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.

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!

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Crispy Sage

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Crispy Sage

Mains & Sides Recipe

This recipe is easy and the taste (and aroma) of the buttery sage with the vegetables is a delicious pairing. And to be honest, the dish is comprised of what remained in the fridge and pantry combined with a craving for sage. It could be made with a variety of winter vegetables.

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 red potato
  • 4 turnips
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 15-20 cremini mushrooms
  • 1 ½ Tbs fresh thyme leaves, chopped, plus some sprigs for roasting
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 10 to 12 sage leaves, cut into a chiffonade
  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter

Preheat oven at 400°F.

Clean mushrooms and trim ends. Place mushrooms into bowl and toss with a little olive oil. Set aside.

Peel and cut potatoes, turnips and carrots into approximate 1-inch cubes. Cut ends of onion and remove outer skin. Cut onion in half and cut each half into quarters (or sixths if using a large onion.) Put potatoes, turnips, carrots and onions onto a large baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Add salt, pepper, minced garlic and chopped thyme and mix with your hand. Place thyme sprigs on top of vegetables. Roast for 25 minutes.

In the meantime, in small sauté pan heat melt butter with 1 Tbs olive oil on medium. When butter starts to slightly brown add sage leaves and fry until sage is just crisp. Remove sage with a slotted spoon or spatula and spread out on a plate covered with paper towels.

Once vegetable mixture has roasted for 25 minutes, spread mushrooms onto baking sheet and roast vegetables for an additional 25 minutes. For final 5 to 7 minutes, increase oven temperature to 425°F and roast until vegetables are slightly golden or brown. Remove from oven, mix vegetables and add the sage, salt and pepper (or a favorite seasoning) to taste.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Poblano Pepper

Roasted Butternut Squash with Poblano Pepper

Mains & Sides Recipe

This dish is vibrant and warming. I’ve paired with a protein for meals but it could be used as a main dish accompanied with other veggies or grains since the squash is hearty. I use a chimichurri spice blend that has 3 different dried Mexican chiles. Chili powder would make a great substitute as noted below.

The recipe will fill two large baking sheets. If you only have one baking sheet, wrap up one half of the butternut squash and put it in the refrigerator for another day. You can also half spice, chili and sauce amount.

  • 1 butternut squash (2 lbs)
  • 1 poblano pepper, deseeded and ribs removed, chopped
  • 2 tsp chimichurri spice (or 2 tsp chili powder plus ½ tsp dried oregano)
  • 1 tsp paprika (omit if using chili powder)
  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • Salt
  • Lime wedges (optional)

Sauce

  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • Preheat oven at 400°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

    Peel the squash and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Slice each half, from top to bottom, into 1/3-inch thick slices. Lay the slices on baking sheets. Combine the oil and spices in a small bowl and brush the oil mixture onto the squash slices. Sprinkle the poblano then a little salt over the slices and roast in oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until squash is tender. Set aside to cool.

    In meantime, whisk together the sauce ingredient. Once the butternut squash slices have cooled, plate them and drizzle with the sauce. Add fresh lime juice to desired taste.

    Stuffed Eggplant

    Stuffed Eggplant

    Mains & Sides Recipe

    There are many variations of this dish of Turkish origin. This stuffed eggplant, or Imam Bayildi, is a variation of a recipe from Aglaia Kremezi. What I love about it is the hearty flavor of adding walnuts and pecorino to the stuffing. And, making your own favorite tomato sauce (I make mine with olive oil, onions, garlic and desired spices) will make this even better. Typically the eggplant stems are left on, but the eggplants I had on were too big and round to fit in my baking dish.

    • ­­­­2 eggplants
    • Salt
    • 1/8 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
    • 2 small onions, thinly sliced
    • 2 red bell peppers, halved, seeded and cut into ¼-inch strips
    • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
    • ½ tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper
    • ½ cup raw walnuts, chopped or coarsely ground
    • ½ cup freshly grated pecorino
    • 1 large tomato, ripe heirloom if available or beefsteak, cut into 6 to 8 slices
    • ¾ cup homemade tomato sauce
    • parsley for garnish

    Slice eggplants in half lengthwise, preferably keeping part of the stem. Diagonally score flesh in both directions with a knife. Salt eggplants generously and let drain in a colander for 1 hour. Rinse eggplants under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and place eggplants on the sheet with cut side up. Brush eggplants with olive oil on both sides. Bake eggplants for 20 to 25 minutes or until they are golden. Put eggplants aside to cool, but keep the oven warm.

    In a deep skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onions and 1 tsp salt and sauté until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the bell peppers and sauté until soft. Next, add garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute, then remove skillet from heat. Add the cumin, Aleppo pepper, walnuts and cheese. Mix the filling and adjust seasoning as needed.

