Sunday, January 31, 2010

Curried Yellow Split Pea and Winter Squash Soup

The color of this soup is tawny gold because of the combination of yellow split peas and orange squash as opposed to most split pea soups which are green. This soup also gets it flavor bang from the curry powder which can be adjusted to taste. I've served it to guests who asked for the recipe.

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder (more or less depending on how spicy you would like the soup)
7-8 cups water, you can add more water if the soup seems too thick
1 1/2 cups winter squash (more is fine, I used all of 1 small squash)
2 cups yellow split peas (1# bag)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste (I forgot to use this and it was still delicious)
chopped parsley for garnish

Heat olive oil in large soup pot. Stir in the onion and celery and saute until tender. Lower the heat and add the garlic. Saute for 30 seconds more. Add the curry powder and saute gently for 30 seconds; keep stirring.

Add the water, squash, split peas, bay leaf, salt and sugar t0 the pot. Bring the soup to a near boil, then lower the heat. Partially cover the pot and simmer for about 1 hour, until the split peas are completely tender to the point of falling apart. Remove the soup from the heat and discard the bay leaf.

Puree the soup with an immersion blender if its needed. I didn't bother with this step. Add the tomato paste if using. Taste the soup and add more salt if necessary. Sprinkle soup with parsley and serve.

Squash Lasagna

Roasted Butternut Squash, Rosemary and Garlic Lasagna Recipe

3 lbs. butternut squash, quartered, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 9 1/2 C.)
3 T. vegetable oil
4 C. milk
2 T. dried rosemary, crumbled
1 T. minced garlic
1/4 C. butter
1/4 C. all-purpose flour
9 7 x 3 1/2-inch sheets dry no-boil lasagna pasta
1 1/3 C. freshly grated Parmesan (about 5 oz.)
1 C. heavy cream
1/2 t. salt

Preheat oven to 450°F. and oil a large shallow baking pans. In a large bowl toss squash with oil until coated well and spread in one layer in pan. Use 2 pans if you don't have one that's large enough. Roast squash in oven 10 minutes and season with salt. Stir squash and roast 10 to 15 minutes more, or until tender and beginning to turn golden.

While squash is roasting, in a saucepan bring milk to a simmer with rosemary. Heat milk mixture over low heat 10 minutes and pour through a sieve into a large pitcher or measuring cup. In a large heavy saucepan cook garlic in butter over moderately low heat, stirring until softened. Stir in flour and cook roux, stirring, 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in milk mixture in a stream until smooth. Return pan to heat and simmer sauce, whisking occasionally, about 10 minutes, or until thick. Stir in squash and salt and pepper to taste. Sauce may be made 3 days ahead and chilled, its surface covered with plastic wrap.

Reduce temperature to 375°F. and butter a baking dish, 13 x 9 x 2 inches. Pour 1 cup sauce into baking dish (sauce will not cover bottom completely) and cover with 3 lasagna sheets, making sure they do not touch each other. Spread half of remaining sauce over pasta and sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan. Make one more layer in same way, beginning and ending with pasta. In a bowl with an electric mixer beat cream with salt until it holds soft peaks and spread evenly over top pasta layer, making sure pasta is completely covered. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan over cream. Cover dish tightly with foil, tenting slightly to prevent foil from touching top layer, and bake in middle of oven 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake lasagna 10 minutes more, or until top is bubbling and golden. Let lasagna stand 5 minutes.

I'm sure you could use other varieties of squash if butternut wasn't available.

Adapted from Razzle Dazzle Thanksgiving Recipes

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Apple Bread Pudding

This is a very yummy bread pudding which is good either for dessert or brunch.

3 eggs
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 3/4 cups hot water
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 cups chopped apples, peeled (OK to leave the on the peels if you don't mind them--I do)
4 cups cubed bread (preferably whole grain or multi grain)--this is a good place to use up your bread ends
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray a 9x13" baking dish. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Blend in the condensed milk and then the hot water. Add the butter, vanilla, and cinnamon and mix well. Spread the apples and bread cubes in the baking dish. Pour the egg mixture over the bread and apples. Press down the bread into the liquid. Sprinkle the nuts on top and bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes, until golden brown and no liquid remains.

