Category: Vegan/Vegetarian

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

Summer brings an abundance of zucchini either from your own garden or the farmers’ market. I found piles of leeks at the farmers’ market at the same time the zucchini reached peak season. As I eyed them, it was like they were screaming at me to make a Leek and Zucchini Casserole! I went a little crazy with this recipe in terms of over-the-top richness, — butter, Parmesan and Cheddar cheeses –but once in a while it’s so nice to sit down to an ooey-gooey mound of deliciousness on your plate.

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

How to Clean Leeks

First, let’s address those leeks. They’re sandy and require a thorough cleaning. Remove the dark green tops and the root portion at the bottom of the bulb and discard. Cut the leek in half lengthwise and then into thin slices. Toss into a large bowl of cold water and swish around. Take handfuls of the leeks and gently rub between your palms to separate the layers and loosen the dirt. Let sit for a few seconds so the dirt settles to the bottom of the bowl. Scoop the leeks into a colander. Drain, rinse, and refresh the bowl with cold water, and repeat the cleaning process once more. Drain.

Slicing the Zucchini

I used a mandolin to slice the zucchini into ¼-inch rounds, which is the perfect size for the time and temperature in this recipe. If you cut the zucchini by hand and make thicker slices, or just prefer thicker slices, increase the timing by a few minutes.

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

Herbs

Herbes de Provence is a lovely blend of Provencal herbs, which complements the delicate taste of this leek and zucchini casserole. I like Penzey’s herbes de Provence which contains rosemary, cracked fennel, thyme, savory, basil, tarragon, dill weed, oregano, lavender, chervil, and marjoram. Or, substitute something earthy like thyme or rosemary, either dried (same amount) or fresh (1 tablespoon, plus 1 ½ teaspoons minced).

Key Points for Success

Zucchini has a high-water content which is expelled during cooking. The only place it has to go is into the casserole and eventually over the sides onto the oven floor. I always recommend placing this style of recipe on a lined baking sheet to catch any drippings. But you can also take a couple of steps to prevent too prevent this.

The leeks and cream also contain water, dilute flavor and increase chances of spillage. Don’t skimp on the time suggested in the recipe to saute the leeks, which releases and evaporates the water and intensifies flavor. Same for the cream, cook it down until it’s thick enough to stay in place when stirred. Following these simple instructions yields a delicious, cheesy and less runny leek and zucchini casserole.

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

Let’s get started. Grease a 1-quart casserole dish with a little butter – I use my slightly smaller Le Creuset 24-ounce casserole dish – and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter in the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the leeks, garlic, herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper. Stir to coat with the fat and saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the leeks begin to brown, reduce the heat a smidge.

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

Add the cream, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle boil, and cook until the cream is quite thick, about 6 or 7 minutes. When you run a spoon through the cream, it stays in place.

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Spread ¼ of the cream and leeks on the bottom of the greased casserole dish.

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

Lay ¼ of the zucchini slices on the bottom, overlapping slightly.

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

Repeat layering the cream and leek mixture and the zucchini 3 more times.

Strew the shredded Cheddar cheese over the top and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

Let sit for 10 minutes to settle before serving.

Tip: The casserole can be prepared a day before cooking. Cover and refrigerate. Take out of the refrigerator and place in preheated oven; increase cooking time by 10 minutes.

 

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Leek and Zucchini Casserole

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Category: Side Dish

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the casserole dish
4 cups thinly sliced leeks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 medium zucchini cut into ¼-inch coins
1 ½ cups (6 ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Instructions

Let’s get started. Grease a 1-quart casserole dish with a little butter – I use my slightly smaller Le Creuset 24-ounce casserole dish – and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter in the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the leeks, garlic, herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper. Stir to coat with the fat and saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the leeks begin to brown, reduce the heat a smidge.

Add the cream, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle boil, and cook until the cream is quite thick, about 6 or 7 minutes. When you run a spoon through the cream, it stays in place.

Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Spread ¼ of the cream and leeks on the bottom of the greased casserole dish.

Lay ¼ of the zucchini slices on the bottom, overlapping slightly.

Repeat layering the cream and leek mixture and the zucchini 3 more times.

Strew the shredded Cheddar cheese over the top and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.

