Monday, February 28, 2011

Of Puritans and Privateers




I'm in history heaven.

So, I never would've said that my favorite historical era was colonial or early American. As a child, I loved ancient Greece, Renaissance fairs, Gone with the Wind, and both Little House on the Prairie and Little Women. In graduate school, I focused on Victorian England.

But Puritans? Pilgrims? The Mayflower? Jamestown, Plimoth, Williamsburg? Philadelphia? Boston? The French and Indian War? The Revolutionary War? Nope.

Sure, I qualify, through my paternal grandmother, I believe, to be both a Colonial Dame and a Daughter of the American Revolution, but I'm not.

And I never really cared. Maybe it's because such colonial history seemed so far removed from Texas, which had conquistadors then and a much more vibrant story (for me) about the Alamo and San Jacinto. Maybe it was a Southern bias against Yankee history, ignoring that several of the original colonies, of course, were in the South.

But now I'm living in a town that is more than 100 years older than the Alamo (first permanent mission building in 1744), almost 200 years older than the birth of Texas as a nation (in 1836). I mean, there are houses here that people still live in that are older than Texas itself, and much older than the historic houses of Texas which often date to the mid-19th century. Which is all to say that history is all around us in a way that I never felt as a child, where everything in our suburban enclave was new. So old and contained is this community that you meet descendants of families that came here in the mid 1600s, who roads and schools are named after, who say "the town has only recently opened up to outsiders like you."

And I am absolutely fascinated. I love the old houses, the saltboxes and colonials. I love the folklore about Captain Kidd, witches (per capita, Connecticut prosecuted more than Salem, MA or anywhere else in the colonies), Revolutionary War privateers, Washington's 7 visits (no, I don't think he ever slept here), actual war skirmishes, old cemeteries, all of it.

So now I'm volunteering at an historic house, helping with curriculum and giving tours (both of which I've done professionally, just not in this context). I'm researching the 18th century, focusing on social not political history--women, pirates, slaves, cooking, and textile production--re-reading Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's numerous tomes (often about Maine, but Age of Homespun mentions CT) and Carol Berkin's First Generations about colonial women (and not just the white women), consulting The Open Hearth Cookbook and old receipts, and learning so much about northern slavery, which Yankees have so long downplayed and outright ignored. I've learned so much. For instance: Minkisi (singular: nkisi), sacred objects derived from ritual practices in West Africa where African slaves originated, have been found throughout the colonies. Comprised of everyday objects like nails, coins, or buttons, minkisi were often bundled in cloth and concealed in houses, especially in doorways or in the center of rooms, for protection.

Of course, my favorite part, I'll readily admit, is the costume. Yes. I get to dress up. Though my background is in art museums, which never have costumed interpreters, I have always, always, always, since my first days dressing up for Ren Faires, wanted to be a costumed interpreter or reenactor (these usually pretend to be from the period in question, like at Williamsburg). And now I will. Bodice, overskirt, stays, petticoat, apron, mob cap. Maybe later a full linen gown. I can't wait.

Only better than the costume would someday (and not at this house, unfortunately) be cooking in costume at an open hearth!

Spring Fever

We've seen our first robin and now our first bunches of snowdrops pushing up through the squishy ground.

We've been outside without coats and have played longer in the yard, which is only under not-quite white snow in the back.

And I'm still daydreaming about my garden.

I don't usually think of spring as a particularly food-oriented time, as spring vegetables and summer fruits are still a long ways off. But as I began to think of the next two months, I realized there are at least a few foods I like to make: something for Mardi Gras (we're opting for jambalaya this year because we think the kids will eat rice), all the traditional foods for St. Patrick's Day like corned beef and cabbage, colcannon, and soda bread, perhaps a clafouti for Spring Equinox, and then a huge meal at Easter, including ham, macaroni and cheese, and our traditional Citrus Marmalade Cake, among other dishes.

Yep, I have spring fever bad this year.

"Standing Up, I Tried Not to Stand Out"

On Sunday, a friend at church handed me a clipping from the NYTimes which began (and gave me the title here): "A year ago, an injury left me unable to sit. For months, I could choose only between standing and lying on my back."

Gee, I wonder why she thought of me.

I'm happy to announce that I've been off all my medications for more than a week now, with almost no trouble. I can't say how happy that makes me not to pop 3-4 prescription pills a day. Now it's just fish oil and magnesium. And I've only had ibuprofen twice!

So, friends, thanks for asking about my back and fussing over me when you see me. But, really, the standing doesn't bother me at all, all things considered. And I am much improved here at the six-month mark.

And I'm smiling all the way to the treadmill.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Take Off Your Shoes!"

"Take off your shoes!" Sis shouted from my favorite rock, freed from the snow.

And then she did. For a bit anyway, because it was only 40ish degrees outside.

Today in church, the minister told stories about Moses at the burning bush, Amita wading into the Ganges, and a cow named Emily. She spoke of sacred spaces, asking, "Where do you take off your shoes? What is your sacred space?" We listened, we meditated, we sang, we chanted, "Take off your shoes!" We even took off our shoes.

Sis first said her sacred spaces were "a bunny hutch," and then she said the backyard. Bud said the playroom. Mama said our room. I said the kitchen, where we all gather everyday, to cook, to eat, to converse with friends and family, to share, sometimes to do homework, arts and crafts, experiments, blog.

Where do you take off your shoes?

