Cold Cucumber Buttermilk Soup

I’m growing these delightful pickling cucumbers, and boy do they grow fast! This is a quick refreshing soup for brunch, lunch, or dinner.

1 lb cucumbers*
2/3 Cup buttermilk
2 springs fresh tarragon
3 springs fresh dill
salt and pepper

*If you are using a thin skinned cucumber like small pickling cukes or fresh english cucumbers, you can leave the skin on. If you’re getting those thick, waxy skinned ones at the grocery store, peel them. Those skins just don’t have the right texture.

Put the cucumbers and herbs in the food processor and blend until smooth. Add buttermilk and salt and pepper to taste. Blend 2 pulses. Chill. Serve the same day.

You can serve this in a martini glass or other fun glass with chilled shrimp or lump crab or lobster on the side. Very fancy cocktail party food!

Garden Picadillo

Picadillo is a different dish throughout Latin America and even into the Philippines. The Cuban version is what most people are familiar with, made with ground beef, raisins, and olives. Plenty of layers of flavor. This version is from the garden. It is totally vegan, but you can add ground meat or cheese if you like.

1 lb bell peppers, any color, chopped
1 lb mild green chiles, chopped, I used New Mexico peppers
1 yellow onion, diced
12 oz pigeon peas, cooked, drained, and rinsed
12 oz black beans, cooked, drained, and rinsed
12 oz salsa verde*
1 Cup sliced green olives
1 TB cumin
1 TB chili powder
3 TB olive oil
1/2 Cup raisins (optional)

Put everything except the salsa and olives in large skillet or chef’s pan over medium heat. Saute, stirring often until onions are soft and translucent. Add salsa and olives. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes to let flavors marry. Serve over rice.

* I make my own salsa verde with chiles from my garden and tomatillos. Trader Joe’s and 365 both have good salsa verde off the shelf.

I don’t put the raisins in for two reasons: I don’t care for raisins and my dogs get people food. Dogs can’t eat raisins. Or grapes.

Yes, You Can Eat Carrot Tops

We’ve been eating a lot of carrots from the CSA recently. And they always come with the tops on. So I’ve started using them as I would any herb-a-licious green. Just make sure to wash the sand and soil out of them before you move them to your cutting board. Like spinach and other greens, they can pick up a great deal of grit.

Check out this Carrot Greens and Mushrooms pasta toss.

Cook some pasta (I used gluten-free fettuccine noodles) according to the package directions

In a saute pan add:
1/2 C olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 bunch carrot greens, rough chopped
8 oz mushrooms, I used beech mushrooms this time and broke up the colony by hand rather than slicing them
3+ cloves garlic, diced
*optional– add some sliced, precooked chicken sausage

Saute for about 8 minutes on medium high. The onions should be cooked through and the mushrooms should be juicy. The carrot greens will wilt considerably.

Drain hot pasta and toss. Add in

salt and pepper to taste
a little reserved starchy pasta water to thin sauce

Serve vegan as is or add a little grated parm.

Tomato and Asparagus Soup with White Beans

This is a tangy and rich soup that will use up some of those tomatoes you canned. You can make it vegan by using veggie stock. It’s an easy soup to whip up from common pantry items.

28 oz canned tomatoes, diced or crushed
28 oz stock, veggie or chicken
1/2 cup red wine
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 TB olive oil
1 1/2 C cooked white beans, drained and rinsed
1 stalk asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces

Place all the ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer 20 minutes until veggies are tender and beans are flavored with broth. Serve as is or sprinkle on some cheese!

Pasta with Baby Greens and Mushrooms

Greenhouses are producing wonderful greens all over the south and two of our favorite things are sprouting: arugula and spinach! I thought this would be a great opportunity to use the truffle-infused oil I got over the holidays.

Pasta, I used gluten free spaghetti, but any shape will do

1 bunch baby spinach
1 bunch aruluga
1 pint mushrooms
3+ cloves garlic
1/3 C olive oil or flavored olive oil, I used truffle infused oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to directions.
Saute mushrooms in oil with minced garlic. Saute on medium-low heat to avoid burning the garlic. While mushrooms are cooking through, rough chop spinach and arugula. Make sure it was well washed as spinach is often grown in sandy soil.

Drain pasta and toss with hot mushrooms and oil. Remove from heat. Toss in greens and allow to wilt. Season with salt and pepper. Dress with more olive oil if desired.

Warm Black Eyed Pea Salad

I used fresh black eyed peas for this recipe and cooked them very gently. You can sprout fresh peas and toss them in the salad raw or warm them.

Heat a large saute pan on medium heat with
1/2 C olive oil
2 carrots, diced
1 small spanish onion, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
12 oz fresh black eyed peas
2 tsp salt

Saute until onions are translucent and peas are tender, stirring often.

Add in
1 C sweet corn kernels
1 TB black pepper
3+ cloves garlic

Saute 5 minutes, until garlic and corn are crisp tender. Remove from heat.