Adapted from Penzey's

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cheese & Sunchoke Chowder

I know I posted a similar recipe last summer. Now I'm not sure which one I prefer so I'm going to post this one too. Arthur thought this soup was delicious.

1 Tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 small onion, sliced
1 pound sunchokes, peeled and sliced
8 ounces carrots, sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2-1/2 cups chicken stock
1-1/4 cups milk
6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) Gruyere cheese, shredded (note I'm sure Gruyere cheese would be delicious in this soup but I didn't have any. I used a combination of Cedar Grove reduced fat cheddar cheese and a white cheese; I'm not sure what it was--I think what I'm saying is use what you have)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 green onions, chopped

In a large saucepan, melt butter and oil, add onion and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add sunchokes and carrots. Cook 2 minutes. Add flour, then gradually add stock. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Blend soup with an immersion blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade until smooth. Add milk (skim is fine), cheese, dry mustard, salt, and pepper and blend again. Reheat gently if needed but be sure not to boil. Garnish with a couple of chopped green onions if available.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A couple of interesting breakfast dishes

Sweet Potato and Pear Latkes

1 lb. sweet potatoes
1-2 pears, depending on size
1/2 medium onion
2 eggs
1/3 cup whole–wheat bread crumbs
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Salt to taste
Canola oil spray
Sour cream or
Unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place two nonstick baking sheets in the oven.
Peel the potatoes; core the pears. Grate each using a food processor. Grate the onion. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, bread crumbs, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the potatoes, pear and onion. Stir in the cranberries and nuts. Mix until coated.
Remove the hot baking sheets from the oven and spray thoroughly with canola spray. Spoon latke mixture onto sheets, forming 2-3 inch patties. Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes per side, turning once with a spatula. Watch closely so they don't burn (a few of mine did). Serve with sour cream and/or warm applesauce.

Adapted from American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR)

This is another pancake recipe using oatmeal and pecans. I do think that there should be a change in the preparation for better results which I've included.

Oatmeal Pecan Pancakes

3 oz. pecan pieces, toasted
2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
maple syrup
strawberries, if available

Soak the oatmeal in the buttermilk overnight in the refrigerator. This is not essential but otherwise the pancakes will be quite chewy.
Toast the pecans in a small skillet.
Beat the eggs and add to the buttermilk oatmeal mixture. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar and add this to the mixture. Do not over beat, just stir until everything is mixed together. Stir in the toasted pecans.
Heat a griddle (375 degrees) until hot and either spray or brush with oil. Pour batter by 1/4 cups onto griddle. Cook until tops are bubbly. Turn carefully with a pancake turner and cook until the undersides are golden brown.
Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the pancakes. Serve warm with maple syrup. We didn't have ours with strawberries and they were still very good. Strawberries would be a great addition in season though.

Adapted from DVO recipe center

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Turnip Puff

This dish reheats well and may convince eaters who think they don't like turnips that they do.

3 pounds turnip--I used the Scarlet turnips that came in our CSA box
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
Pinch nutmeg
½ c panko or dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter
Peel the turnips and cut into roughly equal-size quarters. Cook in boiling salted water until soft.
Mash the turnips in a large bowl with a mixer. Add the eggs, butter, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper and nutmeg and combine well. Transfer to a buttered casserole dish.
Combine the crumbs and butter and sprinkle evenly on top. Bake at 375 until lightly browned on top, about 30 minutes if starting from room temperature.
Adapted from Kitchen Parade/A Veggie Venture

Cream of Parsnip and Apple Soup

It must seem as though we eat a lot of soups (we do), but I think its a great thing to do with winter storage vegetables in particular. This one helped use not only some of our parsnips but our apples too. It is seasoned with Indian flavors which both of us are very fond of.

