Thursday, September 20, 2018

Mushroom Wine Sauce

A good sauce can make any regular dinner something to write home about! This simple sauce will liven up any plain menu or transform leftover meat into a luscious main course. Substitute vegetable broth for beef broth and pour over quinoa for a vegan main dish. Enjoy!

Mushroom Wine Sauce
1 lb. white mushrooms, washed and sliced
1/4 lb. shitake mushrooms, washed, de-stemmed and sliced
1/4 c. olive oil
2-3 shallots, minced
1/4 c. white onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T fresh thyme (or 1 t. dried thyme)
2 c. beef bone broth
1 c. red wine
2 t. arrowroot powder
salt and pepper to taste

Lightly salt and sauté sliced onions in olive oil in large frying pan over medium-high heat (divide the mushrooms into ~3 batches) until slightly browned and very reduced in size. Set aside.

Lightly salt and sauté shallots, onion in olive oil until translucent. Add thyme and garlic. Sauté 1-2 minutes more. Set aside with mushrooms.

Add broth and wine to pan and simmer until reduced in size by half. Mix arrowroot powder with ~2T water and stir well into liquid. It should thicken slightly. Add onion and mushroom mixture and simmer on low for ~10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy over any cut of meat, or substitute vegetable broth for beef broth and pour over quinoa for a vegan main dish. Makes 4c sauce.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Asparagus Curry Soup

Feeling frugal? I was the other day. . .I cleaned two bunches of lovely spring asparagus, trimmed off the tough ends, and gazed at the pile of nutritious trimmings headed towards my compost pile. I simply couldn't toss them!

A few basic ingredients transformed the scraps into a lovely pureed soup. Try some of this while asparagus is still in season!


Asparagus Curry Soup
2 T olive oil
2 bunches asparagus bottoms, chopped into 1/4" lengths
one medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups homemade turkey or chicken bone broth
     (of course, store-bought broth would do)
1 t. curry powder
1 to 2 T curry paste (I like Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste)
1/2 t. salt (or to taste)
1/4 t. pepper
1 13.5-oz can coconut milk

Wash asparagus well. One stalk at a time, bend several stalks until they break -- it will naturally break where the tough end meets the tender stalk. Trim entire bunch to this length. Set aside the good, upper ~2/3 tip end for another purpose, and chop the remaining lower stalks into 1/4" lengths.

In a large saucepan, sautee diced onion and asparagus ends in olive oil until onion is translucent, or perhaps slightly browned. Sautee minced garlic during the final minute.

Add turkey stock, curry paste, curry powder, salt and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes. Puree soup in a Vitamix blender until smooth. Add coconut milk to blender and blend until combined. Adjust seasoning to taste.


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Vegan Carrot Coconut Bisque

Each time I visit our local sushi restaurant for lunch, I order their vegan carrot coconut bisque – a warm, velvety indulgence. I attempted to recreate their recipe for my annual cookie exchange, and it was delicious! If you have access to kaffir lime leaves, I highly recommend simmering 2-3 of these leaves with the carrots. If not, lime juice and a bit of lime zest is a lively substitute. Savor this soup on a cold winter's night.

Carrot Coconut Bisque
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
4 cups vegetable broth
2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
1 T. freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of ~1/2 lime)
1/2 t lime zest
1/2 t chile sesame oil
1/2 t curry powder
1/2 t salt to taste
1/4 t pepper to taste
1 15-ounce can coconut milk
thinly sliced green onion for garnish

In a stock pot, over medium-high heat, add olive oil, onions and ginger and saute until onions are translucent. Add broth, carrots, lime, chile oil, curry, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer about 25 minutes, until carrots are tender.

Remove pan from heat and carefully puree in blender or food processor a small batch at a time, until all soup has been pureed (my Vitamix blender worked really well).

Return soup to the pan and add coconut milk, stir until hot, but don't boil. Add more lime juice, salt or pepper to taste.

Serve garnished with green onion or herbs.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Chia Pudding

A dear friend is going through chemotherapy for breast cancer, and I felt challenged to create her a snack that was healthful, caloric, digestible, smooth, and delicious to keep her energy up during her healing process. This recipe may be the ticket! There are several chia pudding recipes online, but this combination seems to taste best to me and my family.

