Monday, October 27, 2014

Cauliflower Celery Root Soup with Basil and Mustard

Cauliflower Celery Root Soup with Basil and Mustard 
It’s always this time of year when I’m at my busiest with photography shooting weddings, fashion week, beauty launches and family sessions, and with that comes a lot of editing. I obsess about it usually starting at the computer 7:30 am until 4:30 with walks in between with Alice my firecracker of a dog. I notice dark circles begin to develop under the eyes especially doing this 7 days a week from September till the end of October, which are the craziest months for me. On top of that, I have a goal to shift my life in a new direction, and without getting into detail at this time I’ve been making small steps to hopefully get me there, it’s both frightening and exciting.  For now, life gets a little quieter with more time in country and the kitchen, looking forward to the upcoming months and the changing seasons.

So, I’m finally able to make some time to post a soup I’m absolutely in love with. At this time of year I look at the variety of root vegetables such as parsnip, turnip, and typically pass them up, not sure why, but this time I picked a very large celery root and decided to try a creamy soup with cauliflower. I’ve had it twice in the past month and both my husband and I enjoy it quite a bit. It’s simple and creamy with just a few ingredients that brighten the flavors. It’s a thick soup, if you like it thinner add more veggie broth ¼ cup at a time after it’s pureed until you reach a consistency you like. I like to have this soup with a side of kale salad topped with grapes and pistachio, a sandwich is also great.
I think next time I’ll try a parsnip soup!

1 large onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
Cauliflower ½ head sliced
Large celery root peeled and cubed
1 tsp mustard seeds ground
¼ tsp red pepper flakes or 1/8 for less heat
½ tsp sea salt
2 1/2 cups veggie broth
1 cup coconut milk beverage I used So Delicious or soy milk
¼ cup fresh basil chopped


Sauté the onion for 4 minutes, add the garlic, cauliflower, celery root, mustard seeds and stir for 2 minutes, add the veggie broth, milk and basil, bring to a low boil then turn down the heat and simmer covered until the veggies are fork tender about 10 minutes more if needed. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until creamy, transfer back to the pot and season with more sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Serve with crusty bread.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Spicy Tempeh Bolognese Sauce

Spicy Tempeh Bolognese Sauce
Saying goodbye to summer saddens me, this means putting away the flip flops, no more sleeveless shirts and laying on the hammock, nor picking mint from my garden, and taking warm sunshine walks in the country.  I’ll miss the abundance of fruits and vegetables from the farmer’s markets, and the casual encounters in town. Cold weather hunkers me down but it also inspires lots of cooking and my favorite is comfort food, I love it year around, and this brings me to pasta. I wanted something spicy, garlicky, meaty and hearty, without the meat of course, so I came up with this Bolognese style using ground tempeh, wine and fennel powder, all crucial to texture and flavor. For those of you who enjoyed or enjoy meat-based pastas, this alternative is exceptionally wonderful and packed with protein. Serve this to your meat eating friends and I promise they’ll never know the difference, it’s definitely a new favorite here at home and hope you enjoy this as much as we do.

Note: Be sure to steam the tempeh first it removes the bitterness.
For the tomatoes, you can use fresh and roast them or canned works great. For the canned, I crush them in a blender since the ones I purchase tend to be chopped instead, crushing makes a better sauce.

Pasta Sauce
1 package tempeh steamed 15 minutes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¾ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp cracked red pepper plus more
½ large onion chopped
3 large cloves garlic minced
8 oz mushrooms chopped into bits
32 0z can fire roasted tomatoes - crushed
3 tbsp tomato paste
1cup water
1//4 cup red wine
1 heaping tablespoon dry oregano crush with fingers
2 tsp ground fennel powder

package spaghetti  1 pound cooked al dante’

1. Chop the steamed tempeh and mushrooms into small  bits either by hand with a knife or in food processor and set aside.

2. Combine the tomato paste and 1 cup water and set aside

3. Add oil to a medium pot, or large wide pan on medium heat, add the onion, garlic, salt, oregano, and cracked red pepper and sauté for 4 minutes, add the crushed tomatoes and stir 1 minute, add the tomato paste with water and red wine and stir, add the fennel powder, tempeh, mushrooms and stir well, let simmer covered 20-30 minutes to combine the flavors.