2 tablespoons butter
1 lb parsnip, thinly sliced
1 lb apple, peeled, cored, & sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chicken stock
1/2-1 cup cream (or fat-free 1/2 & 1/2)
salt and pepper

Melt the butter, add the parsnips, apples, onions and sugar.
Sauté till soft.
Add the curry powder, spices and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring well.
Pour in the stock slowly, stirring until well mixed.
Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes, until the parsnips are tender.
Taste for seasoning.
Blend with a hand blender and add as much cream to thin to the consistency you like and reheat, do not boil.
Garnish with parsley.
Adapted from

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sunchoke Quinoa Pilaf

I found this new recipe that uses sunchokes. As I've mentioned before they're not one of my favorite vegetables, but this was a dish that they worked well in. Arthur and I both liked it and would make it again.

For those not familiar with quinoa, the World Healthiest Foods gives a good description. "Although not a common item in most kitchens today, quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked." This is a link to their article that tells about all the health benefits of quinoa:

To prevent any hint of a bitter taste: While the processing methods used in the commercial cultivation remove much of the soapy saponins that coats quinoa seeds, it is still a good idea to thoroughly wash the seeds to remove any remaining saponin residue. An effective method is to run cold water over quinoa that has been placed in a fine-meshed strainer, gently rubbing the seeds together with your hands.

1 cup quinoa
2 Tablespoons oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 1/2 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth
1# can of chickpeas, (drained and rinsed)
2 cups peeled, coarsely chopped sunchokes
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste

Place the quinoa in a large bowl; fill with cold water. Pour into a strainer, then return the quinoa to the bowl and rinse thoroughly. Drain well. Heat the oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rinsed quinoa and cook, stirring, until it cracks and pops, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the chickpeas, sunchokes, peas, and pepper, and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Alsatian Cabage

This is a super easy recipe to use some of the cabbage that has been gathering in my refrigerator. The last cabbage recipe I made didn't turn out well so of course I didn't post it. Although I think the problem was the defective mangoes that Arthur bought at Woodman's (our local mega grocery store) and not Brennan's (produce & cheese shop) or Whole Foods. It was a recipe for Mango Coleslaw. If I am successful in producing a recipe we like, I'll post it.

Bacon seems to be able to take a recipe from ordinary to yummy, even if you don't use much. This recipe is a testament to that thought.

Alsatian Cabbage

1/8 pound of meaty bacon, chopped (this is about 2 slices of the bacon we get from our farmers)
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 cabbage (about 1- 1 1/4 pounds), trimmed, outer leaves and core removed, sliced thin (I used my food processor's thick slice blade and it really made fast work out of the cabbage)
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway
Salt & pepper

In a large skillet start cooking the bacon on medium and add the onion, let cook 2 - 3 minutes. Add the caraway and let cook, 1 - 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, stirring well to coat with fat and caraway. Cover and let cook for about 30 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper.

Arthur liked this dish a lot and he's not overly fond of cabbage. The whole dish was consumed in one supper--must have been good!

Adapted from A Veggie Venture

An unusual recipe with winter squash

Italian Meatballs with Kabocha Squash Sauce
This is an unusual version of basic Italian-style “red sauce” replacing the tomatoes with roasted winter squash. Herbed meatballs are the highlight. I served the meatballs and sauce over rotini.
1 medium kabocha squash, or any variety winter squash
1 medium onion
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (taste and add more if desired)
1 bay leaf
1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt
1 pound ground meat or poultry
1 egg
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon each: dried, thyme, oregano, basil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the squash in half, scrape out the seeds and place face down on a sheet pan. Slice the onion in half lengthwise and cut the root end off. Place the onion halves face down onto the pan. Roast for 45 minutes and remove the onions to cool. Check the squash; if it's still a bit hard, place back into the oven and roast another 15 or so minutes. The squash is done when soft to the touch.
While the squash is cooking, prepare the meatballs: Mix all the meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl, using your hands to blend well. Roll into 1- or 2-inch balls. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
When cool enough to handle, remove the skins from the onions. Chop the onions. Scrape out the squash and measure out 2 cups of flesh. Whirl the squash in a food processor until smooth. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped roasted onion, garlic, dried herbs and pepper. Saute for one minute, then add the squash, stock and vinegar. Add the meatballs and bay leaf.
Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for about 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is thick. If the sauce isn't as thick as you like just cook it a little longer. (The original recipe called for cooking it 1 1/2 hours which is not necessary.) Remove the bay leaf and stir in the salt; add more salt or balsamic vinegar to bring up the flavors, if needed.
Adapted from Anton Health & Nutrition blog

