Monday, December 30, 2013

Sweet Potato and Green Banana Soup

(recipe cut from a magazine, not sure which one)

2 large sweet potatoes (1 lb.)
2 green bananas (8 oz.)
1 T. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg (I used dried)
6 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
dash hot pepper sauce

Peel and dice the potatoes and bananas.  Heat oil in a saucepan; saute chopped onion until transparent.  Add the potatoes and bananas; cook over low heat for five minutes.  Sprinkle nutmeg over the vegetables.  Add the stock and salt; bring to a boil.  Simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.  Puree in a blender or food processor.  Add pepper sauce and pepper.

(Quite a nice soup.  I added some berbere spice blend instead of hot pepper sauce; this gave an additional curry-like heat and savory depth that tempered the sweetness of the soup.  Also, I lessened the broth a bit, pouring in what would cover the veggies and adding a little extra.  Super easy and unique!)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Butternut Squash and Coconut Soup with Shrimp

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

2 tsp. oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp. red curry paste, more to taste
2 tsp. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces, about 4 cups
2 cups vegetable broth
1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted (optional)
lime wedges

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add onion, garlic, and ginger.  Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Stir in curry paste, sugar, and salt and cook one minute longer.  Stir in squash, broth and coconut milk, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Stir in shrimp and simmer just until cooked through, about 2 minutes.  Stir in cilantro, sprinkle with coconut, and serve with lime wedges on the side.

(So delicious!  I added a berbere spice mix instead of the curry paste.  Also, used much more cilantro, added the juice of 1/2 a lime directly to the soup, and omitted the shredded coconut.  If I had it to do again, I'd probably chop the squash, onion, and shrimp into smaller, consistent pieces, like a chowder.  I also added chopped spinach to some reheated bowls, and it was lovely.)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Good - For - What - Ails - You Stew

(recipe from Christina Cooks)

1 inch piece kombu
2 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked until tender (I just used about 8 fresh, sliced shitakes)
1 cup diced fresh daikon
1 cup burdock
1 cup diced winter squash
1 cup diced carrot
Organic soy sauce
Juice of 1/4 fresh lemon
3-4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

Layer the veggies in a heavy pot in the order listed.  Add 1/3 cup spring or filtered water and a splash of soy sauce and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low and cook until carrot is soft, about 20 minutes.  Season to taste with soy sauce and simmer, uncovered until any remaining liquid cooks away.  Stir gently to incorporate lemon juice and parsley and serve hot.

(I altered this a lot!  I used the same veggies, layered as instructed, but then covered with vegetable broth completely for a soupier mix.  Also, added lots of curry-like spices, just to give more flavor.  I also peeled the squash and burdock.  These are all supposed to be cleansing veggies that help prevent sniffles, aches, and pains.)

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry

(recipe from

2 medium red onions, peeled
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 bird's eye pepper, Thai chili, or other very hot small pepper with its seeds
a 2 1/2-3 inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
3 Tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed (I used ground cardamom)
2 lbs. (about 3 medium) orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-1 inch cubes
1 3/4 cups coconut milk
1 Tbsp. tamarind paste
2 1/4 cups hot vegetable broth
4 to 5 cups (about four 15.5 oz cans, drained) cooked chickpeas (I only used one can)
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro leaves

In a food processor, combine onions, garlic, hot pepper and ginger.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Place oil in a large saute pan over medium-low heat.  Add chopped onion mixture and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add hot pepper flakes, ground ginger, ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, cardamom pods, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Stir to mix.  Add sweet potatoes and stir until well covered in spices.  Stir in the coconut milk.

Dissolve tamarind paste in hot broth and add to the pan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until sweet potatoes are just tender, about 25 minutes.  (Taste potatoes to be sure they are cooked all the way through, and allow additional cooking time, if necessary.)

Add chickpeas and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes.  Adjust salt to taste.  Transfer to a warmed bowl and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

(Thus begins the sweet potato/squash/coconut/stew/curry onslaught of recipes...  Tis the season.  All of the spices made this lovely.  I mix a ton of cilantro right in at the end.)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Paul Bertolli's Cauliflower Soup

(Recipe from Food 52 blog)

3 Tbsp. olive oil 1 medium onion (6 oz.), sliced thin
1 head very fresh cauliflower (about 1 1/2 lbs.), broken into florets
salt, to taste
5 1/2 cups water, divided

Warm the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Sweat the onion in the oil over low heat, without letting it brown, for 15 minutes.

Add the cauliflower, salt to taste, and 1/2 cup water. Raise the heat slightly, cover the pot tightly, and stew the caulifower for 15 to 18 minutes, or until tender. Then add another 4 1/2 cups hot water, bring to a low simmer, and cook an additional 20 minutes uncovered.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender to a very smooth, creamy consistency. Let the soup stand for 20 minutes. In this time it will thicken slightly.

Thin the soup with 1/2 cup hot water, if needed. Reheat the soup. Serve hot, drizzled with a thin stream of olive oil and freshly ground pepper.

