Green Minestrone Soup

Green Minestrone Soup

This is not the classic minestrone soup, but I believe it's just as good – it's easy and cooks quickly!
Course Soup
Cuisine Italian, Vegan, vegetarian
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • Cast Iron Wok or Deep Saucepan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, stems removed
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • pepper, to taste

PREP: Combine in bowl

  • 3 oz pasta, cooked
  • 15.5 oz kidney beans, drained

PREP: Blend in high speed blender until smooth

  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 cups filtered water

PREP: Combine in bowl

  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

PREP: Coarsely Chop

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped into half moons
  • 4 multicolored carrots, bite sized pieces
  • 1 leaf of purple kale, coarsely chopped
  • 1 leaf of swiss chard, coarsely chopped

PREP: Combine in bowl

  • 2 tbsp fresh dill
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano

For Garnish

  • 1 bunch broccoli sprouts (optional)
  • edible flowers (optional)
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Complete all PREP steps
  • Heat a pan over high heat and add the tomatoes, cook until blackened. Reduce heat to medium.
  • Add celery to pan and stir for 3 minutes, until it's color brightens
  • Add the carrots and saute for 3 minutes
  • Add tomato paste/water, reduce to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add kidney beans and pasta. Stir.
  • Add dill, parsley, and oregano. Stir.
  • Gently fold in kale and swiss chard. Fold until they wilt.
  • Add salt, pepper, vinegar and lemon juice. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  • Serve in bowl. Garnish with optional toppings.

Notes

adapted from the book, The Plantpower Way:  Italia
Keyword hearty, italian, soup, vegan

Ginger Apple Cider

When it’s cold outside and you’re in need of some relief, this hot ginger apple cider is a wonderful companion to spend some time with.
This recipe was originally featured on the REI Co-Op Journal.
Hot apple cider is a classic cold weather elixir. The smell, the flavor, the temperature: it’s essentially liquid warmth. But this twist on the classic recipe takes its warming qualities to a whole new level.
This cider recipe warms you in three ways. The first (and most obvious) is that the drink is served hot, warming you from the inside out. Next, we’ve added slices of raw ginger, cinnamon, and cloves that combine to create a slow warming spice that intensifies the longer it steeps.  Lastly, we add a shot (or two) of bourbon whiskey to give this cider that special extra kick to melt away the cold.

Ginger Apple Cider

Ginger spices up a classic apple cider to make a perfect drink for sipping around the campfire. This is a perfect camping cocktail for cooler evenings!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Beverage
Servings 2 drinks

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups unfiltered apple juice
  • 1/2 apple, sliced
  • 1.5 inch ginger, sliced
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 15 cloves, whole
  • 2 shots whisky

Instructions
 

  • Add all the ingredients to a small pot or saucepan on the stove. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Divide between two or three mugs, being careful to strain out any of the spices, add the whiskey, and enjoy with good company.

Notes

‣  Apple, ginger, and cinnamon are natural flavor affinities. Together they build on top of one another to create a flavorful blend that’s crisp, spicy, and fragrant. This mixture produces a warming and comforting effect that can be irresistible on a cold day.
‣  The longer the ginger slices steep, the spicier your cider will become. So if you like it spicy, it might take a little bit for things to heat up. But if you like to keep it mild, you can start removing some of the ginger slices before things get out of control (and if you wait long enough, they absolutely will).
‣  You can make your cider either on a stove top or over a campfire, but the key is low heat. On a stove, it might be easy dial down the flame, but on the campfire, you’ll want to position your pot so you can achieve a nice low simmer. A rolling boil will shred apart the apples and ginger, resulting in pulpy cider. Slow and steady is the way to go.

Whiskey Spiked Chai Hot Toddy

For two servings-
3 cups water
1 tag chai spiced black tea
2 tablespoons honey, divided
3 oz. whiskey, divided
1 small lemon, cut into slices

Bring water to a boil, then remove from the heat and add the tea bag. Steep 2-3 minutes.
Pour 1 tablespoon honey into each mug. Divide the tea between the mugs, then add 1.5 oz whiskey to each. Stir to combine. Serve with a slice or two of lemon

THE BEST GLAZE IN THE WORLD! (Balsamic and Brown Sugar Glaze)

** This keeps really well in the fridge, FYI **

Your ingredients:  2 cups balsamic, 1/2 cup brown sugar

Your tools:  small pot, whisk, spoon

Your ratio:  4:1 balsamic to sugar

How to do it:  Take your pot and add the 2 cups of balsamic and 1/2 cup of brown sugar.  Place pot over stove (between medium high and high heat).  Bring to boil, whisking the entire time.  Drop to a simmer and keep stirring regularly until it begins to stick to a spoon.  This will thicken as it cools, so remove from heat before it’s overly thick.

Where to use it:  Roasted veggies, steak (with goat cheese), salmon – and a ton of other uses.

 

What about those B Sproutzzzzz

First of all, they are called brussels sprouts, not brussel sprouts.  And most people dislike them, I think because they taste bad when you overcook them.  So, take great care in cooking them and enjoy these mini cabbages because they can be very delicious!!

There are several ways to cook these bad boys and I’ll share a few ways I like to cook them here.

Method 1 – Braise

Grab your cast iron and get it really, really hot.  Add peanut oil (or your fav high temp oil) and get them nice and seared.  You can cut them in half or not, but the point here is to get them slightly charred.

Turn down the heat and add some chicken or veggie broth, just enough to cover them. Throw some thyme in there.  We want the heat just high enough to boil off the broth. A little on the bottom is okay, but you want most of the liquid gone.  When the liquid is cooked off, the sprouts are perfectly cooked, just a tad of crunch especially if you just halve them instead of slicing/dicing them.  Don’t forget the pepper!  