Not All Lesbians

. . . because Annette Bening didn't win Best Actress for her fantastic portrayal of a lesbian mom in The Kids Are Alright (which otherwise I didn't like.)

And I'm glad Colin Firth won Best Actor.

More Lesbians!

One of the winners for Best Sound Mixing for Inception kissed a woman--and not just in that friendly, social way--and then her co-winner mentioned their wives! It really is lesbian night at the Oscars!!!!

And the Thanks Go To . . . .

. . . . Anne Hathaway and James Franco, for the lesbian shout-out right in the beginning of the Oscars:

(paraphrased)

"It's lesbians at the Oscars: The Kids Are Alright--lesbians! Black Swan? Dancing lesbians! And Toy Story 3 . . . where's the dad?"

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Not Today

Having a good break. Lots to tell but not today, including:
  • Our dueling couplets about rain
  • Whimsy bread
  • me and the Tea Party--no, the real one
  • new Rewards chart and Legomania
  • read-athon, mine (NurtureShock, Bonesetter's Daughter) and theirs (Boxcar Children #2, Water Horse, school reading center books called "decodables")
  • movie marathons (FernGully, Peter Pan, Little Mermaid, Ratatouille, Lion King)
  • our new guest room/library (previously, though probably still, "the cat room)
  • travel plans, soon and later
  • camp plans for the summer
But here are some tidbits for you:

Bud got yogurt on his shirt before we had friends come over. "I fixed it." By turning it inside out and backwards.

-=-=-=-=-=-

"I can't fit it in. My brain is too full." --Sis, on not being able to remember not to wipe her nose on her sleeve

-=-=-=-=-=

"You are Krazi!" --Bud, assigning Lego characters to Mommy

-=-=-=-=-

When I was confused about what game we were playing, Sis informed me, "Luke meets the Ninjas." We're starting to combine stories: Medieval Knights at Hogwarts, Imagination Movers go to Japan. But they're not combining toy sets--Legos can't play with Playmobile or Schleich/action figures--it's like mashed potatoes touching peas on a plate of a child!

-=-=-=-=-

"We don't mind if you die." --Sis to Mama, about playing a character on Star Wars DS

-=-=-=-=-
"I came in peace. And now I'm leaving." --Bud, playing Obi-Wan action figure in Star Wars scenario

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Eating in the Box

Perhaps inspired by one of our new favorite books, The Boxcar Children, who begin the series by living in a boxcar and eating, as Bud notes, "a lot of bread" (which life they enjoyed so much that their rich grandfather later moved their boxcar to his garden! Yes, this is a book from 1924, so much so that whole things like how the kids' parents both died suddenly and the kids ended up on the run have yet to be answered or even addressed.), we had a simple, delightful lunch today: warm bread, honey, apples, grapes, cheese. It's one of our new favorite lunches, much better than leftovers. And recently we've enjoyed it with two new breads, Cornmeal Honey and Coconut Milk (vegan, with the most amazing scent and subtle flavor of coconut, but not sweet).

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Cornmeal Honey Bread

1 1/8 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons honey
2 2/3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup dry buttermilk powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon gluten
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Combine all ingredients in the pan according to manufacturer's instruction. Set crust on medium and program for Basic.

When the baking is done, immediately remove bread from pan and place on rack to cool completely.

Beth Hensperger, The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook


-=-=-=-=-=-
Coconut Milk White Bread

1 1/8 caned coconut milk
3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon gluten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Combine all ingredients in the pan according to manufacturer's instruction. Set crust on medium and program for Basic.

When the baking is done, immediately remove bread from pan and place on rack to cool completely.

Beth Hensperger, The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dinosaur Delights

Dinosaurs. Fossils. Puppets. Oh my!

The kiddos had a fantastic time at a special dinosaur day at the museum with Mama. Yep, we're back in a dino phase, thanks in great part to "Dino Dan," the Canadian tv show about a kid who studies dinosaurs which he actually sees wandering around his neighborhood. They love it.

And they loved being at the museum--for 4+ hours!--with Mama. They colored dinosaur hats, saw a puppet show, touched dinosaur fossils, and participated in a "sand dig," finding one fossil each to keep. They did non-dino things too, like visiting the dioramas and the Egyptian exhibits, exploring the space installation, and exploring the discovery room, with its ant colony. When they got home, they turned the basement into a museum.

At home, I walked, blogged, researched colonial life for the historic house, read, made pie dough, watched the movie Bright Star on Keats and his love Fanny Brawne (good in that BBC way, though it was by the director of The Piano), and thoroughly enjoyed a very long free time.

Funny how kids change focus so quickly, though: today it's Harry Potter; yesterday it was medieval knights. I imagine it'll be ninjas and Star Wars again soon, plus school/restaurant/hotel.

But it'll still be "Dino Dan" everyday.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Belated National Pie Day!

I missed National Pie Day recently but made up for it yesterday.

And because it's Mama's favorite, we made it cherry (I didn't think of Washington until I read that Sew and Sow had made a cherry pie yesterday too!).

Despite two sticks of butter, my crust was dry and crumbly. No matter, because with two sticks of butter, it tasted divine (though it was flaky, not tender, as I thought all-butter crusts were, but then I'm new to homemade crust). Sis helped with the crust, brushing on the milk and sprinkling the sugar--she devoured that crust when the pie was ready. And Bud, as usual, took to the insides, sour cherries from a jar (instead of pie filling, which we used last time), a 1/2 cup of sugar (more than Sew and Sow's 1/4 cup from the year before), cinnamon, and flour (4 teaspoons because I didn't have the traditional tapioca) to thicken.