(Very simple and delicious. I used vegetable broth in place of water.)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hazelnut-Pear Salad with Radishes

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

4 cups herb salad blend
2 medium radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 medium Asian pears, diced and divided
1/4 cup dried apricots, thinly sliced and divided
1/2 cup hazelnuts, plus more for garnish, toasted, chopped, and divided
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

In a large bowl, combine the salad blend, radishes, half the pears, half the toasted hazelnuts, and half the apricots.  Set aside.

To make the dressing, place reserved pears, hazelnuts, and apricots in a blender along with vinegar, mustard, and 1/4 cup water.  Cover and puree until well combined and slightly thick, adding water, if needed, to reach the desired consistency.

Combine salad mixture and dressing and serve immediately.

(This dressing is wonderful!)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Deviled Eggs

(recipe from Real Simple magazine)

1 dozen eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. minced fresh tarragon
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. mustard seeds
dash of Tabasco

Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cover and remove from heat.  Set aside for 15 minutes.

Drain the pan and fill with cold water.  Peel the eggs when cool enough to handle.  Cut the eggs in half lengthwise and scoop out the yolks.  Mix the yolks with the other ingredients.  Spoon the mixture into the whites and serve.

(Not vegan, no, but I just love deviled eggs.  So, I used Vegenaise, probably double the amount, and replaced tarragon with sage, and used some cayenne pepper instead of the Tabasco.  But it's hard to mess up deviled eggs, so all was well.)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Artichoke, Carrot and Zucchini Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

(recipe from Christina Cooks)

1 jalapeno chili, roasted over an open flame, peeled, seeded and finely minced
5 to 6 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
5 to 6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, finely minced
Generous pinch sweet paprika
Generous pinch cracked black pepper
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. sea salt

1 cup finely shredded green cabbage
2 cups baby arugula, rinsed well
2 to 3 sprigs basil, leaves removed, left whole
1 medium carrot, cut into long ribbons with a peeler
1 medium zucchini, cut into long ribbons with a peeler
8 canned or frozen artichoke hearts (in water, not oil), halved
10 to 12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

Prepare the dressing:  Whisk all ingredients together, adjusting salt to your taste.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before using.  Whisk again before mixing with the salad.

Combine all vegetables in a mixing bowl.  Just before serving, toss with dressing to coat.  Serve immediately.

(I combined everything except the arugula and kept covered in the fridge for several days, serving over a bed of arugula when I was ready to eat.  Nice, tangy salad!)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Tahini-Dressed Zucchini and Green Bean Salad

(recipe from PureWow)

1/2 garlic clove
Coarse sea salt
2 Tbsp. light tahini
Finely grated zest and feshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 orange
1/2 tsp. honey
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 medium zucchini (about 3/4 lb.), sliced into 1/8-inch coins
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 fresh red chile, seeded and finely chopped
Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 lb. green beans, trimmed
4 large handfuls mixed salad greens
Mint leaves, thinly sliced, for garnish

Make the tahini dressing:  Crush the garlic with a little sea salt and transfer to a medium bowl.  Add the tahini, lemon zest, lemon juice, orange juice, honey and a grind of black pepper to the bowl and stir until combined.  (If the dressing thickens or turns grainy or pasty, thin it out by whisking in a little water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until you get a creamy, trickling consistency.)  Gently stir in the olive oil.  Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed, and set aside.

Make the salad:  In a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil.  Working in batches, cook the zucchini coins, tossing them occasionally, until tender and browned on both sides, about 2 minutes.  Transfer the cooked zucchini to a large bowl.

When all of the zucchini is cooked, season it generously with salt and pepper.  Add the chile and lemon juice and toss until combined.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a saucepan filled with salted water to a boil and prepare an ice-water bath.  Add the green beans to the saucepan, return the water to a boil and blanch for 1 minute.  Drain the green beans, then dunk them in the ice bath to refresh them.  Drain again, pat dry with a clean kitchen towel, and toss the beans with the zucchini.

Spread the salad greens in a large, shallow serving bowl, then scatter the dressed zucchini and beans and shredded mint on top.  Drizzle the tahini dressing generously over the whole lot and serve immediately.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Heirloom Tomato and Melon Salad

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 hot chile pepper, such as serrano, seeded and minced (I used a Hatch chile)
1/8 tsp. sea salt
3 cups diced seedless watermelon
3 cups diced cantaloupe
1 lb. green-striped, yellow, or other heirloom tomatoes, chopped

In a large bowl, whisk together lemon zest and juice, chile and salt.  Add watermelon, cantaloupe, and tomatoes, and toss.  Let sit at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend; serve at room temperature or chilled.

(Kind of like a gazpacho.  I imagine if you chopped everything up finely, this would make a really nice salsa, too.  The melon-tomato combo is surprising and tasty.)

Monday, August 12, 2013


(recipe from Real Simple magazine)

2 yellow or orange tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 small white onion, minced
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash of cayenne pepper

Add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl.  Toss to combine.  Spoon into a serving dish and set aside for 15 minutes to blend flavors.

(There was a sale on heirloom tomatoes, yo!  Why does anyone buy salsa?  So simple and fresh.)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes

(recipe from Smitten Kitchen, adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks)

7 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
maple syrup

Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-low heat; you want it to slowly get nice and hot.

