Blue Cheese Potato Salad

Ingredients:
6 cups bite-sized cubed red-skinned potatoes (2 lbs.)
1 tsp salt
1 cup diced celery
1/2 to 1 cup finely chopped red onions, scallions or chives
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup crumbled blue cheese*

*Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Stilton, Danish Blue, or a mixture

Procedure:
1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with water to cover. Add the salt, cover, and bring to a boil; then reduce the heat to low and simmer until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combining the hot potatoes, celery, red onions, and parsley. Stir in the vinegar, oil, and pepper and allow to cool to room temperature. Gently toss in the blue cheese. Add salt to taste.
3. Serve immediately or chill for at least 20 minutes and serve cold.

Winter Vegetable Chowder

The Milk–2 cups milk, preferably whole
3 large parsley branches
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 onion, sliced
10 peppercorns, lightly crushed
5 juniper berries, lightly crushed

The Soup–
2 Tablespoons butter
2 large leeks, white parts plus an inch of the greens, chopped
4 cups chopped winter vegetables–turnips, carrots, celery or celery root, rutabagas, a little parsnip
3 boiling potatoes, about 12 ounces, peeled and diced
2 small bay leaves
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and freshly milled pepper
2 Tablespoons flour
4 to 6 large slices sourdough or country-style bread, toasted
grated Gruyere or Parmesan cheese
chopped parsley, tarragon, or lovage

1. Put everything for the milk in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, then turn off the heat. Cover and set aside while you prepare the vegetables.
2. Melt the butter in a soup pot over low heat.
3. Add the vegetables, bay leaves, parsley, and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Stir in the flour and add 5 cups water; bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
5. Pour the milk through a strainer right into the soup. Taste for salt and season with pepper.
To serve, lay a piece of toast in each bowl, cover it with grated cheese, ladle the soup on top, and sprinkle with parsley.
Serves 4 to 6

Vegetable Chowder

Instead of 1/4 cup butter and 1/2-pint heavy cream, as in the original version, this new light one has only 1 Tablespoon butter, no cream, and the option of low-fat milk. It still tastes luxurious.Try not to shy away from the full amount of garlic. It gives the soup a rich flavor and is surprisingly smooth and subtle.

1 Tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons basil
1 medium potato, diced
2 medium stalks celery, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 cups chopped broccoli
2 cups chopped cauliflower
1/2 lb. mushrooms, chopped
2 cups corn (frozen-defrosted is fine)
lots of fresh black pepper
1-1/2 cups water
optional: minced fresh herbs (chives, basil, marjoram)

1. Melt the butter in a kettle or Dutch oven. Add onion, half the garlic, salt, thyme, and basil. Sauté over medium heat 5 minutes. Add potato, celery, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. Sauté another 5 to 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and corn, plus lots of black pepper. Sauté another 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Add water, cover, and simmer about 15 minutes, or until everything is tender. (Make sure the potatoes are done.)
3. Stir in hot milk and remaining garlic. Remove from heat until about 10 minutes before serving time, then heat gently.
Serve topped with freshly minced herbs.
Makes 8 servings. (Can easily be halved)

Spunky Chili

Ingredients:
2 TBSP olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 tsp mild chili powder 2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp salt
1 TBSP cider vinegar
1 small bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
5 cups cooked kidney, tiger’s eye, or Rising River Farm’s dry bean mix
4 cups canned, stewed tomatoes
1/2 lb. cooked, ground burger (optional)

Toppings:
sour cream
grated cheddar cheese
salsa
tortilla chips

Procedure:
1. In a soup pot heat 2 TBLS olive oil. When heated add the onion, carrot, celery, chili powder, and cumin, and salt. Sauté for 10 or so minutes.
2. Add vinegar, pepper, garlic, and beans. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Slowly add 2 cups tomato juice.
4. Stir and cover for 20 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes or so.
5. Serve with the toppings of your choice

Minestrone Soup

For a minestrone that is more a stew than a soup, use the larger amounts of beans and pasta.Note: These instructions assume the beans or chick peas are already cooked. You can soak and cook your own, or use canned (well rinsed and well drained).

