Archive for October, 2009

Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

This is one of my very favorite soups. I love it because it’s delicious and also because some of the ingredients can be sourced locally here in Colorado throughout the year, even in the middle of Winter. I buy a couple huge bags of shallots in the Fall and use them throughout the Winter until scallions come in the Spring.  I can’t think of a time when local mushrooms aren’t available here.  Osage Gardens is in Colorado, so that takes care of the dill.  And, more and more farms are making greens available through the Winter (Jay Hill is the one that comes to mind). Oh, and Colorado is known for storage onions, so you might notice the local sign on those through the year, as well.

Soon after I started making this soup, I added some leftover homefried potatoes with french lentils and chard and now I always make that a part of the soup too.  It’s great with or without, but with the addition of the lentils and greens, it becomes a complete meal.  And, of course, potatoes are aplenty in Colorado.   

  • 1 cup wild rice, soaked overnight and rinsed
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 large shallot cloves, minced
  • 1 medium leek, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cremini or button mushrooms, chopped
  • 5-6 large shiitake mushrooms, destemmed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill (or 1 Tablespoon or more fresh)
  • 2 Tablespoons mirin or white wine, optional
  • 8-10 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons low-sodium tamari
  • 3/4 cup chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: 1/2 large bunch chard, destemmed and chopped
  • Optional: 1 large red potato, diced
  • Optional:  2-3 cups cooked French lentils*

Saute the onions in olive oil until slightly browned.  Add shallots and cook until slightly browned.  Add keeks and celery and cook until soft.  Push all the cooked veggies to the outside of the pan, add a bit more oil, and add the carrots and mushrooms until they break down and begin to stick to the pan.  Add wine (or water if preferred) to deglaze the pan, and mix everything together.  Add the wild rice.  Crush the dill with your fingers and stir into the vegetable-rice mixture.  Add water and tamari and season with about a teaspoon of salt, bring to a boil, then simmer 30-45 minutes (or put in the crockpot for 3-4 hours on high or overnight/for the day on low).  Add parsley to the pot about 15-20 minutes before you serve the soup.  If you are including potatoes and/or greens and/or cooked lentils, add them here too.   Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and enjoy! 

*If you don’t have cooked French lentils, you can add 1 cup uncooked, rinsed French lentils with the water, but wait to add the tamari and salt until the end!  You may also want to skip the wine, but in such a small amount, it’s probably fine to leave it in.

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Winter Squash and Kale Sauté with Almond Butter Sauce

This is a really great Fall dish, just right for the end of the Farmers’ Market season, when there is plenty of local Winter Squash and kale.  I love cubed and roasted Winter squash, especially delicata, so I roast a bunch at a time and use some for this meal and save the rest for snacking, salads, etc.  The original recipe was for stuffed Winter Squash, but I’ve embellished it by adding tempeh and quinoa.  Both versions are delicious – great for Thanksgiving!    

By the way, the original version for stuffed squash was given to me by a friend from Minnesota who got it from a cooking class at her local co-op.  I wish I knew the name of the author, but I can’t find the original recipe. 

  • 1 lb Winter Squash (I love delicata, but you can also use butternut or any other sweet squash you like)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 8-oz package of tempeh*, chopped
  • ¼ cup shiitake mushrooms
  • 2-4 cloves garlic
  • ½-1 bunch kale or other green, chopped
  • About ½ cup water
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 3/4-1 cup hot water, or more if needed
  • 2 Tablespoons tamari, or more, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice or rice vinegar
  • Pinch curry powder (optional).can use ginger or garlic
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • Toasted almonds: chopped, slivered or sliced:  add before serving

Peel and seed the squash and chop it into 1/2 inch squares.  If you are using a squash with ridges, like delicata, don’t worry if a bit of the skin stays on.  Toss with olive oil and bake at 375 to 400 degrees until squash is tender to your liking.  Doneness depends on taste, ranging from just tender to browned and carmelized. 

While the squash is baking, heat oil in large skillet.  Sauté onion until lightly browned, then add the tempeh and continue to cook until browned.  Add mushrooms and cook 2-3 minutes, or until tender.  Add the garlic and cook another minute or so.  Add greens and water, checking that there is enough water to cover the bottom of the skillet.  Cover and simmer for about 3-5 minutes, or until the greens begin to feel tender.  Meanwhile, combine the almond butter, hot water, tamari, lemon or vinegar and spices, if using.   Stir the roasted squash and quinoa into the kale/mushroom mixture, then stir in about half of the sauce, continuing to add more to taste.  Reserve any extra sauce for drizzling on top, or for a dipping sauce for veggies or another meal. Top with almonds and enjoy!   

