Why I Am Posting These Recipes

I believe that it is healthier for an individual and for the planet to reduce the consumption of animal products in the human diet. However, I love to eat all kinds of delicious food, and find it really, really difficult to go totally vegetarian. Also, my family protests if I serve too many vegetarian meals in a row. So I am committed to making an effort to move towards a vegetarian diet without wholly doing so. I will post recipes several times a week that represent my philosophy of eating well, eating healthy, eating local. Most recipes will be easy to prepare, as I have a busy life. So I expect my followers to be people who love to cook and eat well, want to try to help the planet through their eating (by eating local foods and trying to reduce the use of meat in our diets), and have many other things to do each day besides cook.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Peanut Soup

 The colder weather encroaching upon many places this season demands some good soup recipes to warm us up.  Hot soup invites small groups of friends to gather together outdoors, socially-distanced, around a fire to sip and chat. This delicious, hearty soup is perfect for such a gathering. The variety of vegetables and seasonings combine to give it a complex and delicious taste. Serve it with some good bread for a nutritious, simple meal.

The Peanut Butter:

1 lb. roasted unsalted peanuts (3 1/2-4 cups)

1/4 c. Peanut or vegetable oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 TBS honey


The Soup:

Olive oil or grapeseed oil

2 medium onions, diced

Piece of fresh ginger (approximately 1 TBS), peeled and minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 serrano pepper, minced

1 tsp Aleppo pepper (or cayenne pepper)

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp chili powder

4 carrots, diced

2 medium or 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

28 oz. can or carton chopped or whole tomatoes

Black pepper to taste

8 cups vegetable broth

1 can chickpeas (or 2 cups cooked chickpeas)

Peanut butter (from above)

Several handfuls of baby spinach


FIrst make peanut butter: 

Combine 1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil, salt, honey and peanuts in blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Makes about 2 cups (maybe a little more).


Heat enough olive oil or grapeseed oil in 6 quart pan to cover the bottom. Saute onions over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until translucent and soft. Stir in minced garlic, then ginger, then serrano pepper. Cook for about a minute, stirring, just to release flavors. Be sure not to burn the garlic. Add carrots. Stir to combine. Next stir in aleppo or cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp sea salt and chili powder. Finally, add sweet potatoes, tomatoes and black pepper. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add vegetable broth and chickpeas. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in peanut butter, simmer another ten minutes or so, then blend until smooth. (I prefer using a stick blender). Taste to see if you want to adjust seasoning. Add about 4 large handfuls of baby spinach at end of cooking. Serve after spinach has just wilted. Makes about 12 servings.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Black Bean and Corn Salad

I made this salad with a bunch of things I had on hand. When I cook corn on the cob, I buy and cook more than I need that day, so that I have leftovers I can use for something else the next day.  Corn salad is a favorite use for leftover corn, and corn goes so well with black beans.  I cooked a big pot of black beans and froze them into quart-sized freezer bags so I can use them at my leisure.  I used a bunch for this salad.  I  discovered the most delicious tiny cherry tomatoes called "Candyland Tomatoes" at a local farmstand (for those of you on the Connecticut Shoreline, look for them at Bishop's Farm Market in Guilford!) You don't really need to measure the things that go into the salad; just toss in what you have, and what looks like the right amount for the number of people you will be serving.  I list some quantities here to give you an idea of how much you need, but it doesn't really matter if you use a bit more or less than what I specify. The dressing recipe makes more than what you will likely need for the salad quantity listed in this "recipe." Just use the amount that seems right and refrigerate the leftovers to use with another salad another day. Have a carefree summer and enjoy all that wonderful and delicious fresh, local produce!



