warming red lentil dal with ginger, yam & cauliflower


It’s the spring equinox today, a time to celebrate balance, warmth and hope. Today it’s also cool and wet, the sky dark gray, the earth and my garden muddy. Thinking about balance in our diet, and wanting to make a warming and bright meal to celebrate the equinox, I made this to share.

ingredients:

  • 1 cup red lentils IMG_1395
  • 2-3 shallots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 t turmeric
  • 1-2 t curry powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 2-3 t fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1 jewel yam, cut into 1/4″rounds then pared, cut into chunks
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 head cauliflower
  • 6 oz coconut milk
  • 6 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed, for optional dressing

instructions:

Cull through and rinse lentils, then cover with 2 1/2 c fresh water. Add a dash of salt, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until fully softened and water is mostly absorbed. Set aside uncovered. Saute shallots in 2T or so of olive oil in a large frying pan until they start to turn translucent, then add chopped yam, minced garlic, turmeric, curry powder, cumin, and black pepper; continue to saute for another 2 minutes until spices are fragrant and yam is well coated with spices. Add several tablespoons of water, cover and reduce heat to steam yam for about 12 minutes until softened (but not dissolved into mush). When yam is soft, remove from pan into large casserole dish with lid, then stir in cooked lentils. Using same frying pan, saute chopped celery and cauliflower with minced ginger for about 2-3 minutes, then add the coconut milk and yellow pepper, stir to combine well, cover and steam for about 3 minutes until peppers turn bright and begin to soften. Add this to casserole dish, stir everything together well. Serve over fresh raw spinach.

celery root gruyere au gratin


Having just explored making celery root soup, then raw celery root salad, it’s time to round out my exploration by turning on the oven to bake! It’s cold, and I’m thinking comfort food…so I envisioned a celery root gruyere au gratin. Here’s what I came up with: IMG_3219_2ingredients:

  • 1 medium celery root, cut into 1/8″ quarter rounds
  • 1 small turnip, cut into 1/8″ quarter rounds
  • 1/2 small cauliflower, flowerettes
  • 1 can white kidney beans, well rinsed
  • 6 oz Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8-1/4 c milk (I used 2% and wasn’t disappointed)
  • 2-3 T butter
  • freshly ground black or green pepper to taste
  • arugula

instructions:

Lightly butter 2 quart casserole dish, and preheat oven to 365F. Chop ends off of celery root, then cut away outer tough skin to reveal white root. Cut in half, then cut into 1/8″ quarter round slices. Also cut turnip into 1/8″ quarter round slices. Layer half of celery root around bottom of casserole dish as you would potatoes when making potato au gratin. Next layer half of turnip, half of arugula, half of white kidney beans, half of cheeses; then repeat with layers of celery root, turnip, arugula, beans, all of cauliflower, cheeses. Pour scant 1/4 c milk over all, and top with dots of chopped butter, freshly ground black or green pepper to taste. Bake in center of oven, covered for first 25-30 minutes, then uncovered for about 10-15 more, until nicely browned top crust (but not dried out inside).

Revisited: instead of layering in the arugula, I served the baked au gratin on a bed of arugula– I liked that better.

This is not your grandmother’s super rich potato au gratin– if that is what you’re craving, then use more Gruyere, cream instead of 1% fat milk, and 2-4T butter. That said, I thought it was totally satisfying– light yet sustaining with the beans adding protein, and the great flavor of the turnip and arugula complementing the Gruyere. What do you think?

I think if there’s any leftovers, I’d like this for breakfast…

Celery root & cauliflower soup with arugula & maple syrup roasted hazelnuts


As I was standing in the produce section without a grocery list, stopped by chance with my shopping cart in front of the cauliflower and celery root, thinking about what kind of soup I’d like to make, a woman saw me and asked, “How do you cook celery root?” Before I answered her, I had this funny thought: celery root is likely the only common vegetable in this part of the country that I’ve never prepared. Of course I’ve seen celery root soup on restaurant menus… So I answered her with something along those lines, and picked up the following ingredients to try creating something entirely new to me.

IMG_3052 I made the soup with no additional seasonings, thinking I’d taste it after it was pureed, perhaps then complement the flavor with nutmeg and coriander? or perhaps ground mustard and lemon? I found it wonderfully flavorful just as it was, no additional spices needed. The arugula gives it spicy peppery notes (as well as calcium, vitamins A, C, & K, and minerals too including iron), and the maple syrup toasted hazelnuts give it a complementary sweetness and crunch. I think this may be my best soup recipe yet!

IMG_3032

ingredients:

  • 1 medium celery root, peeled & chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 medium cauliflower, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium red potato, chopped
  • 1 medium sized leek, white & light green portions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cube Celifibr brand organic vegetable bouillion
  • 5-6 cups fresh water
  • 1 cup milk (optional if you want thicker & whiter soup)
  • 1/2 t sea salt, black pepper
  • 4 cups or so arugula
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped or crushed, for garnish
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

instructions:

Chop both ends off of celery root, then place root solidly on largest flat end to stabilize. Use sharp knife to then slice away outer rough skin, cutting from top to bottom as you work your way around the root to expose the inner white lovely vegetable. Slice into rounds then cube and set aside.

