Archive for June, 2011

June 29, 2011

Zucchini Tortilla Soup

Ok, well it’s not exactly soup season, but it’s been grey here so that’s my excuse. P and I frequent the farmers market often and usually end up with way too many veggies than we know what to do with. A simple answer to this is soup. We love Mexican food, but it’s not exactly healthy for you. This is something I make when we really want to lighten things up around here.

It’s a tomato and broth based soup kissed with cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, Mexican oregeno, fresh minched garlic, chopped white onions and shallots.

I like my veggies to really crunch in soup. This way, they can soften up over a few days without turning to mush. I’ve never been one for mushy veggies. I grew up in a mushy veggie house hold, and I’m a believer in crisp, fresh tasting vegetables.

This soup also gets better with time. The flavors really meld together overnight. It’s very low calorie, and extremely filling. You could certainly add tofu, black beans, or meat to this soup to make it complete meal, or serve it as a starter or side dish. It’s really up to you. I had eggs for breakfast, and tofu with lunch so my protein bases were covered for the day.

It seems like Portland is about to get sunny, and hot, so the rest of this soup might end up in my new freezer. I like to freeze portion size amounts to pull out for quick lunches, or camping.

Zucchini Tortilla Soup

  • 4 medium zucchini
  • corn cut from two ears of cooked corn
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 large shallot
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp new mexico chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dried chili flakes (all of the spices listed are measurement guesses, I don’t measure them, I just shake and taste)
  • 2 tsp salt and pepper
  • 3 tsp dried fresh oregeno
  • 2 15 oz cans stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cups of good tasting veggie broth
  • 3 corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 Tbsp cotija cheese
  • squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp avocado oil, or other high smoke point oil, plus more for frying tortilla strips
steps
  • Heat oil in heavy bottomed soup pan, add chopped garlic, and chopped onion and shallots.
  • Add all dried spices  including salt and pepper to taste to onion, shallot, and garlic mixture. Stir on low heat.
  • Add tomatoes and corn, cook for half hour, then add broth, and chopped zucchini.
  • Cook until zucchini is just done, but not soft.
  • Remove from heat
  • Fry chopped corn tortilla strips in avocado oil until crispy. I barely use any oil in a non-stick pan. Salt, and squeeze some lime juice over fried strips.
  • Chop fresh avocado.
  • Crumble Cotija cheese.
  • Place soup in bowls, top with avocado slices, fried corn strips, and a 1/2 Tbsp of cotija cheese.
  • You shouldn’t have to salt the soup. The strips will have enough salt for the brothy soup.
  • Enjoy!
xoxo
Sarah
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June 29, 2011

My own Buttermilk Cornbread with blueberries!

It’s a bit grey out there today, and drizzly too. Where are you Summer? You tease us with your eighty degree days, and pop back down to the sixties. Rather sneaky of you mother nature, oh and thanks for the sunny days to come when I’m working 12 hour shifts all weekend. Oh well. It’s a perfect day to clean out my freezer. I have a new fridge coming next week! I can’t wait. My current one stinks. It freezes stuff in the fridge, and keeps food cold in the freezer. I have to manually defrost the freezer, and most items end up getting freezer burnt, or melting, and re freezing which makes for ugly food.

I detest cleaning, but I love finding hidden gems when I do clean. It’s almost like a treasure hunt. Five bucks in a dress pocket, and fresh frozen blueberries in my freezer.

I have some zucchini tortilla soup simmering on the stove (I know, I know, I know, I said no more soup for the Summer, but come on, tortilla soup is the best! Especially with fresh zucchini from the farmers market).

I thought about making muffins, but then I decided on blueberry cornbread to go with my super spicy soup tonight!

This is another super simple recipe. It’s sweet, buttery, and delicious straight out of the oven. I can smell the butter and blueberries cooking right now. It’s tempting to just stand here and wait for it to bake, but I guess I should do something in this dreadful weather. I’m off to clean my hall closet, and then to the gym. The bread will just have to bake, and I will have to enjoy it later as a special prize for making a nice clean and organized home.

