Green Gazpacho

by Jennifer

This delicious version of gazpacho takes advantage of all the green peppers and cucumber we’ve been getting from our CSA, plus has the added advantage of protein and iron from the walnuts and spinach.  Give it at least 30 – 60 minutes to chill in the fridge before serving, or you can do what Yotam Ottolenghi does, and puree in 9 oz of ice cubes.  Below is my adaptation of his recipe from Plenty, and serves 6.

  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 1/4 lb cucumbers, peeled and seeded
  • 3 slices stale white bread, crusts removed
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 5 oz baby spinach
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 2 TBS chopped parsley
  • 4 TBS sherry vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 TBS plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Roughly chop the celery, peppers, cucumber, bread, jalapeno and garlic.  Working in batches and

transferring to a bowl, puree everything in a blender or food processor.  Chill for at least 30 – 60 minutes, or if serving immediately, puree in 9 oz ice cubes as well.  If the soup seems too thick for your liking, add a little cold water before serving.

 

Fish Soup Provencale with Escarole, Fennel and Orange Salad

by Jennifer

I’ve adapted this recipe (increased the vegetables, garlic and orange zest, increased the fish a little and the half-and-half a tad), either from Eating Well or Cooking Light (which basically are the same, in my mind), and it’s wonderful.  There’s a little heat, there’s the orange zest, the fennel seeds, and it’s not difficult to make.  While the potatoes are cooking you can put together the salad (use the same orange: zest for soup, fruit for salad).  Soup serves 4 – 6;  salad serves 4.

Fish Soup Provencale

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • freshly grated zest of one orange
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 14.5 oz. can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 medium – large potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 – 1 1/2 lb. firm white fish (I used flounder)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half
  • 1 scant tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Add onion, peppers and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Add crushed red pepper through tomatoes with their juices and cook, stirring, until it boils (should be just about 1 – 2 minutes).

Add potatoes, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Add water and wine, cooking for another 5 minutes (uncovered).

Add fish and parsley and cook over medium-low heat until fish is opaque, about 3 – 4 minutes.

Stir in half-and-half, salt and pepper to taste.  Remove bay leaf and serve.

Escarole, Fennel, and Orange Salad

  • 1 small head escarole, outer leaves discarded, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 fennel bulb, halved lengthwise, cored, then thinly sliced
  • 1 orange, rind removed, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 1/2 TBS sherry vinegar
  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk together vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.

Place escarole, fennel and orange in a serving bowl, and toss gently with dressing to combine.


Last Minute Minestrone

by Jennifer

I made this soup after realizing I had cranberry beans and a parmesan rind in the freezer, tomatoes on the counter, fresh basil growing in a pot on the back deck, and not a lot of time to make dinner.  And it was good!  Substitute the beans with your favorite (cannellini would be good), if you don’t happen to have cooked cranberry beans lurking in your freezer, too.  Parmesan rinds are a good way to add “umami” to a soup, especially a meatless one.  I served it with Challah, and arugula tossed with extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 medium-large carrots, chopped into uniformly-sized pieces
  • 1 cup Israeli (pearl) couscous, preferably whole wheat
  • 3 cups cooked beans
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (I used Not – Chicken Soup I’d made earlier in the week)
  • parmesan rind
  • 2 cups chopped, seeded tomatoes (slice tomatoes in half, squeeze out seeds, chop)
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly grated Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Add celery and carrots and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

Stir in Israeli couscous and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Add beans, broth and parmesan rind;  bring soup to a boil, lower heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in tomatoes, basil and pepper.  Serve with freshly grated cheese on top.

Japanese-Style Soup Your Way; Stir-Fried Soybeans with Garlic and Chile

by Jennifer

Similar to make-your-own tacos, this make-your-own soup is fresh, delicious, and a lot of fun to put together, especially for kids.  I completely credit the idea to my friend Amy.  This is a vegetarian version, but you could add shredded poached chicken or cooked shrimp, too.  I prefer soba noodles but the rest of my family prefers udon noodles (or, you could have both….).  Serves 4.

