7/12/18

Vegan Thai Corn, Potato & Zucchini Soup


Are you swimming in the sea of summer corn and zucchini? If the answer is yes, then this Vegan Thai Corn, Potato & Zucchini Soup is perfect for you.

I saw a recipe for Thai-Style Corn Chowder on TheKitchn and adapted it slightly to fit what I had on hand.

First, I used only 2 red skinned potatoes, and added 2 large zucchini. I also used vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Finally, I pureed part of the soup to improve the texture.

The one recommendation I'm still figuring out is whether to mince the lemon grass*** or simply bruise it using the back of the knife because I did not like the texture of the minced lemongrass in the soup. You decide!

Vegan Thai Corn, Potato & Zucchini Soup
Adapted from TheKitchn
Serves 4-6
Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 red skinned potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
1 Thai chili pepper, finely chopped {do NOT touch your eyes after}
1 3" piece of lemongrass, bruised with the back of the knife to release the flavor
salt to taste
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups fresh corn {if you are making this soup in the winter, use defrosted corn}
2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 13.5 to 15 ounce can coconut milk
chopped cilantro
lime wedges

Directions
1. Heat a heavy bottomed soup pot on the stove. Add olive oil and allow it to heat.
2. Add chopped onions and allow to cook until translucent.
3. Add potatoes, chili pepper and lemongrass and saute for 5 minutes.
4. Season with salt. 
5. Add just enough broth to cover the vegetables, bring to a simmer and cook 5 to 8 minutes, covered, until potatoes are tender.
6. Add corn and zucchini and the rest of the broth. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking for a few more minutes.
7. Fish out the lemongrass and discard.
8. Off the heat, add coconut milk.
9. Carefully ladle a few cups of the soup into a blender. Blend until smooth and add back into the soup pot.
10. Serve the soup garnished with cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.

*** Rereading the recipe, I noticed the lemongrass was finely grated, not minced. Oy. Clearly I did not pay enough attention.

7/9/18

Meatless Monday: Summer Burrata Salad With Tomatoes, Peaches & Cherries


Over the weekend I made a Summer Burrata Salad With Tomatoes, Peaches & Cherries, and it was divine!

Burrata is somewhat costly, but is a great splurge from time to time. Usually served with fresh tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil and salt, the salad is a great start to a meal or a light meal in itself. I added a few extra ingredients to make a stunning (if I say so myself) plated salad.


Summer Burrata Salad With Tomatoes, Peaches & Cherries
Ingredients
1 ball burrata
tomatoes (I used kumato, cherry, and golden varieties), sliced or/and quartered
peaches, sliced
Rainier cherries, pitted and halved
pickled corn
basil
chili olive oil
salt  

Directions
1. Tear the burrata ball. Arrange tomatoes, peaches, cherries, and pickled corn in a pleasing pattern.
2. Top with basil.
3. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.

Here's to more gorgeous summer salads!!

7/5/18

Healthy Eating: Zucchini, Tomato & Cod Recipe


This Zucchini, Tomato & Cod Recipe is super quick, satisfying, healthy, and reheats well. I wasn't planning on blogging about it, but after tasting my creation, I wanted to share it with you.

If you have had one too many burgers or hot dogs yesterday at the 4th of July get together, or are drowning in the number of zucchini from your garden, or don't eat meat on Fridays, or just want something that feels light, make this dish!

Zucchini, Tomato & Cod Recipe
Serves 4

Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4" slices
3 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4" slices
1/2 large Vidalia onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen: not sponsored. I really like them and order them by the case on Amazon.)
1-2 pinches red pepper flakes
4 cod filets (or use halibut or tilapia or even shrimp)
fresh basil

Directions
1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add zucchini, summer squash, onions, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and saute until the vegetables are tender.
2. Add diced tomatoes and their juices and red pepper flakes and bring to a low simmer.
3. Submerge cod in the zucchini/summer squash/tomato stew and simmer, covered, until the fish is cooked through. This may take 5-15 minutes depending on the size of the fish: check the fish with a fork to make sure it is cooked through.
4. Serve topped with fresh basil.

NOTES:
1. I used defrosted cod. It worked really well.
2. You can use sliced peppers into the stew in step #1.
3. Olives or capers would be a great addition to this dish.

7/2/18

Meatless Monday: Tomato Sourdough Toast! Taste Of Summer



In the words of Oprah, I LOVE BREAD!!! During the Summer months, I love the simplicity of tomato sandwiches. Mine usually include toasted bread, mayonnaise, tomato, and salt.

