Category: Fall

Fresh Tomato Soup with Basil and Farro

Well, we are getting our first taste of fall; up here in east TN, it has been in the 40’s the last couple of mornings and with Irma barreling towards us, most of the south should see some rain.  That makes me feel like snuggling up under a blanket, reading, and having some soup…but there are still fresh tomatoes you say, no problem with this one pot, stick to your ribs, fresh tomato soup.  Even with the farro, I envision serving this with a big hunk of crusty bread, maybe with a little garlic and olive oil rubbed and drizzled on.  If you cannot find the farro, you could always substitute soaked wheat or spelt berries.  Two notes: As I was reading this an announcement came that the Tuesday markets would be cancelled this week, due to Irma, so get to your local Saturday market and stock up before she heads our way.  Also, I will be away next week, so no recipe post next Friday.  Be safe!

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Peachy Pork with Charred Onions

I don’t often recommend meat recipes in these posts for a couple of reasons: 1. We have so many veggies and so many ways to try them, I usually have no trouble finding recipes, and 2. In the past people have not seemed as enthused by the meat recipes as the veggie ones.  I am making an exception with this because it is so easy and so full of flavor.  I made this midweek and we gobbled it up. I mean, who knew that charred peaches and red onions with a little drizzle of pomegranate molasses and a bite of pork would be so transcending?  If any of you did I wish you would have told me…If chops are not your thing, I think you could sub in pork tenderloin or maybe even a pork burger.  I am not going to make a meat substitute rec’ but would be interested to hear about the results of anyone’s experiments.  So, get yourself a couple of peaches before the season is over and try this. You will be glad that you did.

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Spaghetti Squash Salad with Tomatoes and Pecorino

I have discussed in these posts before that I am not always a fan of substituting ingredients: i.e. If I am eating pasta bolognese, then I want real pasta, not a vegetable spiralized to look like pasta.  I want to appreciate my veggies for what they have to offer without making them a poor substitute for something I really want (rant over now.)  Spaghetti squash is one of those misunderstood veggies that deserves a place at the table to shine on its own merit.  This is a recipe I am excited to try and I hope you will be too.  The picture is one of the other variations of this recipe, but hey, its tomato season, so why not celebrate those as well.  This combo really screams summer to me and I hope if you have been burying your squash under pasta sauce, you will make this salad and give the squash its place in the sun.

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Kale Tabbouleh

It is that straddle season: the time between spring and summer where the temperatures have crept up, but the veggies available have not quite caught up to those temps. So, what do we as seasonal eaters do? We turn our attention to warmer weather salads that incorporate winter/spring vegetables. This week’s recipe is one that I made a couple of months ago for a neighbor get together and one that I am planning on making this week as well. It solves one of the issues that I have with some traditional tabbouleh recipes; too much parsley, by substituting kale. This recipe also has many opportunities for innovation as well; adding in some cooked chick peas, subbing sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, or even strawberries for the regular tomatoes (especially since I am not going to touch store bought-out of season tomatoes,) or you could use another green, such as collards, chard, or for a kick; mustard greens. The possibilities are endless.

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Spicy Roasted Broccoli Pasta

I adore pasta and could probably eat it every day, but try to limit myself to no more than once a week (unless in Italy, then all bets are off and I have pizza and pasta every day.) I have my favorite dishes, but am always open to new ones, particularly ones that have a different twist, so that brought me this recipe which I made last weekend. First off, it is only slightly easier than traditional recipes (you still boil the pasta,) but it has an interesting flavor profile, is quite tasty, and does heat up well. In our wacky winter-spring/summer-winter weather flips, at least there is plenty of broccoli, so why not find a new way to enjoy it. One note: unless you really like cumin (I do,) I would lessen the amount used or leave it off entirely. Note two: I will be on vacation next week, so no post next Friday, but will be back again at the end of March.

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Breakfast Cornmeal Squares with Spinach & Bacon

For years we have been hearing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day…Guess what; I think that is true. Breakfast gets your mind and body ready for the day ahead. For most people, eating breakfast is doing exactly what it says: breaking an 8-12 hour fast. Yes, you have been asleep for a good bit of that, but your body is still going about its processes, so you should eat something within an hour of waking. For me that is usually a protein shake or a piece of toast with nut butter before the gym and then a more substantial breakfast after. I am always on the look out for new and interesting breakfasts, bonus points if I make it ahead of time and it makes multiple servings. This recipe checks all of those boxes for me, plus you could easily make it vegetarian by leaving out the bacon and adding some mushrooms. You could also swap out the spinach for whatever greens are in season (adjusting cooking time for heartier winter greens,) so you can really make it your own.