Blueberry Buttermilk Cornbread

  • 2 organic veggie fed eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or organic whole milk with vinegar)
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 3/4  cup cornmeal
  • 2 Tbsp organic cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon medium sea salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed
steps
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  • Place all wet ingredients into bowl, and whisk together
  • Add dry ingredients, stir to combine
  • Fold in blueberries
  • Place all mixed ingredients into cast iron pan, or baking dish of choice
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean in center of bread
  • Enjoy with butter melted on top!
  • Best the day of, but will keep well wrapped for two days. Just re-heat and serve with butter!
xoxo
Sarah
June 28, 2011

Oven roasted tomatoes

I’ve spent the day working out, prepping for wine classes, taking sneak peeks at Pinterest, and A Cup of Jo, and many more of my coveted sites. I walked around, window shopped, made marmelade, cleaned my kitchen, and snuggled with Lu Lu. It’s been a bit muggy, but not hot. This is a good thing, especially since I really wanted to slow roast some tomatoes that still don’t have the right pop of summer flavor I love.

This is one of my favorite things to make and eat. These tomatoes are super simple, anyone can do it, and you can go about your day while they are drying in your oven.

They are quite healthy too. I don’t add oil until after they are cooked. This keeps the calories down, and the sweet flavor of the tomatoes intact.

I usually use plum tomatoes, but any will do, all shapes, sizes and colors. Cut your tomatoes in half, place on a lined baking sheet (foil or silpat works). Sprinkle with organic cane sugar, salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. Place in oven at 200 degrees for 3.5 hours. Pull out, let cool. Place in jar, cover with extra virgen olive oil, and air tight lid. These will keep for two weeks in the fridge.

I like to make these tomatoes, let them cool, marinate in 2 Tbsp balsamic for an hour, and then place on top of grilled asparagus. The tomatoes almost melt in your mouth. They are that good. I mean, like super addicting, I can’t stop thinking about them good. These are a perfect example of how to use tomatoes year a round. ( I will post in August how to preserve tomatoes for sauces, and how to preserve oven dried tomatoes too.)

xoxo

Sarah

June 27, 2011

Onion Marmalade for grilling season!

Hello! I’m super excited for Summer to come into full swing. Living in Oregon we don’t usually get the heat, and sunny days of the season until after the fourth of the July. This is a great time for us cooks to make all of our favorite condiments for camping and outdoor cooking season.

P and I took a walk to the market last night. We went on a little adventure and snacked at some food carts. We walked around in our silent city with bare arms, and full bellies. P surprised me with some lemonade, and we had a picnic at my coffee table. It was a lovely Sunday evening.

It got me dreaming of grilling veggies, pizzas, corn, and eating dinner outside most nights. The lemonade brought back memories of my 25 cent Kool Aid lemondade stand I used to sell each Summer. I don’t think I made more than a dollar, and my mom had to eat the cost each Summer. Those were fun times, and I’m ready for new memories with friends and family.

P and I heart caramelized onions with a great passion. I live in a small apartment, with a very small kitchen. I have no air conditioning, and can’t imagine what it will feel like cooking in the heat all Summer. I’ve decided to stay organized, and prep some staples for hot days to come, including onion marmelade to spread on veggie burgers, cheese plates, and breakfast sandwiches.

I will be making oven dried tomatoes (because the tomatoes here won’t be super delicious until August) , pickled red onions, mustard, Siracha style hot sauce, balsamic preserved cherries, pickled grapes and much more in the days to come. These are all very simple recipes, and they taste so much better out of glass jar from home, than a plastic squeeze bottle.

Summer is just about to get tastier. Look for these recipes in the weeks to come!

