Pinto Bean Stew

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I can honestly say that this is one of the best recipes I have ever invented. This morning I was longing for lunchtime, just because I had leftovers of this stew. It is so flavourful, plus a healthy vegan meal. Filling, healthy and satisfying – the perfect combination for me.

The sweet potatoes give a hint of sweetness, and the Morita chilies add a little smokiness. If you’re not a fan of a lot of spice, no worries, the Morita chilies aren’t very hot, and you can always add a little less jalapeño pepper. When serving you can also add some of your favourite hot sauce to spice things up a little; this is a great option, since everyone has a different tolerance of spice. One person’s ‘warm’ is another person’s ‘deadly.’

I had a taste of the stew after cooking it yesterday when I made it. The flavours seemed even better today, so I would imagine this would freeze well. I think I won’t have any leftovers, so I won’t be able to test that. Please comment if you freeze it and let us know how it was after thawing. I’d also love to hear if people make substitutions; this is one of those recipes that could be great with so made different ingredients.

The garnishes really add to it, but aren’t necessary – a tiny bit of salty Cotija cheese, some chopped cilantro, and the crunch of the toasted pepitas.

What you need:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups dry pinto beans, soaked the night before
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 dried Morita chilies (a smoked red jalapeño)
  • olive oil
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • a few mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 1 small can cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro (stems go in the stew)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnishes: crumbled Cotija cheese, toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), cilantro

What you do:

  1. Soak the beans in a large pot of water the night before you are going to make the stew.
  2. Drain the beans, then cover them with fresh water. Add the whole carrot, celery stalk, 1/4 of the onion, the bay leaves, and the chilies. All of these vegetables are for flavouring the stew and will be removed before serving. Bring the contents of the pot to a simmer.
  3. While the beans are simmering, heat a frying pan to medium and add a little olive oil. Add the mushrooms and fry until cooked, then add them to the pot. Dice the rest of the onions and brown them lightly, then add them to the pot.
  4. Add the minced jalapeño (or half if you you’re spiciness scares you), the diced zucchini, sweet potato, and canned cherry tomatoes to the pot. Chop the cilantro stems and add them to the pot, along with the bouillon cube.
  5. Simmer the stew for 1 & 1/2 hours, stirring now and then, until the beans are soft and the stew has thickened.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with crumbled Cotija cheese, toasted pepitas and cilantro.

Yellow Tomato Gazpacho

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Gazpacho is what I like to make in the summer, when I’ve got ripe tomatoes in my garden, especially when I want to eat something delicious and healthy. After overindulging on my recent trip to Italy, I came home and made a batch of this. It did the trick; I feel healthier after eating this for a few days.

Normally I add a little more olive oil, but because I was trying to lighten things up a lot, I only added a drizzle. Adding more olive oil would make it creamier, and it is a healthy oil, so add what you like. I’ve made this many times before with red tomatoes, but this time I happened to have a lot of yellow cherry tomatoes, so I used other light coloured vegetables to make it pretty.

Healthy, delicious, super easy, and great for leftovers – this one is definitely a winner!

What you need:

  • 1 small cucumber, peel removed
  • 1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes
  • a few tablespoons medium sweet onion
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large sweet yellow bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • a drizzle of good quality extra-virgin olive oil (or a few tablespoons)
  • 1 slice of white bread (I used a whole wheat French bread)
  • salt to taste

What you do:

  1. Soak the bread in water for a few minutes, then squeeze the water out.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add whatever you think you need to balance the flavours.
  3. Refrigerate for at least and hour before serving.
  4. Serve topped with some chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, or a drizzle of olive oil.

Roasted Butternut Soup with Apples and Bacon

Roasted Butternut Soup - trust in kim

Roasting the squash with apples and just one slice of bacon brings so much flavour to this soup. Mark Bittman wrote this recipe as a chowder, in which you leave everything whole, but I was really in the mood for a puréed soup. And it was lovely and velvety this way. I plan to try it again one day using different vegetables.

The cookbook this one came from is called The Food Matters Cookbook. I changed the recipe by using only one slice of bacon for flavour instead of four, omitting the oil because the bacon gave it some fat, and then I puréed it instead of leaving pieces whole.

To make this a vegan recipe you can easily omit the bacon and just drizzle the vegetables with a little olive oil before roasting.

It makes about 4 servings.

What you need:

  • 1 butternut squash, about 1 & 1/2 pounds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large apples, peeled and cored
  • 1 slice bacon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 cup white wine or water
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Peel it with a vegetable peeler and cut it into cubes. Place the cubes on a deep roasting pan along with the onion, apples and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and put the bacon pieces over top of the vegetables. Roast, stirring a few times throughout the process, for about 45 minutes. At this time the apples should be tender and the bacon should be crisp.
  3. Take the roasting pan out of the oven and stir in the sage and wine, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Transfer everything to a large pot, unless your roasting pan can be put on the stove top. If so, continue the next step in the roasting pan over medium heat.
  4. Add the stock and cook until the squash begins to break up a little, about 25 minutes.
  5. Let the soup cool slightly before putting it into a blender in batches. Purée until it is very smooth, then return to the pot to reheat. Taste and adjust seasonings before servings.

This one is really good for leftovers too, but you might need to thin it out by adding a little stock, wine or water when reheating.

 

John’s Spicy Lentil Soup

lentil soup - trust in kim

lentil soup - trust in kim

 

My good friend John made this soup for me a while back. We both wanted to eat something pretty healthy and warming, and something that wouldn’t take too long to cook. Don’t be afraid of the word ‘spicy;’ it has a only hint of chill, but loads of flavour.

