December is such a busy month for many of us, so the two recipes I've chosen are very quick and easy to make. I love them and will definitely be making them again this month. The soup is wonderful and satisfying for lunch or dinner, and the ingredients used are at their peak over the winter. The second recipe, Carrot-Zucchini Bread is unbelievably good sliced, and toasted. I like it with a little unsalted butter and a dollop of raw honey. If you are having guests to stay over the holidays, this bread will keep everyone happy and well fed.
Creamy Cauliflower and Fennel Soup
From Eating Local by Janet Fletcher
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 small fennel bulb, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced
1/2 large cauliflower, florets only (about 3 cups)
4 fresh thyme sprigs
5 cups of vegetable broth (I added 2 organic vegetable cubes to 5 cups of water)
1/4 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed in mortar or spice grinder
*Real salt and freshly ground pepper
- Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the sliced onion and sauté until it softens, about 5 to 10 mins. Add the sliced fennel, cauliflower and thyme and stir. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 20 mins, or until the vegetables are soft.
- Remove the thyme sprigs. With an immersion blender, carefully puree the soup. A food processor works as well. After the soup is pureed, add the crushed fennel seed, and season with salt and pepper.
Ready to serve deliciousness!
From Eating Local by Janet Fletcher
Makes 2 8-inch loaves
3 cups unbleached all-purpose organic flower
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon *Real salt
3 large eggs
1 cup of light olive oil
1 3/4 cups of sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup carrots, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
1 cup zucchini, grated on the large holes of a box grater
- Preheat oven to 325 and line two 8-inch loaf pans with parchment paper
- In a medium bowl, add flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix together.
- In a large bowl, whisk the 3 eggs until light and foamy. Add the olive oil, sugar, and vanilla, whisking until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the carrots and zucchini.
- Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir it all together using a wooden spoon until blended. Divide the batter between the 2 loaf pans.
- Bake bread for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and carefully pull the loaves out of the pans and let them cool on a wooden cutting board.
Delicious sliced plain or toasted with butter, honey or jam.
* Real salt is a mineral rich salt harvested in central Utah. It's in its natural state, without additives, chemicals or heat processed of any kind.
This is very satisfying soup, made with fall's best flavors. It's easy to make, nutritious and delicious and is great the next day. This is the perfect soup to have with a sandwich!
4 1/4 cups of sugar pumpkin, peeled and diced
3 1/2 cups of carrots, scrubbed and sliced
3/4 cup of coconut milk
3 cups of water or vegetable stock
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 pinch garlic powder
1 pinch ground cardamom
1 pinch white pepper
1 3/4 tsp salt
- Bring a medium/large pot of water/or stock to a gentle boil. Add pumpkin and carrots. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add spices and cover the pot. Cook for approximately 20-25 minutes, until the pumpkin and carrots are soft. Resist stirring, which can make the pumpkin break up.
- When the pumpkin and carrots are soft, turn off the heat, stir in coconut milk and puree with an immersion hand blender or other blender. Add a pinch of salt.
From Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London's Ottolenghi is available from Amazon.
If you've been to London and haven't sampled some of the delicious take away meals found at one of the four Ottolenghi's, you need to go back there as soon as possible! In the meantime, try one of their easy-to-make recipes, this one being a cauliflower filled frittata. It's one of those cozy feeling meals that are just as good the day after. Have it with a bowl of soup, a salad or grilled vegetables on the side.
1 small cauliflower, cut into medium size florets
4 Tbs crème fraiche
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 tsp smoked paprika
3 Tbs chopped chives, chopped
5 oz of smoked mozzarella, grated
2 oz mature cheddar, grated
Salt and black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
- Simmer the cauliflower in a medium size pot of boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and dry.
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Break the eggs into a large bowl, and add the crème fraiche, mustard and paprika. Mix well. Stir in the chives and ¾ of the cheeses, and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet and brown the cauliflower for 5 minutes. Pour in the egg mixture and spread it out evenly. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Scatter the remaining cheeses on top, then carefully transfer the cast iron skillet to the oven. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the frittata is set.