Another good squash soup

Winter Squash and Carrot Soup
This is an enjoyable soup with a pleasant kick to it from the jalapeno and other spices. Arthur said it was a definite keeper.

The original recipe which appeared in the Chicago Tribune called for a butternut squash. I just so happened to have festival squash from our CSA. According to the winter squash glossary: "most winter squash have soft flesh that can be used interchangeably in recipes."
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (if you want a bit of heat, leave in some of the seeds)
2 festival squash (picture on the right) about 1-1/2-2 pounds
3 large carrots (about 12 oz.) peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon each of turmeric and ground coriander
4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1-2 fully cooked chicken sausage, sliced (I used 1 from Trader Joe's)
yogurt or sour cream for topping
1/3 or more chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Prepare the squash by either cooking in the microwave or oven. Use previously given directions on cooking winter squash. When tender and cool enough to work with, scoop the squash flesh out of the shell and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and jalapeno. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and sugar; cook stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. Add paprika, cumin, turmeric and coriander; continue cooking and stirring for another couple of minutes. Add the broth and heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer covered until carrots are soft. Check after 20 minutes; continue cooking if not tender. Add the previously cooked squash. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup to desired consistency. If it is too thick add additional broth.
Stir in cilantro, lime juice and sliced sausage if using. The original recipe did not call for the sausage, but it made a good addition. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve soup topped with sour cream or yogurt.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Rutabaga & Carrots

This is an excellent recipe that I found on Epicurious. However, I believe the directions need considerable revision. The original recipe instructed you to cook the raw rutabaga and carrots in the stew for 1/2 hour. Guess what I found at the end of the half hour? Very hard vegetables. I'm going to record the recipe the way that I think it should be made.

3 lamb shanks (about 1 pound each)--the original recipe called for 6!
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 medium onions, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3 large garlic cloves, minced
a 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, chopped, with juice
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon dried orange peel or dried lemon peel (I didn't have any orange)
2 teaspoons salt
1 medium rutabaga (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 carrots, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

Accompaniment: cooked brown rice

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Pat lamb shanks dry. In a heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) large enough to fit 1 or 2 lamb shanks spray the pan with olive oil pan spray and heat the pan over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Brown lamb shanks, 1 or 2 at a time, transferring as browned to a 9-quart heavy ovenproof kettle. Pour off fat from skillet and cook onions in remaining 1 tablespoon oil over moderate heat, stirring, until golden. Stir in garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. To kettle add onion mixture, tomatoes with juice, water, bay leaf, cinnamon sticks, allspice, orange peel, salt, and pepper to taste and bring liquid to a boil. Braise lamb and vegetables, covered, in oven until just tender, about 1 3/4 hours.

Braised lamb shanks improve in flavor if made 1 day ahead. Cool mixture, uncovered, and chill, covered. Skim fat, discarding it, remove lamb from the bones. Add the meat back into the stew and reheat stew, if chilled, over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until hot. Transfer lamb and vegetables with a slotted spoon to a platter and boil braising liquid until reduced to about 4 cups.
Taste for seasoning and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve the stew over rice.

Note: I think the stew would be equally tasty with other root vegetables, but I happened to have a large rutabaga to use.

Adapted from