This pudding is a nutritional powerhouse! The omega-3 fatty acids in coconut milk and chia reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Chia seeds have plentiful antioxidants, fiber, iron, and calcium. Coconuts are easily digestible for most, and are naturally nutritious, fiber-rich, high in vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.

The maple syrup is complimentary to the chia taste, and it dissolves well when mixed together. This is a delicious comfort food that passes the kid taste test, too!

Chia Pudding
one 13.5oz. can coconut milk (or milk substitute of choice)
1/3 cup chia seeds
2-3 tbsp maple syrup (more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.
Or simply whisk together well in a large bowl.
Pour into your favorite container(s) and refrigerate until set, for 3-4 hours or overnight.
Enjoy with fruit or just as-is!

Be well!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Perfectly Roasted Brussels Sprouts

These are not the Brussels sprouts of your childhood.
One bite of this crunchy-tender, savory side dish and you'll never steam broccoli again.
(Okay. . .maybe you will. I actually like steamed broccoli.)

Brussels sprouts are a nutritional powerhouse of the cruciferous veggie family. One serving of these delicious sprouts is packed with more than 200% of the recommended daily amount for vitamin K1, more than 120% of vitamin C, and are a good source of fiber, potassium, choline, manganese, protein and B vitamins.

Enjoy with gusto!

Perfectly Roasted Brussels Sprouts
1-1/2 lbs Brussels Sprouts
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 400º.
Wash Brussels Sprouts well and place on towel to drain.
Cut off the ends, then quarter length-wise.
Spread out onto a large baking tray, separating some of the outer leaves from the quartered sprouts (the separated leaves will become crisp "chips" when cooked. Mmmmm.)
Mix together remaining ingredients, drizzle over sprouts and stir on baking tray until well coated.

Bake for ~25 minutes at 400º, stirring every 8 minutes or so.
Enjoy immediately!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Green Chile Stew

Fall has nearly arrived in Southwest Colorado, and the heavenly aroma of roasting green chiles fills the air. Mmmmmmm. It's time for green chile stew!

Run to your local farmers market or grocery store chile roaster to stock up on some green chile for the year. Before you freeze it all, be sure to set aside a few chiles for this simple, comforting stew.

This is a versatile recipe -- use your favorite ground meat, stock, and quantities to make it perfectly your own. Enjoy!

Green Chile Stew
1 lb ground beef
1/4 c oil
1 onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 cups poultry stock (I used 2c smoked chicken stock and 2c turkey broth)
1 cup roasted, chopped green chile
1 14oz can chopped tomatoes
1 t cumin
2 t oregano
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 T arrow root powder

Brown ground beef in a large pan. Set aside.
Sauté chopped onion until translucent, add minced garlic for the last minute or two of cooking. Add beef, stock, chile, tomatoes, cumin and oregano and simmer for 30 minutes or so.

Dissolve arrowroot in 2 T water, add to stew and simmer about 5 minutes to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately or let sit overnight for more flavor.
¡Buen provecho!

Optional: peel and cube 2 large potatoes, brown in 2T oil and add to stew for a heartier meal.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Spring Fennel Salad

It may only be February 21, but it feels like Spring!
Colorado has enjoyed a week or two of 60º weather, melting snow piles, and plenty of sun. It's time for salads! This salad has a surprisingly lovely combination of flavors.

Fennel bulbs have a slightly sweet, gentle anise flavor. As I sliced the bulb, my kids asked "what is that sweet-minty fresh smell?" It pairs beautifully with orange or grapefruit.

Spring Fennel Salad
1 fennel bulb, white part sliced thinly.
~2T reserved feathery frond-like green leaves from the top of the anise bulb, chopped
1 navel orange,  supremed
2 scallions, sliced thinly

2t miso
1 t. maple syrup
1 T olive oil
1 T rice vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Slice the fennel bulb and scallion thinly. Place in serving bowl. Supreme orange and place segments in bowl -- squeeze remaining juice from membrane into bowl and discard membrane.

Combine the next dressing ingredients and toss into salad.

How do you "Supreme" an orange, you say? Supremed oranges are pure orange goodness with no bitter pith or chewy membranes. You may have savored them in salads at finer restaurants. I like to use a small serrated knife -- a "tomato knife." Cut off both ends of the orange so you see a full "star" of orange fruit. Cut the skin and pith (white bitter part) off the orange fruit. Once you've exposed the membrane lines, simply slice along the edge of the membrane to release each orange wedge. It takes a bit of practice, but it will eventually only takes about 3 minutes per orange. It's a pretty, impressive way to serve a citrus salad!