Stir the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in the bottom of a medium bowl.  Dump the sour cream in on top and stir it together very gently; it's okay to leave the texture a bit uneven.  Whisk the eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl and stir them into the sour cream mixture, once again, being careful not to overmix.

Melt about a tablespoon of butter in your skillet or griddle and pour the batter in, a scant 1/4 cup at a time.  Cook for about 2 minutes on the first side, or until bubbles appear all over the surface, flipping them carefully and cooking for about a minute on the other side.  Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve in a stack, topped with a pat of butter and a cascade of maple syrup.

(Again, not vegan: I wanted to use up the sour cream and butter remaining from my peach tart on a new recipe...  A bit of a treat for myself in the morning!  I didn't have enough sour cream, but swapped in some coconut milk to make up the difference, to no ill effect.  These are odd, eggy pancakes, but pancakes nonetheless, and delicious.  I also added a few tablespoons of wheat germ that I wanted to get rid of, making them a bit toothy.)

Makes 12 4-inch pancakes, 8 5-inch pancakes, or so.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Pear Mimosas

(recipe from Real Simple magazine)

Makes 8 servings:

2 bottles Champagne, chilled
4 cups pear nectar
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges

For each serving, pour 3/4 cup of Champagne into a flute or wine glass and top with 1/2 cup of pear nectar.  Squeeze and drop in 1 wedge of lime.

(Pear and lime mimosas are nice.  These were sampled in Vermont, while visiting my dear friend for her father's birthday.  We sipped these at the party, and the day before.  It was a lovely weekend, and so, in my mind, these will always be lovely cocktails.)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Peach and Pistachio Salad

(recipe from Food & Wine magazine)

1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 large hot red chile, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 underripe medium peaches, very thinly sliced
1 small jicama (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks
3/4 cup shelled, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
2 cups baby arugula

In a large bowl, combine the shallot, red chile, sugar and vinegar and let stand for 5 minutes.  Whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Add the peaches, jicama, and pistachios and toss well.  Fold in the arugula and season with salt and pepper.  Serve right away.

(This is one of the best things I have ever eaten.  I brought this for lunches by keeping the arugula in a separate container and combining with the peach/dressing mixture at lunchtime.  Just amazing textures and flavors.  Bravo!)

Creamy Peach Tart with Smoky Almond Crust

(recipe from Food & Wine magazine)

2 cups vanilla wafer cookies (5 ounces)
1/2 cup smoked almonds
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg
2 firm, ripe medium peaches, peeled and cut into thin wedges

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a food processor, combine the vanilla wafers with the almonds and 2 Tbsp. of the sugar and process until fine.  Add the melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened.  Press the crumbs into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.  Bake for 10 minutes, until the crust is set.

Meanwhile, wipe out the food processor bowl.  Add the cream cheese, sour cream, egg and 2 Tbsp. of the sugar and process until smooth.  Pour the custard into the crust and bake for 15 minutes, until set.  Let the tart cool slightly and transfer to the freezer to chill, about 15 minutes.

In a bowl, toss the peaches with the remaining 2 Tbsp. of sugar.  Arrange the peaches in 2 concentric circles over the custard.  Remove the ring, cut the tart into wedges and serve.

(Nope, not vegan, not even close.  Made this to serve the ladies along with snacks and drinks in my garden.  Peaches were on sale, it's a quick recipe.  I couldn't find smoked almonds, just used roasted unsalted ones.  The crust is a bit crumbly, but tastes good.  Any fruit would be fine in this.)

Roasted Strawberry Salad

(recipe from Thug Kitchen, and I'm going to write it exactly as it appears there...)

16 medium strawberries, about 1 lb.
1 tsp. olive oil
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup coconut flakes (you can use sliced almonds to save some cash)
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. olive oil
a big bunch of basil, chopped into thin strips, about 2/3 cup
salt and pepper to taste
1 big head of lettuce (green leaf, spinach, butter, whatthefuckever kind of lettuce is fine)

Warm up your oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the tops off the strawberries and throw that shit out.  Slice the berries in half lengthwise.  Toss them in a bowl with the teaspoon of olive oil and salt.  Mix that shit up good so everything is coated.  Put the strawberries cut side down on a cookie sheet.  I hate doing dishes so I usually cover the cookie sheet with foil or something because the strawberries can release some juice and it's annoying as fuck to clean.  Roast the strawberries for 10 minutes.  Throw the coconut flakes in their own section on the cookie sheet and then roast them at the same time for 3 more minutes or until the coconut looks toasted.  Let everything cool the fuck down to about room temperature.

Mix together the lemon juice, vinegar, and oil in a small glass.  Toss the lettuce and the basil in a big bowl and add as much of the dressing, salt, and pepper as you like.  Make sure everything is coated and then put the strawberries and coconut flakes on top.  Arrange that shit so it looks nice.  If you don't feel like fucking with the oven, then just leave the strawberries raw.  I don't give a shit JUST EAT A FUCKING SALAD or 10.

(This is a tasty salad.  The strawberries do release a lot of juice when roasted.  I added all of that juice to my dressing, and it made the vinaigrette look so pretty, like a sunset.  In the future, I would fiddle with the ratios of the vinaigrette, maybe less oil?)

