Kosher Vegetarian

Winter Vegetable Soup

Winter+Vegetable+Soup.jpg

Makes 6-8 servings. 

Nourishing, hearty, with a rich flavor of vegetables, tomatoes and basil, this soup freezes very well and is convenient to have on hand for unexpected guests.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 onion

  • 4 garlic cloves

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 parsnips

  • 2 carrots

  • 1 zucchini

  • 6 cultivated mushrooms

  • 1 small cauliflower

  • 1 ½ cups chopped tomatoes, Pomi brand (See Note)

  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth

  • One 15.5 can butter beans, drained (See Note)

  • 2 cups tightly packed basil leaves, torn to small pieces

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper  

PREPARATION:

  1. Peel and cut the onion and garlic into large pieces. Chop coarsely in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. 

  2. In a large saucepan heat the oil and sauté the onion/garlic for a few minutes.  

  3. Peel and cut the parsnips and carrots into large pieces. Chop coarsely and add to the saucepan. 

  4. Wipe the zucchini, trim the ends, cut into large pieces. Chop coarsely and add to the saucepan. 

  5. Wipe the mushrooms with a damp towel, quarter, chop coarsely and add to the saucepan. 

  6. Separate the cauliflower into small florets and also add to the saucepan.  

  7. Sauté all for a few minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, vegetable broth, butter beans and basil. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook covered for about 30 minutes or until all the vegetables are soft.

NOTE:

I chop all the vegetables SEPERATELY in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. It is important to cut the vegetables into large pieces before chopping.   

I use Pomi brand chopped tomatoes. They come in cartons. Leftover tomatoes can be frozen. 

I use Goya brand beans.  

 
 

Stir Fried Shiitake Mushrooms

STIR FRIED SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS.jpg

Makes 2 first course servings. 

I do not know about you, but for me mushrooms evoke the winter season. This is a simple, tasty dish. It can also be a side dish.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 large shiitake mushrooms, about ½ pound

  • 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 scallions including the green part, thinly sliced.

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 3-4 tablespoons dry white wine

  • ¾ cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:

  1. Discard the mushroom stems. Wipe the caps with a damp paper towel and slice thinly. 

  2. Heat a wok, add 2 tablespoons oil, heat the oil, add scallions and garlic and sauté over low heat until soft, about 2 minutes. 

  3. Add the remaining tablespoon oil and all the mushrooms. Stir fry over medium high heat adding the wine until mushrooms are ALMOST wilted (the amount of oil and wine will depend on the utensil, the heat and the mushrooms. I do not like them too oily, or too wilted, but they are like sponges and absorb any liquid quickly). 

  4. Add the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

 
 

Savoy Cabbage Soup

Makes 6 generous servings. 

Freezer friendly, thick, nutritious and great on a cold, winter day, this soup can be a meal in itself if cooked with meat. I chop all the vegetables in a food processor to save a lot of time.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¾ ounce dried porcini mushrooms

  • 1 cup boiling water

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 onions, quartered

  • 4 cloves garlic, quartered

  • 2 carrots, cut into large pieces

  • 1 small Savoy cabbage, about 11/2 pounds or regular cabbage.

  • 6 cultivated mushrooms

  • 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes

  • 4 cups vegetable broth

  • Small bunch dill, tied with a string, leave some for garnish

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:

  1. Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl, pour boiling water over the mushrooms, cover and let stand for about 20 minutes. Strain soaking liquid through a sieve lined with a paper towel, squeezing mushroom over the sieve to extract more liquid. Set liquid aside. Wash soaked mushrooms carefully to remove any sand, pat dry with paper towels and chop coarsely. 

  2. Chop the onions and the garlic coarsely in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Do the same with the carrots. Discard the outer leaves of the cabbage, quarter, core and chop coarsely.   

  3. Wipe the cultivated mushrooms with a damp paper towel, quarter and chop coarsely.

  4. IT IS BEST TO CHOP EACH VEGETABLE SEPARATELY.    

  5. In a large saucepan heat the oil, add the onions, garlic and carrots and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage, both mushrooms, mushroom liquid, tomatoes, vegetable broth and dill.   

  6. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat then cook gently, half covered for about 30 minutes. The Savoy cabbage will be a little crunchy.   