Onion Marmalade

  • 3 large red or sweet onions (I used Viladia)
  • 6 sprigs of Thyme
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (I used Muscuvado, but any organic brown sugar will do)
  • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cayenne for heat (optional)
steps
  • Heat oil in thick bottomed pan
  • Slice onions in half moons, and add to oil (or chunks, I did half moons)
  • Add thyme leaves to onions (just pluck off of sprig)
  • Cook until onions are caramelized (soft, slightly brown, but not overcooked, and see through)
  • Add brown sugar, and balsamic vinegar, cook over low heat for 1 hr
  • Salt, and cayenne, cook for ten more minutes, remove from heat
  • Place in glass jars with lid (makes two 1/4 jars)
  • Will keep for several weeks in fridge
xoxo
Sarah
June 23, 2011

Homemade Focaccia bread

Hello all! I realized how much I miss this blog, when I’m not actually blogging. It seems that everything I make is missing out on being here! I’m back, and I’ve decided I’m not going away.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, and I’m really excited for Summer. I love the idea of lavender spiked lemonade with vodka, salt water sandals (in yellow), fresh tomatoes, open windows, sleeveless dresses, and P’s dreamy vintage blue mustang!

Summer is here, and my heart is swooning.

It hasn’t quite hit “too hot to bake” weather here, so I still feel confident in sharing a bread recipe right now. I also think Summer time is great time to practice bread making. You get better results when the there is less draft, and more consistent heat in your kitchen and home.

This is a simple recipe. I mean, really simple. You can adapt in so many ways. You can top it with tomatoes, herbs, cheese, bake garlic and onions inside of it. You can make is sweet, or serve it plain. There are endless possibilities with this bread.

P and I enjoyed it with a simple strawberry salad, and some home made tomato and pepper soup.

Homemade Foccacia

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 ¼ tsp yeast
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 ¾ cup flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp herbed salt
  • olive oil for drizzling, and oiling bowl
Steps
  • dissolve yeast and honey in water.
  • add flour and 2 tsp of salt.
  • mix with rubber spatula, and bring together with hands, no need to work this dough for too long, it comes together quite easily
  • transfer into an oiled bowl, cover  with plastic wrap, and rest 1 ½ hours in a warm spot of your kitchen (I usually let it sit on the back of my oven)
  • spread onto an oiled sheet pan (or round cake pan)
  • rest for 30 minutes.
  • spread dough to ends of sheet pan (I used a round cake pan, for a thicker bread), drizzle with oil and cover loosely, rest for 1 hour.
  • preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • sprinkle with salt, herbs, or toppings of choice, and a few glugs of good quality olive oil
  • bake for 15 minutes, it  shouldn’t have much color and bottom should be lightly golden
This is one of my favorite breads. It’s probably the easiest version I have baked to date. It’s really a no fail recipe. It stays good for 3 days tightly wrapped in plastic, or foil.
xoxo
Sarah
June 23, 2011

My friend Steve and a modern meze feast!

I was very lucky to hear a while back that my good friend Steve was coming to visit me from Philadelphia! I absolutely adore him, and was missing him greatly. He came in late on a Tuesday night. It had been some time since he had been to Portland, and I wanted to tour him around, but most importantly I wanted to visit with him more than anything in the world. Steve is a Vegan, and wanted a snack when he arrived to Portland. We took a walk down to Voodoo Doughnuts for a some vegan treats. We chatted waited in line, and then ate our doughnuts. Pure bliss, plus a Portland institution. We then went out for local IPA, and went to bed. We got up early, and went for breakfast at Jam on Hawthorne. We walked over the Hawthorne bridge, and into downtown. We stopped at Stumptown, and headed straight for Powells. After oggling at books for quite sometime, we needed to purchase fresh ingredients for a special feast I had planned for Steve. I received Skye Gygnel’s A year in my kitchen as a belated birthday gift. Her book is stunning, and uses the freshest seasonal ingredients. I adapted her meze platter to make it vegan for Steve. I also made some cous cous with almonds and herb broth, and mini Lebanese pizzas to dip with. I grilled a bunch of veggies, served everything with Marcona Almonds, and olives and called it a meal! It was absolutely divine. We drank local wine, talked about old times, and new friends. It was a night to remember! I’m at home now, and realize there is a whole in my heart, and home without Steve’s company. I hope he knows how much I miss him.

