely pureed soup, more savory than sweet.  And so easy to make!)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hearty Lentil and "Sausage" Soup

(recipe from Whole Foods Market, but I made it vegan)

1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp. finely chopped garlic
1 package Gimme Lean vegetarian sausage
1/2 lb. mushrooms, chopped
1 cup dried lentils, picked through and rinsed
5 cups vegetable broth
1 cup chopped tomatoes, with their juice
1 cup dry red wine
1 Tbsp. chopped thyme (or 2 tsp. dried)
pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 lb. baby spinach, thinly sliced
salt & pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, saute carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in 1/2 cup broth, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent.   Add sausage and cook, breaking into small chunks, until it begins to brown.  Add mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms have released most of their liquid.  Add lentils, broth, tomatoes and their juice, wine, thyme, and pepper flakes; cover pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

Add spinach, salt, and pepper, stir well, and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes more.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Turkey" Noodle Soup

(recipe from Whole Foods Market, but I made it vegan)

1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
4 sprigs fresh thyme (I used several teaspoons dried)
1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and leaves thinly sliced
2 cups whole-wheat elbow macaroni
1 package seitan, shredded (about 2 cups)
salt & pepper to taste

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, saute onion, carrots, celery, and garlic in 1/2 cup broth or water for 6 to 7 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally.  Stir in broth, 4 cups water, and thyme and bring to a boil.  Add kale and macaroni and return to a boil.  Cook about 5 minutes or until macaroni is al dente.  Stir in seitan, salt, and pepper and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until seitan is heated through.  Remove thyme sprigs before serving.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ethiopian-Spiced Pumpkin Bisque

(recipe from online site Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen)

1 small (about 3 lbs.) pie pumpkin or winter squash (about 3 cups cooked pumpkin)
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2-4 tsp. berbere spice mix (recipe follows)
1/2 to 1 cup non-dairy milk, as needed (I used almond milk)
2 tsp. lime juice
salt & pepper, to taste
pumpkin seeds for garnish, optional

To make the berbere spice mixture:
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground fenugreek
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (use less to decrease spiciness, or substitute paprika)
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground sea salt (optional)

(This makes 4 Tbsp. of seasoning, but the bisque only calls for 2-4 tsp.  Store the leftover seasoning in a spice jar in a cool, dark place.)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cut the pumpkin or squash in half and scrape out the seeds and strings.  Place cut-side up on a baking sheet and cover with foil (or place in a large, covered baking dish).  Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until flesh is very tender when pricked with a fork.  Remove and allow to cool until it can be handled comfortably.

Cook the onion in a large, non-stick pot over medium-high heat until it begins to brown.  (If it starts to stick, add a Tbsp. of water and stir well.)  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add a splash of the broth to deglaze the pan, and then pour into a blender.  Scrape the pumpkin out of its shell and add the flesh to the blender, along with the remaining broth, tomato paste, and berbere spice mix.  Blend until smooth.

Pour the contents of the blender back into the pot, cover, and bring to a low boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.  Add the non-dairy milk, using as much as needed to reach the right consistency.  Add the lime juice, salt, pepper, and simmer for about 5 more minutes before serving.  Serve in shallow bowls, sprinkled with pumpkin seeds, if desired.

(1/8/12  Used the last of my frozen 2010 Halloween pumpkin puree!  I like that this soup is savory, not sweet as pumpkin soups often tend to be.  It is spicy!  Be careful with the berbere mix - add to taste.  Brought to work in canning jars for my lunches for the week, and enjoyed it every time.)

Saturday, January 7, 2012


(recipe from Nigella Lawson)

1 bottle champagne or sparkling wine, chilled
1/2 cup Cointreau, Grand Marnier, or other orange liquer, chilled
2 cups cranberry juice, chilled

Mix all together in a large pitcher and serve!

(These are lovely and easy.  My cocktail for Christmas 2011.  Served with cheese and crackers and appies for Joann, Alison and Josie the Thursday before Christmas.  Served Christmas day with Ben, Laura, and Justin.  Served the day before New Year's with mom, dad, and Sage.  A hit! - Nigella will never lead you astray.)

New England Cranberry Relish Stuffing

(recipe from Stonewall Kitchen)

1 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 lb. vegetarian sausage, crumbled (I adore Gimme Lean)
1 small yellow onion, medium dice
1 large celery stalk, medium dice
1 jar Stonewall Kitchen New England Cranberry Relish
2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
2 cups vegetable stock
1 loaf day old bread, cut into cubes
salt and pepper to taste

Heat large sauce pan on stove.  Add oil.  Heat one minute more.  Render sausage until lightly browned.  Add onions, celery, cranberry relish, and Old Bay to the pan.  Sweat for about seven minutes, until the onions become translucent.  Add stock and bring to a simmer.  Place cubed bread in a large stainless steel bowl and pour above mixture over it.  Mix well.  If stuffing is too dry, add more stock.  Place in a casserole dish, cover with foil, and cook in the oven at 375F for approximately 20-25 minutes.  Serve warm and enjoy.

(I made this Christmas day for dinner with Justin, Ben and Laura.  It was absolutely delicious.  We also ate crab cakes, oysters Rockefeller, baked yams, brussels sprouts, and an almond ring for dessert.  Cheese & crackers and Poinsettias before dinner.  A game of Clue after dinner.  It snowed lightly all day.)