Monday, December 30, 2013

Caring for Carcinoid Foundation

As 2013 concludes, I want to share this opportunity to donate to the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation and have your funds matched. This is the only foundation that is dedicated to raising research funds for pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer (my type of cancer) and other neuroendocrine cancers. The Foundation also provides support for individuals diagnosed with these rare types of cancer.  Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors are diagnosed in 0.3 - 0.4 out of every 100,000 people each year. (Lucky me!!) Because they are so rare, there are minimal research funds available, so foundations such as this one are critical to making strides in diagnosis and treatment. There are many needs in this world, and if this one doesn't fit your giving priorities, then I'm confident you will find other ways to "live and give".  

We are so grateful for your support. 

If you have already made your year end gift, please accept our sincere thank you. 

If you have not yet made your gift to the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation, there is still time! 

Donate now, while there is still time, and take advantage of the $1 million dollar challenge. 

Your support, matched by the challenge will continue to fuel progress in 2014. 

Remember the December 31st tax deadline. Donations made to the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation  before midnight on December 31st are deductible on your 2013 federal income taxes. 

Thank you!  

With the help of our $1 million grant from the Goldhirsh-Yellin Foundation,  every increased gift to our year end appeal will be matched dollar for dollar, and every gift increased by 50% or more will be matched two to one - doubling and tripling the impact of support. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Deck the Halls with Green

This morning on the Today show, one of the guests  (don't ask me who -- I have no memory for celebrity names)  brought their "green drink" to show the viewing world. That's all it took to motivate me to make one for my breakfast.  I generally don't like cold drinks during the winter, but it looked so tasty that I quickly overcame my aversion to anything cold.  So I looked at what I had available in the fridge and put it into my Magic Bullet. Ah...just right for taste.  It was a small amount and fit perfectly in the glass that our son got at the All Pints North Brew Fest. I was just about to start taking the photos for this post,  when I spilled it on the table. So, I decked the halls and the table with green.  I quickly snapped the photos anyway so you could witness the start of my day.  Then I scraped it back into the glass and enjoyed every sip!!  Wow....I have missed my green juices and vow to have them regularly, cold weather or not. Besides, it is a glistening, relatively warm (25 degrees) Pzazz of a day here in Duluth. 

1 cup fresh spinach
1 stalk celery, cut into 3 -4 pieces
1/2 Braeburn or Granny Smith Apple        
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (appoximate)
4 Tablespoons fresh parsley  (approximate)
enough water to make it puree in the Magic Bullet (about 1/4 cup)

Put all ingredients in a Magic Bullet or similar device and watch the Magic of healthy, delectable Green Juice appear!

Servings per recipe: 1
Serving Size: 1 cup              
Calories: 67
Total Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 63 mg
Total Carbs: 17 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 2 g

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Savory Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I made these for Thanksgiving last month and they were a big hit with everyone! So I made a double batch of them Friday to bring to a family Christmas celebration yesterday.  Again, several people requested the recipe, surprised at how much they liked savory sweet potatoes. These are definitely a much healthier alternative to the usual fare of candied sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, like the ones I ate growing up.  If you like garlic, use the full 4 cloves listed in the ingredients, but if not, feel free to reduce the amount to whatever fits your "Pzazz-ometer". This recipe is an adaptation of one from the blog of Our Savory Life.  

4 medium-sized sweet potatoes
(choose ones that are all about the same size)
coconut oil for coating the potatoes
Additional 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 Tablespoons minced fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
dash of freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pierce the potatoes several times with a fork, then lightly coat them with coconut oil,and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. (One time I coated them first and then tried to pierce them....slippery and dangerous. Yikes!) Bake for 45 minutes or until juice from the potatoes are oozing. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

While the sweet potatoes are baking, saute the minced garlic cloves in the coconut oil over medium heat until fragrant and turning light brown (about 3 - 5 minutes).  Add the minced fresh thyme and continue cooking for about 3 - 4 more minutes.

