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.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Potato Leek Soup

Summer soups are great because you can make them ahead of time and then enjoy a carefree evening.  They are great for picnics, served in  plastic cups.  This particular soup is also the one I tend to make when someone in my family has oral surgery, since he or she usually needs to eat something soft afterwards, and the delicate flavor is one that everyone seems to like.  Potato leek soup is delicious either hot or cold, but in the summer I like to chill it before serving.

3 leeks, chopped (use only white and light green part, discard dark green section)
1 stick unsalted butter (equivalent of a half cup)
5 large Yukon Gold Potatoes, sliced thin with a mandoline
1 carrot, diced
5 cups water
1 ½ tsp Himalayan pink sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
1 cup light cream
2 cups milk
½ cup chopped fresh chives, plus additional for garnish

Melt butter over medium low heat in soup pot.  Add leeks and stir.  Cover pot and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add carrot, bay leaf and water.  Cover and bring to boil, then reduce to simmer and cook 5 minutes.  Add potatoes, salt, and pepper, cover and simmer for about twenty minutes.  You want the vegetables to be tender but if you overcook the potatoes the soup will become thick and gluey, so try to stop the cooking before it gets gluey.  (If you miss this magical timing, don’t worry about it, just carry on!)  Remove bay leaf and blend soup in the pot with a stick blender until smooth.  Stir in cream and milk, then chives.  Adjust salt and pepper as desired.  You also can add another cup of milk if you prefer a thinner soup.  Garnish with additional chives.  Serve hot or cold.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I owe the seed of this recipe to my mother-in-law, who has sent me numerous gazpacho recipes over the years and has earned herself a reputation for making the most delicious gazpacho.  I don't think she ever makes it the same way, however, so her approach gave me the courage to do my own thing, using ideas from some of the recipes she has passed along to me.  I made a version of this last summer for someone who subsequently asked me for the recipe, but I could not provide it since I had not really followed a recipe and could not remember exactly what I did.  This time I wrote everything down as I prepared it.  The result is a delicious gazpacho that lacks the strong raw onion flavor sometimes associated with gazpacho.  It is very easy to eat, with a somewhat fruity taste, perfect for a hot summer day.  One of the keys to a delicious dish is to use the best and most flavorful ingredients.  I used heirloom tomatoes from a local farmstand.  They taste so much better than the perfectly round, red tomatoes you most often find.  A few days ago, I made a dish that required chopped tomatoes and I strained the juice from the tomatoes and put it in a jar in the refrigerator.  I used about a half cup of this juice in the measurement for tomato juice; the rest of the tomato juice came from a bottle I bought at the store.  Make this early in the day, put it in the refrigerator and you have an easy evening ahead of you!

2 cucumbers, peeled and diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
3 large tomatoes, diced
½ red onion, chopped
handful of Italian parsley, chopped (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)
2 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt
1 tsp cumin
freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 ½ cups tomato juice
3 cloves garlic, pressed

Place vegetables and parsley in large bowl and blend with hand stick blender.  Do not over blend, as it is nice to have small chunks of vegetables in the soup.  Add garlic and blend more.  Add tomato juice, red wine vinegar and olive oil and stir.  Stir in salt, cumin and pepper.  Refrigerate several hours before serving.