Another cold and rainy day here in northern California...we could really use some sunshine! Craving something warm and comforting to eat, I started thinking about making soup. Looking for inspiration, I saw a few Golden Delicious apples that were getting soft (I was going to make apple sauce) and an orange in the fruit basket. I had a yellow onion and half of an orange butternut squash in the fridge along with some over the hill yellow beets, orange yams and orange carrots. I had ....wait a minute, what if I use only fruits and veggies that are orange and yellow and create my very own bowl of sunshine? Oh you make me happy.
4 T butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 c butternut squash, chunked
4 c golden delicious apples, chunked
2 c yams, peeled and chunked
3 small golden beets, peeled and chunked (or 1 large)
1 c carrots, chunked
juice of 1 orange
8 c chicken or veggie stock
1 T Aleppo pepper flakes (available at The Spice Tin in Murphys or online)
1 t New Mexico chile powder
1 t curry powder
1 t cinnamon
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 c dry sherry (NOT cooking sherry) optional
Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and the onion and cook for 10 minutes or so to soften and brown lightly. Add the rest of the veggies and the apples with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until soft and lightly browned to intensify flavor and release the sugars, 10-15 minutes. Add the orange juice and the stock. Turn down the heat and simmer for one hour or more until all the veggies and the apples are soft. Puree all with an immersion blender in the pot, taste for salt and add the sherry if using. Let simmer until ready to eat. Serve with yogurt or sour cream and a bit of cilantro on top. Makes 8-10 servings. Freezes well.
It's Winter and it's Super Bowl time so that means we HAVE to make chili. I wanted to make my chili with turkey meat since I live in the land of Diestel turkey, THE best turkey ever. I wanted it to be slightly smokey, a tad spicy and be just a little bit different and I think I did it! I even surprised myself with this recipe. My only disappointment is that I didn't make enough, so double the recipe for leftovers, this one serves 6.
Turkey + Bacon + Black Bean Chili
1 T olive oil
3 strips of thick sliced bacon (such as Daily's) cut into 1/2" pieces
1 onion, chopped to 1/2" dice
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium jalapeño, chopped finely
1 pasilla pepper, chopped to 1/2" dice
1 small chipotle in adobo, chopped + 1 T adobo sauce (be careful, these peppers are spicy)
1 T Aleppo chili powder (I get my spices from The Spice Tin here in Murphys)
1 T New Mexico chili powder
1 t Mexican oregano
1 T ground cumin
1 lb ground Diestel turkey
3 cups cooked Rancho Gordo black beans (sub 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed)
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I used Cento brand from Italy)
1 14.5 oz can low sodium chicken broth (Swanson brand is good)
1 oz '70% ' dark chocolate (I used a theo chili + chocolate bar leftover from the holidays)
1 T pure maple syrup
1 t salt
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot, add the bacon and stir until browned. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeño, pasilla and chipotle with adobo and cook until all veggies are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the spices, then the ground turkey, breaking it up with a spoon so it cooks evenly. Add the tomatoes (I rinsed the can out with about a 1/2 cup of water and added that to the pot), chicken broth and dark chocolate. Add the salt and maple syrup and cook on low heat until bubbling then turn down to a simmer and cook for an hour or so, stirring occasionally to let the flavors blend. Serve from the pot with garnishes such as, sour cream or yogurt, chopped green onions, grated cheese (jack or cheddar are good) avocado and cilantro. (This chili freezes beautifully and can be made the day before and refrigerated until ready to heat for your lucky friends and family.) Cornbread makes a nice addition to serve with the chile (I love Jiffy brand, so easy!), but Fritos or tortilla chips work well too. Enjoy and may the best team win!
Ribollita, a Classic Tuscan Soup
My friend Annie came to my door yesterday with 'the last of the kale' from the garden. She was ripping everything out to get ready for the spring planting. I love it when inspiration comes knocking at my door, literally. It has been so cold and damp here, I am chilled to the bone! It seems like a good time to make some soup and this traditional potage from Tuscany is just the ticket! Full of cannellini beans, winter veggies, bread and of course, kale. It is best served the next day after it has been re-boiled (ribollita means re-boiled). So get cooking and mangia everyone!
*1/2 lb cannellini beans, soaked and cooked (alternately you can use 2 cans of white beans)
2 T olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 lg cloves of garlic, chopped finely
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, chunked
1/2 lb kale, coarsely chopped
1/2 lb chard, coarsely chopped
2 c pureed tomatoes
3 - 5 sprigs fresh thyme, stripped and chopped
6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 - 4 c stock, veggie or chicken, added to the bean cooking liquid to make 10 cups (if you are using canned beans, you will need 10 c stock )
rustic bread for slicing
parmesan for grating (I put a 'heel' of parmesan in the soup too! I always save the outer edge of the parmesan, the heel, to add to soups)
Sauté the onion, celery, carrots and garlic in 2 T olive oil for 10 minutes over medium heat until soft but not browned. Add the potatoes, kale and chard and sauté for 5 minutes more until the greens soften and cook down. Add the tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper then add 1/2 of the cooked beans. Mash the other half of the beans or process in a food processor and then add to the pot, this adds a creamy element to the soup. Add the broth to the veggies and cook, stirring occasionally until all of the vegetables are soft, about an hour or so. You can eat the soup at this point but it is so much better re-heated the next day after the flavors have had a chance to meld.