Let sit for 10 minutes to settle before serving.

Notes

The casserole can be prepared a day before cooking. Cover and refrigerate. Take out of the refrigerator and place in preheated oven; increase cooking time by 10 minutes.

Keywords: casserole, side dish, leek, zucchini, cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, Herbes de Provence, gluten-free

Corn and Black Bean Salad

Corn and Black Bean Salad in a bowl

When my husband came home from the store over Labor Day weekend, he said Terry, the produce manager at the Village Market, told him this was probably the last weekend for corn. I’m always shocked how quickly corn season passes. I hadn’t even made my Corn and Black Bean Salad yet!

This salad comes together easily. The only ingredient that is cooked is the corn and even that is optional. I either steam it on the stovetop or grill it.

Prepare the Corn

To steam the corn, fill a large saucepan with a couple of inches of cold water and a tablespoon of kosher salt. Bring to a boil, add the corn, and cook for 5 minutes.

To grill the corn, preheat the grill to high. Brush a little olive oil on the corn, set on the hot grill, reduce the heat a bit, and cook for 5 minutes, turning the ears 3 times.

Let the corn cool for 5 or 10 minutes for easier handling and then cut off the kernels with a sharp knife.

Corn and Black Bean Salad prepped ingredients

Finish the Salad

Pop those kernels into a medium serving bowl along with the black beans, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, but be sure to hold back of couple of tablespoons for garnishing the salad, salt, and lime juice. Toss to combine thoroughly.

I like the salad to sit at least an hour to let the flavors meld, so I omit the avocado until just before serving to prevent it from oxidizing. The oxygen in the air reacts with the avocado flesh and turns it brown. Nothing unhealthy about it, just not eye appealing. You can also make the salad the day before without the avocado. Take the salad out of the fridge a good 30 minutes before serving to warm a little.

Corn and Black Bean Salad with avocado

Lots of flavors and textures in the Corn and Black Bean Salad and it goes with everything – burgers, kabobs, chicken, fish, beef, pork, or seafood, and it’s vegan/vegetarian!

Happy Labor Day!

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Corn and Black Bean Salad

This salad comes together easily. The only ingredient that is cooked is the corn and even that is optional. Steam it, grill it, our use it au naturel. It’s colorful, tasty, and the only side dish you need for a meal.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish

Ingredients

6 ears corn
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
15 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 Kirby cucumber, diced, or about ¼ cup cucumber, remove seeds if bitter
¼ red onion, small dice
1 jalapeno, small dice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small bunch cilantro chopped, reserving a couple of tablespoons for garnishing the salad
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 avocado

Instructions

To steam the corn, fill a large saucepan with a couple of inches of cold water and a tablespoon of kosher salt. Bring to a boil, add the corn, and cook for 5 minutes.

To grill the corn, preheat the grill to high. Brush a little olive oil on the corn, set on the hot grill, reduce the heat a bit, and cook for 5 minutes, turning the ears 3 times.

Let the corn cool for 5 or 10 minutes for easier handling and then cut off the kernels with a sharp knife.

Pop those kernels in a medium serving bowl along with the black beans, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, but be sure to hold back of couple of tablespoons for garnishing the salad, salt, and lime juice. Toss to combine thoroughly.

Notes

I like the salad to sit at least an hour to let the flavors meld, so I omit the avocado until just before serving to prevent it from oxidizing. The oxygen in the air reacts with the avocado flesh and turns it brown. Nothing unhealthy about it, just not eye appealing. You can also make the salad the day before without the avocado. Take the salad out of the fridge a good 30 minutes before serving to warm a little.

Keywords: summer salad, salad, black bean salad, corn salad, black beans, corn, side dish, gluten-free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, summer recipe

Burrata with Warm Eggplant Compote

Burrata with warm eggplant compote and crusty bread

Serve this Burrata with Warm Eggplant Compote as a quick and easy, yet elegant appetizer. It’s as eye appealing as it is delicious!