Friday, June 7, 2013


(recipe from Real Simple magazine)

2 ripe avocados
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, minced but not seeded
1 tomato, coarsely chopped
Juice of 1 1/2 limes
1/2 tsp. salt

Scoop the avocado pulp into a medium bowl.  Add the other ingredients and mash with a fork until combined but still chunky.  Spoon into a serving dish.

(Tangy!  Maybe too tangy...  Perhaps the juice of one lime is sufficient, or even half a lime.  Taste as you go.  I mean, it's guacamole - hard to go wrong.  But this particular recipe is quite lovely.)

Monday, June 3, 2013

French Lentil Salad

(recipe from

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 cup French green lentils, rinsed
salt & pepper
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped (optional)
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 cup torn fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, tarragon, basil, and/or mint

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat.  Add onion, carrot, and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 6 minutes.  Add lentils and cover with 2 inches of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain and season with salt and pepper.  Let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining oil, lemon juice, and pepper flakes.  Season with salt.  Add lentils, almonds (if using), cabbage, and herbs and toss to combine.

Refrigerate lentil salad in an airtight container up to 3 days.

(I made this using parsley and omitting the almonds.  Such a good lunch salad!  Make sure to let the lentil mixture really cool well, so when you combine with the cabbage and parsley at the end, everything stays crisp and vibrant.  Stores and travels well, good at room temp or refrigerated.)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Orange-Sesame Coleslaw

(recipe from FatFree Vegan Kitchen)

1 bag (16 ounces) prepared coleslaw, or 15 ounces cabbage plus one carrot, grated
1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
3 small seedless oranges, broken into sections (or 2 navel oranges, peeled and sliced)
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
1 Tbsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp. lime or lemon juice
1/2 tsp. sesame oil (I just added a little olive oil)
sweetener to taste (optional)

Combine the coleslaw, bell pepper, and orange slices in a large salad bowl.  Mix together the remaining ingredients and pour over the vegetables.  Allow the flavors to combine for at least half an hour in the refrigerator before serving.

(A nice, light, dairy-free cole slaw option.  The orange, ginger, and sesame flavors are unexpected and delightful.)

Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy

(recipe from Organic Style magazine)

2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 large clove garlic
2 lbs. baby bok choy
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
salt & pepper

Heat oil in a wok over high heat.  Add garlic and stir-fry until golden, about 1 minute.  Add greens, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and salt & pepper to taste, and continue to stir-fry until firm yet tender, about 3 minutes.

(I added some chopped shallot and chives I had in the fridge.  Stir-frying is a snap!  Eat some baby bok choy!  It's delightful.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Yummy Smoothie!

(recipe by me)

1/4 small cucumber, cut in chunks
1 pear, cored and cut in chunks
2 stalks celery, cut in chunks
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 handful fresh baby spinach
1 handful fresh kale, chopped
1 cup water

Blend!  Yum!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Fresh Pea Soup With Mint

(recipe from Prevention magazine)

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 scallions, green parts only, cut into 4" pieces
1 rib celery, trimmed and cut into 2" pieces
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
4 cups fresh or frozen and thawed peas
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used coconut milk)
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Heat oil in a large saucepot over medium-high heat.  Add scallions, celery, and onion.  Cook, stirring, 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Add broth and bring to a boil.  Add peas and salt.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

Transfer mixture carefully to a food processor or blender (in batches, if necessary).  Add mint and puree until smooth.  Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Divide soup evenly among 4 bowls.  Top each bowl with 2 Tbsp. of the yogurt and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.

(I added about 1 cup more peas, blended only slightly, as I initially thought the finished product was too thin.  Also, since I was taking this soup in a mason jar for work lunches, I simply blended the coconut milk right into the soup.  I used frozen peas, but this soup still tasted light and fresh.  I ate it both cold and hot, and it was delicious both ways.  Lovely.)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Smoothie combination:

1/2 large orange, peeled
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup spinach
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 tsp. flax oil (optional)
leaves from several sprigs of fresh mint
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen fruit (ie: blueberries, peaches, pineapple)

Blend!!  Light & refreshing.

Bitter Greens Salad with Walnut-Shallot Vinaigrette

(recipe from Christina Cooks)

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. walnut oil
1 tsp. brown rice syrup (I used agave syrup, and also made with no sweetener - both fine)
1 shallot, very finely minced (I also used red onion, with success)
1 clove garlic, very finely minced
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2/3 tsp. salt
cracked black pepper

2 belgian endive, halved lengthwise, sliced into long ribbons
2 cups hand-shredded escarole
2 cups baby arugula
1 cup hand-shredded watercress
1 cup finely shredded radicchio
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, lightly pan toasted (optional)

Prepare vinaigrette:  Whisk together ingredients in a small bowl until emulsified (or shake in a small jar).  Set aside for flavors to develop.

Make salad:  Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Toss gently with dressing to coat the leaves.

Makes 5 to 6 servings.

(Nice, substantial salad.  I find that the greens keep for several days if cut and tossed and stored in an airtight container, undressed.  I just love a simple, bitter greens salad!  I actually added an extra tablespoon of vinegar to my vinaigrette.)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Roasted Portobellos with Kale

(recipe from

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey
4 cloves garlic, divided
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 stemmed potobello mushrooms
1/2 thinly sliced red onion
pinch red pepper flakes
6 cups thinly sliced kale

Combine vinegar, honey, 2 chopped cloves garlic, and 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Arrange mushrooms in a baking dish.  Drizzle with vinaigrette, cover, and marinate, turning occasionally, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (or overnight in the refrigerator).