Slice a chunk of the rustic bread (La Brea sourdough is what I used) and place in a wide soup bowl. Ladle the soup over, drizzle with some good olive oil and shave some parmesan on top. YUM!
*Put the beans in a stock pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and then simmer the beans for 45 minutes. Add 1 T salt and then continue to cook for 15 minutes more until done. Drain the beans, saving the cooking liquid. Add veggie or chicken stock to the bean broth to make 10 cups.
‘Instant’ Pumpkin Soup with Fall Greens & Apple Salad with Spiced Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
Sometimes you just feel like a nice, warm bowl of homemade soup but haven't at all prepared for this craving. That is exactly what happened to my daughter Lily one night last week. It was too late to go to the store so she went to the pantry instead. She found a can of pumpkin and a can of chicken stock... soup perhaps? She started to work with an onion and some spices and in a few minutes she had what she wanted, a nice, steaming hot bowl of comfort that tasted like it had been simmering all day. Best of all there's no need to pull out the food processor!
I was lucky enough to consume a bowl of this wonderful orange yumminess first hand and I couldn't wait to share this recipe with you. This soup is so simple and requires only a few 'on hand' items. Best of all you can switch it up for a bunch of different flavor profiles. Try Thai coconut milk and a squeeze of lime or heavy cream with a few tablespoons of peanut butter and a chopped bacon garnish. I garnished mine with a dollop of plain yogurt and some crumbled, fried sage leaves. Get creative and have fun. Serve next to this delicious seasonal fall salad, it's the perfect accompaniment for a light but hearty dinner by the fire. You could sub sliced Fuyu persimmons for the apple as we get closer to winter or add already cooked chicken breast for some good protein. Enjoy!
‘Instant’ Pumpkin Soup
4 T butter
1 small yellow onion, chopped finely (no blending so make it a small dice, or use onion powder if you're lazy!)
1 t each (more or less depending on taste) curry powder, cumin, cinnamon, garlic powder
1/2 tsp (more or less depending on taste) nutmeg
3 14-oz cans of pumpkin purée (I love Trader Joe's organic)
4 c chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 c. real maple syrup + 1 Tbsp organic sugar
1/2 c. heavy cream (or almond milk, coconut milk)
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t black pepper
Melt butter and sauté onion in a heavy-bottomed soup pot until lightly browned. Add spices and cook for 1 minute. Add pumpkin purée and cook 2-3 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Add maple syrup, sugar, salt and pepper. Taste for spices, salt and sugar and add more if needed (spices intensify as they sit so don't be too heavy handed right away). Stir in cream, coconut milk or almond milk, keep warm. The key to this recipe is to adjust proportions as needed according to your own preferences. If it seems like it's lacking something, it's probably either sugar or salt.
Fall Greens Salad
3 c mixed hearty salad greens
1 c arugula leaves
1/2 head radicchio (about a cup when sliced thinly)
1 lg Honeycrisp or Braeburn apple, sliced into matchsticks
toasted pepitas or walnuts
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp each cinnamon, curry,
cumin, black pepper
1 T dijon mustard
1 t salt
1/2 c. oil (I often use olive
but walnut oil would be delicious)
Whisk everything but the oil together to blend then the oil slowly, in a steady stream to emulsify. Toss the greens and apple together in a salad bowl with the dressing as needed, top with the nuts and serve. Add some good crumbled blue cheese such as Pt. Reyes on top too if you like, or any other cheese for that matter! This makes more dressing than you will need so just store the unused portion in a jar on the counter and use within a week or so.
Wow, summer has come on with a vengeance. Hot daytime temperatures and warm nights make it the perfect time to serve a chilled soup. Luncheon main course, appetizer or soup course, this gazpacho is cool and refreshing and sure to impress even the pickiest of eaters. Try it, you will never know how easy and delicious it is unless you do!
2 cups chopped watermelon
2 cups chopped peeled cucumber
1 cup mint leaves
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup green grapes
1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves
1 splash tabasco
salt & pepper to taste (optional)
Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend to desired consistency. Taste to adjust flavors. Garnish with chopped mint. For an appetizer, put in shot glasses.
The last time that I made this gazpacho I had some leftover watermelon and friends coming over for a bbq so I did what any sensible girl would do...I made watermelon margaritas! You should too.
Watermelon Margaritas with Chile-Lime Salt
Puree 4 cups of watermelon in a blender and strain into a tall glass pitcher. Add 1 cup of tequila, 1/2 cup of triple sec, 2 T fresh lime juice and sugar if needed. Pour into glasses filled with ice and rimmed with Chile-Lime Salt (run a cut lime around the edge and dip into a saucer filled with the salt) made by Tajin, available everywhere now. Garnish with a cut lime wedge and serve.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"