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Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta with Fresh Blueberries and Herbs

Well folks, February is here and that means trying to come up with a plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We keep it fairly low key in my household and as you can guess, instead of going out to celebrate, I usually cook. Since it is on a Tuesday this year, I am looking for a fairly easy dessert; panna cotta is certainly that without giving up taste. It is so simple that while the main cook does dinner, the other Valentine could be putting this together. I like this version, because it uses a combo of berries and herbs (I will go with the frozen blueberry and lemon thyme option.) Herbs are not something that we always think of for dessert, but they provide a nice brightness and an interesting flavor profile. There are some hints in the notes of berry-herb combinations that go together quite well, but try some of your own to really add that personal touch.

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Fried Smashed Potatoes

Last weekend I was in the mood for a burger, not veggie or turkey, but a real, old fashioned beef burger cooked on the griddle. Well, what goes best with a burger; fried potatoes. Since I was grinding the beef myself to make the burgers, I decided to make things a little easier (and healthier) with the potatoes by doing this recipe. I used a combination of small yellow and red potatoes and steamed them instead of boiling. The end result was a crispy and flavorful side dish for my decadent burgers that left me not feeling guilty about a little indulgence.

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Spicy Stir-Fried Collard Greens with Cabbage

Well folks, it is 2017; a new beginning, time of goal setting, for some, a time of reckoning. I think whether you set goals, resolutions, or nothing at all at the beginning of the new year; we can all agree that after a time of indulgence (especially,) we need to get our bodies back on track with some healthy green veggies. Luckily for us, this is a time when those hardy winter greens are in abundance and what a beautiful and flavorful recipe to showcase them. This recipe is quite versatile and can be done with all collards or switching the cabbage up with some spicy Asian greens or mustard greens for punch. If you are a teetotaler, use all broth and add a little lemon juice at the end, if veggie or vegan, use vegetable broth instead of chicken and if you do not like spice, reduce or eliminate the red pepper. See, one dish fits all. 😉

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

As the holiday season comes to a close, along with 2016, our thoughts turn to new beginnings and for some resolutions for the coming year. Rather than resolutions, I choose to set goals for the new year and some of those goals surround food. For me, the food goals tend to be recipe challenges; i.e. foods that I have never prepared or recipes that are somewhat involved, etc. In 2015 one of my recipe challenges was to make homemade marshmallows. I ended up doing that in December and gifting them to people along with homemade cocoa powder. For 2016, sweet potato gnocchi was a goal. I (re) found this recipe in November and decided that it would be perfect for Christmas Eve dinner this year and it was. The gnocchi’s were perfect little pillows of yummy deliciousness and I highly recommend you give this one a go. I did not deviate from the recipe, except that once the gnocchi were formed, I separated them onto two parchment lined trays, froze one and then just kept the other at room temperature until 15 minutes before dinner. They were so good that we could have eaten both trays, but now we will have a lovely dinner on a cold January night instead. Happy New Year!

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Roasted Vegetables with Pecan Gremolata

It is crunch time; the last shopping week before Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. That means figuring out (if you have not already) what you are going to serve for your special meal. If you are still looking for ideas for a colorful, seasonal, and easy side dish, then this is the one for you. Chock full of nutrition with a little southern spin, plus if you have any vegans coming to dinner, just double or triple, leave off the parmesan and voila, you have a filling dish for all. Whatever holiday you might be preparing for, take a moment away from the hustle and bustle for some quiet reflection and gratitude for the gifts that you have. Always remember the people far and near who are not so lucky. Also, a little reminder; this Tuesday is the last market of 2016 (we will be closed for our one and only week of the year on 12/27.)

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Nest Egg

The holidays are upon us and though they bring much joy, they also bring a good bit of stress. To ease (what is mostly self induced stress,) I look for meals that feel like a treat, but at the same time are fairly simple and quick. This recipe is simple; made up of ingredients we all have, quick; less than 10 minutes, can be doubled, tripled, whatever, and can be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a midnight snack. You can have it as a light meal or with some salad greens for something a little more fortifying. With a little dressing up, it is even pretty enough for guests. The only downside, the name; egg in a hole…no worries, I found a better one. 😀

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