June 11, 2014

in the garden: radish redux

We planted two types of radishes this year: cherry belle and pink beauty.  They were both delicious, the cherry belle a bit spicier.  I pickled them, just as good as the recipe from last year.  But as I was researching radishes and recipes,  I came across a recipe for roasting them that sounded intriguing.  So last week, with some ladies from Women out Walking, we roasted them, and sauteed them with their greens and lemon juice.  OUTSTANDING.  I do not think I have been as excited for a recipe in a long time.  Please try it before radishes are no longer at their peak....

Roasted Radishes and their Greens Follow Me on Pinterest

in the garden: mustard greens

Mustard Greens have exploded at the YWCA Urban Garden.  They are the easiest thing to grow: very prolific, very fast.  The classic way to cook them is a long slow cook with onion, garlic, ham hocks or smoked turkey wings.  In more modern methods (where you don't cook things to death and omit meat when possible) they are great sauteed in a pan with olive oil and some diced onion or shallot.  They are great then thrown into a white bean salad, into a veggie soup or put on top of a flatbread. They can be added to a green smoothie and are also great mixed with lettuce in a salad.

Mustard Greens are the third healthiest green after kale and collards.  They lower cholesterol and are very high in vitamins K and A, great for an anti-inflammatory diet. 

Here are some recipes I have been experimenting with.  The first two are delicious and I hope to try the third one before my greens start to bolt! Enjoy.

Mustard Greens with Chorizo and White Beans

Vinegar Braised Chicken with Greens 

Spicy Mustard Greens with Asian Noodles

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May 19, 2014

in the garden: spinach

The spinach came up in droves this year.  The beds were covered with cold frames and underneath the mountains of snow was spinach, hibernating, readying itself for a great spring arrival.  One of the coldest winters in the Chicagoland area, it was a huge surprise to see such beautiful plants emmerging.

We have a mixture of spinaches: bordeaux, a red veined type; a flat leaf spinach; and bloomsbury, a ruffled variety.  All of them taste great as a salad or sauteed simply and quickly in olive oil with salt and pepper (sauteed shallots or onions and fresh lemon juice can also add a lot).  The spinach is magic as the more you pick, the more it grows.

I have been cooking it weekly at Mary Lou's place.  Some tasty recipes are linked below.

Lemon Couscous Salad with Spinach and Dill:

Spinach Quiche

Wilted Spinach Salad with a Burst Tomato Vinaigrette

Asparagus, Tofu and Spinach Stirfry
I add many other vegetables to this, delicious, my go to healthy dinner recipe.  A crowd pleaser
http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/asparagus-stirfry-recipe.html Follow Me on Pinterest

March 28, 2014

split pea soup with ham

Split peas.  So simple, so inexpensive, so good for you.  A member of the legume family, split peas are a really great source of fiber: which helps lower cholesterol and maintains even blood sugar balance.  They are also a good source of protein and have potassium and B vitamins. 

This recipe has some smoked ham in it, which does add a rich smoky flavor.  But feel free to sub in onions and fennel instead for increased vegetable flavor.

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March 21, 2014

winter soup session: mushroom soup

I feel sure that anyone my generation grew up with a memory of Campbell's creamy mushroom soup.  Or their moms used it in a three ingredient casserole.  Well this recipe brought me back, I had a visceral deja vu of that taste.  However, this soup is made from fresh yummy mushrooms, homemade stock with just a hint of mascarpone cheese swirled in for creaminess. 

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March 14, 2014

winter soup session: fennel and celery root

Who would have thought that this:

Would turn into this (with the help of 5 women peeling and zesting and chopping):

As I did my research on these vegetables, I found that both celery root and fennel are in the same family as carrots.  Celery root is full of Vitamins B and C, and potassium.  It lacks the sweetness that its cousins, carrots and parsnips, have and thus is low in carbohydrates.  It fills you up, but is very low in calories.  Fennel is full of anti-oxidants, is anti-inflammatory, has Vitamin C, potassium and folate.  They mix nicely together, as veggies in the same family do.  This soup is very easy and very filling.

We made it with these spicy cheddar shortbread crackers (featured in the lower left corner of the picture).  They were delicious, and with a food processor, they took no time to make:


Fennel and Celery Root Soup by The Family Table
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March 07, 2014

winter soup session: cauliflower soup with coconut, curry and lime

Cauliflower, yum. 

My favorite way to eat cauliflower is roasting, and it is so simple.   Quick instructions:  cut the cauliflower head into florets, toss in olive oil, dust with salt and pepper and put on a pyrex glass pan or a cookie sheet.   Place in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until starting to brown and caramelize.  Eat.

For a little change of pace, this curried cauliflower soup is simple, fast and delicious.  Aside from the benefits of cauliflower, this recipe has turmeric which has huge medicinal properties: anti-inflammatory; helps give relief to arthritis; helps to prevent colon and prostate cancer; helps to reduce polyps in the colon; lowers cholesterol; protects against alzheimer's.
Truly "magical" perks.

Enjoy.  I made a pot of rice and enjoyed my curry soup with sauteed zucchini and the rice.
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February 28, 2014

winter soup session: ribollita

"Ribollita" means "reboiled" in Italian.  Typically, as a family would continue to eat their minestrone day after day, it would get to be more liquids than solids as people would favor the beans and vegetables over the liquid.  To thicken it up, cubes of stale bread would be added to the soup.  A new meal was created.

To make ribollita, canned beans can be used (healthy tip: if you rinse well your canned beans you can decrease the salt in them by 50%).  However, it is yummier and healthier to use your own simmered beans.  And on a wintery day in Chicago, bubbling beans is a great zen activity, it feels satisfying. Once your beans are cooked, you can put them in a tupperware, or a baggie and freeze them until you are ready to make soup.

Ribolitta can be made with any vegetables you have on hand.  I give you the recipe for what I used, but feel free to use what is on hand.  Any fresh vegetables will make a delicious soup.  Although greens of some sort are a necessity.

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