Sunday, December 29, 2013

Chop Suey

Bok Choy! Oh boy oh boy oh boy!!! I searched the SLO Veg site for some ideas using bok chop and decided on chop suey. Its always a favorite in our house, and I figured I could incorporate a lot of vegies into the dish. Today I am using bok choy, celery, carrots, yellow onion, green onions and bell pepper. I am heading out to the store to pick up some mung bean sprouts and mushrooms to finish it off. (I am skipping the snow peas because our kid thinks he is allergic to them, as well as avocados, snap peas and regular peas.)
I prepped the celery, carrots, bell peppers and onions ahead of time so I can be ready to stir fry tonight. I also cubed the pork and put the meat into a bowl to marinate with the soy/oyster sauce mixture.Once the prep work is done, the actual cooking goes pretty fast. Start the rice in the steamer, then start the stir-fry. It'll be ready to serve in less than 20 minutes!

Chop Suey (Celery/Bell Peppers/Onions/Bok Choy) 

Servings: 6  Total Time: 1 1/4 Hrs.
2 garlic cloves, minced 
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oyster sauce 
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch 
1 pound pork tenderloin, cut crosswise into 
  1/8-inch-thick strips 
2 celery ribs diagonally cut into 
  1/4-inch-thick slices 
6 oz snow peas diagonally cut into 
  1/4-inch-thick slices 
1/2 lb bok choy, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices 
  (leaves and ribs separately) 
1/4 lb mushrooms cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices 
1 onion, halved lengthwise and into
  1/4-inch-thick strips 
1 green bell pepper cut into 
  1/4-inch-thick strips, then halved crosswise 
1/4 lb mung bean sprouts, rinsed and drained 
1 (5-oz) can sliced water chestnuts 
1 (5-oz) can sliced bamboo shoots 
1/4 cup chicken broth 
Vegetable oil 
Salt and pepper to taste 
Preparation: Stir together garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, soy sauce, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch in a bowl. Stir in pork and marinate 15 minutes. Keep cut vegetables separate. Heat a wok over high heat until a bead of water dropped onto cooking surface evaporates immediately. Drizzle 1 teaspoon vegetable oil around side of wok, then stir-fry celery, seasoning with salt, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer celery to a large bowl. Reheat wok and stir-fry each remaining vegetable separately in same manner (but allow only 1 minute for bean sprouts), adding 1 teaspoon oil to wok before each batch and seasoning with salt. When stir-frying bok choy, begin with ribs, then add leaves and 1 tablespoon water after 1 minute. Transfer each vegetable as cooked to bowl with celery. Stir together chicken broth, 1 teaspoon oyster sauce, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Reheat wok over high heat until a bead of water evaporates immediately. Drizzle 1 tablespoon vegetable oil around side of wok, then stir-fry pork until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Return all vegetables to wok and toss. Make a well in center, then stir broth mixture and add to well. Bring sauce to a boil, undisturbed, then stir to combine with pork and vegetables. Serve immediately, with cooked rice.  

Braised Red Cabbage

Cabbage keeps for a long time in the refrigerator. I think I got the red cabbage from SLO Veg at least 3 weeks ago and I have had it in the vegetable bin, staring back at me every time I opened the refrigerator door, all that time. I had a few remaining apples that either needed to be cooked or tossed. Last night I decided it was time. Actually, last night I was looking for something simple and satisfying to cook for dinner, and sausages are always a hit with my man. The cabbage I forced on him.

No, really, my husband likes cabbage, if it is sauerkraut, anyways. But I made a recipe from Martha Stewart Living that called for bacon, so I think it will be alright. It pairs well with beer. It came out slightly sweet, mildly tart and I thought it was pretty darn good. The only thing was, the recipe could feed about 10 people. There were only two of us tonight.

I really like how the cabbage looks on these Corelle dinner plates with the all fruit on it. Very wintery.

Thanks, Martha. 

Braised Red Cabbage

Martha Stewart Living, November 2012
  • Prep Time 10 minutes
  • Total Time 1 hour
  • Serves 8


    • 4 ounces bacon (about 4 slices), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 head red cabbage (2 1/4 pounds), halved, cored, and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
    • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup dry red wine
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar
    • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces


  1. Cook bacon in a large pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fat renders and bacon is crisp, about 8 minutes. Add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add cabbage, vinegar, wine, water, sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt; stir to combine. Raise heat to medium-high, cover, and cook 5 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low, and continue to cook, covered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Stir apple into cabbage, and cook, covered, until cabbage and apples are tender, 25 to 35 minutes. Season with pepper.

Chicken with Red Curry Peanut Sauce

Red Thai curry paste...that's the key to a good homemade Thai curry sauce. It comes in a little jar, and a tablespoonful is all you need.

I found a recipe from Sandra Lee that had just what I was looking for: coconut milk, red curry paste, chicken, green beans and bell pepper. I had previously frozen some vegetables from our SLO Veg boxes, so I searched through the freezer for those tri-colored string beans and bell peppers. I also took out a chicken breast which had been defrosted earlier today, so I was ready to get cooking. 

First thing is to cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks and brown it in some coconut oil. Then the semi-frozen green beans and bell peppers went into the big skillet. I let it cook until the chicken was no longer pink. I mixed up the sauce ingredients like Sandra said to, except for the red curry paste. That I held out and did something different. I made a little well in the middle of the chicken and vegies and put a scoop of red curry paste right into the pan. It sizzled and heated up the paste, releasing all those spicy flavors which I then stirred around to mix into the chicken. Then I poured in the rest of the sauce ingredients after I had whisked them together in a large measuring cup.

I served this chicken curry over a mound of hot spaghetti squash. Lotsa vegies here without all the starch!

