Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cream of rice soup

The soup of a convalescent seems similar to baby food: easy to digest, pureed, striped of spices, very simple. Still, the thought of baby food is not that appealing. This is a quite grown up soup I would even eat if I’d not be recovering. A basic soup of rice, carrots and some winter squash, pureed once the ingredients are soft and then flavored with sage and fresh mint and a dash of garlic and Parmesan (both optional). The herbs are thrown in whole and removed once they flavor the soup. Wonderful fall soup!


Cream of Rice soup
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 10 oz winter squash (such as butternut, delicata or sunshine) (peeled, deseeded and diced)
  • 1/3 cup quick cooking white rice
  • 1/2 garlic clove, peeled, grated
  • 1.5 teaspoon vegetable bouillon
  • 2-3 whole sage leaves
  • spring of fresh mint
  • some grated parmesan cheese
Heat the chicken stock, and simmer the diced carrot, squash and rice for about 15 min on med-low in a cast iron pot until rice is cooked. Cool the soup.
Puree the soup in a blender (or use immersion blender if you don’t have time to cool the soup first). Pour back into pot and reheat. Add the herbs whole (they will be removed later once they flavored the soup!), bouillon, and garlic, and reheated for about 4-5 min. Remove the herbs from the soup. Serve soup with some grated parmesan cheese.
Good add-on: shredded boiled chicken.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hoar frost

It was the first colder night with sub-freezing temperatures. When I opened the window in the morning the lawn was covered in hoar frost. The sun has a pale, soft golden light this late in the season. The birds still gather to move to warmer places. The Canadian geese rest on the Stillwater. It was a long, sunny and mild October this year. Everyone says “One warmer day taken off the cold season.” We count our blessings.

things of interest this week:



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Harvest pasta

Most of nature points towards the end of the season: the leaves on the trees have turned to yellow and red, the lawn might be done with growing for the year, sleeping under trees shedding their leaves, but the winter chard in the garden and the kale are still happily growing, new shiny leaves every time I check. Tonight’s dinner was a sauteed pan full of garlic, red bell pepper, baked acorn squash, chili flakes, roasted butternut squash seed oil and orecchiette and a dash of sour cream.



Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Sunday in Bar Harbor

Rain was predicted for today but in the end it held out until the evening, and it was a beautiful Sunday on Mount Desert Island. Instead of families with young kids Bar Harbor was visited by people from D.C. leveraging a recent windfall in extra vacation, and many Germans. Unfortunately, Acadia was closed, so the only hiking happened in downtown Bar Harbor, eating fudge, stocking up on black cherry balsamic vinegar, and still sitting outside.
Morning Glory Bakery, Bar Harbor

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Harvest muffins with kuri squash, Swiss chard and feta (GF)

It was time to make muffins again, savory muffins, to take to work when the hunger strikes. I tried a new combination of an old favorite, the spinach butternut squash and feta muffins. This time I used winter chard, roasted kuri squash, fire-roasted red bell pepper, kalamata olives and feta. The theme was ‘Greek muffin’. The baby spinach is best option for this muffin, it holds its texture and adds a nice subtle flavor, but if you are out of baby spinach, kale and and Swiss chard will do.


Swiss chard, squash and feta muffins (gluten-free)
  • cooking spray (or butter for the muffin pan) (makes ca 16-18 muffins)
  • 1 TM of olive oil
  • 255g cubed kuri/sunshine winter squash, cut 1/2-inch cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-6 large Swiss chard  leaves, chopped (stems discarded)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds kernels, roasted, unsalted
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 roasted sweet red bell pepper, cut into small dice
  • 100g  cubed sheep milk feta (full-fat)
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 TB chopped fresh oregano (or 1/2 TB dried)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 180 ml non-flavored almond milk
  • 1.5 cups gluten-free all purpose baking mix (or regular all-purpose flour)
  • 0.5 cup almond meal
  • 4 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 405F / 200C, with rack in the top third. Grease 2 12-hole muffin pans and set aside.
  2. Arrange raw cubed kuri squash in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with aluminium foil, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake for 15 - 25 minutes so that the squash is mostly cooked, but not mushy or dry. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a bowl beat the eggs and almond milk together, and add the mustard. (Tip: instead of salt, I often add 1 TB of feta brine).
  4. In another bowl, mix the flour and baking powder, add in some salt and a generous dose of freshly ground black pepper,
  5. Add flour to the egg liquid and mix until smooth.
  6. Gently fold in the Swiss chard, sunflower seeds, olives, red bell pepper, and  feta. At last, fold in the baked squash.
  1. Spoon the mixture into the muffin prepared pan, filling each hole 3/4 full.
  2. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops and sides of the muffins are golden, and the muffins have set up completely. Let cool for a couple minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack. 

Golden October

It is October 1. The month that can be bright, sunny, warm, golden, with trees that turn their leaves from green to yellow to red, from the last apples to get ripe, winter squash to adorn front steps and end up in pots, gardens to be raked and made winter ready, and another reprive from the dreary, dark and cold part of the year.

October, may you be a golden, and warm this year. The tea is steeping and the first vegan chili is cooked.