Remove from the oven and let it rest for 2 to 3 minutes before cutting into wedges.
My daughter Lucie cooked this lunch recently and it was delicious! This dish is fabulous for a school lunch or at work. Quinoa is a great source of energizing iron and amino acids, protein's building blocks, and the potassium in the grain can help beat bloat. Add Chicken or shrimp, but cook either one separately and add when the dish has been cooked.
Makes 4 servings
3/4 cup of quinoa, rinsed and cooked
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tbs olive oil
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
2 tsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/4 small red chile, chopped (to taste)
2 cups of snow peas, trimmed (you can use string beans instead)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 egg beaten
2 scallions, chopped, mostly white part
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 Tbs soy sauce
- After quinoa is rinsed, place in a small saucepan with 3/4 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook, undisturbed, until quinoa absorbs the water, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and leave uncovered.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook carrot, stirring occasionally, until it softens, about 1 minute. Add bell pepper, ginger, garlic and chile, if desired; cook, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add peas, sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute.
- Remove vegetables and return skillet to heat; add quinoa, along with egg. Cook, stirring constantly, until egg is evenly distributed, about 1 minute.
- Add vegetables, scallions, cilantro and soy sauce; cook 1 minute more.
Divide among 4 bowls
Thank you Lucie!
To learn more of Helene's delicious recipes: The Swedish Table
To learn about Helene and her Malibu-Farm Blog, and more fabulous recipes visit her website.
By Helene Henderson of Malibu Farm
Years ago, I went to visit my dear friend Helene and being the amazing cook that she is, prepared this salad for lunch. Honestly, when she mentioned in passing that it was made with raw chard, it made me a little apprehensive. How wrong I was! It was really delicious and it's also easy to make. Swiss chard is one of the most nutritious vegetables and is especially good at regulating our blood sugar levels and has anti-inflammatory qualities. As I continue learning to eat healthier, one of the easiest ways is to eat dark green leafy vegetables, because they have the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food.
10 chard leaves, washed, dried, remove the stems, and sliver the leaves
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
a pinch of salt
Juice from half a lemon
1/4 tsp Balsamic vinegar
3 dried figs, chopped
1/4 cup of pepitas, sautéed
- Put the slivered chard leaves in a wooden bowl, and add the olive oil. With clean hands, gently massage the olive oil into the leaves, which helps break down the fibers so the chard can absorb the flavor of the olive oil.
- Add a pinch of salt, the lemon juice and balsamic vinegar and mix it all up.
- Meanwhile, in a small pan, add the pepitas and ½ tsp olive oil and sauté for 8 minutes.
- Add the chopped figs and the pepitas.
- Ready to serve!
Note: I like cutting the Swiss chard leaves into slivers because it's easier to eat that way!
-inspired by the one I ate at Le Pain Quotidian-
I am obsessed with this Chia Seed Pudding, so much so that I have made it several times over the past few weeks! Not only is it utterly delicious but also it's also really easy to make. Chia seed is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and full of minerals, vitamins and fiber and for those who are lactose intolerant, coconut milk is a healthy alternative.
Serves 4 or 2
1 cup of coconut milk
2 tablespoons of chia seed
1 teaspoon shredded coconut
1 teaspoon agave
1 cup of frozen or fresh raspberries
- Pour the coconut milk in a glass bowl and add the chia seed. Stir till all chia seed is mixed in.
- Pour the mix into either two drinking glasses, or 4 smaller glasses, leaving room at the top for the raspberry coulis.
- Put the glasses in the fridge and within 15 minutes the pudding should be set.
- If the raspberries are frozen; let them defrost for ½ hour or more at room temperature. Add them to a small food processor, and puree them, adding 1 teaspoon of agave to sweeten it up or you can use raw sugar instead.