Just a note about fresh thyme. Thyme is a very tiny herb and it is time consuming to strip it from the stem and then mince it. To get 2 - 3 Tablespoons of it for this recipe, I used about 10 sprigs. However, if time and energy are at a premium, use the dried ground form --- maybe about 1 -2 teaspoons.  The fresh thyme imparts such an incredibly good flavor, though, that if you can manage it, it is definitely worth the time and effort.

Remove the skin from the sweet potatoes and mash the pulp to desired consistency.  Add salt, pepper, and thyme/garlic oil mixture. Mix until well combined. These refrigerate well so they are a great dish to make a day before your holiday event. Simply warm them up in the microwave. Then be prepared to share the recipe!

Nutrition per serving:  
Servings per recipe: 4            
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Calories: 138
Total Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol:  0 mg
Sodium:  332 mg
Total Carbs: 25 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 3 g

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Beans-Greens & Garlic Dip/Spread/Sauce

Healthy, quick and versatile, besides being yummy!  I made this recipe last fall when I had an abundance of Swiss chard from the garden.  Today, spinach was the green of choice.  Any leafy green would work well, I think.  The versatility also comes in the form of being able to use this as a dip for crackers (or raw vegetables for those of you who can eat them) or as a sauce for pasta, or as a spread on bread.  Pzazz!  It tastes so creamy that you will be convinced it is fat-laden, but not a bit of fat can be found in it.  

1 (15 oz.) can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed, but reserve the  fluid
  (the better alternative would be to cook your own beans and save the liquid. I was lazy.)
1 cup fresh spinach, torn into bite size pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
dash of salt and freshly ground pepper
splash of lemon juice

Put the beans, the spinach, and the garlic in the Magic Bullet.  To make it as a dip, put in about 1/4 cup of the reserved fluid. To use it as a pasta sauce, thin with about 1/4 cup more reserved liquid. Whirl away to desired consistency.  Add a dash of sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and splash of lemon juice.  

Other spices that might be good to try would be a dash of cayenne pepper, or rosemary, or let your imagination run wild.   Running wild sounds fun, doesn't it!! 

Servings per recipe: 5
Serving Size: 1/4 cup
Calories: 72
Total Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 103 mg
Total Carbs: 14 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 5 g

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Creamy Black Bean Soup

Creamy Black Bean Soup
I originally found this incredibly easy pureed black bean soup recipe on Spark People, which is the site I use to calculate nutritional information for most of my recipes.  Then I also saw the recipe on the side of a can of black beans.  This is the easiest, quickest black bean soup recipe I have ever seen, taking a maximum of 10 minutes to make.  If you are still tired from preparing your Thanksgiving feast and starting to do some baking or cooking for Christmas, this quick and delicious and nutritious soup is a lifesaver!   Pzazz for sure! Of course, you can vary the type of salsa you use for variety, too.  

1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup salsa

Put all ingredients in a Magic Bullet or similar device and puree to desired consistency, making in into a "creamy" black bean soup.  Ladle single serving into a bowl and heat in the microwave. Stir in a squirt of lime juice. Garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley, and/or a dollop of yogurt. I used parsley and goat yogurt and it was yummy!!

Nutrition per serving:
Servings per recipe: 2
Serving Size: 1 1/4 cup
Calories: 200
Total Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 954 mg
Total Carbs: 43 g
Dietary Fiber: 11 g
Protein: 14 g

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pear Cranberry Crisp (Gluten Free and Dairy Free)

I am trying out a couple of new recipes before Thanksgiving Day arrives so I know which ones I want to make for the day.  This one will certainly be on the menu!   You might be wondering as you look at the photo if that cranberry really won't cause an obstruction.  Well, it is so soft that it honestly could squeeze through a tube of toothpaste!  But that's not what you will be thinking about when you eat this dessert.  You will only be thinking how you can keep it to yourself.  The combination of pears and cranberries is the perfect combination of sweet and tang.  I have enjoyed it as a dessert many times this week, as you will see by the variety of photos. 