A Modern Meze

Chick Pea Dip

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • juice from one lemon
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 red chili
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 6 mint sprigs
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp non fat Greek yogurt (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
steps
  • add everything to bowl of processor and process just till chunky. You aren’t looking for smooth creamy hummus, but a dip that can hold up well to sandwiches, and veggies alike.
Beet and Horseradish Dip
  • 2 beets
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 red chili ( be careful, if you don’t like spicy, remove seeds, and add to taste)
  • 6 mint sprigs
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp non fat Greek yogurt (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
steps:
  • Wash beets, and cut off ends ( preserve the greens for use in other recipes ), and boil for 3o minutes until tender.
  • Peel of beet skins, and place all ingredients into bowl of processor.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • I prefer this dip with yogurt
Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Dip
  • 6 plum tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil (plus 2 Tbsp for roasting peppers, and 1 Tbsp for caramelizing onions)
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 onion
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 red chili
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 Tbsp non fat Greek yogurt (optional)
Steps:
  • Cut plum tomatoes in half, place on foil line baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt, and a little bit of sugar. Roast on 200 degrees for 2 hours, or until shriveled.
  • Roast peppers on foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Roast on 350 for 1 hour, turning every 15 minutes. Peel the charred spots away with gloves, and water.
  • Caramelize onions, in a hot pan with olive oil, and salt and pepper.
  • Add all cooked and non cooked ingredients into bowl of processor. Process until smooth.
This meal works well prepped the day of, or a few days before. I think it would be great for camping, or a picnic in the park.
Serve with Rose from SW France, or a chilled Pinot Blanc. We enjoyed a few bottles from Oregon, so Steve could sample wines he hadn’t tried before!
xoxo
Sarah
June 14, 2011

Pinxtos, pink wine, and a happy heart!

Hello!!!

It’s been one doozy of a day! Crazy things were happening at work, and I felt like it went by so fast that I couldn’t breathe. Being at the hospital for 12 straight hours a few days a week really puts life into perspective for me. It makes me love people more, and tell them more often. It makes me want to take care of myself better, enjoy the outdoors, laugh more, see the world, and taste as much I possibly can, while I’m able.

After all the crazy stuff that happened at work I was super relieved to get home and make something delicious. I got home, realized I was locked out. Panicked for second, and found my spare key after calling P three times, and emptying the million receipts and lip glosses from my hand bag.

Walking up my stairs, all I could think about was the beautiful  five liter box of  really good quality Rose that was sent from France, specifically for the good people of my wine shop, and something small, and savory to enjoy with it.

I’m always thinking of ways to use up bits and pieces in my fridge. I knew I had to use the 1/4 head of cauliflower, and Spanish olives from my dinner party last week.

I thought of Pinxtos, or small snacks that pair well with wine. I dreamed of deep fried cauliflower croquettes from Spain. I knew I needed to fry up some cauliflower, but I needed to do it an “healthy way”. I also wanted to use this as a side dish to my normal work night Kale Salad.

This dish needed flavor, crunch, protein, spice, and a little dairy!

It was delicious. It will be a regular around here, it may be part of my lunch tomorrow!

Pan fried cauliflower, with almonds, panko, Spanish olives, and harissa cream!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 head of cauliflower
  • 3 Tbsp Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp of dried oregano, and basil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 3 clicks from your pepper mill
  •  2 Tbsp Creme Fraiche
  • 2 tsp harissa paste
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • 6 Spanish green olives
  • 3 Tbsp Marcona Almonds
  • 3 Tbsp Avocado Oil
  • More salt and pepper to taste
  • a few sprinkled of smoked paprika
Steps:
  • Heat oil in small fry pan, add minced garlic.
  • Dip cauliflower in lemon juice, or drizzle lemon juice over cauliflower.
  • Mix dried herbs, panko, salt and pepper together.
  • Add cauliflower to panko, and toss in pan.
  • Toss olives, and marcona almonds to pan.
  • Fry on low heat until panko is crispy, and cauliflower is hot, and slightly soft.
  • Sprinkle with Paprika, salt, and pepper.
Harissa Cream:
  • Mix creme fraiche, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, and harissa paste together! Voila! Easy!
This is the sort of dish that brightens up a tough day. I had a glass of my Rose, which paired nicely with my delicious cauliflower, and now it’s cuddle time with Lu Lu. My heart is happy, and life is beautiful!
xoxo
Sarah
June 6, 2011

Spicy white bean dip!

