Farmers Market Bread Soup
As I was picking up my CSA share tonight at the new Farmers Market in Dublin, I was asking Adam from the Wayward Seed Farm for some ideas on what to do with all the Swiss Chard he was putting in my bag and he suggested putting it in a bread soup. I’ve never made bread soup before but he gave me the gist of it and it sound perfect for dinner since it’s been a rainy, dreary day here today. So I bought a few more things at the market and stopped for a loaf of crusty bread on the way home.
A big thanks to Adam for the idea for this soup, it was fanatastic! In your soup, feel free to use different veggies or amounts of ingredients depending on what is in season and what you have on hand. The great thing about this soup is that everything came from the farmers market except the bread and seasonings which makes for an easy dinner on a rainy weeknight.
Farmers Market Bread Soup
2Tbsp. olive oil
sweet onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
6 cups water or vegetable broth
1 summer squash
2 chopped carrots
2 diced tomatoes
8-10 leaves swiss chard, chopped
1 small loaf of good crusty bread
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese as a topping
Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and a little salt. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add cayenne, oregano seasoning, squash and carrots. Saute for a few more minutes. Add water/vegetable broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil over high then reduce heat to medium and stir in the chopped chard. Meanwhile, toast up some slices of the bread, cut into chucks and put in the bottom of your bowl. Pour the soup over the bread and add some Parmesan shavings to top it off.
Easy Mint Tea
One portion of our garden is dedicated to mint (which appeared this spring without even needing to be replanted!) and while it grows and spreads quickly, there is only so many mojitos and smoothies one person can make.
I was recently intrigued when a client offered me iced tea with the mint from their garden, so I asked them how they made it. I was SHOCKED to learn that it was JUST MINT. I assumed it has been mixed with some blend of tea, but it was truly just mint. I couldn’t wait to try it on my own. And was amazed at how simple it was. (And I didn’t think tea could get more local than this!)
How to Make Local Mint Tea
The first step, which is the most important and time-consuming, is drying the mint. Pull it out from the base and make sure to hang it or dry it on a screen to expedite the process. During the hot summer time, this should only take a day or two. Next, remove the dried leaves from the stem and throw a “handful” (1-2 loose cups to taste) into a 2 quart pot of water and boil. Once boiling, turn off and let the tea sit, or steep, for approximately 15 minutes (but again, you can alter this to taste). Then pour through a strainer to remove all the leaves.* Serve hot, or cool and refriderate for refreshing iced tea.
* If you have a strainer or colander that fits in the bowl toss the leaves in there and bring to a boil follow the steps above and pull the colander out after the steeping has finished for an extra easy cleanup.
Won Ton Chips
A key ingredient in Eggs in a Basket (besides the eggs, of course) is the thin won ton wrappers that hold it all together. However, after recently seeing these wrappers turned into a simple salty snack on one of our favorite sites, I knew I had to give it a try. The best part is that I baked them at the same time as when I was making my breakfast baskets! Ideal for dips, as noted here in the original recipe, I ate them plain and was very pleased with the taste and crunch.
Preheat the oven to 350 (which you have already done if you are making Eggs in a Basket) and slice the won ton wrappers diagonally to make a nice “chip” shape. Pour a very small amount of olive oil on a sheet and coat both sides of the won ton by light brushing (or my less culinary way of laying them on one side and then flipping to the other, thus coating both sides). Sprinkle with sesame seeds (although mine didn’t stick) and coarse salt (which stuck really well) and bake for approximately 5 minutes. Once they start to brown and the edges curl, you know your done.
Whether you serve them warm, or let them cool completely, the result is a healthy salty snack!
About this time in May through the end of June marks rhubarb season in Ohio. A great source of Vitamin C, fiber and calcium, rhubarb is rather tart on it’s own but when combined with something sweet, it makes a fantastic dessert. I put together this strawberry-rhubarb crisp by combining the best of several recipes in an attempt to sub-in healthier ingredients. It came out great and it was a even better topped with just a little vanilla bean ice cream.
