Spicy Fennel Tomato Soup Recipe

bowl of spicy fennel onion tomato soup for dinner

I’ve borrowed the new Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook from the library – “My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness“.

I started reading and was immediately intrigued by the recipe on page 58 – “White Bean Soup: Two Ways” – I had a fennel bulb in my crisper drawer and was stumped on how I was going to cook it. So many other fennel soup recipes called for multiple bulbs, but this recipe only needed one fennel bulb!

I made a lot of alterations to the ingredients, but next time I’ll definitely stick closer to the original recipe and include the beans so it’ll be a complete meal! But I did really like my addition of both canned and sun-dried tomatoes.

If you’d like to take a gander at Gwyneth’s original recipe, it’s available at various locations online.

The soup is just as delicious in its original chunky form:
chunky spicy fennel onion tomato soup-before blending

Or you can blend it with an immersion blender
spicy fennel onion tomato soup-after blending

I had purchased Applegate Farms turkey franks as training treats for the dogs, and since I only had a can of baked beans, they were a perfect combination with the soup.
along with the soup, I made franks and beans

Recipe: Spicy Fennel Onion Tomato Soup

Makes 3-4 servings

Ingredients

1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (or olive oil)
1 bulb fennel, chopped
3 smaller “spring” onions or 1 large regular onion, chopped. (Leeks work well too!)
1 carrot, chopped
cayenne chile powder or flakes to taste – I used just a pinch, and it added a perfect spice undertone.
5 pieces of sun dried tomatoes, chopped
Small can of unsalted diced tomatoes – about 1 1/2 cups
salt/pepper to taste
1-2 cups water
Optional: 1/4 tsp of tumeric and/or paprika spices.

Directions

  1. Heat large soup pot over medium heat. Add the coconut oil, then fennel, onions, and carrot. Turn heat down to low, and cook until softened, about 20-30 minutes.
  2. Once the vegetables become soft and sweet, add a few Tbsp of water and scrape up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the rest of the water, plus the chile, tomatoes, salt & pepper, then simmer on very low for about 30-40 minutes (I used a gas diffuser to really reduce the stove heat)
  4. Once the soup is finished, you can leave it chunky or use an immersion blender to puree to your preferred consistency.

Nutritional Data

Use the nutritional data as a guide; the info is not absolute, your results might vary considerably depending on your ingredients. I left out the sodium data since it can vary so much.

Calories: 124
Total Fat: 5g
Saturated: 4g (from the coconut oil)
Cholesterol: 0
Carbs: 17g
Fiber: 5g
Sugar: 6g
Protein: 3g
Vit A: 68%
Vit C: 65%
Calcium: 9%
Iron: 12%

This soup tasted awesome the next day for lunch! Oh I love this soup!
leftover fennel onion tomato soup for lunch the next day

UPDATE 2011-05-11: Made the soup again tonight, adding freshly made (dried) navy beans. I baked a couple of Whole Foods chicken sausages to slice into our bowls of soup; paired with a large salad of baby greens, this was a perfect dinner. Really low calorie too!

A few days ago, I made a batch, but added too many potatoes, and they overpowered the soup’s flavor. Potatoes are a great addition, but only when you add one or two at the most!

Meatless Monday: Cabbage Mango Salad with Caramelized Onion Crostini

I sometimes find Meatless Monday dinners are more delicious than meals with meat! Tonight, was one of those nights.

I made a big batch of cabbage mango salad with roasted pumpkin seeds along with scrumptious yummy caramelized onion crostini.

I love cabbage! In the cooler months, I always try to keep it in the fridge for salads. It’s inexpensive (so much less than lettuce, when it’s out of season) and it’s packed with nutrients, especially cancer fighting anti-oxidents & anti-inflammatory properties.

Mango was on sale this week at Whole Foods, and I still had one left this afternoon, so I googled cabbage mango salad, and found that they do pair well together! You wouldn’t think it, would you?

Here’s my recipe:

Cabbage Mango Salad

cabbage mango salad with roasted pumpkin seeds and onions

Mix the following ingredients together in a large bowl:

  • 1/2 head of Cabbage, chopped into small chunks
  • 1 Mango, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 Onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin, or other favorite nut or seed
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

I made enough for our dinner plus lunch tomorrow, along with probably another

Caramelized Onion Crostini

caramelized onion crostini with cheddar & roasted garlic.