Ingredients:

4 cups black beans

Corn kernels from 4 ears of corn (3-4 cups)

1 sweet pepper, diced

2 cups small cherry tomatoes

Handful each of chives, parsley, and cilantro, chopped

1 avocado, diced

Salt and pepper to taste


Dressing:

Juice of 4 limes, about 1/3 cup

2/3 cup olive oil

1 garlic clove, pressed

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cumin

Pinch of sugar


Toss salad ingredients together.  Pour the amount of dressing you want and toss some more. Only use as much dressing as you need, probably won’t use all of it. Serves 4.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Snow Peas, Shredded Carrots and Red Peppers with Miso Ginger Dressing

Lucky me, I live near a farmer who grows peas and sells them freshly picked from his farmstand.  I just bought these beautiful snow peas and wanted to transform them into a colorful salad to serve alongside a vegetarian casserole for dinner. I scoured past blogposts to see if I had done anything like this before.  On June 14, 2012 (8 years ago--almost to the day!!) I posted a dish with snow peas and greens with a miso-ginger vinaigrette.  I mixed up a batch of the vinaigrette and then tweaked it to suit my taste for a different combination of veggies for today's salad.


Vegetables:

3 cups snow peas, trimmed
1 carrot, shredded or grated
1/2 red pepper, cut into strips

Cilantro as garnish, if desired

Dressing:

1 TBS + 1 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp ume plum vinegar
3 TBS water
1 TBS white miso
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp mirin
2 tsp ginger juice or grated ginger
1 1/2 tsp tahini
2 1/2 TBS olive oil
1/2 tsp soy sauce or tamari



Rinse snow peas and place in glass bowl. Cover and cook at high temperature for 1 minute in microwave.  The water from rinsing them is enough for them to steam in the bowl. Uncover and allow to cool. Mix cooled snow peas together with carrots and peppers in a small bowl.  Blend all dressing ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss. Garnish with cilantro if desired. You can make this ahead of time and let sit for several hours before serving.  Serves 3 as a side dish.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Mushroom and Tomato Vodka Cream Sauce for Pasta

If, like me, you love mushrooms. pasta, and creamy sauces, you will want to make this sauce.  It comes together quickly and easily and tastes delicious! In my case, I had some leftover diced tomatoes in a carton in my refrigerator and so combined that with some chopped fresh tomatoes to form the base of the sauce.  Always try to figure out ways to use leftover ingredients in your refrigerator to avoid waste.  It helps the environment as well as your wallet! Reducing garbage is good for the planet.  Next, try to find local sources for the vegetables and herbs.  You might be able to find mushrooms at your farmer's market.  Although I used cremini mushrooms here, I am sure that any kind of mushrooms would be great.  A mix of wild mushrooms would be awesome!  Perhaps you are growing thyme in your herb garden, or in a pot on your windowsill?  Tomatoes are not yet in season where I live, but if you are in a warmer climate, maybe you have access to local tomatoes.  Or maybe you are reading this in early August, way past the time I originally posted it, when fresh tomatoes are plentiful everywhere!

If you are a really ambitious cook, you can try making your pasta from scratch, saving the planet from the fossil fuels that go into factory food production.  Pat yourself on the back. Otherwise, just remember that every little bit counts.  You can buy a box of pasta for a much easier meal.  Counter that with another action that demonstrates environmental awareness and an effort to reduce the taxation of planetary resources in order to eat. Idea: store leftovers in a bowl covered with a plate instead of in a plastic bag. Reuse a glass jar as a storage container.

Ok, enough about environmental consciousness.  Let's get cooking!



5 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
1 large onion, diced
1 large clove garlic (or 2 regular sized cloves), pressed
3 cups chopped tomatoes (fresh, canned or a combination)
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 TBS olive oil
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/8 tsp Aleppo pepper (substitute cayenne or crushed red pepper if you don’t have Aleppo)

Heat olive oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Saute diced onions until translucent.  Lower heat. Add garlic, stir for about a minute, just enough to release flavor. Be sure not to burn the garlic.  Add mushrooms, thyme leaves stripped from stems, and salt.  Grind fresh pepper over all.  Turn up heat to medium. Saute mushrooms until they are brown, stirring occasionally. 



