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.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup With Ginger and Pear

I owe the idea for this soup to my sister-in-law, who recently developed and shared with me a recipe for roasted butternut squash soup.  I wanted to make a turnip soup, and adapted her recipe to the turnips and other root vegetables I had in my refrigerator.  The ginger and cayenne give the soup a nice bite.  I thought the leeks, carrots, and parsnips would provide a nice flavor balance to the turnips, since they tend to be somewhat sweet.  The pear also adds sweetness.  This soup is perfect for a chilly autumn day, and uses lots of ingredients that you can probably source locally in the fall.  Humble and comforting!

2 leeks, dark green parts discarded and white/light green parts sliced lengthwise and then sliced thin

2 pounds turnips, peeled and diced into 2” cubes

2 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks

4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

6 whole cloves of garlic with skin on

2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin strips

1 pear, peeled and cut into chunks

salt and pepper to taste

1 ½ quarts vegetable stock

dash cayenne pepper

dash nutmeg

chopped parsley 

Toss turnips, parsnips, carrots and garlic with plenty of olive oil, grind sea salt and pepper over all to taste, and roast in 400 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes.  Toss vegetables occasionally while roasting.  They are finished when they are just beginning to burn a little (this is caramelization, which brings out the sweetness of the vegetables).

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in stock pot, then sauté leeks until they are soft.  Add ginger, cook for a few minutes.  When roasted root vegetables are ready, peel garlic cloves and squeeze the roasted garlic into the pot; add rest of vegetables to the pot with 1 ½ quarts of vegetable stock.  Season with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste.  Heat to a simmer, then add pear chunks, cayenne and nutmeg.  Simmer for a few minutes, then puree with a stick blender.  Add additional vegetable broth or water if soup is thicker than desired.  Garnish servings with chopped parsley.  Serves 6-8.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mexican Tortilla Casserole

This recipe has evolved.  It began many years ago as a recipe that I got out of a cooking magazine--I think it was Bon Appetit.  The recipe called for layers of tortilla, canned black beans mixed with Mexican-style canned tomatoes and cilantro, and grated cheese.  The recipe below contains the essence of that original recipe, adapted to what was in my kitchen today as well as to my preference to use fewer canned products.  I was not planning to post it on my blog when I cooked it for tonight's dinner, so I did not measure things as I threw them together.    My husband liked it, though, and suggested I post it, so I estimated measurements as well as I could.  I have made versions of this recipe using salsa instead of cherry tomatoes, sauteed onions and garlic, and canned chili peppers.  I encourage you to adapt it to accomodate what you have on hand.  It is easy and delicious, and can work with many variations.  It makes a wonderful weeknight meal!

olive oil
Leftover Black Beans (such as Venezuelan Black Beans posted previously on Greenplaneteating.com)
about 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
handful fresh cilantro, chopped
small can of diced green chili peppers
6 corn tortillas
grated Mexican style cheese (such as a blend of cheddar, Monterey jack, queso blanco, and asadero)

Heat olive oil in skillet.  Saute diced onions over medium heat until translucent.  Reduce heat to low.  Add chopped garlic and stir for a minute.  Add black beans, cherry tomatoes, diced green chili peppers and cilantro and cook for a few minutes.

Spray cooking oil (I like coconut oil) in square (8x8) baking dish or a round dish of similar size.  Spoon a little liquid from the skillet and spread it on the bottom of the baking dish.  Place one layer of 3 corn tortillas on the bottom of the dish; cut one in half to facilitate covering the bottom with the tortillas.  Spoon half of the black bean mixture over the tortillas.  Sprinkle a layer of grated cheese over that.  Place another layer of 3 corn tortillas over the cheese, then spoon the rest of the black bean mixture over the tortillas, then sprinkle another layer of grated cheese over all.  Bake in 375 degree oven until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 15 minutes.  Serves 4.