  7. Season to taste with salt, pepper. 

  8. Garnish with dill snipped with scissors.

 
 

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Baby Kale

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Baby Kale.jpg

Makes 6 first course servings.

Makes 4 main course servings.

A more complicated version of this dish appeared on my website in 2015. With the availability of baby kale, which comes prewashed, I was able to make this dish quicker and tastier.

I find it good both warm and at room temperature.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 5 scallions, including green part, cut into thick slices

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 5 ounces baby kale

  • 15 Kalamata olives, pitted, cut in half

  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti

PREPARATION:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok. Add the scallions and garlic. Sauté over low to medium heat until the scallions are wilted, about 5 minutes.   

  2. Add the remaining oil and all the kale. Stir over high heat, until kale is just wilted. Add the olives, some of the lemon juice, salt and pepper.  

  3. In a large pot bring 3 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and the spaghetti. Boil briskly, uncovered, for 8 -10 minutes. The spaghetti should be al dente. Drain well and add to the wok.  

  4. Combine and season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

  5. Before serving check the seasoning again.    

 
 

Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup.jpg

Makes 2 servings. 

This is a soup without the addition of any liquid. The taste and the consistency is totally dependent on the quality of the tomatoes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes

  • 2 garlic cloves, quartered

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 5 thyme sprigs, plus leaves from 2 sprigs for garnish

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

PREPARATION:

  1. Rinse, core and slice the tomatoes. Place them in a saucepan along with the garlic, olive oil and thyme.

  2. Bring to a gentle boil, cover and cook over low heat until the tomatoes are very soft, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.  

  3. Discard the thyme and puree in a Vitamix until very smooth.

  4. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Garnish with thyme. 

 
 

Cauliflower with Tahini

Cauliflower with Tahini.jpg

Makes 4 first course servings, 4-6 side dish servings.

The combination of all these ingredients makes for an unusual nutty flavor.  It is amazing what a versatile vegetable cauliflower can be.  

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ cup tahini
  • Grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, approx
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper.
  • 1 large head cauliflower, about 21/2 pounds
  • ½ cup cashews, toasted, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, or flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat the oven to 500F.
  2. Cut and discard the stem off the cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower head into 1½ to 2 inch florets and rinse.
  3. Line a large baking sheet (12 by 18) with heavy foil.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the tahini, lemon zest, lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt, paprika and pepper. It is easier to combine with a wooden spoon. Add the cauliflower and toss well.
  5. Spread it all on the baking sheet and bake on the lowest rack of the oven.
  6. Roast until well browned and just tender, about 13-15 minutes.
  7. Gather all the cauliflower to center of baking sheet and season to taste, with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  8. Add cashews, cilantro or parsley.
 
 

Tomato Watercress Soup

Watercress Tomato Soup2.jpg

Makes 6 servings.

This soup is a blend of interesting strong flavors. I serve it either at room temperature or hot.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1½ cups vegetable broth
  • ½ pound Golden Yukon potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, rinsed, cored and cut into large pieces
  • 1 bunch watercress, stems removed, rinsed (3 cups loosely packed). Reserve a few petals for garnish
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium covered saucepan. Add onion and garlic and sauté over low heat for 5 minutes. Add 1½ cups broth, potatoes and tomatoes.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook, covered, until potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.
  3. Add watercress and cook covered for 2 minutes.
  4. Puree in a Vitamix, in 2 batches, until smooth.  
  5. Adjust the consistency with the reserved broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Garnish with watercress petals.
 
 

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Corn and Squash Soup

Corn Soup 2.jpg

Makes 6-8 servings.

The combination of summer corn and summer yellow squash makes for a wonderful, nutritious and golden colored soup.

I serve it warm or at room temperature.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 4 ears corn plus 1 for garnish
  • 4 medium yellow squash, about 1½ pounds
  • 3 cups vegetable broth.
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, approx
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion, garlic and sauté for a minute.
  2. Shuck the corn kernels, setting aside one of the ears for garnish.
  3. Rinse the squash and slice.
  4. Add the corn, zucchini and 2¼ cups of the broth to the saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes or until tender.
  5. Puree the soup, in two batches, in a Vitamix until smooth and silky.
  6. Adjust the consistency with the reserved broth. Season with lime juice, salt and pepper.
 