Add in
Zest and juice from 2 limes
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

Toss to coat. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over rice, salad greens, with crackers, or with toast points.

Sweet Potato Tostadas

Sweet potatoes are pretty much my favorite root. I like making savory dishes with them to help deconstruct the marshmallow casserole culture. I also like serving creamy foods over crunchy foods, which means we eat a lot of tostadas of different sorts. And they are pretty and fun to eat.

For the base:
You can either buy fried tostada shells or make your own from corn tortillas. I brushed a few soft corn tortillas with oil and baked them until crispy. You can brush them with flavor infused oil, like garlic oil or chili oil or use regular vegetable oil and sprinkle with cumin and chili powder. Bake at 375 F for about 10 minutes. ** Put them on parchment paper to prevent sticking and keep char off the tortilla and your pan.

For the sweet potatoes:
1 potato makes 3 tostadas. I bake all of mine when I pick them up from the CSA and keep them in the fridge to use throughout the week.

Mash the peeled sweet potatoes with taco seasoning. Heat through.

 

Pick some fun toppings:

salsa verde, crumbled queso blanco or white cheddar, avocado cubes, chorizo chunks, chopped cilantro, olives

Try it with a poached egg as a brunch tostada!

Chickpea and Mushroom Spaghetti with Green Peppercorns

This is a hearty vegan sauce that is peppery and warming. I use a gluten free spaghetti pasta for this, but any shape will work. If you cant find green peppercorns in brine, you can use capers. Green peppercorns in brine are spicy and tangy. They have a deep peppery favor and a firm woody texture. They add an interesting textural component. Capers are much softer and brighter in flavor.

Pasta, any shape

For sauce:
14 oz chickpeas, cooked, drained, and rinsed
1/4 C White Truffle Infused oil
1 tsp dry marjoram
1 tsp dry oregano
1 tsp salt
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 TB green peppercorns in brine, drained

Olive oil and salt to taste

Get a pound of gluten free pasta boiling according to package directions.

Heat a dry skillet on medium high heat. Add chickpeas, oil, dry spices, and 1 tsp salt. Toss and stir fry about 5 minutes. Coat chickpeas in seasoned oil.

Use a potato masher or pastry blender and squash the chickpeas into a rough chopped consistency. Add the tomatoes, mushrooms, and peppercorns. Reduce heat to low and cover. Stir occasionally, scrapping browned bits of chickpea into the sauce. If your mushrooms are a little dry, add olive oil to taste and consistency. I like a lot of olive oil in this. I use about 2/3 cup of oil total. If the chickpeas are over mashed, they will soak up all the oil and the sauce will be like a paste.

Drain pasta casually. Some of the starchy cooking water will help thin the sauce and make it stick well.

Toss hot pasta in sauce; remove from heat. Salt to taste.

Warm Quinoa and White Bean Salad

Quinoa is used in many Latin influenced dishes. This is more of a Mediterranean flavor inspired dish. It’s also very quick and easy. It’s a budget friendly dish that would be great to serve at a luncheon. It’s also low fat, high protein, and high fiber.

I used garlic stuffed olives!

1 1/2 C dry quinoa
3 C water or stock
12 oz white beans, cooked, drained & rinsed
1 pint grape tomates
1 small spanish onion, chopped
1/3 C vinaigrette (your favorite home made or farmer’s market blend will work great)

salad greens and olives for serving

In a large stock pot or chef’s pan, add everything and heat on medium-low. Stir well to incorporate all ingredients one time. Cover. Keep covered. After 20 minutes, remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Serve over greens. Garnish with olives.

You can also make this in a rice cooker!

*** You can use any Italian vinaigrette you have on hand or make a simple one using

1 C vinegar
2 C olive oil
3 TB dried Italian seasoning blend (or make your own unique mix of oregano, marjoram, parsley, basil, dried garlic, red pepper flakes, saffron)
1 TB sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper

Indian Spiced Okra

This is a great way to use some of the tomatoes you canned this year will the okra harvest. A quick vegan meal when paired with rice or a hearty side dish when paired with a sweet white fish. I picked this okra up at the Chamblee Farmer’s Market, one of the newest produce street markets in the Atlanta Metro.

3 green chiles, chopped
3+ cloves chopped garlic
1 lb okra, cut into 1 inch pieces
28 oz crushed or diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups or 1 16 oz can cooked chick peas
2 TB vegetable oil
1 TB each: mustard seed, cumin, black pepper, coriander

Add oil, chiles, garlic, and spices to sauté pan or wok over medium high heat. Stir rapidly to infuse oil with spices 3 minutes.

Add okra and stir fry to coat with spiced oil, 3 minutes. Pour in tomatoes and chick peas. Cover and simmer on low 20 minutes until okra is tender.

Published in: on January 15, 2011 at 8:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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