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, cut in 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
8 ounces frozen cut green beans, thawed  
8 ounces frozen pepper strips, thawed
1 tablespoon red curry paste

For sauce:
1 1/2 cups light coconut milk
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth,
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice, plus wedges for garnishing
Cilantro sprigs for garnishing

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add cut up chicken, season and saute until cooked through stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add green beans and pepper strips and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Make a well in the center and add a tablespoon of red curry paste. As it melts down, blend into the chicken and vegetable mixture.

While chicken cooks, start the peanut curry sauce. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the sauce. Pour sauce into a frying pan over the chicken and vegetables, stir to combine. Turn heat up to high and bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 6 to 8 minutes. Serve over steamed rice or noodles (or spaghetti squash).

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Kathleen's Turkey Brine

Note: It was de-lish-us! 

So my daughter is cooking her first turkey this Thursday. An organic turkey, you know, the ones that cost a fortune. The whole dinner is going to be primal, organic, and natural as it can be...except for the pumpkin cheese cake and dinner rolls from Costco. Got to have that!

Becca's brined natural turkey
The turkey was fresh and natural, and I told her she really needed to brine it. Lee and I have been brining our turkeys for the past few years and they come out so flavorful, you just want to keep right on eating through the bird. Forget the rest of the dishes, the turkey alone is enough to gain euphoria.  I helped my daughter out by making the brine and getting the giblets cooked. Now we have some natural broth for the gravy. Oh joy! That, combine with some arrowroot powder and pan juices, will make a delicious gravy for the not-so-primal mashed potatoes that a relative is bringing. I am also making traditional sourdough bread dressing, not-so-primal.

However, the sweet potatoes will be organic, roasted and mashed with a hint of cinnamon spices. Becca improvised on a recipe she found, substituting cinnamon for thyme and spices she doesn't have in her pantry yet. There will be roasted green beans with bacon and almonds with coconut milk instead of cream soup. The organic butterleaf salad will be topped with organic cherry tomatoes and pomegranate seeds from SLO Veg, roasted pumpkin seeds and accompanied by a pomegranate vinaigrette that I just whipped up today.

The big dilemna was what to put into the brine and what method to use in roasting the bird. Here are two recipes I considered for the brine and the varied cooking methods. The similarity is that they are both brined and unstuffed, using fragrant aromatics in the cavity instead. Alton oils and sears his bird in a hot oven, then turns down the heat to slowly finish it off. Ree roasts her bird, covered in foil, for the first 3 hours, then butters it up and browns it during the last phase of cooking. My mom used to stuff her turkey and roast it breast-side down for the first 3 hours. Then she would enlist my father's help in turning the bird so it could brown on top. It came out really juicy, that's for sure. I am leaving my daughter with a few sprigs of rosemary, an apple, orange, lemon and a cinnamon stick, and letting her decide how to roast the big bird.
(Note: she ended up following the package instructions, roasting it in a moderate oven for 4 hours until the meat thermometer read 161 degrees. It was perfect!)


Here are Alton Brown's turkey roasting instructions:
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.
 here are Ree Drummund's roasting instructions:

"Preheat the oven 275 degrees F.

Truss the bird and place it breast side up on a rack in a large roasting pan. Cover the turkey tightly with heavy-duty foil. Make sure it's entirely covered (cover over the bottom edges of the pan). Place in the oven and roast for about 10 minutes per pound (a 20 pound turkey will roast for about 3 1/2 hours).

Remove the turkey from the oven and increase the temperature to 375 degrees F. Remove the aluminum foil and set aside. Mix the softened butter with the rosemary and orange peel and rub all over the skin of the turkey, covering every single inch of the skin. Insert a meat thermometer into the thigh, near the hip joint. Place the turkey, uncovered, back into the oven. Continue roasting the turkey, basting with butter every 30 minutes, until the thermometer registers 170 degrees F and until the juices are no longer pink.

Remove from the oven and cover with foil until you are ready to carve and serve. Reserve pan juices to make gravy."


I ended up mixing up a cup of Kosher salt, 1/4 cup each of brown sugar and coconut sugar, 2 teaspoons each of Juniper berries and peppercorns, coarsely ground in a coffee grinder, and a teaspoon each of orange peel and ground ginger. I will let you know after Thursday if it was any good.(Note: It was!)

Kathleen's Brine
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 cup Kosher salt
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs. Black peppercorns
2 tsp. Juniper berries
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. dried orange peel
Grind peppercorns, Juniper berries and spices in a coffee grinder. Mix together with salt and sugars, then add to hot vegetable stock. Stir until dissolved. Cool brine. Rinse turkey and pull off excess fat, pin feathers, etc. Put bird in a large brining bag, breast side down, add brine solution and zip closed. Turn turkey every 12 hours to allow brine to completely cover bird.

Sweet potatoes and butternut squash, roasted with honey and cinnamon. Green bean casserole with coconut milk and bacon and fried onion topper
Turkey gravy, garlic mashed potatoes and a butter leaf lettuce salad with pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds
The big Thanksgiving spread!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Cheesy Enchiladas with Tomatillo sauce

It all started when I was grocery shopping at Smart and Final, looking for a deal on Thanksgiving turkey, and found Queso Fresco Cacique for $1.28. Its a Mexican cheese made from milk that comes in a little round wheel. Its semi-firm so you can slice it or crumble it up. I figured it would be the start of a nice cheese enchilada or some stuffed chili peppers. I think I have a few peppers of some kind in the frig that had come in our SLO Veg box last week. I will have to look up their website to see exactly what kind of peppers they are. Ah, here is is:
"Fruit, Vegetable, Herb, and Juice List for 11/04/2013 - 11/08/2013 THIS WEEK'S TOTE INCLUDES:
New Specialty Item ~ 'Organic" Watercress, Red Leaf Lettuce, "Organic" Carrots, "Organic" Oregano, Golden Beets, Vine Ripened Tomatoes, Brussels Sprouts, Blue Lake Green Beans, Shanghai Bok Choy, Broccoli Crowns, Red Bell Peppers, Anaheim Peppers, Haas Avocado's, Sweet Oro Blanco Grapefruit, Black Beauty or Crimson Red Grapes"

I didn't find turkeys on sale yet at the first store, so I ended up at Food 4 Less, picking up some celery and carrots and potatoes to have on hand for our upcoming feast. I know its a little early, but those vegies keep for quite a while so I think I am okay. If I use up the potatoes in the next two weeks, I can always get some more. I am sure they will be giving them away in another week.