 

Linguini with Uncooked Sauce

Makes 6 servings as a first course.

Makes 4 servings as a main course.

Summertime is when this pasta is especially appealing because tomatoes are at their best. I serve it is at room temperature and leftovers are good as well.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (½ pound)
  • 3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper, approx
  • 20 pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces baby arugula, torn into pieces
  • 1 pound imported linguini
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice

PREPARATION:

  1. Rinse the tomatoes, dry and cut in half. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand while you are preparing the rest.
  2. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper, olives, capers, olive oil and arugula to the tomatoes.
  3. In a large covered pot, bring 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and all the pasta at once, stir. Boil briskly, uncovered for 7-8 minutes; the pasta should be al dente.
  4. Toss with the tomatoes.
  5. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
 
 

Roasted Cherry Tomato Soup

Makes 2 servings. 

This is a refreshing creamy tomato soup which I like to serve cold or at room temperature on hot summer days. Unfortunately without a Vitamix the soup will have to be strained to remove the seeds and some of the skin. I like to serve it with a basil pesto but snipped chives are equally delicious and certainly less work.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ -1 cup vegetable broth
  • ¼ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chives, finely snipped for garnish

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Rinse the tomatoes. 
  3. Place in an ovenproof dish that is large enough to hold the tomatoes in a single layer. Place the garlic underneath the tomatoes.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Roast for 1 hour, turning the tomatoes once. 
  6. Pour into a Vitamix and add ¾ cup vegetable broth. Puree until smooth.
  7. Adjust the consistency with the extra vegetable broth.
  8. Season to taste with sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. 
  9. Garnish with snipped chives. Use scissors.
 
 

Eggplant Caviar

Makes 6 first course servings.

This is a Georgian (Russian) dish where eggplants are plentiful and seedless. There it is called “the poor man’s caviar.” l like to serve this piquant dish surrounded by sliced English or Persian cucumbers and crackers.

Like most simple recipes with very few ingredients, the quality of the eggplant becomes paramount. Unfortunately, I have no suggestions how to pick a good eggplant (try to find one with few seeds).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium to large eggplant (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons double-concentrate tomato paste
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Line a pan with foil.
  3. Place the eggplant in pan and bake for about 35 minutes, turning once, until the eggplant is soft to the touch.
  4. While the eggplant is baking, heat the oil in a skillet.  Add the onion and sauté, over low heat until soft and transparent. About 10 minutes.
  5. When the eggplant is  cool enough to handle, discard the stem, cut in half, scrape off some of the seeds if there any, and pour off any accumulated juice. Scrape the flesh into a food processor, fitted with the steel blade. Add the onion, and the tomato paste and pulse until almost smooth. 
  6. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  7. Serve at room temperature.
 
 

Asparagus Soup

Makes 6 servings.        

This is a silky, creamy and delicious springtime soup, when asparagus is at its best. Before the advent of the Vitamix the soup was a bit time consuming requiring a blender and a strainer to remove the stringy parts.  With the Vitamix it is just blending that is required.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 shallots, sliced
  • 3 pounds asparagus, plus 6 spears for garnish
  • ½ pound Golden Yukon potatoes, peeled, sliced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:

  1. Heat the olive oil in medium-sized covered saucepan. Add the garlic and the shallots and sauté for a minute.
  2. Hold each asparagus spear with both hands and snap at the point where it breaks off easily.
  3. Discard that part and rinse and cut the rest. Add to the saucepan along with the potatoes, chicken broth and tarragon.
  4. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat and cook covered for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.  
  5. Remove tarragon sprigs. Puree the soup in two batches in a Vitamix until very smooth. 
  6. Season to taste and garnish with steamed sliced asparagus tips.

NOTE:

This soup freezes very well, but when reheating it, whisk it as it begins to boil to restore the creamy texture.

 
 

Vegetable Soup

Makes 8 servings. 

This is a hearty, very thick, nutritious vegetable soup.