This is also a gluten-free and dairy-free dessert.   In August, my physicians determined that I may have another disease process at work, called polymyositis.  It is a disease of muscle inflammation, and a certain subset of patients respond well to a dairy-free and gluten-free diet.  I had always eaten large quantities of bread products, so couldn't fathom what this new dietary restriction might mean for me.   What was most fascinating as I ventured into this new territory of no gluten and absolutely no dairy products ( I previously ate only cultured dairy products such as kefir and yogurt)  was how it improved my digestion almost immediately. But I have no way of knowing if it was the elimination of dairy or the gluten that had improved my digestion since I eliminated both of them at the same time.  I guess that sometime during the upcoming holidays, I may not have the willpower to resist some gluten products, so maybe I will find out for sure.

This recipe is an adaptation of one I found on the blog of Cookie and Kate.  It also gave a gluten-free version of the recipe, but it still contained dairy products of butter and yogurt.   I made it dairy-free by using coconut oil instead of the butter and I used goat yogurt rather than the cow yogurt.  I also strained the goat yogurt for about 30 minutes so it was thick and creamy.  (The brand of goat yogurt I discovered that I like is Redwood Hill Farms.) I also modified the recipe by eliminating the walnuts and substituted Sucanat for the brown sugar. If you aren't familiar with Sucanat, it is a natural cane sweetener. The brand name is an acronym from Sugar Cane Natural and it has substantially less carbohydrates in it than brown sugar. I have purchased it for many years in the bulk section at the Duluth Whole Foods Co-op.  The almond meal used for the topping with the oats is a "staple" in our pantry, because Tom frequently uses it to make his own crackers. (More about those tasty treats another time.)   

But back to this delectable dessert!  When Tom tried it, he said "anyone would like this - it's great!"  The honey-sweetened pears form the basis for this easy, and easy to digest dessert that will grace our Thanksgiving table next week.  

2 Bartlett pears, cored, peeled and sliced into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
3 Tablespoons honey
1 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/2  cup gluten free oats (Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 cup almond meal (Bob's Red Mill)                  
3 Tablespoons Sucanat
1/8 tsp fine-grain sea salt
2 Tablespoons coconut oil - melted
1 1/2 Tablespoon goat yogurt, strained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the pears, cranberries, honey, cornstarch, lemon juice, ginger and cinnamon and place in a small baking dish. Mix the oats, almond meal, sucanat, and salt. Set aside. Melt the coconut oil and cool it a bit. Add it to the rest of the topping mix and stir lightly. Add the drained yogurt and crumble it together, then put it on the top of the fruit. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until all of the fruit is very soft.   Eat and be thankful!

Servings per recipe: 8
Serving Size: 1/8 of the pan
Calories: 147
Total Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 41 mg
Total Carbs: 23 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 2 g

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cauliflower & Potato Soup with Kale Crumbles

On October 30,  I posted the recipe for Cauliflower Soup with Kale Crumbles, and I promised the next post would be for another version of it that added potatoes.  Well, here it is.  Potatoes are one of my favorite foods,  but they often have an undeserved bad nutritional reputation.   They are easy to digest, which make them a winner with me, but they are also extremely nutritional.  They contain complex carbohydrates along with proteins, vitamins, and minerals such as vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium and iron.  Pzazz for sure!  When I made the soup this time, I used Pacific low-sodium vegetable broth, which substantially reduced the amount of sodium in the soup and I thought the flavor was improved.  Pzazz again!

    1 Tablespoon coconut oil
    1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
    1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets
    4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth 
    About 1/4 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning
      2 cups peeled, cubed potatoes (about 1/2" cubes)

Melt oil in a deep soup pot. Add the chopped onion and saute until translucent. Meanwhile, cut cauliflower florets into smaller pieces. When the onions are translucent, add the cauliflower florets, the chicken broth, the potatoes and the seasoning. Cover and simmer on low until the cauliflower pieces and potatoes are very tender.  Puree with an immersion stick or other device of your choice.  Garnish with kale crumbles, or you could add them prior to pureeing.   

To make the kale crumbles, simply chop a bunch of kale into bite sized pieces.  Use whatever variety of kale you prefer.  I like the Lacinato Kale best.(Lacinato kale is also known as Dinosaur kale, Tuscan kale, or black kale.) Then put them into a bowl and spray with olive oil cooking spray and season with just a dash of salt and pepper.  Stir to distribute the olive oil spray and then spread them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.  Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for about 8 - 10 minutes, until crispy.  Crumble into the soup.

