Tuscan white bean soup


I’ve just returned from a lovely spring vacation– adventuring in Paris, Florence, and the Tuscany region. So much yummy food and wine, so much fun! Now home in the Pacific Northwest, I’m tired from long days out exploring, late nights having fun, and most of all from jet lag; I made it to my favorite grocery store and mowed my crazy long grass my first day back. The weeds in my garden will wait another day while I cook some nurturing food, channeling Tuscany. I love eating out in other cultures, and love cooking just as much.

ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 dried cannelli beans
  • 1 head Lacinato kale, stems removed, cut into ribbons
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small turnip, chopped
  • 1 small rutabaga, chopped
  • 1 14 oz fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 6-7 leaves fresh sage, finely chopped, or 1 T dried
  • 1-2 t basil
  • 1/3 c fine corn meal
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon
  • 1/4 t salt, fresh black pepper to taste

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instructions:

Cull and clean dried beans, then soak overnight in fresh cold water. Drain, cover with water, and simmer for an 1- 1 1/2 hours or so until soft. Remove from heat. Saute chopped onion in 2-3 T olive oil in a large soup pot for 2 minutes, then add minced garlic and spices and stir for another minute or so. Add 1/2 of cooked beans with 1/2 of their fluid, the chopped turnip and rutabaga, the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir together well. Puree the other half of the beans and their liquid, then add puree to soup pot. Place lid on, and simmer for 10 minutes or so, until root vegetables are softened but not mushy. Place corn meal in a measuring cup, add the lemon juice, then fill with cold water to make 1 cup, whisking together well. Add to soup pot, stir well, then add chopped kale; cover and simmer for 5 minutes or so until kale is bright green and softened, but not mushy. Remove from heat. Serve topped with grated Pecorino Romano cheese, a Tuscan Sangiovese wine, and simple green salad with walnuts and black olives.

golden beets, ginger & kale salad


ingredients: IMG_0905

  • 3 medium golden beets, chopped
  • 3 medium shallots, diced
  • 1 T fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, sliced into thin ribbons
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

instructions:

Coarsely chop beets in half, then each half into thirds, so pieces are approximately equal in size (so will cook quickly while also still being easy to pare after cooking). Place into saucepan, barely cover with water, bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered until soft, about 7-10 minutes. Do not overcook- check frequently with fork for doneness. Drain and rinse in cold water. Using sharp paring knife, remove and discard tough skin, then chop into bite sized pieces. Transfer to deep serving dish with lid.

Using 2 T olive oil in a large skillet with lid, saute diced shallots for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, then add minced garlic, mined ginger and chopped yellow pepper; continue to stir for another 1-2 minutes.  Add a splash of water, reduce the heat and simmer covered for about 2 minutes, until the yellow pepper is bright and only lightly cooked. Transfer to serving dish with beets. Remove tough middle stems from kale, then slice into thin ribbons. Using the same large skillet, saute for 2 minutes over medium heat, then add a splash of water, reduce heat and simmer covered for about 2-3 minutes, until the kale is bright and lightly cooked, not mushy. Transfer to serving dish, mix all together well. Dress with juice of 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon. Will store well in an airtight container for a couple days.

I served this with tofu baked in a spicy peanut sauce on a cold wintery day– bright and complementary flavors, and wonderfully warming.

garbanzo quinoa patties with basil and kale


Delicious Bajiya patties made by the Horn of Africa restaurant that we ate at the Oregon Brewers Festival recently were my inspiration for this recipe. I saw from their menu that theirs were made of ground garbanzos and split peas, lightly fried. I had some things I wanted to use up in my refrigerator, also some good cold beer, and a friend coming over… and came up with this, which we enjoyed.

ingredients:

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, mostly lightly mashed
  • 1 stock celery, finely chopped, about 1/2 c
  • 3 leaves Lacinato kale, finely chopped, about 1 c
  • 8-10 large leaves fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 serrano pepper, including seeds, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 c cooked quinoa
  • scant 1/4 c oat flour
  • 1/4 c parmesan cheese, or to make vegan use roughy ground walnuts
  • 2 eggs, or to make vegan use 3T ground flax seeds mixed with water to same consistency as eggs
  • dash or two balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8-1/4 t salt and black pepper to taste

instructions:

Preheat oven to 375F, and lightly wipe baking sheet with 1-2 T of olive oil. Rinse canned beans very well, drain, then mostly lightly mash in a large mixing bowl: leave just enough partial bean chunks to provide for an interesting texture, but not so large chunks as to cause the patties to fall apart when baked. Chop and dice and mix all veggies, then add to the mashed garbanzos with the cooked quinoa and flour, parmesan, salt and pepper. Break and stir the eggs, or in lieu of eggs the ground flax seed, then stir the balsamic vinegar and eggs into the bean mixture. Batter will be very sticky and heavy. Use a 1/4 c scoop, then your palm to form lightly flattened round patties. Bake about 18 minutes, then check the bottoms; flip carefully and bake for another 10 minutes or so, until lightly browned both bottom and top, and a toothpick comes out clean. Makes 12-14. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. These store well in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple days, also freeze well when separated by wax paper.

 

tempeh & garbanzo bean salad with kale


Potlucks with BBQ and great local brews are a summer tradition… What to bring that would be simple to make, light fare for the hot weather but also substantial protein for vegetarians passing on the meats on the grill? Here’s what I brought on the 4th, and it disappeared fast!

summer potluck salad

summer potluck salad

ingredients:

  • 1 pkg tempeh
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, well rinsed
  • 3/4 cup bulgur (or quinoa to serve gluten free folks too)
  • 2-3 yellow medium-small summer squash (pattypan or crookneck), chopped
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, chopped into ribbons
  • 3-4 medium shallots, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • fresh lemon thyme, a few sprigs
  • 1/4t salt
  • lemon pepper to taste

instructions:

Place bulgur in a large serving bowl with lid. Bring just a little more than 1 3/4 cup fresh water to a boil, pour over bulgur and stir well, then cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Drain off any residual water. Chop tempeh, then saute in large frying pan in 2T olive oil over medium heat stirring well for 2-3 minutes; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook til lightly browned- stirring frequently to prevent burning- about 5 more minutes. Rinse garbanzo beans well. After bulgur and tempeh have each been cooked, stir these three ingredients together in serving bowl.

Using same frying pan, add 2T olive oil and saute shallots for 2 min. Then add minced garlic, fresh lemon thyme and summer squash, stir well and saute for 2 min over medium heat, then add 2T water, reduce heat and cover to simmer for about 2-3 minutes, until squash is bright in color and soft but not mushy. Add this to serving dish. Reusing same frying pan, saute chopped kale for 2 min, add 1-2T water, and cover to simmer for about 3 min, until kale is bright in color and wilted but not mushy. Add this to serving dish. Season with 1/4t salt and lemon pepper to taste. Stir all together well, cover and refrigerate– keeps well for 3-4 days. It is great served warm, room temp, or cold.

celery root, yellow pepper, kale & garbanzo bean salad


Continuing my exploration of preparing celery root, I thought I’d make a sunny winter hearty salad. I wanted something bright, and with some protein. Something that tasted light yet was sustaining. Here’s what I put together:

IMG_3064ingredients:

  • 1 medium-small celery root, peeled & julienne cut (about 3 cups)
  • 1 medium yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, well rinsed
  • 2-3 medium sized shallots, chopped
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, cut into thin ribbons (2 cups or so)
  • 3 T plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T champagne vinegar

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 celery root into rounds then julienne cut into thin strips. Chop yellow pepper. Rinse garbanzo beans well. Mix all together in large salad bowl with lid. Cut center ribs out of kale, then cut into thin ribbons and set aside. Chop shallots, and saute in larger pan in a couple tablespoons olive oil for 2 minutes until just starting to become translucent. Add those to the celery root mixture, and reuse the flavored pan to saute the kale for 2 minutes stirring constantly, until turns bright green and just begins to soften but not wilt completely. Add to celery root mixture and stir all together well. Combine Greek yogurt, olive oil, and champagne vinegar in glass measuring cup or jar, then whisk or fork stir together well. Dress salad, stirring to cover all well, and refrigerate covered until ready to serve.

