Monthly Archives: November 2011

Hearty Vegetable Soup

It was so nice to head home to my parents house for Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, it’s got all the great food of Christmas minus the pressure of gifts, so you can really focus on what matters… spending time with family. I was so caught up in everything that I only took a picture of the centerpiece. My mom picked it up at the Christmas market in Union Square in NYC when she went last week.

She gave me the centerpiece to take home for my table to make it a little more festive and seasonally appropriate.  Looks pretty good if I do say so myself… now we just need some Christmas decorations for our fireplace and we’re all set for the holidays. (We’re not getting a Christmas tree this year since we’re headed home for a few weeks around Christmas, but next year we WILL have a tree)

This soup is “souper “quick to throw together in a big pot on the stove. It’s packed full of vitamins and protein and it’s pretty darn tasty… though, as Mark pointed out, the broth isn’t quite that photogenic. (Sorry for the lame pic this week, no good lighting or adjustment of shutter speed could make the broth look good, but I promise it does taste good). Anywho, after all of the overeating on Thanksgiving, this soup can set you right back on track towards healthy eating. I paired it with a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich on cheddar bread from Normal Bread, our local bakery… this bread is so good, it super cheesy tasting and it’s made with high quality ingredients, no preservatives and they slice it for you right in front of your eyes. Plus it’s always good to support local food.

Hearty Vegetable Soup

1 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium red potatoes, diced

3 cups veggie broth

3 cups of water (maybe a bit more)

1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional)

½ teaspoon of Italian seasoning

2-14 oz cans garbanzo beans

3-4 cups of kale, chopped

1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, include juice

2 cups of broccoli

Black pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes until translucent. While they sauté, chop all the other veggies. Add in the potatoes and garlic and sauté for 3 more minutes. Then add in the stock, water, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil then add in beans, kale, tomatoes and broccoli. Simmer for another 15 minutes, then add black pepper to taste.

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Quinoa Cakes with Eggplant “Ragu”

I had this weird realization today when I wrote the December rent check that we only have 6 months left in our apartment… seriously where has the time gone?  November flew by…  I was going through my camera and realized that I have about 10 different recipes waiting to be blogged. So this is going to be a double whammy, dinner and dessert…. Quinoa Cakes with an Eggplant “Ragu” and peanut butter cookies with Reese’s peanut butter cups.

But first, November in picture form:

For the Eggplant Ragu, I wanted to make something hearty and warm as the nights get darker and colder. I know it’s not a ragu in a traditional sense because it lacks meat but you could add meat if you wish.  I put the ragu over quinoa because it packs a serious protein punch and it chock full of amino acids, vitamin and minerals.

Quinoa Cakes with Eggplant Ragu

1 cup of quinoa

2 cups of water

1 egg

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon of chives (optional)

2 tablespoons basil, sliced in thin strips

6 tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 large eggplant, cubed

1/2 onion diced

1 clove of garlic

3/4 cup of your favorite tomato sauce… I love Newman’s Own Tomato Basil

Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a small pot over medium heat. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Stir occasionally. One cooked, remove it from heat and let cool. While it is cooling, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan, add in onion and garlic, sauté 2 minutes, then add in eggplant and sauté for 5-8 minutes, or until the eggplant is cooked through. Turn down to low and add in sauce.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in another large frying pan. Then add the cheese, egg, half the basil and chives to the cooled quinoa. Stir together. Form patty shaped cakes with the quinoa mixture and place them in the warm oil. You will probably have to do two batches. Cook about 3-4 minute on each side until golden brown.  Remove from the heat and plate. Once the sauce is warmed through, spoon over the quinoa cakes, top with remaining basil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

The cookies were a late night creation. They are “healthy” in the sense that they don’t have white flour or butter in the cookie but crumbling up left over Reese’s might have tipped them back towards the not so healthy end of the spectrum… but hey we had to get rid of the Halloween candy somehow.

Peanut Butter Cookies with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

2 cups of unbleached whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda
dash salt (optional)
1 cup of crunchy peanut butter plus a little bit extra
1 cup maple syrup
scant 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

4-6 Reese’s peanut butter cups, crumbled up

Preheat the oven to 350 deg. Mix together baking soda, flour and salt in a small bowl. Warm the peanut butter until slightly melted (you can microwave or use the stove top… we only have a sketchy microwave that the previous people left so I used the stovetop.) Combine the peanut butter, maple syrup and olive oil. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Then stir in the Reese’s. Let it sit for about 3-5 minutes so the baking soda can react. Then drop onto a greased or line baking sheet. Cross hatch with a fork if so desired. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until golden brown

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Pumpkin Muffins

I have begun to notice a theme in my cooking this fall… an enormous amount of pumpkin (not that it’s a bad thing)

Pumpkin beer… Smuttynose and Sam Adam’s

Pumpkin Pancakes with the biggest container ever of Vermont Maple Syrup… and Mark for scale (also note Mark’s black eye from Rugby, he was very proud of it)

Cheese Tortellini with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

Pumpkin Bars with White Chocolate Chips… see recipe here

Pumpkin Scones with Spiced Glaze… see recipe here

Pumpkin Pie

And Now… Pumpkin Muffins!

makes 12 muffins

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 large eggs, lightly whisked, or ½ cup of egg substitute
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt

¼ cup of powdered sugar

1 scant tablespoon of milk

First, spray a 12-muffin tin with nonstick spray and preheat the oven to 375. I usually advocate using muffin liners, but these are so moist that they stick to the muffin liners… so you end up losing a fair amount of your muffin or you have to gnaw it off the liner (which is ok too, I guess)

Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice together in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, syrup, oil, brown sugar, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, and yogurt and mix until smooth.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix gently until just combined. If you over mix them, they become tough and chewy. Scoop the batter into the muffin tins, only filling them about 2/3 of the way up.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the muffins cool, in a small bowl mix together about ¼ cup of powdered sugar and a scant tablespoon of milk (I used almond) and a dash or two of pumpkin pie spice. Whisk until the lumps are gone. The mixture should fall from a spoon in a thin ribbon, adjust the amount of milk or sugar until this consistency is achieved. Drizzle the glaze mixture over the top of the cooled muffins and enjoy.

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Filed under Breakfast, Dessert