Saturday, January 28, 2012

Craft Show Soup

This soup is a fitting entry under the categories, "What to do with a ham bone," and "What to make for a Super Bowl Party where the Pats are going to take on the Giants (and win!)". And, actually, it has a sort of strange name. What is a craft show and why does it have soup?

The Craft Show in question is an annual event at my son's former preschool. One of the teachers, Patti Sigati, commands an army of cooks in the kitchen and makes a ton of this soup to sell at the Craft Show. It's not always cold in October around here, but this year, it was a chilly day, and the soup was spot on. I found Patti and begged her to share the recipe. We walked to the school office and picked out an old copy of the school fundraiser cookbook. She photocopied it for me, and well, here it is.

Craft Show Soup
With Thanks to Patti Sigati

Active Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Time: 12 hours for soaking beans
Cooking Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes on stove or 4-6 hours in slow cooker*

2 cups 15 bean soup mix, washed (remove the ham flavoring packet if it comes with one)
2 quarts water
1 honey baked ham bone with extra outside fat removed **
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1 16 oz. can Hunts stewed tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice

Soak beans overnight in water to cover. Drain. Place beans in a 5 quart Dutch oven. Add two quarts water, ham, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover; reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Add remaining ingredients; simmer 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove ham from the bone (and throw away the bone), returning meat to the soup. Makes 2 1/2 quarts.

*To adapt it for a slow cooker, just put your ingredients (excluding the lemon juice) in the slow cooker and cook on the Low setting for 4-6 hours. Add the lemon juice and stir, after you remove the ham bone from the soup. 

** Ham stores (like HoneyBaked Ham) will sell the ham bones (frozen) by themselves. They range in price from about four dollars to twelve dollars, depending on their size. I used a "six dollar" ham bone, and it provides ample meat for the soup.

Soup's on! 

You can either do this on the stove or in a slow cooker.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Edamame Falafel

Edamame falafel is one of my favorite things to have on hand for lunch. I make a double batch, and store them in the freezer. I thaw a few at a time, and they're easy to put in a pita for a quick lunch. 

I got this recipe out of an issue of KIWI Magazine while waiting at the pediatric dentist's office. I scribbled the ingredients onto the subscription blow-in. It's a wonder I could translate what I wrote down that day, but here it is. 

Edamame Falafel
Adapted from KIWI Magazine

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Oven Temperature: 425 degrees 

1 cup shelled edamame, cooked
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 small red onion, quartered
1/2 cup walnut pieces
2 Tbsp. tahini (sesame paste)
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. cumin
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. water (optional)

1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1/2 head red cabbage, chopped
4 whole wheat pitas

In the bowl of a food processor, put the edamame, carrots, onion, walnuts, tahini, garlic, lime juice, cumin and salt. Pulse a few times to get started, and then turn on. Puree to a fine paste. If it's too thick, stop the processor and add 1 tsp. of water and use a spatula to bring the mixture off the sides. Turn off food processor. 

Place a piece of parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet. The parchment helps the falafels from getting too brown during the baking.

Remove the bowl and take enough of the paste in between your palms to roll a ball about the size of a golf ball. Repeat with all of the paste, until you have approximately 12 balls of falafel. Place them on the baking sheet, close, but not touching. 

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven, flip the falafel balls over, and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow falafel balls to cool. 

To serve, cut open the top of the pita breads and fill with chopped red cabbage, red or orange bell peppers and chopped cucumbers. Put two or three falafel balls in each sandwich. 

Super healthy ingredients

Paste needs further processing

Golf ball sized. No larger! 

Flip and bake another 10 minutes

Colorful and tasty too

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Archie and the Coconut

We found a book at the library at the beginning of Winter Break called "Archie and the Pirates." While my boys are not pirate obsessed, we are pirate interested. Throw in a monkey called Archie and we're golden. Boy #2 has been obsessed with coconuts for a long time. The plan now is for a birthday party featuring Archie and a whole lot of coconut products. I broke down yesterday (the last day of a nearly three week Winter Break) and bought the boys a coconut. Here's our adventure.

Use a screwdriver and hammer to open the holes; be sure to wiggle the coconut meat out of the way.  
Lots of coconut water: two glasses full! 

They love this!

Put the drained coconut in a bag and smash it against the ground. 

Coconut should break fairly easily into chunks. 

Give the chunks another smack on the ground.

Cut flesh away from the shell. Not hard to do. 

A lifetime's supply of coconut. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 Bloggies Awards

I would like to ask you to nominate Veggievangelist in the “Best Food Blog” category of the 12th Annual Bloggies Awards. ( deadline for nominations is January 15th, which is why I have to ask now.

You’ll notice that your ballot must contain at least three unique nominees, in any of 28 categories. If you need some blogs to nominate in other categories, I'd like to suggest:

Best Religion or Spirituality, Santos Woodcarving Popsicles,
Best Food Weblog, Veggievangelist,
Best Writing of a Weblog: Ben and Birdy,
Most Humorous: Ben and Birdy,
Best Sports Weblog: Parenting Aces,
Best Travel Weblog, Go BIG or Go Home,

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Butternut Squash Risotto

This recipe makes me happy. I first crossed paths with it over a decade ago when I went over to the apartment of my friend Riza, and her husband Adam. Riza's an insanely talented gal, and quite the chef. I remember she served a simple lemon vinaigrette over arugula to complement the meal. And, as far as I'm concerned, any recipe that has me open a bottle of wine for the occasion is one worth repeating. This recipe could easily be made to suit Vegans with the omission of the cheese (substitute 1/4 tsp. of red pepper flakes for the kick). 

Butternut Squash Risotto
Adapted from Riza Hunger's recipe

Prep time: For squash, 45 minutes
For rice: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Oven Temperature: 400 degrees

1 1/2 lbs. sliced butternut squash (I used whole, but if you can find it at the store ready to go, run with it)
2 Tbsp. olive oil or butter, divided
1/4 cup chopped shallots or red onions, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
4 oz. fresh mushroom blend (baby bella, shiitake and oyster), sliced
1 tsp. dried basil (or 2 tsp. fresh, chopped)
1/2 t. dried summer savory* or thyme
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
3 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup grated pepper jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped chives 
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

In a preheated 400 degree oven, bake butternut squash for 35-40 minutes until tender, but not mushy. Cut squash away from skin and into 1/2 inch dice. Reserve 1 1/4 cups for the risotto and keep warm. 

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add mushrooms and sauté for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until slightly browned. Remove from pan and reserve. 

In the same pan, heat remaining 1 Tbsp. of olive oil. Add shallots (or onions), garlic, herbs and rice, and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until rice is translucent. Add the wine, and continue to simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly. Continue adding stock in small amounts (about 1/4 cup at a time works well), stirring until liquid is absorbed into the rice each time before adding more stock. 

In the last five minutes, add the cheese, along with reserved mushrooms and squash and stir thoroughly. When rice is al dente, remove from heat. Top plates with a sprinkle of chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

*Summer Savory is not easy to find, nor is it vital to the recipe. If you have it (or grow it) great! If not, substitute thyme. I happened to buy some by chance on a trip to France (where it's called Sarriette). I didn't realize what it was until I got home and Googled it. 

Finished product

Cut butternut in half and scoop out the seeds before roasting

Any recipe that calls for wine? All in! 

Mushrooms sauteing

Risotto cooking before adding liquids