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    out of the garden

November 30, 2017

Carrot Fennel Soup and Butternut Squash Salad

Carrot Ginger and Fennel Soup

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 medium fennel bulb, chopped

sea salt

3 pounds organic carrots, chopped into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

2 quarts vegetable broth

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Heat the oil in a medium soup pot over medium high heat, and cook the onion and fennel until soft.  Add a big pinch of sea salt, and stir in the carrots, ginger, and ground spices.  Cook for 3-4 minutes to intensify the flavor of the spices.  Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Reduce to simmer and cook 30 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup in the pot.  Stir in the orange juice and lemon juice.  Season to taste with salt and pepper or additional citrus.

Warm Butternut Squash Farro Salad

Serves 3-4 as a main course or 6 as a side

 2 cups butternut squash, chopped into ½” cubes

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup farro

2 cups organic vegetable stock

kosher salt

½ cup chopped Italian parsley

for the dressing, whisk together:

¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Toss the butternut squash with the coconut or olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and roast for about 30 minutes, until the squash begins to brown at the edges.

Meanwhile, in a small pot, combine the farro and the vegetable stock.  Add a pinch of salt if the vegetable stock does not have any.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a medium low and cook about 20 minutes, until al dente.  Meanwhile, prepare the dressing.  Drain the farro if necessary and toss with the dressing in a shallow bowl.

Fold in the roasted butternut squash and the chopped parsley. Allow the combined squash and farro to sit for at least 45 minutes so the flavors can build together.  Serve at room temperature or cold.

Playing around:

  • Serve as a bed for roast turkey, baked salmon, or grilled shrimp to complete a main course
  • Serve in a roasted acorn squash half for a vegetarian main course
  • Add cannellini beans or roasted mushrooms for a heartier vegetarian version
  • Use any favorite herbs
  • Add roasted cherry tomatoes and basil when they are in season
  • Add shaved Parmesan or Goat Lady chevre
August 29, 2017

Better Veggie Burgers

Not your everyday black bean patties!

Here is a major short cut recipe:

Easy Black Bean Cakes

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup panko or other breadcrumbs

½ cup salsa


½ cup corn

½ cup chopped peppers

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 Tablespoon chopped red onion or shallot

Combine beans, breadcrumbs, and salsa in a bowl.  Smash together with hands or the back of a spoon.  Shape into 6 or more cakes or patties.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet.  Cook black bean cakes over medium heat for 2- 3 minutes on each side.  Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

Serving ideas:

Make a pita pocket with black bean cakes, shredded lettuce and cheese.
Serve on their own with a side of rice or pasta and a green vegetable such as string beans or snow peas.
Dip in guacamole, veg-wee dip, or salsa of your choice.  Serve some chips on the side.



August 28, 2017

Jicama, Orange, and Fennel Salad

Nutrient dense and delicious!

Jicama, Orange & Fennel Salad

I don’t often think of serving oranges in summer, but this salad is so refreshing and the familiarity of the oranges encourages people to try it even if they aren’t familiar with jicama or raw fennel.  Because the jicama is a great source of prebiotic fiber and the arugula is a cruciferous vegetable, this dish is an especially healthy choice to add to summer cookouts or fall tailgate buffets.  

To make enough for a small platter of about six servings, you will need 4 navel oranges, 1 small jicama about the size of a small orange, 1 small fennel bulb, and 1 five-ounce box of mixed baby arugula and spinach.  

Prepare the oranges by slicing the segments away from each membrane, and set them aside.  Peel the jicama and fennel and slice them into thin strips.  

Whisk together for a dressing: 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 garlic clove, minced, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 2 teaspoons maple syrup; then whisk in 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. You can also boost the flavor by adding 1 teaspoon toasted fennel seeds to the dressing.  

Refrigerate the ingredients and dressing until shortly before you plan to serve.  Assemble the salad by putting down a layer of arugula and spinach and layering jicama slices over the greens.  Drizzle with dressing and then top with fennel.  Arrange the orange sections on top and perhaps add more dressing.  