First caramelize the onions. It takes about 20-30 minutes. You might end up with extra onions; they are still tasty as leftovers. Add to other recipes like tomato sauce, brown rice, or soups.

  1. Starting on medium heat, add 2-3 Tbsp of olive oil and 2-3 thinly sliced onions to heated saute pan.
  2. Stirring occasionally, let the onions brown a bit; turn down the stove temp to low, and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  3. When onions are golden brown and yummy, splash on 2-3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar and cook for a few more minutes.
  4. If bottom of pan is crusty and browned, add a touch of wine or water, and scrape up the bits at the bottom of the pan.

Time for the crostini.

  1. Toast a few slices of whole grain bread in the oven.
  2. Once toasted, remove the bread, and top with your favorites. I smeared on a few cloves of roasted garlic, then topped with an aged Grafton Village cheddar cheese and a scoop of caramelized onion.
  3. Put bread back in oven and broil for a minute or two until the cheese is melted.

Once summer arrives, sliced fresh tomatoes make a wonderful addition, as do sliced olives and chopped basil leaves. I also love to experiment with other cheeses like Pecorino, Manchego, fresh Ricotta, and Mozzarella.

Enjoy! I thoroughly did!

Healthy Whole Wheat, Barley, Coconut Milk Pancakes

UPDATED: 2011-05-15 (see below for banana pancakes variation)
It’s always comforting to have pancakes on Sunday morning! I whipped up a batch of batter using whole wheat & barley flours, So Delicious coconut milk, and olive oil, and while I washed weekend dishes, my lovely DH cooked the pancakes!

He made 5 large pancakes. They’re very hearty and healthy, but not something I’d make every day. 1 and 1/2 pancakes filled me up, while DH ate 2 and 1/2 pancakes. I’m happy to have one left over for tomorrow’s breakfast.

whole wheat, barley, coconut milk & olive oil pancakes

I was inspired by a white flour pancake recipe I found at All Recipes, Here’s my healthy whole grain version:

Whole Grain Healthy Pancakes Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (I love using King Arthur’s white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup barley flour (or any other whole grain flour, a little cornmeal tastes yummy too)
  • 3.5 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sucanat sugar (or plain sugar)
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut milk (or almond milk, or dairy milk if that is what you like – you can also mix the milk with a little water)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 3 2 Tbsp olive oil

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Whisk all dry ingredients: flours, baking powder, salt, sugar in a medium bowl.
  2. Using a large glass measuring cup, measure the coconut milk, then mix in whole egg and olive oil.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry, and mix until just combined. It’s a thick batter. If you like a thinner batter, add more coconut milk.
  4. This is the only time I recommend using a non-stick pan, just because it’s a lot easier and there’s no need for additional oil. Cook pancakes to your desired size and shape. As I said, we made a total of 5 large ones, but you might like smaller or thinner pancakes.

Enjoy!

I ate them with my fingers, dipping pancake pieces into a small bowl of real maple syrup!

Nutritional Data

Makes 5 pancakes / One serving = 1 pancake

Use the nutritional data as a guide; the info is not absolute, your results might vary considerably depending on the total weight of the finished dish.

Calories: 237
Total Fat: 11g
Saturated Fat: 3g (saturated fat from vegetable sources is not the same as animal fat sources)
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g
Monounsaturated Fat: 6.5g
Trans: 0
Cholesterol: 42mg
Sodium: 551mg
Potassium: 79mg
Carbs: 27g
Fiber: 4g
Sugar: 2g
Protein: 6g
Vitamin A: 4%
Calcium: 28%
Iron: 22%

UPDATE: 2011-03-20: Made pancakes again this morning. It’s becoming a nice tradition! I added a little bit of cornmeal to the barley flour, and instead of the non-stick pan, DH used our cast iron, with about 1 tsp of coconut oil. I don’t know if it was the added corn or the cast iron (or both) but these pancakes ROCKED! They had a slight crispy coating (which is probably from the cast iron) and I didn’t even need syrup. I ate them straight! They were delicious!

