Category Archives: Vegetables

Corn Tomato Chowder

Summer is coming to a close and tomatoes and corn are abundant in the markets for several more weeks. This is an easy and delicious way to utilize nature’s bounty.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions ( Vidalia are good, so are white or yellow)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 ears of fresh corn, shucked and cleaned
  • 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
  • fresh ground black or white pepper to taste

In a soup pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook them, stirring occasionally to ensure no scorching, about 5 minutes until they are softened.

While the onions and garlic are cooking, cut the corn off of the cob, ( if you are using frozen corn about 2 cups-though the crunch and taste of fresh summer corn is ideal) by setting the cob on a cutting board horizontally and slicing the corn off with a sharp knife, rotating the cob as you go. This is easier than setting the corn upright vertically and is easier to control the knife. After the kernels have been removed, you want to scrape out any of the milky liquid from each cobb and use this in the soup as well. Add all of the corn kernels and milk to the pot with the onioins and garlic.

Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Stir and add the salt and pepper, and simmer for about 5 minutes more. Add the fresh tomatoes and cook 5 more minutes. Take off the heat and add the cilantro. Check the seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Ladle the soup into bowls and enjoy with a dollop of sour cream if you desire.

Serves-4

Kale and Lentil Salad

Red Lentils are quick to cook, and very filling. This salad can be served warm as a side dish, or chilled until cool and eaten as a cold salad. You will need:

  • 2 cups red lentils, cooked and drained
  • 1 Tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons good vinegar such as balsamic or sherry
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • wedge of lemon
  • 1/4 cup Dinosaur kale, chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • fresh basil, minced or chiffonade
  • 3 Tablespoons lightly toasted pine nuts or other nuts like hazelnut
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

To prepare the salad have your ingredients ready and warm a skillet or sauté pan gently over medium heat and warm the oil and garlic until it softens, about 3 minutes. Stirring occasionally to ensure no sticking or burning. Add your vinegar and kale and wilt the kale, stirring to coat the greens with the warm garlic dressing. Once wilted remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix this with the basil and nuts and tomatoes while still warm but not hot. Squeeze a little lemon over the salad and toss gently ensuring an even coating. You may serve this chilled or warm as it is and it is a lovely summer dish. This is excellent with a grilled fish as an entrée.   Serves-4

Simply delicious collard green salad

I want to share a recipe from one of my favorite cooks and authors Robin Asbell.

Her Collard Green Waldorf salad is perfect for winter. Check out her site for more information about this recipe, and great pictures on how to prepare the collard greens.  Here is the link to her website and the recipe as follows:

 

Collard Green Waldorf Salad

A great thing about using resilient leaves like these in a salad is that you can dress it and serve it for days. Like coleslaw, it just gets more tender as it sits.

Makes about 4 cups

1 bunch collard greens, stems removed and saved for juice or other use

2 tablespoons Meyer or other lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil

1/4 cup vegan or other mayo

1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup

2 ribs celery, split lengthwise and then chopped

1 large Honeycrisp or other apple, chopped

1/2 large carrot, grated

1/2 cup toasted broken walnuts

 

On your cutting board, roll up the stemmed leaves and slice thinly. Place in a large bowl and add the lemon, olive oil and salt, and massage until the greens are deep green and shrink to about 2/3 their original volume. In a cup, stir the mayo and agave or maple, and add to the greens. Add the celery, apple, carrots and toss to coat. Stir in most of the walnuts, saving some to sprinkle on top at serving.

Carrot and Zucchini Fries

I am just going to post the link HERE for this recipe, as I found it on the PBS parents website. It is originally from Voracious Vander. Enjoy. I would add that optimally you want to buy organic squash and carrots as squash needs a lot of pesticides and herbicides and tends to be GMO, and carrots sit in soil that is heavily laden with pesticides.