This is the sort of dip that can be played with based on taste preference. I feel like I say this a lot, in most of my posts because I want you to know that I’m a pretty flexible person. I am constantly thumbing through cookbooks, magazines, and food blogs to get inspirations for healthy meals. I don’t always have a plan when creating something new, and I don’t always have all ingredients on hand when I find a recipe that catches my eye.

I keep of variety of staples in the pantry, fridge, and freezer that I don’t like to be without. Whole grains such as emmer farro, wheat bulgur, and millet. I also buy fresh beans when I can, and freeze them to use through-out the year. Canned is fine, but a friend of mine told me she found a cockroach in a can of soup she purchased, and I’ve been disturbed by her experience for quite sometime now. I am  pick through my beans if they are canned to make sure they are clear of critters. I also don’t like the sodium canned items contain. I want to add salt at the end  of cooking to make flavors pop. I always rinse beans from a can in a strainer before using them. Lemons, garlic, and shallots are also other fresh items I don’t like to be without. If you keep these items on hand, most of my recipes will be easy for you to adapt.

This white bean dip is inspired by Tria’s Tuscan white bean dip. It can be baked or served cold. It’s great with a salad, or perfect for a party. You can make as little, or as much as you like. It’s just that easy.

I used gigante beans, but you can use any large or small white bean you like. I’d steer clear of lima, but use what you have on hand.

I’m not going to call this a recipe, so I won’t be formal with my ingredient list or steps in making this dip. Take beans, I used 1 cup, and place in food processor. Add two to three cloves garlic. A scant quarter cup of olive oil. Juice from one lemon, fresh herbs such as sage, thyme, or chives. Cayenne, salt and pepper to taste. Pulse, and add warm water to thin a bit.

I usually serve this warm topped with parmesan cheese. I also like to bake smoked paprika crostini’s to serve with it.

I think this would be a nice alternative to hummus, and delicious with fresh veggies, or on a sandwich later in the week.

xoxo

Sarah

June 6, 2011

Kale salad, two ways.

Hello!

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to sit down and write. I’ve been so busy prepping for wine classes, working tastings, and enjoying the sunshine, that I’ve been neglecting this blog and that just breaks my heart!

I don’t have the lifestyle that allows me to post every Wednesday, or occasional Saturdays. My life just isn’t structured that way. I wish it were, but I have to work with what time I have.

In my last post I talked about eating lighter, and my “diet overhaul”. I’ve been sticking to it, with a couple of exceptions here and there. Plus, it’s hard for me to give up wine. Wine is very consuming, and it plays such a huge role in my life. Apparently, Kale has been playing a huge role in my diet practice lately. It’s kale salad, after kale salad around here, and I like it.

My first experience with kale wasn’t so good. I had a roommate in college, and we shared our first apartment together. We were both vegetarian, and we both had very different veggie preferences, and created many kitchen disasters together. We mainly ate burritos with black beans, and jasmine rice, our specialty. She asked me one day if I had ever tried kale. My answer was: no, isn’t that the stuff that they fill the salad bar with for decoration?  She bought some, and we both tasted it, and threw it in the trash immediately. It wasn’t until years later I had a kale pesto, sauteed kale, and kale tostada’s and finally determined I was an addict.

Kale is great for salads because it’s tougher than most greens. It doesn’t turn brown if you dress it and throw it in the fridge overnight. I don’t like to fuss with multiple containers when I bring my lunch to work, these salads are perfect for that purpose.

I’ve decided to post two salads today because I don’t want this blog to be the “kale salad blog”, but I wanted to share with you what I’ve been eating and enjoying on a daily basis during this diet overhaul.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I have been!

