Showing posts from January, 2015

Blizzard 2015 Provencal Vegetable Soup with Pistou

On a snowy blizzard day or any day what could be more enjoyable than a bowl of homemade Vegetable Soup with Pistou. I make this classic french Provencal soup vegetarian by using vegetable stock. You can substitute chicken stock if you prefer. I also added one of my favorite grains, farro for an added nutty grain taste.

2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 cups chopped onions (2 onions) 1 cup chopped celery (4 stalks)
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 leeks)
3 cups 1/2-inch-diced unpeeled boiling potatoes (1 pound)
3 cups 1/2-inch-diced carrots (1 pound)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
32 ounces (box) no salt added vegetable broth or home made 1 cup water 1 cube vegetable bullion
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 pound haricots verts, ends removed and cut in 1/2 1/2 cup farro 1 cup Pistou, recipe follows
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving


Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot, add the onions, and saute over…

Chai Gingerbread Cake

In our family nothing says Christmas like Gingerbread Cake. Just the smell of baking Gingerbread cake invokes memories of Christmas past. Since our children were little Gingerbread cake is a family tradition that I've continued all these years. This year I decided to add a twist to my classic Gingerbread using a Chai blend of spices to enhance the flavor which turned out to be everyone's new Christmas favorite!

Chai Gingerbread Cake

Chai Spices:

2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 tablespoon cardamon seeds
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger

Using a spice grinder or food processor, grind together fennel seeds, cloves, cardamon seeds, cinnamon and ginger. Reserve 2 teaspoons and store the rest in an airtight container in a cool dark place for up to one year.

Gingerbread Cake:

1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur's)
2 teaspoon baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter  (I u…

vegetarian lental chilli

Who says you can't watch the Super Bowl while eating healthy! Chili is easy to make, can be made in large quantities and most importantly tastes delicious. I've make this chili vegetarian to cut out fat and calories but not the taste! Chipotle chiles in adobo give the chili just enough kick!

Vegetarian Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups diced onions
4 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoon chili power
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup canned mild green chilies
1 to 2 chipotle chilies in adobo, sauce, minced, Add two if you like your chili with a stronger kick!
1 (14.5)  can diced tomatoes in juice
2 11.5 can V-8 vegetable juice
1 cup dark beer or hard cider
14.5 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
14.5 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
14.5 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
juice of 1/2 lime
1 package veggie crumbles, I used Morning Start
Tabasco sauce or chil…

January time to dream of spring with Gardening Catalogs!

As much as I love to cook I love to garden, maybe even more if that is possible. I am so passionate about my gardens which sooth my soul each and every time I venture in the garden. Even if I say I am just going to spend a few minutes pulling some weeds before I know I have been working at my garden for hours. No matter how long I stay in the garden, I don't want to leave, I have to force myself to stop and go inside. I love nothing more than getting up early on a spring morning, grabbing a cup of coffee, heading out to spend the cool early morning spring laboring in my garden. Laboring yes, but a labor of love!

Every January I long for spring and my garden. As I put away my Christmas decorations my mind shifts to garden plans including new plant acquisitions to enhance my already large perennial beds. I curl up at night with a cup of tea searching through all my favorite gardening sites and catalogs dreaming of spring while visualizing all these beautiful plants gracing my garde…

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Mushrooms and Fennel

Growing up of Italian heritage I have wonderful memories of my mother making all kinds of soup with beans, white beans, black beans, lentils, all different varieties. My mother taught me to layer my soups, you could say marry the different ingredients that just compliment each other for a deliciously flavorful satisfying soup. When I wanted to make a vegetarian white bean soup I added fennel and mushrooms to compliment the beans, shallots and garlic for flavor, plus giving more substance to the soup making it a nice light meal. This soup is perfect for a cold winter day, filling and warming!

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Mushroom and Fennel
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 bulb fennel, chopped
8 oz white button mushrooms, chopped
1 sage leaf
3 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans drained and rinsed
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 vegetable bullion cube
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 slices french bagu…