Burrata means “buttered” in Italian. This cheesy delicacy is made of a mozzarella shell and stuffed with a soft, milky curd that oozes from the center of the cheese. It’s best served at room temperature – the cheese on the outside and inside soften and flavor is maximized. Drizzle with a fine, thick balsamic vinegar, a great foil for the mild cheese.

halved burrata

Typically, mozzarella is served with sliced tomatoes as a caprese salad or other raw ingredients. However, it’s nice to change things up once in a while and this warm eggplant compote is a perfect accompaniment. Even better, the compote can be made the day before and gently reheated before serving.

Eggplant Compote

Cook the seasoned eggplant in hot oil over medium heat until the bottom side turns a golden brown. Turn and continue cooking a few minutes more until that side is golden brown. Stir and continue cooking until the eggplant is done; it offers no resistance when pierced with a fork, but retains its shape. Remove to a plate.

Sauteeing eggplant

Add a little more oil to the pan and toss in the shallots, garlic, and pepper flakes; sweat until the aromatics are soft and translucent, about 2 minutes, scraping up the eggplant tidbits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the tomatoes and raisins and cook over a low flame for 3 minutes. The tomatoes should yield a little, looking a little crinkly, but not mushy.

Return the eggplant to the pan, stir and reheat.

Place one burrata on a salad plate with a scoop of the eggplant compote. Drizzle a thick balsamic vinegar over both and top with the basil.

Platting Burrata with warm eggplant compote

Serve with warm crusty bread or try our Garlic Bread!

Watch the video here.

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Burrata with Warm Eggplant Compote

Burrata with warm eggplant compote and crusty bread

Serve burrata and eggplant compote as a starter to any meal – it as eye-appealing as it is scrumptious. Accompany with a warm, crusty bread.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Appetizer

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups ½-inch cube eggplant (~1  pound)
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
¼ cup minced shallots
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup raisins
¼ -1/2  cup basil chiffonade
2  large or 4 small burrata, cut the large burrata in half

 Garnish                       

A drizzle of thick balsamic vinegar over the burrata and eggplant compote and top with sliced or whole basil leaves.

Instructions

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Season the eggplant with salt and place into the hot oil in a single layer. Don’t stir again until the bottom side of the eggplant begins to turn golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Lower the heat if the eggplant is browning too quickly.

Turn and continue browning for another 2-3 minutes. Toss the eggplant in the skillet and cook until the eggplant is soft, but still retains its shape.

Remove eggplant to a plate.

Add the shallots, garlic, and pepper flakes and sweat until the shallots are soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes, scraping up the eggplant tidbits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the tomatoes and raisins, stir to combine and cook over at a gentle simmer for a few minutes or until the tomatoes begin to crinkle a little.

Stir in the eggplant to reheat.

Place one burrata on a salad plate with a scoop of the eggplant compote. Drizzle a thick balsamic vinegar over both, top with the basil.

Notes

Make the day before and gently reheat.

Keywords: burrata, eggplant, compote

Old-Fashioned Homemade Lemonade

lemonde

We’ve had some hot, sweltering days this summer – high temps accompanied with high humidity. A tall, ice-cold glass of Old-Fashioned Homemade Lemonade is always a welcome treat, especially on days like these.

This recipe is based on my memory of how Mom made lemonade when I was a kid. I remember her using both freshly-squeezed lemon and orange juice. While I like my lemonade tart with just a hint of sweetness, the small addition of orange juice calms the absolute tartness of the lemons just enough to make this summer refresher delicious and thirst quenching.

lemonde

Use simple syrup to make the lemonade – no worries about sugar residue on the bottom of the glass. Make up batches and keep in the refrigerator to have on hand to sweeten all your summer drinks – iced tea, iced coffee, and lemonade.

Watch the video here.

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Old-Fashioned Homemade Lemonade

Quick and easy to make, old-fashioned homemade lemonade is a refreshing pick-me-up on those tropical summer days.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1/2 gallon
  • Category: Beverages

Ingredients

2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¾ cup simple syrup
Cold water and ice

Garnish

Lemon and/or orange slices, seeded

 

 

 

Instructions

Combine the juices and simple syrup.

Add ice and cold water, stir to blend.

Serve over ice in a tall glass.