Top over your favorite pasta, and optional chopped fresh basil and hearty fresh bread.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Creamy Roasted Tomatillo Soup

Creamy Roasted Tomatillo Soup
How lucky to have found organic tomatillos from our local veggie farmer, in fact he must have had 10 different varieties of tomatoes this season and many heirlooms, some were as large as a grapefruit and sweet too. One yellow heirloom tomato, not sure of variety, was a lovely 32 ounces when blended. Of course I used this in an eggplant stew made this week.  Along with the many tomato dishes I’ve enjoyed in the last two weeks, one being a tomato galette, another was the creamy tomatillo soup. In the past I’ve enjoyed them in spicy salsa with mango but this time around I wanted to try them roasted and pureed for a spicy soup, the creaminess was an after thought, which rounded out the acidity nicely.  What I love about having nuts lying around is they make wonderful creams quickly when you need them. In this case, I combined cashews with a little water in my blender and voila, the cream I needed to smooth out the soup.  Tortillas were served on the side, but corn muffins would be best, or a slice of rustic bread for dipping.
Enjoy those tomatoes before they’re gone!!!!

Creamy Tomatillo Soup
Serves 4
2 pounds tomatillos
1 medium onion chopped
3 cloves garlic roasted with skin on
1 green apple peeled, quartered and roasted
2 sweet small yellow peppers roasted
large pinch cayenne or red pepper flakes or both – I used both
1 ½ tsp cumin seed ground
2 tsp fresh ginger minced
¾ tsp sea salt
3 cups veggie broth
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
5 tbsp cream  - recipe below

Pre heat oven to 450 – line a baking sheet with parchment paper

1. Peel the papery skin and quarter each tomatillo and place in large bowl and toss with olive oil and pinches of sea salt, transfer to the baking sheet, add the yellow pepper whole, and quartered apple to the baking sheet as well.

2. Roast tomatoes for 40 minutes, the peppers and apple will be done earlier in about 20-25 minutes the skin should separate from the peppers, remove from oven and transfer the peppers to a bowl covered, the steam will make removing the skin easier, continue cooking tomatoes until they collapse and are juicy, the last 8 minutes of cooking add the garlic with skin and roast.

3. Meanwhile in a medium pot sauté the onion in 1 tbsp olive oil until tender about 6 minutes.

4. Remove the tomatoes when done, and the skin of peppers should be peeled and seeded by now.
In a blender add the tomatoes, apple, peeled garlic, one of the yellow peppers, ginger, cayenne, cumin, sea salt and blend until pureed but some bits still remain, should look like applesauce, transfer the mixture to the pot of onions, and add the veggie broth a little at a time stirring in to combine, bring the soup to a boil then simmer on low uncovered, add the cream and 1 tbsp pure maple syrup and continue to simmer 10 minutes

Chop the 2nd yellow pepper and set aside for topping

Cashew Cream or your choice
1/3 cup raw cashews
½ cup water

Method for Cream
Combine in powerful blender until liquefied
Use 5 tbsp in the tomatillo soup

Spoon the soup in bowls and drizzle extra cream and top with chopped pepper

Serve with bread or cornbread muffins
XOX Diana 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Vegetable Tempeh Pot Pie

Vegetable Tempeh Pot Pie
I was walking my dog early yesterday morning and noticed lots of children and parents at the corner bus stop, I had on my sweater and the feeling in the air, as well as the children with backpacks, showed signs of a new season. School is in session and the fern in my yard is changing color. I can’t believe how quickly the season passed and how incredibly comfortable the weather was this year, I’m so sad to see it go, I have just another month maybe two if I’m lucky to enjoy the swinging bench between two trees and the country walks in open fields.
This summer was cooler than any summer I can remember and August, which everyone knows can be blistering, turned out to be sweater weather mornings and evenings. On one of those cool days I decided to try a pot - pie. As a kid I loved them, they were never home made, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. What I like most about pot pie is the crust, making a hole at the top and scooping out the warm broth and veggies inside, peeling back the crust with every bite and picking off the crinkled crunchy edges. Sadly, childhood was the last time I ate a pot pie and please don’t ask how long ago that was. Now that autumn is quickly approaching I’ll visit this comfort food often and look forward to trying a few varieties.  You can use store bought crust but of course I made my own. I used tempeh for some hardiness but you can try tofu or chickpea, though if you like tempeh give it a try here it’s a nice addition.

Enjoy and welcome the new season! Xoxoxo

Make crust first if not using store bought.

Vegetable Tempeh Pot
Serves 4
1 large onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
3 medium carrots sliced thin
1 cup eggplant chopped small pieces
1 cup mushrooms chopped
1/3 cup red or white wine
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp tarragon
1 tbsp thyme
¼ cup spelt flour
3 cups vegetable broth
fresh ground black pepper
1 cup peas
¼ - ½ tsp sea salt to taste

Method for Filling
1 package tempeh steamed for 15 minutes then diced and sautéed in oil and a little sea salt

2. In a medium pot sauté the onion and garlic in oil on medium heat for 4 minutes, add the carrot, eggplant and mushrooms and sauté one minute. Combine the wine and mustard and add it to the pot, add the herbs and let cook for 8-10 minutes until carrots are fork tender. Slowly add the flour to the mixture using a sifter and stir until combined. Add the broth 1 cup at a time and stir, add the tempeh and peas and simmer for 5 minutes until thick. Turn off heat and set aside

Make your own crust or use store bought – if using store bought scroll down the recipe for filling the ramekins and topping with crust.

¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour –
¾ cup spelt
1 tbsp unrefined fine sugar – grind if necessary
½ tsp fine sea salt
¼  tsp baking powder
¼  tsp baking soda
2 tsp crushed thyme dried is good
¼ cold pressed olive oil – put in fridge or freezer to get very cold
½ cup non dairy milk I used So Delicious – ice  cold – I used 5- tbsp – you may have left over milk, that’s ok

Method for Crust
1. Sift the whole wheat pastry flour, spelt, sugar, sea salt, baking powder, and baking soda over a large bowl. Once passed add the thyme and stir again using a whisk

2. Slowly drizzle the cold oil over the flour using a rubber spatula and gently stir scooping from underneath, little stone like shapes will form do not break these up they help to create a flaky crust.

3. Once combined drizzle 3 tablespoons of the coconut milk into the flour mixture gently scooping from underneath keeping the pebbly form which will increase in size, add more liquid as needed 1 tbsp at a time tossing gently until dough holds together and feels a little damp, I use about 5 Tbsp total, press the dough together to form a ball and place it on large parchment paper and cover with another piece on top, use your countertop, use a roller to press a large rectangle or round and work quickly, the dough when flattened should look marbleized, lift the parchment paper with dough and place on baking sheet covered with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 45 minutes to allow gluten to relax,

4. Pull out of fridge and test that dough is large enough for 4 ramekins if not roll a little bigger.. Use your ramekin to create the size and cut of your crust, lay it on the dough and using a knife cut ½ inch bigger than the opening of the ramekin, this allows room to crimp the edges.

Pre Heat oven to 400 bake 25 minutes
Lightly oil the edges of the ramekins.
Add the stew to the ramekins and top with the crust, pinch the edges and make small slits at the top to allow steam to escape, place the ramekins on a baking sheet to catch any drippings


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Chai Pancakes with Roasted Strawberry

Chai Pancakes with Roasted Strawberries
Sugar free whole grain
This morning, like all mornings, I’m up early and it’s really for no reason except that I’m most productive during the day and can have a lot accomplished by 10 am. This morning I decided to take a very early walk with my dog Alice to the open fields near the Delaware river, the land south of the 28 mile trail grows either soy or corn and east and west of that and along the trail grows wild flowers of all kinds. Yesterday for the first time tucked away behind some trees were wild blackberry bushes, which I plan to visit later this week for more pickings. The morning was foggy, I’d never been out there during fog, it’s either very sunny or cloudy but the fog was a nice treat and it was incredibly quiet. Among the many things I think about on my walks, such as life, the future, what’s next or nothing at all, I thought about pancakes. It’s been months, so when I got home I whipped up a yummy batch of these chai pancakes with roasted strawberries and topped it with coconut cream, because I just love it so much and a little orange zest.

Ingredients Chai Pancake
Makes 8
¾ cup spelt flour
¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tsp fine grain sea salt
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp cardamom
½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp clove
1/2 tsp star anise
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp black pepper
1 ¾ cup coconut milk beverage, almond or soy
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
¼ cup very good cold pressed olive oil
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Notes: read recipe first. Use a whisk to loosen the flour before measuring, dip your measuring cup in the flour and scrape off excess with back of knife, do not spoon flour into measuring cup, this will result in inaccurate measurements. Use a liquid measuring cup for liquids.

1. Combine the milk and vinegar and set aside

2. Using a large bowl, sift the spelt, whole wheat pastry flour, flax, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, ginger, clove, star anise, cinnamon and black pepper, and whisk again once it’s in the bowl.

3. Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract and oil to the milk, and combine very well, add this to the dry ingredients and combine with a whisk until just mixed, do not over mix, seeing bubbles is good, set aside for 5 minutes.

4. Use a non- stick pan and have a small cup of high heat oil nearby to dip a basting brush for oiling the pan, each pancake will need fresh oil. Heat the pan and oil on medium  high until hot then turn down the heat to medium low add the batter ¼ cup at a time and cook the first side for 2 minutes, the other side for 1 ½ - 2 minutes. I use a timer for consistency. I like to wipe out the pan with paper towel then using a brush lightly coat with oil for next pancake. As they are done stack them on a plate to keep warm.

Roasted Strawberries
Preheat oven to 375 – line baking sheet with parchment paper

1 cup sliced strawberries into rounds
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
Sprinkle of star anise or allspice

Combine all in a bowl and stir well- add to baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes at 375

Pancakes, coconut whip, strawberries and fresh grated organic orange, and pure maple syrup