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, 2 thinly sliced cloves garlic, and a pinch red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add kale, season with salt, and cook, covered, until bright green and soft, about 4 minutes.

Heat oven to 400F.  Roast mushrooms, flipping once, until tender, about 30 minutes.  Serve topped with kale.  Serves 2.

(This was delicious, though time consuming.  I marinated the mushrooms overnight, and they were very tangy.  Garlicky and tangy and delightful!)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Vellutata di Asparagi (asparagus soup with fried eggs)

(recipe from La Cucina Italiana magazine)

This recipe calls for a very detailed presentation involving toasts and eggs.  I am typing the recipe as is, but I did not use eggs or bread.  Instead, I just blended all of the asparagus and ate as a blended soup only.  Also, I used vegetable broth instead of water.

1 mini baguette
2 1/2 lbs. asparagus, trimmed
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
sea salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
freshly ground white peppercorns
4 large eggs

Cut 4 (1/3-inch-thick) slices from the baguette and lightly toast.  Save remaining baguette for another use.

Cut all but 8 asparagus into 1-inch lengths.  In a medium saucepan bring 3 1/3 cups water, onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt to a boil; add chopped asparagus and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.  In batches, carefully puree soup until creamy and smooth.  Return soup to pot and cover to keep warm.

Cut remaining asparagus in half, lengthwise, then cut in half crosswise; place in a large skillet.  Add water to come halfway up sides of pan, 1 Tbsp. oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Simmer until tender, about 3 minutes, then drain.

In a large nonstick skillet, fry eggs in remaining Tbsp. oil; sprinkle with salt.  Gently warm soup, stirring, then ladle into bowls.  Top with asparagus, fried eggs, and toasts.  Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with pepper.  Serve hot.

(This is a nice way to take advantage of the springtime sales on asparagus.  An elegant, subtle soup.)

Braised Napa Cabbage and Shiitakes

(recipe from Organic Style magazine)

12 small dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked, then halved
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
24 leaves napa cabbage, halved length-wise and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 scallions, trimmed, cut into 1-inch-long pieces, then julienned
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

Put shiitakes in a bowl, cover with hot water, and set aside until soft, about 30 minutes.  (Cover bowl to keep water hot.)  Drain; remove and discard stems.

Heat oil in a large pan or a wok over medium heat.  Stir-fry garlic until golden, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add shiitakes, cabbage, scallions, soy sauce, and sesame oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and braise until cabbage is tender, about 20 minutes.

(I used fresh shiitakes, just sliced and added, so skipped the first step of the recipe.  I also didn't count out leaves of cabbage, just used one small head.  This is simple, but tasty!  The slow braising creates a slightly soupy dish, which tasted a bit like a bowl of ramen.  I've been cutting out grains, so, alas!, haven't eaten a noodle in a while - I may be exaggerating.  Anyway, a nice variation on cabbage.)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A good smoothie combo:

1 orange, skins removed
1 meyer lemon, skins removed
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
fresh mint leaves (several stalks)
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
3/4 cup water


Braised Endive and Pear Slices with Lemon

(recipe from Christina Cooks)

2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. salt (or less)
4 Belgian endive, bottom trimmed, halved
2 ripe, but firm, pears (Bosc or red are best)
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Heat oil, vinegar, and salt in a flat-bottomed skillet over medium heat.  Lay endive, cut sides down, in the pan.  Cover; reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the endive wilts and the cut sides brown, about 20 minutes.  When the endive is about 80 percent cooked, halve pears and cut each half lengthwise into thin slices.  Lay pears on top of endive, cover and cook for 5 minutes more.  Remove from heat, arrange endive halves, cut sides up, with pears laced through the dish.  Drizzle with lemon juice.  Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.

(Um, this is delicious.  It says 4 servings, but I couldn't stop eating it.  Really, really good.)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Apple Pear Sauce

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

4 small red-skinned apples, cored and cut into eighths
4 ripe Bartlett pears, cored and cut into eighths
1 thick slice lemon
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger root
1/2 cup water

Place apples, pears, lemon, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and water in a large soup pot and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat.  Simmer, stirring often, until apples are completely tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove lemon, cinnamon stick, and whole cloves.  Let sauce cool slightly.  Transfer to a blender and puree until as smooth as desired.  Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.  Store in the refrigerator.

