Creamy Black Bean Soup

IMG_0423Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and FUN holiday! I know I did! Even though it was super cold over Christmas (I’m talking Northern New England kind of cold) it was beautiful and the skiing was great! Now that the holiday rush is over… everyone is SICK! Turns out that flu shot you got this year was the wrong strain of flu and now you’re screwed (and sick as a dog). So between the cold weather and all my friends being sick, I thought it would be nice to make some feel better soup!!

This black bean soup recipe is one of my favorites. It’s so easy and its ready in no time. A few other bonuses… its vegan (shhhh don’t tell anyone because they won’t be able to tell, its so delicious!!!) it’s dairy free (if you’re crazy enough to leave off the dollop of sour cream) its gluten free and its filling! Seriously, this soup is a meal on its own! So if you’re feeling a little under the weather, throw on a pot of this soup, you’ll be enjoying it in no time!! Cheers to 2015!

Creamy Black Bean Soup (Serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 4oz can diced green chilies
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 4 16oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups (or more) canned low salt vegetable or chicken broth (if you don’t want it to be vegan/vegetarian)
  • Sour cream, sliced green onions and diced avocado for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large heavy stock pot over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic and saute until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Mix in tomatoes with their juices, chilies, and thyme.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer until vegetables are very soft, about 10 minutes more. Add beans and 2 cups of broth.
  4. Puree soup in batches or using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer.
  5. Thin with additional broth if necessary until soup reaches desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  6. Garnish with sour cream, green onions and avocado.
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Roasted Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Penne

photo-155Ah Park City in the off season- beautiful blue skies, sunny crisp weather, snow capped mountains… and construction EVERYWHERE. I feel like the city votes that September through November will be the months they rip up every road, pipe and drain in the town, all at once and inconveniently detour you or make you wait in traffic. The only other place you can travel 1/2 a mile in 25 minutes is New York City during rush hour and the roundabout at Deer Valley.photo-153 photo-154The good news, you can go to the farmers market at the Canyons and buy a butternut squash the size of a small baby. Seriously, I bought one butternut squash and I was able to make three separate recipes with it: Soup, Pizza and Pasta! photo-359This recipe was adapted from my favorite little Italian chef, Giada. It’s actually quite genus and I wish I could say I came up with the technique. Pasta water and goat cheese combine to make a creamy and delicious sauce with little effort!photo-158The roasted squash and onions caramelize in the oven before they are tossed with the creamy penne and fresh basil. The last touch, toasted little pepitas that lend a lovely crunch. The original recipe called for walnuts but I much prefer the delicate flavor of the pumpkin seeds with this pasta.photo-156 I am always looking for tasty and filling vegetarian recipes to have on hand- vegetarian or not, this recipe is definitely one of my go-to, crowd pleasing pasta dishes! Enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Penne (Serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 1 (2-pound) butternut peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 sweet onion, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) goat cheese- A large log is 11 oz I used the whole thing
  • 1 cup pepitas, toasted (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Finely grated Parmesan for garnish
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Chop onion and squash, mix together in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste (just enough oil to lightly coat the squash 1-2Tbls.) Arrange in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray. Bake for to 40 to 45 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the vegetables are golden and cooked through.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. While the squash mixture is cooling, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add salt after the water boils then add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Reserve about 2 cups of the pasta water before draining the pasta. Put the pasta, goat cheese and 1 cup of pasta water in a large serving bowl. Toss until the cheese has melted and forms a creamy sauce.
  5. Add the squash and onion mixture, the pepitas and the basil. Toss well and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Garnish with Parmesan and serve.
Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Lentil and Sausage Soup for a (warm) winter’s night

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Although its starting to feel too much like spring here- I there’s nothing more satisfying than a big bowl of soup for dinner, even if it doesn’t look anything like winter out your door. This is more of a stew than soup, but it has a lot of fresh veggies and fresh spinach which gives it vibrant color and delicious flavor! I modified this recipe and used vegetarian sausage from Whole Foods instead of meat sausage and vegetable stock to make the stew vegetarian. photo-231The sausage was so tasty you’d never know it was vegetarian- I bought the Italian style with garlic and red pepper to give it a kick! Any sausage you use will taste great. I also added twice the amount of spinach as I am a huge fan of spinach and I wanted more green in my soup. The red wine vinegar really opens up all the flavors so don’t leave it out- its a must! Enjoy!!

