Posts Tagged 'celery'

Bulgur and White Bean Salad with Tarragon

Once again the weekend went by WAY too fast, but at least it was a good one and I don’t feel like I wasted a moment of it! Here’s a little re-cap (which I promise WILL tie in with this recipe).

Saturday started VERY early at the National Science Teachers Association conference.

I went to a bunch of different presentations which all (obviously) revolved around teaching science. It was really inspiring and convinced me even more than I already was, that I’m in the PERFECT profession for me. That’s a good feeling.

After that Mike came into the city and we did some shopping. I am nowhere near ready to shop the maternity section yet, but I definitely need tops with a little more room. I’m still at that awkward “is it a beer belly or a baby?” stage, so I’d like to disguise it as much as I can. Mike had been talking all week about surprising me on Saturday night. He had a restaurant picked out but wouldn’t give me any clues about it until we arrived. He picked a winner!

Gracias Madre is a vegan, organic Mexican restaurant and it is AWESOME! I tried to take pictures of the food but it was dark inside, and nobody wants to see overly grainy, yellow pictures of unidentifiable food, so I’ll spare you. Their vegan Caesar was INSANE. Romaine in a perfect, creamy dressing with chunks of avocado and topped with toasted pumpkin seeds. I kind of wanted to go stalk the open kitchen until I figured out the dressing, because it was so good. I also got mushroom enchiladas (good, but the mushrooms were over-salted and the tortillas were under the filling and sauce instead of wrapped around them, which was kind of weird). The mole was superb though… just the right amount of sweetness. They came with black beans and the BEST kale I’ve ever had. Ever. And I’ve eaten a fair amount of kale in my life. It was crisp but not undercooked, slightly spicy, and really garlicky. LOVE.

Usually after Mexican food I just feel bloated and gross, but even though I ate until I was pretty full, it was a satisfied and good full, not an I-need-to-put-on-sweatpants-immediately-or-I-will-pass-out full. It definitely helped that they didn’t bring chips to the table…

The time change kind of messed with me like it always does and I didn’t get started on my 18 mile run until 8:30 (SUPER late for a long run!) The highlight of the run? I saw some buffalo!

I have no idea why Golden Gate park has buffalo, but they do…enclosed in an electric fence AND a tall chain-link fence. The run was pretty awesome until about 15 miles. Then I started feeling kind of dizzy and weak, so I chugged a bunch of water and walked for a few minutes. I felt a lot better after my walk break, and my knee held up pretty well, so that was a plus. Boston is only 5 weeks away!

Between the run and the amazing vegan dinner, I realized I’ve been relying WAY too much on bread and cheese as staples lately, and I know I can do better for myself and my little parasite/fetus. So I need to make a lot more things like this. I mean, I still have a brownie recipe I’ll share later this week, and I made some pretty fabulous (but not so healthy) pizza on Friday night, but I’m going to try to get back to focusing on healthy, whole food vegetarian and vegan meals. Lets see how that goes…

This was the first time I think I’ve ever had fresh tarragon, and if you like fennel, you will love it! It has a slightly licorice-like flavor, and it really mixes nicely with the vinegar and shallots here. I love fine bulgur, because you don’t even need to cook it! Just give it about 15 minutes to soak and it’s ready. The recipe originally called for green lentils, but I really liked it with white beans instead. And the toasted walnuts are a must for both crunch and flavor! Mike made lettuce wraps with it, which looked pretty tasty.

(adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook)

2 cups cooked and drained white beans
1 cup fine bulgur
1 1/2 cups water
1 large shallot, finely chopped
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted until fragrant
romaine leaves (optional)

Combine the bulgur and water in a medium bowl and set aside to soak for about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Stir the vinegar and chopped shallot together in a small bowl and let stand for about 10 minutes.

Put the celery, carrot, and beans in a large bowl. Stir in the bulgur, shallot mixture, and tarragon and drizzle with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over romaine if desired, topped with a sprinkling of toasted walnuts.

Vegetable Pot Pie

Since yesterday was Pi Day, and I’m trying to keep things healthy around here, I decided a vegetable pot pie would be a festive way to celebrate without loading up on sugar.

I bookmarked a healthy Chicken Pot Pie recipe on Eat Clean Live Green, but wasn’t overly excited about a)the fact that it contained chicken or b)brown rice and flax standing in for a pastry crust. So I took what I liked from that recipe (white beans, turnips, carrots, and no heavy cream), added a few extra vegetables, and topped it with whole wheat pastry.

Mike was a little disappointed about the lack of meat, so I promised him that next time I’d put diced turkey in his. I, however, thought it was one of the best pot pies I’ve ever had, and I’m honestly a little sad the weather is warming up and it won’t be seasonally appropriate much longer.

