Fifteen-Minute Blender Bean Soup

Unbelievably flavorful and satisfying for such a fast prep time!

⅛ the cube goat butter (or regular butter)

1 large onion, chopped

Fresh herbs (rosemary, oregano, thyme)

Garlic powder

Directions

Butter sauté onions and herbs till onion turns clear.

Add two cans of cooked beans including water.

Remove from heat. Remove herbs with stems. Blend till desired smoothness.

Add fish sauce until desired saltiness. (It doesn’t taste fishy.) Or just use regular salt.

Drizzle herb oil over top. (Chop two or more fresh, leafy herbs and cover them with your favorite olive oil. In this case, the olive oil was lemon flavored.)

*Watch the reference video below to learn about cooked capers.

Notes & Commentary

Blending time took longer than food prep time. I attempted to blend this soup as smooth as the soup in the reference video below. To do this, I used a hand blender in the pot and when that didn’t work, moved to a regular blender. Neither method – even with long blending times – accomplished my goal. Conclusion: A Vitamix might be the right tool for this blending job.

My household is more COVID-19 risk-averse than most. Since March 2020, we switched grocery shopping habits to online ordering with either home or curbside delivery. I never imagined I’d miss grocery shopping, but I do. I’ve come to understand how much of my new food exploration was driven by walking aisles and seeing something to try.

These days all food tastes better and is more appreciated. Because of when and how we are now living, the discovery of goatmilk butter was doubly exciting! Upon first opening the package, I tasted a slice. If you don’t mind the goaty undertaste that comes with all goat products, it’s GREAT, almost like eating a slice of cheese. The goatmilk butter in combination with the canned beans works well together.

Another appreciation is for all the wonderful things you can do with good olive oil. My local grocery store carries this brand in their deli area. Since they don’t offer curbside delivery, I’ve been buying it directly from the Modesto-based company. They’ve been easy to work with (we have rural delivery issues) and they’ve kept my kitchen stocked. My ‘go-to’ blend is the Mediterranean Medly, but I’ve tried most of the other flavors and you simply can’t go wrong with any of them.

If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand to add to your olive oil, you can use Le Grand Chimichurri sauce, a parsley, and cilantro pesto. It says it has jalapeno peppers in it, but it’s not hot. (I’ve bought it many times. It’s just fresh-tasting and good!)

With a recent renewed commitment to eating less meat and meat products, I was experimenting with this recipe to see if I could get away from using chicken broth….the reason for the fish sauce. (I know fish isn’t meatless. But it’s made with discarded fish parts.) Change is challenging. It’s a process.

While in bean soup zone, I came across the documentary, Kiss the Ground on Netflix.

Kiss the Ground & Regeneration Food Production

It’s the most uplifting and hopeful environmental film I’ve seen … maybe ever. I highly recommend watching and sharing it. With this regeneration model, farm animals are managed in a specific way to nourish the soil. It made me question if responsible (and limited) meat consumption might still be possible, as long as you buy it from farmers like those shown in the film.

Bean Soup Reference Video

Fresh (raw) Asparagus Salad

Asparagus SaladSnap, tingle, ahhhh…  With every crunch, the freshness of this salad explodes in your mouth.

I first came across this salad in Chef Anne Burrell’s cookbook, Cook Like a Rock Star where she uses Pecorino cheese. Pecorino is a dry, salty, sheep’s milk cheese.

In this modified version, I substituted shaved Parmesan cheese (Pecorino was not available). I also used thicker stalked asparagus spears as the really skinny ones weren’t available either…  With the pencil thin asparagus, you can use more of it’s length.  If you make this with the fatter ones, you have to keep taste testing to make sure that you don’t start getting into the denser, unsavory part of the stalk that you wouldn’t want to eat.

For this batch of asparagus, I used – approximately – the top half of each spear. To make chopping efficient,  I rinse the bundle and chop with the lower-most rubber band kept in place.  This yields about 3 cups worth.

ingredients

3 bundles of fresh asparagus – rinsed and finely chopped into rounds
1/4 – 1/2 of a raw red onion – finely chopped
1 1/2 cups – 2 cups shaved dry, salty cheese (Pecorino or Parmesan)
4 tblsp. Olive Oil
6 tblsp. Red Wine Vinegar
Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

*The flavors of this salad improve over time.

Hot Peaches with Nuts and Cheese

A surprising compliment for a variety of meats.

I first served this with chicken thighs cooked in the crockpot for several hours (on low) with BBQ sauce and a can of beer. The two together create a lovely combination of flavors.

Below are the ingredients that I used for this recipe, but I will also note that other combinations of cheeses and nuts will also work just equally as well.

3 or 4 large ripe peaches –  peeled. Remove the pit and slice in quarters.
2 tblsp. olive oil
2 tblsp. Tamari pumpkin seeds – crushed or chopped
about 1/8 cup Manchego cheese thinly sliced with a vegetable peeler
about 1 tsp. bee pollen (or sugar)
salt to taste

Heat olive oil in pan till hot. Add peach slices. Let them brown on one side, then flip to brown the other side.