Keywords: iced beverage, lemonade, iced drinks

Cauliflower and Red Onion Quick Pickles

Cauliflower and Red Onion Quick Pickles in a mason jar

Quick pickles are popular lately, especially if you watch the food show competitions. It’s a quick and easy way to add a crunchy texture and boost flavor using acid, salt, sugar, herbs, and/or spices. Ginger, chili peppers, cumin, and coriander give this recipe a Middle Eastern flavor.

The pickles can be used within 20 minutes or so of a quick brine – use an ice bath to chill before serving. Store remaining pickles in jars with the brine and seasonings. The pickles continue to soak up flavors and the vegetables soften a little over time.

Cauliflower and Red Onion Quick Pickles in mason jars

I created this quick pickle recipe to go with the Za’atar Chicken and Quinoa Salad, the pungency of the pickles complements the dish nicely as does the crunchy texture.

Watch the Cauliflower and Red Onion Quick Pickle video here.

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Cauliflower and Red Onion Quick Pickles

Quick pickles are an easy way to add a crunchy texture and boost flavor using acid, salt, sugar, herbs, and spices. Ginger, chili peppers, cumin, and coriander give this recipe a Middle Eastern flavor.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups
  • Category: Pickles

Ingredients

1 small cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
4 cups cold water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup coarsely chopped cloves garlic, about 6 cloves
3 serrano chilies, halved or dried chilies
2 tablespoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon diced fresh ginger, about a 1-inch piece

Instructions

Combine water, vinegar, sugar garlic, chilies, salt, coriander and cumin seeds, ginger and salt in a large saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil; lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in the cauliflower and onions, return to a boil, then turn the heat off and let steep for 10 minutes.

Ladle the vegetables and brine into jars, make sure the brine come to 1/2-inch below the top of the jar.

Strain the remaining liquid and divide the garlic, chilies, seeds and ginger evenly between the jars.

Cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 months.

Notes

To use immediately, fill a large bowl with ice and cold water, place a smaller bowl in the center and fill with the quick pickles. Stir frequently to chill evenly.

Keywords: 38370

Mexican Deviled Eggs

Mexican Deviled Eggs on a platter

I love the smoky flavors and my go to spices for adding that earthy smokiness are ancho and chipotle chilies and smoked paprika. These are the predominant flavors in my Mexican Deviled Eggs, combined these with  lime juice, Mexican oregano and a hint of cumin. The result is a spicy, smoky deviled egg.

Remember, deviled eggs aren’t just party food. Eat them for breakfast or lunch. Do you love egg salad? Instead of stuffing the egg whites, chop them up and blend in with the puréed yolks, add a little more crema or sour cream if it’s too thick, spread on a tortilla, top with some lettuce and tomato and you have a Mexican egg-salad sandwich!

Mexican Deviled Eggs on a platter

See our post/video on making hard-boiled eggs here; or use store-bought hard-cooked eggs to save time.

NOTE: Queso fresco is a mild, semi-soft Mexican cheese and is available at most major grocery chains.

Watch the video here.

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Mexican Deviled Eggs

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 37 minutes
  • Yield: 1 dozen
  • Category: Appetizer

Ingredients

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced shallot (1 small)
2 teaspoons minced cloves garlic (2 cloves)
½ teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon ancho chili powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder
6 hard-cooked eggs, shelled and sliced in half lengthwise, yolks and whites separated

¼ cup Mexican crema or sour cream
¼ cup chopped queso fresco
1 tablespoon lime juice

Garnish

Shredded queso fresco and/or a cilantro leaf

Instructions

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat.

Stir in shallots, garlic and salt; sweat for 4 minutes or until the shallots are soft.

Add the ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, oregano and chipotle powder and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30-40 seconds.

Place the egg yolks, crema/sour cream, queso fresco, lime juice, in the base of a food processor. Purée, scraping sides as needed. Add the cooked shallots and purée again.

Fill the cavity of each egg white with the egg yolk purée by using a spoon or a piping bag.

Garnish each egg with a pinch of shredded queso fresco and/or a cilantro leaf.

Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Best served at room temperature.

Notes

Queso fresco is a mild, semi-soft Mexican cheese and is available at most major grocery chains.

Keywords: deviled eggs, hard cooked eggs

Grilled Vegetables

Do you get carried away by the beautiful produce at the farmers’ market? It happens to me all time. From one stand to the next there are more and more tantalizing vegetables. Fear not, you can toss them all on the grill and make a medley of Grilled Vegetables!

