One of my all-time favorite ingredients are lemons. It’s such a versatile citrus packed with vitamin C and adds a distinct tartness to any roasted vegetable. It’s also become my go-to for soup broths that are laden with heavy grains or beans. The lemon juice complements the soft creamy fennel, earthy fire roasted tomatoes and hearty barley in this stew so nicely along with a sprinkle of salty Parmesan on top!
This original recipe came from Eating Well but I switched the white beans to chickpeas and added the lemon juice which really brightened it up. This ones in my fridge for the entire week and only cost about $20 (I doubled the recipe).
- 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 medium fennel bulb, cored and chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
- 1 14-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- ¾ cup quick-cooking barley
- 1 5-ounce package baby spinach (6 cups)
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, fennel, garlic, and basil; cook, stirring frequently, until tender and just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas, tomatoes, broth and barley into the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice then add spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat. Serve and top with Parmesan cheese.
A little summer stroll…
Enjoying a rare date night dance at friend Tom and Haeley’s wedding… whiskey in hand
Jackfruit as a substitute for BBQ pulled pork?! Sounds crazy … but the simple prep, sweet and tart chewy texture, and uncanny affinity to meat made this unexpectedly delightful dish an enticing weekend lunch! Top it off with some vegan mayo on a Hawaiian roll for a pretty satisfying meal.
- 2 20-ounce cans young green jackfruit in water or brine (not syrup)
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- BBQ sauce (any kind, I used a store-bought generic brand)
Drain and rinse your jackfruit, then chop into smaller pieces from the inner core to the outer edges. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F while cooking jackfruit and garlic on medium high in a large pan with vegetable broth for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Using a potato masher, smash the jackfruit lightly just enough to pull apart the fibers. Spread jackfruit on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and add 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce and bake for another 10 minutes until it is sticky and sweet. This literally could not be easier! Try it with avocado, cole slaw or a side of corn on the cob.
My very dear friend and pastry chef extraordinaire Or’Shaundra offered to host Friendsgiving this year so naturally we challenged ourselves to a sweet and savory pie theme. I’m not generally a huge fan of ricotta cheese, but I’ve been meaning to make this elegant vegetable rose tart which is reminiscent of cheesy blintzes and a vegetable quiche all rolled into one dish which features 10 easy ingredients that just SCREAM holidays like nutmeg, cream and sweet carrots. The real surprising ingredient here is the puff pastry crust which sssssshhhh I bought in the frozen section of the grocery store!
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup cubed fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves stripped
- salt to taste
- 6 carrots, assorted colors
- 2 zucchini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Press puff pastry into pie dish, trim off excess pastry edges. Cover the pastry with parchment paper and fill with ceramic pie weights (I used ramekins) and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven; remove parchment paper and pie weights. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Mix ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, egg, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, thyme, and salt together in a bowl. Spoon filling into crust and smooth out the top. Slice carrots and zucchini lengthwise into thin strips using a mandoline then place strips on a microwave-safe plate and cook in the microwave until slightly soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Roll 1 vegetable strip tightly into a rosebud shape. Wrap another strip of the same vegetable around to make a full rose shape. Repeat with remaining strips. Arrange carrot and zucchini roses over the filling in a decorative pattern, alternating colors; brush with olive oil. Bake tart for about 40 minutes.
Recipes to feature soon: apple pie and vegetarian Shepard’s pie! mmmmmmmmmmmm
I love any salad that can be tossed with a cold cup of pasta for a hearty, fresh and easy meal either on-the-go or at home with kids. This Asian Swiss Chard salad recipe relies only on your basic knife skills and a quick assembly time, making it a versatile and vitamin-packed addition to your typical work lunch repertoire. The Brianna’s Home Style Ginger Mandarin dressing was on sale for $2.99 this week and is going to a fridge staple in our house as it packs a punch with its zingy creamy gingery flavor. This dish has potential for a great vegan Buddha bowl and can be combined with other key ingredients like avocado, sesame seeds, or nuts.