Add chopped tomatoes and cook until liquid is mostly evaporated, about 25 minutes or so.  Add vodka and cook over medium heat until liquid has mostly evaporated. Add cream and cook until sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in grated Parmigiano Reggiano and Aleppo pepper. Serve over pasta. Makes enough for about 5-6 servings.



Saturday, May 30, 2020

Green Salad with Runny Yolk Eggs, Avocado, and Lemon Dill Vinaigrette


That lemon dill vinaigrette from my last post was so good, I figured it would be tasty with other combinations of things.  Yesterday, I saw something that Ina Garten (aka Barefoot Contessa) posted on Instagram that inspired me.  She posted avocado toast with runny eggs, and it looked super delicious.  Seems like avocado and eggs might be a nice combination, and I knew they would both be fantastic with my lemon dill vinaigrette.  So I built on that idea, deciding to try a green salad this time, with arugula and Boston lettuce, and added some veggies I had in the fridge: shredded carrots, diced sweet peppers, diced cucumber, frozen shelled edamame that had been defrosted. I layered them all, including of course the soft boiled eggs and avocado, and then threw on a handful of sweet cherry tomatoes, and drizzled that vinaigrette over everything.  Yum! A very satisfying lunch! Build a separate salad for each person in individual bowls.

For each individual salad:

handful each of arugula and Boston or Bibb lettuce
2 eggs, steamed for 9 minutes as instructed in my last post, peeled and halved lengthwise
a few spoonfuls of shelled edamame
a spoonful of diced red and green peppers
a spoonful of diced cucumber
half an avocado, diced
some shredded carrots (I use a vegetable peeler to peel away strips of carrot from a whole carrot)
handful of cherry tomatoes
Drizzle lemon dill vinaigrette (see my last post for the recipe) over all

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Roasted Potato, Green Bean, and Fennel Salad with Runny Eggs, Tuna/Chickpeas, and Lemon Dill Vinaigrette



It is beginning to feel like summer.  A perfect summer dinner is filled with a variety of fresh vegetables, brought together with a sauce that complements and binds the ingredients. Since my family includes both carnivores and vegetarians, I love to figure out ways to satisfy both preferences with the same dish.  For this dish, you prepare the components of the salad and can mix and match ingredients according to individual preferences.  I happened to have some fancy looking dolphin-safe tuna in lemon, olive oil and pepper, in a jar, which I picked up at the start of this pandemic, thinking it would be a good pantry item if I had to survive on what I had in my cupboard.  That combined nicely with a mix of roasted and raw veggies, and was all pulled together with this scrumptious lemon dill vinaigrette (you'll want to lick the jar!) and the runny yolk of boiled eggs. The salad dressing and yolk pool together in the bottom of the bowl, so you will want to scoop it up with a forkful of veggies so all the flavors combine.  De-lish! For the vegetarian in your family, put together a salad that leaves out the tuna but includes chickpeas for some extra protein.  For the carnivore, include the tuna and leave out--or not--the chickpeas.  This was a big hit in our house last night! 

Lemon Dill Vinaigrette

Juice of one lemon (about 1 1/2 TBS)
1 TBS white balsamic vinegar
4 TBS olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 small clove garlic, pressed
2 TBS chopped dill
1 tsp capers, drained

Mix all ingredients in a jar. Shake well.


Salad:

1 lb. green beans, trimmed
1 1/2 lbs. small red potatoes, halved or quartered, depending upon how big they are
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into about 8 wedges (discard top of fennel)
Handful cherry tomatoes
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/2 red pepper, diced
6-8 eggs (2 per person)
6 oz. high quality tuna, optional
Cooked Chickpeas, optional (from a can is acceptable)
Olive oil
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (use convection roast if your oven offers this feature). Toss green beans with olive oil and salt and spread on a baking sheet.  Toss potatoes with olive oil and salt and spread on another baking sheet.  Toss fennel with olive oil and salt and spread on same baking sheet as potatoes.  Roast beans and fennel for about 20-25 minutes, tossing once or twice while roasting.  Roast potatoes for about 45 minutes to an hour, tossing several times while roasting, until they are golden brown and crispy.