Grilled vegetables are a wonderful side for any meal or a meal in and of themselves. The leftovers make great wrap sandwiches the next day or dice them for a salad.

grilled vegetables on grill, zucchini, red onions, eggplant and corn

Cooking times vary depending on the whether the vegetable is cooked whole or sliced. I like my eggplant cooked well. I don’t find the taste of undercooked eggplant or its spongy texture appealing. However, a well-cooked, silken eggplant is perfection.

Corn takes a couple minutes per side, so 6 – 8 minutes. Cook over high heat for charred corn, which also makes a wonderful chowder. To cook gently, place it on the indirect heat side and cook for the same amount of time.

Scallions cook quickly and char easily – keep an eye on them, but it’s well worth grilling them for the sweetness they exude right off the grill.

To cook zucchini and summer squash I remove them while they have a little firmness. They contain lots of water and can turn to mush easily. A little texture in the bite is nice.

To grill, simply drizzle with olive oil and good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Additional dressings or herbs can be added after cooking.

Grill up some thick, bone-in pork chops to go along with your grilled vegetables!

Let yourself be tempted – bring those veggies home and grill them up!

Watch our video on How to Grill Vegetables here.

Herb Croutons

pea soup with homemade herb croutons

pea soup with homemade herb croutonsCrispy and delicious Herb Croutons add texture and a salty/herby flavor to salads or soups. Try with our Rosemary Pea Soup.

To Make Herb Croutons

Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet, large enough to hold the cubes in one layer. Drizzle half of the oil over the cubes, toss, drizzle with the remaining oil and toss again.

herb croutons
Bake preheated oven (400 degrees F) for 10 minutes or until crispy, giving a toss halfway through the cooking.

Finely chop the herbs and combine with salt. Sprinkle the herb of choice and salt over the hot cubes and toss.

herb croutons

Watch the Herb Crouton Video here.
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Herb Croutons

pea soup with homemade herb croutons

Make these delicious Herb Croutons to add a crispy texture and salty/herby flavor to salads or soups. Finely chop the herbs, mix with salt and toss on toasted bread cubes.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 27 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups
  • Category: Bread/Garnish

Ingredients

1 small loaf country-style bread, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced herbs
pinch of coarse salt

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet, large enough to hold the cubes in one layer. Drizzle half of the oil over the cubes, toss, drizzle with the remaining oil and toss again.

Bake preheated oven for 10 minutes or until crispy, giving a toss halfway through the cooking.

Finely chop the herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, or sage and combine with salt. Sprinkle the herb of choice and salt over the hot cubes and toss.

Cool.

Notes

For a hearty herb like rosemary, think dust when mincing for even coverage and flavor.

Rosemary Pea Soup

pea soup shooters with herb croutons

pea soup shooters with herb croutonsSpring is around the corner and that means young sweet peas are beginning poke through the dirt ready to begin their climb up the vines and ripen into tiny green beads of deliciousness. This is the time to make a delicious chilled or warm Rosemary Pea Soup.

The velvety texture and the sweetness from the leeks and peas is nicely tempered by the earthy flavor and aroma of fresh rosemary. This soup is delicious chilled or heated, but please note that the amount of salt for each style varies.

chilled soup with croutons

Cold foods require a little more salt to amp up flavor and this is done while the soup is hot. It takes a little finesse to get it right – as soon as the salt is a little too prominent for a hot mixture, stop. Chill. If you aren’t sure what temperature you want to serve the soup, season it for the hot version.

To fix an already chilled soup that isn’t properly seasoned, take a ladle or two of soup and heat, either on the stovetop or in the microwave, and add the salt necessary for the cold version. Stir to dissolve and add back to the cold soup.

Use our herb crouton to make a garnish and use finely minced rosemary, serve with a chilled Rosé, and celebrate the arrival of spring – finally!