UPDATE: 2011-05-15: Made banana pancakes this morning in the cast iron. Yum. Tweaked the ingredients a little bit. Since I added 2 medium bananas (1 cup), I left out the sugar. I had previously noticed a slight ‘metallic’ taste so today, I tried reducing the baking powder to 2.5 tsp and the pancakes were equally light and fluffy. I also reduced the oil to 2 Tbsp.

Recipe: Whole Wheat Rye Sesame Muffins

whole wheat rye sesame muffins

I haven’t been inspired (or had the time) to make any muffins or quick breads for months. But I’ve been craving desserts, so tonight, I decided to take to heart Michael Pollan’s Food Rule #39: Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.

Which muffin recipe to make? I thought about peanut butter chocolate chip, blueberry, and oat raisin, but decided I’d like to try something new.

I searched through my Evernote recipes and found a lovely sesame seed muffin recipe. I loved that the recipe included a good amount of sesame seeds, but I wanted more whole grains, so I adapted it to my needs.

Here’s my modifications:

Healthy Low Sugar Whole Wheat Rye Sesame Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup rye flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder (aluminum free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp (approx) freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup milk (I used So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk, but almond milk would also work very well, as well as plain yogurt)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (the good stuff, not imitation)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat & rye flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and sesame seeds.
  3. Whisk oil and egg together in a small glass bowl or large glass measuring cup until slightly frothy
  4. Mix in molasses, milk, and vanilla.
  5. Pour wet mixture into dry flour bowl and stir to combine. Try not to over mix.
  6. Scoop into 12 muffin tins lined with paper and bake for 14-20 minutes.

whole wheat rye sesame muffins

Notes:

  • The mixture is firm, so it’s easy to pile the batter high in the tin.
  • I think I’ll add more spice next time. The cinnamon and nutmeg was fine, but I think it needs more ginger and maybe even a bit of anise or fennel seed.
  • It was easy to scoop the batter into tins using my Oxo Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop.
  • I slightly over-cooked the muffins, so next time I’ll bake for only 14 minutes. I bake in a counter-top convection oven.
  • These muffins are not sweet, so more sweetener can be added if that is what you like. We plan on topping with a dollop of jelly for tomorrow’s breakfast!
  • Raisins would be a great addition, as would some dark chocolate chips (leave out the spices).
  • The sesame seeds are yummy! I might increase the amount added next time. They add a touch of chewy sweetness to the muffin.

Nutritional Data

Each muffin is approximately 2 oz.

Calories: 165
Total Fat: 8.3g
Saturated: 1.7g
Polyunsaturated: .5g
Monounsaturated: 3.2g
Cholesterol: 16.3mg
Sodium: 225mg
Potassium: 53mg
Total Carbs: 17g
Fiber: 2.7g
Sugars: 4g
Calcium: 13.5%
Iron: 12.5%

Use the nutritional data as a guide; the info is not absolute, your results might vary considerably depending on the total weight of the finished dish.

UPDATE: For breakfast, we ended up melting some organic whipped butter on top of a sliced muffin. It was yummy. I’ll definitely add a bit more sweetener next time, or possibly some sweeter mix-ins like raisins or chocolate chunks, along with a bit more sesame seeds.

butter topped whole wheat rye sesame muffins

Experiment: Whole Wheat, Cornmeal, Barley Sesame Seed Bread

whole wheat bread made with cornmeal and barley with sesame seeds

I love experimenting with cold fermentation for developing flavorful bread dough. I started a new (for me) bread experiment yesterday, based on the technique of Peter Reinhart’s book “Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor“. In the book, Peter advises to mix both a mash and a biga, refrigerate for at least 12 hours, then mix up a new dough with the two plus a small amount of ingredients.

I decided that I would try mixing one biga mash together with no sugar, oil, salt and just a touch of instant yeast, refrigerate for a day, then mix up a new dough using the biga mash with new flour and ingredients.

The result was a fair success! A yummy fluffy high rising whole grain bread. I love a hearty dense loaf, but sometimes you just want bread to be light and airy!