Playing around:

Spicy: You could spice things up using radishes instead of jicama or add them to these ingredients.

Sweet: You could add blueberries or watermelon, or use either of these in place of the oranges.

Green: You could add cilantro or parsley to the bed of greens.

Serve at brunch after eggs, or with burgers and hot dogs at a cookout, or as an accompaniment to shrimp or fish tacos.  For a light lunch you could add pumpkin seeds and avocado and serve the salad on its own.

March 10, 2017

Think Outside the Box…

Think Outside the Box … of Crackers

Sweet Potato Toast 

Here’s a great healthy food swap that’s oh so versatile.  Use a round of toasted sweet potato in place of a cracker or bread for an hors d’oeuvres or even breakfast.  It’s Whole 30 compliant, and it’s a neutral start you can adapt for lots of different palates.  Make it savory or sweet… the possibilities are pretty much endless! 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees or use a toaster on the highest setting if you are preparing one or two large slices.  Scrub the sweet potatoes and leave their skin on.  Any variety of sweet potato will work.  Slice them evenly to ¼” thickness.  I slice them crosswise if I’m preparing an hors d’oeuvres, as pictured here, and lengthwise if I’m using them for a larger gluten-free toast.  Lay them flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or place them directly on the racks of your toaster.  Bake them for up to 20 minutes, flipping over about halfway through cooking, until the slices are beginning to brown.  

For a light savory hors d’oeuvres with a distinctive taste, I paired Japanese sweet potato toasts with a bit of arugula and some Goat Lady Dairy Smoky Mountain chevre.  

Try it any other way you can think of or check out the nearly 7,000 posts at #sweetpotatotoast.


Toasted Sweet Potato topped with sweet or savory flavors

  • Almond butter, banana slices, chia seeds, and a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Kite Hill non-dairy cream cheese and fresh blueberries
  • Good ole’ PB&J
  • Avocado and freshly ground black pepper
  • Cream cheese, smoked salmon, tomato, and chives
  • Goat Lady Dairy goat cheese and arugula or rosemary
  • Bacon, egg, and avocado
  • Beet Hummus and chives
February 12, 2016

Pesto, Pistou, Gremolata, Chimichurri, Salsa Verde, and More!

Herbs.  There’s so much beautiful flavor and aroma in a summer herb garden.  And on the third consecutive day of freezing temperatures that sure seems like a long way off.  Adding herbs to the menu on these cold days is a great way to brighten some cold-weather cooking. Maybe the best part is that herbs won’t just add zest to these dishes, but they also deliver great nutrition.  In fact, most herbs common in our markets are as nutritious as kale and other leafy greens.
If you can take the time to smash your own herbs with olive oil, citrus zest, and maybe some garlic or nuts, the variety of herb sauces and dressings you can make will be right at home with everything from grilled fish or chicken to raw veggies to pasta or quinoa or a hearty bowl of soup.

Pesto, Pistou, Gremolata, Chimichurri, Salsa Verde, and More!
Across the Mediterranean region, traditional cuisines developed green condiments and sauces made from herbs such as basil or parsley combined with olive oil, garlic, and sometimes nuts such as pine nuts or walnuts, and often a bit of hard cheese such as Parmesan.  Whether it’s Genovese pesto, South American Chimichurri, or Northern Italian style gremolata, this heritage of green condiments and sauces brings superfood nutrition to your table.

Chimichurri traditionally accompanies grilled red meat.  It’s as simple as loading up the food processor and cleaning up.  Combine 1 cup Italian parsley, 1/2 cup cilantro, 2 garlic cloves, 1 seeded jalapeño, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, a big pinch of ground cumin and a teaspoon of kosher salt.  Pulse them together in the food processor and then allow the flavors to develop for at least half an hour before serving.  It’s a great addition to a rice dish, and used as a dressing for a grain salad it pairs well with all kinds of vegetables.

