Thursday, December 21, 2017

It’s looking a lot like Christmas

It is looking a lot like Christmas these days. Most of the work week has wound down. We have plenty of snow and it is so cold that it stays and is crunchy under my winter boots when I take a stroll. The Christmas tree has been up since Thanksgiving, and I have still no idea of what to cook this year. It feels like the cooking extravaganza of Thanksgiving  has just passed.

All I want for Christmas this year is a little downtime, and pampering.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Creamy Chickpea Soup with Coconut

An elegant, everyday soup.


Creamy Chickpea Coconut Soup
(serves 3-4 as an appetizer)
  • 1/2 sweet onion, peeled, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 TB olive oil
  • 1 medium sized potato, peeled, cubed
  • a thin slice of celeriac, peeled and diced
  • about 2 cans of garbanzo beans, rinsed or 3 cups of cooked chickpeas (+ extra for texture)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • half can of coconut milk
  • 750ml of chicken bouillon
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 2 TB nutritional yeast
  • dried thyme
Saute the onion, garlic, potato, celeriac until the onion is translucent (ca. 2-3min)
Add the chickpeas, bay  leaf, turmeric and the broth. Stir, close with a lid, and simmer for 30min.
Puree with an immersion blender.
Add ground pepper, nutritional yeast, thyme and the coconut milk. Stir again, and heat through.
Ass more cooked chickpeas for texture.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Parsnip Celeriac Soup

Where did October go? It gave us a first taste of cold temperatures and winter coats here in Maine, but mostly it was usually warm and overall sunny. The only sign that the seasons are changing are the red leaves on the trees and the pumpkins and Halloween decorations in front of many houses. Indian summer stretches all the way into October this year.

At the farmers market I bought parsnips, which are large and inexpensive this time of the year. I love them roasted, but this year I felt more like soup. I also picked up a large celeriac for those fall and winter soups to come. Celeriac looks like a large potato, dense and hard, and it’s taste is intense,  so less is more to flavor soups, but it saves me buying celery stalks. A few parsnips, a slice of celeriac, and a potato, and a perfect parsnips soup is easily ready.



Parsnip Celeriac Soup
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 medium sized potato, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 slices of celeriac, peeled, and cut into small cubes (ca. 3-4oz)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 quart of vegetable or chicken broth
  1.  Heat the butter in a medium sized pot, and melt it. Add the chopped onion, and saute under stirring until translucent. 
  2. Add the parsnip, potato, and celeriac, and saute under stirring for another 3 min.
  3. Add the broth, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, turn the heat low,  and simmer for 30min.
  4. Remove the bay leaf, and use an immersion blender to puree the soup.
  5. Serve with crusty bread, parmesan cheese or some cream or sour cream.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Elderflower Syrup

We made it past July 4th, and that means we definitely enter summer territory. It’s been a wet and rather cold summer so far but the next two months might bring the endless sunshine and beach weather everyone has been waiting for.

The other day I finally found a recipe for elderflower syrup that has all the details right. It was just in the nick of time since my elderberry tree started to bloom.  I had tried my hands on elderflower syrup before but with less than convincing results. The syrup had no taste and was on the bitter side. I think I skimped on the citric acid and the massive amounts of sugar. This recipe, however, had the all important little detail of “cut off all the stems, really close to the flowers”. Yeah, no stems. Not even tiny ones. I also added the citric acid, which gives it a nice zing, plenty of sugar, since it is a syrup after all. The syrup is the best I’ve ever had. Elderflower Syrup Heaven!

Mixing a tablespoon of syrup with 100ml of Pinot Grigio and a can of Perrier makes for a very refreshing summer drink!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups organic granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons food-grade citric acid
  • 15 big elderflower heads, just all blossom opened, and no brown edges yet

How to:

  1. Remove any insects or debris from the elderflower blossoms. Just shake them out. Do not wash them, as they will lose a lot of flavor.
  2. Combine sugar, water, and the citric acid in a saucepan and stir until the sugar has dissolved. There is no need to bring it to a boil, it won’t even need to heat very much. Remove from heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.
  3. Trim the stems away from the elderflower blossoms and discard. Try to remove as much of the stems as you can.
  4. Add the blossoms to a large glass jar.
  5. Pour the cool syrup into the jar with the elderflower blossoms. Make sure that the blossoms are immersed in the syrup. Cover the jar with a lid and let it steep in the fridge for 48 hours, stirring the syrup once daily.
  6. Strain the syrup through a fine-meshed sieve into a clean jar or bottle. Store the syrup in a cool place for up to one year. Once opened, store the bottle in the fridge.
  7. Enjoy!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Giant White Beans with Tomato Sauce in Instant Pot

Over the last month, I’ve use my new Instant Pot to make a killer tomato sauce, and it only takes 20 minutes and it tastes like it has been slow-cooking for hours. My current favorite is a combination of a large can of fire roasted tomatoes, a small can of tomato paste, a bay leaf, some fresh rosemary, sautéed onions and garlic, a 1/2 teaspoon of bouillon and a cup of Giant White Beans (I got mine on Amazon, they are imported from Greece). I set it to manual and cook it for 35 minutes, and let it release steam on its own, so it cooks at least a half hour longer. The giant white beans have just the perfect bite with the juicy, garlicky sauce. Definitely a staple recipe.
Giant_Beans

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Simple Red Lentil Soup with Kale

The wind was howling around the house. The snow was racing sideways in front of my window. First in one direction, and then, almost immediately, back in the other. A late season hurricane that affected much of the East coast the past days, made me take refuge at home. "Late season" because at this point I am ready for spring and not for more snow, but this preference is purely personal.

So, it was time for a warm, smooth, spicy and filling soup. I whipped up another batch of this red lentil soup that needs little preparation and cooks fast. A few Indian spices add a unique character, and the late-stage added kale rounds it out.

I had to search for my notes again for this soup recipe so I am putting it in the place where I most likely find it again, my own blog. Note, that I write this down with as much detail as I can for myself; feel free to use other ingredients (e.g. regular olive oil or grapeseed oil, etc.)


Red Lentil Soup with Kale

(makes 3 larger servings)
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 4-5 cups of water (or broth)
  • 1 teaspoon blood orange olive oil (or plain olive oil, or grapeseed oil)
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 inch-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into tiny dices
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 0.5 teaspoon turmeric
  • 0.5 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1-2 tiny hot dry (pequin) chilies (depending on taste) (or tiny bit of cayenne)
  • 1-2 teaspoon vegetable bouillon powder (if using water)
  • 2 handfuls of kale, torn up
Preparation:
  1. In a non-stick pot,  heat the olive oil, add the onion and raw ginger. Once the onion is sauteed and see-through, add the garlic and saute the mix for another minute.
  2. Add the lentils, water, and the spices. Close the lid, bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer with closed lid for 30min.
  3. Use an immersion blender, and puree the hot soup (or let cool down, and use a blender, but no hot soup in the blender)
  4. Put the soup back on the stove, add the bouillon and the kale.
  5. Heat soup again, and let the kale wilt down to preferred consistency (still crunchy or buttery soft).
  6. Serve.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Slouching towards Spring



The other day I made a Dark Rye  breadmix from King Arthur Flour. I poured the mix into the bowl of a stand mixer with the kneading hook attached, mixed the dry ingredients with the yeast, and added the water and a dash of olive oil, and let the machine do the work. It came together in no time, and I padded down the loaf in a little bread basket to rise. It would only rise when I placed it next to the woodstove oven. I flipped it on a sheet, and baked for 45min. Rye bread perfection.