Nutrition per serving:   (includes kale crumbles)                                       
Servings per recipe: 4
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 138
Total Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 249 mg 
Total Carbs: 28 g 
Dietary Fiber: 8 g
Protein: 6 g

Thursday, November 7, 2013

4th Annual Worldwide NET Cancer Awareness Day

Grevys zebra

No, I promise you, I do not have a recipe for cooking a zebra today!!!  But the image of a zebra has become a favorite of mine because it is the designated logo for NET cancer.

What is NET cancer?  Neuroendocrine tumors (NETS) are tumors that arise in the neuroendocrine cells in the body.  Neuroendocrine cells are located in the nervous system and in the endocrine system.  NETS are found most commonly in the lung or gastrointestinal system, but they can also originate in other parts of the body, such as the pancreas and ovary, among other sites. NET cancers are usually slower growing compared to other types of cancer, but are deadly, nonetheless.  The type of cancer that I was diagnosed with in 1998 is a neuroendocrine tumor of the pancreas. 

But I bet you are still wondering why the zebra is designated as the logo for NET cancer. In medical school, doctors are taught, "when hearing hoof beats  think horses, not zebras." But NET cancers are considered "rare" and therefore may be considered to be a "zebra".  Studies show that about 5 out of 100,000 people are diagnosed with a NET tumor of some type each year.

NETS are listed with the National Organization of Rare Disorders and because of their rarity and due to a lack of public awareness, the disease has had low priority for medical research. Please help me in the effort to bring more awareness to NET cancer on Sunday, November 10 which is designated as the 4th Annual Worldwide NET Cancer Awareness Day. I have also listed other valuable resources about NET cancer.  

4th Annual Worldwide NET Cancer Awareness Day

NET Cancer Day, November 10, 2013
The 4th Worldwide NET Cancer Awareness Day will be held internationally on November 10, 2013.  Here's what YOU can do to help spread awareness of NET Cancer.  

1)Sign the Proclamation in support of the awareness campaign,

2)View NET Cancer Day videos on YouTube: 
I found these videos incredibly inspiring and uplifting!

3)Sign up for the NET Cancer Day e-newsletter

Here are some other useful resources to learn more about NET tumors.  You will see the term "carcinoid" in some of these resources.  Carcinoid is a part of a group of NET tumors, but the websites listed below address NETs and carcinoid.  

Carcinoid Cancer Foundation
This is the most comprehensive and informative site dedicated to supporting patients diagnosed with a NET.

Caring for Carcinoid Foundation
This foundation has awarded over 6 million dollars in research grants to leading scientists working to discover better diagnosis and treatment options for NETs.

Carcinoid Cancer AwarenssNetwork
This site emphasizes ways to increase awareness of NETS and carcinoid.

This link  highlights NET cancer awareness efforts worldwide, but it also contains great videos about NET cancer, some from physicians

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cauliflower Soup with Kale Crumbles

Do you ever wonder where your mind finds ideas????   I certainly wonder where mine comes up with ideas.....especially ones that turn out this superb!  I had some cauliflower that needed to be used and some already chopped onions, and some kale.  And a need for something easy.  Thus, a soup is born!  Even Tom thought it was excellent.  

If you are wondering about "kale crumbles",  it's my version of  "roasted kale chips".  You think I'm kidding, don't you!!!   Get over your need for unhealthy potato chips!   I mean it!   Try these for a healthy and satisfying alternative. Simply chop a bunch of kale into large pieces. Use whatever variety of kale you find at the store or better yet at a local farmers market (or if you are lucky like I am, find in your garden).  Then put them in a bowl and spray with olive oil cooking spray and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Stir to distribute the olive oil spray and then spread them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.   Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for about 8 - 10 minutes, until crispy. Crumble and use as a garnish for soup. Pzazz!  Of course, if you can tolerate olive oil, just drizzle about 1 - 2 teaspoons on the chopped kale in a bowl and proceed as above.  
Roasted kale "chips"

My next post will be of how I turned this soup into  potato-cauliflower soup for another meal.