(This is delicious!  The pears and lemon give it real zing.  I actually used a mulling spice mix, which I ground up, in place of the spices.  I also left the whole slice of lemon in when I pureed it.  I really liked the bits of clove, cinnamon, and citrus peel in the final product.)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Blitz's Green Smoothie

(recipe from Healthy Girl's Kitchen)

1 orange, skin & pith removed
1/2 lemon, skin & pith removed
Handful of spinach/kale/other leafy green
A sprig of parsley & mint
Handful frozen mixed berries
1 Tbsp. ground seeds (flax, sunflower, almond, pumpkin)
4-6 ice cubes
Optional:  1 or 2 pieces of crystalized or naked ginger, or a shake of dried ginger or favorite spice


Fennel, Apple, and Walnut Salad

(recipe from The Pleasures Of Cooking For One, by Judith Jones)

Fennel, about 1/3 medium bulb or 1/2 small one
1/2 tart apple
About 6 walnuts

1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
pinch of salt
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil, or more to taste

Remove the coarse outside rib of the fennel bulb, and trim off the stalk, saving the leaves.  Trim the root end so the bulb stands firmly, and, with a sharp knife, cut very thin slices.  If you have a mandoline, by all means use it.

Core the apple, and cut it into thin slices, leaving the peel on.

Mix together the dressing ingredients, taste, and adjust as you see fit.  Pour the dressing over the fennel and apple slices with the walnuts, broken in half, and some of the fennel leaves, chopped, and toss everything together.  Pile onto a salad plate, and top with a few more fennel leaves.

(So simple, yet amazingly good!)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Cauliflower "Rice" Stir-Fry

(recipe from

2 cups cauliflower florets
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 sliced red onion, divided
4 minced cloves garlic, divided
coarse salt
1/4 cup broth
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 thinly sliced small red chile
2 cups broccoli florets
1 julienned large carrot
1/2 diced (stemmed, seeded) red bell pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp. shelled pumpkin seeds
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves

Pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor until finely chopped.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1/2 sliced red onion and 2 minced cloves garlic and cook, stirring, until tender, about 6 minutes.  Add cauliflower and season with coarse salt.  Stir in broth and steam, covered, until broth has evaporated and cauliflower is tender, about 6 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and cover.

Wipe pan and heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat.  Add 1/2 sliced red onion and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add 2 minced cloves garlic, ginger, and chile and cook 1 minute.  Add broccoli florets, carrot, and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt.  Remove from heat and add lemon juice.

For each serving, top cauliflower with vegetables and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and cilantro.

(Simple, but quite good.  Cauliflower "rice" is the bomb!)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Petra's Green Smoothie

(recipe from Healthy Girl's Kitchen)

Handful of kale, especially the stalks
4 stalks celery
1 cucumber
2 apples or one ruby red grapefruit, or sometimes both


(I altered the amounts on this one to make a smaller portion: handful of kale, 1 stalk celery, 1/2 a cucumber, one apple, 1/2 a grapefruit (I also made one with just 1/2 a grapefruit, no apple).  It still made two good-sized portions.  Very tangy and vibrant!)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chris-anna's Green Smoothie

(recipe from Healthy Girl's Kitchen)

kale or swiss chard
almond milk


(I just bought a Vitamix.  F-ing amazing!  This was the first smoothie I made in it, because I had some leftover chard.  I used coconut water in place of the almond milk, since all of the packaged almond milks have weird added ingredients.  Tasty and healthy green drink!  The celery and parsley add nice notes.)

Asparagus Vinaigrette

(recipe from Orangette)

1 bunch asparagus
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. white wine or champagne vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp. olive oil
Scant 1/8 tsp. pressed garlic (or minced)
1 hard-boiled egg, finely chopped (optional)
Zest of half a lemon (optional)

For the hard-boiled egg, a new method:  Put the egg in a small saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  When it begins to boil, pull it off the burner, cover it, and let it sit for 12 minutes.  Then rinse in plenty of cold water.  The white will be tender and the yolk bright yellow, with not one single nasty bit of gray in sight.

Fill a 12-inch skillet with water to a depth of about 1 inch.  Add a good dose of salt, and bring the pan to a boil over high heat.  Add the asparagus, spreading them out in a single layer, and cook just until they turn bright green and yield to the tooth, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.  Drain into a colander, and briefly run cool water over the asparagus to stop them from cooking.  They should still be warm.  Dry them gently on a paper towel, and transfer them to a serving platter.  Set aside.

In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, and salt.  Add the oil, and whisk well to emulsify.  Taste, and if necessary, add a bit more oil.  Depending on the flavor of the oil and vinegar you use, you might need a teaspoon or so more oil.  Add the garlic, and whisk to combine.

To serve, drizzle the vinaigrette over the asparagus, and top, if you like, with hard-boiled egg.  If you choose to use the lemon zest, sprinkle a couple of pinches on top.  Alternately, serve the asparagus plain, with the vinaigrette and other optional toppings on the side, so each eater can dress it to their liking.

(I tried this recipe a few years ago, and it has become my go-to asparagus dish.  The lemony, mustardy dressing is delish, and good used as a salad dressing, too.  The hard-boiled egg is not necessary, but creates a creamier dressing when mixed together.  So good!  I usually make this and eat the whole bunch of asparagus myself.)

Emerald City Salad

(recipe from

4 cups mixed greens (mix of dino kale, curly kale, chard), coarsely chopped.  Don't make this from one type of green, the mixture is important.
3 green onions, sliced thin
3/4 cup red pepper, diced
1 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
1 cup fennel bulb, sliced thin
1 cup wild rice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt

Cook the rice according to directions.  Set aside to cool.

Prep the greens and other vegetables.  Toss in a large bowl, adding the wild rice when it is cool.  Drizzle with olive oil and mix.  Add the lemon juice and salt and mix again.  Serve chilled.