And like the Vermonters' definition of a Yankee as someone who eats pie for breakfast, Bud asked for some at 7 a.m. this morning!

I said no (but only because I had promised Sis crepes), but we'll be having it for lunch!

-=-=-=-=-

All-Butter Pie Pastry (double-crust), in a food processor

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter cut into 1/4" pieces
about 1/2 cup cold water

Put flour, sugar, and salt in the food processor. Pulse several times to mix. Scatter the butter over the dry ingredients and pulse 7-8 times to cut the butter in well. Remove the lid and fluff the mixture with a fork, lifting it up from the bottom of the bowl. Drizzle half of the water over the dry ingredients. Pulse 5-6 times, until the mixture is crumbly. Fluff the pastry and sprinkle on the remaining water. Pulse 5-6 more times, until the pastry starts to form clumps. Overall it will look like coarse crumbs. Dump the contents of the processor into a large bowl.

Text the dough by squeezing some of it between your fingers; if it seems a little dry and not quite packable, drizzle a teaspoon or so of cold water over the dough and work it in with your fingertips. Using your hands, pack the dough into 2 balls as you would pack a snowball. Make one ball slighlty larger than the other; this will be your bottom crust. Knead each ball once or twice, then flatten the balls into 3/4" thick disks on a floured work surface. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight before rolling (if more than one hour, let warm 5-10 minutes before rolling).

Ken Haedrich, Pie


Happy Birthday!

To Ar-Ma! May you have a special day and a great year!

Mothers' Restaurant*

Breakfast has emerged as one of our family's favorite meals, if not the favorite, with the most liked foods often served at this time: crepes, pancakes, waffles, scrambled eggs, ham, bacon, home fries, toast, monkey bread, sourdough biscuits, fruit salad, to name a few. So, having gotten into the habit of eating out for lunch after church, usually after having eaten out Saturday afternoon during one of our outings, we're now opting for a post-church brunch. Easy to make, well received by all.

This week it was pancakes, with a made-from-scratch mix, since we were out of our usual box mix. And I think we all liked it better. How can you go wrong, though, adding strawberries, nutella, or maple syrup on top? I think they'd eat cardboard! But the pancakes were very good. The kids said we should open a restaurant.

With mix leftover, we'll be having them again (probably sometime soon, over this long winter break, when we are likely to have big breakfasts everyday). And Mama is going to experiment with waffles.

(*Mother's Restaurant in New Orleans was one of our favorite places, usually for lunch, with all manner of good food, including "debris" sandwiches and bread pudding!)
-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Nigella Lawson's Pancake Mix

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar

Pancake batter:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

For the pancake mix:

Directions

Mix the above ingredients together and store in a jar.

For the pancake batter:

For each 1 cup pancake mix add 1 egg, 1 cup milk and 1 tablespoon melted butter. Do not overmix.

Heat a flat griddle or pan over medium-high heat.

Spoon drops of 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of batter onto the hot griddle and when bubbles appear on the surface of the little pancakes, flip them over to make them golden brown on both sides. A minute or so a side should do it.


Prayers for Christchurch

I woke this morning to images of destroyed buildings. I thought Qaddafi had bombed his own people. But the devastation was from an earthquake on the other side of the world, in New Zealand. My thoughts and prayers go out to them.

Monday, February 21, 2011

That White Stuff

It's back. Not impossible amounts, just about 3+", enough to fill in all the places where the snow had finally melted and also to cover over the dirtiness that has accrued for almost two months. And, while I know it is winter and snow is normal, I was really enjoying my patches of deck and grass. Soon enough, of course, it'll be summer and too hot for me. And then snow again. So I'll just enjoy it while it lasts . . .

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Veg Out

This one's for you, Mommy Goose: many of my favorite vegetarian recipes in one place (entrees mainly, not vegetable sides liked roasted vegetables--veg + 1ish TB oil + kosher salt @ 425 for 15-25ish--or glazed carrots). I've posted many of these on my blog before and the vegetarian slow cooker recipes are in the big "Slow Cooker-a-thon" post (and not repeated here). Nor are my "Adventures in Cooking Our CSA Share" veggie recipes repeated. But there are lots of good ones.

