Category Archives: quick

Minimalist Pea Soup

Finally, real summer time weather! More and more crops are being harvested now, including blueberries, summer squash, cucumbers, and peas! Sugar snap peas are the most popular pea by far, but I really like fresh shelling peas.

Earlier this summer, we went on a short trip to Chicago. One evening, I had the delight of eating a pea soup at Hot Chocolate. I was determined to recreate this soup when we were ready to harvest our shelling peas.

The most important thing about this soup is that you need to buy fresh shelling peas! Make sure that they are freshly picked to insure the highest sugar level. After you pick peas, the sugars gradually start to turn into starch. This summertime soup is sort of like “nose-to-tail” cookery for vegetables. After you shell the peas, reserve the pods to make a light green broth and then you cook the peas in their own broth! Simple, fast, and very tasty.

Minimalist Pea SoupĀ 
2 pounds fresh shelling peas, shelled, reserving pods and peas separately

2 tbsp butter

2 garlic scapes, optional, or 1 small garlic clove

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp flour

salt, to taste

Place the pea pods in a large saucepan. Cover the pods with water and add the bay leaf and a large pinch of salt. Bring this up to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Simmer the broth until the pea pods are soft, maybe 15 or 20 minutes. Strain and transfer the broth to a bowl or another pot.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan and gentle saute the two garlic scapes or garlic clove. Add the peas and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. Cover the peas with some of the pea broth. You will most likely not need all of the broth. Simmer the peas for about 5-8 minutes and remove from heat. Blend with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. The soup should be quite thin.

In a small bowl, mash together 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour. Bring the soup back up to a high simmer and whisk in the butter/flour mixture. Continue to cook until the soup thickens. Taste and season. Ladle into bowls and serve with a drizzle of cream, yogurt, or formage blanc. Enjoy!

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Filed under quick, summer

two lunches

Sorry for the lack of updates lately! The internet has been a bit wonky for the past few weeks. Food on the farm right now is still a bit monotonous. Lots of kale, kale florets (taste like broccoli!), and eggs. However, we harvested our first bunch of asparagus last week and the rhubarb is coming in strong. Spinach is nearly ready for harvest and we trellised the first succession of peas today. Spring is definitely in the air!

Lunch is an important event of the day. These are two sandwiches that I have eaten a couple of times now and highly recommend these combinations, especially if you have access of farm fresh kale and eggs.

Grilled Cheese with Greens and Avocado

Saute a generous handful of kale (or kale florets if the kale is bolting fast) with a small clove of smashed garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes. When the greens are wilted, add a splash of apple cider or balsamic vinegar and pinch of salt. Stuff the greens into your favorite grilled cheese sandwich; mine has a layer of grainy mustard and half an avocado. Enjoy! Here, I enjoyed it with a side of yogurt with kumquat marmalade.

Egg Salad aux Fines Herbs

This was the first time I have made mayonnaise/aioli by hand, and I have to say that it was way easier than I expected. Just keep whisking! Or, use an immersion blender. I used a couple of egg yolks because mine were small and used half olive oil and half vegetable oil. Also, I know everyone knows how to hard boil an egg, but I like to bring the eggs in cold water up to a boil, remove from the heat, cover with a lid and let stand for 10 minutes. This results in a perfectly cooked white and a still slightly soft yolk.

For two sandwiches, hard boil four eggs. Cool, peel, and chop coarsely. Combine the eggs with a spoonful of mayo, a dollop of mustard, and small handfuls of finely chopped herbs of your choice. I used chervil (tiny, fine leaves with a slight licorice/anise flavor), parsley, cilantro, and sorrel (large-ish leaves with a lemony tang). Season well with salt and pepper. Serve on grainy bread, open faced or not. Once again, I added slices of avocado on top.

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Filed under greens, lunch, quick

Hummus

Now that the holidays have rolled around, I figure that some people maybe looking for some easy appetisers and finger foods to bring to holiday parties. First up, an easy hummus recipe. And who doesn’t like hummus?