2 big stalks of rhubarb, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1 cup chopped strawberries
2 big squeezes of agave nectar (maybe 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 unbleached white flour
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
dash of salt
3 tbsp of butter
Preheat oven to 350 and butter an 8×8 baking dish. Combine chopped rhubarb and strawberries in a bowl, add the agave and stir to coat the rhubarb and strawberries well. Pour the mixture into the baking dish. In the same bowl mix the remaining ingredients, cutting in the butter. Sprinkle topping over the rhubarb and strawberries. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Eggs in a Basket
This recipe was originally posted in our November 2008 edition of “The Squeeze,” but because of some recent reader requests for it, we are posting it here on the site as well. My favorite version of this breakfast meal is simply to use red peppers, onions and cheddar cheese. (And to keep things simple, I just use a no-stick spray instead of butter. Natural, no. Fast, yes.)
Don’t miss out on future recipes like this, and sign up for “The Squeeze” today!
This is a easy egg dish to serve for a family brunch, and is similar to a Food Network recipe but I have changed it up a bit to meet my personal tastes, I hope you do the same!
Won Ton Wrappers
Sun-dried tomatoes & fresh Parmesan
Proscuitto & Swiss
Roasted red peppers
Preheat oven to 350, and lightly butter a 12-muffin pan.
To make the "basket," lightly butter the two won ton wrappers and lay them in a muffin cup in a criss-cross pattern (so the corners of each do not line up). Continue with the remaining 11 muffin cups.
Then, crack one egg into each basket followed by your choice of toppings, my favorite is the chopped sun-dried tomato and fresh Parmesan shavings. Use just enough toppings to cover the egg but avoid making too thick of a layer on top.
Bake for 20 minutes or until eggs are to your desired "doneness."
Shrimp on the Bar-B
We’ve been experimenting with new recipes for fish lately. So, a few weeks ago we broke out the grill and made some sweet and tangy Shrimp and Pineapple Kabobs which made a quick and easy healthy dinner with lots of flavor and veggies. The basic idea for the recipe below came from a Whole Foods fish booklet sitting at their fish counter.
Shrimp and Pineapple Kabobs
1 lb. large (26/30) peeled and deveined shrimp
1/2 fresh pineapple cut into bite size chuncks
1/2 white onion cut into bit size pieces
1 medium zucchini sliced into 1/2 in rounds
1 bell pepper (red or orange) cut into bite size pieces.
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette
Soak bamboo skewers for at least 30 minutes in water. Alternate veggies, pineapple and shrimp on soaked skewers. Oil grill and pre-heat to medium high. Place skewers on hot grill and cook 5-7 minutes on each side, turning once and basting often with the vinaigrette. Serves 3-4.
Tempeh Part II
Now that you all have tempeh in your fridge and you are wondering what the heck to do with it, here is an easy, yet inspiring dish to start with: Tempeh a l’Orange adapted from The New Laurel’s Kitchen cookbook.
Tempeh a l’Orange
8 oz. tempeh
3-4 Tbsp. olive or toasted sesame oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 stalks of celery or 2 medium carrots, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
1.5 cups boiling water
juice of 1 orange
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. honey
zest of 1 orange
dash black pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley (or Rosemary gives it an interesting twist instead)
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
Cut tempeh into 1/2 inch chunks, saute in 2 Tbsp. of oil until golden on all sides (about 5 minutes), remove to a paper towel to drain.
Then saute the onion and celery in the remaining oil until tender. Sprinkle with flour and stir for a minute or so over medium heat. Gradually add water, continuing to stir while mixture thickens. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then simmer for 4-5 minutes. Add tempeh to the mix and simmer just a little longer for the flavors to be absorbed.
Serve over brown rice, quinoa, or bulgar wheat.
Check out some other tempting tempeh recipes and let me know how you do!
- TLT Sandwich from 101cookbooks.com
- Tempeh Wraps from Lightlife
- Tempeh Coconut Curry from Cooking Light
- Tempeh Chili from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
Miso + Mochi = Yum!