    1 Tablespoon coconut oil
    1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
    1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets
    2 1/2 cups chicken broth (I used Swansons Chicken broth, not the reduced sodium type)
    About 1/4 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning

Melt oil in a deep soup pot. Add the chopped onion and saute until translucent. Meanwhile, cut cauliflower florets into smaller pieces. When the onions are translucent, add the cauliflower florets, the chicken broth, and the seasoning. Cover and simmer on low until the cauliflower pieces are very tender. Puree with an immersion stick or other device of your choice. 

Nutrition per serving:
Servings per recipe: 4
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 79
Total Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 3 mg
Sodium: 643 mg (could easily be reduced if a low-sodium variety of broth was used)
Total Carbs: 10 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 4 g

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Curried Red Lentil and Winter Squash Soup

This is my adaptation of a recipe from Epicurious.  The original recipe cubed butternut squash and cooked it with the other vegetables in a soup pot.  But because Tom had cooked one of his monster pink banana squash  (see photo below) and I had that in the refrigerator, I used that instead.  And of course, I used coconut oil rather than the combination of vegetable oil and butter that the original recipe used.  The mix of earthy red lentils and squash with curry was superb!  Madras curry is simply one type of ground curry that is a bit more intense than the typical curry powder.  I often have it in my spice cupboard, but didn't have it when I made this soup, so I am eager to try this again using Madras curry.  

The original recipe also made a cilantro oil to put on the soup, but it used vegetable oil and cilantro and I knew that would never work for me.  So I played around with the idea, and made an incredibly tasty sauce using goat yogurt and cilantro.   I used about 4 teaspoons yogurt with about about 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, and put it in the Magic Bullet.  The flavor was a great accompaniment to the soup.  Of course, any type of plain yogurt would work.  I am realizing for me, however, goat products are much more easily digested than cow products.  

I am definitely a better cook than photographer.  I think I took about 50 photos and none did this soup justice. Just believe me when I say it is tastier than it looks.  

The abundance of winter squash is Pzazz this year!  Tom planted several varieties of winter squash, and all performed heartily.   The great thing about winter squash is that they are nearly indestructible.  If kept in a cool place, they will keep for months before needing to be used. Or I often bake them in the oven, and then freeze the flesh, or make it immediately into soup, which can also be frozen.  For those days and weeks when I have minimal energy, there is nothing better than being able to take out soup from the freezer and simply warm it up.  

1 Tablespoon coconut oil
2 1/2 cups cooked winter squash (any variety)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons minced peeled ginger
1 Tablespoon curry (preferably Madras)
8 cups water
1 cup dried red lentils, picked over and rinsed
fresh lemon juice

Heat oil in deep soup pot.  Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic,and ginger with the salt.  Saute until the vegetables are tender. Add the cooked winter squash, freshly ground pepper and curry powder and simmer about 10 more minutes.  Let cool. Add the water, and puree with an immersion blender in the pot, being careful for hot splatters.  Add the lentils to the pot, and simmer, covered, for about 30- 40 minutes until the lentils are soft.  Ladle into bowls with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. A garnish of crumbled feta cheese or crumbled goat cheese is also tasty with it.

Nutrition per serving:
Servings per recipe: 10                        
Serving size:  1 cup
Calories:  118

Total Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol:0   mg
Sodium: 226 mg
Total Carbs: 20 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 6 g

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Caleb's Savory Garbanzo Flour Pancakes

Our son, Caleb, created these pancakes and they are delicious. Of course, being the great cook that he is, he doesn't measure ingredients.  So it took me a few tries to get the right consistency. His original recipe uses whole kernel corn, with sauteed sweet green peppers and onions.  I pureed cream style corn and used onion powder and finely minced sweet green pepper. 

Use this recipe as a template for trying other seasoning combinations. Coriander and cumin would likely be great compliments to the garbanzo flavor.  I served the pancakes with goat yogurt and because they are savory rather than sweet, I felt no desire for a sweet syrup. These are Pzazz as snacks, too!