- 1 cup broccoli cole slaw
- 1 cucumber, peeled seeded and sliced into half moons
- 1 red pepper, julienned
- 1 yellow pepper, julienned
- 1 bunch rainbow Chard, stemmed and roughly diced
- 2 cups edamame
- Chilled cooked pasta
This Fathers Day brought my husband new summer sandals and an unplanned gift of a new kitten! The sandals came from Costco, and the kitten came from the window well leading down to our basement. The frightened kitten was discovered in the early hours of Sunday morning meowing in a highpitched, insistent frenzy. After the terrified 8-week old little guy was discovered and cleared by the vet … we soon learned he had lost track of his stray litter and knew in our hearts we had no choice but to welcome Stormy to the family! Mozy and Suki are not exactly pleased … yet…
This week we also tried an excellent new recipe for Fried Farro with Kimchi – a variation of Korean fried rice – which is now added to my list of easy, go-to favorites. Only 4 key ingredients go into this fabulous entree, and then a basic Asian sauce of soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar.
Farro is high in protein, fiber and B complex vitamins and is very low in gluten. It has a subtle nutty, chewy flavor and doesn’t release starch when it cooks, so the grains stay separated and marinate nicely with this sautéed crunchy rainbow chard and briney Kimchi base. The final step breaks a creamy egg yolk broken on top with a delicately fried egg – my husband’s speciality. Kimchi typically contains fish sauce but I discovered a vegan version at our local Fresh Farms market which was delicious and I highly recommend.
Fried Farro with Kimchi
- 2 cups cooked farro
- 1 bunch of rainbow chard, roughly chopped
- 1 small jar kimchi, roughly chopped
- 2 eggs
- 2 TB sesame oil
- 1 TB soy sauce
- 1 TB rice vinegar
- Sriracha, as desired
Simmer farro for 30 minutes. Heat 1 TB of sesame oil in a skillet over medium heat, then add a handful of chopped kimchi with its juice. Cook until kimchi is softened, about three minutes, then add one bunch chopped rainbow chard and 2 cups of cooked Farro, and a splash of water. Cook until greens are wilted and grains are warmed through. Stir in soy sauce, rice vinegar, and 1 TB sesame oil to taste. Top with a fried egg, yolk still creamy. We also added some fried tofu and sriracha, which is optional.
I love anything as a rice bowl. So I recently invested in a Breville rice cooker. It’s not something I ever thought I needed, but we prepare grains like quinoa, rice or farro so I often I felt it was worth a try. Well this baby steams grains to a perfectly soft, stickily tender consistency. My mind has been opened to vegetarian rice bowl possibilities! It really makes my meal preparation so much easier and this appliance has become a staple on my countertop now.
Today I was in the mood for a Hungarian inspired Tofurkey Polish sausage with cabbage and peppers heaped on top of a steaming bed of rice. The cabbage chunks marinate nicely in a simmering pot of paprika and garlic infused vegetable broth giving it a nice a silky texture, while the peppers and sliced sausages fry up on a medium high setting for a slightly charred, roasted taste in a separate pan. Add a dollop of brown mustard and sauerkraut on top of this dish and you will not be disappointed in this rice bowl version of a polish dog.
Polish Dog Rice Bowl
- 1 package of Tofurkey Kielbasa, chopped into 1″ chunks
- 3 bell peppers (assorted red, yellow and orange) julienned in thick strips
- 1 head of cabbage, sliced into large chunks
- 1 cup of vegetable broth
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 TB olive oil
- Rice (your choice)
Add chunks of cabbage to a large sauté pan along with 1 cup vegetable broth and spices. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. I large frying pan add olive oil, peppers and sausages. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes turning frequently. Once oil seems to dry out, let the peppers char very slightly in pan. Cook your choice of rice separately, then scoop cabbage and pepper/sausage mixture on top in a serving bowl. Top with spicy brown mustard or stone ground mustard and a small scoop sauerkraut.