And a few suggestions and ideas for anyone thinking about vegetarianism:
  • Meat substitutes aren't. Tofu dogs, soy sausage, textured vegetable protein crumble only seem like to meat to people who haven't had it in a long time. That said, I don't know any vegetarians who got through a transition to a meatless diet without it. I liked "chik'n" patties and the crumble but now cook without it.
  • Beware the carbs and junk, if health is your goal. Fritos are vegan and ice cream is vegetarian. And I could eat rice or bread all day. It took me some time (and some pounds) to realize that I wasn't actually eating vegetables. As famous vegetarian chef (but not an actual vegetarian, though I think she was once) Mollie Katzen says about vegetarians, apparently, "tell me what you eat, not what you don't eat."
  • Adapt recipes you already make, either by just removing meat or by making substitutions (vegetable for chicken stock, cooked beans for ground meat in soups and casseroles, etc).
  • And remember that some of your recipes are already vegetarian: macaroni and cheese, various pastas (cheese ravioli, baked ziti), grilled cheese and tomato soup, breakfast dishes for dinner.
  • Master a few easy vegetarian meals. Soups, fried eggs, and beans (not together, of course) are my go-to dishes (though, Cuban black beans with a fried egg are good!). Like beanbag soup.
  • What about supplements? Talk to your doctor. Because I eat eggs (and am not a vegan, thus getting dairy calcium), this isn't as much as a problem. But I do take my multivitamin everyday. No problem with anemia or anything in 3+ years.
  • Consider what kind of vegetarian you want to be--strict? practical? eggs or not? will you eat fish (and before people get all "fish is a meat", fish is not considered a meat in Asian which is why there is still oyster sauce and such in your veggie dishes sometimes)? I'm practical, which means I'll eat around chicken to be social, not sweat the stock or the crossover of spoons and dishes, even take fish oil supplements (for my back) and not worry about the fine print of gelatin or cochineal beetles as coloring (you'd be surprised where that can pop up!). And, in a pinch, I'll eat a fish sandwich. That doesn't mean I'm not a vegetarian; it just means I have lapses. In other words, don't worry about the label. Eat what you decide to eat.
  • There are, these days, zillions of places to find vegetarian recipes, especially now with the "Meatless Monday" and Flexitarian/less meat campaigns. Some off0the-beaten-path sources I like (i.e. not obvious like Vegetarian Times, Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, or any of Mollie Katzen's cookbooks) are Robin Robertson's Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker (Judith Finlayson also has a similar book), Dean Ornish's cookbooks, Nava Atlas's cookbooks, and my Bloodroot cookbooks vol. 1 and 2.

Bon appetit! (though, I'm pretty sure Julia wouldn't have approved).

-=-=-=-=-=
Please note: If any recipes lists "chicken stock," just substitute vegetable. I haven't always edited old recipes, but the substitution works.

J D's Black Bean Soup
1/2 lb dried black beans, rinsed and sorted
olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
4 cups water
1-2 bay leaves (depending on size)
salt, pepper to taste

Prep black beans in your favorite way (either overnight soak, or 5 minute boil and then 1 hour soak). Drain.
Saute onion and garlic in a little olive oil. Add beans, bay leaves, water, salt and pepper. Cook until tender. Adjust seasonings.
DO NOT DRAIN. Puree using immersion or regular blender.
Serve.
My note: I think you could probably drain the beans and then puree them to make a good black bean dip. Also, this would probably be good with a chopped green pepper, too.

J.D.
-=-=-=-=-=-

Chickpea Stew with Couscous
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic coves, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups diced zucchini
1 large sweet potato, peeled, in 1/2" dice
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup diced, peeled tomato, canned or fresh, with juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon*
1 teaspoon ground coriander*
1/2 teaspoon cumin*
pinch cayenne (we omitted this)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon jice
1-15 oz can chickpeas, drained, or 1/2 cups homemade
2 cups couscous
2 tablespoons minced parsley or cilantro (I leave this out)
*I substituted 2 1/2 teaspoons Penzey's sweet curry powder for this and it was wonderful.

In a large pot, combine onion, garlic, and 1/4 cup vegetable broth (in fairness, I used a little olive oil to get in my daily guidelines for WW). Cook over moderate heat until liquid evaporates and onion is transparent, about 5 minutes. Add zucchini, sweet potato, bell peppers, tomato, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, cayenne, sat, and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 3/4 cups broth and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, cover, lower heat, and simmer gently until vegetables are just tender, about 5 more minutes (nope, took almost 15+). Stir in chickpeas and cook until chickpeas are hot. Keep stew warm. Serve over couscous. Garnish with minced parsley.

Everyday Cooking with Dr. Dean Ornish
-=-=-=-=-=-

Creamy Split Pea Soup

1 cup finely diced yellow onion

1 cup finely diced celery

2 garlic cloves, minced

8 1/4 cups vegetable broth

2 cups dried split peas

1 cup diced carrots

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme (I used 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence)

1/4 cup minced parsley

salt and pepper
In a large saucepan, combine onion, celery, garlic, and 1/4 cup vegetable broth. Bring to a dimmer, covered, over moderate heat, and simmer until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add split peas and remaining 8 cups of broth. Bring to a boil, cover, adjust heat to maintain simmer and cook until peas begin to soften, about 30 minutes. Add carrots and thyme. Cover and simer until carrots are tender and peas are very soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Everyday Cooking with Dr. Dean Ornish

-=-=-=-=-=-

My Lentil-Chickpea Stew

3/4 cup brown lentils

5 cups water

garlic, 2-3 cloves minced (approximately)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon Penzey's Sweet curry

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon lemon juice
Cook lentils in water for about 20 minutes. Add other ingredients and warm through, about 10 minutes. Serve with couscous.

Mommy Hungry

-=-=-=-=-=-

Lentil-Stuffed Bell Peppers
2-4 green bell peppers, seeded and split in half

1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and sorted

5 cups water

2 cups cooked brown rice

1/2 -1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1 small can tomato paste

1 small can olives, sliced

salt, pepper to taste
Boil green bell peppers in water approximately 10 minutes, or until beginning to be tender. Meanwhile, bring to boil 5 cups water and then add lentils; reduce to low heat and simmer approximately 10-15 minutes or until beginning to be tender. Mix brown rice, feta cheese, and olives together; set aside. When lentils are done, drain and add to rice mixture. Stir in tomato paste. Taste and season. Mix together, adding a little water if moisture needed.
Place bell peppers in baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Fill halves with lentil-rice mixture. Top with any remaining feta cheese.

