your thanksgiving butternut squash soup

butternut squash soup

People have certain rules about what should be on the Thanksgiving table. I, for one, am pretty loosey goosey about the whole thing. This is not surprising to anyone who knows me well because ‘loosey goosey’ pretty much sums up my approach to the culinary world. I like to adjust as I go, add a pinch of something if it feels right and go with what I have on hand. When I sat down to plan what I would bring to the three dinners we will be attending, I knew I wanted to stray a little from tradition but still stay within the lines of the season. Dressing, green bean casserole and pie all made the cut and will maintain their traditional integrity, but I still felt like we could shake things up just a little tiny bit, but don’t worry, I didn’t nix the mashed potatoes.

I understand that no one really needs to have an appetizer right before they consume a weeks worth of food, and most people think the idea is absurd, but sometimes you want dinner to be a little fancy and I don’t know any better time to be fancy than on Thanksgiving. Break out the cloth napkins, the candlesticks and the good china, even make seating cards if you’d like and enjoy the one meal a year where you can pull out all the stops.

Thankfully, this starter won’t take up much of your time (which I know is utterly precious on the big day), and most of the ingredients are likely in your kitchen anyway, so no large additions to the shopping list either. Make the soup and remove the seeds from the pomegranate the day before and throw them in the fridge. Take a few leaves off of the brussels sprouts you’re probably already making and all thats left to do is just throw it all together. We ate it at room temperature and it was delightful, but you can warm it up in a pot if you can stand one more minute at the stove. (more…)

November 24, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . gluten free, quick and easy, sides, soup, vegetarian. 7 comments.

lentil soup with lemon + grief

This has been about the hardest week of my life. I’ve endured my fair share of suffering along the way, but nothing like this.  A little life was taken from us, along with all the hope of one day holding it in our arms, close to our hearts. Only knowing about this growing life for a little more than a month, we were barely beginning to dream of what joy might be coming into our lives in just under a year. Over the course of a few weeks, we were excited to tell our families and closest friends. We wanted to bring those closest to us along on this journey. We realized it was still a little early to spread the word, but knew that if the unimaginable happened, we would want these people near us to help us through. Now, on the other side, we are so happy to have our loved ones around to do just that.

As we grieve the loss of life, we don’t lose hope, we trust even more in the One who creates life. We cling to the promise of restoration and to the fulfillment of joy that only comes from God. We are so thankful to those who have prayed for us, offered us a shoulder to cry on and have encouraged us to keep going. We love you all.

This soup is the first meal I’ve made in almost two weeks. To me, it signifies the beginning of restoration and the fading away of grief. It’s comforting and refreshing all at the same time and perfect for sharing with those closest to you. If you have someone in your life who is grieving, throw together a pot of this soup, sit with them, and allow them to feel the warmth of your love. (more…)

February 21, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . quick and easy, soup, vegetarian, winter. 3 comments.

quinoa salad with mangoes and curry dressing

This dish represents the return to normalcy. It has been a long time comin’! For the last month or so, life has been wildly full of super fun things, but have also prevented me from cooking proper meals on a regular basis. I’m quite certain we have subsisted on delicacies like cold cereal, take out and the occasional breakfast-for-dinner stand by. It’s been rough, but we are emerging through the fog of busyness into the land of healthful, wholesome food and I couldn’t be happier about it. click here for the full post!

February 25, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . fruit, gluten free, quick and easy, vegetarian. 7 comments.

fall pizza

I’m so happy that fall is here. This weekend, in San Francisco, we had a major downpour. It was amazing. The air was damp and cool, and the asphalt had that lovely first rain smell. It all felt so majestic. If I was an artist, I would have painted a canvas to express these thoughts and feelings but instead I put the colors and aromas of fall on a pizza. click here for the full post!

October 29, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . fall, pizza, quick and easy, vegetarian. 6 comments.

baba ghanoush

One of the wonderful things about San Francisco is the food. Just a short walk from our house in the Sunset, we have many good restaurants to choose from. One of my favorite neighborhood eateries is a mediterranean place by the name of Bursa. The atomosphere there is calming and inviting and the staff are attentive, knowledgeable and friendly. They also happen to have marvellous baba ghanoush. Last time we were there, we had brought a couple of friends along who are always up for trying new food, which we appreciate. We all ordered a different dish in order to try several items on the menu. I was starving and wanted to get a small appetizer, so I convinced everyone that we needed to order some baba ghanoush. No one at the table was horribly fond of eggplant in any form, but I assured them this was not your usual eggplant. As my husband and our friends expected, they still did not like eggplant, even in this dish. Good thing I could step up and eat my portion the entire plate to myself in two minutes flat. There were remarks like, “Rachel, I’ve never seen you this excited about something before!” (code for “Good grief girl! You’re inhaling that!”), or “Wow! You really like eggplant don’t you!”. Well, the cat is out of the bag, yes, yes I do.