Anyway, back to the cheese. I wanted a green enchilada sauce for them. Tomatillo sauce, particularly. I almost bought some at the store, but then I saw the tomatillos! They were a bargain price of $1.38/lb. It was mid-afternoon, but I was sure I could make some fresh tomatillo sauce for the enchiladas by dinner time. When I got home I brought in my groceries and googled a recipe. This one from Melissa D'Arabian on the Food Network looked perfect!

Quite possibly the most delicious sauce in the whole wide world is a fresh tomatillo green sauce made with roasted tomatillos, garlic, onions and peppers. Its a super simple sauce as well. I put a whole head of garlic and a whole unpeeled onion on a baking sheet, along with four Anaheim green peppers and about a dozen tomatillos, husks off. I popped it into a 400° oven and forgot about it for 30 minutes while I prepared my rice pilaf, carrots and broccoli, and rolled up the cheese enchiladas. I had picked up one of those roasted whole chickens at the store as well, so this dinner was pulling together.

The tomatillos went right into the blender, followed by the other vegies after I had skinned them. The garlic was so done it just squeezed out of the pods like a paste. It all got pureed and seasoned with salt, pepper and lime juice. That's it! I gave Lee a spoonful to taste when he walked in the door. Oh yeah!

I had a pint jar of sauce left after I smothered the enchiladas in it

Tomatillo Sauce

1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 Anaheim chile, seeded, deveined
1 white onion, quartered
*1/2 jalapeno chile, seeded, deveined
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
Juice from 1/2 lime


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the tomatillos, garlic, Anaheim chile, onions and jalapeno on a baking sheet. Toss the vegetables with the oil, salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables until the tomatillos turn a dark-green color and the onions golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Let the vegetables cool slightly. Peel the garlic and transfer all the ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the lime juice and sprinkle with more salt and pepper.

The tomatillo sauce can be made 1 day ahead, covered and chilled.

*Note: I didn't have a jalapeno pepper to put into the sauce today, and I think I prefer it without it. Super mild green sauce this way.

Dinner included cheese enchiladas with tomatillo sauce, rice pilaf, roasted chicken and steamed broccoli and carrots.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wasabi Fish Bake

My husband is a wasabi freak, so I had clipped this recipe out of a magazine because I figured he would love it. I was right!

I had some cod in the freezer that came from SLO Fresh Catch through SLO Veg, so I defrosted two half-pound packages in a bowl of cold water and got set for cooking. First I started 2 cups of brown rice in 5 cups of chicken broth in the rice steamer. I like using broth to flavor the rice, because then you don't need any other seasonings. Brown rice takes a good 45 minutes to cook thoroughly, and I made double of what I would need for this meal so we could have more rice throughout the week.

Next I mixed up a small amount of wasabi powder with a dash of water to make a green paste of wasabi, just enough for this recipe. That was mixed with mayo and lemon juice and put into the frig to blend flavors.

The green beans got the ends trimmed off and strings pulled out. I left them long, figuring they'd make a good green substitute for french fries. I brought them to a boil in a saucepan onthe stovetop, simmered for 5 minutes, then drained off the water. Later they could share the oven with the fish and crisp up a bit.

What we ended up with was a hot, flavorful dinner that was healthy and satisfying at the same time.


Wasabi Fish Bake
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp wasabi paste

1 lb. Cod
Fresh ground pepper and coarse sea salt
Olive oil
1/2 lbs green beans, trimmed
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Mix sauce ingredients together and let flavors blend for 15 minutes or so. Season fish with coarse salt and pepper and place in an oiled baking dish. Spread wasabi mayo on top of fish and sprinkle with a coating of panko bread crumbs. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring green beans to a boil in a saucepan of salted water. Simmer for 5 minutes, drain. Lay green beans on a baking sheet and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and panko. Bake with fish for 10 minutes. Serve with brown rice.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Dragon Food: Bok Choy with Pork

Bok choy...a large green vegetable, sort of a cross between celery and spinach. We got a large head in this last box from SLO Veg, and it actually made two different dishes for me. 

I remember the first time I cooked a meal for Lee at his house when we were dating. I found some bok choy in the frig and decided to add it to my dish. "Wow, what an adventurous guy!" I was thinking. "Bok Choy. Not every guy is gonna have that in his frig".  He also had four pizza cutters, but that didn't mean he wasn't a culinary expert. I mentioned later that I had used some of the bok choy and hoped he didn't mind. "Oh", he says, "that's Spike's salad." Spike was the Bearded Dragon. Ooops!

Tonight I did a pork and bok choy stir fry. I had some diced pork that I browned in oil and seasoned with salt and white pepper. I mixed up a sauce of soy sauce, hoisin sauce and oyster sauce thinned with chicken broth and water. After the pork had a little brown on it, I poured the sauce on top and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile I diced up some garlic, carrots and red bell pepper along with the bok choy stalks and added that to the pan. I saved the leaves for the last few minutes as they just need to wilt a little, not really cook much.
Once a steamer pot of white rice was ready, dinner was served!

Pork and Bok Choy Stir Fry with Rice

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup oyster sauce
1/8 cup Hoisin sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water

1/2 lb. stir fry pork meat
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 baby carrots, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 head of bok choy, sliced
ground white pepper
cooked white jasmine rice
Sesame seeds for sprinkling

Saute pork in a tablespoon of sesame oil until browned. Season with salt and white ground pepper. Add minced garlic, carrots, and red bell pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add bok choy stems and sauce. Simmer for about 10 minutes, Add bok choy leaves and cook just until wilted. Serve over steamed rice and sprinkled on a teaspoon or so of sesame seeds.