Tuscan Kale Salad with Pecorino, chile’s and lemon dressing

Slightly adapted from 101cookbooks, and Melissa Clark’s In the kitchen with a good appetite

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale (for ex: black or lacinato, all I had was green leaf kale and it was delicious this way too)
  • 2 thin slices country bread, or two handfuls good, homemade coarse breadcrumbs
  • 2  cloves garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a pinch
  • 1/4 cup (or small handful) grated pecorino cheese, plus adiitional for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
  • Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon (scant 1/4 cup or)
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or cayenne pepper)
  • 1/2 cup cooked, and cooled chickpeas (rinsed canned are fine too)
Steps:
  • Chop kale into bite size pieces, and I’ve found the smaller the better. I make this salad so often, I just take my kitchen shears and chop away.
  • Chop bread into small pieces, coat with a bit of olive oil, salt, and cayenne. Place into oven at 350, and bake until crispy.
  • Add garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper flakes to bowl of food processor. Pulse until smooth.
  • Place chopped kale into bowl, top with chickpeas, bread crumbs, grated pecorino, and dressing.
  • Salt, and pepper to taste. Add red pepper flakes, and dust with pecorino.
  • Enjoy!
Raw kale salad with tahini dressing
Ingredients:
  • Kale (red, or green leaf)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt, pepper, and cayenne
Steps:
  • Chop kale into very small pieces, place into bowl with lid.
  • Place tahini, warm water, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil into bowl or food processor, or blender. Pulse until desired consistency. This should be runny like dressing, not like peanut butter.
  • Top kale with desired amount of dressing, you should have plenty for salads later in the week.
  • Place lid on bowl and shake until entire salad is covered.
  • Place in smaller bowls, and serve with salt and pepper.
  • Enjoy!
The best part about both of these salads is that they are very adaptable depending on taste, and what you have on hand.
xoxo
Sarah
June 1, 2011

The Redwoods, celery soup for a diet overhaul!!!

Hello All!

This Spring is cruising along! P and I have been so busy. I’m teaching one wine class a week, working, working more, and trying to make some time for a social life and  some fun time with P too.

We decided it was time for a quick trip and a Spring renewal so we headed to the Redwoods on the Northern California coast after I finished a sparkling wine tasting last Friday. We set out around 9pm on Friday night, drove for 5 hours, and grabbed a motel room around 2am, to wake up early and head on outdoor adventure.

I feel so lucky to be able to travel to some of the most beautiful places in the US. I have also traveled to most of Europe, and South Africa, and look forward to seeing more of world, and once again I feel fortunate to work in the wine industry, where traveling and visiting the world’s prettiest places will become a regular part of my job in the future.

If you haven’t been to the Redwoods before, it’s worth seeing, and then seeing again. It’s fresh, green, and smells like no other place on earth. The trees are very old, and incredibly huge. You get to drive up and down windy forest roads, and through land that I didn’t even know existed. It was almost like an outdoor fairy tale.

P and I planned this trip at the very last minute. We didn’t bring much in the way of healthy food, and I probably ate things I should feel ashamed of letting touch my lips, or entering my body. I am definitely paying for it now.

We decided it was time for diet overhaul. We have been using a ton of cheese as protein, fried eggs, and olive oil when it wasn’t even necessary. Although I believe these things are good for you, I think it’s time for a a bit of cleanse. Not in the traditional sense, but more of a stripping of bad foods, and couple weeks of eating really fresh food, and simple flavors. We will then start to bring back the good fats, cheeses and organic local eggs. Sometimes your body just needs clean, fresh veggies, and a ton of water. I like to think of it as a healthier cleanse.

Celery Soup

Slightly Adapted from Jill and Jewle’s Elmore The Family Chef

  • 1 villadia onion, cut in medium pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 leek, whites only
  • ½ fennel bulb
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 head cauliflower,or 2 potatoes work too
  • 12 stalks of celery, cut in medium chunks
  • 1 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 2 handfuls  peas (fresh are great / frozen are ok)
  • salt  and pepper to taste
  • hand full of chives
Steps
  • Sautee onion, garlic, leek, fennel, and celery until soft, and not browned in a little bit of oil. Add more water if veggies are about to brown.
  • Add Cauliflower, peas, and stock. Cook until everything is soft enough to blend.
  • Add chopped parsley, and blend with hand blender, or in food processor.
  • Top with chives, and salt and pepper.
I think that this soup is very adaptable to fit what you have on hand, and would be delicious topped with truffle salt, cayenne, or some pesto.
I’m off to prep for another wine class!
Enjoy.
xoxo
Sarah