John’s recipe is vegan, using vegetable broth, but I used chicken broth and added some chicken pieces that I had left over. Both versions are super tasty. I also used less olive oil; the original recipe says 3 tablespoons and I used about one.

The recipe is from the Food Network.

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (or ground if that’s what you have)
  • 1/2 cup green lentils
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1 small dried chili, crushed
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • leftover chicken, shredded or diced (optional)
  • salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

What you do:

  1. Drizzle the oil in a large pot and sauté the onion on medium heat until golden.
  2. Add the garlic and cumin and cook for 2-3 more minutes, until the garlic is golden.
  3. Add the stock, lentils, chili, carrots, celery, bay leaves and optional chicken to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
  4. Uncover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Add the vinegar, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Thanks for the recipe John!

John Cloutier - trust in kim
Chef John

Cauliflower Leek Soup

cauliflower leek soup

Because of my ongoing quest for soup recipes, and because of my newly acquired blender I have been searching for more puréed soup recipes. The ingredients are really simple, so in my opinion the success of this recipe depends largely on using a quality broth. I used my homemade chicken stock, but you could use a flavourful vegetable one to make it a vegan recipe. I make up a big batch of stock, then freeze it in portions to use in future soup recipes. A bit of work to do ahead of time, but it’s really handy and makes better soups.

I found this recipe on freshtart.com, and I made two changes: I cut the amount of oil in half (1 tablespoon per portion is too much for me), and I didn’t serve it with the fried shrimp on top, although this sounds yummy.

Serves 4

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 heaping cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth (homemade is always best)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 generous handfuls of spinach
  • 2 tablespoons chives, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • sea salt to taste

What you do:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the leek to it and sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the cauliflower and garlic and sauté for 5 more minutes.
  3. Add the chicken broth and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very soft. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the bay leaf.
  4. Place the spinach and chives in the blender, then add the cauliflower and broth and purée until smooth. If the liquid is hot it will make a bit of an explosion, se be careful. You could purée on very low to start, then allow some steam to escape, and then continue until it is smooth.
  5. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste. Drizzle with a little olive oil to serve, and add some minced chives for garnish if you like.

Cauliflower and Roasted Fennel Soup

cauliflower and roasted fennel soup - trust in kim

Well, I will definitely be making this soup again! The roasted fennel gives it some depth of flavour without tasting overly like anise.  It is smooth and creamy without any dairy or dairy substitutes.  You have the option of making it vegan, as the original recipe was, but I used chicken stock instead of vegetable.

The recipe is from Brian L. Patton’s Sexy Vegan Cookbook. I’m always happy to add healthy and delicious soups to my repertoire!

What you need:

1 fennel bulb

2 teaspoons olive oil + a little for roasting the fennel

1 cup chopped sweet onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets

1 russet potato, peeled and cut into chunks of about 2 cm

3 cups vegetable or chicken stock (I needed more than this so I added some water bouillon)

salt and pepper

What you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Cut the stalks off the fennel and set them aside.  Chop the fennel bulb in half and rub it with a little olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then place cut-side down on a baking tray.  Roast the fennel for 30-40 minutes, or until browned and tender.  Remove from the oven and cut into large chunks.

2. While the fennel is roasting begin making the rest of the soup.  Heat a large pot on medium heat and add about 2 teaspoons of olive oil.  Add the onion, sliced fennel stalks and a pinch of salt.  Cook for 4-6 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 4 minutes.  Add the potato, cauliflower and enough stock to cover the vegetables, and bring to a simmer. When the fennel is roasted, add it as well.  Cook until the cauliflower and potatoes are very tender.

3. Puree the soup (I used an immersion blender, but a food processor or blender work as well) until very smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cauliflower and Cannelini Bean Soup

Continuing my love affair with cauliflower, I wanted to make a soup that was creamy and dairy-free. Rather than using potato to add creaminess and thickness, I  pureed a can of cannelini beans.  Adding the beans for protein also made it into a soup I could use as my main dish for lunch.

Roasting cauliflower brings out its sweetness; if you’ve never roasted a cauliflower before, you’re going to want to give this a try, and you might become as addicted to it as I am.

I crisped some sage leafs as a garnish when I first served it, but for a subsequent serving fried up a little chorizo and arranged it on top.  Now I think a combination would probably be perfection.

trust in kim - cauliflower cannelini soup

What you need:

1 large cauliflower

1 garlic bulb

1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed

1 leek

4 cups chicken stock

2 teaspoons fresh sage, plus more for garnishing

olive oil

salt and pepper

What you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. As soon as you’ve turned it on you can toss in a bulb of garlic.  Just slice off the end, wrap it in foil and throw it in the oven.

2. Cut the cauliflower into florets and then cut the larger ones in half if you need to.  Roast for 25-40 minutes, or until the cauliflower has browned slightly.

3. While the cauliflower and garlic are roasting, heat the broth in a large pot.

4. Drain the cannelini beans and add them to the broth, and then add the sage.

5. Chop the leeks into rounds, rinse them, then add them to the broth.  Bring this to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes.

6.  When the cauliflower is ready, add it to the broth.  The garlic should be ready when the cauliflower is done, so unwrap it from the foil and squeeze it into the pot as well.  Let this simmer for about 10 minutes.

7.  Remove the pot from the heat and puree the soup for several minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

8.  For the garnish, heat a little olive oil in a small frying pan.  Add several sage leaves and fry them until they have crisped.  They can turn brown pretty quickly, so keep an eye on them and remove them from the pan while they are still green.  Arrange on top of each serving of soup.

This soup freezes well, so you can make a big batch to save for a rainy day.  It’ll warm you right up.