Avocado Grapefruit Salad

One of the featured items from our SLO Veg delivery was grapefruit, "Sweet Oro Blanco Grapefruit" to be exact. They are large, firm, yellow grapefruits with a yellowy fruit center. We also got some lovely Haas avocados, and SLO Veg suggested an Avocado and Grapefruit Salad, so I am giving it a whirl.

The grapefruit needed to be segmented, and there is a special technique for this calling "supreming". I referred to a video to see just how its done. I decided to do this step early in the day and put the fruit on salad plates, then cover them and put them into the frig until dinner time. I still need to slice the avocado, but I have a tool for that--easy peasy! I will whisk up the vinaigrette at the last minute and put it together right before dinner is served. Fresh, easy and light, a great opener for the planned Wasabi fish main dish to follow.

Recipe from SLO Veg:
 Avocado and Grapefruit Salad (Grapefruit) 

Servings: 4  Level: Easy  Prep Time: 20 Minutes

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1/2 cup good olive oil 
4 ripe Hass avocados 
2 large red grapefruits
Directions Place the mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Before serving, cut the avocados in 1/2, remove the seeds, and carefully peel off the skin. Cut each half into 4 thick slices. Toss the avocado slices in the vinaigrette to prevent them from turning brown. Use a large, sharp knife to slice the peel off the grapefruits (be sure to remove all the white pith), then cut between the membranes to release the grapefruit segments. Arrange the avocado slices around the edge of a large platter. Arrange the grapefruit segments in the center. Spoon the vinaigrette on top, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve.  

Watermelon Granita

A while ago, and I mean A WHILE AGO, I made some watermelon granita from a recipe I saw on Pioneer Woman's blog. I had a watermelon from the SLO Veg box that had been sitting on the kitchen counter for about 2 weeks at that time. (Seriously, we got the watermelons at the end of September!). I don't know why I hadn't cut into it, but there it sat when I came across this inspiration. I actually forgot how I did it. Thank goodness for the history feature on my laptop.

The ingredients were simple: watermelon, lime juice and sugar. It all goes into the blender and is pureed, then spread into an oblong baking dish to freeze. Then you cover it and let it harden for at least 3 hours until it is time to scrape it up. That's where I fell off...I think I made this a good month ago and never ever scraped it out. It just sat there in the freezer in the pan, all covered up, like a big pink ice cube. So yesterday I decided I should do something about that. I took it out and got out my ice cream scoop and went to scraping. I scraped and scraped and scraped. I had a tub of pink snow cone stuff after a short time. The down side is that I was making a lot of noise with the pan banging around on the counter and all, and I woke Lee up from a nap. Grumble grumble...oh here, have some watermelon granita. All good now. : )

Tastes just like Summer! Even in November : )  


recipe from Pioneer Woman

Watermelon Granita


  • 1/2 whole Seedless Watermelon, Cut Into Chunks (rind Discarded) (about 8 Cups Of Chunks)
  • 2 whole Limes, Juiced
  • 1/3 cup Sugar

Preparation Instructions

Place half the watermelon, half the lime juice, and half the sugar in a blender. Process until smooth, then pour into a separate bowl.
Repeat with other half of ingredients. Pour into same bowl as other batch.
Transfer mixture to a 9 x 13 baking dish. Freeze for two or three hours, then begin the process of lightly scraping the top, frozen layer. Return pan to freezer with the shaved ice on top; remove a couple of hours later and continue scraping. Repeat the occasional scraping process until the entire mixture is shaved. Store, covered in plastic wrap, until serving.
Serve in pretty glasses with a twist of lime.
*Note: if you use a regular watermelon with black seeds, lightly blend the watermelon first, then push through a strainer to get rid of the seeds/seed particles. Then continue the recipe above.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Brussel Sprouts and Schnitzel

Whoa Boy! We got a large box this week from SLO Veg, and boy is it a lot of food! This is what they dropped off this week:

Fruit, Vegetable, Herb, and Juice List for 11/04/2013 - 11/08/2013  
New Specialty Item ~ 'Organic" Watercress, Red Leaf Lettuce, "Organic" Carrots, "Organic" Oregano, Golden Beets, Vine Ripened Tomatoes, Brussels Sprouts, Blue Lake Green Beans, Shanghai Bok Choy, Broccoli Crowns, Red Bell Peppers, Anaheim Peppers, Haas Avocado's, Sweet Oro Blanco Grapefruit, Black Beauty or Crimson Red Grape.

I took some grapes to work in my lunch box today, and what a sweet treat! They are  crisp and delicious! We also got a cute little oregano plant! But I really wanted to dive into the brussel sprouts! You know, those things Lee detests, but then discovered are actually delicious when roasted and seasoned with bacon and mustard, his two favorite flavors? I brought up the SLO Veg recipe for brussels and substituted bacon for prosciutto.
Then I used fresh thyme from my live plant SLO Veg had sent us a few months ago to infuse the cooking oil for my Schnitzel--yum! Best dinner I have made in weeks!

Pork Schnitzel
Recipe from Tyler Florence, my favorite recipe writer

Infusion of Thyme in the cooking oil
4 boneless pork loin chops (about 5 to 6 ounces each)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
4 cups plain dried bread crumbs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 sprig thyme
Lemon wedges


Begin by placing each chop between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and gently pounding them out with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until they are an even 1/4-inch thick.

Put the flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs and milk in another shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Put the bread crumbs in a third dish and again season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge each piece of pork in flour, then in the egg and finally into the bread crumbs, pressing the bread crumbs onto the pork gently so they have a nice even coating.

Lay the breaded pork cutlets in a single layer on a plate lined with parchment and refrigerate, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes to allow the coating to dry out a little and adhere to the pork.