(Since I brought this to work for lunches, I simply mixed the veggies and rice in a large bowl and kept that in the fridge.  Then I mixed the oil, lemon juice, salt in a small jar and added the dressing to my small container of the veggie mixture at lunchtime.  Nice combination of flavors.  Dense, chewy salad with the raw kale and wild rice.  I'm not supposed to be eating grains on my cleanse, but made this exception for wild rice since it's not technically a rice, but an aquatic grass seed.  Yum!)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Creamy Broccoli Soup

(recipe from Martha Stewart Living)

1 Tbsp. coconut or olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 cups vegetable broth
1 head broccoli, trimmed and chopped (6 cups)
3 cups baby spinach
1 avocado, chopped, plus more for garnish
salt & pepper

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, and pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Add broccoli and cook, covered, until bright green and tender, about 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat, stir in spinach, and let cool slightly.

Transfer soup to a blender and puree with avocado.  Adjust seasoning.  Garnish with avocado and a drizzle of olive oil.

(So, since February 1, I've been following a strict cleansing diet.  No dairy, no grains, no legumes, no alcohol, no sugar, no junk food.  The only meat I eat is fish, occasional eggs.  Mostly fruit, vegetables, and nuts.  The recipes here have been reflecting this.  Really the only cooked food I've been eating are these simple blended soups that I bring to work for lunch.  Breakfast is typically fruit and nuts, dinner a salad.  My go-to salad of late has been a mixture of kale, radicchio, spinach, spring mix with chopped walnuts, shallot, pomegranate seeds, a tsp. of oil, several tsps. of balsamic.  So good!  I feel great.  It took about 10 days, then I woke up and felt amazing.  So this is only supposed to be for 30 days, but we'll see...  It's hard to imagine wanting to go back to not feeling this great.  This recipe blog may just become a whole lot of salads and soups!

Anyway, this soup is EASY and just tastes like veggies.  Broccoli and spinach are so good for you!)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Greens

(recipe from Martha Stewart Living)

1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzing
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium head cauliflower (about 3 lbs.), florets and stems cut into 1-inch pieces (8 to 9 cups)
4 1/2 cups water (or vegetable broth)
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
5 large kale or collard leaves, or a combination, tough ends removed and the leaves roughly chopped
salt and pepper

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat; cook onion, covered, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes.  Add garlic and a pinch of salt, and cook for 3 minutes more.  Add cauliflower and pour in water until it reaches just below the top of the cauliflower.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Add 2 Tbsp. dill.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until cauliflower is just tender, about 10 minutes.  Stir in greens, and simmer for 3 minutes.

Let sit for 5 minutes to cool slightly.  Stir in remaining 2 Tbsp. dill.  Puree soup in batches in a blender until very smooth, adding more water (about 1/2 cup) if it's too thick.  Return to pot and reheat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with dill and a drizzle of oil.

(A simple blended soup, better after the flavors mesh for a few days.  I used a ton of dill because I had a big bunch.  Enjoyed this taken to work for lunch.  Felt good to eat because it's so healthy.)  

Monday, February 4, 2013

"Health Starts Here" Spicy Vegetable and Potato Curry

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

1 small onion, chopped
2 serrano peppers (remove seeds for a milder curry), chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 small cinnamon stick
1 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground turmeric
3/4 tsp. ground coriander
1 cup canned coconut milk
2 large tomatoes, chopped, or 2 cups canned diced tomatoes
1 small eggplant, diced
3/4 lb. yellow potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/4 tsp. salt, to taste
1/3 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

In a blender, combine onion, peppers, garlic and broth and blend until smooth.  Set aside.

Place a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat and add cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, and coriander; stir constantly until fragrant and then add broth mixture.  Simmer for 1 minute and then stir in coconut milk and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and stir in eggplant, potatoes, and salt.  Lower heat, cover the skillet and simmer until potatoes and eggplant are tender, about 30 minutes.

Stir in green beans, cover and cook until beans are tender, about 10 more minutes.  Remove and discard cinnamon stick.  Serve garnished with cilantro.

(As usual, this tasted better and better after a few days, when the flavors meshed.  I'm trying to eat only vegetables, no grains, so I basically ate this as is, though I'm sure it would be lovely served with rice or quinoa.  A hearty veggie dish, comforting.)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Winter Squash and Apple Soup

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

3 lbs. winter squash such as butternut, kabocha, acorn, or delicata (or a mixture of those), 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, chopped
4 cloves garlic, halved
1 tsp. ground ginger (I also threw in some chopped fresh ginger I had on hand)
3 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line one or two rimmed baking sheets or shallow roasting pans with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, toss squash, apples, onion, garlic, and ginger until mixed well.  Spread mixture on baking sheets in a single layer.  Roast squash mixture until tender and beginning to brown, about 45 to 50 minutes, rotating pans between oven racks halfway through baking.  Remove from oven and puree squash mixture with broth, 1 cup water, and nutritional yeast in a blender or food processor in 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.

(Super easy soup!  I didn't have nutritional yeast, so I just threw in some cashews before blending.  I also added a little almond milk as part of the water.  Also, I just blended the parsley right in.  Good flavor, pretty hearty.  I had Mike over for dinner and he liked it.  The apples give a little sweetness.)

