Friday, October 30, 2009

Portobello Mushrooms with Leeks, Spinach, and Cheese

If you are always on the look-out for a lovely, sophisticated, and easy side dish for Sunday dinner or for dinner parties, you will enjoy this. The recipe is for four portobello mushrooms, although I prepared only half of it, using my unbelievable math skills. Depending on the size of the portobellos, two mushrooms might be enough for four people. Still, one of my favorite cooks always said, "You eat with your eyes first." Serving these whole makes such a beautiful presentation, I was thinking of her while I served our Sunday dinner.
2 leeks
4 Portobello mushroom caps
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Kosher or sea salt and black pepper
2 cups chopped fresh (preferably organic) spinach (about 2 ounces)
1 cup crumbled soft goat cheese, or Greek feta cheese (your preference)
Pre‐heat oven to 450 degrees
Leeks are sandy by nature. Their flavor is well worth the preparation. Here’s an easy way to clean them.
1) Trim dark‐green parts from leeks; slice leeks crosswise, and soak in cold water. Swish leeks to help loosen dirt. Repeat with fresh water until you no longer see any grit at bottom of bowl. Lift leek slices out of water, leaving grit behind; drain them thoroughly on paper towels.
2) Place mushroom caps, gill sides up, on a rimmed baking sheet; drizzle with oil and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until caps are just tender, about 20 - 25 minutes.
3) Top with leeks, spinach, and cheese; season again if desired.
4) Bake until spinach wilts and cheese starts to brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Leek and White Asparagus Soup

This soup is comfort unlimited! The white asparagus are slightly sweeter than the green, and whenever I see them at the market, I just have to get at least one bunch of them for this soup. I usually cave in, though, and buy another bunch to grill up and then wrap with smoked wild salmon slices (an appetizer extraordinaire if I do say so myself).
But back to the soup. This recipe takes less than 30 minutes to prepare, and will make about 8 cups of soup, once you puree it. Because it is such an easy soup to drink, I love to divide it into 2 cup mason jars to take to school for lunch. Makes my day.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, grated or finely chopped
1 bunch of white asparagus (approximately 20-25 spears), chopped
3 leeks, whites only, cleaned and cut into rings (as shown)
5 to 6 cups organic chicken stock or vegetable stock
2 to 3 cups almond milk
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste See note.

Saute all the vegetables in the olive oil, adding the garlic last, for 2 to 3 minutes, just until soft. Add the stock, and bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the asparagus is cooked through.
Remove the soup from the heat, and let it cool slightly.
Transfer the soup into a blender, in batches if necessary, and blend until smooth.
Return the soup to the pot, add the almond milk and bring it back to heat.
Check for seasoning.
Note: Purists may want to use white pepper, because the soup is a very light color. This is entirely up to purists.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Chocolate Truffles

O.K., so we managed to make a Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving without poisoning ourselves with sugar and white flour. What now?

Christmas will be here before we know it. Some stores ridiculously display their Christmas trimmings right along side the Halloween decorations. Here is a recipe for Chocolate Truffles which will compliment your Maximized Christmas table without killing you. The recipe is also in GOOD FOOD, listed as Chocolate Ganache, since it can also be used as a frosting for the Chocolate Cupcakes in GOOD FOOD. If that's not enough sweet treats for Christmas, your problems are probably more far reaching than I am professionally capable of handling.


· 8 oz. (squares) unsweetened baker’s chocolate chopped into tiny pieces
· 1 cup organic heavy cream
· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla (no sugar – check the ingredients)
· 1/4 teaspoon salt
· Stevia equivalent to approximately 1 cup sugar
· 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional) Note: If you use the espresso powder, you may have to add extra stevia. Taste it.


1) Heat the cream, vanilla, stevia, espresso powder (optional) and salt until bubbles form.
2) Remove from heat. Add chocolate pieces and let melt, stirring occasionally.
3) Let the mixture cool to room temperature, and then chill slightly in the refrigerator. At this point it can be rolled into truffles, which you can then roll in chopped raw nuts, unsweetened shredded coconut, or unsweetened cocoa powder.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Butternut Squash and Green Apple Soup

For those of you who enjoy the tastes of fall, and the aroma of fall spices, this soup really fills the bill. I particularly liked the distinctive, slightly sweet taste. The recipe is so simple. The most difficult part is peeling and seeding the butternut squash. Once that's done, you are 15 minutes to a delightful first course.

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon organic butter

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, chopped

  • 1 or 2 tart green apples, peeled, cored, chopped (squash and apple should be a 3 to 1 ratio)

  • 3 to 4 cups organic chicken broth (or organic vegetable broth)

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, a pinch of pepper

  • pinch of nutmeg (to taste - freshly grated is best)

  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk (original or vanilla flavor)
  • Combine butter and onion, saute gently for 5 minutes.