Cutting so many vegetables the same size is a bit time consuming which I certainly do not want to impose on anyone.  My solution is to chop all of the vegetables, SEPARATELY, in a food processor. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ounce dried Porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 baking potato
  • ¼ pound string beans
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 1 cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Truffle oil for garnish, optional

PREPARATION:

  1. Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl, pour over boiling water, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Remove reconstituted mushrooms and squeeze dry all the liquid back to the bowl. Strain the mushroom liquid through a fine mesh sieve and set aside (if you do not have a fine mesh sieve line what you have with paper towel). Chop the mushrooms and set aside.
  2. Chop the onion and the garlic semi-coarsely in a food processor. Be sure to quarter the vegetables first.
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes.
  4. Add the reserved mushrooms.                      
  5. Peel the carrot and the potato, cut into large pieces and chop semi- coarsely, SEPARATELY, in a food processor. Add to the pan.                      
  6. For the string beans, zucchini, cauliflower, and parsley, trim the vegetables where needed, cut into large pieces and chop semi-coarsely SEPARATELY in a food processor.  Add to the pan.
  7. Add the reserved mushroom liquid and the vegetable broth to the saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and cook gently, covered, for about ½ an hour. The vegetables should be soft.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Serve with drops of truffle oil.
 
 

Red Lentil Soup

Makes 6 servings.

This recipe is a healthy, thick, hearty soup, to warm your heart on the bleakest days of winter. This soup also freezes very well. It is one of the few soups that I do not puree.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic, cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded finely chopped (See Note)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin, approx
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric, approx
  • 1 3/4 cups red lentils
  • 6 -6 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, approx
  • Cilantro leaves for garnish, optional

PREPARATION:

  1. In a large covered saucepan heat the olive oil. Add onions, garlic and jalapeno. Sautee covered over low heat for about 10 minutes.  The onions should be soft. Stir in cumin and turmeric. Add lentils and 6 cups of broth. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat and cook covered for about 15 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
  2. Adjust the seasoning with cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper and lime juice.
  3. This soup thickens a bit. When ready to serve, adjust the consistency with the reserved ½ cup of broth. Season to taste again.

NOTE:

I chop finely the onions, garlic and jalapeno in a food processor. Be sure to quarter the ingredients first.

When seeding jalapeno peppers, please wear thin plastic gloves to avoid irritating your skin or your eyes.

 
 

 

 

Roasted Acorn Squash

Make 4 first course servings.

I am so delighted when I can create a recipe that tastes good, looks good, is easy to make and so nutritious.  I often include some greens to make the first course more interesting.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small acorn squash, about 1 ½ pounds
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for salad greens
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar

PREPARATION:

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Line a large baking sheet with foil and brush the foil with 1 tablespoon oil.

Rinse and pat dry the squash.

Trim the ends and discard.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and then into quarters. Scoop out all the seeds and fibrous strings. Cut into ½ inch wedges.

Place the wedges on the foil.  Brush the wedges with the remaining oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes.  Turn over with tongs and bake for another 20 minutes.  The squash should be tender and you can definitely eat the skin.

Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and serve with some greens, if you like.

 
 

Gazpacho

Makes 6 servings.

Since tomato season is very short – usually from July until early October or however long the warm days of early Fall remain – I urge you to take advantage and try this soup.   

If you like your gazpacho to be more nourishing, you may want to serve it with condiments, such as chopped seeded cucumber, chopped bell pepper, chopped red onion,  chopped peeled tomato and croutons.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, rinsed, cored, cut into large pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, rinsed, cored, seeded, cut into large pieces
  • 2 Kirby cucumbers, peeled, ends discarded, cut into large pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded, cut into pieces (See Note)
  • ½ small red onion, cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, approximately
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Snipped chives for garnish, or an assortment of condiments
  • 1 slice gluten free whole wheat grain bread, optional

PREPARATION:

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a Vitamix and puree until very smooth. (If you like your soup a little coarser, puree it for a shorter time.)  If your soup is not as thick as you like it add 1 slice gluten free whole wheat bread cut into pieces and puree.
  2. Season to taste with vinegar, salt and pepper and serve it very cold garnished with chives or the suggested condiments.

NOTE:

When seeding jalapeno peppers, I advise wearing thin plastic gloves to avoid irritating your skin or your eyes. 

 
 

Sweet and Sour Eggplant

Makes 4 first course servings.