To Make the Soup

chilled soup with croutons

Heat the oil over medium heat in a covered 7-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan. Stir in the leeks, scallions, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper, cover and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring once. If the vegetables are browning, lower the heat a little.

chilled soup with croutons

Stir in the stock, bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 5 minutes more.

chilled soup with croutons

Puree the soup in batches in a food processor or blender – be careful of the steam, or in the pan with an immersion blender.

chilled soup with croutons

The texture should be smooth and velvety.

chilled soup with croutons

Place the bowl in an ice bath to cool

Serve in small cups with three croutons each for a lovely appetizer or starter course.

chilled soup with croutons

See our video on how to safely blend hot ingredients.

Watch the Rosemary Pea Soup video here.
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Rosemary Pea Soup

chilled soup with croutons

A delicious, versatile Pea Soup that can be served chilled or hot. Top with crunchy rosemary croutons and celebrate the arrival of spring and spring produce!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 quarts
  • Category: Soup/Appetizer

Ingredients

Chilled Pea and Rosemary Soup

¼ cup unsalted butter
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (whites and light greens), thoroughly rinsed and drained (about 2 leeks)
½ cup minced shallots (about 3 shallots)
½ cup diced celery (about 1 stalk)
¼ cup rosemary leaves only
1 tablespoon coarse salt*
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 cups vegetable stock or water
6 cups fresh shelled peas or 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen peas

Garnish                      

Rosemary Croutons

Instructions

For the Rosemary Pea Soup:

Heat the oil over medium heat in a covered 7-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan

Stir in the leeks, scallions, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper, cover and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring once. If the vegetables are browning, lower the heat a little.

Stir in the stock, bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes.

Add the peas and cook for 5 minutes more.

Puree the soup in batches in a food processor or blender – be careful of the steam, or in the pan with an immersion blender. The texture should be smooth and velvety.

Place the bowl in an ice bath to cool

Serve in small cups with three croutons each.

Notes

*Reduce the salt by 1 teaspoon if serving warm or hot

Cinnamon Raisin French Toast

French Toast and strawberry compote

French Toast and strawberry compoteFrench toast is a weekend event. Not that it’s difficult to make, but a little time consuming for a busy workday morning. I love this recipe for Cinnamon Raisin French Toast. Saturate the bread slices in an egg mixture for several minutes, which creates a custardy center and crisp out layer. A pat of butter on top and a drizzle of warm maple syrup and you have perfect cinnamon raisin French toast!

Beat the eggs, cream and vanilla in a small bowl.

Lay the bread on a baking sheet and pour the egg mixture over the top. Let sit for 3 minutes.

French Toast

Turn and let sit for 3 minutes more.

Melt the butter in the skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Lay the bread slices on the hot griddle and cook until golden brown, turn and cook until golden brown. Adjust heat as needed.

French Toast

Hold in a 200 degree F oven until all the toast is cooked.

Microwave bacon to serve with the French toast.

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Cinnamon Raisin French Toast

French Toast and strawberry compote
  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Breakfast/Brunch

Ingredients

4 large eggs
¼ cup heavy cream or half and half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 slices cinnamon raisin bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Garnish
butter and warm maple syrup

Instructions

Beat the eggs, cream and vanilla in a small bowl.

Lay the bread on a baking and pour the egg mixture over the top. Let sit for 3 minutes.

Turn and let sit for 3 minutes more.

Melt the butter in the skillet on griddle over medium-high heat. Lay the bread slices on the hot griddle and cook until golden brown, turn and cook until golden brown. Adjust heat as needed.

Hold in a 200 degree F oven, until all the toast is cooked.

Cream of Tomato Soup

cream of tomato soup

I’ve been thinking about Cream of Tomato Soup a lot lately. I haven’t had it in years and the last time was most likely Campbell’s. The occasion for making it came up with a party I was having for my daughter Margot.

cream of tomato soup

She recently became a designer for Keep Collective, a jewelry company. We invited family and friends local to me (she lives in Philadelphia) for a Saturday afternoon, including a light lunch. We had about a dozen acceptances. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to make a lovely ladies’ lunch.

Hors d’oeuvres

Scallion and Parsley Humus
Crudité
Pita Chips

cream of tomato soup

Lunch

Cream of Tomato Soup
Grilled Cheddar Cheese on Rye
Turkey Club Sandwiches

cream of tomato soup

Dessert

Triple Chocolate Brownies
Chocolate Almond Coconut Biscotti
Banana Bread Biscotti
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cream of tomato soup

The soup and sandwiches were a big hit. It was a chilly day and everyone was oohing and awing about comfort food. I kept the soup in the crockpot on low to easily fill and refill mugs. No utensils – all finger foods!