I know most people know how to make hummus, but I figured I would share a few tricks in making it exceptionally smooth (like Sabra!) and easy ways to dress it up. The easiest way to improve the texture of your hummus is to cook your own chickpeas. But, understandably, a lot of people are super busy and would just rather open up a can. In either case, take a couple of minutes to skin the chickpeas. Just squeeze them gently between your fingers and the skins slip right off. The smoother texture of the resulting hummus are so worth it, especially if you are used to the really smooth store bought hummus. It is also super easy to create different flavors that make your contribution of this simple dip stand out. I rarely make the same hummus twice because it is so easy to vary. Here, I used a big handful of fresh herbs (parsley, basil, and tarragon). I have also blended in roasted red peppers or pickled red cherry peppers, other raw vegetables (like carrots, green onion, and garlic scrapes), and a whole head of roasted garlic. You can also play with spices here. I like using about 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika and a generous sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Cumin would add an earthy, toasty flavor and coriander would add a warm, citrusy flavor. Of course, you can always switch out chickpeas for other beans. White beans make a creamy and mild “hummus.” Make a big platter of hummus, fresh vegetables, and crackers and watch it disappear.

*Blog updates!*

I have installed Recipage! I am slowly making progress, entering in all of my recipes, but it is located on the sidebar. This will make it sooo much easier to search through everything I have on the site.

Holiday Hummus

1 can of chickpeas, rinsed well or about 2 cups of cooked chickpeas and some of their cooking liquid

1 lemon, juice and zest

2 tbsp tahini, a sesame paste often found in better grocery stores and health food stores

1 garlic cloves, peeled

olive oil, salt, pepper

flavorings of your choice, see above. It would be fun to do a red pepper hummus, garnished with a handful of minced herbs for the holidays. Or use a sprinkle of your favorite spice blends. I have used harissa (spicy!) and zaatar before.

Prepare your chickpeas by peeling the skins off of them. Gently squeeze the chickpea between your fingers and the skin should slip right off. Place all of your ingredients except for the olive oil into a food processor, including a couple spoonfuls of the chickpea cooking liquid if you have it. Pulse everything and as it starts to come together, drizzle in a bit of olive oil. With the cooking liquid, I usually use about 1 tablespoon; without it, I usually use about 2 tablespoons. When the puree is smooth, taste it and adjust the seasonings. I usually try to make hummus a couple of hours before eating it to let the flavors meld. Serve with your favorite accompaniments.

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Filed under dip, from the pantry, quick

Borscht

We are solidly in soup season here in Seattle. There is a Russian cafe tucked in Pike Place Market that serves delicious salads, pelmeni, and soups, including a tasty Borscht. I took home a bunch of beautiful beets from the farm the last week and was inspired to recreate this Borscht. The flavors are very clean and light, but the root vegetables make it pretty substantial. Be sure to have some sour cream or Greek yogurt on hand to swirl into the soup to add some richness. Unfortunately, I ran out when I got the chance to photograph this for lunch the next day. Keep tasting this soup as you are cooking and adjust the seasonings so it is a good balance of sweet, salty, and sour.

Simple Borscht

adapted from food52

10 cups water

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium-large onion, diced

3 medium carrots, chopped small enough to fit easily on a soup spoon

3 large beets, peeled and chopped

1 large or 2 smaller potatoes, chopped

3 small turnips, chopped

1 celery stalk, sliced thinly

1 small bunch of dill, chopped

1 lemon’s juice

1-2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

salt, pepper

10 juniper berries, optional

sour cream or greek yogurt for serving

Set the pot of water over low to medium heat. Add the juniper berries, oil, and 1-2 tsp of salt. Add the onions, beets, carrots, potatoes, turnips, and celery. As the vegetable soften, skim the foam off of the broth. When you can easily pierce the vegetables with a fork, add the lemon juice and dill and taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the thinly slice garlic right before turning the heat off. Serve hot or cold, with sour cream or yogurt.

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Filed under gluten free, quick, soups, vegetables

sweet potato doughnut muffins

Seattle is a good doughnut town. In most coffee shops, you can find Top Pot doughnuts or Mighty-O doughnuts. However tasty, those doughnuts are usually an occasional treat. Doughnut muffins. on the other hand, I could eat every week. I have been seeing more and more recipes using doughnut pans lately. No hot oil or frying? Sounds like a much more pleasant Sunday morning to me. However, living in a small studio really make storage difficult and I was reluctant to make room for another pan. Then I remembered about the delicious doughnut muffins from the Downtown Bakery and Creamery in Healdsburg, California. Light, fluffy, and coated in cinnamon sugar, these doughnut muffins were almost as delicious as regular cake doughnuts and definitely better than your average muffin.

This is definitely a fall recipe. And it includes sweet potato! A vegetable! So go ahead and eat another one.

