Chard Soup

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If there is one thing good about cold weather, it is the soup claiming its place back on the dining table. Granted, we don’t get much of a cold here in California but still, anything under 70 is winter for me. And of course the only cure for winter is a bowl of hot soup, with a little lemon juice, fresh green onions and parsley elevating the flavor. After it is served, and the freshly ground black pepper and crushed red chilies are added, the warmth of each gulp makes itself felt in the entire body. That’s not just food anymore, that’s an experience.

We happened to discover some interesting black and white dry beans in our farm box. I was dying to try them out and I thought a chard soup would be a good place to start. This soup is gluten-free and, as always, vegan.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water or veggie broth
  • 1 bunch chard, sliced
  • 1 cup beans, boiled
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium potato, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, sliced
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste or 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • salt and cumin, according to taste

Directions:

Inside a soup pot, cook the onion in the olive oil. Add the garlic, carrots, potatoes, red bell peppers and the tomato paste (or the diced tomatoes) and cook for a few more minutes. Add the water (or the veggie broth), celery, bay leaf, ginger, salt and cumin. Boil until everything softens. Lastly, add the chard and the beans and boil for an additional 5 minutes.

By the way, this was what my organic farm beans looked like before cooking:

beans

Homemade Veggie Pasta

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When my son craved pasta and used his puppy looks on me, I had to oblige. So I chopped onions, garlic, red bell peppers, celery sticks, carrots and tomatoes. I boiled it all together and pureed them with a hand blender. When that cooled down a little, I used the puree along with whole wheat flour, semolina, salt and black pepper to make a dough. After letting the dough wait for half and hour, I rolled it flat, cut it in strips and there, fresh pasta that comes with the veggies built-in.

Well, my son loved it and so I had another successful mommy moment. Yay!

Chocolate Cheesecake Square

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It’s been a while since I started to refuse eating desserts made with unholy amounts of cream and eggs, as they mostly are. That doesn’t mean I don’t still crave for desserts. Fruits are great for that but chocolate is chocolate! So at those times, I go nuts in the kitchen and start searching for new recipes. I usually end up fusing a few recipes and adopting them to my own taste. I then make a single serving sized sample of it, like this one.

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Black Bean Hummus Panini

Black bean hummus panini

One of the best ways to cook something is inside of a bread, in a panini maker.

After shying away from simple(r) carbs for a while, I recently realized I was overdoing it and starving myself. My latest bike ride was an eye opener in that sense. I lost nearly 40 lbs over the past 7 months and I am now at a decent bike climber body composition. But my body was protesting it and begging for energy during high intensity workouts. So I decided to give it a break and treat it to an all time favorite comfort food every now and then: paninis.

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Vegan Almond Lemon Cake

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This is proof that vegans don’t just eat grass, we have treats as well. A regular cake recipe usually calls for something like two dozen eggs and a couple of sticks of butter which always baffled me. Here is one that has no eggs, and no milk products either. It uses whole wheat flour and olive oil! This is about as guilt-free as it gets for a cake.

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Muhammara: A Meze to Rule Them All

muhammara

Muhammara is one of my favorite mezes. It is right up there with hummus and guacamole. No no, it is actually above those in my list. It is a traditional meze that can be found, with variations of course, in many different mediterranean cuisines. This version has my own twists. It has always proved quite popular in the restaurants where I included it. So, if one day this becomes the next hummus, you know the source ;)

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