We had a great afternoon and everyone stayed a long time. I think they departed around 7pm – always a sign of a good party when guests stay longer than expected!

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Cream of Tomato Soup

cream of tomato soup

Cream of Tomato soup was one of my favorite soups growing up. This recipe packs lots of natural tomato sweetness and goes perfectly with grilled cheese sandwiches!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 quarts
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large celery stalk, sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 cup dry white wine
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 can (14.5) ounces fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1 bouquet garni (3 parsley sprigs, 20 thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves, 6 pepper corns securely wrapped in cheesecloth)
1 cup heavy cream

Instructions

Melt the butter in a 7-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat.

Once the butter foams, stir in the onion, celery, carrot, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat if the onions are browning.

Stir in the garlic and cayenne and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the wine and bring to a boil, reduce to ¼ cup.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, stock or water and bouquet garni.

Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes.

Remove and discard bouquet garni,

Cool off heat for 15 minutes.

Pour the soup in batches into a blender or food processor, filling the container halfway or less. Cover, remove the top insert to allow for steam to escape, but cover that hole with a folded over towel.

Place into a clean container and continue pureeing until all the soup is smooth. Stir in the heavy cream.

Reheat and serve.

Freezes well.

Notes

See our video on how to safely puree hot foods.

Roasted Spiced Carrot Purée

Roasted Spiced Carrot Puree

This recipe for Roasted Spiced Carrot Purée is delicious with our Spelt Flat Bread recipe, which makes a great snack or appetizer. Also use as a dip for pita chips. Top with crumbled feta cheese, coarsely chopped pistachio nuts and a drizzle of cilantro oil.

The spices, cumin, oregano, coriander, turmeric, smoked paprika and cayenne, each contribute to the overall depth of flavor and complement the sweet carrots nicely.

Roasted Spiced Carrot Puree

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a half sheet (13-inch by 18-inch by 1-inch) tray with foil or parchment paper.

Coarsely chop up the carrots and lay on the prepared tray with the cloves of garlic. Combine the melted coconut oil, cumin, oregano, coriander, salt, turmeric, smoked paprika and cayenne and drizzle over the carrots. Use your hands to coat thoroughly.

Roasted Spiced Carrot Puree

Pop into the oven and roast for 50 minutes. The carrots should be very tender. Cool slightly before puréeing in a food processor.  The texture should be similar to peanut butter.

Note: Avoid the blender – there’s not enough liquid to blend smoothly.

Roasted Spiced Carrot Puree

For the flatbread, spread the carrot purée over the flat bread and garnish with cilantro oil, chopped pistachios and crumbled feta cheese.

Roasted Spiced Carrot Puree

Watch the Roasted Spiced Carrot Purée here.
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Roasted Spiced Carrot Puree

Roasted Spiced Carrot Puree

A delicious carrot purée that’s wonderful spread on flatbreads or as an appetizer dip with pita chips.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup
  • Category: Appetizer

Ingredients

Roasted Spiced Carrot Purée
2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons Turkish oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon coarse salt
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne
2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
6 large cloves garlic, separated with peel on

Garnish
Crumbled feta cheese
Chopped pistachios
Cilantro oil

Instructions

For the Spiced Carrot Purée

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Stir the cumin, oregano, coriander, salt, turmeric, smoked paprika and cayenne into the melted coconut oil.

Place the carrots and garlic on a baking sheet, pour the spice mix over, and toss to coat well.

Place in the preheated oven and bake 50 minutes or until fork tender; timing varies according to thickness of carrots.

Cool slightly and purée to a paste, similar in texture to peanut butter.

Serve as a dip or spread on flatbread.

Notes

See recipes for Spelt Flatbread and Cilantro Oil

Makes 3 flatbreads: use 1/3 cup carrot purée, 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese, 1/3 cup coarsely chopped pistachio nuts and drizzle each with cilantro oil. Cut into 6 or 8 squares or triangles.