    1 cup cream style corn
    6 Tablespoons liquid egg whites
    2/3 cup Bob's Red Mill Garbanzo Bean (chickpea) flour
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon curry powder
    dash of onion powder
    2 teaspoons finely minced green pepper
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    freshly ground black pepper

Put the cream style corn into the Magic Bullet or similar device and puree to a smooth consistency. Add the liquid egg whites and stir thoroughly. Add the garbanzo bean flour, baking powder, curry powder, and dash of onion powder. and minced green pepper, if using. Melt coconut oil onto a griddle.  Ladle twelve pancakes and fry. These need to be cooked at a bit lower temperature and a bit longer than normal pancakes. Full of Pzazz when served with goat yogurt! 

Nutrition per pancake :
Servings per recipe: 12
Serving Size: 1 pancake  (I ate three of them for breakfast.)
Calories: 45
Total Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium:  95 mg
Total Carbs: 8 g
Dietary Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 3 g

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Spicy Pureed Vegetable Salsa

This is a recipe that I picked up at the Duluth Farmers Market several years ago.  And the recipe really does puree the final product.  I used onions, hot peppers, carrots, and tomatoes from Tom's vegetable garden.  The pepper I used was much hotter than I realized, so this pureed salsa was full of Pzazz! But it is fabulous used as a dip for mild corn chips, and I even put it on my scrambled egg whites one morning. And one day I mixed it with some baked winter squash.  Pzazz in so many ways.

The tomato crop this year was unbelievable!  We harvested more than 200 tomatoes and Tom made a roasted tomato salsa for himself that was great, too.  I also cooked tomatoes with garden onions and peppers, then pureed them and stuck them in the freezer to use for a variety of soups this winter.  I'm thinking a pureed black bean and tomato soup might be delish!  I'll experiment on that and get back to you.  As you can see from the photos below, we had an abundance of tomatoes.  Tom chose all heirloom seeds and had about 10 varieties. Nope, they aren't as pretty as store-purchased tomatoes, but the flavor can't be beat!   And remember the information I posted by Barry Estabrook about "Tomatoland".  Disgusting on many levels.  

Yellow tomatoes

Black tomatoes

Harvest from Sept 29 alone!

1 Tablespoon coconut oil
    1/2 cup diced onions
    1/2 cup diced celery
    1/2 cup diced carrots
    1 large clove garlic, minced
    1/4 cup chopped seeded hot pepper (more or less depending on the level of Pzazz you want!)
    1 1/2 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 
    1/2 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
    3 cups finely chopped fresh tomatoes (I used a mixed variety of types)
    1/4 cup wine vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon sugar

Heat oil in large saucepan. Add onions celery, carrots, garlic and peppers. Saute until soft, about 10 minutes. Add parsley, cilantro, tomatoes, vinegar, salt and sugar. Simmer for 45 minutes.Allow to cool slightly. Then blend to a smooth puree in a food processor or blender or use an immersion stick if the pan is deep enough. Return to saucepan and simmer for another 30 minutes. 

Nutrition  per serving:
Golden Tomato
Servings per recipe: 16
Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons
Calories: 24
Total Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 76 mg
Total Carbs: 3 g
Dietary Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 1 g

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Snappy Summer Squash Soup

This is an adaptation of a recipe I found on Veginista.  The original recipe used olive oil, for which I substituted coconut oil.  It also used saffron, which is far too pricey for my pantry.  And it used 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. I like a good "kick" in my soup, but I knew it would be "bad ass kick" if I used that much, so I reduced it to barely 1/8 teaspoon and it still had "snap".  Thus, the title for my modified version.

Yellow summer squash and eight-ball squash

I used a combination of eight-ball summer squash and yellow summer squash.   If you haven't seen eight-ball squash, you might not know what it is when you first see it.  It is a new variety of zucchini, so it can be used for any recipe using zucchini.  It has an attractive shiny green speckled skin that is tender. It is named eight-ball because of its resemblance to a billiard ball.  Of course, if it grows big like the second one in our garden, maybe it should be called a bowling-ball zucchini.

