Ministrone Soup

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Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 large yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup pasta, uncooked (I use small shell)
  • 1 15oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups baby spinach

Directions

1. Combine the olive oil, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and tomato paste in a large pot over medium heat. Stir frequently, until the veggies have softened (~5 minutes).

2. Pour in the diced tomatoes along with their liquid, the broth, and water.

3. Add the yellow squash and zucchini, then add the spices: oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, and some black pepper.

5. Cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

6. Remove the lid and add the pasta, beans, and spinach. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

7. Remove from heat and serve.

Roasted Veggie Bowl with Cilantro Tahini Dressing

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Ingredients

  • Head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • Head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, chopped*
  • Olive oil

Tahini Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 big bunch of cilantro
  • Juice of one lemon

To Serve:

  • Quinoa, cooked according to package
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Black beans, drained and rinsed

*It can be really hard to cut uncooked sweet potatoes. To make it a little easier, you can microwave them for 1-2 minutes to soften them before cutting.

Instructions

>>Preheat oven to 450°F

1. Put the veggies and potatoes on two baking sheets. Toss in olive oil. Roast for ~30 minutes.

2. While the veggies and potatoes are cooking, make the dressing. Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until smooth.

3. Put the veggies and potatoes in a bowl, along with the quinoa, black beans, and avocado. Drizzle the dressing on top!

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Potato Salad with Yogurt Vinaigrette

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Ingredients

  • 2lbs potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup red onion, diced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Bring 1″of water to boil in a medium-sized pot. Steam the potatoes until they are softened, about 15 minutes.

2. Mix the yogurt, vinegar, mustard, and olive oil together.

3. When the potatoes are ready, stir in the red onions, followed by the vinaigrette.

4. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before eating.

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Pesto

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We have an abundance of basil right now. (Have I mentioned how much I like summer in Western Mass?) I tripled this recipe, so I anticipate I’ll soon be sharing recipes on here that make use of this delicious pesto.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups basil leaves, packed
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (or pine nuts)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan

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Directions

In a food processor, mix together the basil, walnuts, olive oil, and parmesan until everything is well combined.

Eat right away, store in the refrigerator, or freeze it!

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Watermelon Sorbet

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Watermelon is in season! So is basil! And mint! That means it’s time for watermelon sorbet. With just 3-4 ingredients, this simple sorbet is refreshing and oh so easy to make.

Western MA friends: you can get locally grown watermelons at Atlas Farms. We got basil with our weekly farm share, from the previously-mentioned horse-powered vegetable farm, Natural Roots.

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Ingredients

  • A small watermelon
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons of lime juice (lemon would work too)
  • Fresh basil or mint, chopped, to garnish (optional)

Directions

1. Cut the watermelon into pieces, discarding the rind. Freeze the pieces overnight.

2. Put the watermelon in a blender or food processor with the yogurt and lime juice. Blend until smooth, but don’t over blend. (Note: If the watermelon is too frozen and won’t blend, you can let it sit at room temperature until it softens a little.)

3. Put it in the freezer for 1-2 hours.

4. Serve with chopped basil or mint on top!

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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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After a long time away from this blog, I’m very excited to be back!

David and I now live in the woods of Western Massachusetts and I’ve been feeling really inspired in the kitchen this summer.

We signed up for a farm share at Natural Roots, a horse-powered vegetable farm that’s just down the road from us. (To read more about community-supported agriculture and farm shares, head here.) My inspiration in the kitchen is largely thanks to the bag of fresh, local produce we get each week. It’s exciting figuring out new recipes… we don’t want anything to go to waste!

Carrots are in season and while we’ve been eating them in salads and with hummus, sometimes you need to disguise your vegetables by putting them in a cake. And carrot cake has always been one of my favorites.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Frosting

  • 8oz cream cheese, softened 
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, to garnish
  • Extra flaked coconut, to garnish

Directions

>>Preheat oven to 350°F

>>Butter and flour two 8″ cake pans

1. Grate your carrots, chop your pecans! Combine in a bowl with the coconut.
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2. Stir in the flour, brown and white sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and spices.

3. Add the eggs, vanilla, and applesauce. Mix well.

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4. Divide the mixture into two 8″ cake pans and bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes.

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5. While the cake is baking, it’s time to make your frosting! Combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat until well combined. Then slowly stir in the confectioners sugar until you reach your frosting becomes your desired consistency.

