Archive for March, 2010

Curried Yellow Split Pea Soup…with options

You might notice that I love to make soups.  That is partly because they are warming, nutritious, and delicious.  It’s also partly because they nearly always yield more than one meal.  As much as I thrive on time in my kitchen, I try to reserve my cooking times to when I can be spacious and creative and really enjoy what I am doing.  Sometimes that doesn’t jive with our meal times.  This is another reason why I love soup.  It can be cooking itself all night or day in my crockpot, or I can whip it up quickly in my pressure cooker, or it can be sitting in the refrigerator, flavors blending and enhancing as it awaits the next meal. 

Personally, I don’t mind eating a meal I love over and over, but I know others who don’t want to eat the same thing twice.  Another bonus with soup – you can add new ingredients, or even blend two separate soups for a completely different meal.  A soup can also look really different depending on how it’s presented (one day as a one-pot meal, another day as a cup of soup alongside other side dishes).     

  • 3-4 Tablespoons ghee or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 cups yellow split peas (I like to soak them for at least a few hours, then rinse before adding them to the soup)
  • 7-8 cups water, plus additional water as needed
  • 1-2 Tablespoons curry powder
  • pinch cayenne, if desired for heat in addition to your curry
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Variations:

  • Add chopped greens and basmati rice.
  • Add mixed vegetables and a grain, plus some strained tomato.
  • Mix this soup with Curried Winter Squash Soup and add some chopped greens and basmati rice.
  • Mix with leftover vegetable soup and add some quinoa. 
  • Serve in a small cup, along with quinoa and green peas sauteed in ghee and some naan or bread with avocado.
  • Serve in a small cup alongside basmati rice, mixed cooked vegetables, and a salad.
  • Create your variation, then put a jar of soup in the freezer for a quick meal another day.

Heat a pressure cooker or large soup pot to medium and add ghee or olive oil.  Saute onions until lightly browned, then add leeks and continue to cook until they begin to brown.  Stir in celery, garlic, and ginger and cook another minute or two.  Add split peas, water, curry powder and cayenne.  If using a pressure cooker, cover and bring to high pressure, then cook for about 20-25 minutes or until split peas have completely broken down and soup is smooth.  If using a soup pot, cook partially covered for several hours adding water if necessary.  Add salt, pepper, and any optional ingredients and enjoy!  With leftovers, add additional optional ingredients and enjoy again!!

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Baked Taquitos

There is nothing better than portable food when you are running around between home, work, school, errands, soccer games, swim practice, or whatever it is that keeps us all on our toes and out of our cozy homes some days.  Don’t get me wrong, if I had my way, we would all be strolling to our local market to select the very best, most seasonal and delicious produce, then strolling back to our kitchens to prepare simple, healthy, and fabulous creations every day.  Of course, we would then sit down as a family and eat a leisurely meal before our afternoon siesta or retiring for the day.  But, alas, this is America, and we are busy.  While I do my best to get as close as I can to the dreamy life described above, there are times when breakfast gets eaten on the way to school or dinner is served soccer field-side. 

Soup and hot leftovers generally go with us for lunch or dinner on the run, but my kids really like a good finger food once in a while.  So, taquitos were born.  I had seen them in the frozen section, but didn’t want to go there, so decided to try them here at home.  I happily discovered that they were really easy and a hit with both kids, as well as my husband.  Served with guacamole, sweet potato fries, and a salad or slaw, they make a pretty good meal on the run that we can all feel good about. 

And, as a major added bonus, if you have kids, they can do almost all of this themselves!  Let them come up with their own filling ideas too…

  • 1 package sprouted corn tortillas, or tortillas of your choice
  • 1 recipe refried beans
  • shredded cheese, optional
  • lightly steamed greens stirred into beans, optional
  • olive oil for brushing taquitos

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly oil a baking tray and set aside.  Create an assembly line with the tortillas, an empty plate, the refried beans, and any additional options.   Pour about 1/2 cup water into a small shallow pan and add about 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Turn to medium low and bring to a simmer.    Make one taquito at a time by putting a tortilla in the salted water until it’s soft and pliable.  It will just take a few seconds on each side (just a little longer if the tortilla was frozen).  Place the tortilla on a plate and spread a couple spoonfuls of refried beans in a line on the lower third of the tortilla.  Sprinkle cheese on if using, roll up in a cylindar, and place on the tray with the seam down.  Repeat until beans or tortillas are gone.  Brush some olive oil over the taquitos and bake for about 15 to 25 minutes, or until they are as soft or crispy as you like them.  Serve with raw veggies or sweet potato fries and some guacamole for dipping.  Enjoy!

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Szechwan Tempeh

This is a great recipe to have in your repertoire for those days when you truly only have 15 minutes to make a meal.  It is that quick and doesn’t require anything to be prepped ahead.  And, it is really yummy.  Even my kids, who aren’t particularly fond of tempeh, ate it with gusto.  Serve the tempeh and sauce over any cooked grain or over noodles with some steamed broccoli or greens on the side and you have a complete, well-balanced, delicious meal!  This recipe will serve 4 people with a grain and vegetable.   

This recipe is slightly adapted from Feeding the Whole Family, by Cynthia Lair, a book I highly recommend. 

  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or refined coconut oil
  • 1 (8-oz) package of tempeh, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
  • 2 Tablespoons white miso
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons tamari
  • 2 Tablespoons mirin
  • 2 Tablespoons balsalmic vinegar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons brown rice syrup or other sweetener (I cut this to 1 Tablespoon, but used agave, which is sweeter.  Next time, I’ll probably use btw 1-2 Tablespoons of coconut sugar – you can always add more if necessary)
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil or hot pepper oil
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced, for garnish

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add oil, then add tempeh in a single layer.  Do this in batches if it doesn’t all fit at once.  Saute until browned on both sides and turn heat off.  In a small bowl, whisk together the miso and water until the miso is dissolved.  Add tamari, mirin, vinegar, sweetener, and sesame oil, and whisk again.  Pour sauce over tempeh and bring to a low simmer (keep the heat low to protect the beneficial enzymes in the miso).  Simmer for 5 minutes or so, or until the sauce has reduced and thickened.  Garnish with scallions and serve.  Enjoy!

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