Lentil & Sausage Soup (Click for printer friendly version)
Serves 4 hungry adults with lots of leftovers.
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cup French green lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 or 4 sausages made with herbs and/or garlic
  • 1 large yellow or white onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup sturdy red wine
  • 3 stalks of celery, and their leaves if possible
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram or an equivalent amount of fresh
  • 4 or 5 carrots, depending on their size
  • 4 cups chicken or beef stock (or vegetable)
  • 3 tablespoons organic ketchup
  • 2 cups chopped spinach (I did 4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Red wine vinegar, to taste

Directions:

  1. Fill at tea kettle and bring it to a boil while you prep the other ingredients.
  2. Heat the 4 cups of stock either on the stove or in the microwave if you don’t have time (or space) on the stove.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large pot/skillet with one bay leaf and cook sausage until browned on each side (even if the sausage is already fully cooked) remove with slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Rinse the lentils in cold water two or three times, pick out any stones or other debris, and put the lentils on the stove in a saucepan with at least three cups of hot water from the kettle. Cook lentils over medium heat, stirring occasionally. (don’t worry if the lentils are not fully cooked when you add them to the soup.)
  5. Meanwhile, dice the onions so they are about ½” square; chop the garlic. Cut celery into small dices and carrots into slices or chunks depending on how thick they are, and set them aside. Add the remaining oil, as well as the onions and garlic, to the pan in which the sausages were browned; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the onions start to look a bit translucent, push them aside with a spoon and add the wine. Cook for a minute or two to deglaze the pot.
  6. Stir the lentils in with the cooking water. It doesn’t matter whether they are cooked. Just add them now, and add the stock to the pot with the onions and garlic. Add the celery and marjoram and stir well, continuing to cook.
  7. Add the carrots to the pot, with the reserved sausages, and the salt and pepper to taste, and stir well.
  8. Cook for at least another ten minutes, adding more water if necessary and stirring occasionally, to prevent the lentils from sticking.
  9. Add the ketchup and stir well (I didn’t measure the ketchup I just added enough till it looked good- but I am also weirdly obsessed with ketchup). Cook until the carrots are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Add the spinach and the parsley. Heat soup until very hot!
  10. Pass the red wine vinegar separately, for people to add, to taste. Serve with a hearty whole grain bread and fresh butter.IMG_6965

Original recipe from Food52

Morning Glory Farm – Baked Stuffed Winter Squash

Last weekend I was longing for a little piece of home, so I decided to open one of my favorite cook books from Morning Glory Farm on Martha’s Vineyard. This is the ultimate cook book- every recipe looks/is amazing. It’s the perfect collection of recipes for every season from restaurants and locals all over the island. I had some delicious looking acorn squash from the market in the fridge and this recipe seemed perfect! Its vegetarian (and vegan) but the hearty wheat berries fill you up and it makes great leftovers the next day! It makes enough for 8 people but you could easily cut the recipe in half or cook less squash and save the rice salad for another meal (that’s what I did!) Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 4 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice
  • 1 cup cooked wheat berries
  • 1 cup roasted pears
  • 1/4 cup canola oil, divided
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 1/3 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roast seeded and halved squash cut side down for 30-40 minutes.

While squash is roasting cook wild rice and wheat berries according to package directions. I got the wheat berries from the bulk section at whole foods which is the easiest way to find wheat berries. I brought a pot of salted water to boil and put the rinsed wheat berries in to cook for 1 hour or until tender.

Once squash is soft, cut pears into large dice and toss with 1/8 cup canola oil. Roast on a sheet tray about 20 minutes. (I didn’t add cinnamon to the pears but I think it would be a great addition and add some flavor- just a dash or two).

Saute shallot in rest of oil over medium heat. Pour apple cider in with shallots, cooking and stirring to deglaze pan.

Mix rice, berries, roasted pears and cranberries into shallot mix. Salt and pepper to taste.

Stuff each squash with filling and serve.

I served the stuffed squash with a simple salad of arugula, toasted almonds, blue cheese crumbs and apple slices tossed with balsamic dressing.

Sunflowers make everything better!