Bring one cup water to a boil then dissolve 1/2 cube of Celifibr vegetable bouillon, and set aside. Using large soup pot and a couple tablespoons olive oil, saute the chopped red potato and leeks for 3 minutes until leeks are fragrant and potatoes slightly browned. Add minced garlic and continue stirring for 2 minutes before adding chopped celery root and dissolved bouillon plus 5 cups fresh water. Bring just to boil then turn down heat to simmer covered for 15-20 minutes or so, until celery root is getting soft but not yet done– then add chopped cauliflower for last 5-10 minutes of simmering until everything is soft. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from heat to cool some before pureeing in batches in blender. Return to soup pot. Using heavy skillet over medium heat, stir roughly chopped or crushed hazelnuts. When they’ve begun to brown, add minced garlic and maple syrup and continue to stir until toasty and fragrant. Transfer to glass container. Using same skillet, saute arugula just until wilted. Stir into pureed soup. Serve garnished with hazelnuts.

cauliflower & arugula quinoa winter salad


This simple winter white salad is high in protein given the quinoa and black beans, warming with the shallots, garlic and peppery arugula, and beautiful too.

ingredients:photo

  • 3/4 c quinoa
  • 2-3 medium shallots, diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large or 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 1 can black beans, well rinsed
  • 1 large bunch arugula greens
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese

instructions:

Rinse quinoa very well, then bring 1 1/2 cups fresh water, pinch salt, and well rinsed quinoa to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 20-22 minutes, cooking until water is absorbed. Remove from heat, stir with fork to fluff, and set aside. Rinse beans well, then add to cooked quinoa. Dice shallots and cut cauliflower into bite sized flowerettes (throw out tough ends, include inner stems.) Melt 2-3 Tablespoons butter over medium heat, then saute shallots, cauliflower and garlic stirring constantly until cauliflower is slightly soft. Add black pepper to taste, then mix well with quinoa and beans. Serve hot over a generous bed of arugula leaves (rip leaves from any tough inner stems). Serve dressed with a little olive oil (to enhance vitamin K absorption from arugula) and topped with Parmesan cheese.

cauliflower leek & jalapeno soup


What to do on a wet and windy fall Sunday with a storm on its way? Make some warming autumn soup– even if my power goes out this evening I can still have friends over for dinner.

ingredients:

  • 1 large head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 jewel yam, chopped (peel and discard skin)
  • 1 large jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cube Celifibr brand vegetable bouillon
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup milk
  • toasted caraway seeds as garnish

instructions:

In a medium sized soup pot, saute chopped yam in 2 T olive oil for 3-4 minutes, then  IMG_2324add 1/8 cup  water and steam covered over low heat until yam is soft- it wont take long. Transfer to a blender or soup tureen to cool. Add 2 T olive oil to soup pot, saute leek and cauliflower until leek is fragrant, then add chopped celery, minced garlic and jalapeno, continuing to stir. I like my soup to have more heat, so I used the jalapeno seeds too. Dissolve  bouillon in 1 cup boiled water, then stir into soup pot with an additional 3 cups of water. Bring just to boil, reduce heat and simmer covered until cauliflower is soft. Remove from heat, stir in one cup of milk. Use immersion blender to blend all smooth (including set aside cooked yam), or allow to cool some before carefully transferring to blender to blend smooth. Serve topped with toasted caraway seeds.

roasted cauliflower


ingredients
1 large head cauliflower, including stems, chopped
2-3 T olive oil
2-3 T balsamic vinegar
fresh ground lemon or green pepper to taste
1/8 t salt
Parmesan cheese

instructions:
Preheat over to 375. Chop cauliflower into large bite size florets, then toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread flat on a cookie sheet and roast, checking and stirring every 5 minutes (cooking time will be about 10 minutes.) Cauliflower is almost done when it is somewhat soft– but far from mushy– and lightly browned. Return to bowl to toss with balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese. Return to cookie sheet, continue to roast until the cheese is melted, about 3-5 more minutes.

tofu garam masala


ingredients
1 lb firm tofu, chopped
1 large yam, chopped
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 6 oz can thai coconut milk
2 T maple syrup
3 T garam masala spices (see recipe below)
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup raisins
top with cashews

instructions:
Saute chopped tofu in large skillet in 2-3 T olive oil for 3-4 minutes, then add in chopped yam. Saute for 3-4 minutes, then add 1/2 cup water, cover and steam over medium-low heat until yam is almost but not quite soft, about 5 minutes or so. Mix garam masala into 1/2 c water, then maple syrup, stirring well; add along with coconut milk to the steaming veggies. Add cauliflower, continue steaming about 3 minutes. Add chopped peppers, continue steaming about 3 minutes more. Add salt if desired. Add raisins. Serve topped with cashew pieces.