Bake at 350F until bubbly. Serve warm.

Mommy Hungry
-=-=-=-=-=-

Escarole and Bean Soup

1/4 lb White beans
5 c vegetable or chicken broth
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 onion, diced
2 c chopped escarole
Salt and pepper -- to taste
croutons, optional

SOAK THE BEANS OVERNIGHT IN WATER. Drain. Place beans in a pot, add broth, cover and cook over medium heat until beans are soft, about 30 minutes. (or use canned white beans if there isn't time to soak and cook...) Meanwhile, place another pot on the stove, add oil, place over medium heat, add garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes, or until onions soften. Add the escarole and continue to cook until wilted, another 10 minutes. Add the beans and broth to the pot with the escarole. Add salt and pepper as desired, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve hot, with the addition of croutons if desired. serves 8

our CSA
-=-=-=-=-=-

Garlic Escarole Soup with Rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 medium onions, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

8 cups stock

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 medium head escarole, washed and roughly chopped (about 5 cups)

1/2 cup Arborio rice (I just used pre-cooked white rice, as I had it on hand)

grated Parmesan cheese to taste
Heat oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes, until caramelized. Reduce heat to low, add garlic, and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add stock and bring to a boil. Add the salt and rice and cook for 5 minutes.

Add escarole. Simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes, until rice and escarole are tender. Season to taste with salt. Serve with Parmesan cheese. (We didn't have cheese and so served it with a bit of lemon juice).

Johnna Albi and Catherine Walthers, Greens Glorious Greens! (adapted--they had chicken stock and shredded chicken, too)
-=-=-=-=-=-

White Bean and Kale Soup
1 lb. dried navy or cannellini beans, rinsed and sorted

6 cups stock

olive oil

minced garlic

1 onion, chopped

1-2 heads kale, de-stemmed, rinsed, dried, and chopped

1 teaspoon liquid smoke
Place beans in 5-7 cups water (enough to cover) and bring to a boil. Boil hard for 5-10 minutes then reduce to a simmer. Note: this is contrary to popular bean wisdom of using either the overnight soak or 5 minute boil/1 hour soak method; but the beans were still great (even better, maybe).
When beans are tender, drain water and set beans aside. In same pot, heat olive oil and saute onion, garlic, and kale. Add approximately 6 cups stock and the beans. Cook until kale and beans are tender to your liking. Season with liquid smoke and any additional salt and pepper (I realized you could also cook the beans with a bay leaf).

Mommy Hungry

-=-=-=-=-=-

Curried Lentil and Kale Stew

1 lb brown lentils, rinsed and sorted

2-3 yukon gold potatoes, cubed

5 cups water

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, chopped

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 can crushed tomatoes or 1 can tomato paste (really, just your favorite tomato product)

1-2 heads kale, de-stemmed, rinsed, and chopped

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

sweet curry powder
Boil water and add lentils and potatoes. Cook until tender, approximately 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, saute kale in olive oil with garlic and onion. Add to lentils when they are tender. Then add tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and 1-2 teaspoons sweet curry powder, plus any additional seasonings. Cook an additional 10 minutes or so. Enjoy!

Mommy Hungry
-=-=-=-=-=-

Ethiopian-Inspired Yellow Split Pea Stew

3 cups water plus 2 tablespoons (divided)
1 cup dried yellow split peas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1 inch-long piece fresh ginger, peeled,
finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
Place 3 cups of the water and the peas in large saucepan. Heat over high heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium; cook until almost tender, about 30 minutes.
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat; cook onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and turmeric; cook 1 minute.
Add remaining 2 tablespoons water; cover. Cook on low heat 3 minutes. Add mixture to cooked peas; stir in salt. Simmer until peas are very soft, about 30 minutes. Taste; adjust seasonings.

-=-=-=-=-=-

Potato-Kale Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter (I didn't use this)

2 cups chopped onions

2 leeks, white and light green part only, washed and thinly sliced (I didn't have this)

6 cups water

4 medium potatoes, cut into 3/4" cubes (about 4 cups--I had Yukon golds)

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

3 carrots, peeled (I didn't have these either)

3 celery stalks

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 lb kale (about 4 cups chopped)

[And I added minced garlic]

Heat oil and butter in soup pot over medium heat. Saute onions and leeks for 10-15 minutes, until golden, soft, and sweet. [Add garlic and saute for a few more minutes.]

Add the water, potatoes, parsley, whole carrots, whole celery stalks, bay leaves, salt, and peper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

While soup is cooking, wash kale and strip the leaves off the stalks. Discard stalks and chop leaves into bite-size pieces. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Add the kale and cook, covered, over high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, approximately 5 minutes. Remove and drain.

Remove the carrot and celery pieces and bay leaves from the soup. Puree half. Stir in cooked kale and heat through. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.