- Remove the chia seed puddings from the fridge when ready to serve and pour the raspberry coulis on the top, sprinkled with some coconut flakes.
Last week, I was working on a chapter for my new book L.O.L.A. about food and healthy eating and I learned that spinach and strawberries are a match made in heaven! Eating them together is excellent for your health because the vitamin C in the strawberries increases the amount of bio-available iron from the spinach, which also increases the amount of iron your body can absorb. At first, I didn't like the idea of eating spinach and strawberries together but to my surprise, they make quite the delectable salad… and are both in season this month. Eat for your health!
1 lb of fresh spinach
1 pint of fresh strawberries
1/2 cup of toasted pecans
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon agave
- make the dressing in a bowl and set aside
- clean the spinach and remove the stems, cutting up larger leaves in bite size portions and add to bowl with dressing
- remove the stems from the strawberries and slice in half, add to the salad
- Add the toasted pecans and toss the salad.
I love chocolate! I'm not a great baker so this cake had to be easy to make and fool proof. Make sure when you make it that you haven't forgotten any of the ingredients, unlike myself. I almost put the whole thing in the oven without the benefit of the melted butter. I managed to add it to the chocolate mixture just in time and it turned out great anyway. Even though I used all organic ingredients to make this delicious Chocolate cake, doesn't mean I can eat the whole thing. It's still full of calories whether it’s made with organic ingredients or not. The difference is that it’s missing all the extra chemicals, pesticides and GMO's that are prevalent in most conventional ingredients. I'd rather not have those in my food if I can help it.
-all ingredients I use are organic-
16 ounces of bittersweet chocolate-at least 55% cacao
10 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of salt
1 Tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbs sugar
4 Eggs, separated
Unsweetened whipped cream
Vanilla Ice cream
- Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line the base of a 9-inch spring-form pan with parchment paper.
- Melt the chocolate, slowly in the top of a double boiler over hot, not boiling water.
- In a big bowl, pour melted chocolate, butter, flour and sugar. Beat the yolks lightly and whisk into the chocolate mixture. Add the pinch of salt and stir.
- Beat the egg whites until they hold a definite shape but aren't dry. You need to fold it into the chocolate mixture and pour the whole mix into the parchment-lined pan.
- Cook for 15 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave the door ajar, allowing the cake to cool down in the oven.
- Serve with either unsweetened freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream or both :-)
I grew up eating meat at practically ever meal, and so the idea of a vegetable only chili was unthinkable. However, over the past 10 years, I have been increasingly eating a plant-based diet and feeling so much better because of it. I came across this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, PeacefulDaily. I tried it out and it's absolutely delicious, and so easy to make. In fact I love it so much I made it several times over the past month. It freezes really well.
-All ingredients I use are organic-
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2-28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
3-15 ounce cans of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 sweet onions, chopped
1/2 can diced chilies
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup of cooked brown rice
Handful of cilantro springs
Except for the brown rice, mix everything in a slow cooker. Bring it to a gentle boil for 15 minutes or until all the flavors are blended. Then lower the heat and cook slowly for 3 to 4 hours.
*You can opt out of buying the canned vegetables and cook your own instead*
I serve this with low fat sour cream on the side, a bowl of chopped cilantro and a big green salad. Absolutely fantastic!
Ever since I was little, I have loved peas, especially when I can pick them myself and eat them raw on the spot. I haven't loved cooked peas as much until I made this soup, which I can't get enough of. I strongly advise you to make double the amount, maybe even triple because it will disappear very fast and it's so easy to make. The perfect recipe!
This amount serves 2
-All ingredients are organic-
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
6 cups peas, frozen
1/2 cup of water
4 cups of vegetable broth, heated
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
- Heat butter and oil in a medium size pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the chopped onion and celery. Cook about 6 mins.
- Add garlic and parsley and cook for 15 seconds
- Stir in peas and add water and vegetable broth.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 mins
- Puree soup using an immersion hand blender
- Serve with fresh ground pepper sprinkled on the top.