potato salad with peas, leek, yellow pepper & aged clover gouda


I picked up some beautiful baby yellow potatoes at the market, and thought about making a potato salad on a cool wet day. No, not a gloppy mayonnaise heavy, summer potluck dish to be passed over. I wanted to make a dish that would be a full lunch or dinner by itself, something bright and satisfying. I already had a cup of spring peas to be put to use too, and I picked up a leek and yellow pepper. I knew I had all I’d need and want when I spotted some aged clover gouda cheese. Now we’re talking easy comfort food!

ingredients:

  • 1 cup spring green peas
  • 8-10 baby yellow potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1/8 t sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • mixed greens
  • gouda cheese

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instructions:

Saute leek in a couple tablespoons olive oil ’til just beginning to brown, then transfer to casserole dish with lid. Using same pan, saute chopped potatoes for 3-4 minutes until just starting to brown, then add several tablespoons of white wine, reduce heat and simmer covered for 3-4 minutes until just softened. Stir well, add chopped yellow pepper and another splash of white wine if needed, cover and simmer for 2 mintues until yellow peppers are bright and beginning to soften. Mix in sauted leek and cooked peas, salt and pepper, stir all together well. This will store in an airtight caserole dish for a day or two, and is good served either warm or chilled. Serve over mixed greens– I chose some slightly peppery mizuna with its flowers from my garden, along with baby spinach and arugua– dressed with a spash of balsalmic vinegar and topped with grated gouda. Ummm

 

corona bean salad with lemon, basil & garlic, haricot verts and yellow pepper


Having just returned from a lovely spring trip to Paris then Florence, I am enthused by all the incredibly delicious French and Italian food we enjoyed! I’m also eager to see how I could incorporate more of the wonderful ingredients and combinations of flavors in my home cooking.

First up was my determination to source big beautiful Italian Corona beans– so buttery in texture, and seemingly versatile! After I found them locally, of course I wanted fresh basil and garlic with my Corona beans… It’s a wet Spring here in the Pacific NW, so French green beans — haricot verts– were a logical choice too for this bean salad over hardy mixed greens. A bright Tuscan sun yellow pepper, black olives, and red onion rounded out the picture in my mind, with photo here now for posterity. So simple, and so good. (Having enjoyed so much good cheese on our trip, of course I was tempted to garnish this with Pecorino Romano– now in my fridge. I resisted the urge this time, acknowledging it would be tasty.)

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ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups dried Corona beans
  • 1 lb haricot verts, chopped 1 in long
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-8 large leaves fresh basil
  • 1 t fresh lemon thyme, diced
  • 1 lemon
  • black olives, quartered
  • fresh ground green pepper to taste

instructions:

Cull then rinse beans, cover with fresh water and allow to soak for 24 hours. Rinse, cover with fresh water, bring to boil, then simmer uncovered for about 1 1/2-2 hours, until beans are soft. Turn off heat, allow to cool in water. Drain, set aside in casserole dish. Saute  garlic for 1 minute in olive oil, then add haricot verts and continue to saute, stirring over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add a couple tablespoons of water, cover, reduce heat and simmer until beans are bright green and just slightly softened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove haricot verts to casserole dish. Saute chopped yellow pepper with lemon thyme and basil for about 3 minutes, until bright yellow and slightly soft, add to casserole dish, together with chopped red onion and black olives, stirring all together well. Dress with lemon juice and pulp, a drizzle of olive oil, ground green pepper to taste.

 

yellow split pea dal over rainbow chard


When Autumn arrives and the leaves start to fall along with night temperatures, I feel the cold even when my house thermometer says I should be comfortably warm. It doesn’t matter that I’m active and put on a comfy smart wool shirt and light down sweater coat. Afternoons I start to crave Good Earth herbal tea and savory dinners…

A heavy rainstorm forecast and yellow leaves swirling in the wind this last weekend made me think to make a yellow split pea dal with a kick of Indian spices. Happily it turned out delicious, and I never lost my power.

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One of the many great things about yellow split pea dal is that dried split peas don’t require soaking before cooking, and they cook in 30 minutes, a much shorter time required than for dried beans. They’re high in protein and dietary fiber, satisfying and healthy; I did the math and calculated this recipe has 310 calories per cup served over a cup of rainbow chard. I made a large pot of the dal, and served it on a bed of rainbow chard leaves cut into ribbons topped with 1/4 cup of Bhutanese Red Rice for an easy “one bowl” meal. Leftovers taste great, and it freezes well.

ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup yellow split peas
  • 1 large jewel yam, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 bunch rainbow chard
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red Serrano pepper, diced with seeds
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 t black mustard seeds
  • 3/4 t cardamom
  • 1 1/2 t cumin
  • 1 t turmeric
  • 1/4 t salt, black pepper to taste

instructions:

Cull through then rinse split peas well, cover with 4 cups fresh water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer covered for about 25 minutes, until quite soft.

Cut thick stems out of rainbow chard. Chop the stems and set aside. Cut the chard leaves into thin ribbons and set aside.