This recipe is a nice addition to your file of first courses as it is delicious, easy to prepare and it keeps well.  The mint really enhances the flavor.  Serve it warm or at room temperature with crackers, toasted pita, or just plain.                 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium eggplant, about 1 ¼  pounds
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼  cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 plum tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped (See Note)
  • ½  cup tightly packed flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • ½  tablespoon sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Leaves from 4 sprigs fresh mint, coarsely chopped

PREPARATION

  1. Rinse the eggplant, pat dry, discard the stem and cut into ½ inch pieces.  Scrape off as many seeds as you can.  Place the cubed eggplant in a colander and sprinkle lightly with salt.  Let drain for about 30 minutes.  Squeeze gently and then pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan.  Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, uncovered, stirring from time to time, until golden, about 8 minutes.  Add eggplant and stir for a minute.  Stir in tomatoes and cook covered over low heat, stirring from time to time until the eggplant is soft, about 15 minutes.  Add parsley, vinegar and sugar.
  3. Season to taste with salt, pepper.
  4. At serving time add mint.  If combined before, the mint loses its aroma.

NOTE:

To skin tomatoes, drop them into boiling water.  Bring the water back to boil and drain.  Core the tomatoes and slip off the skin.  Cut the tomatoes in half widthwise and squeeze gently to remove the seeds.  Some seeds will remain.

 
 

Roasted Asparagus with Sesame Vinaigrette

Makes 2 first course servings.

I know that spring has arrived when the beautiful asparagus is everywhere. I love this dish with its dressing and with a bit of salad greens on the side.  Nina Simonds, the expert on Asian, healthy food was the inspiration.  

For a more filling dish, you may wish to add some mozzarella.

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 asparagus spears
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt

SESAME VINAIGRETTE

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salad greens

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 475F.
  2. Hold each spear with both hands and snap it at the point where it breaks easily. Discard the bottom part. Rinse and pat dry. Trim the ends on a diagonal to make them even.
  3. Lay the spears on a baking tray lined with heavy aluminum foil. Drizzle the sesame and olive oils over the asparagus. Salt lightly. Roll the spears to coat all sides. Bake for about 9 minutes. The spears should be almost soft.
  4. Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients.
  5. Arrange the spears on individual plates with some salad greens and drizzle over the dressing.
 
 

Bell Pepper Soup

Makes 6 generous servings.

This is a creamy soup for all seasons with a definite bell pepper taste and a distinct gorgeous color no matter which bell peppers you choose.  I have recently purchased a Vitamix, and now I prefer it to a blender when making soups.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 5 garlic cloves, quartered

  • 4 orange bell peppers, rinsed, cored, seeded and cut into large pieces

  • ½ pound Golden Yukon potatoes, peeled, quartered

  • 14.5 ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes

  • 2 cups vegetable broth

  • ½ teaspoon sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Cilantro leaves for garnish

PREPARATION

  1. In a medium covered saucepan, heat the olive oil, add garlic and sauté for a minute.
  2. Add peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, broth sugar and chili powder.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower heat and cook slowly, covered, until potatoes are soft, about 25 minutes.
  4. Cool a bit.
  5. Puree in batches in a blender until very smooth (you will have to blend this soup longer than usual to make sure that there are no traces of the pepper skin).  The Vitamix is a time saver and improves the texture of the soup, making it more silky and creamy.                     
  6. Season to taste and garnish with cilantro leaves.

NOTE:

This soup freezes well, but when reheating, whisk it as it begins to boil to bring back the creamy texture

 
 

Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Soup

Makes 8 servings.

This soup is delicious and nutritious, with a dazzling color.  It’s wonderful on cold days. If you are using a regular blender, it is necessary to blend the soup for a long time to allow for the skin of the peppers to disappear. The alternative is to skin the peppers first, or to use a Vitamix (See Note).

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into cubes,
  • 1½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cubed (3 medium to large)
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • Leaves from 5 thyme sprigs, plus some for garnish
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, approx

PREPARATION

  1. In a medium saucepan heat the olive oil and add the peppers, potatoes and onion. Sauté for a minute. Add 3½ cups of broth, thyme, and saffron. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and cook covered for about ½ an hour or until potatoes are soft.
  2. Cool a bit. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs.
  3. Puree very well, in batches, in a blender. The longer you puree it the smoother the soup will be.
  4. Adjust the consistency as needed, with the reserved ½ cup of broth
  5. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lime juice.
  6. Serve garnished with thyme leaves.

NOTE:

The Vitamix is really quite powerful and creates a creamy texture within seconds.