Gingery Yam – Carrot – Coconut Soup

in bowlHandle this soup gingerly.  The spices in this delicious soup make it a perfect Fall warm-up and it’s chock-full of vitamin A. I made mine with Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup, but you can use vegetable broth for a vegan version.

ingredients.jpgIngredients:

4 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 large yam, peeled and chopped

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped

1/2 yellow onion, peeled and chopped

1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced

5- inch piece of ginger peeled and thinly sliced

1 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp cumin powder

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp salt to taste

a few shakes cayenne to taste

a few shakes pumpkin pie spice

13.5 oz can low fat coconut milk

chopped yam and carrotsHeat broth to boiling. Peel and chop yam, carrots, onion, ginger and garlic and stir into broth. Let come to a boil and turn to simmer.

IMG_0077.JPG

Cover pot and cook for 20 minutes until vegetables are soft. Cool for about 20 minutes or overnight.

in pot

Pour into a blender and blend in batches until smooth. Add coconut milk to the last batch, reserving a spoonful or two of the cream for garnish. Adjust salt to taste.

in bowlServe with a bit of coconut cream swirled in.

 

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Pumpkin Banana Muffins topped with Pepita-Yam Streusel

muffins with yam streuselHere’s an upgrade to my Pumpkin Muffins with Pepita Streusel Topping

recipe. I  subbed bananas for the applesauce for an banana bread-pumpkin bread combination and added  yam pieces to the streusel for a sweet chewy goodness. Where in the world did I get that crazy idea? From eating Cheeseboard’s pizza topped with yam pieces, which was really good.

banana pumpkin

Ingredients

1 cup unbleached white flour

1 cup finely ground whole wheat flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I use Trader Joe’s brand)

2 eggs

½ cup brown sugar

1 Tb olive oil

3 Tb soft butter

¼ cup honey

15-ounce can pumpkin puree

½ tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 speckled bananas, mashed

1/3 semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (optional)

¼ cup pecan pieces

¼ cup pepitas

yam

Streusel: 

2 TB  softened butter

¼ cup yam peelings

3 TB  brown sugar

2 TB white flour

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

½ tsp cinnamon

a couple shakes sea salt

1/3 cup pepitas

Directions

Preheat oven to 350º F

Make the streusel:

Peel about 4 inches from a yam. Then use peeler to make strips from the yam until you have about ¼ cup. Cut these into pieces about ½ inch long. Mix the softened butter into the yam pieces.

Sift together the dry ingredients and whisk well in a small bowl. Mix in pepitas. Add softened butter and yam, and mix it with your fingers until it comes together when squeezed. Cover it and freeze until ready to use.

Make the batter:

Sift both flours, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice into a medium bowl and whisk well.

Mash bananas with a potato masher or fork in a shallow bowl until soft.

Whip eggs in mixer until well combined. Add brown sugar and whip on high speed for 2-3 minutes until creamy. This is called making a ribbon.

Pour 1 TB oil into a ¼ cup measure and coat it well, then add the oil to the egg mixture. Now pour the honey into the same measuring cup and it will slide right out into the mixer!

Add the vanilla, softened butter, mashed bananas and  pumpkin puree and mix well.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture. Mix only until ingredients are almost combined. Fold in nuts, pepitas, and chocolate chips until they are just combined.

Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray. If you choose to make a pumpkin bread loaf, line it with parchment paper and spray it with non-stick spray. Spoon batter into tins or loaf pan.

Putting the streusel on:

Remove the streusel mix from the freezer. crumble it up with your fingers. Sprinkle a little bit on each muffin top so it comes out evenly. Press it down just a tap onto the muffin.

Place on the middle shelf of preheated oven. Bake loaf 45- 50 minutes, muffins for 35 – 40 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. Let pan cool on a rack a few minutes.

split muffin with yam streusel

Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk

soup with coconut creamI whipped up this rich and creamy soup without dairy, using coconut milk. The spices lend warmth and a bit of a kick. You can roast the squash, but I found that microwaving it works well and takes only 15 minutes.

Ingredients

1 large butternut squash

4 cups broth. I use chicken broth, but you can use vegetable broth for a vegan soup

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp ground sage

several grinds pepper

13.5 oz can coconut milk. Full fat yields a richer soup; low fat is lower in calories. Reserve a spoonful of the coconut cream that rises to the top for garnish

1 couple of shakes of cayenne (to taste)

salt to taste (depending on how salty the broth you use is)

1/4 cup pepitas (Green shelled pumpkin seeds)

Directions

Stab squash in a few places and microwave for  15 minutes. Squash should be soft. Let it cool enough to handle it. You can do this the day before and store it in the refrigerator.