Heat oil and butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the thyme sprig and let it fry for about 1 minute to infuse the oil. Remove the thyme sprig and reserve. Gently lay the cutlets into the pan and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to paper towels to drain. Season with salt and transfer to a serving platter while still hot. Garnish with lemon wedges and the fried thyme sprig before serving.

Read more at:  
Roasted Brussels Sprouts in Creamy Mustard Sauce with Prosciutto and Cranberries 

recipe from SLO Veg collection
Serves 8-10
45 minutes to prepare
2 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed
3 TBS butter, melted and divided
3 TBS olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped bacon pieces
1/2 cup minced shallots (about 2 medium)
3 TBS sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 TBS Dijon mustard or Wasabi mustard
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 TBS chopped parsley
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Cut Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise, toss to coat evenly with 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Bake on jellyroll pan at 425 for 18 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are tender and outer leaves are golden brown and slightly crispy, stirring halfway through. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add bacon. Cook 6 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan; set aside. In same skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoon butter and oil over medium heat. Sauté shallots for 2 minutes or until translucent and cooked through. Add vinegar; reduce heat to low, cook 1 minute. Stir in mustard and cream; bring to a low boil. Let simmer and reduce about 5 minutes or until sauce is thick and creamy. Toss Brussels sprouts with parsley, bacon and cranberries, and drizzle half the warm sauce over the top. Serve remaining sauce on the side.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Grilled Pesto Chicken

Pesto chicken sounds like a winner-winner chicken dinner! Today I made Giada's pea and spinach pesto, but this would be good with basil pesto or an arugula pesto like in the recipe below from SLO Veg. 

Lightly pound chicken breast to 1/2 inch thickness. Rub pesto onto chicken. Spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray. Grill 2-4 minutes on each side. Serve with Caesar salad or spaghetti carbonara, or as a sandwich on Italian bread with tomatoes and mozarella cheese.


Grilled Chicken with Arugula Pesto (Arugula/Basil) 

Servings: 4  Level: Easy  Cook Time 10 Minutes

1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds or shelled pistachios 
1 cup packed fresh arugula leaves 
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves 
1/2 lemon, juiced 
1 clove garlic, grated or minced 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
4 small pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast (tenders removed)
Directions: Heat a grill pan to high. Toast the nuts lightly in small skillet over low heat, then add them to a food processor. Add the arugula, basil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper, to taste, and pulse to combine. With the processor on, stream in the extra-virgin olive oil to form thick pesto. Lightly pound out the chicken, then rub all sides with the pesto. Spray the grill pan with cooking spray or rub with a little oil and grill the chicken 2 to 4 minutes on each side. Cook's Note: Serve sliced on top of Caesar Spaghetti or, pile it onto ciabatta bread with sliced tomatoes and mozzarella for an outta-sight sammy. 

Roasted Tomato Carrot Coconut Basil Soup

We did a little Costco run on Sunday and of course, the food tasters were out in force! It's funny, because I don't eat most of the stuff they are giving out as samples, and what's more, I don't even want it. I did, however, taste the Basil Tomato soup. So did Lee and Taylor. They wanted some! It was like, $4.50 a pint and I said I could make it.

"Just like this?" Lee asked? Silly man...better! I will use fresh basil and tomatoes! and carrots and coconut milk! Mmmmmm!

We had picked up some fresh basil from the Mt. Olive booth at our local farmer's market. Mt. Olive is a supplier for SLO Veg and we had taken a "field trip" to their farm last year. I said hello to the guys and told them I am a SLO Veg customer. That's always fun. I am enjoying going out the the markets again and running into suppliers. I think I can connect with them better because of my SLO Veg experience.

Roast the vegetables
I searched for recipes and found this one on SLO Veg that looked really good. So that would be my starting point--I began roasting some vegetables. I had two large red tomatoes, two fat carrots, a yellow onion, garlic cloves, and what the heck! I threw in a handful of baby carrots and some sliced yellow peppers that I had in the frig, leftover from my vegie platter I made for my friends' recent weekend outing.
So I found two recipes, and I sort of combined them for my into one for my soup.

After the vegies had roasted for 45 minutes or so, I took them out and let them cool down. I peeled the roasted garlic cloves and popped them into the blender carafe, followed by my roasted vegetables. You may want to do this in two batches. I added enough chicken broth to fill the carafe halfway up and pureed the mixture. Then I opened a small can of tomato paste and clipped off  8-10 leaves of basil and pureed the mixture again.  Then, because my blender was full, I pour the puree into a large storage container and stirred in the coconut milk, Now its all ready for heating and eating! I think I will have some right now for lunch, though!

My Roasted Tomato Carrot Coconut Basil Soup

2 large red tomatoes
1 yellow onion
2-3 medium carrots
4 garlic cloves
1 small yellow sweet pepper
olive oil
1 6 oz. can tomato sauce
salt and pepper

basil leaves
1 15 oz. can Lite Coconut Milk

Roasted vegies
Add tomato paste
Cut the vegetables into large chunks. Coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Cool. Peel garlic and put the cloves and all the other vegies into a blender. Add some chicken stock until it fills the blender about halfway and puree. Add in a small can of tomato paste, 8-10 fresh basil leaves, pepper and salt to taste. Heat puree in saucepan with one can of coconut milk. Serve will grilled cheese sandwiches or cheese quesadilla wedges.

Stir in coconut milk and heat and serve

Mt Olive basil


Roasted Carrot and Tomato Soup with Basil 

Yield: 6 Servings  

Nonstick vegetable oil spray 
1 large onion, thinly sliced 
2 pounds plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise 
1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
2 1/2 cups water 
2 3/4 cups (about) low-fat (1%) milk 
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil 
Preparation: Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Arrange onion, tomatoes, carrots and garlic cloves on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until vegetables are tender and brown, turning occasionally, about 55 minutes. Cool slightly. Peel garlic cloves. Transfer vegetables to large bowl (do not clean baking sheet). Add 1 cup water to baking sheet, scraping up browned bits; add to blender, then add half of vegetables and puree until smooth. Transfer to large saucepan. Add remaining vegetables and 1 1/2 cups water to blender and puree. Transfer to same saucepan. Gradually add enough milk to soup to thin to desired consistency. Stir in 1/4 cup basil. Simmer 10 minutes to blend flavors. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to simmer before continuing.) Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup basil and serve.