*you can cook the tempeh as is, but poaching it in a flavored broth will give it a little more flavor and more tender texture.  Just slice the tempeh into thin slices (preferably on the diagonal), then stir together 3/4 cup water, 2 Tablespoons tamari, a splash of toasted sesame oil, and a bit of agave, if desired, in a small saucepan and add the sliced tempeh.  Simmer, covered,  until liquid has been absorbed.  If I’m in a rush, I sometimes cheat and crank the heat up – just be careful not to burn it to the pan! 

Variation: For stuffed squash, simply cut it in half, remove the seeds, drizzle a layer of olive oil on the cut surface and place it cut side down on a baking sheet with sides.  Bake at 375 to 400 degrees until soft.  It will release some liquid, which will burn and get sticky, so you’ll want to keep that on your baking sheet, rather than baked onto your oven…(Suggestion: while you have the oven on, roast an extra squash or two, then mash and freeze for butternut squash soup.)  Meanwhile, make the filling, with or without the tempeh and quinoa, and serve inside the squash half, topped with chopped or sliced almonds.

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Crockpot Applesauce

If you don’t know this already, homemade applesauce is a world apart from the kind you get in the jar at the store.  For one thing, when it’s homemade, it’s fresh and warm.  Even after it’s been stored in the fridge, it is still much more delicious (and fresh) than jarred.  And, you can freeze it…of course, if you don’t have a crockpot you can easily make this on the stove.  But, you should get a crockpot.  If you are a raw foodist, make small amounts at a time and skip the cooking part:) 

I don’t make applesauce in the traditional way.  I think this way is much easier and, though you have the option to peel the apples, I highly recommend keeping them on for depth of flavor, nutrition, and simplicity. Also, make it as chunky or smooth as you like.  And, add whatever you want (spices, apricots, raspberries, etc.) 

This is worth a try; even if you weren’t a huge applesauce fan before, like me, you might be one after you make it yourself!  Make some hearty waffles* or pancakes* on the weekend, throw them in the freezer, then toast them up and top them with crockpot applesauce and chopped nuts for a quick weekday morning meal or nourishing snack.

  • apples, any kind, seconds if you can get some
  • cinnamon or other spices, if you want
  • other fruit, if you want

Core the apples (and other fruit, if using) and cut into eighths.  Put them in a blender and blend to the texture you like.  It’s helpful to put the back of a wooden spoon in through the hole on the top of the blender to push the apples down as you blend them.  Just be sure it can’t reach the blade.  You shouldn’t need additional water, but add just a little if you must.  Pour the raw applesauceinto the crockpot.  Repeat as needed until all your apples are used up.  You can make any amount.  Add any spices you want to add, turn the crockpot to low and cook anywhere from 4-8 hours.   If doing this on the stovetop, you can make it in 30 minutes on medium to a few hours on low.  Store in mason jars in the fridge.  It will last a week or two.  You could also can or freeze it, if you so desire. Enjoy!     

*A few additions to give pancakes and waffles more staying power:

  • add chopped walnuts to the batter
  • decrease the flour by 1/2 cup and fold in some cooked quinoa or other grains at the end
  • use wholegrain flours like buckwheat, amaranth, teff, millet and quinoa
  • use yogurt as the liquid; the acidity will make them extra fluffy
  • add ground flax or chia seeds

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Quick Pickles

The cucumbers and peppers just keep on coming in the CSA box!  I have tried making kosher pickles, but, so far, no luck because I don’t want to use the kosher salt with the anti-caking stuff and none of the salts I have seem to work.  So, quick pickles it is!  They don’t last as long as traditional pickles, but they do get gobbled up pretty quickly in my house, so that’s not really an issue…they also only take about 5 minutes of my time and, right now especially, that is a good thing.  We like them plain, but I also like to add them to green salads or bean salads.   

  • 4 cups sliced veggies – can be any combo of cucumbers, bell peppers, zucchini or summer squash, radishes, turnips,  red onions, etc.
  • salt
  • 2 Tablespoons raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons agave or honey
  • fresh dill, optional

Slice cucumbers, squashes, or radishes into thin rounds, and peppers into thin strips.  Layer them in a colander, sprinkling them with generous amounts of salt between layers.  The salt helps draw the moisture out and will be rinsed off, so don’t be shy with it.  Allow the salted vegetables to sit, pressing occasionally, until no more water comes out when you press them.  The more water you get out, the better they will pickle, but I’ve been lazy before about this and they are still good, so don’t fret if you run out of time.  Rinse vegetables to remove most of the salt, then press again.  Put them into a glass container with a lid and add the cider vinegar, sweetener, and dill, if using.  Stir to thoroughly combine, taste, and adjust seasonings if needed.  Eat immediatelyand enjoy!  They will last a few days in the refrigerator.

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