In a large soup pot with 1-2 T olive oil over medium heat, add the mustard seeds and allow them to heat up til they just start to pop. Add onions, garlic, and all spices, and stir until onions begin to turn translucent. Add the chopped yam, stir to coat well with spices, add a few tablespoons of water, reduce heat and cover to simmer until softened, about 4 minutes. Add yellow peppers, celery, and chopped chard stems, cover and simmer another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. When split peas are soft, drain their water into a measuring cup to use later. Add split peas to large pot of spiced vegetables, stir to mix all together well, then add the cooking fluid from the split peas to obtain your desired consistency of dal.

Serve in a bowl over a lovely pile of chard cut into ribbons, and with Bhutanese red rice for a more substantial meal.

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.

next gen boyfriend’s one pot roasted brussels sprouts with maple syrup pecans & tempeh


As I grew up, every dinner my mother prepared included a side serving of vegetables– and that was what we had to eat to get dessert. A small pile of mushy green peas, corn, or carrots from the freezer, string or baked beans from a can were the norm. When my mother and I were a little older, she would occasionally serve fresh asparagus (steamed to mushy) or an artichoke (served with mayonnaise, another horror). Given that my mother truly didn’t like vegetables, I’m sure now she never chose to serve brussels sprouts, which is probably good fortune…  Sometime in my young adulthood I tried cooking brussels sprouts in my own kitchen, but my results weren’t great, so …. yea, brussels sprouts. Nobody I knew liked them.

A generation later, one of my daughter’s friends self identified as a brussels sprouts lover. Really? “Just roast them in a little olive oil and maple syrup.” So I thought I’d give it another try. Here’s what I came up with– and enjoyed! Easy prep and satisfying. With the brussels, broccoli, and yellow pepper, this is very high in vitamins K & C. By including the tempeh, it becomes a great ‘one pot’ main dish that is great for leftovers to take on-the-go for lunch.

ingredients:

  • 1 12 oz package tempeh, cut into cubes IMG_3331_2
  • 18 Brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 2T olive oil
  • 2T maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup or more pecans, toasted
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 good sized stalks of broccoli, chopped
  • 1t thyme
  • 2t fresh ginger root, minced
  • champagne vinegar
  • black pepper to taste

instructions:

Turn on oven to 375F. Remove ends of brussels sprouts and any yellowed or browned leaves, then cut in half or quarters depending upon size. Pour 2T olive oil and 2T maple syrup into large frying pan, then add chopped brussels sprouts and stir to coat well. Wipe roasting pan with a little additional olive oil, then spread brussels sprouts onto roasting pan, also yellow pepper cut into 1/4 inch slices, and peeled garlic cloves. Roast for about 20 minutes, checking several ties to flip yellow peppers and stir brussels sprouts. The peppers will finish roasting first…roast brussels sprouts until lightly browned but still moist inside. When done roasting, transfer to casserole dish, and press the roasted garlic.

While the brussels sprouts roast, use that same frying pan which is now coated in olive oil and maple syrup to toast the roughly chopped pecans over medium heat, stirring constantly. Toast until lightly browned and fragrant. Set pecans aside in serving dish.

Using the same frying pan with an additional 2 T of olive oil, saute the chopped tempeh over medium heat, stirring for 3-4 minutes, then reducing the heat to medium low and covering to continue to cook. Check frequently every couple minutes to stir to prevent burning. Continue to cook until tempeh is nicely browned and cooked well inside without becoming dried out. Transfer to the casserole dish.

While tempeh cooks, cut away the tough outer stem of the broccoli, then chop the broccoli stems into large bite sized pieces. Then transfer broccoli stems to that same frying pan to saute — add 2-3T of water as necessary. Add minced ginger and thyme, continue to stir for 2-3 minutes, then add 2-3 T of champagne vinegar to pan, stir, cover, reduce heat and simmer for another 2 minutes before adding chopped broccoli flowerettes. Cover and simmer for another 2-3 minutes, until broccoli is bright green and tender but still has plenty of body. Transfer to the casserole dish, stir all together well. Add ground black pepper to taste. Serve garnished with toasted pecans.

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.

pesto tofu with roasted veggies


Rich green and yellows, served on rustic brown stoneware this is a beautiful spring dinner.

ingredients:
1 lb firm tofu, cut into 6 servings each about 3/4 in thick
basil pesto (recipe follows)
1/2 medium sized butternut squash
1 large yellow pepper
rosemary

instructions:
Rinse then cut tofu into 6 servings, each about 3/4 inch thick. Place in 9×9 square pan, then spread basil pesto fully over top of each piece of tofu. Pour a little water into side of pan, so that it is barely up the side of the tofu pieces; tilt pan to disperse water carefully below/around the tofu so tofu will steam cook and not stick to bottom of pan. Bake uncovered at 350-375F for 25-30 minutes, until tofu has browned slightly and pesto forms nice crust.

Cut butternut squash into 3/4-1 inch thick half rounds. Chop large yellow pepper into thick strips. Lightly spread olive oil on baking sheet, then roast squash (sprinkled with crushed rosemary), and pepper at 350-375, checking and turning every ten minutes. Remove pepper when it browns lightly- squash will require longer roasting time.