Thanks so much to Doug from The Kitchen Professor my guest blogger today for some great tips about how to make your own vegetable stock. This tastes so much better than anything you can buy in the store!
I don’t know about you…
But I always seem to be out of vegetable stock whenever I need it.
There are some big advantages to making your own vegetable stock:
1. You won’t feel silly when you don’t have it and need it.
2. You can control the amount of salt, i.e. sodium, in your meal.
3. It is much cheaper to make your own stock than to buy it premade.
The weather turned here this week. Last week, we were running around in huge piles of leaves in our T-Shirts. This week, we’re in wellies and big coats and I’m secretly thrilled. I love the colder weather and all the beautiful colors everywhere in the autumn. What better excuse than to pull out my crockpot and make more soup! This is one of those soups takes very little time and yet tastes very rich and delicious and leaves your kitchen smelling superb. It’s vegan and dairy free. The red lentils add extra protein and iron. The ingredients are simple and you don’t need to spend much on them. Simply chop and prepare all the ingredients and pop into your crockpot. And you’ll have a delicious lunch or simple supper ready for you just a few hours later.
Happy Spring! What are your plans for Mother’s Day? I always love that we get to celebrate Mother’s Day in the U.S. in May surrounded by beautiful blossom and spring sunshine.
If someone is going to cook for you this Mother’s Day (hint, hint!) why not try a simple tropical minty salad paired with some roast chicken and a glass of bubbly? This is a simple salad with bold flavors. I love to add fruit to salads and I experimented a with papaya and it worked. You could also add green apple slices or spinach or kale for extra greens and crunch. Have a wonderful time celebrating!
Papaya and Mint Salad for Mother’s Day
1 papaya, peeled and seeds removed and diced into 1 inch cubes
2-3 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 sprig mint, cut into thin slivers
Juice of 1 lime
1 cup black beans
Prepare all the ingredients and combine well in a large salad bowl. Squeeze the lime juice over the salad and you can also add an extra drizzle of olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper.
I’ve gone a little bit apple crazy this month, even though it’s not strictly apple season. I ordered extra apples in my CSA box this past week which I made a huge batch of apple sauce with and today, I made this simple and delicious apple and oatmeal bar with the applesauce too.
I’m always trying to find healthy snacks for my family that aren’t filled with sugar and are nutritious and will fill them up and give them energy. The apple and oatmeal bars are easy to make with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen and will last you a few days. They are also easy to pop into lunch boxes or have for breakfast if you are pressed for time.
This recipe is forgiving enough that you can add in different fresh and dried fruit (I imagine pear and figs would be delicious here) and spices (allspice or nutmeg for example). You could even add an extra 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds too. This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and dairy free and perfect if you are on any clean eating or detox program.
I’m not really a cabbage person. I occasionally buy them to make coleslaw with in the summer but when I see them in the supermarket, I normally walk right past them and move on to something more familiar like kale or squash. Last week however, I got a cabbage in my CSA box. If you’re not familiar with the CSA model it stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it is a wonderful system of accessing organic fruits and vegetables and supporting local farms. The only slight problem with this model is that you can’t choose what is in your box and sometimes you end up with fruits or vegetables you aren’t quite familiar with or don’t quite know how to cook. Like a cabbage.
Tis the season for holiday parties, feasts and gatherings! We have a lovely tradition with our Brooklyn friends every year of gathering during the holiday season and making some different seasonal dishes to share. We’re all foodies and love to eat, so this year the menu is already looking pretty impressive. I like to think we’re a little competitive too and want to make the best dishes we can to impress everyone. This year, I wanted to bring a hearty winter salad which featured kale (but of course) but also some seasonal ingredients which included the humble Brussels Sprout.
This fall, I’m officially in love with squash of all kinds. I love roasted rainbow slices of delicata squash, butternut squash soup and of course my old favorite acorn squash. Squash is such a versatile and easy fall vegetable and there is no reason to be intimated. In fact, you don’t need to peel squash at all when roasting. Just cut it in half, drizzle over some olive oil, add a pinch of salt and pepper and roast until soft. Roasting squash is kind of a miraculous event – you can’t even imagine that something so hard could turn into something so sweet and caramelized in the oven.
Even though I’m not vegetarian and look forward to my Thanksgiving turkey every year, I have many vegetarian friends and clients and they are always looking for an extra special dish for the holidays rather than being left with all the vegetable side dishes. Personally, I’m moving away from eating meat with every meal to having meat once in a while for a little extra flavor so this roasted acorn squash would be perfect for anyone – vegetarian or carnivore come Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. You can experiment your own spice mixture and add some holiday pizzazz with some cranberries or pomegranates too. Of course, you could add in a little ground pork or turkey into the stuffing mix but I think this is perfect just as it is.
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Cranberries and Pomegranates (serves 2 or 1 hungry vegetarian)
1 medium acorn squash halved lengthwise and seeds removed
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 scallions, finely chopped
8 cremini mushrooms, sliced thinly
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 tablespoon thyme
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cup mix of cooked wild rice and brown rice – preferably cooked in vegetable or chicken stock instead of water
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper – to taste
1 tablespoon cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds
- Heat the oven to 450°F.
- Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and place cut side up on a roasting tray. Drizzle over a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until just a little soft for about 30 minutes.
- Saute the onion, scallions, mushrooms and celery in the butter. Stir occasionally and cook on low heat until the onion is translucent and the vegetables are soft for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the thyme and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in the rice, chopped walnuts and cranberries.
- Remove the squash from the oven and add the rice filling to each half.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350°F.
- Place squash back in the oven and roast for a further 25 minutes until the squash is completely tender.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle the fresh parsley and pomegranate seeds over the top. Serve warm.