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6. Spread a layer of frosting between the two cakes, then stack ‘em!

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7. Spread the frosting on the top and sides of the cake. And then sprinkle coconut and chopped pecans on top!

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Kale and White Bean Soup

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I went to NH to visit my parents and I’m afraid to say that all this California sunshine has softened me. My parents talked about how it has been warming up; I piled on layers, wrapped myself in a blanket, and sat in front of the fireplace every evening.

My mom made this soup one night, and I can’t tell you how nice it was to eat a big mug of it sitting on the brick hearth, the fire roaring.

Like with a lot of soups, the flavors get stronger over time. I reheated it for lunch the next day and it was even better!

Adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds kale leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup shallots, chopped (about 4)
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 15oz cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups (or more) vegetable broth
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • 1 tablespoon assorted dried herbs (tarragon, parsley, etc.)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add carrots, celery, shallots, and garlic. Cook around 10 minutes, until vegetables are slightly softened.
  3. Add the white wine and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add white beans, 4 cups of vegetable broth, thyme, and the bay leaf.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.
  6. Add the kale and dried spices. Stir in the white wine vinegar and sherry. If the soup is too thick, add more broth, if desired.
  7. Simmer for five more minutes, then season with salt and pepper.

Cinnamon Granola

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We ran out of granola and I decided to try out something new. This is a slight twist on my maple granola recipe. The added spices (cinnamon! nutmeg! ginger! cardamon!) give it a little something extra.

Ingredients

  • 2  cups  old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • ½  cup  sliced almonds
  • ½  cup  dried cranberries (or a different dried fruit, or a mix)
  • ¼  cup  unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼  cup  pure maple syrup (or agave nectar, or honey)
  • 1  tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 300°F

  1. In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients except for the dried fruit. Stir until everything is well coated in the maple syrup.
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  2. Spread the granola out evenly onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then toss the granola so it cooks evenly. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden.
  3. Stir in the dried fruit.
  4. Let the granola cool completely before storing it.
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Pumpkin, Kale, Black Bean, and Gnocchi Stew

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I live in sunny southern California now, so winter isn’t quite like last year when I lived in central New Hampshire (too many -15° mornings for me!). When eating a bowl of this, I couldn’t help but think this would be the perfect meal for a snow day. It’s thick–the stew is somewhere in between a soup and a curry–and the smell of simmering pumpkin and cinnamon would be great after a trek in the snow.

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 package (approximately 17.6 oz) gnocchi
  • 2 15oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 cups kale, ripped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

A couple notes: I normally try to make my meals low-sodium, but this stew really does taste better with salt. If you’re sensitive to spicy food, reduce the cayenne and chili powder to taste.

Directions

  1. In a large pot, stir together the pumpkin and milk. Cook until it reaches a boil.
  2. Add the gnocchi, black beans, chili powder, cinnamon, and cayenne, then return to a boil.IMG_0269
  3. Reduce to a simmer and cook for ten minutes.
  4. Add the kale and simmer until the kale is slightly wilted.
  5. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Sweet Potato, Red Onion, and Ricotta Panini

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As you can probably tell by all the sweet potato recipes I’ve made lately, I love sweet potatoes. In fact, I love them so much that I like to keep a couple of cooked ones in the refrigerator. If you already have a baked sweet potato, this sandwich makes for a really quick lunch.

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of bread
  • 2-3 thick slices of baked sweet potato
  • a few slices of red onion
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • pesto (optional)
  • a few slices of butter

Directions

To make this sandwich, I used a George Foreman grill, which is perfect for panini making: both sides of the sandwich get perfectly crisp, the inside gets melty, and it takes no time at all. Oh, and you get those great great ridges pressed into the bread, which magically seem to make it taste even better. 

If you don’t have a grill, though, don’t fear! You can grill your sandwich in a saucepan the good, old fashioned way. These directions are for the saucepan method.

  1. Spread butter on one side of your slices of bread. Place the first slice in the saucepan, with the butter side down. Put all the fixings inside the sandwich, then place the second slice of bread on top with the butter side up.
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  2. Place a lid over the saucepan and let it cook for a minute or two. The lid helps the cheese get all melty and delicious.
  3. Check to see if the bottom is lightly brown. If it is, flip the sandwich over and cook on the other side, putting the lid back over the saucepan.