Sweet Potato Doughnut Muffins

adapted from Oh She Glows

To make this completely vegan, use vegan butter, aka Earth Balance. If you are not concerned about that, feel free to use buttermilk instead of the nondairy milk.

6 Tbsp milk (i used almond) + 1/2 tsp vinegar, mix and let rest for a couple of minutes. Or you can also use 5 Tbsp milk + 1 Tbsp yogurt.

1/2 cup mashed sweet potato (about 1 small sweet potato. I microwaved it until tender, peeled, and mashed it with a fork)

1/4 c sugar

2 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp applesauce

2 tbsp butter, melted

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup ap flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

dash ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

Cinnamon sugar to coat (start with about 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon)

melted butter (start with a couple of tablespoons)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease your muffin tin well. Note, this recipe made 8 muffins in a standard tin for me.

In a bowl, combine the milk+vinegar, sweet potato, sugars, applesauce, vanilla, and butter. In another bowl, combine the flours. baking powder and soda, spices, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold to combine. Be sure not to overmix! Portion out in the prepared muffin tin. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out dry. These bake up pretty quickly, start checking in around 13-15 minutes. As soon as the muffins are cool enough to handle, remove from the pan and brush lightly with melted butter and roll in the cinnamon sugar. Serve right away, but these are pretty tasty cold too.

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Filed under breakfast, muffins, quick

bulgur and tomato salad

Here is a simple, quick salad that can be eaten warm or cold. This salad straddles the seasons, using the last of the ripe tomatoes before the fall sets in completely and some of the first sweet fall carrots. Bulgur or cracked wheat is perfect for a quick supper because it only needs to be rehydrated with some boiling water. In addition to eating it plain, I stuffed this mixture inside of swiss chard leaves and baked it for 20 minutes under a blanket of smoked mozzarella. As always, you can easily swap out or omit whatever the vegetables, cheese, or herbs, but I like to always include the golden raisins and a couple of handfuls of freshly chopped parsley and basil.

Bulgur and Tomato Salad

adapted from Passionate Vegetarian

1 cup of dried bulgur

2 cup boiling water

1 large sweet onion, diced fine

3-4 small carrots, diced fine

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 chile pepper, minced

3 tomatoes, diced and peeled, if you chose

1 lemon

herbs: big handful of parsley or basil. Other good choices (in smaller amounts) include mint or oregano

1/2 cup golden raisins or currants

cheese of your choice. I used a light grating of smoked mozzarella, but crumbled feta would be very tasty. Or use diced avocado for vegans.

 

Rehydrate the bulgur by pouring the boiling water over the dry bulgur. Cover and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a saute pan over medium high with a bit of olive oil and start to saute the onion and carrot. When soft, add the garlic and chile pepper and saute for another minute. Add the diced tomatoes and cook until the juices start to bubble. Pull off the heat and add the zest and juice from the lemon. Stir in the herbs and raisins or currants. Let the mixture cool for a bit and then add the cheese or avocado, if using. Season to taste and enjoy.

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Filed under from the pantry, grains, quick, tomato, vegetables

apricot fig bread

Oh no! It has started to rain here. And from what I have been told, will not stop until sometime next June. In defense, may I suggest some fresh apricot fig bread and a mug of hot tea? I have made this bread a few times and, as with most quick breads, it is best the first day. This bread is easy to throw together with whatever dried fruit you have on hand, but I really liked the combination of dried figs and apricots. It is whole grain, potentially vegan, and not too sweet.

Apricot Fig Bread

adapted from fannetastic food

2 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour or spelt flour

1/3-1/2 cup cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, or sucanant

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cardamom

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup applesauce (I have used a combination of applesauce and yogurt before and it has turned out fine)

1 large mashed banana (or 1/2 cup yogurt)

1 egg or flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax mixed with three tbsp water, set aside to thicken)

1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

1/2 cup dried mission figs, chopped (I have used prunes instead and it is also delicious)

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, baking powder and soda, and salt. In another bowl, mix together the applesauce, mashed banana, and flax egg or real egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold until everything is just combined. Fold in the dried fruit, and pour into a greased and floured pan. I used a 8″x 8″ pan, but you can also use a loaf pan or make muffins. Sprinkle on a bit of coarse sugar and rolled oats to make it look pretty. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean. For the 8″x 8″ pan, it was about 30 minutes; a loaf pan will take 45-50 minutes.

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Filed under breakfast, from the pantry, fruit, quick, sweets