I still need to work on this technique though, although the taste is fantastic, the “crumb” is usually too crumbly and the top crust pulls away. By the time I get to the middle/end of the loaf, it’s usually difficult to slice thinly. I think it might be an issue of not shaping my loaf properly, or it could be over-proofing (final rise). I don’t think it’s an issue of too much milk and/or oil but maybe my dough needs more water. It’s also possible that I am not kneading long enough, but that seems hard to believe since I’m using a machine for the final dough. I’ll have to do some additional reading on the Fresh Loaf web site, and maybe re-read Peter’s book. There is still so much to learn!

whole wheat bread made with cornmeal and barley with sesame seeds

Anyway, here is my process.

Biga Soaker – Day One

It only take a few minutes to mix up the biga soaker dough.

Note: I use the West Bend 41300 Hi-Rise Electronic Dual-Blade Breadmaker for all kneading.

Biga Soaker Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk product. I used So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk, but I have used almond milk in previous recipes.
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 oz whole grain flour = I used 1.5 oz cornmeal and 2.5 oz barley flour
  • 8 oz King Arthur white whole wheat flour, (for a total of 12 oz for ALL flours)
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast

NO salt, oil, sugar just yet

Bread Machine Biga Directions:

It’s possible to process the bread dough using the “dough” setting, but you should NOT allow it to rise the bread. Shut off the machine after the kneading process finishes, and remove the dough before the warm rise step.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Machine knead for about 10 minutes
  2. Stop the bread maker for an autolyse rest for 20-30 minutes. During this resting time, leave the dough in the bread machine pan.
  3. Re-start the machine and knead again for 10 minutes
  4. After 10 minutes, shut off machine again, and allow a short rest of 2-3 minutes before transferring the dough (using wet hands) to a bowl.
  5. Cover bowl and keep in fridge for at least 12 hours and up to 3 days.

Bread Baking Day:

Take the dough out of fridge, allow to warm up for at least two hours.
Chop up dough into several smaller pieces, using pastry scraper or sharp knife.
In bread machine pan, add dough pieces with the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 oz white flour
  • 2 Tbsp sucanat sugar
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt
  • 1.5 tsp instant yeast
  • Optional seeds or nuts (1/4 cup)

Baking Day Directions

  1. Using the bread maker dough setting, combine all ingredients in bread maker and allow the machine to do it’s thing including the rise.
  2. When machine is finished, wet hands, and pull dough out of the pan.
  3. Gently form into loaf shape and place into loaf pan (lined with parchment paper)- this is where I might be going wrong. I think I am not shaping the loaf correctly.
  4. Allow to proof for 30-60 minutes
  5. In preheated 375F oven, bake for 30 minutes
  6. Or until internal temperature of bread reaches 190F
  7. Remove from loaf pan and allow to cool for at least an hour.

Makes one 30 oz loaf (after baking and cooling) – even better, it’ll also make two smaller loaves too!

whole wheat bread made with cornmeal and barley with sesame seeds

Nutritional Data:

Calories: 97
Total Fat: 3.5g
Saturated: 1g
Monounsaturated: 1g
Cholesterol: 0
Sodium: 13.5mg
Potassium: 14mg
Carbs: 14g
Fiber: 1.5g
Sugar: 1.5g
Protein: 3g
Calcium: 1.5%
Iron: 5%

One Day Cooking For Meals All Week

My days are getting longer at work, and then with afternoon errands, it’s been so stressful worrying about finding time for healthy weekday cooking. So, I took a tip from Rachael Ray’s new show, Week in a Day and decided that I would try cooking a bunch recipes on the weekend, making it easier to put together meals during busier days during the week. Plus, I need to fill our new chest freezer with some goodies!

So, today I set the oven on 300° and started cooking:

St Louis Style Pork Ribs

I rubbed some Arizona Dreaming seasoning from Penzey’s Spices on a rack of St Louis style pork ribs and slow cooked them on a roasting pan with rack. Thankfully, I applied a layer of aluminum foil on the bottom of the pan so clean up was a breeze!

They cooked for about 4 hours (300°), and then I raised the oven temp to about 375° to crisp them for a few minutes. Delicious and so easy.

