Fresh Fig & Golden Beet Chutney with Ginger Root and Jalapeno

My friend Carla’s fig tree produced an awesome crop this year, and Carla generously IMG_0424shared her bounty with me when I said I wanted to make fig chutney. My own raised bed garden provided a fabulous crop of jalapeno and serrano peppers, and I spotted wonderful golden beets at the farmer’s market. All I needed to do was buy more apple cider vinegar, then set aside some time to prepare the jars and lids, simmer, and then preserve my chutney in a boiling water bath.


  • 4 cups fresh figs, coarsely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups golden beets, blanched to remove skin, then coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow onion, chopped
  • 1-2 red jalapeno peppers, diced, including seeds
  • 2-3 t fresh ginger root, minced
  • 3 t coriander seeds
  • 2 t black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 t cardamom
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 lime, squeezed


First blanch the beets: Cover with water, bring to a roiling boil and boil for 3-4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the beets and dunk into cold water to cool enough to handle; then use a sharp paring knife to remove outer skin and chop.

In a medium sized deep pan, saute the onion in a teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat until almost translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the mustard seeds and coriander seeds and continue stirring over medium heat until the seeds begin to pop. Add the jalapeno and ginger root and continue to stir for another minute.

Add all of the remaining ingredients withholding only 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar; bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer the chutney for 1-2 hours until thickened and fragrant, stirring more than just occasionally. Taste the chutney and adjust the seasoning if necessary with more cider vinegar, or perhaps 1/8 t sea salt? I was shooting for a balance of sweet and tart with jalapeno heat on the finish. When you’re satisfied with your balance of flavors and texture, ladle into sterile jars, and can in a water-bath according to standard safe canning procedures. This simmered down to fill six 8oz jars.


quinoa tempeh salad with cranberries, jalapeno & mint

Too many deaths in the family recently, and thus too long since I posted here… It’s time now to prepare for a Winter Solstice gathering– time for me to create again, and for new traditions to come into being.

My thought with this recipe was to incorporate the heat, light and brightness of summer– with the hot pepper and cooling mint, bright yellow bell pepper– and also the traditional winter bright cranberry– in the grounded base of a quinoa and tempeh salad. I found this to be both light and satisfying; feta would compliment and add additional protein if desired, or pistachios to remain vegan.



  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 12 oz tempeh, cubed
  • 4 shallots, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced (include seeds for heat)
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 10-12 leaves mint, diced
  • 1 lime, freshly squeezed


Rinse quinoa well, then cover with 1 1/2 cups water, add dash of salt, bring just to boiling then reduce heat and simmer covered for 18-20 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with fork. Saute chopped tempeh over medium high heat in a couple tablespoons olive oil for 3-4 minutes, then reduce heat to medium low and cover, checking and stirring frequently; cook until browned and cooked through, but not dried out. Add tempeh to quinoa. Add 2 more tablespoons olive oil to pan, then saute shallots, hot pepper and celery until fragrant and shallots start to become translucent. Add yellow pepper and fresh cranberries, stir well, cover and simmer about 3-4 minutes, just until yellow pepper and cranberries are bright and just beginning to soften. Combine all well. Dress with freshly squeezed lime.

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.


  • 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


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.

black bean soup


  • 1 1/2 cups dried black beans
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced, with seeds for some heat
  • 1 t fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 t cardamon
  • 1 jewel yam, diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2-3 T cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cube Celifbr brand vegetable bouillon dissolved in 1 cup hot water
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 t salt (added only after beans have cooked) and black pepper to taste
  • cilantro and fresh lime juice as garnish


Inspect and rinse beans well, then soak in fresh water 4+ hours or overnight. Drain and rinse well. Using large soup pot, saute onion in 2-3 T olive oil for 2-3 minutes, then add diced yam, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, spices, carrots and celery as continue to stir over medium heat. Add tomatoes and soaked then rinsed beans. Lastly add cider vinegar, dissolved bouillon and water. Bring pot to simmer, then reduce heat, and simmer partially covered until beans are soft, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste only after beans have cooked soft. Blend using immersion blender, or cool first then blend in Cuisinart or traditional blender. Serve topped with fresh squeezed lime juice and cilantro. This is a hearty warming soup high in carotene for a cold day, will make your kitchen smell fabulous. Makes 8 dinner sized servings, freezes well.