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: http://www.sloveg.com/eathealthy.cfm
"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.