Remove from heat and drain any excess oil.

While peaches are still hot, sprinkle them with the nuts, cheese and bee pollen.

Add salt if needed.

hot peaches

Potato Omelet – a Basque Staple

agriculture-72254

What are the flavors that instantaneously transport you back to an elemental time where nothing exists but THAT sensation and the  ‘Y-U-M-M-M’ resonating through your body like waves of the most delicious sound?

The smell of fresh whey, cream at the top of certain brands of yogurt and this potato omelet (with these herbs) are a few of mine.

While on a trip to the Spanish Basque Country (2015), our hosts at a charming inn taught several of us how to prepare this recipe. Also known in as tortilla de patata or “homlet” this is a ‘go to’ meal for a variety of occasions from appetizers to picnic fare to a main dish or for a snack on the run.

Approximately 14 small potatoes – peeled & cubed
1/2 large onion – chopped
6 cloves garlic – chopped
salt
6 eggs – beaten

3/4 cup olive oil

+

1/4 cup olive oil

Optional Spices:

1 tsp. thyme

1 tsp.

1 tsp. basil

1 tsp. rosemary

1/4 tsp. turmeric

Place all chopped vegetables into a bowl. Heat 3/4 cup olive oil over medium heat until the oil begins to look ‘wavery.’  Pour vegetables in pan.  Cook for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until potatoes are mostly done.

Pour mixture into a large bowl to let oil gather at the bottom and until it cools. Drain excess oil.

Combine eggs, salt and herbs in a bowl and mix well. Pour over vegetables and mix.

Heat remaining 1/4 cup of oil in the pan until oil is ‘wavery’ again. Pour in egg and vegetable mixture. Let it cook over medium heat until the edges start to look brown.

Place a large plate over the pan and carefully flip omelet onto plate. (Wipe up any excess oil…in order to reduce the risk of fire!) Gently slide omelet back into the pan to finish cooking on this side.  When done, slide onto a cutting board and top with your toppings of choice.

cassy will

Topping Ideas:

Cheese, salsa, plain yogurt, pizza sauce, fried eggs, sprouts, nuts or chutney.

Resources:

pinxos

basque table

http://www.amazon.com/Telling-Room-Betrayal-Revenge-Greatest/dp/0385337019/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1440822622&sr=8-1&keywords=the+telling+room

A biographical tale about the most famous Spanish cheese.

Yellow Cauliflower & French Green Lentil Soup

In my house there are some who think that they do not like cauliflower (they shall remain nameless). When a nose was crinkled at the cauliflower answer to, “What are we having.”

My response was, “Just wait.”

We sat down for dinner, the first bites went in….a pause…

And then the phrase that always brings out my cook’s Cheshire cat smile, “This is good!”

Another win for Mom.

Yellow Cauliflower and green lentil soup

 

4-6 tblsp. olive oil
6 oz. Applegate Genoa Salami (or other nitrate free salami)  [6 oz is a pack and a half] – chopped
1 medium onion – chopped
2 large carrots – chopped
4-6 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
1 tbslp. Celtic sea salt [or to taste]
2 tblsp. thyme
1 medium to large head yellow cauliflower
3/4  – 1 1/2 cups French Green Lentils

Place olive oil and salami into a soup pot.

Saute over medium heat until you can smell the salami (about 5 minutes), add onions & carrots, saute until they are tender.

Add the chicken broth / stock, salt & thyme.

Cut out and finely chop the thick stem parts of the cauliflower and break floweretes into small pieces.

Add cauliflower and lentils to pot and cover.

Let it cook at a rolling bowl – make sure to check that liquid doesn’t evaporate – for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until lentils are soft.

 

*The bold salami and chicken broth flavors dominate this dish making the cauliflower more of a texture rather than a central feature.

 

Chicken with Rice – Pollo Con Arroz

chicken with rice

A recipe from ‘Life at Home in Mexico’ cookbook [1944].  It is one of those simple comfort foods that satisfies with every bite.

The recipe was incorporated into an encaustic (hot wax) art piece. (An interesting side note. When working with hot wax, one uses tools that heat it until it turns, temporarily, liquid.  While heating the wax with the dried onions in it, the onions gave off a smell like they were being cooked…which they were!)

 

1 frying chicken – cut up

1/2 cup oil

1 cup rice, uncooked

1/2 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup tomato puree

21/2 cups boiling water

Salt and Pepper

Cut chicken in pieces and fry in oil until a delicate brown. Remove from pan. rice1Add the unwashed, uncooked rice to the oil in the pan and fry until golden, stirring frequently. Add onion, garlic, tomato puree and boiling water.rice 2 Season with salt and pepper. Add the browned chicken, and let simmer covered,f or 30 minutes. Do not remove cover. It must steam thoroughly. Serves 6-8.

 

* Lisa’s note:  I added cumin seed (about a teaspoon per serving) at the end to jazz it up.
chicken and rice