What you see below is the bounty Tom harvested on September 22 from the summer squash patch and the pepper plants.  Since then, he has gathered more each day.  And then there are the tomatoes....more about that on another post.    Stay tuned.......

    2 Tablespoons coconut oil
    1 large onion, sliced fine
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon sweet paprika
    1/4 teaspoon turmeric
    Sprinkle of cayenne pepper or 1/8 teaspoon, depending on how much snappy Pzazz you want!
    2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
    6 cups sliced (3/4 inch slices) summer squash (I used yellow & green eight -ball squash) 
    3 cups vegetable broth 

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot. Over medium heat, add the onion, garlic and spices. Stir frequently & cook until soft but not browned. When the onions are soft, add the squash & cook for about two minutes. 

Pour in the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer & cook until the squash is tender (15-20 minutes).

Puree the soup in a blender until it is very smooth. I used my immersion stick blender. The soup can be gently reheated when you’re ready to serve. If it seems very thick, you may wish to thin it with some additional stock. Add salt to taste.  

For garnish, top with paprika, freshly ground pepper, fresh finely chopped basil & a squeeze of lemon. Or top with crumbled goat cheese. 


Nutrition per serving:
Servings per recipe: 6
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 85
Total Fat: 5 g
Cholesterol:  0 mg
Sodium: 76 mg
Total Carbs: 11 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 2 g

If you like zucchini soup, don't forget about the one I posted last year for Charred Zucchini Soup by Anna Thomas. The wedding of charred zucchini with mint is divine!  I made it several times again this year and when my friend, Tahirih, tasted it, she immediately asked for the link to it on this blog so she could make some.  Other summer squash soups I have posted are:
Zucchini and Basil Soup by Anna Thomas
Patty Pan Summer Squash Soup
Asparagus Zucchini Soup
Crookneck Squash Soup with Curry and Ginger
Simple Summer Squash Soup
Italian Summer Squash Soup
Lemon Basil Summer Squash Soup
Curried Zucchini Soup

Monday, September 23, 2013

Roasted Tomato and Pepper Soup

The photo below shows the patio table filled with tomatoes that Tom harvested on Sunday evening when he heard the frost warning.  He covered the rest of them on the vine and they are ripening quickly in the warmth of this week.   There are several different varieties of heirloom tomatoes - yellow, black, golden, and many types of the common red tomato. (He will chastise me for not specifically naming all of the varieties that he so carefully chose to plant.)  He has been harvesting more summer squash, too, as well as peppers.  The "red lipstick" sweet red peppers are...well...cute. They were a great addition to this soup, which is an adaptation of a recipe I found in the Soup Bible by Penguin Books, 2010. The roasted tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic combined to make a richly satisfying soup. The next time I make it, I will definitely make a double batch, as the robust flavor captures the essence of a great Italian soup. And the finishing touch of balsamic vinegar sealed the deal for me.  

Red Lipstick sweet peppers and green bell peppers
    2 lbs. ripe, firm (unpeeled) tomatoes, quartered, cored and deseeded
    1 cup sliced sweet red peppers
    1/2 red onion, peeled and quartered
    3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
    a few sprigs fresh basil (I used two types of Italian basil - Purple and Genovese) 
    2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    2 Tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
    1/2 cup vegetable broth
    2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
    1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the peppers and tomatoes in a glass baking pan with the onion, garlic, basil and oil. Season with salt and pepper, then roast for 1 hour or until the edges of the tomatoes are slightly blackened.

When the vegetables are ready, remove from the oven. Remove the garlic cloves, squeeze out the pulp and discard the skins. (You have just roasted garlic, which is much sweeter than a regular garlic clove.) Blend the contents of the baking pan (including all of the juices) with the broth.  I used my immersion blender stick. Add balsamic vinegar to taste, and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh basil.

Roasted vegetables 
Purple and Genovese basil 

Nutrition per serving:
Servings per recipe: 2      
Serving Size: 1 1/4  cup
Calories: 329
Total Fat: 22 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 547 mg
Total Carbs: 37 g
Dietary Fiber: 8 g
Protein: 6 g