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!

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!

Chicken with Goat Cheese Cream Sauce over Herbed Rice

This is a family favorite. I like to use boneless skinless thighs because we like dark meat. You can use breasts or chicken on the bone. Just be sure to adjust cooking times for meat on the bone. This is also a pretty budget friendly meal. It’s great served with a crisp green salad. I make it in about 30 minutes.

Start the rice:
2 C basmati rice
1/2 C slivered almonds
2 TB Summer savory
2 TB tarragon
4 C stock or water (if using water, add salt after rice is cooked to develop the flavor)

In a hot pan, toast the almonds. Stir and heat for 3 minutes until the nuts release a nice aroma. Add rice. Toast 2 minutes more. Add herbs and liquid. Stir well. Cover and reduce to low. Simmer until rice is cooked through.

For the Chicken and Sauce:

1 lb chicken pieces, rinsed and dried
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
2 oz goat cheese
olive oil

Seasoned Flour:
1/2 C brown rice flour
2 tsp black pepper
zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp salt

Heat a little oil in a large saute pan on medium high. Dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture and saute until a nice brown crust is on both sides. About 12 minutes. Remove chicken from pan.

Add onions, 2 TB olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Sweat the onions to translucent. Add mushrooms. Cook 4 minutes more. Add any leftover seasoned flour. Stir to make a roux. Add water to make a sauce, about 3/4 C. I don’t use stock here because the flavor of the seasoned flour is very intense. Then stir in the 2 oz goat cheese. Stir until smooth.

Add the chicken back to the pan. Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve chicken and cream sauce over rice.

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.

Green Curry Lentil Crepes with Yogurt Sauce

This is a fun entree or party food. The crepes are dryer and more sturdy than french crepes and can stand up to being a finger food.

For the Crepes:
1 C brown rice flour
1 C tapioca flour
4 eggs
1/2 C rice milk
plenty of pepper
1 tsp salt

Mix these in a blender. Scrape the sides of the blender pitcher and blend again to remove lumps and fully incorporate all the flour.

Heat crepe pan or skillet to medium high. Oil the skillet with a high temperature friendly oil like sesame, grape seed, or coconut oil. Pour about 1/3 C batter onto pan and rotate quickly to make a thin layer of batter over crepe pan. Flip when the crepe looks dry. If your crepes are thin enough, you do not need to cook them on both sides.

For the Curry Lentil Filling:
2 Cups cooked lentils, drained and rinse
2 TB green curry powder or paste
2 handfuls baby spinach

In a food processor, blend the lentils with the curry seasoning. Green curry is a blend of chili powder, green chili, ginger, garlic, cumin, lemongrass, and salt. You can make your own or buy a mix. There are many good green curry blends made from organic and fair trade spices.

Heat seasoned lentil mash over medium heat, stirring frequently. When it is heated through, remove from heat and stir in spinach. The spinach will wilt into the lentil mash. It may be easier to add the spinach in batches rather than all at once.

For the Yogurt Sauce:
I really cheated on this one. I just blended 1/3 C plain yogurt with a few squirts sriracha. You can use chili powder and salt to season your yogurt if you ran out of sriracha. But you should probably just go get more sriracha.

To Assemble:
Fill crepes with 3 TB lentil and spinach curry mix. Roll tight. Either cut into finger-food length and serve with yogurt on the side as a dipping sauce OR leave the crepes long and drizzle yogurt sauce over them for an entree presentation.

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

Wild Mayan Nacho Sauce

This is a fabulous cheese-free nacho recipe that all cheese lovers will appreciate. Take some super yum baked sweet potato and turn it into “cheese” sauce. Here’s how!

I made a huge tray of Nachos!

1 baked sweet potato, skin removed
1 Cup nutritional yeast
2/3 Cup filtered water
hot sauce to taste

Whisk together over medium heat until smooth. Let come to a soft bubble. Pour hot nacho sauce over any Latin delight.

My fav combo is seasoned black beans, tomatillo salsa, Wild Mayan Sauce, and chopped avocado– pictured above. This is also a great topping for bake enchiladas, toastadas, or to use as a “cheese” dip. It goes so well with black beans and looks beautiful.

Our Favorite Curry

This curry is so easy. The coconut milk is creamy and delicious. It keeps the chicken moist without letting the veggies lose their crunch. This meal is ready in minutes.

1 lb chicken thighs
8 oz mushrooms
8 oz carrots
4 oz sliced water chestnuts
3+ cloves garlic, minced
1 large avocado, cubed
14 oz coconut milk
1 TB sesame oil
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp black pepper
cayenne to taste

Cut chicken and veggies into bite sized pieces. Heat wok on medium high. Add EVERYTHING but avocado pieces. Cook and stir occasionally, gently for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Stir in avocado before serving. Serve over rice.

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