Ginger Carrot Coconut Soup
  • 12 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 medium chopped red potato
  • 8 chopped carrots
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 small chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 cup cubed apple or pear (optional)


1. Cook broth in a large, heavy saucepan, reducing it by half to concentrate flavors.
2. Heat oil in a medium sauté pan. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 to 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
3. Add ginger, potato, and carrot; cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add coconut milk and bell pepper; cover and cook 5 more minutes. Add reduced broth to vegetable mixture; season with pepper. Cover and cook until all vegetables are tender.
4. In blender or food processor, puree soup in small batches until smooth. Adjust seasonings.
5. Serve in warm soup bowls. Garnish with apple or pear cubes, if desired.
Variation: Garnish with a combination of scallions and chopped fresh parsley or cilantro.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Giada's Pea and Spinach Pesto

I watched Giada make this pesto on her show, Everyday Italian, one morning and thought it looked really good. The green peas add a nice green color and fresh taste that Giada said even her 5 year old loved. I had the last half of a bag of spinach from SLO Veg that I needed to "use it or lose it", so I decided it would become pesto. The photo is from a week ago when I made a spinach and fruit smoothie. This was mature spinach, big leaves. Because I had picked up some fresh basil from our Farmer's Market vendor Mount Olive, who I blogged about previously, I added a bit of that with the spinach.

Note: We recently switched to an every-other-week delivery schedule for SLO Veg with a large box for now to see how that works for us. Taylor doesn't eat at home much now that he is working and I am working on dayshift. I find I have to supplement a little more, but its actually fun to get out to a Farmer's Market and see what all is being offered and talk to the vendors. When I recognize a SLO Veg vendor, I like to say hi and tell them I am a customer and purchase something from their booth.

I also used some large green onions from the tote box, a couple cloves of garlic, a chunk of sun-dried tomato, and some parmesan and mozarella cheeses. My peas were frozen and weren't mixing well, but when I added the olive oil, it began to come together. I used more spinach than Giada's recipe called for, and I just used regular mozarella, not smoked, but if I ever buy some of that smoked cheese that we don't inhale for a snack, I may try it that way sometime. 

The batch I whipped up is about 2 cups, way more than I need for a batch of pasta, so I am taking a smallish container over to my daughter's house this morning so she can make some pasta at home. I still do have some frozen basil pesto disks in the freezer for quick pasta additions that I might use some evening, so I don't want to freeze any of this batch. I thought this would be fun, fresh and pair well with the chicken breasts that I had taken out to defrost this morning. I think I will even coat the chicken breasts in the pesto before baking them in the oven tonight. We will have a really pesto-y dinner!

Fusilli with Pea Pesto and Mozzarella
Adapted from a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis


Kosher salt
1 pound fusilli pasta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan


1 tablespoon, plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
2 large large green onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
2 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 cup grated mozzarella
2 cups baby spinach leaves, packed
5-6 fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Lemon pepper
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped


For the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. Place the drained pasta in a large bowl. Add the cheese and toss until coated.

For the pesto: In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the green onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the lemon pepper. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool slightly.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the peas, mozzarella, spinach, Parmesan, lemon juice, lemon zest, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and the cooked shallot mixture. Blend until smooth, but still slightly chunky, adding in the reserved olive oil through the blender top hole.

Pour the pesto over the pasta and toss until coated, adding the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and serve.

Cook's Note: To toast the almonds, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven until lightly toasted, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool completely before using.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Plum Raspberry Crumble saves the Night!

Now I have a sweet tooth! I want something sweet, like chocolate. I don't think I have anything chocolate in this house, except for that trail mix with chocolate pieces...but I don't want that. I don't know what I want. Looking around, I spy...plums. Right there in the hanging basket above my kitchen sink. Right in plain site. 

"Honey," I say as I am washing the last of the dinner dishes, "can you look up 'plums' on the SLO Veg website and see if they have some recipes for dessert?" Lee looks and reads off several suggestions while I mull them over: Caramelized Plum-Ricotta Black Pepper, whatever crostini is, I don't want to make it. Sounds too complicated. Grilled Plums with Spiced Walnut Yogurt Sauce...nooo, made something like that with peaches the other night. Open faced Plum Tart...hmmm, maybe. Plum Carpaccio? Nah, not sure what that is. Plum Cornbread??? Oh, here we go: Plum Raspberry Crumble. That's the one. Funny thing is, I had saved that very recipe to my blog back in August. I guess I have been thinking about making it for quite some time.

So I proceeded to chop of a few plums into bite-sized bits, squeezed an orange and got about 2 tablespoons of juice to pour on the plums, searched in the freezer for those raspberries I had frozen a few weeks ago, and mixed up my fruit with sugar and a dab of almond flour. Then I used my hand-held stick mixer with the food processor attachment and mixed up the crumble part. Butter, brown sugar, salt, oatmeal...simple. I put the fruit mixture into a butter ramekin and added the crumbled topping, then baked it in the oven for 30 minutes. A dollop of ice cream and my sweet tooth is about the be satisfied. Thanks for the recipe, SLO Veg!