When your recipe has only a few ingredients, you need to make sure to use the best ones. This Tomato Sourdough Toast comes from my visit to Penn Quarter Farmers Market last Thursday where I bought a gorgeous ripe tomato from Toigo Orchards and half a loaf of sourdough from Seylou. {Thank god I only bought half of the loaf: I've been eating it daily and my scale is not happy about it. My taste buds, however, are rather pleased by this crusty bread with tender inside!}

For the rest of the ingredients, I used mayonnaise, thinly sliced red onions, Kosher salt, and baby basil. 


Tomato Sourdough Toast
1) Toast sliced bread and allow to cool
2) Smother the toast with mayonnaise
3) Add a layer of thinly sliced red onion and a layer of thick slices of tomatoes
4) Sprinkle with Kosher salt
5) Top with baby basil

PS What do you think of my new background? I took an old wood table I haven't used in ages and distressed it with a hammer, a few nails, and then stained it!

6/28/18

Beef & Kimchi Korean Stew With Potatoes & Zucchini: How To Host A Korean Feast At Home

This past Sunday my friends Jenn and Cat came over to hang out and cook (and of course eat) Korean food in my condo. It was SO much fun.

If you love Korean food, but are intimidated by cooking it at home, I have the perfect plan of action for you.

You want to keep the menu pretty simple and buy a few things already prepared.

1) Buy banchan and dessert: Jenn brought kimchi, seaweed salad, kimchi cucumbers, fried anchovies, and seasoned sesame leaves. For dessert (which we actually snacked on while cooking), we had rice balls filled with sesame seeds. I've never had these sweets and really liked them!

2) For the main course I chose a kimchi and beef stew made in a pressure cooker! More on it below.

3) While the main course was in the pressure cooker, we whipped up simple scallion and shrimp pancakes. Luckily, Cat was more than happy to cook them (I get a bit scared of hot sizzling oil).

4) To drink, have iced tea and rose on hand!


My entire condo smelled like oil, but it was so worth it! The pancakes were crispy on the edges and took only a few minutes to cook. For the dipping sauce, we combined soy sauce and rice wine vinegar with a bit of Korean chili flakes.


Beef & Kimchi Korean Stew With Potatoes & Zucchini: How To Host A Korean Feast At Home
Serves 6
Adapted from Two Sleevers

In my version of the stew, we used fresh mushrooms instead of dried, and added peppers, potatoes and zucchini. If you can't find Korean peppers and zucchini, use regular ones. Cat bought produce from an Asian market and that's how they were labeled there.

Ingredients
2 cups kimchi
1 pound stew beef cubes
1 small onion, chopped
8 ounces sliced shitake mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ginger powder (I did not have fresh ginger)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Korean chili powder
1 tablespoon gochujang
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 cups water
4 Korean peppers, sliced (or use 1 green bell pepper)
2 Russet potatoes, peeled, cubed
3 Korean zucchini, cut into large dice
1 cup diced firm tofu
rice to serve
scallions, chopped

Directions
1. Put all the ingredients (other than potatoes, zucchini, tofu, rice, and scallions) into a pressure cooker. Set for 15 minutes.
2. Release the pressure. Add potatoes. Set for 5 more minutes.
3. Release the pressure. Add zucchini. Set for 3 minutes.
4. Release the pressure. Add tofu. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
5. Serve the stew over rice garnished with scallions.

Talk about comfort food!!! The stew wasn't overly spicy, but had so much flavor from the kimchi and the vegetables and the beef. I added a bit of kimchi and kimchi juice to my portion before eating it. The addition of potatoes was so good: who doesn't like meat and potatoes!?

The stew makes about 6 portions and is great for leftovers!


This rose is so refreshing, has a pretty label, and is under $10!


Here's to more cooking adventures with friends!

6/22/18

Weekend Inspiration: Flower Power


Weekend is almost here! I want to remind you once again to treat yourself to some flowers! Find your own sunshine!

Earlier this week I bought a miniature sunflower plant at Whole Foods for only $2.99!! That's cheaper than a fancy coffee, will last longer, and will bring you so much joy. Plus, no calories ;)

6/18/18

Meatless Monday: Cold Borsch


What is better on a hot summer day than cold soup? Of course I can think of a few things, but a bowl of Cold Borsch is not only beautiful, low calorie, and satisfying, but is also nutritious, can be made a few days ahead, and is quite versatile.

I wrote about making Cold Borsch a while back, but made a variation on that recipe yesterday in honor of my dad because he's the king of borsch!