 

Recipe: Carrot and Zucchini Fries

An unbelievably easy and delicious way to cook carrots and zucchini.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Zucchini
  • Carrots
  • Seasonings of your choice. (See note under “Instructions.”)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Cut your veg into 3-inch sticks, making sure they are even in thickness.
  3. Line a baking tray with baking paper and a light layer of olive oil.
  4. SEASON – Go with the usual salt&pepper and branch out to one or two of the following (Choose Your Own Adventure-style): paprika, cumin, cayenne, crushed red peppers, thyme, rosemary, sage – really, whatever takes your fancy and suits your meal. Using premixed spice blends is a great option too – Italian, Mexican, Old Bay – you know, just not all at once. (Today I used salt&pepper, smokey paprika and crushed red peppers.)
  5. Lightly toss your vegetable batons with a tablespoon or so of olive oil (not too much) and the herbs and spices.
  6. Spread your seasoned veg over your lined tray and roast, tossing halfway through, for about 20 minutes or until golden and slightly browned at the edges.

Cranberry Quinoa Pilaf

This colorful pilaf will be a hit on your dinner table. Quinoa is packed with essential amino acids and is high in protein to keep you feeling full.

You will need:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup uncooked red quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2/3 cups low-sugar, dried cranberries
  • 2/3 cups sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1 Tablespoon minced, fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • pinch cayenne

Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium high heat. Add onions and spices, stirring often, until just softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add quinoa and toast, stirring constantly, for 1 minute so as not to scorch the quinoa or spices. Stir in the broth and salt and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in cranberries, cover again and continue to cook until liquid is completely absorbed and quinoa is tender, 8 to 10 minutes more. Toss with almonds and parsley.

Serves-6.

Roasted Pumpkin and Brussels Sprouts

Pumpkins are abounding now that Fall is here. That holiday center piece could be the center piece at the dinner table instead. Pumpkins are full of cartenoids (orange and yellow veggies) and high in vitamin A.

Select a firm pumpkin with no bruises or cuts. Sugar pumpkin are tender and easy to peel. You could also substitute a winter squash like acorn, or buttercup.  When choosing Brussels sprouts you want to look for ones without large brown spots, fairly similar in size so they cook consistently, and if possible still on the stalk.

You will need:

  • 2 cups pumpkin, peeled, seeded and chopped in a 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 cups Brussles sprouts, washed, picked over, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 Teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh sage, finely chiffonade
  • pinch cayenne
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed to a paste with the broad side of a blade
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • Sea or Kosher salt to taste, about 1/4 teaspoon

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl toss all ingredients including the olive oil and mix well.

Spread onto a large sheet pan, and roast for about 15 minutes checking on the color of the pumpkin, and stirring with a wooden spoon a little. Roast another 5-10 minutes until the Brussels sprouts are golden around the edges and the pumpkin can be pierced easily with the tip of a knife blade.

Serves 4.

Tangy Chioggia-Jicima Slaw

  • 1-large Jicima bulb, washed, peeled, and julienned
  • 1-medium chioggia beet, washed, peeled and julienned
  • 1-teaspoon grape seed or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-teaspoons fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1-teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • sea salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • pinch cayenne or chili spice

Serves 2-4

Use a Mandoline with the Julienne blade to shred the Jicima and the Beet. Toss all the ingredients well in a bowl, and season with salt and pepper and the lime juice and herbs. Alternately you could use Jane’s Crazy Mixed-Up Seasoning instead of salt. There is even a pepper blend now.

This is a tangy, crunchy slaw that pairs well as a side dish for lunch or brunch items. Or as a salad on it’s own with some diced, fresh, avocado added and some minced red onion. The taste of Jicima is similar to a potato, but not nearly as starchy or earthy, and it’s very hydrating as it is full of water. It is full of iron and vitamin C, as well as having 6 grams of fiber per cup. It’s mildly anti-inflammatory and even has 1 gram of protein, which is surprising considering how plain and crunchy it is. Combined with the candy-cane striped Chiogga beet, this slaw is an eye pleaser, as well as being so good for you.

Alternate suggestions: Add a chopped avocado and citrus segments. If you dislike cilantro, parsley or your other favorite soft herbs may be used.

Golden Borscht

Farm fresh beets
High in Betalians and Phytonutrients

I really enjoy making Borscht. A traditional Russian soup that is said to be the reason for so many centenarians living there! A big pot of iron-rich soup that is satisfying and fortifying. Now that the end of Summer is here and Fall is peeking around the corner markets are rich with golden beets, red beets and chioggia beets.