Johnna Albi and Catherine Walthers, Greens Glorious Greens

-=-=-=-=-=-

Frijoles Borrachos, or Pinto Beans Stewed in Beer


1 cup chopped tomatoes or lightly drained canned diced tomatoes
2-16 oz cans pinto or pink beans drained and rinsed, or 4 cups cooked pinto or pink beans (about 1 1/2 cups raw. I just used 16 oz).
1/2 cup beer
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (NOT in my beans!)
4 oz can mild green chilies
3 tablespoons pinto bean seasoning (I picked this up in Texas; not sure what goes in it but will look)

Combine all ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.

adapted from Nava Atlas's The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet

-=-=-=-=-=-

Spiced Lentils with Spinach and Apples

2 cups dried lentils

5 cups water

1 cup chopped onion

2 stalks celery, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoon dry mustard

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 large cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

freshly ground black pepper

cayenne

1/2 lb spinach , chopped

2 medium-sized green apples (Granny Smith or Pippin), peeled and chopped


Boil lentils in water and then reduce heat to low, partially covered, and simmer 15 minutes.


Add onion, celery, cumin, mustard, ginger, coriander, and turmeric. Cover and cook for 10 minutes more, then add lemon juice and garlic. Cover and cook again for 10 minutes, or until lentils are tender.


Stir in salt and add peppers to taste. Add spinach and apples at the end so they only cook slightly.


Mollie Katzen, Enchanted Broccoli Forest

-=-=-=-=-=-

Potato and Greens Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 bunch leeks, thoroughly rinsed and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
4 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
salt and freshly ground pepper
8 white potatoes (about 3 1/2 lbs), peeled and cut into 3/4 cubes
1 bunch arugula or other bitter greens such as curly endive or escarole, washed

Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Add the leeks and stir well. Cover and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add stock and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add potatoes and bring back to a simmer. Cook until tender but not mushy, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off heat.

Ladle about 3 cups of soup into a blender (don't fill more than halfway). Hold the lid on with a dish towel to prevent splattering, and blend until smooth. Return pureed soup to saucepan, stir to combine, and bring back to a simmer. Season to taste.

Stir in greens. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until wilted and bright green, and serve immediately.

Martha Stewart Living

-=-=-=-=-=-

Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice
1 onion, chopped
3-4 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
1 lb red kidney beans (Camellia band recommended), rinsed and sorted
8-10 cups water
1-2 bay leaves
1-3 tablespoons Creole Seasoning (I use Tony's)
1/2-1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

Saute onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add beans, water, and bay leaves. Note: I do not pre-soak or quick soak the beans, just simmer all day--you can pre-soak or quick soak, drain, and then start this recipe if you choose. Boil for 5 minutes and reduce to a simmer for 3-4 hours, or until beans are tender.
When beans are almost at desired consistency, add creole seasoning. Before serving, add liquid smoke. Serve with steamed rice (brown or white, your preference).

Mommy Hungry

-=-=-=-=-=-

Noodle Souffle

Preheat oven to 325F. Remove 1/2 pound sweet butter and 1/2 pound cream cheese from refrigerator and let come to room temperature.

Cook 1 pound wide egg noodles in boiling salted water until just done. Drain. Meanwhile, set out a 3 quart Pyrex or other baking dish.

In mixer, cream butter and cream cheese together with 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar. Mix well. Add 9 eggs, one at a time, beating well. Add 4 cups sour cream, 1/2 cup lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon salt. Taste for sour, sweet, and salt. All flavors should be strong.

Turn noodles into pan; pour cream cheese batter over noodles. Stir lightly.

About an hour before serving, preheat oven to 325F and bake noodle souffle until puffed and browned. Leftover portions may be reheated, uncovered, in oven or toaster oven.

The Best of Bloodroot, Volume 1, Vegetarian Recipes

-=-=-=-=-=-
Pasta e Lenticchie

5 cups water
3/4 cups lentils
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes, with some juice
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/2 pound vermicelli, or small tubular pasta, or pasta mista
2 rounded tablespoons finely cut or snipped parsley
Optional: extra-virgin olive oil and hot red pepper flakes or hot pepper oil, for garnish

In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a rolling boil, add the lentils, and cook, covered over medium-high heat, until nearly but not entirely tender, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic, the olive oil, the tomatoes, the salt and the pepper. Reduce the heat, cover and continue to simmer briskly for another 10 minutes, stirring a few times, or until the lentils are fully tender.
If using capellini, break it into 2 to 4-inch pieces and add them to the lentils. Cook, covered, at a steady simmer, stirring several times and scraping the bottom of the pot when you do. Cook until the pasta is just done, stirring more frequently as it gets closer to the point of being cooked. If using a small tubular pasta or pasta mista, cook the pasta at least halfway in plenty of salted boiling water. Drain the pasta, add it to the lentils and simmer to finish cooking the pasta.
When pasta is cooked to taste, remove the pot from the heat, stir in the parsley cover the pot, and let stand about 5 minutes before serving. Serve hot, passing hot pepper oil or the best-quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling on top.

“Molto Mario”

-=-=-=-=-=-
Black-Eyed Peas (Vegetarian version)

As tradition goes, you have to eat all your black-eyes on New Year’s.
1 bag black-eyed peas
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
garlic, minced.
salt, pepper
(try adding bay leaf)

Soak peas overnight.
In morning, drain and rinse peas.
Saute onion, pepper, and garlic in oil. Add peas. Cover with water (water is double the amount of peas or more). Cook until tender, about 2 1/2 hours.

Mommy Hungry

-=-=-=-=-=-

Red, White, and Greens with Beans Soup

1/2 lb cranberry beans, soaked in salted water overnight
14.5 oz diced tomatoes
1 head garlic, peeled
half bunch of kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Place beans and their brine in slow cooker. Set on HIGH and cook for 2-3 hours.