Chuck Beef Roast

Next, I sliced all the outer fat off of a small one pound chuck beef roast (looked like a steak) and cut it into two pieces. In one of my smaller 2 quart cast iron covered pots, I browned each piece separately, then deglazed the bottom of the pan with a little bit of Merlot wine. I added both pieces of beef back into the pot, and covered with large chunks of onion, then poured some additional wine over the top. I let it slow cook (300°) for about 4 hours. I didn’t peek inside the pot, I just kept it covered and left it alone.

We ended up having it for our dinner tonight, and it was scrumptious. Tender and flavorful. Chuck rocks I tell you!!! It’s one of the best cuts of beef, it’s cheap and the flavor is outstanding! And so simple! I didn’t even have to add one smidgen of salt, pepper, spice or herb to the pot, and it develops into lusciousness. Just take the time to brown the meat first, deglaze, then add wine!

Chicken Drumsticks

On the stove, I browned 8 chicken drumsticks (two batches of 4 drums each) with some olive oil in my 4 quart cast iron pot. The chicken was reserved on a plate, while I started sauteing chopped onion, carrot, and some leftover purple cabbage. I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out the new bottle of three acre kitchen Balsamic Marinade I just bought from Whole Foods, so I poured a couple of tablespoons in, and deglazed the pan; it bubbled and reduced very quickly. Then I deglazed again with some Merlot wine, then added the chicken back into the pot, and poured more wine.

I placed the covered pot into the oven (300°) and cooked for hmm, I think it was about 2 hours or so. The chicken was falling off the bone, and I tasted a couple of tiny bits, and it was delicious. I completely cooled the chicken, vegetables, and sauce in a separate bowl, and then transferred into a large freezer bag to freeze for a later date.

Ground Beef and Leek Chili

On the stovetop, I browned a 1/3 pound of grass fed beef in my other 2 quart cast iron pot (I love my 2 quart pots, and I highly recommend this size for smaller 2-3 person families), then added in a couple of chopped leeks. Cooked down for a few minutes, then added poblano peppers (frozen from summer veggies), cranberry beans (also frozen from summer), fresh parsley, a carton of Pomi strained tomatoes and lots of spices and herbs.

That was also put into the oven along side the 4 qt pot with drumsticks, 2 quart pot with beef. The roaster with the ribs was on the bottom oven rack. It all just fit! Phew!

It cooked for about 1.5 hours or so, and then I cooled the chili completely; I transferred most of it into a quart sized freezer bag to freeze for a later date. I kept a portion in the fridge, enough for tomorrow’s lunch for either my husband or myself.

Transitional Whole Wheat Bread

I started my soaker and biga for a loaf of bread yesterday, following the transitional wheat bread recipe from Peter Reinhart. I removed the biga from the fridge this morning, and once all the pots were in the oven, it was perfect timing to start creating the final dough.

By the time the chili and chicken drumsticks were done baking, my dough had risen, was proofed and was ready to be baked, so I temporarily increased the oven temp to 350° and the loaf went into the oven.

40 minutes later, it was baked and I lowered the temp back down to 300° for the beef and pork ribs to finish.

Salad Greens

I was thrilled to find some local organic red and green leaf lettuce at Whole Foods at a bargain price of only 1.29/lb. I picked up 3 heads! The total cost was about $2.50, which equaled to one small head of green leaf from California.

I washed, spun dried, and bagged all of it, so now I have enough lettuce for a few dinner and lunch salads for the week.

Accomplishment

Once everything was done cooking, I poured a cup of jasmine brown rice with 2 cups of water into one of the 2 qt cast iron pots, and in an hour or so, we were ready to eat tonight’s meal.

I think it’ll get even easier next time. I will be able to coordinate a little better, multi-tasking a bit more. But I feel so accomplished knowing that a big portion of the cooking for this week is done!

There is a portion of beef left over along with 2 servings of brown rice, so I have a plan to either make tomato beef sauce (with rice or pasta) or possibly some beef stew with rice, leeks and kale. I think I’ll probably go for the soup.

As for the rest of the week, we have pork ribs, chicken (enough for at least two meals), and chili. I have some beets in the fridge, and they will roast nicely with potatoes and/or a butternut squash. I think we’ll be good to go!

