corona bean salad with asparagus, artichoke hearts, leek and lemon


There are times when things go according to plan, and times when mixing things up on the fly is the better way to achieve your objectives…

Before I last went grocery shopping, I had checked the weather forecast and my calendar; I had plans in mind and a list in hand. Then my intended dinner guest declined to join me for dinner this weekend, and the weather forecast changed significantly– now calling for a 90F day or two. Hmmmm… Knowing it was going to be hot today, and that I needed to prepare my asparagus today if I was going to enjoy eating it, I decided to prepare a dinner salad in the cool of the morning. Yes! a perfect opportunity also to use the remainder of the corona beans I tucked into the freezer last week.

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ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups cooked corona beans
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 large bunch asparagus
  • 1 large jar artichoke hearts
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • a little Italian Pinot Grigio
  • 1/2-1 fresh lemon
  • fresh ground black and green pepper
  • mixed salad greens

instructions:

Snap each asparagus spear near its base to remove any woody ends, then delicately pare away any thick skin. Chop coarsely into 1-2 inch long spears. Saute chopped leek for 1-2 minutes in 2T butter and a drizzle of olive oil, then add garlic and asparagus, stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add a couple tablespoons white wine, cover, reduce heat, and steam for 2 minutes. Do not overcook, asparagus is never good soggy. Rinse artichoke hearts well, then slice. Mix the cooked corona beans (a logical substitute on the fly would be a can of white kidney beans or garbanzos) together with the leek, asparagus, and sliced artichoke hearts in a casserole dish with airtight lid. Refrigerate ’til meal time! When ready to serve, dress with the juice and pulp of the lemon, also a drizzle of olive oil, and finish with a little fresh ground pepper.

When it’s super hot tonight, I know I’ll be happy I prepared this earlier, and that I met my objectives of preparing healthy, tasty meals, without wasting ingredients. I’ll pour a glass of the chilled Pinot Grigio I’d intended for the weekend, maybe making a little hors d’oeuvre dish of a couple dried apricots or cold orange slices with a handful of walnuts. Then I’ll serve this over mixed greens including baby spinach, chard, kale, and radicchio. Buon appetito!

tempeh & root veggies with lemon and sunflower seed butter


I went grocery shopping in a cold 50F downpour, knowing the forecast called for a quick blast to a single day of sunshine and 80F. Thus bridging seasons and needing something fulfilling, as I looked at the vegetables available to make a satisfying one pot meal, I chose a spring leek and summery yellow pepper, cauliflower and root vegetables, lemon and sunflower seed butter. Yum!

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Ingredients:

  • 12 oz tempeh, cubed
  • 1 medium leek, chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Jalapeno pepper, with seeds, diced
  • 1 medium jewel yam, pared and chopped
  • 1 medium turnip, chopped
  • 1 small rutabaga, chopped
  • 1 small head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • black pepper to taste
  • sunflower seed butter
  • mixed greens (baby spinach, mizuna, chard and kale)

instructions:

Saute chopped tempeh in 2-3 T olive oil ’til brown, then remove to large casserole dish with lid. Saute chopped leek for 2-3 minutes, stirring ’til lightly browned, and set aside with tempeh. Using same frypan, saute yam, rutabaga, and turnip with minced garlic and diced jalapeno pepper for 3-4 minutes, then add a tablespoon or two of water, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 4-5 minutes until root veggies are just soft but not mushy. Remove to casserole dish. Using same frypan, saute chopped cauliflower for 2-3 minutes, then add tablespoon of rice vinegar, cover and simmer for another 2 minutes or so until just soft; remove to casserole dish. Lastly add yellow pepper to the frypan and saute for 2-3 minutes or so, until brightened and slightly softened. Remove to casserole dish and stir all together well. May be refrigerated in a closed container before serving, warm or cold, over a bed of mixed greens (I used some heartier greens and some with peppery zip), dressed with the juice of the lemon, and several happy informal dollops of sunflower seed butter (as I wasn’t inclined at the time to prepare a separate dressing.) For extra protein and crunch, serve garnished with walnuts.

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?

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.