Add diced tomatoes, garlic, and kale. Season as necessary. Continue to cook on LOW for 4-6+ more hours.

Mommy Hungry
-=-=-=-=-=-
Curried Apple Lentil Soup
Update: I added 2 cups of water and probably 1+ teaspoon more salt. I thought it was delicious.

5 cups water
1 cup brown lentils
1 cup red lentils
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon sweet curry powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt

Combine in 3-4 quart slow cooker and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.
-=-=-=-=-=-

Greek Big Beans

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups slow cooked beans or two 15.5 oz cans lima or butter beans, drained and rinsed (or actual Greek gigante beans. I wonder if you could use fava?)
28 oz can diced tomatoes, with juices
salt and pepper
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

Heat oil and cook onion, covered, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook another minute or so.

Transfer the onion and garlic to a 3 1/2 to 4-quart slow cooker. Add beans, tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir. Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours. Just before serving, stir in parsley.

Robin Robertson, Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker
-=-=-=-=-
Chipotle-Orange Black Beans

1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon chopped chipotle peppers in adobo (plus more to taste)

Juice and zest of 1 orange

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons crumbled queso fresco

Method

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onions and garlic until soft, about 4 minutes. Add beans and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in chipotles and orange juice and zest. Cook 1 minute longer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with cilantro and queso fresco.

Whole Foods website

-=--=-=-=-


Spicy sweet potato and coconut soup
(you might cut this in half, this recipe feeds 14)
3 1/2 lbs orange-fkeshed sweet potatos
2 tablespoons & 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 1/4 (2") pieces fresh ginger root, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons &1 teaspoon rede curry paste
2 1/4 (15 Oz) cans unsweetened coconut milk
7 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup lemom juice
2 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons & 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 cup & 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Baked the Sweet potatoes at 400 degrees for about 45 min. until tender , remove from over let them cool.
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over med.heat. Add the onion and ginger, cook and stir until tender, about 5 min. Stir in the curry paste and heat for about a min. then whisk in the coconut milk and vegetable broth, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 min.
Remove the skins from the sweet potatoes and cut into little bite size chunks. Add to the soup and cook for 5 more minutes so they can soak up the flavor.Stir in the juice and season with salt.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with drizzle of sesame oil and a bit of cilantro.
Today I forgot the cilantro, Sorryyyyyyyyyy.
Miss O
-=-=-=-=-=-

Gourmet Mushroom Risotto
6 cups chicken broth, divided
3 tblps. olive oil
1 lb white mushroom, thinly sliced
1 lb portobello mushrooms , thinly sliced
3 shallots, diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 tblps, finely chopped chives
4 tblps butter
1 cup cream
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In saucepan, warm the broth over low heat
warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in large pot over med.heat, stir in the muchrooms, and cook until soft, about 3-4 min. Remove mushrooms and their liquid and set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet and stir in the shallots, cook 1 min. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 min. When rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in the wine, stirring constantly untill the the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir untill the broth is absorbed. continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuosly, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15/20 min.
Stir in the cream, remove from heat, stir in mushrooms with their liquid, butter, chives, parmesan, season w/ salt and pepper to taste.
Miss O

-=-=-=-=-=-=

Mushroom Quiche

Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare pie crust (we had store-bought) and line a 10" quiche pan with it. Prick intersection of rim and bottom with a fork and line pie crust with foil and weight with dried beans, corn, or lentils. Bake 5-10 minutes or until edges of the crust are a very light brown. Remove foil and beans and turn oven down to 375F. Remove pie crust from oven.

Meanwhile, wip clean (do not wash) and slice 1 pound mushrooms. You may use button mushrooms (we did); these days we use oyster mushrooms. Finely chop 3 tablespoonsonions and saute onions for about a minute in a large frying pan in 2 tablespoons butter. Add mushrooms; turn heat up high until liquid evaporates and they begin to brown. Stir occasionally. Add 1 teaspoons salt and 1/4 cup tawny port (we used sherry). Set aside.

Beat 3 eggs together in a mixer or a bowl. Add a grating of nutmeg, 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, and some fresh ground pepper.

Add mushrooms to pie crust (note: without any liquid they've dropped meanwhile). Sprinkle1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese (we used a little more) over them and return pie to oven. Carefully add custard to the quiche. Bake until puffed and browned, 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Individual pieces of quiche may be wrapped, frozen, and later reheated in a toasted oven (our note: it won't last that long!)

Best of Bloodroot: Vol 1, Vegetarian Recipes
-=-=-=-=-=-

Wild Mushroom and Lentil Shepherd's Pie

Topping:
1 1/2 lbs cubed peeled Yukon gold potato
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
dash of ground red pepper

Filling
1 cup dried petite green lentils
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 cups organic vegetable broth, divided
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
4-4 oz packages presliced exotic mushroom blend (such as shiitake, cremini, and oyster)
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon white truffle oil (right. it works without it)
chopped chives, optional

To prepare topping, lace potato and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cook 20 minutes or until very tender; drain. Return potato to pan. Add buttermilk, 1/2 teaspoons salt, black pepper, nutmeg, and red pepper to potato. Mash with a potato masher until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375F.

To prepare filling, combine lentils, water, 1/2 teaspoons salt, and bay leaf in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 25 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain and set aside.