Heat the broth to boiling.

split squash

Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds. Spoon out the squash and put it in the soup.

Add the seasonings except for cayenne and salt, and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Let it cool for about 15 minutes. Add the coconut milk, reserving about 2 tablespoons of cream from the top.

Ladle the soup and squash into a blender and blend on high. (You may want to start low, then build up speed.) It will likely take 2 batches, so pour the first batch into a large bowl. Heat soup again and add cayenne and salt to taste.

roasting pepitasHeat pepitas on a comal or heavy frying pan over medium heat until crispy. Ladle soup into serving bowls. Sprinkle with pepitas. Stir in a teaspoon of the coconut cream until a pretty swirl appears.

 

 

Roasted Mushroom Barley Soup with Chicken Stock or Vegetable Broth

I made a simpler version of my roasted mushroom barley soup with rich chicken stock instead of beef broth and a mixture of fresh and dried mushrooms. I used Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup made with double the amount of bones and drippings. I save the bones and drippings from roast chicken in a container in the freezer, then boil them with the vegetables and herbs to create a rich broth. After letting it sit long enough for the fat to solidify, I spoon out the fat, leaving a spoonful for flavor. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan you can substitute Vegetable Broth

I use a variety of dried mushrooms, including porcini, shiitake, chanterelle, and some cheaper mushrooms I found at an Asian market. I soak them in warm water for ten minutes, then chop them and add to the broth, along with the soaking liquid.

roasted mushrooms

Roasted fresh Crimini mushrooms make the bulk of the mushrooms in the soup. These brown mushrooms are a more mature version of the common white mushroom, so you can sub white mushrooms if you can’t find criminis in your grocery store.

I roasted fresh shiitake, king and oyster mushrooms. They stand up to roasting and add a variety of flavors and textures. You may be able to find them at your farmer’s market in the fall. You don’t need to buy too many of these more expensive but flavorful mushrooms. Feel free to mix up the mushrooms as you find them. King mushrooms can make some good food porn too, if your tastes run that kinky!

King and Oyster mushrooms

Ingredients

6 cups chicken broth

½ cup pearl barley

1 tsp dried thyme

1/2  tsp white pepper

several grinds black pepper

3 – 4 Tb olive oil

1 lb crimini (brown) mushrooms

6 fresh shiitake mushrooms

1 fresh King mushroom

5 fresh oyster mushrooms

4 dried shiitake mushrooms

5 dried porcini mushrooms

5 dried chanterelle mushrooms

3 Tbs cooking sherry

½ to 1 tsp salt, to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring broth to boil in a large pot over high heat.

While waiting for the broth to boil, soak the dried mushrooms in enough water to cover them by 2 inches.

Rinse and gently scrub the fresh mushrooms with a wet paper towel or mushroom brush and let them dry over paper towels.

When broth is boiling, Stir in barley, thyme and pepper.

Place fresh mushrooms in a roasting pan and toss with olive oil. until they are coated on all sides. Roast for 20 minutes. When they are done, let cool, then ladle a few cups broth over them, then remove the mushrooms to a cutting board and pour back the extra broth.  Chop the mushrooms roughly and stir them into the broth.

chopped soaked dried mushroomsRemove the dried mushrooms from the soaking liquid onto a cutting board. Dice them, then add to the soup along with the soaking liquid.

Simmer  the soup for 30 minutes. Correct seasonings, stir sherry in and salt to taste.

serve.jpg

Serve the pearl barley inside the oyster mushrooms for good luck!

 

 

Buckwheat Whole Wheat Blinis

on dish.jpgBlini are Russian crepes. They can be made full size and wrapped around sour cream, lox, and if you have the money, caviar. You can also make them silver dollar size for canapes, and top them with piped sour cream and lox (and if you can afford it, caviar.)

I love the yeasty taste and spongy texture of blini. I added whole wheat flour to the traditional mix of buckwheat flour and all purpose flour for extra nutrition. The sugar helps offset the bitterness of the buckwheat.

Makes about 40 small blinis or 10 large crepes

Have ingredients at room temperature

Sponge:

1/2 cup warm water. Be sure it’s not too hot to kill the yeast!