Japanese-Style Soup Your Way

  • 6 cups vegetable or not-chicken broth (I used Not-Chicken Soup which I’d frozen earlier)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 slices peeled fresh ginger, each about the size of a quarter
  • 1 3-4” piece kombu, rinsed (optional)
  • 8 oz. package soba noodles or 8 oz. udon noodles
  • red pepper, julienned
  • fresh bean sprouts
  • scallions, thinly sliced
  • cilantro, chopped
  • enoki mushrooms, sliced off their base
  • optional:  ponzu sauce, shredded chicken, cooked shrimp, small cubes of soft tofu

Simmer the broth, garlic, ginger and kombu for 20 minutes;  remove and discard garlic, ginger and kombu.

While the broth is simmering, prepare vegetables and place in separate bowls for everyone to help themselves.  Cook noodles according to package directions;  drain and briefly rinse in cool water.

Divide noodles among bowls, ladle broth on top, and let everyone choose their additions.

Stir-Fried Soybeans with Garlic and Chile – from Gourmet magazine

These are incredibly addictive, and spicy;  I’ll admit my kids enjoyed plain edamame tonight while my husband and I ate this entire recipe ourselves!  This makes a wonderful appetizer or side dish.

  • 1 lb. frozen edamame in the shell
  • 2 TBS low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp minced garlic

Cook edamame in boiled unsalted water for 5 minutes;  drain.

Combine soy sauce through red pepper flakes in a small bowl.

Heat a wok over medium-high heat.  Swirl in oil and then add the ginger and garlic, stir-frying until fragrant, about 15 seconds or so.

Add edamame and stir-fry until they start to brown in spots, about 3 – 4 minutes.

Add sauce and stir-fry until well-coated and the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute.

Zucchini and Spinach Soup, Carrot and Parsley Salad, Whole Wheat Rolls

by Jennifer

This soup is my adaptation of a recipe from Out of the Ordinary, a cookbook put out by the Historical Society of Hingham, MA, and it’s wonderful.  Even my kids, who admittedly blanched at the sight of green soup, enjoyed it (one even had seconds), and my husband ate two huge bowls.  I served it with whole wheat rolls from my supermarket’s freezer section.

Zucchini and Spinach Soup – Serves 4 – 6

  • 8 cups no-chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup long-grain brown rice (I had brown basmati rice on hand)
  • 3 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 pound zucchini, shredded
  • 8 oz. fresh spinach, large stems removed
  • generous amount of freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot bring the broth to a boil, add the rice, lower the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 40 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently,

until they are golden and translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 – 5 minutes.

Add the spinach in batches,

cooking just until it is all wilted;  remove pan from heat.

When the rice is ready, add the vegetables, and

puree the soup until it is almost smooth, using either an immersion blender or a regular blender, in batches.  Serve hot.

Carrot and Parsley Salad – from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home

This salad is terrific – bright, full of flavor – and can be made up to two days ahead of serving.  Serves 4.

  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and grated (use the shredding disk of your food processor)
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients

and toss well.

Manhattan Clam Chowder, No-Knead Bread with Oregano, Escarole and Fennel Salad

by Jennifer

I adapted this chowder recipe from the original found at simplyrecipes.com, and it’s fantastic.  I am not too proud to admit I was slurping the last of the broth from the soup pot after dinner!  When I took the No-Knead Bread dough out from the refrigerator, I kneaded in a couple tablespoons of chopped fresh oregano, then let it rise on the counter.  This dinner serves 4 adults (or two adults and several children, with some for lunch tomorrow!).

Manhattan Clam Chowder

  • 3 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium – large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 15 oz. tomato juice
  • 8 oz. bottle of clam juice (I use Bar Harbor brand)
  • 4 6.5-oz. cans of clams – I used 3 chopped and 1 whole – with broth reserved
  • 1 lb. new potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1” pieces
  • salt, freshly ground black pepper and Tabasco to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large stockpot;  add carrots, celery and onions and cook until they begin to get tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minutes.

Add the thyme, bay leaves, tomato juice, all the clam juice (from bottle and cans), and the potatoes.  Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Stir in the clams, and season to your taste.  Serve hot.

Escarole and Fennel Salad

  • 1 medium head escarole, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, core removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Maldon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • juice from 1/2 lemon

Wash and spin-dry escarole well;  transfer to a serving bowl with the fennel.  Add olive oil and toss well.  Add salt and pepper and toss well.  Add lemon juice, toss well, and serve.

