garden tomato & hot pepper soup


The warm days are ripening the last of my garden tomatoes and hot peppers, and the cooler nights tell me it’s the season again to roast some veggies and make a savory soup! I decided to make a tomato soup to enjoy with buckwheat zucchini bread, perhaps too a little grilled salmon?

ingredients:

  • 12-14 medium-large roma and heirloom tomatoes
  • handful or two of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3-4 large cloves garlic
  • 2 large red serrano peppers
  • 2 small red thai peppers
  • fresh lemon thyme, oregano and marjoram
  • 1/4 t salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2-4 c water or stock
  • toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish
  • 1 cup spinach, cut into thin ribbons

instructions:

Cut roma tomatoes in half, heirloom tomatoes into quarters, cut onion into half then 1/4 inch slices, and place all into large bowl. Dice the fresh lemon thyme, oregano and marjoram leaves until you have about 2 T each. Pour olive oil over tomatoes, whole peppers and peeled whole garlic, add diced spices and mix well. Place on lightly oiled baking sheet and roast at 375 until tomatoes soften and onions caramelize– check after about  10 minutes. When all are nicely roasted, remove from oven and allow to cool some. Press roasted garlic into blender, roughly chop the the roasted onions, then puree all in the blender in batches, being careful not to fill the blender full with too hot vegetables. Return to large soup pot. Depending upon desired thickness and intensity of flavors, add fresh water (or stock you have on hand) a cup at a time to fine tune the soup’s texture and flavor. Season with freshly ground black pepper. To serve, place 1/4 c spinach cut into thin ribbons into a deep bowl then ladle in soup and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

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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.

red lentil, yam & spinach dal


The weather forecast was my muse to look in my cupboards and get creative… IMG_3232

Thinking warm and moist would be a healthy choice on such a cold and windy day, I thought of dal… and saw I had on hand everything I’d want to make it except for cumin. That’s okay, I could readily work around that with the ingredients and spices I have on hand now.  #warmingfood #letitsnow

ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3t chile powder
  • 1 scant T tumeric
  • 2-3t curry powder
  • 2-3 t fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1 large jewel yam, cut into 1/4″rounds then large rectangle chunks
  • 6 oz coconut milk
  • 1 cup cauliflower flowerettes
  • 5 cups fresh spinach, cut into thick ribbons
  • 1/2 lime, squeezed

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. Using a dutch oven to accommodate the bulk of spinach, saute chopped onion in 3T or so of olive oil until they start to turn translucent, then add minced garlic, chile powder, tumeric and curry powder and continue to saute for another 2 minutes until spices are fragrant. Add chopped yam and several tablespoons of the coconut milk, continue to stir for 2-3 minutes. Then add a little water, cover and reduce heat to steam yam for about 20 minutes until softened (but not dissolved into mush). Add cooked lentils including remaining cooking water, coconut milk, stir to combine well, then add spinach to pot. Cover and steam for about 3-4 minutes until spinach turns bright green and begins to soften. Squeeze lime over dal, remove from heat with lid on to continue spinach cooking gently without significantly reducing moisture of the dal. Serve over brown Basmati rice for a heartier meal.

beet & chevre red rice salad


IMG_2537This autumn salad recipe was inspired by beautiful yellow and red leaves which had fallen into a sword fern on the Marquam trail recently. Thinking then of yellow and red beets, I remembered a simply delicious side dish my cousin Ian made in August – thinly sliced beets topped with chevre. Green ribbons of spinach, earthy walnuts, and red onion were a natural choice.

ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Bhutanese red rise (makes 2 cups cooked)
  • 2 yellow and 1 red medium size beets
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach, cut into ribbons
  • 4 oz fresh chevre
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • walnut or olive oil and balsamic vinegar

IMG_2530_2I used Lotus Foods heirloom Bhutan red rice for this recipe– it has a slightly nutty flavor, a fabulous texture, and beautiful red brown color. So it’s perfect for this autumn salad recipe (and also happens to be my favorite rice for Thai dishes.) I picked a chevre with honey, which is wonderful in how it offsets the raw onion and beets.

instructions:

Rinse rice well, then cover with 1 3/4 cups fresh water. Add a pinch of salt, bring to a boil then simmer cover for 20 minutes over low heat. Check for doneness, drain off any remaining water, then fluff with fork. While rice is cooking, remove root and rough stem from beets, then cut into quarters and steam or simmer covered for 15 minutes or so, until pass the ‘fork test’ for softness. Rinse with cold water, then use fingers or sharp knife to remove skin. Chop beets into small cubes. Remove stems from fresh spinach, then slice into ribbons. Transfer rice, spinach, beets and walnuts into casserole dish, mixing well. Dress with Balsamic vinegar and walnut oil or olive oil. Serve covered with generous small chunks of chevre stirred in. Heat gently before serving– I actually microwaved briefly– so that the chevre melds smoothly with the rice and beets.