(inspired by Eat Clean Live Green, with crust adapted from A New Way to Cook by Sally Schneider)

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 turnip, diced
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1/4 medium red onion, chopped
2 C white navy beans, cooked or canned
1/3 cup frozen peas
3 tbsp white whole-wheat flour
2 C vegetable broth
1/4 C fat-free plain yogurt
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp dried sage

Whole wheat crust:
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 baking powder
4 tbsp butter, chilled and diced
3 tbsp reduced fat sour cream

First, prepare the crust.
Stir the flour, salt and baking powder together with a fork. Add the diced butter and rub it with the flour between your fingers until it looks like small pebbles. Add the sour cream and press the dough together.
It will be a little crumbly, but the texture will improve in the fridge. Pat it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, and saute for about 1 minute. Add the carrots, turnip, celery and onion, and cook stirring often, for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Add the flour and cook for 30 seconds, mixing well.
Add the broth and cook for about five minutes, stirring until the mixture thickens.
Add the beans, peas, yogurt, and dried sage, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide among oven safe bowls and/or ramekins.
Remove the pastry dough from the refrigerator and roll it out between sheets of plastic wrap so it’s about 1/8″ thick. Cut circles to fit over the dishes, and press them onto the edges. Cut a few vents for steam to escape.
Arrange the bowls on a baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned.

Chickpea, Celery and Mushroom Soup

Although I tend to think New Years Resolutions are a little ridiculous, I pretty much always end up making a few. I’ve had a couple resolutions that I make every year, which I guess defeats the purpose, but that’s life. I’m currently working on one that I’ve made every year since about 2002: cooking more recipes from my cookbook collection (which leads me to this blog post).

I got The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert (who knows Mediterranean food better than just about anyone) as a gift a few years ago but have only made one or two recipes out of it. I love the premise of the book: slow cooking, long marinating, and lengthy braising to maximize the flavors of the ingredients. The recipes don’t have too many steps, but they all take several hours from start to finish (although most of those hours don’t require you to be in the kitchen).

This recipe requires a little advanced planning, because you have to soak the chickpeas and mushrooms overnight, then let them cook for about 6 hours in the slow cooker. That’s followed up by about 30 minutes of cooking on the stove top (when the celery is added) The result is a boldy-flavored bowl of delectably creamy chickpeas in an earthy mushroom broth with the subtle backdrop and crunch of celery. The melting manchego on top rounds out the umami flavor perfectly.

The recipe calls for just half an ounce of dried porcini mushrooms, but I found a 0.88-ounce package of various dried mushrooms at Trader Joes and used that. I was definitely happy to have the extra mushrooms in the soup, so if you have more than half an ounce, don’t be shy about using it!

This makes great leftovers, and to make it a little heartier, you can ladle it over some cooked rice.

adapted from The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert)

2 cups dried chickpeas
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch sugar
.5-.9 ounces assorted dried mushrooms (porcini, chantrelle, oyster, etc)
3 bay leaves
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a few ounces of manchego cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler into curls

The day before you plan to make the soup:
Put the chickpeas, baking soda, and a pinch of salt into a medium bowl and cover with at least two inches of cold water. Soak for about twelve hours.

Put the mushrooms and sugar in a small bowl and pour 1 cup of hot water over them. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least twelve hours.

The next morning:
Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Put them in a slow cooker with the onion, bay leaves, 2 tbsp olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Cover with fresh cold water by about an inch. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

About 30 minutes before you plan to eat the soup:
Drain the mushrooms (reserve the liquid) and chop them well.
Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil in a soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, then add the celery and cook for another two minutes.
Add the mushrooms, their soaking liquid, and the chickpeas and their cooking liquid to the soup pot. Taste and adjust the seasonings (I had to add a few generous pinches of salt), then simmer for about 20 minutes.

To serve:
Ladle soup into bowls and top with a few curls of manchego.

My favorite vegetable soup

veg soup

There’s something extraordinarily comforting about eating creamy soups when the weather gets cool. As a kid, I gravitated towards Campbell’s Cream of Asparagus with so many crushed Saltines in it that it basically solidified. These days I stay away from canned soups, but they’ve been replaced with something MUCH better.

The inspiration for this soup came from The New Moosewood Cookbook. I’ve made the recipe dozens of times, but have made quite a few of my own changes, adapting to whatever happens to be fresh at the farmer’s market or languishing in my refrigerator. It’s the perfect way to use whatever vegetables may be remaining from other recipes, and can be easily adjusted to feed a whole crowd or just you. It’s perfect with a green salad and big chunk of whole grain bread, and it will keep for a few days in the refrigerator with no ill effects.

I use 2% milk because it gives the soup a little more body than skim or 1% would. I’m not sure how soy or rice milk would work here, but if you try it with either of them, let me know! I like my soup really chunky, so I’ve scaled down the amount of liquid I add, but you can certainly add more if it looks a little thick to you.

4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 carrot, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 small head broccoli, roughly chopped
2 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper
2 cups water
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup shredded Napa cabbage

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large soup pot over medium. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper, and broccoli and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes.
Stir in the basil and cook an additional minute.
Pour in the water (it should just cover the vegetables, but if it doesn’t, add a little extra). Cover the pot and simmer with the lid on for about 10 minutes (until the vegetables are tender).
Remove the cover and add the milk. Stir well, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
When heated through, stir in the Napa cabbage.
Mix well, then serve.


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