Miso soup topped with Mochi, a daily staple for me lately. It started innocently enough with a simple recipe for Miso soup that I found right on the South River Miso jar, but it has now evolved into much more once I discovered how good it is with a little toasted Mochi on top.
This is really a combination of several recipes, fully adaptable to the veggies and greens you may have on hand.
Simple Miso & Mochi Soup
makes 1 BIG bowl or 2 smaller bowls
1 serving of Mochi (original flavor) cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup thinly sliced vegetables (onion, carrot, cauliflower, cabbage etc.)
1.5 cups water
1 serving firm tofu cut into bite size cubes (optional)
handful of spinach or other hearty greens
1 Tbsp. miso paste (I recommend South River or Westbrae Natural)
Preheat oven to 450 and toast the Mochi until nice and puffy (about 10 min). Meanwhile, saute the vegetables in the oil until tender. Add the water and tofu and simmer for 5-7 minutes. While the veggies and tofu simmer, put the miso in your soup bowl and add a little lukewarm water, stir to dissolve the miso (you don’t want to put the miso into the hot water directly because it kills all the active good stuff in it). Just before removing the veggies and tofu from the heat add the spinach, cover, and let it wilt in the steam of the pot. Add the contents of the pot to the miso in your soup bowl and stir until the miso is mixed well. Top with Mochi and enjoy!
Whole Foods recently stopped carrying the South River brand of miso which prompted me to switch to the Westbrae Natural miso which I like just as well. As a bonus though, on the Brown Rice Miso container there is a recipe for a “Sweet ‘N Tangy Miso Spread” that is fabulous on toast, apples and carrots. Here’s the basic recipe: Mix 1/4 cup tahini, 3 Tbsp. of brown rice syrup and 2 tsp. of the Mellow Brown Miso with a wooden spoon, taste and add more miso or a couple drops of lemon juice if necessary.
Spinach, Mushrooms & More Melt
I love trying spinach melts, but they usually taste more like spinach and artichoke dip and are a bit too rich in my opinion to then make into a sandwich. However, after trying the spinach melt at Three Sisters Cafe I found one that I loved.
By the time I got around to trying to make it at home, I had forgotten most of the ingredients other than the spinach and gorgonzola cheese (yes, gorgonzola). I think they also included water chestnuts, but I never have those on hand. So instead, I sauteed the spinach with mushrooms. I then mixed that combo with some crushed walnuts and crumbled gorgonzola cheese. I put all of that on top of some artisan bread and baked it in the oven until it was a nice melted consistency.
The result was almost as good as Three Sisters, and is definitely one I will make again. The ratio of ingredients is up to you (I think I make mine different every time.) I also think that this would be a great heavy hors d’oeuvre to serve open faced on a mini toasted baguette.
Tofu, Potato & Mushroom Stew
Who doesn’t love a good soup this time of year? This one especially caught my eye because even though frost is on the ground most mornings, I was still able to use a good variety of local ingredients. The mushrooms from Homestead Growers, a hot pepper from my own garden (just before the frost hit), and potatoes from my Grandma’s farm in Michigan (which she brought when she visited earlier this month).
Tofu, Potato & Mushroom Stew
This is a tofu-heavy stew, so for those of you who don’t love tofu as much as I do, you may want to substitute more potatoes.
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 leek, sliced
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
2 medium potatoes, chopped into pieces
1 1/2 cup vegetable stock
1-2 cups mushrooms (I used shitake and oyster)
1 hot pepper chopped
1/2 cup soy sauce
14 oz tofu, drained and cut into cubes
Heat oil in a large pot. Add leeks and cook about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the potatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the mushrooms, the chili and the soy sauce. Cook for another 10 minutes or so. Add the tofu and continue to cook, covered for at least a half an hour to allow the flavors to blend.
I couldn’t resist eating some for dinner, but the longer you wait, the more time the flavors have to blend, so definitely save some for leftovers!