Method 2 – Roast

Halve, cover in olive oil, salt and pepper and then cook them in the oven until the outer leaves start getting crispy.

Options:

  • add red pepper flakes or paprika
  • add bacon
  • add blue or goat cheese crumble
  • add balsamic/brown sugar glaze
  • add maple syrup
  • add chopped nuts
  • add a little red or white wine vinegar at the end
  • add garlic
  • add honey/sriracha and put back in over for 5 mins

Method 3 – Breakfast Hash (for brunch!)

First:  Roast some sweet potatoes

Then,
In one skillet:  cook some bacon in some olive oil.  add shredded brussels sprouts once bacon is crispy.  add cubed, roasted sweet potatoes once the sprouts have crisped up a bit.  add cubed Granny Smith Apples, just till they soften a bit.  serve with fried eggs on top.

Method 4 – Carefully steam

Ingredients:  fresh in-season brussel sprouts (if available), cleaned and halved; diced medium onion; few good sized knobs of butter; 1/4 cup chicken stock (homemade is better); couple finely diced pieces of bacon; 2 cloves garlic (minced); 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)

How to:  Cook 2 finely diced pieces of bacon at medium heat, remove when suitably cooked for your taste. Leave the bacon fat… Add the knobs of butter and diced onions. Cook until the onions start to brown. Add 2 cloves minced garlic and cook 1-2 minutes. Throw in brussels sprouts and let them get some color on the cut side (about 5 minutes, let them caramelize). Pour in 1/4 cup chicken stock, and cover the pot to steam the sprouts (about 10 minutes depending on size). Place in casserole dish, top with bacon and grated parmesan cheese.

Method 5 – Thanksgiving Hash

Ingredients:  2 slices bacon; 2 tablespoons olive oil; 1 shallot, sliced; 2 cups chopped pumpkin (or butternut squash); 1 pound brussels sprouts, ends chopped and outer leaves removed, sliced; salt and pepper; 2 cups chopped apples; 1/2 cup dried cranberries; 1 tablespoon chopped sage; 1 1/2 tablespoons Nakano balsamic blend seasoned rice vinegar

How to:  Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place 2 slices of bacon in the skillet and cook until crispy, set aside leaving grease in the pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the bacon grease and add the shallot to the skillet. Cook for 1 minute. Add the brussels sprouts and pumpkin, season with salt and pepper, stir and let cook for 7-10 minutes until softened and starting to brown on the bottom. Toss and cook another 3 minutes. Add the 2 cups chopped apples, 1/2 cup dried cranberries and tablespoon sage, mix and cook for another 3 minutes. Turn the heat off, add the 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar and toss to combine. Crumble the cooked bacon on top and serve.

** Also, Trader Joes has brussels sprouts on the stalk right now!  Go get em!!

Recipes From Italy: Crostata

From Italy: Crostata

This is the Crostata I learned how to make in Italy from my grand-uncle Federico. It's important to get all of the ingredients together, in proper portions, to make the assembly very easy. You can use any kind of fruit, but for this recipe, we used apricots.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 slices

Ingredients
  

For the Crust

  • 110 grams butter
  • 125 grams sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 300 grams white flour
  • 1 pinch baking soda if wanted for a crispier crust
  • 2 eggs

For the Marmalade

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 kg apricots, peeled
  • 1 kg sugar

Instructions
 

For the Marmalade

  • The day before, prepare the marmalade. Over high heat, bring the water, sugar, and fruit to boil. Keeping uncovered, lower the heat to the lowest setting and cook for 2-2.5 hours. Add water if necessary. After two and a half hours, use an immersion blender to blend the fruit into a jelly consistency. After 3 hours, start checking the consistency by laying the back of a spoon on top and lifting to watch the speed of the drip. Fast drip = not ready. Slow drip = ready. Turn off the heat when ready.
  • After it's done, place in a mason jar. Rub grappa around the opening of the jar, close with top and turn upside down to cool.

For the Crust

  • Preheat over to 375 degrees.
  • Using your hands, mix the butter and the sugar/salt.
  • Zest one small lemon.
  • Add the eggs and mix.
  • Add the flour and mix, careful not to overmix.
  • When dough stays together, place in refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  • Using a pie pan or oven-safe dish, lined with wax paper, create a crust bottom using the chilled dough.
  • Bake for approx 15 mins.
  • Remove from oven. Roll out pieces of dough to create the outside crust, approximately 1 inch thick.
  • Pour marmalade into the center of the pie, so that it completely covers the whole circle. If any portion appears clear, add marmalade so the color is uniform.
  • Roll out 1/2 in pieces of dough of various lengths, about 1 inch apart, parallel to each other, to cover the pie.
  • Roll out 1/2 in pieces of dough of various lengths, about 1 inch apart perpendicular to the lines you made previously - creating a lattice effect.
  • If desired, you can brush one egg over the crust and dough.
  • Place completed pie in the over for approximately 15 minutes, until crust is cooked and slightly golden color.

Notes

Enjoy!  Here is the finished product!  I will further edit the video as well as make an accompanying video to show the create of the marmalade!

My new morning drink

On a recent trip to see M and R, they told me about a new addition to their morning routine…  this drink.

It’s a mix of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, honey and some spices.  You can mix it up as you see fit, but those are the main ingredients.  I am following their advice and adding this to my morning and I’ll let you know how it goes.  It’s really super easy to throw together and you can use hot water to dilute the taste if it’s too much for you.

This morning, I did this:

  • AVC – a couple of tablespoons
  • Honey – a good honey-bear squeeze
  • 1 Lemon
  • Turmeric, Cayenne, Ginger, Cinnamon spices
  • Hot water to taste

That’s it!  It’s actually pretty good and really good for the body.  A lot of people use it as a detox.  More to come, happy Friday everyone!

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