Zucchini and Leek Soup

Zucchini and Leek Soup

Mains & Sides Recipe

One of my clients recently made me zucchini soup, and I had never ate it before. Expecting it to have a thin consistency with little taste, it was slightly creamy and surprisingly delicious. Her secret to texture and taste – leeks. Knowing that cooked zucchini is easy to digest and is good when your having gut issues (which I was) I decided to try making a similar soup myself. Not bad, not bad…

  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 leeks, white and green parts only, halved lengthwise
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 7 large zucchini, halved lengthwise then cut into 1-inch thick half moons
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp Allepo pepper or ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter or olive oil (optional)

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add zucchini, stock, salt, pepper and Allepo (or crushed red) pepper. Bring to boil then reduce heat to low-medium, cover and simmer for 40-50 minutes, or until zucchini is tender. Remove from heat, and butter or additional olive oil and blend using an immersion blender or transfer to a blender. Add salt, pepper and Allepo pepper to desired taste.

Serves 6-8.

Pesto Alla Trapanese

Pesto Alla Trapanese

Mains & Sides Recipe

This Sicilian-inspired pesto is perfect for summer. It uses raw tomatoes and a fresh mixture of herbs. The sauce is traditionally made with all basil, but this combination of herbs provides a burst of flavor. And, it’s simple to make. When cooking for two, I half the pasta and seal and store the remaining sauce in the refrigerator for the next day. If not having pasta, it works great as leftovers with quinoa or a white fish.

  • ¼ cup blanched or raw almonds
  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes, preferably heirloom
  • 2 cups roughly chopped herbs*, 1/3 cup each of mint, parsley & basil
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • salt
  • ½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated fresh
  • 1 lb pasta, farfalle, strozzapreti or similar

Toast the almonds and put aside to cool.

Bring large pot of water to boil. Add salt then add pasta and cook until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto. In a food processor, combine almonds, tomatoes, herbs, garlic, red pepper flakes and 1 tsp salt and pulse gently until thoroughly combined. Pour olive oil in at a slow, steady stream while pulsing so the mixture begins to emulsify. Continue pulsing until all oil is combined and the sauce start to form a smooth paste. For aesthetic reasons, I prefer to stop pulsing while the pesto retains some color of the tomatoes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl then fold in the Pecorino Romano.

Add the pasta to the sauce or put the cooked, drained pasta into another large bowl and add desired amount of pesto. Toss pasta and sauce until all of the pasta is coated, adding up to a ¼ cup of pasta water if needed to break up the sauce. Place in serving bowls and garnish with herbs.

Serves 4-6.


Kohlrabi and Baby Leek Soup

Kohlrabi and Baby Leek Soup

Mains & Sides Recipe

My husband and I were at the Farmers Market. He wanted kohlrabi; I wanted baby leeks. I thought I’d make a soup with both. That’s essentially how this recipe was created.  And while the recipe is written for kohlrabi and baby leeks, there are some alternate ingredients included below. When visiting friends in Seattle and wanting to make it for a dinner party, kohlrabi and baby leeks weren’t available or in season. So, I used what was at hand locally and in my friends’ pantry. I know you aren’t supposed to experiment when cooking for others but I made a rutabaga, which I’ve never cooked but is from the same brassica family, and leek soup. Both soups were equally delicious and didn’t disappoint.

The flavor profile using kohlrabi versus rutabaga is mildly different – hints of sweet, peppery broccoli stem versus bitter turnip. And, the kohlrabi will create a slightly thicker soup. Pick your desired combination and enjoy!

  • 5 Tbs unsalted butter, separated, plus more for flavor if needed
  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 bunch baby leeks* (about 5-6) chopped; use entire leek
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 small to medium kohlrabi,** greens and stems removed, cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 1 medium Yukon potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 5 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • Aleppo pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme, plus extra for flavor or garnish
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pecorino Romano cheese,*** grated, for garnish

Heat 4 Tbs of butter and the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat, melting the butter until it is slightly foaming. Add baby leeks and onion and cook until the onions become slightly translucent, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add thyme sprigs and 3 generous pinches of Aleppo pepper. Reduce heat slightly and cook until leeks or onions just start to caramelize.

Add kohlrabi, potato and 1 tsp salt. Return heat to medium and cook about 5-7 minutes.

Add stock and bay leaf. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until kohlrabi and potato are tender.

Remove pot from heat and discard bay leaf and thyme stems. Purée mixture with a hand blender until smooth and creamy. Add stock to thin or cook longer to reach your desired consistency. Taste and add chopped thyme, Aleppo pepper, salt and/or pepper to adjust seasonings as needed. Butter can also be added if desired (which I did for the rutabaga variation.)

Return pot to heat and cook on low until ready to serve. Garnish with Pecorino Romano and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 3-4 dinner portions or 6-8 side portions.

Alternative Ingredients (interchangeable for one or all of the above):
* 2 leeks, white and light green portions only, chopped
**1 large rutabaga, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
*** Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

Cold Season Breakfast Cocktail (Smoothie)

Cold Season Breakfast Cocktail (Smoothie)

Beverage Recipe

This has been my go-to breakfast from late fall through the winter. It’s full of vitamins and antioxidants and contains ingredients that help digestion. The ginger and cinnamon invigorate circulation and promote warming. I adjust the amount of ginger depending on my body’s needs and consume it at room temperature. I’m not claiming this will keep the sniffles away, but the big nutritional boost doesn’t hurt. For me, it’s helped break up congestion I’ve experienced, particularly during this damp time of the year.

This makes about 16 oz.

  • ­­­­1 apple
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 carrot
  • Handful of spinach
  • Juice of ½-1 lemon plus piece of fresh rind
  • 1-inch (or more) slice fresh ginger
  • 1-inch piece dried orange peel
  • 1 Tbs almond butter
  • ½ scoop protein power
  • Scoop Greens powder
  • Lots of cinnamon
  • Splash orange juice

Blend and enjoy!