Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Veggie Overload!

A "terrific" trio of Angela, Shayna and me, (she said modestly:), presented a fun class at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont last week. Soup and Yoga was a wonderful morning of yoga - followed by three yummy soups. We enjoyed Lighten Up Seafood Gumbo, Sweet and Sour Green Tea Soup, and this fantastic recipe for Veggie Overload Soup that can be served warm or cold:
(I know it looks like a lot of ingredients - it is. But its so good! And it keeps for 4 - 5 days in the frig and for 3 months in the freezer)

Veggie Overload

1 TB Olive Oil
2 Cups Sliced Leeks
1/2 Cup Sliced Celery
½ Cup Sliced Fennel
4 Grated Garlic Cloves
4 Cups Chopped Broccoli
4 Cups Spinach
2 Cups Shelled Edamame (or Lima Beans)
2 Cups Green Peas (or Blackeyed Peas)
¼ Tsp Smoked Paprika
½ Tsp Cumin
6 - 8 Cups Vegetable Broth – or Light Chicken Broth
3 Cups Water
½ Cup Cooked Brown Rice
2 – 4 TB Lemon Juice (to taste)
½ Tsp Kosher or Sea Salt, plus more to taste
½ Tsp Freshly Cracked Black Pepper, plus more to taste

For Garnish:
Fresh Tomato Salsa - 1 Cup Fresh Tomatoes finely chopped and tossed with 1/2 Tsp of Lemon juice, 1 Tsp of Olive Oil, I TB of Chopped Cilantro and salt and pepper to taste
No Fat Greek Yogurt

Step One
Heat the oil in a stockpot. Add the leek, celery and fennel. Sauté 4 - 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add broccoli, spinach, edamame, peas, rice, paprika, and cumin. Stir in broth and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add the brown rice to the soup.

Step Two
Process about ¼ of the soup at a time in a food processor or blender, place in a large bowl. Stir in the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Garnish with a TB of Greek Yogurt topped with the fresh tomato salsa

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pressure With Flair!

A group of fun folks gathered last week to take my "Pressure With Flair" class at Cooks Warehouse. They made a fantastic dinner, including Italian Red Pepper and Cauliflower Soup, Chili Verde Pork with Corn Tortillas and ended the evening with luscious Coconut Bread Pudding with Caramelized Pineapples. (And I mean luscious!) Here's the recipe for you to try it too!

Coconut Bread Pudding with Caramelized Pineapples
1 TB Unsalted Butter, Softened

1 (16 oz) Can Cream of Coconut)
1 Cup Half and Half
3 Large Eggs, Beaten
½ Cup Unsalted Butter, Melted
¾ Cup Sugar
1 TB Dark Rum
½ Tsp Grated Nutmeg

1 Cored Pineapple, Chopped
1 ½ Cup Toasted Coconut*, divided
8 Cups (1”) Cubed French or Italian Bread
1 Recipe Pineapple Sauce**

Step One
Butter 1 (8”) Round Baking Pan.

Step Two
Place the next 7 ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine well. Add the pineapple and 1 cup of the toasted coconut. Place the bread in a large bowl and pir the mixture over the bread. Let sit for 15 – 30 minutes, tossing to coat the bread, well. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.

Step Three
Pour 1 ½ cups water in the pressure cooker, and prepare the harness. Place the pan in the harness and lower into the cooker. Secure the lid and over high head, develop pressure to medium. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 12 minutes.

Step Four
Release the pressure according to the cooker’s directions. Remove the pudding and sprinkle the remaining coconut over the top. Serve the pudding warm or chilled with the pineapple sauce.

**Pineapple Sauce

¼ Cup Unsalted Butter
¾ Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cored Pineapple, Chopped
3 ¼ Cups Pineapple Juice, divided
Zest of 1 Orange
Zest of 1 Lime
1 TB plus 2 Tsp Cornstarch
Combine the remaining ¼ cup of juice and the cornstarch together in a small bowl. In a saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, pineapple, 3 cups of juice and zests. Bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pineapple mixture and cook and stir until thickened.

**To Toast the Coconut
Place on a baking sheet and toast at 350F for 5 – 7 minutes or until beginning to brown.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Gift of Lemon Sunshine

My friend Susan brought me a treasure the other day – Meyer Lemons from her brother-in-laws tree in Florida. I love all lemons, but the Meyer is my favorite. Especially in January when the cold seems never ending when the bright color and taste seem to fend off winter blahs. Meyer's have tender orange-y peels, wonderful floral aromas, and all the delicious flavor of a lemon without the puckery tang of regular lemons. In the early 1900’s Frank Meyer discovered the fruit – believed to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange.

To celebrate Meyer Lemon season that runs from December to about April, here are 4 of my favorite ways to use them. Don’t have Meyer Lemons? These recipes work super with any lemon:

Winter Kale and Garlic
1 LB of Kale (1 prepackaged, chopped bag – if you can’t find the bag, strip the leaves from the center ribs and slice them into thin ribbons,)
1 TB Olive Oil
4 Garlic Cloves, Grated or Minced
1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tsp Anchovy Paste*
½ Cup Light Chicken or Vegetable Broth
2 - 4 TB Lemon Juice
1 TB Grated Lemon Zest
Kosher or Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste

Step One
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the garlic, pepper and anchovy paste for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Step Two
Add the kale, using tongs to stir it as it cooks. Add the broth and cover the pot. Turning the heat to low, allow the kale to steam for 5 – 7 minutes or until it is tender. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice, zest, salt and pepper to taste and serve.

*Yes, anchovy paste! I promise it won’t taste fishy when you finish. If you don’t have the paste, just chop 1 anchovy finely.

Light and Luscious Lemon Vinaigrette with Baby Greens
2 TB Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
Zest of 1 Lemon
½ Tsp Dijon Mustard
½ Tsp Honey or Agave Syrup
¼ to ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher or Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper To Taste

Place all the ingredients in a jar and shake. Taste for salt and pepper. Toss with baby greens and serve.

Lemon Olive Oil
Make lemon olive oil by taking a cup of your favorite oil and heating it til just warm. Add the peel of 2 lemons to it, and let sit for an hour. Strain and place in a glass bottle. (Make sure to wash the outside of your lemons well, before peeling!)

Lemon Chicken Marinade
½ Cup Lemon Juice
2 TB Honey or Agave Syrup
2 TB Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove, Grated
½ Cup Your Choice of Chopped Parsley, Thyme, Marjoram or Oregano or combination

10 – 15 minute dip in this marinade is all that is needed for a delicious lemony flavored entrée.