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May 4, 2010. Tags: , , , . quick and easy, vegetarian. 2 comments.

red bean curry and really smart people

I love smart people, and I love problem solvers. I don’t really see myself as overwhelmingly brilliant or extremely resourceful, but I tell you what, I am thankful for those of you that are. I have always thought it to be amazing, the people who can be so ridiculously good at something. You know the type. The person who can pick up an instrument for the first time and within minutes has appeared to master it. The one who wins every game they ever play (…can some one say the Scott family? Their family motto is “Only gold!”). You’ve met the person.  The one who effortlessly solves any problem and answers any question that arises, and with that makes your life so much easier. For instance, “How on earth do you make curry from scratch?” Thanks be to problem solver and question answerer smittenkitchen.com. You bring much happiness, and an abundance of goodness to my life.red bean curry

I’ve never made curry from scratch before, but I am definitely glad that I finally did. It was extremely easy and delicious. I would encourage you to make it on a night when you need some warmth. Here in San Francisco, it is winter. I know that it is actually July, but the city by the bay does not follow the same rules as the rest of the world, nor does it listen to all this global warming business. It is on it’s own schedule. Maybe those areas that are ‘warming’ could learn a thing or two from this place. All that being said, make this. It will make you and those you feed very happy.

Red Bean Curry
serves 6
www.smittenkitchen.com



Ingredients:

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger (I grated this with a microplane. I don’t tend to like the texture of ginger when it’s chopped.)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 plum tomato, diced*
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large green chili, chopped (optional)**
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
8 ounce can of tomato sauce or 8 ounces of one of your choice
3 cups boiled red kidney beans or 30 ounces canned red kidney beans, undrained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Optional:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs pan fried and seasoned with powdered ginger, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cut into small cubes and add to curry before serving.

Preparation:

Heat oil in a deep sauce pan over medium heat for one minute. Add ginger, garlic, onion, green chili, and let sizzle for one minute. Add the tomato sauce, salt and remaining spices and cook for an additional five minutes, stirring frequently. Add the kidney beans with water or canned red kidney beans (undrained) plus one additional cup of water, and tomatoes. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and let cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Garnish with cilantro.

Serve over rice or with naan. A bit of plain yogurt on the top is a must.

*I used a large red heirloom.

**The green chili I used was a pasilla. It really didn’t add as much heat as the husband and I would have liked. I think next time I might use a couple jalapenos instead.

July 31, 2009. Tags: , , , . quick and easy. Leave a comment.

Baked Falafel

baked falafel

I have no problem loving food. There is so much out there to love, that I used to love it more than I should. I loved mostly the fast kind that came through a window, and had usually been supersized. After growing up eating this way, and allowing the habit to trickle into my adult life, I had what we could call a little “health issue” or otherwise known as, 70 pounds overweight. SO, when I was around 19 or 20 I began to learn how to eat well. I learned how to put food in my mouth that tasted good and was actually helping toward the goal of weight loss. Over a long period of time, (about 6 years) I have managed to lose a little over 55 pounds. I tell you that’s a lot of extra weight to carry around! However, in the last two months I have gained back six of those lovely pounds due to my recent marital bliss, and my desire to show off my cooking skills to the new husband! So, this is why, for my first post about food, I give you something deliciously baked, and something just around 300 calories. That is my goal really. To create food that satisfies my snobby taste buds, and will help to keep my body in good working order. It’s the only one we get people. Let’s feed it wisely.

falafel patty

This falafel sandwhich, as it’s called, was really really good. I generally love falafel, so when I saw this on the Weight Watchers website, I knew it was for me. The patties are lightly sateed and then baked in the oven for about 10 minutes which sort of gives the illusion of a fried patty without all the oil. It’s super easy to make, and did I mention delicious?

Baked Falafel Sandwhiches

(weightwatchers.com)

Ingredients:

15 1/2 oz canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup(s) onion(s), chopped
1/4 cup(s) parsley, or cilantro, fresh, chopped
1 medium garlic clove(s), minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp Tribe All Natural Hummus Sesame Tahini, or other brand*
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
8 piece(s) lettuce
4 large wheat pita(s)**

Instructions:

– Combine chickpeas, onion, parsley, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt and baking soda in a food processor or blender. Process until mixture is coarsely pureed and transfer to large bowl. Stir in flour; shape mixture into 4 large patties and let stand for 15 minutes.

– Preheat oven to 400ºF.

– Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook until golden brown, flipping once, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer skillet to oven and bake 10 minutes more.

– Meanwhile, whisk together tahini, water and lemon juice in a small bowl.

– To assemble sandwiches, place 2 lettuce leaves inside each pita, add 1 falafel patty and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of tahini dressing.

*I used 2 tablespoons of hummus with tahini in it. It turned out great.

**I just cut 1 pita into two halves for one serving. I think a whole pita would be too large for this application.

June 17, 2009. Tags: , , . quick and easy, vegetarian. Leave a comment.