The Recipes

Fresh Tomato Salsa

1 lb. garden fresh tomatoes, cored and chopped into small pieces

½ a small red onion, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, minced (careful to wash your hands afterwards)

cilantro, chopped in any amount

1/2 tsp. salt.

Stir to mix well and eat as soon as possible.

All ingredient amounts can be adjusted to taste preference.

If you don’t have the time or the inclination for all that chopping, simply whirl in the food processor until chunky.

Pesto

  • 2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 4 cloves of peeled and roughly chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup broken walnut pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • several grindings of fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil

Whirl in blender or food processor. Spoon into bowl and mix in 3 ounces of finely grated Parmesan cheese (or other hard cheese). Use right away or freeze for use over the dark days of winter…

Pan Cooked Broccoli

1 head of broccoli

2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

1 Tb. olive oil

salt and pepper to taste.

1/8 cup water

Wash and chop broccoli into bite sized pieces. The stalk is good too so chop off the very bottom and then peel what’s left and chop it up.

Add oil to the bottom of a 12 inch skillet and heat to medium. Toss broccoli into hot pan and let brown a little, stirring occasionally.

Add garlic and grind salt and pepper over the broccoli. Stir.

Pour in water and cover. Turn heat down to low and let steam. Check after a few minutes with a fork for tenderness. When close to being done but not quite cooked, turn off heat and let sit with lid on until ready to eat.

Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup with Yogurt “Cream”

  • 2 Tb. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, halved and seeded
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp. coriander
  • 5-8 cups stock or water, whatever will just cover all the vegetables
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup plain, low fat yogurt
  • 1 Tb. water
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • a good squeeze of fresh lime juice to taste

For simplicity’s sake (lazy cook that I am) I roast the squash in the oven at 400 for about 30 minutes or until a fork slides easily into the flesh. Put it cut side up in a roasting pan in an inch of water. Then it is simply a matter of just scraping the squash out when it’s soft. Doing this early in the day or even the night before will make things even easier. If you prefer, you can peel and chop–or get the pre-cut kind at the market, and cook with the carrots in the next step.

Saute onion in olive oil until soft, maybe 5 minutes or so. Add carrots and saute for 5 more minutes. Add spices and saute for yet another 5 minutes.

Add water/stock and bring to boil. If using water, I’ll often throw in a bouillon cube. Reduce heat and add roasted squash at this time. Simmer until vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool until you can safely blend soup.

Puree until desired texture is achieved. For me, that means slightly chunky. Transfer to a pan and thin to desired consistency with additional water if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in cilantro and lime juice.

For yogurt “cream” whisk water into yogurt and season with salt. Add some finely minced jalapeno for added flavor if you like. To serve, ladle into bowls and drizzle with yogurt. Garnish with more cilantro.

Microwave Popcorn

Pour 1/4 cup of popcorn into a paper lunch sack.  Fold the top of the bag a couple of times to keep it closed but leaving lots of room for expanding corn.  Stick in your microwave on high for about 3 minutes.

There’s a lot of difference between microwaves so the thing to do is use your ears.  Listen to the popping.

Pull the bag out before all the popping stops (this could lead to burnt popcorn)–until just when it slows to a few seconds between pops.

Careful!  Open the bag cautiously–away from your face.  Hot steam can burn.

If you’re so inclined, drizzle on some butter, add salt.  Other suggestions include:

  • My favorite, add nutritional yeast (not baking or brewers yeast).  This adds a “cheesy” taste as well as vitamin B-12.
  • I haven’t tried this myself but plan on doing so.  Spray corn lightly with an oil mister.  I’ve seen them at home/kitchen stores.  Then add salt or other spices so some of it will stick to the popcorn and not end up in the bottom of the bag.
  • Other add-ins might be sugar and cinnamon, grated Parmesan cheese, salt and chili powder, or a new and exciting combination of whatever pleases you.

Roasted Cauliflower

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 5 or 6 cloves of garlic still in paper
  • 1 yellow onion, cut in wedges
  • olive oil
  • fresh ground pepper and salt to taste
  • a couple of sprigs of rosemary (optional)
  • small lemon, sliced (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Wash and chop cauliflower into pieces of approximately equal size after trimming off leaves and removing the core.  Dry and place in a single layer in a roasting pan.

Add garlic and onion wedges to pan.  Pour a drizzle of olive oil over vegetables.  Grind fresh pepper over the top, and sprinkle with coarse salt.

Toss in pan with your fingers until evenly coated with oil.  Tuck in rosemary sprigs and top with lemon slices if using.  *This is where younger kids can help.

Sam’s Special Cauliflower Ready for the Oven

Roast for approximately 30 minutes or until cauliflower is soft and has plenty of browning.  Remove from oven and toss once again.  Serve.

Tonight’s Split Pea Soup

  • carrots, diced
  • celery, diced
  • onion, diced
  • olive oil
  • vegetable or chicken broth, 4 cups or more if you like thinner soup
  • tomatoes, chopped
  • beet greens (or some other type of leafy green), chopped
  • ham, diced
  • salt to taste
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup split peas

I realize there are no measurements for anything except the split peas and broth. That’s why it’s improvisational.  I used everything on the plate above with the exception of the biggest tomato.  Use what you have.  You won’t need a lot.

Saute the first three ingredients in oil for about 10 minutes.

Add split peas and water or broth, tomatoes and ham.

Bring to boil.  Then cover and simmer on low for the first half hour.

Uncover and cook until the peas are creamy.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss in chopped greens in the last half hour of cooking.  If you think you might get resistance to greens in the soup, chop it smaller so it’s less noticeable.  It works at my house…

Salad Dressings:

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • lots of freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients into bottle/container and shake well.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup vinegar, use your favorite
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • lots of fresh ground pepper
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or more to taste if it’s too acidic for you)
  • clove of garlic, put through a garlic press

Place all ingredients into bottle/container and shake well.

Roasted Fennel

This multi-purpose vegetable is also delicious cooked.  Here is my favorite recipe for roasting it adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe.
  • fennel bulbs
  • butter
  • coarse salt
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh ground pepper
  • sprigs of thyme

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Chop off the fennel’s green top, and slice the bulb in half lengthways.

Boil for 10-15 minutes in salted water.

Pull from water with slotted spoon and drain on tea towel, cut side down.

Place in buttered baking dish, cut side up, and brush with melted butter.  Sprinkle top with coarse salt and enough Parmesan cheese to cover.  Grind on pepper.  Top with sprig of thyme.

Place in oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes until top is golden brown.

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