Beetroots are chock full of phytonutrients called Betalains‘. There are two main types of betalains in beetroot: betacynins (red-violet) and betaxanthins (yellow). Both are a water soluble type of betalains found only in a few of the worlds foods like: prickly pear fruit, beets, beet greens, swiss chard, quinoa and amaranth.

These nutrients help strengthen your cells and keep them healthy and strong against bad bacteria and disease. The phytonutrients in beets are strongly anti-inflammatory. Which is wonderful news for you because all autoimmune disorders are associated with, or caused by chronic inflammation.

Betalains in particular contain water soluble fiber that helps reduce LDL cholesterol, as well as cartenoids and flavonoids which help keep cholesterol from being deposited in the arteries. They protect the cells of the liver and brain from toxins, as well as containing both potassium and magnesium.

When you buy beets, you want to look for small or medium-sized beets whose roots are firm, smooth-skinned and deep in color. Smaller, younger beets may be so tender that peeling won’t be needed after they are cooked. Avoid beets that have spots, bruises or soft, wet areas, all of which indicate spoilage. Shriveled or squishy should also be avoided as these are signs that the roots are old and will be too fibrous.While the quality of the greens does not reflect that of the roots, if you are going to consume this very nutritious part of the plant, look for greens that appear fresh, tender, and have a lively green color.

To keep the greens, cut the majority of the greens and their stems from the beet roots, so they do not pull moisture away from the root. Leave about two inches of the stem attached to prevent the roots from “bleeding.” Do not wash beets before storing. Place in a plastic bag and wrap the bag tightly around the beets, squeezing out as much of the air from the bag as possible, and place in refrigerator where they will keep for up to 3 weeks. Raw beets do not freeze well, but cooked ones will.

For the soup you will need:

  • 2-medium sized golden beets, or 1-large one, peeled and small diced (or grated if you feel like it)
  • 2-Tablespoons yellow Miso paste
  • 1-small onion, minced
  • 1-large garlic clove, smashed
  • 2-cups beet greens, chopped (may substitute chard, collards or kale)
  • 1-medium carrot, peeled and small dice
  • 1-teaspoon sweet paprika (smoked paprika is  also good!)
  • 2-Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or grape seed oil
  • 4-cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or chicken broth if you have reached the poultry part of the diet)
  • 1-teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1-Tablespoon apple-cider vinegar
  • 2-teaspoons dried dill
  • 1-fresh bay leaf (dried is ok)
  • 1\2 cup plain Greek yogurt

In a large soup pot over medium heat, use the oil to sweat the carrot, onion, garlic. When just beginning to soften, add the beets, beet greens, bay leaf, paprika and dill. Stir well for about a minute and add the Miso paste. Cook for another five minutes and make sure to stir so the Miso doesn’t scorch on the bottom of the pot. Add the beets and stock and stir again. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn down the heat to a low simmer. Let cook,uncovered,  stirring occasionally for another 15-20 minutes. Test for doneness and  stir in vinegar and season with salt and any extra pepper you may like to add.

To serve add a good dollop of Greek yogurt to the top of your bowl of Borscht. Feel free to stir it in.

Serves about-6

Variations: Use red beets and add 1-12oz can diced tomatoes, or 2 tablespoons tomato paste (instead of Miso) for a more traditional Borscht. You could also go full-stop, and add shredded red cabbage, about a cup, instead of (or in addition to) the greens.

Collard Greens

Collard greens, or Collards, as they’re known in the South, are typically prepared with bacon, or pork belly and braised or boiled for a long time until the texture is reminiscent of buttery Saag (a spinach dish in Indian cuisine cooked in ghee). The Collards you may have grown up on were most likely cooked in this manner, and usually retained a strong pork flavor that you either loved or hated, so you doused them in hot pepper vinegar or hot sauce!

Well Collard greens, and all leafy greens are so incredibly good for us. Yet they can be a little daunting, especially without the bacon to help things along. They have a very earthy, chlorophyll flavor to them with a slight bitterness that can actually be pleasing in the way endive is.

They can be eaten raw or cooked. With such hearty greens like collards some cooking really helps them along. 1 Cup of cooked and drained collards provides 4 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 308% vitamin A, 58% vitamin C, 27% calcium, 12% iron, and they are strongly anti-inflammatory. Good news for those suffering with chronic pain!

