Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cooking up a Winter's Storm

Puree that broccoli; bake that butternut quash; and savor those beets! Now that you know how important it is to buy produce that is in season (see Seasons Come...and Produce Grows), make the most of all those juicy fruits and veggies while you still can!

Roasted Broccoli Soup*
Created by Kimberly Garr of C'est La Vegan
Submitted by Carol Robinson, of GoodSkin LA

2 large heads broccoli (about 2 pounds)
2 large cloves garlic
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
4-5 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
A few cracks lemon pepper, or fresh grated lemon zest

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the broccoli florets from the stems (you don’t have to cut them small), and place them on baking sheet. Slice the stems thinly and place them on a separate baking sheet. Peel and slice the garlic, and sprinkle it in with the florets. Drizzle the olive oil over both trays (use more than 2-3 Tbsp if you need to), and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss the florets and stems in the oil and put them in the oven to roast until they’re browned. (The stems take about 15 – 20 minutes, and the florets take at least ten minutes more. Turn both halfway through the cooking time, and take them out once they’re good and browned.)

Put the florets and stems in a pot with 4 cups of veggie broth and the thyme, and heat until the broth comes to a boil. If the broth doesn’t almost cover the broccoli, you might want to add the extra cup at this point, or you can wait to add it after blending if you want a thinner soup.

Once the broth has come to a boil, transfer the whole thing to a blender and puree. (You might have to do this in batches. And remember to be careful when blending hot liquids!) Return the soup to the pot.

You can add more broth at this point if you want it thinner, or simmer for a bit if you’d like it a bit thicker. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if you need to. I had some lemon pepper which was a nice addition. You could also add a bit of lemon zest to taste to brighten up the flavor.

Servings: 4 small or 2 large

Steamed Chard

Chard is a great alternative to baby spinach. You can use it in a mixed green salad, or steam it and prepare as a side dish.

1 Bundle of Chard
1/4 Lemon
Sea Salt
Ground Pepper

First, cut the leaves off the stem (you can eat the stems, however they take longer to steam than the leaves). Steam until leaves are damp and soft. Put the chard on a plate, squeeze some lemon over it (be careful, though; chard already has a bit of a tangy taste so you don’t want to put too much on). Add a pinch of sea salt & pepper and you have yourself one easy healthy side dish!


Submitted by Laurie Roderick

10 shoots of Asparagus
1/2 Head of Broccoli
1/2 Package of Tofu (Firm)
1/2 lb. Green Peas (shelled or unshelled)
1/2 lb. White Mushrooms
3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
Green Onion (for garnish)
3-5 tbsp. Coconut Milk
2 tsp. Garam Masala or Yellow, Red, or Green Curry
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Cut off stems of asparagus shoots. Chop the asparagus 2-3 times into 1-inch pieces. To prepare the broccoli, cut the stem from the head. Chop the stem up into about ½” disks, and then separate the head into mouth-sized pieces. Next, chop the mushrooms into 1/4” slices. For the tofu, cut into 1/2” slices, and place the slices on a paper towel to drain some of the water. Cut the green onions into small slices for garnish

Take a large (preferably Teflon) sauté pan and fill with ½-1” of water. When the water starts to boil, throw the asparagus pieces, broccoli, and peas into the water. Boil for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Timing will depend on how soft or crunchy you like your vegetables in a stir-fry. When they get softer but still retain some integrity, take them out and let them sit. Drain the water and wipe the pan of water.

Next, place some olive oil in the pan. 1-2 tablespoons usually suffice. When the oil is hot, place the tofu in the pan, and allow to cook until browned on both sides (usually 5 min per side). When the tofu is done, take it out and cut into squares.

Heat some more oil in the pan. When this is hot, throw in the sliced mushrooms, stirring frequently for about a minute or two. Then throw the broccoli, peas, asparagus, and tofu back into the pan. Stir in the garlic once vegetables have slightly browned. Towards the end of the cooking process, pour in the coconut milk and season to taste with the masala or curry spices. When the milk has coated the veggies and is warmed through, it is ready to be served. Garnish with the sliced green onions.

Baked Butternut Squash*

Olive Oil
Cinnamon (Optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut squash lengthwise down the middle. Scoop out seeds and other “gook.” Lightly coat cut side with olive oil. Add a dash of salt, pepper and cinnamon (if you dare). Fill a baking pan with about an inch of water and place cut side up in oven. Check back in an hour. The squash should be slightly browned and “tender” (if you are able to easily stick a fork into the meat of the squash it should be done).

Two ways to serve the squash: mashed (think “squashed potatoes”) or cut into quarters in the shell.

And, because no meal is complete without dessert...

Beet Cake

Cream Cheese

Cake Ingredients:
1 pound beets (about 2 medium)
Cooking spray
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk

Frosting Ingredients:
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, chilled
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare cake, peel beets using a vegetable peeler. Grate beets, using the large holes of a grater, to measure 2 cups.

Coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray.

Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well-blended. Add beets; beat well. Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through salt) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour batter into prepared pans; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on wire racks; remove from pans. Carefully peel off wax paper, and cool cake completely on wire racks.

To prepare frosting, beat orange rind, vanilla, and cream cheese with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar; beat at low speed just until blended (do not overbeat).

Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting; top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle nuts over top of cake. Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator.

Servings: 18 (serving size: 1 piece)

*Recipe originally found on HubPages
**Recipe originally found on MyRecipes from Cooking Light

Images via: / CC BY-SA 2.0 / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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