Chimichurri is so good for you – Parsley is packed with iron to boost energy, and it delivers chlorophyll, which oxygenates blood, detoxifies metals in our body, and feeds good bacteria in the gut.  Another great source of fat-soluble vitamin K, parsley is associated with promoting bone health and limiting neuron damage in the brain.  Parsley is one of the herbs highest in antioxidant beta-carotene.  Cilantro may reduce LDL cholesterol in the blood.  It is high in antioxidants such as beta-carotene, and a good source of folate, and fiber, as well as minerals calcium, potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.  Cilantro is also a great source of vitamins K, A, and C.

Gremolata originated in the cuisine of Milan.  It is a simple pairing of garlic, lemon zest, and parsley.  Try it over blanched green beans or asparagus.  It was traditionally served over meat such osso buco.  To dress about a pound of green beans or asparagus combine 2 cloves of garlic, minced, with the zest of two medium lemons, 1/4 cup of minced Italian parsley.   If you’d really like to ramp it up add 3 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan,  2 tablespoons of pine nuts and about 2 tablespoons of your favorite olive oil.  For a short cut, I use my microplane zester for the garlic and lemon zest and only have to chop some parsley.

Pesto, made from Genoa basil, the variety common to our markets, is a wonderful addition soups such as minestrone, and of course an ideal dressing for pasta and potatoes, or an Italian sandwich.  Basil contains flavonoids that protect your cells from oxidative damage.  Its essential oils deliver anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial benefits.  Basil is high in vitamin A, essential for vision and maintaining healthy skin.  It is a good source of vitamin K, which is important for healthy blood clotting and strengthens blood vessels to reduce dark circles and prevent varicose veins.  Basil is also an excellent source of iron.  Make big batches of basil when your herb garden is full, and freeze 2 tablespoon portions in ice cube trays.  You’ll have the bright, warm taste of summer all winter long.

Combine 3 tablespoons of pine nuts and 1 clove of garlic in the food processor or with a mortar and pestle.  When the garlic is smashed to a paste and the nuts are finely ground, incorporate a cup of packed basil leaves, 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, and a big pinch of salt, and then slowly add in 1/4 cup of olive oil.

January 12, 2015

Hearty Salad for Cold Winter Days


I was lucky enough to escape the brutally cold weather that settled over most of the east coast last week with an invigorating retreat to Florida.  There was lots of time to grow in my yoga practice, deepen friendships, and get to know new friends.  We had a generous helping of treats like beers during ACC basketball and Jake’s Bakes all the way from Nashville, but we kept our bodies going with some healthy homemade salads at lunch every day.  I especially love this protein-packed salad of arugula, green peas, and roasted chickpeas.

Arugula Quinoa Salad with Roasted Chickpeas
to serve 4:

1/2 cup quinoa
3/4 cup frozen green peas, rinsed in freshly boiled water
4 big handfuls of arugula leaves (one 5 oz. box works for me)
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
freshly cracked black pepper

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse it thoroughly with water.  Transfer the quinoa to a large pot and cover with plenty of water – as if you were going to cook pasta.  Bring to a boil over high heat and boil until the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.  Add the frozen peas to the pot and cook for one minute more.  Drain well.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
While the quinoa is cooking, heat the olive oil in a small skillet and add the minced garlic, keeping close watch to remove from the pan from the heat before the garlic browns.  Add the chickpeas, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place in the oven.  Roast, shaking the pan occasionally,  for 15-20 minutes, or until the chickpeas begin to brown.
Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking together the lemon juice, vinegar and honey until the honey dissolves completely.  Whisk in the olive oil.  Whisk in the chives and black pepper.
Add the arugula to the cooked quinoa and peas and toss well.  Pour the roasted chickpeas and the oil they cooked in over the mixture, tossing again to combine thoroughly.  Drizzle about 2/3 of the dressing over the salad.  Add more dressing if desired.  Serve immediately, or leave at room temperature for up to four hours.