  • Add squash, apple, and broth. Bring to a boil.

  • Simmer for 10 minutes, or until squash is tender.

  • Puree.

  • Stir in Almond Milk and spices to taste.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie
Thanksgiving and Christmas are back! Here is a pumpkin pie you can really enjoy without complications (to your health or your waistline). It is sugar free and grain free, and tastes delicious. Sometimes, I impress myself.


1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree (no sugar or other additives, check the label)
¾ cup “Spoonable” brand stevia or equivalent OR 2/3 cup xylitol (See blog about Stevia)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
4 oz. organic cream
8 oz. unsweetened almond milk, original or vanilla flavor
1 almond pie crust (see recipe)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees
1) Combine all the ingredients.
2) Pour into a cooled almond pie crust.
3) Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees.
4) Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 45 minutes.
5) Cool and garnish with whipped (organic) cream, flavored with cinnamon and stevia.

Almond Pie Crust


1 ½ cups almond meal or almond flour
3 tablespoons “Spoonable” brand stevia, or equivalent, or 2 tablespoons Xylitol
3 tablespoons melted organic butter


Heat oven to 350 degrees

1) Melt the butter.
2) Mix the melted butter with the almond meal and stevia.
3) Pat into a glass pie plate with your fingertips.
4) Gently heat in the oven for about 8 minutes. Do not let the crust go brown.
I hope you enjoy this pie as much as my family does. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My friend Chantal's Roasted Cauliflower, Leek, and Garlic Soup

If you have been looking at the beautiful leeks in the grocery store, and wondering what you might do with them, here is one of my favourite fall soups. I have been having a giant cup of it for lunch every day at school, and it makes me feel so warm and full, although the actual calorie load is extremely light. Thanks to my friend Chantal for this delicious recipe.

· 3 Leeks – white ends only (To clean the leeks, which can be quite sandy, slice them half way through, lengthwise, and open them out slightly under running water. You are going to put them through the blender later anyway, so don't worry too much about the shape they're in when you roast them.)
· 1 Head Cauliflower
· 1 Head Garlic
· Olive oil
· Nutmeg to taste
· Salt and pepper to taste
· 3 cups organic chicken stock
· 1 cup organic milk, or unsweetened almond milk


1) Clean, prep & place all ingredients on a baking sheet. Spray or drizzle with some olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a bit of freshly grated nutmeg.
2) Roast at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.
3) Remove vegetables from oven and put into 3 cups of organic chicken stock.
4) Simmer another 30 minutes.
5) Puree in a blender - or by using an immersion blender.
6) Add 1 cup organic milk, or unsweetened almond milk.
7) Bring back to heat and serve.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

One of my Favorite Lunches - Avocado Halves Stuffed With Tomato and Feta

This is one of my favorite lunches from GOOD FOOD. The presentation makes it beautiful enough for company, and the taste is lovely. The trick is to use just ready avocados. I like to buy them when they are under ripe and very firm, and leave them on the kitchen counter for a day or two until they are just giving way to the touch. I also sometimes substitute a handful of diced grape tomatoes for the whole roma variety.


1 ripe avocado
1 small ripe roma tomato, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon snipped fresh parsley, or basil, or chives (to your taste)
2 teaspoons raw pumpkin seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1) Halve avocado lengthwise, and remove the pit.
2) Top each half with tomato and feta.
3) Drizzle with lemon juice, and garnish with chives and pumpkin seeds.
4) Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Serves 2

Garden Fresh Basil Pesto

This recipe is so simple and so delicious. Right now, before the weather changes, you will want to harvest your beautiful basil and make up a giant batch of pesto. It will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks (if it lasts that long), or you can freeze it in ice cube trays and use little amounts later. (See below for more on freezing.)

All you do to make a big batch of Basil Pesto is this:
Put two to three cups of basil leaves in a food processor with 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, about 1/2 cup of pine nuts, olive oil (the amount of olive oil depends on the texture you desire - so more or less depending on how thick you want the pesto to be), and approximately 1/2 cup grated quality Italian parmesan cheese, and YUM!

Note: If you intend to freeze some of the pesto in ice cube trays or small containers, this is easily done, and works very well. However, it is wise to omit the Parmesan cheese from the recipe, and add it when you thaw the pesto for use within a week or two.

Pesto is wonderful as a side sauce over an otherwise ordinary grilled chicken breast, or, for you grain eaters, it is always a wonderful pasta sauce or pizza topping (used in place of tomato sauce).
I am making myself hungry.