Melintzanosalata (Eggplant and Parsley Dip)

(recipe from Saveur magazine)

2 lbs. eggplant (about 2 large eggplants)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 green bell pepper, cored and roughly chopped
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
toasted pita, for serving

Build a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to high.  Grill eggplants, turning, until charred and soft, 18-20 minutes.  [I just roasted the eggplants whole in the oven for about an hour.]  Let cool.  Peel eggplants; scoop out seeds.  Chop eggplants; drain in strainer for 30 minutes.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat.  Add peppers; cook for 10 minutes.  Add jalapenos and continue cooking until golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to bowl of food processor along with reserved eggplant, remaining oil, parsley, vinegar, and garlic.  Process until slightly chunky.  Season with salt and pepper.  Chill to meld flavors.  Serve with pita.

(Tangy!  I did not strain my eggplant, which cut time, but my dip ended up a little too watery.  Also, since I just roasted in the oven instead of grilling, my dip may not have been as smoky as intended.  But I enjoyed this, nonetheless, eaten on rice crackers and tortilla chips, as I'm trying to avoid wheat.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Creamed" Kale

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

1/2 cup vegetable broth, or water
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. mellow white miso
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of red pepper flakes
4 cups chopped kale or other dark, leafy green

Heat broth or water in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.  Transfer to a blender or food processor, add milk, cashews, nutritional yeast, onion powder, miso, nutmeg, and pepper flakes and puree until smooth.

Transfer blended mixture back to skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Stir in kale and continue simmering, tossing often until kale is just tender, about 5 minutes.

(This is a nice tasty way to eat more kale!  I made it several times and ate it by itself for lunch.  Just something different, and super easy to make.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chunky Celery Soup

(recipe from 101 Cookbooks)

1 large onion
1 large russet potato
3 to 4 small - medium carrots
10 medium-length stalks of celery
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
5 cups vegetable broth
2 cups cooked wild rice, brown rice, barley (just about any cooked medium-sized grain)

optional:  celery leaf pesto (if your celery has many leaves intact)
1 cup lightly packed celery leaves
1 large clove garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup olive oil
(Puree all of these ingredients in a food processor for about 30 seconds)

parmesan cheese (optional)

Chop the onion, potato, carrots, and celery into pieces that are about 1/2-inch or smaller.  Do your best to cut everything roughly the same size, as this will keep cooking time across the ingredients somewhat uniform.  You should end up with about 2 1/2 cups of chopped celery.

In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, combine the olive oil, onion, potato, carrots, celery and a few pinches of salt.  Saute for about ten miutes or until the onions and celery soften a touch and expel some water.  Stir in the garlic and add the stock.  Bring to a simmer and let cook for another 10 minutes or until the celery, carrot, and potatoes are just cooked through - resist the urge to overcook them into mush.  Stir in the rice a few minutes before the potatoes and carrot are cooked through.  Remove the soup from the heat and ladle into soup bowls.  Top each with a generous drizzle of the celery leaf pesto and/or some parmesan cheese (optional).

(This is kind of a clean-out-your-fridge recipe.  I found this recipe while searching for a way to use up a lot of celery I had accumulated.  What a delight to find that this soup is extremely delicious!  I didn't even add any grain to the soup, just a little extra carrots and potatoes and celery.  My friend's mom had just given me some homemade basil pesto, which I used instead of making my own kind of pesto.  I brought the soup for my lunches in a mason jar, with a teaspoon of the pesto plopped on top.  I enjoyed it every day, and it just got better and better as the flavors meshed.  I also think that this would be good blended a bit into a creamier consistency.  Very easy and versatile - what a discovery!  Celery soup!)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Pantzaria Me Skordalia (Roasted Beets with Garlic-Potato Spread)

(recipe from Saveur magazine)

4 medium red beets (about 1 1/2 lbs.), trimmed and cleaned
10 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup finely ground toasted walnuts
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
6 cloves garlic, smashed and minced into a paste
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" squares and boiled until tender

Heat oven to 425F.  Put beets in an 8" x 8" baking dish and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. oil.  Season with salt and pepper and pour in 1 cup water.  Cover pan tightly with foil and crimp edges to form a seal.  Bake beets until a knife inserted into beet slides easily into the center, about 1 hour.  Transfer pan to a rack, carefully uncover, and let cool for 30 minutes.  Peel beets and cut into 1"-2" pieces; set aside.

Put walnuts, vinegar, garlic, and potatoes into a medium bowl and mash potatoes until smooth.  Vigorously stir in remaining oil and season with salt and pepper.  [I put whole toasted walnuts, vinegar, and whole garlic cloves into the food processor and pulsed until blended, then added the cooked potatoes and oil and pulsed all together until smooth.]

Transfer beets to plates and serve with some skordalia spread on the side.

(This is a Greek taverna dish which sounds odd but is surprisingly good.  Warning - that spread is super garlic-y!!  I made this when I was sick, so the garlic was kind of a welcome tonic.  Brought this to work for lunches with some beets and spread and a little bit of torn lettuce leaves mixed in.  Like I said, odd but good.)