Not-Chicken Soup with Matzah Balls

by Jennifer

Chicken soup with matzah balls transcends the holiday of Passover, and Judaism as well.  This soup, which tastes like chicken soup but is vegetarian, is delicious any time of year.

Not-Chicken Soup – from Mollie Katzen’s Still Life with Menu

I highly suggest doubling this recipe and freezing some for the next time you have a recipe calling for chicken broth.  The photos for this recipe are actually from Passover, and I was doubling it already!

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 8 – 10 cloves garlic, smashed and peels removed
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into chunks
  • a good handful of white mushrooms, stems removed, halved or quartered if large
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • (optional: a parsnip, peeled and cut into chunks;  a couple scallions)

Combine everything in a large stockpot and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for 75 minutes.  Remove from heat, remove the cover and let the soup come to room temperature.

Remove the solids, pressing on them gently to extract any broth before discarding them.

If you would like carrots and celery with your matzah balls, thinly slice a couple carrots and a couple stalks of celery and steam them until tender, about 10 minutes, then add them to the soup.

Matzah Balls

This recipe makes about 10 matzah balls;  feel free to double (I did, for Passover!).

  • 1 cup matzah meal
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup seltzer water
  • 3 TBS vodka

Whisk together matzah meal and salt.

Stir in remaining ingredients

until smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil;  while you’re waiting,

form the mixture into golf-ball sized balls (about 2 TBS) with wet hands.

When the water is boiling, add in all the matzah balls and cover, turning the heat down to medium-low.  Cook for 40 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, gently transfer them to the soup and enjoy!  (One note:  the turmeric in the soup will turn the outside of the matzah balls yellow, which does not affect their taste.)

Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese and Caramelized Onion Sandwiches

by Jennifer

My husband declared, “This dinner is great!”, and it was.  Even better, the soup is so easy, and you can make it earlier in the day and reheat for dinner if afternoons/evenings are crazy.  I love caramelized onions in grilled cheese sandwiches;  my son prefers to eat his with a fork on the side.

Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup – from Cook’s Illustrated

Serves 4 – 6.

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling on top
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 28-oz. cans whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 TBS brown sugar
  • 3 slices soft sandwich bread (they recommend white;  I used soft whole wheat bread), crusts removed and torn into 1” pieces
  • 2 cups vegetable or no-chicken broth (or chicken broth, if you prefer)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

Heat 2 TBS oil in a large pot over medium-high heat;  add the onions, garlic and bay leaf and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and their juice, using a potato masher to crush the tomatoes into small chunks.

Stir in sugar and bread;  bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and

cook until bread is completely saturated, about 5 minutes.  Remove bay leaf and discard.

Add 2 TBS oil before pureeing the soup, either in batches using a blender, or using an immersion blender.  Add broth to pureed soup, and freshly ground black pepper to taste; heat over medium heat until hot.

Serve each bowl with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of chives.

Grilled Cheese and Caramelized Onion Sandwiches

Nothing could be easier or so good-feeling inducing.  Make as many as you want (there are five in my family).

  • Whole grain/whole wheat bread, two slices per person
  • Your favorite good-quality cheese – I used aged raw milk cheddar, thinly sliced
  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil per onion
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Unsalted butter, margarine, or butter-flavored cooking spray

Slice onion very thinly;  for every onion you use, heat a TBS of olive oil in a large pan over low heat, then cook the onion, stirring occasionally, for 30 – 40 minutes,

until it is tender and browned and your house smells delicious.  Season with salt and pepper.  You can make these ahead, up to a day, then reheat in the microwave for 30 – 60 seconds before making the sandwiches.

Prepare sandwiches with cheese – enough so it’s gooey, but not so much that you don’t get good melting in the middle – and if you’re using the onions, layer the onions between two layers of cheese.  Heat a large griddle over medium-low heat.

Butter the top slice of bread, then arrange sandwiches, buttered side down, on the griddle.  Butter the top slices of the sandwiches.

Check after a few minutes;  if the bottom is golden, flip, and cook until both sides are golden and cheese is melted.