Plum Raspberry Crumble  

Servings: 8 Level: Easy  Time: 1 Hr

2 pounds red plums, cut in 1/2, pitted, and cut
  in 1-inch wedges 
2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided 
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided 
2 tablespoons orange juice 
1/2 pint fresh raspberries 
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed 
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, 
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats 
1/2 cup sliced almonds, plus extra for sprinkling 
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the sliced plums, 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of the flour, and the orange juice and toss well. Add the raspberries and toss lightly. Pour into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch baking dish. For the topping, place the remaining 1 cup of flour, the remaining 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, and the salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of peas. Pour the mixture into a bowl, add the oats, and work it with your hands until it's in large crumbles. Add 1/2 cup of the almonds and mix well. Spread the topping evenly over the plums, making sure the fruit is covered. Sprinkle with some extra almonds. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the fruit is tender and bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.  

Cream of Broccoli Soup

While shopping in Costco last week, my husband decided we needed a huge bag of broccoli florets...3 pounds huge, to be exact. Broccoli is a vegetable favorite in this household, but with our weekly box of farm-fresh vegetables and fruits from SLO Veg, I had my doubts. So a week goes by and I still had not busted open the bag yet. 

I mean, all week I pretty much had my hands full with carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, Swiss chard, red bell peppers, green onions, sweet potatoes, avocados and peaches, plums and OATS...I still have not tried the "certified organic" rolled oats from With the Grain farm in Atascadero. I think I had way more time to cook when I was working nights. Oh well.

Today it was raining and cold out, so I figured it was perfect weather for soup -- broccoli soup! First thing I did was slice up a whole onion, along with one of the green onions from SLO Veg, and sauteed it with some butter in a stock pot. I mashed up a few cloves of garlic and added that in for the last minute or so, then put the whole mix into the blender and pureed it. I ended up with a nice, thick oniony paste. I put that into my crock pot and turned to the broccoli. Since the broccoli was already trimmed, I put half of the bag (so 1-1/2 lbs.) into a pot of water and put the lid on and let it come to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes. Then I ladled the broccoli into the blender (it took two blender batches for this) and added a couple of ladles of broccoli water, then pureed the broccoli. I took care to use the lid and only added enough water to fill the blender halfway, with the broccoli florets going all the way to the top of the carafe. That made a nice thick broccoli puree. I poured the blender batches into the onion mixture that was in the crock pot and seasoned it all with cayenne pepper, nutmeg, chicken broth powder, salt and pepper. Then, inspired, I added some fresh thyme from the little plant I received from SLO Veg a few mnths back. So at this point, I figured I had sort of skipped the step of making a roux with flour and butter and onion, and I didn't see the need for flour. I left it out and added a cup of coconut milk, because that all we had in the frig. Then I stirred in about a cup of grated Mexican cheddar cheese blend and our soup was ready. Except we weren't ready. We were in the middle of watching our DVRd versions of Sleep Hollow and The Mentalist. Hence the crock pot. That is such a handy kitchen neccessity.

Easy Vegies and Sole

I was up early this morning, preparing for a 4-mile run/walk event at our annual Oktoberfest celebration. I am 3 weeks into a 12-week fitness commitment, so this fits right into the plan. We had a great lunch afterwards of bratwurst sausages, sauerkraut and Hefinweisen beer. (That is in the plan too--FREE DAY!) Then I came home and took a nap and when I woke up, wouldn't you know it? It was dinner time!
I think I have three or four zucchinis in the fridge, but since its just me and Lee tonight, I chopped up one of them for my bacon- tomato- zucchini saute With bacon and garlic. I used two Roma tomatoes and a large green onion. Then I decided to toss in the Swiss chard and flavor it with Balsamic vinegar. I went a little heavy on the vinegar as it pours out too quickly. But we had our vegetable! 
II paired the veggies with the little bit of procuitto tortellini I had left over, boiling them in water, then draining and mixing with butter and garlic. Then I quickly pan fried the Dover sole in butter, seasoned with sea salt and coarse black pepper. Both things took about 5 minutes!
With dinner done and my sweet tooth activated, I split open three peaches that would not last another day and popped them into the oven to bake with a little butter and cinnamon sugar. I convince Lee to pull them out of the oven after 15 minutes and top them with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream. Perfect ending to the day!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sweet and Sour Pork

Red bell peppers, sliced carrots and chopped onion are the base for my Sweet and Sour Pork.
You know that movie with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaghy: "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days?" One of my all-time favs, partly because Lee and I watched it on our first date.Well, I am home alone, and that's what I am watching while I am browsing the internet for dinner inspirations. It makes me laugh.

But what about dinner? What are my options here in the land of refrigeration? Leftover pork? Big, juicy farm-raised carrots? Sweet, dark red bell peppers? A can of pineapple chunks? What more does a gal need except the rice? and a good sweet and sour sauce. Got it! I found a recipe on Food Network's website, make the sauce and stirred in my pork and pineapple. Then I sauteed the carrots, peppers, onion and garlic in sesame oil and mixed it into the sauce. I would have added some snow peas if I could find them in the freezer, but I can't so I will add green peas. Color, you know? Jasmine rice was in the rice steamer and dinner is gonna be a snap. I think I can even relax the rest of this evening and let my hubby pick the channels...except for our 20 minute cardio workout. That's later.


Here is the recipe I made, except for the pork part. I just used some diced leftover pork. It works.

Sweet and Sour Pineapple Pork
For pork:

1 pound lean pork
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sweet vermouth
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
4 tablespoons oil, divided, plus 4 cups oil, for deep frying
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup diced red and yellow bell peppers
2 tablespoons diced onion
Sweet and Sour Sauce
Strips of green onion, for garnish
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Sweet and Sour Sauce:

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
1/2 cup chopped canned pineapple
4 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water, for thickening


Cut pork into bite-size pieces and marinate for 30 minutes in mixture of soy, vermouth, garlic, ginger, and 2 tablespoons oil. Set aside.
Meanwhile, make the sweet and sour sauce:

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except the cornstarch mixture, blend well and bring to a boil. Add cornstarch mixture. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently until thickened. Be sure and bring your sauce to a boil before adding the cornstarch, otherwise the sauce may retain an unpleasant starchy taste.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove pork pieces from marinade and roll in cornstarch to coat well. Deep fry in hot oil until golden brown and crispy.