2 tsp sugar

1/2 cup active dry yeast (not instant yeast)

1/4 cup all purpose white flour

Batter:

1 cup milk (I used 1% but most recipes call for whole milk)

2 Tb butter

2 eggs, separated

1/2 cup all purpose white flour

1/3 cup buckwheat flour

1/3 cup finely ground whole wheat flour

3/4 tsp salt + a few shakes to add to egg whites

2 Tb sugar +a pinch to add to egg whites

Directions:

Stir 2 tsp sugar into warm water until it dissolves. (I found that 20 seconds in my microwave heats the water). Sprinkle in yeast and stir again. Let it proof for 10 minutes.

sponge

Then whisk in 1/4 cup white flour. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let the sponge rise for an hour until bubbly and doubled in size.

While sponge is rising,  prepare the ingredients for the batter:

milk n butter unheatedPour milk into a heatproof container, such as a Pyrex measuring cup. Add chopped butter.

heated milk and butter Microwave for a minute and stir until butter melts and milk is warm, but not hot.

Separate eggs, pouring whites into a mixing bowl. Stir egg yolks into milk.

After the sponge has risen and is bubbly, whisk in milk mixture, flours, salt and sugar until smooth. Cover with parchment paper and a clean dishtowel and let rise in a warm place free from drafts for an hour.

egg whitesBeat egg whites with a few shakes salt and a pinch of sugar until stiff.

batter with egg whitesFold them into the batter.

fryingHeat a cast iron skillet and wipe it with oil on a paper towel. To double your production, use two skillets (if you can keep up and not let the blinis burn!) With stove on medium, pour spoonfuls into the pan to make silver dollar sized pancakes.

flippedWhen holes form, flip them over and cook until they are golden brown.

Alternatively, you can pour enough into a pan to make a full sized crepe, turning the pan until it is covered with batter. Wipe the pan with the oiled paper towel between batches.

many

Put blinis on parchment paper and place a piece of parchment between the stacks of blinis.

Spread crepes with sour cream and a few slices of lox. Roll them up and serve.

servingOr pipe sour cream over the pancakes with a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and top with a piece of lox (and or caviar) and sprinkle with dill weed.

 

 

 

Avocado and Lox Crackers

cropped crakers

Here’s an hors doeuvres take on the trendy avocado toast. It’s super simple:

Just spread a piece of avocado on a cracker (I use sesame rice crackers)

then top with a piece of lox and a couple of capers.

Do they look like little eyes staring at you?

 

Or you can make Avocado Toast with the lox and capers

Avocado Lox toast

Chocolate Banana Bread

top of loaf

I added cocoa to my recipe for 4 Bananas Low-fat Banana Bread or Muffins and achieved the perfect balance of rich banana and chocolate flavor that’s not too sweet. I used four soft, speckled bananas to add natural sweetness to this delicious bread with minimal oil and sugar. The bananas and just one tablespoon of olive oil make this bread very moist.  Add strawberries for a taste of strawberry jam.

I used whey from draining my yogurt into Greek yogurt instead of the milk and lemon. But you can go either way. (Pun intended).

Ingredients

1/3 cup 1% or skim milk

1 tsp lemon juice

3/4 cup unbleached white flour

¼ teaspoon baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

3/4 cup finely ground whole wheat flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

¼ cup ground flax seed

A dash each of nutmeg and cinnamon.

2 eggs

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 Tb turbindo sugar for sprinkling on top.

4 bananas (1 ½ cups mashed)

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

1 Tb olive oil

3/4 cup roughly chopped strawberries (optional)

½ cup walnut and/or pecan pieces

Directions

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Add lemon juice to milk. Let it sit while you are mixing the other ingredients. The milk should curdle, resembling buttermilk. (You can skip this step and use buttermilk or whey instead if you prefer).

Sift both flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and baking powder into a medium bowl. Add nutmeg, cinnamon, and flax seed.  Stir well to combine ingredients.

Whip eggs in mixer until well combined. Add brown sugar and whip on high speed for 2-3 minutes until creamy.

Mash bananas with a fork or potato masher. Add them to the egg mixture, along with olive oil and vanilla. Whip for another minute.

With mixer on low, add half the milk and half the flour mixture, and then repeat. Mix only until ingredients are almost combined. Fold in nuts and strawberries until they are just combined.

Spray a loaf pan or muffin tins with non-stick spray. (because of the low fat content of the ingredients, you should spray paper muffin cups with non-stick spray if you choose to use them.) For extra buttery flavor, wipe a smear of butter at the bottom. Pour in batter. Sprinkle the top with turbindo sugar.  Place on the middle shelf of preheated oven. Bake loaf 50 – 55 minutes, muffins for 35-40 minutes,  just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out somewhat dry. Remove bread from pan and let cool on a rackchocolate banana bread before slicing.