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Raisin Muffins – Recipe

I wanted to bake some muffins for my aunt when we visit next week, so I googled recipes for oatmeal raisin muffins, and found this recipe:

http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/breakfast/recipe-quick-and-homey-oatmeal-raisin-muffins-126095

The author wrote that the recipe was adapted from the More-With-Less Cookbook so I rushed to put a copy on hold at the library to check it out. Reviews on Amazon are glowing, but there are a few negative reviews scattered as well, so it’s a great book to borrow before purchasing.

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Raisin Muffin recipe

inspired by thekitchn.com – makes 10-12 muffins

whole wheat oatmeal raisin muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup oats – old fashioned or quick
  • 1/4 cup Wheat Germ (or additional oats)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 6 oz container yogurt
  • water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-2 tsp Sucanat or brown sugar (Optional for topping)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Grease a muffin pan, or line with muffin papers
  3. Combine the flour, oats, wheat germ, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl.
  4. Add in raisins and stir to coat with flour mixture
  5. In a large measuring cup, pour 1/4 cup molasses and container of plain yogurt and add enough water so all liquids total 1 cup. Mix very well with fork or whisk so all ingredients are combined.
  6. Whisk the large egg with olive oil, then stir together with the yogurt mixture.
  7. Pour all liquids into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  8. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin and then optionally sprinkle a little bit of sucanat over each one.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for a minute or two. Then transfer each muffin to a cooling rack.

Enjoy!

whole wheat oatmeal raisin muffins

My Notes:

  • Sodium is pretty high, I assume due to the large amount of baking powder. I think I’ll reduce that next time, possibly by half.
  • I think it would be difficult to divide the batter into 12 muffin tins. I got 10, and they were just the right size. I think 12 would be a bit on the small size. It could be because I used a package of instant oatmeal instead of the old fashioned oats. Play it by ear.

Nutritional Data:

Calories 186
Fat: 7g
Saturated: 1g
Monounsaturated: 4g
Cholesterol: 22mg
Sodium: 328mg
Potassium: 130mg
Carbs: 28g
Fiber: 3g
Sugar: 10g
Protein: 5g
Calcium: 16%
Iron: 10%

Jamie Oliver’s Butternut Squash (or Sweet Potato) & Chorizo Soup Recipe

I borrowed a bunch of Jamie Oliver books at the library, and am currently reading the Jamie’s Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals and it’s a winner for sure.

The book is full of simple rustic recipes. I found so many ideas and inspirations!

I decided my first recipe from the book would be the Sweet Potato & Chorizo Soup (pg 131). It was suggested by Jamie and others online that butternut squash is a good replacement for the sweet potato, so that is what I used instead.

The soup was very tasty, and paired with some fresh homemade whole wheat bread with butter or melted cheese, you got yourself a complete dinner!

It’s difficult to photograph this soup and make it look visual appealing, but I did my best. As you can see, I left it chunky. I was too lazy to get out the blender/food processor, so I hand mashed it with a potato masher.

butternut squash & chorizo soup from jamie oliver's jamie's food revolution cookbook

From Jamie’s Food Revolution cookbook:
Sweet Potato and Chorizo Soup

Serves 6-8, you can easily adjust this recipe to make more or less servings. I used a small butternut squash and 2 small carrots with about 3 cups of broth, and it served 2 of us, with one leftover serving for lunch the next day.

carrots, onions, chorizo sausage, garlic, butternut squash and fresh parsley

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1.75 lbs sweet potato or butternut squash
  • 7 oz of Chorizo Sausage
  • Small bunch of fresh parsley
  • 1.75 (7 cups) quarts of chicken or vegetable stock
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp (heaping) curry powder
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • fresh red chilies for topping (I omitted)

Cooking Instructions: ( See below for my personal notes and alterations)

  1. Chop carrots, celery, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes (or butternut squash), fresh parsley and chorizo sausage and mix all ingredients into a large saucepan. Mix in 2 tbsp of olive oil and the curry powder.
  2. Put the broth in a 2nd saucepan and heat until boiling
  3. Cook vegetables (on high) with the lid askew, for approximately 10 minutes or until carrots have softened but are still holding their shape, and the onion is lightly golden.
  4. Pour boiling broth into the 1st pot with vegetables and sausage and stir well
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until sweet potato (or butternut squash) is cooked through
  6. Season with salt and pepper
  7. Using an immersion blender, pulse the soup until smooth and top with a little bit of finely chopped chile
  8. Enjoy!