This miso dressing is from my Late Fall Harvest Salad. It's rich and versatile.

Enjoy spring (whenever it may come your way)!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Gluten-Free Bread Pudding

Have you seen the price of gluten-free bread lately?!
Holy moly!
A $6 loaf of gluten-free bread brings out my frugal Midwestern side.

My kids don't like using the loaf end pieces for sandwiches, so I end up collecting them for breadcrumbs. . .or just pitching them. This recipe puts those bread heels to a delicious use! I've tweaked several bread pudding recipes to make one of my kid's favorite treats. Serve it warm out of the oven for a treat

Gluten-Free Bread Pudding
2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup turbinado sugar or brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or nutmeg
1/2 cup currants or raisins (raisins or dried pears are also heavenly. . .and optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
5+ cups cubed bread heels or slices (about 10 slices)
2 T turbinado sugar to sprinkle on top

Prehead oven to 350 degrees.

In a saucepan, heat milk, butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt over medium heat until sugar is almost dissolved and butter is melted. Remove from heat and cool a bit. Stir bread cubes into milk mixture.

Mix eggs and vanilla into bread mixture well. 

Pour bread mixture into a buttered 8" x 8" baking pan (you can make this the night before to soak and soften, but this isn't necessary). Sprinkle 2T of turbinado sugar on top for a sweet crunch.

Bake uncovered for 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted 1" from the edge comes out clean.

Serve warm with whipped cream.
Enjoy your frugality!

This recipe isn't dairy free, but it can be modified with your favorite dairy-free beverage of choice and 2 T coconut oil instead of the 1/4 c. butter.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Sometimes all you want is chocolate.
This is a simple, dairy-free, gluten-free, quick recipe to satisfy that chocolate craving and get on with your day. . .happily.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup 

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups white sugar (or 1 c. coconut sugar)

1 cup cocoa powder (I like organic, raw cocoa powder)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the water, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt together in a saucepan over low heat; whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and begins to simmer. Remove from heat and stir the vanilla into the sauce. Serve warm or cover and refrigerate until serving.

Enjoy over ice cream, mixed into hot milk or your favorite dairy-free beverage for cocoa, drizzled over waffles or crepes, or mixed into cold mild for homemade chocolate milk.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Beef Liver Pâté

This recipe is modified from the by Liver Pâté recipe from ThePaleoMom. 
Thank you, Dr. Sarah!!

We are fortunate to be able to order half a local grass-fed beef each year to split with friends. The price per round is less than grocery beef, and it feels good to buy locally. A quarter cow will provide enough beef to feed my family for a year -- you just need a large freezer. We purchased ours through Local Brands Farm Co-op, who supports local farmers and ranchers by combining efforts to market local products. Their beef is succulent, and they're lovely people to work with.

When you order a half beef, you can specify which cuts you prefer and what organ meats to receive. I usually opt for everything but the beef tongue (ick.). But who knew a cow had such a HUGE liver -- what in the world do you do with 7 pounds of beef liver?? This recipe has enough herbs, sweet complexity and salt to mask the beef's gamey, "livery" taste.

We enjoy it served "smoked salmon style," spread on crackers or veggie slices with red onions and capers. I've heard that a slab of pâté mixed with a pound or two of ground beef make lovely hamburgers. I'll have to try it sometime.

Beef Liver Pâté
1 lb Liver
1 Small Yellow Onion, finely chopped
2 Cloves Fresh Garlic
6-7 Fresh Sage Leaves (or 1 Tbsp dried Rubbed Sage)
1 Small Sprig Fresh Rosemary (2 tsp Dried Rosemary)
1 Bay Leaf
1/3 cup Dry Sherry or Cognac (I used cognac)
1 tsp Salt, to taste
1/8 tsp Ground Mace
3-4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme (3/4 tsp Dried Thyme)
½ cup Cooking Fat -- tallow, coconut oil, or unsalted butter
     bacon fat (this tastes divine, but omit salt if you use bacon fat)
1/4c dark cherries (about 8 cherries)
2t  honey

Slice liver into 2” chunks and remove any vessels the butcher might have missed.