Cranberry Bean – Vegetable Soup with Parsley Pesto, Challah

Cranberry Bean – Vegetable Soup with Parsley Pesto, Challah

by Jennifer

Cooking dried beans is so economical and healthy, plus you can freeze beans for future recipes.  This is a great do-ahead;  cook them any time during the week, refrigerate some for tonight, and freeze the rest.  They also make tasty, quick burritos:  take a flour tortilla, scatter beans down the center, sprinkle on some cheese, add some cilantro, roll it up and turn it seam-side down, then nuke it in the microwave for a minute or two, until the cheese melts.  Add some salsa and presto, instant lunch!

 Cranberry Bean – Vegetable Soup with Parsley Pesto – adapted from Cooking Light

Serves 4.

  • 4 cups cooked cranberry beans (see below for details about cooking dried beans)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large leek, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced, and rinsed
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 small to medium yellow squash, diced
  • 1 14.5-oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Parsley Pesto:

  • 2 TBS pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups Italian parsley
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan

To cook dried beans, soak the beans overnight (at room temperature) in a large bowl filled with water, enough to cover the beans by a couple inches.

Drain and rinse the beans, then put them in pot, cover them with water by an inch or two, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer and cook them for an hour, or until tender.

Drain.  Reserve 4 cups beans for the soup, and freeze the rest for another meal.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the leeks, carrots and garlic;  cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the leeks are tender.

Add the water and beans;  bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.

Add zucchini, squash, tomatoes, and salt, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

While the soup is cooking, make the pesto.

Use a food processor to finely chop the pine nuts and garlic.

Add the parsley and salt and process, stopping to scrape down the sides, until finely chopped.

Add Parmesan and oil and process, stopping to scrape down the sides, until the pesto is finely chopped.

Serve the soup with a good-sized dollop of pesto. Serve with Challah or your favorite bread.

Chickpea Soup with Arugula, Bruschetta with Homemade Ricotta Cheese and Fresh Oregano; Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Pudding Cake with Fresh Berries

Chickpea Soup with Arugula, Bruschetta with Homemade Ricotta Cheese and Fresh Oregano

by Jennifer

Chickpea Soup with Arugula – adapted from Gourmet magazine

Serves 4 – 6 adults.

  •  1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS tomato paste
  • 1 Turkish bay leaf or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 2 cups chickpeas, rinsed and drained from 2 15.5-oz. cans (use the remaining chickpeas in a salad or mixed with hummus)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 5 oz. baby arugula
  • freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat;  add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add the bay leaf, salt, broth, chickpeas and black pepper to taste;  cover, lower heat to a simmer, and let cook for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.  Discard bay leaf.

Use a hand-held immersion blender and blend briefly, leaving most of the soup chunky, or remove 1 cup of soup and puree in a blender, then return to the pot.

Stir in the arugula and cook until it wilts.

Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano sprinkled on top.

Bruschetta with Homemade Ricotta Cheese and Fresh Oregano

It is actually pretty easy to make homemade ricotta cheese, and you don’t need to buy anything special if you already have an instant-read thermometer.  Use the left-over ricotta in lasagne, cheesecake, as dessert (or breakfast!) with toasted walnuts and a drizzle of honey, or to make Ricotta Gnocchi….stay tuned!

Serves as many as you like!

Homemade Ricotta Cheese – from Al Capone of Capone Foods, Somerville, MA

  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 TBS salt
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • Cheesecloth (you can find this in most grocery stores)

Combine the milk, cream and salt in a large, heavy pot set over medium-high heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer registers 185 degrees.

Add the vinegar and stir for 15 seconds;  let sit on heat for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the pot sit for 15 – 20 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop the curds into a colander lined with cheesecloth set in your sink or over a bowl.

Let the cheese drain for several hours or overnight, until it stops draining (mine stopped draining after 4 hours).  Keeps in an airtight container in the fridge up to 12 days.

For bruschetta:

  • 1 loaf sourdough bread (mine was from Panera), thickly sliced
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Fresh oregano, chopped
  • Olive oil

Pour a very generous amount of olive oil into a 12” skillet, enough to reach at least 1/4” high.  Heat over medium-high heat until quite hot but not smoking;  a drop of water should sizzle immediately.

Fry bread slices until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side.  Remove from the pan to a paper-towel lined plate;

smear with a generous amount of ricotta cheese (which gets all soft on the hot fried bread) and sprinkle with oregano.  Serve immediately.