My Extra Notes:

  • I keep a freezer bag of fresh parsley in the freezer. When I need some, I just break off a piece and chop it up. It works fabulously!
  • When I went shopping that afternoon, I couldn’t find many options for chorizo at the local Market Basket grocery, so I settled for Chipotle Chorizo chicken sausage from Al Fresco. I used to buy this brand of sausages before I became a more strict, clean eater, and they are not too bad. I will have to check at Whole Foods for better Chorizo options. I think the soup would also work using other precooked sausages or even uncured natural pepperoni or bacon.
    Al Fresco Chipotle Chorizo chicken Sausage
  • I don’t keep curry powder on hand, so I used a few shakes of Penzy’s Arizona Dreaming spice instead. It added mild heat.
  • I didn’t have any celery on hand either.
  • I heated the veggies on medium flame, not high as suggested in the recipe, and it took about 20 minutes for the carrots to soften. I mixed often.
    veggies and chorizo sausage ready to be cooked on stove
  • I didn’t boil the broth ahead of time (wasting another pot), I just poured it from the carton, over the ingredients.
  • Unfortunately I don’t have an immersion blender, and I was too lazy (and hungry) to dig out the food processor or blender, so I mashed the soup by hand with a potato masher. It was still chunky, but it all tastes the same, so whatevah! haha.
  • I might add a speck of fresh chopped chili peppers next time, as instructed in the recipe, but this time, I wasn’t sure how spicy hot the soup was, so I omitted the chilies.

Small Image I highly recommend Jamie Oliver’s book “Jamie’s Food Revolution” especially for newbie home cooks. It’s a back-to-basics rustic no fuss cookbook!

Peter Reinhart’s Transitional Whole Wheat Bread – Using a Bread Machine

Peter Reinhart Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor

I’ve been experimenting with bread dough, and have found that a long slow fermentation makes the most flavorful, delicious bread! I experimented with my own recipe, but wanted to keep exploring.

I’m all about whole grains, so reading Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor seemed like the next logical step!

I’m really not into hand kneading, even when authors say how easy it is. I have no patience for it, even if it’s only for a few minutes. I use my bread maker and I am very happy with it! I started with a one paddle Breadman, and recently purchased a West Bend 41300 Hi-Rise double paddle breadmaker, which I absolutely love!

Anyway, my first crack at his recipes (Multigrain Stuan recipe – page 102) was a semi-disaster, but I was so proud and happy to finally be working with a soaker and biga! Whoo hoo!

My second try at the same recipe was better. My soaker consisted of random amounts of cornmeal, barley wheat, wheat germ, oat bran, and wheat bran. The cornmeal gave it a pleasant texture.

Next, I tried the Transitional Whole Wheat sandwich bread recipe (page 99) and yum, it really turned out well.
Just look at the oven spring!

Awesome oven spring!

Continue reading “Peter Reinhart’s Transitional Whole Wheat Bread – Using a Bread Machine”

Roasted Green Tomatoes

I don’t remember ever eating a green (unripe) tomato in the past, but we received a few in our CSA share for the last couple of weeks. But how to eat them!?

I found a whole bunch of recipes online, and the chutney intrigued me, as did the green tomato jam. But I decided to go the simple route, and just roast them with some red tomatoes; I love roasted tomato and olive oil sauce.

So last week, I made a batch of roasted green and red tomatoes, and poured it over some quinoa pasta. The green tomatoes tasted sour, but they melded very well with the sweeter red tomatoes, giving a wonderful balance of flavors. I enjoyed it so much, I roasted another batch of red and green tomatoes last night. After cooling, I poured them into a freezer bag and added to my ever expanding freezer, so we can enjoy them at a later date.

Ingredients & Instructions for Roasted Green Tomatoes:

Tomatoes
Olive oil
Fresh basil leaves

Chop the tomatoes into large chunks, and arrange in a baking dish with basil leaves. Drizzle olive oil on top and bake in a 275° oven for 1-2 hours until shriveled and juicy. Enjoy!

If there’s room in the baking dish, you can also add a chopped onion and/or peppers. Yum!