    Line a deep baking dish with parchment paper and brush the paper with olive oil. Line the paper with the sliced tomato and place the eggplants on the tomatoes. The eggplants should fit snugly in the dish. Using a spoon, press into the softened eggplant flesh to create indentations for the stuffing. Fill each eggplant with the stuffing and top each with 3 Tbs of tomato sauce. Pour the remaining sauce around the eggplants. Drizzle the eggplants with 1 to 2 Tbs olive oil. Bake eggplants for 40 to 45 minutes, until bubbling and slightly browned on top. Let cool for about 20 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.

    This is a hearty meal and if using larger eggplants, one eggplant half may be more than enough. It works great for leftovers and tastes even better the next day.

     

    Get Regular Smoothie

    Get Regular Smoothie

    Beverage Recipe

    Lemon serves as a tonic for the liver and can aid in daily digestion. That, combined with the fiber in this smoothie can help things get back on track. This also has a good dose of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system.

    • ­­­­2 plums
    • 2 dates
    • Juice of 1 lemon plus zest from ½ of lemon
    • Handful of hazelnuts
    • 1-2 kale leaves
    • 2-3 inch cucumber slice
    • 1 celery stalk
    • Protein power
    • Splash nut milk
    • Water to desired consistency
    • Greens powder (optional)

    Blend and enjoy!

    Vibrant Quinoa Salad

    Vibrant Quinoa Salad

    Appetizers & Salads Mains & Sides Recipe

    I posted this recipe over a year ago, but it wasn’t under a typical recipe heading. So, I’m reposting it. I created this as a tasty Summer/Spring salad, but it’s great for during any warm weather spell.

    Combine the following chopped herbs in food processor with 1/3 cup or more olive oil. Add lemon or vinegar if desired,

    • 1 bunch cilantro
, packed
    • 1/2 cup parsley
, loose
    • 1/4 cup each dill, mint & tarragon

    Mix with the following:

    • 2 cups (more/less as desired) cooked quinoa
    • small sautéed onion, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
    • 1/2 to 1 serrano pepper, deseeded and chopped
    • 3-4 green onions, sliced
    • generous handful of arugula, chopped
    • salt & pepper to taste; I also added cumin
    • feta, optional

    If you don’t like the taste of tarragon, you could skip it or experiment with another herb…basil, sorrel, lemon thyme.

    Enjoy!

     

    Anti-inflammatory Smoothie

    Anti-inflammatory Smoothie

    Beverage Recipe

    This anti-inflammatory smoothie (pear, ginger, turmeric, greens, vitamin C) has a slight kick for digestion with the ginger. The cucumber and pear balance the digestive fire and add cooling properties that can be great for warmer weather or after a post-workout sweat.

    • ­­­­½ or more inch slice ginger
    • ¼ – ½ inch slice turmeric (or ½ tsp ground)
    • 1 carrot
    • 1 pear
    • 3-inch cucumber slice
    • Juice of ½ to 1 lemon
    • Small handful of almonds
    • Handful of spinach
    • 7-10 mint leaves
    • Protein power
    • Splash water or orange juice

    I like to occasionally add a generous pinch of cardamom or cinnamon. You can add a greens powder to this if you like. If you have issue with the pea-green color, skip the spinach.

    Enjoy!

    Brussel Sprouts with Pecorino and Walnuts

    Brussel Sprouts with Pecorino and Walnuts

    Appetizers & Salads Recipe

    As the Fall season arrives, I am ready for sautéed or roasted brussel sprouts. However, early Fall in San Francisco feels like summer and I’m still wanting to make salads. This salad is well rounded with taste: brussel spouts – bitter; walnuts – astringent; pecorino romano – salty and sour. The same can be said for the dressing. If you want more brightness, you could add more lemon or reduce the mustard in the dressing. You could also add a fresh herb. This dish is also great the next day, and the brussel sprouts stay crisp.

    • ¾ cup walnuts, whole
    • 1 lb brussel sprouts
    • ¼ cup pecorino romano cheese, plus 2-3 Tbs reserved
    • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    • 3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
    • 1 ½ Tbs Dijon mustard
    • 1/3 cup olive oil

    Lightly toast walnuts on low to medium heat stovetop, tossing often. Set aside to cool.

    Trim the bottom of the brussel sprouts and thinly slice them. I used a knife

    but a mandolin may slice them more evenly. Place thesprouts into a large bowl. For the dressing, whisk the last 3 ingredients with a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour half of the dressing over the brussel sprouts and mix well. Cover and put brussel sprout mixture in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. Taste the sprouts and add more dressing if desired.

    Coarsely chop the walnuts and grate the cheese.

    Add ¾ of the walnuts and ¼ cup of the cheese to mixture and toss.

    Extra dressing can be added or stored for another use.

    Enjoy!