To start select your collards at the store or farmer market. The best way to wash them well is in a sink full of water. Swish well and shake loose all the dirt and grime so it falls to the bottom of the sink. Then you will want to either use a paring knife to cut the leaves off of the thick stem, or tear them off. It really doesn’t matter. I prefer to buy my vegetables organic as much as possible due to some of the genetically modified seeds out there.

You can eat collards raw in a salad like my kale salad, and they sure are going to give you a good chewing workout. This could be good for those of you missing your steaks on the diet. It is also very easy to do a quick saute or braise until it melts in your mouth from long, slow cooking. They also work well finely shredded tossed into a cole slaw.

Being that they are rich in iron, they tend to go well with citrus and acidic ingredients like vinegar. Adding citrus to iron rich foods helps in the absorption of the mineral during digestion. Ensuring you get the most out of it, as well as tasting great.

Since Autumn is fast approaching us I think it appropriate to offer you a stuffed squash recipe using Collard greens.

You will need:

  • 2 small Acorn squash
  • 2 cups collard greens, chopped
  • 1\2 cup wild rice
  • 1 1\2 cups water or stock
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh sage, chiffonade or finely minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium celery stalks, minced
  • 1 cup chopped onion, about 1\2 large onion
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Pinch of allspice
  • 1\4 lemon ( a wedge)
  • 1 teaspoon sea or Kosher salt
  • 3\4 cup Pecan halves
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees faranheit.
  2. Lightly oil 2 baking sheets.
  3. Cut the squash open from the stem to the base, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and lay the squash cut side down on the baking sheets.
  4. Bake for 20 to 30 Minutes, r until easily pierced with a paring knife. Remove from the oven when you can do this, and let the squash cool while you prepare the other ingredients.
  5. In a medium sauce pan cook the wild rice and collards in the water. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmering, stirring occasionally, for about 30-40 minutes. The rice is done when the grain starts to split. If there is extra water leftover drain it out in a strainer.
  6. In a saute pan heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the celery, onion, lemon thyme and sage until just softened.
  7. Stir in the parsley, black pepper, cayenne, allspice, and salt. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  8. When the squash have cooled enough to handle, use a spoon to carefully scoop out the flesh, leaving a bit behind to keep the skins from tearing.
  9. In a large bowl mash the squash flesh and reserve.
  10. Select about 16 (4 per squash half) perfect pecans for a garnish, then use a food processor to grind the rest of the pecans to a fine texture.
  11. Add the processed pecans, to the reserved, mashed squash flesh, along with the sauted celery and onion mixture, and the wild rice.  Add a squeeze of lemon juice and mix thoroughly.
  12. Stuff the mixture into the pecan shells and garnish with the perfect pecan pieces you removed prior.
  13. Place all in a casserole or baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, or until the tops feel firm to the touch.

This dish is a little time consuming but the beauty is that you can make it ahead and assemble the components and bake for a quick meal the next day. Or eat it cold!

Try Collards. You might love them. They will do your body and joints a world of good while they fill you up and help reduce your chronic pain.

Simply Kale Chips

Kale chips. Have you tried them? A great alternative to potato chips but often over-priced for a small package, and full of added ingredients to preserve freshness and add artificial flavor.

They couldn’t be easier to make at home however. All you need is:

1 bunch of Kale. Curly, or flat.

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Sea salt or Kosher for seasoning. And spices that you like, or leave it plain.

 

Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Take your washed and dried Kale and either cut, with a sharp paring knife, or tear, the leaves off of the thick center vein. Make sure Kale is dried well. In a big bowl toss the Kale well with the olive oil, rubbing it in and then sprinkle the salt, rubbing it over the leaves with the oil. Lay the Kale out flat on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake until crisp, about 15-20 minutes. Check frequently as the edges tend to burn.

Alternately you could “dry” the Kale leaves in the exact same manner as above, with a lower oven temperature, for a longer time: such as 200 degrees Farenheit and let it “dry” until crisp about 2-4 hours. Even overnight. At such a low temperature like 200 degrees it’s very difficult to burn the leaves.

Once you have them, let them cool and store in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or so. Though I doubt they will make it week once you taste them!