Autumn green goodness


Eating local vegetables in season is healthy, and so easy to do in the summer with  fabulous fruits and so many familiar easy to like vegetable choices. But in autumn, at least for me it requires more determination. Brussels sprouts? Really? Yes, autumn vegetables can be both inspiring and nurturing too! Brussels sprouts are beautiful now, and kale…makes me think to try something new with the beautiful vegetables I bought at the farmers market this morning.

ingredients:

  • 3/4 c hulled barley  photo
  • 18 small brussels sprouts, sliced
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale (about 4 packed cups)
  • 10 oz fresh or frozen edamame
  • 2-3T ginger root, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons thyme
  • dash or two of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2-1 lemon, juice and pulp
  • black pepper to taste
  • Chopped pistachios garnish

instructions:

Rinse then soak barley for 4-8 hrs. Drain and rinse, cover with 4 cups fresh water, bring to a boil, then simmer covered for about 45 minutes until soft yet still slightly chewy. Drain, rinse with cool water to cease cooking, drain and set aside. Saute chopped leek in 2-3 T olive oil over medium heat for 2 minutes, then add minced ginger, thyme, sliced brussels sprouts, well washed edamame and apple cider vinegar. Remove lower half of center veins of kale, then slice leaves into thin ribbons. Continue to cook brussels sprouts while stirring, adding chopped kale after 3-4 minutes; cook until brussels sprouts are bright green and tender but not mushy, about 5-7 minutes in total of which the last 1-2 are with lid on to steam. Never overcook brussels sprouts and kale! Remove from heat, mix with cooked barley, and toss with juice and pulp from freshly squeezed lemon. Serve warm or cold, dressed with a drizzle of olive oil and pistachio nut garnish. I might try adding some feta cheese when I serve the leftovers?

wheat berry, gold beet and kale salad with feta


This is a great recipe to make when it’s winter slowly turning to spring, it’s still the season for root vegetables and hardy greens but you are tiring of soup and crave some form of salad, something sunny yellow and bright…

ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup wheat berries  IMG_1954
  • 12 oz tempeh, chopped
  • 1 bunch lactino kale, center ribs removed, leaves cut in ribbons
  • 3 medium golden beets
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 2-3 medium shallots, about 1/4 cup, minced
  • fresh ginger root, about 1/2 inch or 2 T, minced
  • 4 ounces feta, crumbled
  • olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dressing with sea salt, freshly ground pepper

instructions:

Cull then rinse dried wheat berries well. Soak for 6 hours or overnight. Drain, rinse well, cover with fresh water, add pinch of salt. Bring to boil then turn down to simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes, until wheat berries are soft and lightly chewy. Drain, rinse in cold water to cease cooking, drain and set aside in large serving bowl. Season to taste with fresh ground pepper and a little sea salt, if desired.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°. Cut off beet greens and set aside for other use. Cut off roots, cut each beet in half, then arrange beets in a small baking dish and drizzle with a little olive oil. Add a couple T water, then cover and bake beets until tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. Rinse in cool water, scrape off skins with sharp knife. Let cool then cut into bite sized pieces.

Chop tempeh, then saute in 2 T olive oil over medium heat for about 5 min, covering then stirring repeatedly to cook through and brown nicely but prevent burning. When tempeh is done cooking, add it to the cooked wheat berries in the serving bowl.

Add 2 T olive oil to the pan you cooked the tempeh in, then saute the shallots, ginger root, kale ribbons and chopped yellow pepper over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until shallots and ginger are fragrant, kale and yellow pepper lightly softened.

Add beets, kale and yellow pepper to wheat berries and tempeh. Drizzle salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar; stir gently to combine. Salad can be made 1-2 days ahead, and improves the second day. Cover and refrigerate. Tastes great served cold, room temp, or warmed. Serve topped with feta.