 2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
5 medium cloves garlic,
minced
1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
1 stalk celery, minced
1 medium carrot, diced
small zucchini, diced and/or 1 cup diced eggplant
1 teaspoon oregano
fresh black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon basil
1 medium bell pepper, diced
3 to 4 cups (or more) water
1 – 14.5 oz. can tomato purée (approx. 2 cups)
1 to 1-1/2 cups cooked pea beans, chick peas, or kidney beans
1/2 to 1 cup dry pasta (any shape)
1 or 2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, diced (optional)
1/2 cup freshly minced parsley
Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a kettle or Dutch oven. Add onion, garlic, and salt. Sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, then add celery, carrot, eggplant (if using zucchini, add it later, with the bell pepper), oregano, black pepper, and basil. Cover and cook over very low heat about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add bell pepper, zucchini, water, and tomato purée. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes. Add beans and simmer another 5 minutes.
Bring soup to a gentle boil. Add pasta, stir, and cook until the pasta is tender. Stir in the diced fresh tomatoes, and serve right away, topped with parsley and Parmesan.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.

 

Crock Pot Beef Stew

 Whoever created the crock pot was a genius. How great is it to prepare dinner in the morning when you have energy and clarity of mind…and it is ready when you walk in the door after work? I love crock pot days!
You can vary the ingredients to fit your own personal tastes.

 1-2 lbs. cubed stew meat
4 fist-sized potatoes, (Finns, Yukon’s, or Fingerlings are some of my favorites)
1 medium onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 carrots, chopped in rings
Other suggestions: celery, parsnip, turnips
Salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
Meat prep: You can just toss the meat in as is, or dredge in flour then brown all sides in a skillet with a little oil.  It depends on how pressed for time you are.
Chop all veggies and add them one variety at a time, salting and peppering with each addition.
Add enough liquid to not quite cover the veggies. I like to add a mix of organic chicken broth and water. Sometimes I’ll add a little puréed tomato as well.
Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 7 or 8 hours.
Serve with your favorite dinner bread or rolls. So good on a cold winter day!

Celeriac & Apple Soup with Blue Cheese Toasts

 

Celeriac & Apple Soup with Blue Cheese Toasts
Makes: Eight 1 cup servings with 1 cheese toast a
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours

Ingredients:
2 pounds celeriac (celery root)
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
3 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 t salt, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 t chopped fresh thyme
2 t finely chopped garlic
1 medium russet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and chopped
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 t ground pepper

Toasts:
8 slices baguette (1/4-inch), preferably whole-wheat
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
8 t crumbled Gorgonzola or other mild blue cheese

Preparation:
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 450°F.
Cut one end of celeriac to create a flat surface to keep it steady, then cut off the skin, following
the contour of the root. (Or use a vegetable peeler and peel around the root at least three times to ensure all the fibrous skin has been removed.) Cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Cut apples into 1-inch wedges. Toss the celeriac and apples in a large bowl with 2 Tsp oil and 1/4 t salt until well coated. Spread out on a baking sheet. Roast, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned and tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 T oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and thyme; cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened but have not colored, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add potato, broth, water, nutmeg, pepper and the remaining 3/4 t salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover and cook until the vegetables smash easily when pressed against the side of the pot, 35 to 40 minutes. Add the celeriac mixture to the pot. Blend the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. (Or transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.)
To prepare toasts: About 15 minutes before you’re ready to serve, preheat oven to 400°.
Place baguette slices on a baking sheet and bake until toasted, 6 to 8 minutes. Rub them with the garlic, then top with cheese. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, 5 to 7 minutes.
Serve the soup topped with a cheese toast.

New Potato and Beet Salad

Ingredients:
4 cups of water
1/4 tsp salt
5 large new potatoes (1 1/2 Ibs) unpeeled, scrubbed and halved.
1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and diced.
1 1/2 Ibs beets, trimmed to 1 inch of greens, and roots left attached.
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
fresh Dill vinaigrette (recipe below)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp of prepared horse radish
1 large hard-cooked egg
chopped dill greens for garnish

FRESH DILL VINAIGRETTE
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper (to taste)
– whisk all ingredients together

Procedure:
1) Boil potatoes in 2 cups of water with salt for 20 minutes. cool, and cut into bite sized pieces.
2) Boil beets in 2 cups of water for 30-40 minutes. cool, slip off skins, slice crosswise and set
aside.
3) When beets and potatoes are being cooled, whisk together the vinaigrette.
4) In a medium bowl toss potato, cucumber, onion, celery, with a few Tbsp of dill vinaigrette.
5) In another medium bowl toss the beets with a few Tbsp of vinaigrette.
To serve:
1) Arrange beet slices around the outside of a large serving plate, mound potato mixture in the center of the beets (drizzle more dressing onto potatoes if needed).
2) Combine sour cream and horseradish, and spoon on top of potatoes.
3) Garnish with chopped egg and dill sprigs