Combine 1/2 cup vegetable broth and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Set flour mixture aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and mushrooms; cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 2 cups broth. Add sherry, soy sauce, tomato paste, thyme, and lentils to mushroom mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir in flour mixture, and cook until mixture thickens (about 2 minutes), stirring constantly with a whisk.

Spoon lentil mixture into a 2 quart casserole; top with potato mxiture, spreading evenly. Bake at 375F for 25 minutes or until potatoes are golden. Drizzle truffle oil over potatoes. Garnish with chives.

Cooking Light (235 for 1/8th casserole)
-=-=-=-=-=-
Risotto e Fagioli
Mama made this for a change of taste. Really yummy, with the surprise pumpkin seeds. This was, I believe, one of our first risottos and soon one of our standbys.

¼ cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
4 ½ cups chicken broth
1 cup cooked, drained, small white beans (can use canned but heat in chicken stock)
½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds (roast at 350 for 5-10 minutes)
½ tablespoon sesame oil
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add 1 cup rice and toss with oil. Add wine, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, cooking over moderate heat until wine has been absorbed. Add 4 ¼ cups broth to the rice, ½ cup at a time. Wait for each addition to be absorbed before adding the next, until the rice is al dente and a creamy sauce develops. Stir in beans, seeds, sesame oil, and cheese.
Fifty Ways to Cook Most Everything

-=-=-=-=-
Risotto with Lentils
A pretty good risotto but the lentils were a little hard. And there was too much thyme. Try again, with changes.

1 cup lentils
1 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon rosemary, crumbled
pinch of ground allspice
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
6 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon grated parmesan
salt, pepper

Boil lentils in 3 cups water for 20 minutes, drain and set aside. Meanwhile, cook onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add herbs and rice, stir, and cook for 1 minute. Add ½ cup white wine and simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Add 1 cup chicken broth and stir until absorbed. Add lentils and 5 cups of additional broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring. Wait for each cup to be absorbed before adding the next. Stir in parsley, parmesan, salt, pepper.

Fifty Ways to Cook Most Everything

-=-=-=-=-
Risotto with Spinach
We love risotto and have tried several. This one is especially good with sunflower seeds.

6 cups stock
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
¾ lb. spinach, stemmed and thinly sliced crosswise
2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
freshly grated nutmeg, to taste (1/2-1 teaspoon)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring stock to a simmer; maintain over low heat. In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm oil. Add onion; saute until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spinach, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl; set aside. Add rice to pan; stir until well coated with oil and translucent with a white dot in the center, about 3 minutes. Add wine and stir until absorbed. Add stock a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently after each addition. Wait until stock is almost completely absorbed before adding more. Reserve ¼ cup stock to add at the end. When rice is almost tender to the bite but slightly firm in the center and looks creamy, after about 18 minutes, add spinach mixture to pan and add a ladleful of stock. Cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach mixture is heated through and rice is al dente, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter, cheese, and reserved ¼ cup stock. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Williams-Sonoma catalogue

-=-=-=-
Roasted Sweet Garlic and Thyme Risotto with Toasted Almonds and Breadcrumbs
Continuing our obsession with different risotti, Mama found this on the internet from Food TV. It is amazing! The garlic was a little hard to squeeze out but added depth to the flavor. Our lemon thyme, the almonds, and breadcrumbs—wonderful! It took awhile to wait but was worth it. And reheats well.

2 large heads garlic, whole and unpeeled
Approximately 1 quart (1.1 litres) chicken stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 shallots or 2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 head celery, finely chopped
14 ounces (400 grams) risotto rice
2 wine glasses dry white vermouth or dry white wine
Sea salt
1 good handful fresh thyme, leaves picked
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 ounces (70 grams) butter
4 ounces (115 grams) freshly grated Parmesan
51/2 ounces (155 grams) shelled and peeled almonds, lightly crushed, cracked or chopped
2 handfuls coarse fresh bread crumbs
Olive oil

For the basic risotto: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Roast the whole garlic heads on a dish in the oven until soft, about 30 minutes.
Stage 1: Heat the stock. In a separate pan heat the olive oil, add the shallots or onions, garlic, and celery, and fry slowly for about 4 minutes. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.
The rice will now begin to fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring, it will smell fantastic. Any harsh alcohol flavors will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.
Once the vermouth or wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Separate the roasted garlic cloves and squeeze out the sweet insides into the risotto. Add the thyme and black pepper to the risotto. Turn down the heat to a highish simmer, so the rice doesn't cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladles of stock.
Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir gently. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 to 3 minutes. This is the most important part of making the risotto, as this is when it becomes outrageously creamy and oozy like it should be. Eat as soon as possible while the risotto retains its perfect texture. In a frying pan toast the almonds and bread crumbs in a little olive oil until crisp and golden. Season with a little salt. Set to one side. Serve the risotto with the toasted almonds and bread crumbs sprinkled over the top. Lovely.

Jamie Oliver, "Oliver’s Twist"

-=-=-=-=-
Winter Vegetable Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup finely chopped carrot (about 2 carrots)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-14.5 oz cans Great Northern beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained
1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, with liquid
2 cups cubed Yukon Gold potato (about 10 oz)
2 1/2 cups water
2-14.5 oz cans vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry (she left this out--the right decision, I think)

Heat oil in Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in tomatoes and next 7 ingredients. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add spinach; cover and cook 5 minutes.

Weight Watchers Annual Recipes for Success 2003 (3 pts a cup)