In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil on medium-high heat. Stir-fry red and yellow pepper and diced onion for 2 minutes, then add Sweet and Sour sauce and fold in fried pork. Let simmer for 2 minutes, arrange on serving platter and garnish with long strips of green onion and toasted sesame seeds.

Read more at:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tomato Carrot Ginger Soup

I had some carrots just hanging out in the frig...remember those big, thick carrots from the SLO Veg box the week before last? Yeah, carrots can hang for a long time in the frig...why was I waiting?

I was waiting for the perfect recipe, that's why. I wanted to savor the carrots and I couldn't decide whether to toss them into a stew, saute them with butter and parsley, or roast them in the oven and serve alongside a slab of meat. But then I saw this recipe for carrot-ginger soup on Pinterest from the Downtown Abbey blog and my mouth began to water.I guess Downtown Abbey is a show, and I know Tim McGraw's family is a big fan club, but I myself have never seen it. Hmmm...probably preempted by The Headless Horseman or something...oh well. Apparently there is a fan following for the food of Downtown Abbey, because there is a cookbook based on the show. Life definately imitates art.

So I made this recipe, but the only thing was I had one or two purple carrots in the vegetable bin that I tossed in for good measure, and you know what? I had a purplely soup! Good soup! But purple, kind of like a borscht, but not. The color was kind of off-putting, so I had  to do something. I decided to mix in a can of tomato soup. It turned the color from greyish-purple to brick red. Hmmmm...I guess that is better. Let me make some grilled cheese sandwiches to serve alongside and see if I can get the guys to eat some.


Classic Carrot Ginger Soup

simple, elegant and heart-heart healthy.
Carrot soup is one of those classics dishes which is simple in terms of its main ingredients.  But add ginger and then pureeing takes it from the servant’s hall to the upstairs dining room. Guilt free, there is little fat in this recipe.
Serves 4
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil or olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 lbs. carrots, roughly chopped
  • 5 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock (more to thin)
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Coarse (kosher) salt and freshly ground black pepper *
  • low fat plain yoghurt to garnish
  • chives to garnish
  1. Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the onion and ginger for about five minutes until the flavours have been released.
  2. Add the carrots, stock, and orange juice.  Increase the heat, bringing to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer, covering the pot.
  3. Cook until the carrots are tender, about 45 minutes.
  4. In the Downton kitchen the soup would have been pressed through a sieve to break up the solids, but we have the convenience of immersion blenders to puree the soup right in the pot.  If you don’t have an immersion blender you can use a blender or food processor.
  5. Season with nutmeg and salt and pepper.  If the soup is too thick, add some additional stock to thin and reheat.
  6. You can serve the soup hot or cold; garnish the soup with a spoonful of yoghurt and nutmeg before serving.
****So I changed the recipe by adding one can of condensed cream of tomato soup. I just opened the can and stirred it in, and created a tomato-ginger-carrot soup. Lee says to never make it again. That's good!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Breakfast in Bed

Our kitty Zink was helping me read the Sunday morning newspaper.
Apples and cinnamon! What a great combination! When I saw this recipe on SLO Veg's website, my mouth started watering. I woke up wanting some yummy oatmeal with apples and cinnnamon and raisins and brown sugar, so I got myself up, made it, and went back to bed to eat it! Then I read the Sunday morning paper, start to finish. Great start to a day.

Apple Harvest Oatmeal (Braeburn Apples) 

Servings: 6  Level: Easy  Cook Time: 5 Minutes

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
1 crisp apple, such as Braeburn or Crispin, cored and diced with skin 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, plus more to taste 
3 cups water 
2 cup quick-cooking oats 
1/2 cup wheat germ 
1/4 cup ground/milled or whole flax seed (or a combination of both) 
1/4 cup chopped dried apples 
1/4 cup toasted sliced almond 
1/4 cup golden raisins 
3/4 cup almond milk
Directions: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and the apple and cook until lightly brown and soft, 2 minutes. Add cinnamon and sugar and cook until dissolved. Add the water and bring to a boil. Add the oats, wheat germ, flax, dried apples and raisins. Stir constantly for 2 minutes until oats are cooked and dried fruit is slightly plumped. Divide into 4 bowls, sprinkle each bowl with more brown sugar, a drizzle of milk and a dried apple ring.
**I didn't have any dried apples for this recipe, but I did add some sliced toasted almonds.

Vegetable Curry

I found this recipe on and knew I had to try it. I had cauliflower, zucchini, yellow squash and cilantro from the SLO Veg box, and a million things to try with it, but what I really wanted to use was my Garam Masala curry spice that was sitting in the cabinet being all lonely and under-utilized. I have to say, after tasting this conconction, "good choice!". Yes, it was tasty! Good thing, too, because we took bowls of it in our lunch all week.
I had everything else I needed in the pantry today, too, like garbanzo beans and sweet potatoes and diced tomatoes. I also had a couple of pork cutlets, so I sauteed them and cubed the meat up and added it to this dish for a complete main dish, or you could leave it out and have a great vegetarian stew.
Original recipe link:
Pantry staples!

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup diced peeled sweet potato
1 cup small cauliflower florets
1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
1 yellow squash, diced
1 zucchini, diced
2 teaspoons Madras curry powder (I substitued Garam Masala)
1/2 cup organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson)
1/4 teaspoon salt1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
1. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brown pork cutlet and cook for 5 minutes on each side, then remove to a platter. Add sweet potato to pan; sauté 3 minutes. 2, Decrease heat to medium. Add cauliflower, onion, and curry powder; cook 1 minute, stirring mixture constantly. 3. Add broth and next 3 ingredients (through tomatoes); bring to a boil. 4. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. 5. Sprinkle with cilantro; serve with yogurt over quinoa.
This curry stew makes a pretty main meal.