Saturday, December 3, 2011

Black Bean Soup

I usually wouldn't think of making Black Bean Soup. Soaking the beans overnight, and all that, is just too much work for me. However, I was watching an episoide of Dr Oz and he showcased a really quick version, that was really, really tasty....and healthy, too!

I played around with the recipe, using different chili powders ( Chipotle and Ancho ), and liked it when I added a little bit of each. They gave the soup an earthiness that you wouldn't get with just regular chili powder.  Do try to use at least one of these in your soup. You'll be glad that you did.

Black Bean Soup

4 servings, about 1 1/4 cups each | Active Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 25 minutes


· 1 tablespoon canola oil

· 1 small onion, chopped

· 3/4 tablespoon chili powder

· 1 teaspoon ground cumin

· 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed

· 3 cups water

· 1/2 cup prepared salsa

· 1/4 teaspoon salt

· 1 tablespoon lime juice

· 4 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream (optional)

· 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


1.     Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add beans, water, salsa and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in lime juice.
Transfer half the soup to a blender and puree (use caution when pureeing hot liquids). Stir the puree back into the saucepan. Serve garnished with sour cream and cilantro, if desired

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ultimate Pumpkin Pie

I know it's a little late to be posting this.  Since, if you were going to bake for your Thanksgiving Dinner, it's been done by now. However, I consider this one a keeper, so, print it off and save it for another time. Hopefully, NOT next year.
One ingredient that sets this recipe apart from others is the addition of sour cream. It gives the filling a wonderful silky texture. The apricot preserves on the bottom crusts keeps it from getting soggy, as it sometimes does, with pumpkin pie.
Butter crusts are very delicate, and can tend to shrink while baking. Popping it in the fridge for 15mins or so, can help with this.
The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon packed golden brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt
  • 1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 large eggs, beaten to blend

  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves


For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Blend first 3 ingredients in processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cream and process until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball, flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; chill 15 minutes.
Roll out dough on floured surface to 14-inch round. Transfer dough to 9-inch glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Fold overhang under. Make cut in crust edge at 1/2 inch intervals. Bend alternate edge pieces inward. Freeze 30 minutes.
Line crust with foil, pressing firmly. Bake until sides are set, about 10 minutes. Remove foil. Bake crust until pale brown, about 10 minutes more. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
Spread preserves over crust; pour in filling. Bake until filling puffs at edges and center is almost set, about 55 minutes. Cool on rack. Cover; chill until cold. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)
For filling:
Using whisk, mix first 6 ingredients in bowl until no lumps remain. Blend in pumpkin, whipping cream, sour cream and eggs.
Spread preserves over crust; pour in filling. Bake until filling puffs at edges and center is almost set, about 55 minutes. Cool on rack. Cover; chill until cold. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sauteed Chicken with Garlic and Rosemary

This is a recipe taken from another cookbook of mine: Bon Appetit: Fast, Easy, Fresh.

It's takes very little time to prepare and is perfect for dinner on a weekday.

1 1/2 - 2 lb. chicken thighs

2 tbsp. olive oil

3 cloves garlic

2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp. dried rosemary, crumbled

1 c. chicken broth

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Fresh rosemary sprigs; optional

Season breasts with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet on high. Add chicken. Saute until brown, about 5 minutes a side. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and fry until chicken is cooked through, 15 minutes. Put chicken in a bowl. Keep 2 tablespoons drippings from skillet. Add garlic and rosemary to skillet. Cook and stir until fragrant, 1 minute. Add broth and vinegar. Increase heat and boil until sauce is reduced to 1/2 cup, scraping up brown bits, 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put chicken juices in skillet. Cover. Cook over low heat until chicken is heated, 3-4 minutes. Spoon sauce over the chicken on a platter. Garnish with rosemary. 4 servings.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Roasted Beets and Oranges

I just love Ina Garten's recipe for Roasted Beets with Orange Vinaigrette.

Her recipe calls for canned beets, but, instead, I prefer to roast fresh beets with herbs, so they are more aromatic. The cooked beets are tossed with sectioned oranges and a flavorful orange vinaigrette.  This makes a wonderful side dish., that can be served warm or cold.


3-4 medium beets

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 Tablespoons herbs de provence

2 Tablespoons raspberry vinegar

2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

3 Tablespoons good olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 large seedless oranges, zested

Segments of 2 large seedless oranges


Preheat the oven to 450 Degrees farenheit.

Wash and dry the beets, then toss them with the oil and herbs de provence.  Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil, and place the beets in the pan. Cover  the beets with another sheet of aluminum foil, and bake until the beets are tender, about one hour, depending on the size of the beets. Poke a  knife in them, and once the knife goes through them easily, they are tender and cooked.  Remove them from the roasting pan and let them sit until they are cool, in the foil.

Remove the skin from the beets and dice into 1/2-inch cubes. Place the beets in a mixing bowl and add the raspberry vinegar, orange juice, olive oil, salt, pepper. Zest the oranges and then segment over a bowl to catch the juices. Add the orange zest, orange segments, and any juices and mix well. Taste for seasoning and serve cold or at room temperature

You may add a bit of diced red onion if you wish.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Steamed Mussels for a Steamy Summer Day..

Since it's been way too hot to put the oven on, and I can't grill out on my Condo Deck (Condo By Law), I decided to review my recipe files for something I could cook over the stove. Stews and soups were out,but I did find a recipe on Epicurious that would fit the bill: Mussels with Shallots and Thyme.

Adding thyme and cream are a change up from the typical Steamed Mussel recipe. And who doesn't love a little cream??? Serve this with some nice crusty bread and you have a nice meal for a steamy summer day.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 shallots, finely chopped
8 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup bottled clam juice
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed, debearded

1.Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.
2.Add shallots; sauté until they are just softened, about 8-10 minutes. 3.Add thyme, bay leaves, wine, clam juice and cream; bring to boil. 4.Reduce heat; simmer until mixture is reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. 5.Add mussels, cover and simmer until mussels open, about 7 minutes;

Please discard any mussels that do not open, as these should NOT be eaten.

6. Using tongs, divide mussels among bowls. Season broth with salt and pepper. Ladle broth over mussels.

Serve with a nice crusty french bread.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Beans, Beans....and Corn

A few months back, I picked up a book called  Raising the Salad Bar.  I found this book to be a wonderful resource for anyone looking to incorporate more vegetables into their diet.  It features salads of all types, each in its own chapter. There is a chapter on seafood salads, one on chicken salads, one on potato salads, Leafy Greens, Beans, etc.
I've been working my way through the book and almost every one has been a winner.  This week, I made a Corn, Edamame and Bean Salad that I'd like to share with you.  I substituted  black beans for the kidney beans and it still worked.

1 cup frozen shelled edamame beans.
Kernels from 3 ears of fresh corn (about 2 cups)
1 cup cooked Kidney Beans, or from a can, rinsed & drained
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

2 tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
2 T minced red onion
1 t ground cumin
3 T fresh lime juice
2 T olive oil
Salt to taste

 1. Cook the edamame, as directed on the package, and set aside.
 2. Briefly cook the corn til just tender.  An easy way to do this, is to place the corn, still in its husks, in the microwave for 3 mins. Remove from the microwave and when it is cool, take off the husks and the silk, and cut the kernels from the corn.
 3. Prepare the dressing by placing all the ingredients into a bowl and stir til combined, adding salt to taste.
 4. Combine the edamame, corn and beans in a bowl. Add the dressing to the salad. Mix in the chopped cilantro and serve.

This salad tastes best at room temperature..  If it sits a while or is stored in the fridge, perk it up with some more lime juice.

Serves 6 to 8