I started the night before by cooking peeled and diced beets in plenty of salted water. I separately cooked a few diced potatoes in salted water.

Once the vegetables and the liquids were cool, I drained the potatoes and added them to the cooked beets and the beet liquid.

The next day, I added Greek Yogurt, diced cucumbers, diced red onion, and plenty of chopped dill to the soup. 

I used Greek yogurt instead of buttermilk, because I already had it in my refrigerator. If you use buttermilk, you'll probably have plenty of leftovers. Don't worry: I have plenty of recipes for you that include buttermilk. Everything from appetizers, to main courses, to dessert!

You can also add hard boiled eggs, radishes, other herbs such as basil, and wilted spinach!

6/13/18

Quick & Easy Ground Lamb With Zucchini & Corn


I'm back from vacation in Seattle with a Quick & Easy Ground Lamb With Zucchini & Corn Recipe. My friends from Superior Farms challenged me to create a quick healthy weeknight dinner recipe using ground lamb and provided a stipend for ingredients.

Given that the temperatures are rising and the summer produce is starting to show up, I wanted to make a recipe that took minutes to make and featured some of my favorite summer produce: corn and tomatoes!

Quick & Easy Ground Lamb With Zucchini & Corn
Serves 4

Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound ground lamb
1 large zucchini, diced
kernels from 2 ears of corn
salt & pepper to taste
4 whole wheat pita (the ones I found had 130 calories each)
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/3 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped dill
hot sauce to taste

Directions
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add ground lamb and saute on medium heat for 5 minutes.
2. Pour out most of the fat.
3. Add zucchini and corn, season with salt and pepper, and saute for 15 minutes.
4. Toast pitas (in the oven or directly on the gas flame or in a cast iron skillet).
5. Serve a quarter of lamb mixture topped with a quarter of feta, tomatoes and dill, drizzled with as much of hot sauce as you like.
6. This can be eaten with the cut up pita OR you can cut the pita in half and make pita pockets.

This dish had a lot of flavor but did not feel heavy. You can serve this mixture on a bed of salad greens or on top of cubed and roasted sweet potato or use it to make stuffed peppers.

5/21/18

Vegan Eggplant, Chickpea & Tomato With Israeli Cous Cous Meal Prep


Let me tell you about a vegan dish that's full of flavor, color, nutrients, and is perfect for meal prep for the week.

Vegan Eggplant, Chickpea & Tomato With Israeli Cous Cous Meal Prep

Ingredients for 4-6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil, more if needed
1 medium sized Italian eggplant, diced into 1/4" pieces
1 small onion, diced
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans chickpeas, drained {I used home cooked chickpeas}
1/3 cup halved Kalamata olives
salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
2 cups cooked Israeli cous cous
fresh basil

Directions
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add eggplant and onions and saute on medium heat until the eggplant is tender. Add more oil if needed.
2. Add canned tomatoes and their juices, chickpeas, and olives. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and bring the mixture to a hard simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Add cooked cous cous. Mix to combine.
4. Serve topped with fresh basil. 

5/16/18

Summer Chicken Soup. Meal Prep In A Pressure Cooker.


Let's talk about soup: I love it. Whether it's a bowl of cold summer borsch or a steaming bowl of split pea soup, soup provides nourishment, is great for leftovers, and can be eaten for any meal of the day. Yes, I occasionally eat soup for breakfast.

Over the weekend, I made a version of Pinch of Yum's Instant Pot Summer Soup and am so happy with the results. 

Let me tell you about this Summer Chicken Soup


The base of the recipe is a combination of chicken broth and crushed tomatoes. I used crushed tomatoes with basil to increase the flavor.

There's no need to saute carrots and celery before adding them to the pressure cooker. To make things easier, I did not even peel the carrots.

You can use whichever spices you like the most. In addition to onion powder and salt, I seasoned the soup generously with sumac, which intensified the deep red color of the soup.

I did not have farro, so used brown rice.

As far as the chicken goes, I actually used 2 large chicken breasts with the bones. They were less expensive and provided even more flavor to the soup. Plus, you shred the chicken and can easily discard the bones before serving the soup.

Originally I thought about using frozen corn, but am so glad I ended up incorporating fresh corn because it added a nice texture to the soup.

I topped my bowl of Summer Chicken Soup with strained yogurt, fresh cilantro and Parmesan.

Note that the brown rice (or whichever grain you use) will expand in the soup as it sits in the refrigerator. Not to worry: add a bit more chicken broth when reheating the soup.

Tell me what's the latest soup you ate!