Line a 7.5″x3.5″ Loaf Pan with parchment paper (this is an optional step that just makes removing the loaf easier later; you could also use a glass or pottery serving dish).

Heat ¼ cup of your chosen cooking fat in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Add onion, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, sage, mace and garlic to the pan.  Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are well cooked (about 10 minutes).

Add liver to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until browned on the outside and still pink in the middle (about 3-4 minutes).

Add sherry to pan and bring to boil (you can increase heat to high if you want).  Boil 2-3 minutes, until you can’t smell alcohol in the steam.

Remove from heat.  Remove bay leaf, rosemary stem, and thyme stems.  Add salt and the remaining cooking fat.

Pour hot liver mixture into a blender or food processor.  Pulse until smooth.

Pour into the prepared loaf pan (or serving dish of choice).

Once it’s cool enough to touch, make sure to cover with plastic wrap tightly across the entire surface (plastic wrap should be touching the pâté with no air bubbles) to prevent oxidation (you’ll still get some, which is okay, but doing this helps your pâté stay a nice pink color which tastes better and is better for you).

Refrigerate overnight up to a few days before eating.

I also typically make a double batch and pour it into a standard loaf pan.  After letting the flavors mature for a couple of days in the fridge, I slice and freeze individual portions for weekday lunches for myself.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Cindy's Dairy-Free Cream of Mushroom Soup

There is something magical about serving dishes created from gathered or home-grown foods.

I host an annual Christmas Cookie Exchange each December. Soups, hors d'ouvres, laughter and wine create a fun celebration of the holidays with the wonderful women in my community. This soup was a hit! The smoky turkey stock, earthy mushrooms and silky coconut milk combine into a lovely, creamy soup (it doesn't taste "coconutty"!).

We gathered more than 15 pounds of Chanterelles this August in Telluride, Colorado, and processed them in a variety of ways. I learned chanterelle mushrooms are best frozen after cooking to remove their moisture. Sautéed with aromatics, these frozen mushrooms make a delicious, easy side dish, topping, or recipe addition. I also filled a 10-tray dehydrator with chanterelles, which dried down to a minuscule two pints of crunchy, earthy goodness! Rehydrated chanterelles are tasty, but rubbery, so it's ideal to puree them with stock for soups or gravies.

This soup reconstitutes the earthiness of a Telluride forest with the warm memories of the harvest as well. Enjoy!

Cindy's Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 ounce dried chanterelle mushrooms
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
4 cups smoked turkey stock (or beef or chicken broth)
6 sprigs rosemary and
8 springs thyme, tied in a bouquet de garni
2 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 c white wine
1/2 t salt, or to taste
1/2 t pepper, or to taste
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
2 cups coconut milk
3 scallions, sliced thinly

Bring the stock to a boil in a soup pot and remove from heat.
Soak the dried mushrooms in hot stock for 20-30 minutes.
Tie the rosemary and thyme with twine into a bouquet de garni.
Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent.
Add onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme, wine, salt and pepper to the stock and mushrooms and simmer gently, covered, for 60 minutes.

While soup is simmering, sauté the sliced button mushrooms until lightly browned in a medium-hot pan, either in a dry pan or with a little oil. Set aside.

Remove and discard herb stems and puree the soup.

Return pureed soup to pan with sautéed mushrooms, scallions and coconut milk. Heat until warmed and serve.

Add more stock for a lighter tasting soup.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Aunt Nancy’s Sour Cream Potatoes

Aunt Nancy’s Sour Cream Potatoes
This is the most creamy comfort food you’ll ever taste.
Make a double recipe and freeze it for an easy, decadent side dish.
Enjoy the leftovers as potato pancakes the next morning with eggs!

Aunt Nancy’s Sour Cream Potatoes
6 Maine potatoes
2c. shredded cheddar
1/4 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sour cream (at room temperature)
1/3 c. minced onion
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 T. more butter
2 T. chopped chives

Boil potatoes 20 minutes in skin. Cool. Peel and shred coarsely. In saucepan, combine cheese and 1/4 cup butter. Stir until almost melted. Remove from heat. Blend in sour cream, onions, salt and pepper. Fold in potatoes.

Put into 2 qt. casserole. Dot with butter and chopped chives

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Breathe in the cheesy aroma and enjoy as a side dish with absolutely anything!