Meanwhile, prepare a saucepan by putting a few inches of water in it and a steamer basket.  Cover and bring to a simmer.  Place eggs in steamer basket, cover, and steam over low heat (so water is just simmering) for 9 minutes. Place eggs under cold water, then peel.  If possible, time the cooking of the eggs so that they are ready just before you are ready to put together the salads. Egg whites should be firm and fully cooked; yolks should be beginning to harden but still a little runny.

Build each salad serving in large individual salad bowls as follows:
Place roasted beans, fennel and potatoes on bottom. Sprinkle with a few cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices, then some diced red pepper. Add some pieces of tuna and/or chickpeas.  Place 2 boiled eggs halved lengthwise on top of each salad.  Drizzle vinaigrette on top.

Serves 3-4.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Vegetable Stock


With good vegetable stock, you can adapt lots of soup recipes calling for chicken or beef stock to a vegetarian version.  Using canned vegetable stock or a vegetable bouillon cube is always an easy alternative, but the stock I suggest here is much tastier, and pretty easy.

Much of the philosophy behind GreenPlanetEating is that, to be kind to our environment, we need to reduce food waste and reduce our consumption of animals.  A great way to do this is to save vegetable scraps in a ziplock bag or container in the freezer and then simmer them with water to make vegetable stock.  I routinely save herb stems and deteriorating leaves; onion ends and skins; the dark green leek leaves that get trimmed off and thrown away with most recipes calling for the white and light green part of the leek only; the ends and skins of carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, celery, and parsnips. You can put all these scraps, along with a bunch of parsley and thyme, water to cover, salt and whole peppercorns, together in a pot, cover and simmer for an hour or two. Go ahead and taste the broth before you decide whether it is done or not.  If it tastes good to you, then pour it all into a large strainer placed over a large bowl or another pan to contain the broth.  You can use it right away, refrigerate it to use within the next couple of days, or freeze it to use later.  If you freeze it, try freezing some in an ice cube tray so that you can use small amounts of vegetable broth to make sauces in the future.

If you don't feel like waiting to have a ziplock bag full of vegetable scraps to make your stock, you can follow my recipe below.  If you make it as I write in the recipe below, you will need to be home while the stock simmers, but you can be doing other things.  Alternatively, you could dump all the ingredients in a slow cooker and just let it cook all day, then strain it when you get home, if you will be gone all day.

The recipe below uses some vegetable parts that might ordinarily be thrown away, but in fact some of those "waste" items contain nutrients that enhance our stock.  Raising animals for food generally uses more of earth's resources than raising vegetables for food, so by eating a hearty vegetable-based soup rather than a meat-based soup, we are consuming fewer resources and leaving more environmental resources for those who will follow us on this planet!

extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peels intact, cut into quarters
1 leek, end removed, cleaned, cut into large chunks (include dark green leaves)
6 carrots with tops, cleaned and cut into chunks
10 celery stalks, include all leafy green tops, cleaned and cut into chunks
stems from approximately 17 mushrooms, use a variety (example, shiitake and cremini)
1 zucchini, cut into chunks
handful (approximately 1 cup) of fresh parsley, including stems, roughly chopped
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
bottoms and ends of 10 parsnips
5 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
bay leaf
12 whole black peppercorns
½ tsp sea salt
1 whole dried chipotle pepper (makes it spicy/omit if you don’t like the heat)
5 slices dried shiitake mushrooms


Heat olive oil in large pot.  Add all vegetables as you clean and chop them and stir while cooking.  Cook for about 5-10 minutes, or however long it takes you to prepare vegetables, then add about 10 cups water and remaining ingredients.  Cover and bring to boil, then lower heat to simmer and cook for about 2 hours, then strain and use in soups.