Coconut-Pumpkin Soup with Beans

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Pumpkin is one of my favorite foods to cook with and this soup is no exception. It is fast, easy and delicious.

Coconut-Pumpkin Soup with Beans

1 tablespoon of EVOO

1/3 cup of finely chopped or grated onion

1 1/2 tablespoons of curry powder

1 tablespoon of honey

1 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree

2 cups vegetable broth or water

3-4 dashes of Tabasco

I 14.5 oz. can of coconut milk

1 15 oz. can of kidney or cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed

Salt and pepper to taste

¼-1/3 cup of cilantro

To make the soup heat up a large pot, add the oil and onion. Cook until softened then add the curry powder and cook for a minute or until aromatic. Add the honey, pumpkin and broth. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low and simmer. After about 10 or so minutes add the coconut milk, beans, salt and pepper. Cook until flavors come together, about 10 more minutes. Stir in the cilantro and serve.

Serves 4

Tip: If you do not like Tabasco you can substitute with any kind of vinegar like apple cider or white wine vinegar. It is the slight hint of the vinegar in the Tabasco that adds a nice touch to the soup along with the heat. Also, if you do not like cilantro you can substitute it with parsley. * Vegan

 

Orange & Mint Quinoa Salad

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Orange & Mint Quinoa Salad

Orange & Mint Quinoa Salad

Quinoa has become one of my favorite things to cook with. Every week I make a new salad with the quinoa that I can just snack on throughout the week. It is the only grain that is a full protein and it is delicious hot, cold or room temp. I have been discovering how versatile this magical grain is.

1 Tbsp. Evoo

1 c quinoa, rinsed

2 c water

1/3 c pumpkin seeds, toasted

1 large orange, peeled and cut into chunks

The dressing:

3 Tbsp. Evoo

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 ½ tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. honey

2 Tbsp. orange juice, freshly squeezed

2 tsp. grated orange peel

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1/3 c. chopped mint

Directions:

First rinse the quinoa and put in pot with 1 tbsp Evoo. Toast the grain for about a minute then add the water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir once or twice if necessary, making sure to not burn the quinoa.

Meanwhile put the pumpkin seeds in a pan on low heat and toast for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Make sure to not burn. Stir the seeds once or twice so they get toasted on both sides. Take off heat and set aside to cool.

For the dressing mix together the Evoo, red wine vinegar and the rest of the ingredients through the mint. Set aside until the quinoa is done. Once the quinoa is cooked and has cooled down for about 15 minutes peel and chop up the orange. Add the orange and the dressing and toss into quinoa. Now it is ready to serve.

Note: This quinoa salad is delicious at room temp or cold. If you do not have all the ingredients on hand just use your favorite vinaigrette salad dressing instead. But I personally like this homemade dressing, plus the orange juice and peel add a nice flavor. * Vegan

Lemony Fettuccine with Spinach & Capers

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Lemony Fettuccine with Spinach & Capers

Lemon Fettuccine with Spinach & Capers

This recipe is fantastic. I have been craving lemon flavor recently (I know a little strange) and I thought what’s better than a light, flavorful pasta dish. This dish uses fresh pasta, lemon juice and lemon peel for a light feeling summer dish.

4 Tbsp. Evoo, divided

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 tsp. minced garlic

5-8 oz. baby spinach

¼c fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 tsp. grated lemon peel

½ tsp. of salt & pepper

2 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. capers

¼c pine nuts, toasted

1 9oz. package fresh pasta, fettuccine or taggatelle

First start heating a pot of water for the pasta. Meanwhile heat a small pan to low and add the pine nuts. Toast for about 5 minutes or until lightly brown. Once toasted set aside.

Now its time to make the sauce. Heat 2 tbsp. of evoo in a large pan over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced onions. Slowly cook until the onion until the onions are soft and have a glassy look. Next add the garlic and sauté for 1 min. Add the spinach to the pan until it wilts down. Once wilted add the remaining 2 tbsp. of evoo, the lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper, butter and capers. Turn the heat down to low and cook to combine.  

Now the water should be boiling, and its time to cook the pasta. Add a drop of oil to the water and a pinch of salt. Put the pasta in the pot and cook for about 2-3 minutes. *Fresh pasta cooks very quickly so make sure not to over cook.  Drain pasta and transfer to large pan where the lemony sauce is heated. Toss the pasta; add the pine nuts and serve. You can sprinkle with grated cheese on top if desired.

Serves 3-4

*This dish goes well with a light salad or just by itself. Not much fuss.

Cauliflower & Chickpea Curry

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The blend of spices used. Aren't they beautiful!

Here is a recipe I found in a Cooking Light magazine. I have altered the recipe and added my own twists but I felt I should mention where I found the origins of this dish. It seems fitting to be my first recipe because it’s a curry which is one of my favorite things to make. I love curries because you can make curry in a thousand different ways. This here is an Indian curry and is great to serve with toasted pita bread or rice.

Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 cups chopped onion

Cauliflower & Chickpea Curry

1 cauliflower head (*)

1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

¾ teaspoon turmeric

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (*)

½ teaspoon cardamom (*)

½ teaspoon salt

1 (3 inch) cinnamon stick OR about ½ -1 teaspoon cinnamon

1-1/2 cups water (*)

1 15oz. can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed

1 15oz can crushed or diced tomatoes with juice

1/3-cup raisins (*)

¼-1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

¼ cup of raita or nonfat plain yogurt

To make curry, heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil and the onions, sautéing until translucent. Next add the chopped up head of cauliflower and sauté with onions for 5 or so minutes. To the pan add next the ginger, garlic and spices, through the cinnamon, cooking for a minute or so until the spices become aromatic and are slightly toasted. Next add the water, chickpeas and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and cover with a lid for about 8-10 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft. Then remove the lid and stir in the raisins and cilantro cooking the curry down until slightly thickened and some of the water has evaporated. Remove the cinnamon stick, if used. Spoon curry over rice or toasted pitas and add a dollop of pre-made raita sauce or nonfat plain yogurt. Serves 4

Authors Note: This dish is delicious and makes great leftovers. If you do not like and/or have cauliflower substitute with other veggies such as sweet potatoes, broccoli and peppers. Use what you have on hand.

* Omit the yoghurt = vegan

(*) Indicates my changes to the Cooking Light recipe

And this is how I enjoyed this meal...out on the porch with a glass of wine!

Hello All…I am happy to say this is my first post in the blogging world. I am starting a blog to share my experiences and my cooking with others. As my blog notes I am a vegetarian BUT that does not mean this site is limited to only vegetarians. This is a foodie blog, and a story/traveling blog or just a place to share and communicate with others. Cooking has been a passion of mine and with all my different experiences I have had I find that a lot of my cooking has a story attached to it. Which is why I wanted an outlet to share what I like, what I know and what I learn. Enjoy!