Sweet Potato Roasted Pepper Soup

You can tell a great deal about a person by what lies in the depths of their refrigerator.You know you do it, snoop through someone’s refrigerator while visiting.

The “empty-fridge person”? That just blows my mind. How do manage to eat out 3 meals per day? And never snack?

Then there is the beer-only fridge…I won’t name any names since some of my former roommates may or may not read my blog.

The there is my mother-in -law’s fridge, that perfect fridge. You know….the one that is bright white and all the tupperwares match and are perfectly stacked by size. The vegetables are in the crisper where they are supposed to be the foods are labeled and dated. The sauces look nice and tidy in the fridge door, nary a drip or drop anywhere to be seen around the caps.

And then.

You have my fridge.

About once I week I find myself cursing as I reach into the back trying to find that darned piece of ginger wrapped in foil and my hand hits something sticky. The soy sauce spilled back there somewhere. My dog is sticking his face in there trying to lick it up, amidst the small stacks of leftovers haphazardly packaged in foil and plastic wrap. You can see  an  open-air bowl of noodles my husband placed on the top shelf with no cover on it. Random piles of vegetables are placed haphazardly on every space available. Even though I clean it out every 2 weeks, it looks as if it hasn’t been organized in months.

I’m just that messy apparently.

I dislike wasting good food. Sometimes it’s a struggle to use up all the fresh veggies we have in the fridge before they go bad, so I survey the fridge as the end  of the week nears and use past-due foods  in the best way I know how: a soup! Whatever doesn’t make it into the soup goes to chickens as long as it is not moldy.

I made this soup with leftover sweet potatoes and a bag of peppers that was about to bite the dust.  This has to be one of the easiest soup recipes I have made to date.

sweet potato red pepper soup

Roast the veggies, dump in the pot, puree.

Done.

A clean recipe that will get you into swimsuit-ready shape.

Top with pepitas (pumpkin seeds), feta, or sliced avocado and a side of crusty bread .

 

In other news, the Barred Rock ladies are officially hitting puberty.

 

Barred Rock Chicks in November

Barred Rock Chicks November 2012

 

grown barred rock hen

Barred Rock Hen April 2013

Our first tiny brown egg appeared in the coop yesterday after 4.5 months of waiting. It’s entirely too cute to eat. Don’t you agree?

The first  2 tiny brown eggs.

The first 2 tiny brown eggs.

 

 

 

Roasted Sweet Potato Red Pepper Soup

Serves 6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
This low calorie and flavorful roasted sweet potato red pepper soup is the perfect fast weeknight meal.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups red bellpepper (chopped)
  • 2.5 cups peeled sweet potato (cubed)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon chinese 5 spice powder
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
  • 5 cups no salt added chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1/8 t salt and toss well. Place mixture on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
Step 2
In a soup pot or large saucepan, combine the roasted veggies,chicken broth and another 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Place half of the mixture in a blender. Cover blender with a towel and puree. Repeat with remaining veggies in the pot until mixture is smooth. Top with rosemary, feta cheese or pumpkin seeds. Serve,

 

 

 

Peanut Chicken Stew

Have you jumped on the peanut train yet? Well, clearly I have because I am posting a second peanut recipe , and I still have another jar to use up. Peanut butter protein balls perhaps next?

My husband began calling this Peanut Chicken Stew “crack” stew because neither one of us could walk by the pot without hovering over it, swiping spoonfuls before and after dinner.

It is that good. I have been dreaming about this stew  since we finished it one week ago. This is really special. It makes you feel good, so good, that I made it again today to pair with homemade bread and friends!

peanut chicken stew

When you read the recipe, you are going to jump out of your  chair and proclaim I am crazy for putting together the strange mix of ingredients….I jumped out of my chair the first time I saw peanut butter, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, rotisserie chicken,coconut milk, turmeric, brown rice, fresh herbs and other healing spices mixed together.

The, I tried it because I was curious, and I am  now a peanut-stew-convert.

On another note, I’m sorry I haven’t posted in almost 2 weeks.Life over here has looked like this-

work. cook. eat. sand. repeat. paint. cook. eat .repeat.paint. repeat. clean.repeat. think about starting the garden. paint.

Our dining room is now painted, and we are working on the impossible task of the kitchen, which entails removing 50 year old wallpaper, sanding with my purple swimcap on to protect my  hair , balancing on a 15 foot tall ladder at a 60 degree angle, and finding dust bombs from the sanding on every surface. Today we painted trim. Ick.

I am looking forward to the part where I have a glass of wine and marvel at the newly painted  walls.

Until then, I’ll be eating this peanut stew while the weather is still cold, and  enjoying this cream sauce without the cream from Eating Well. I used it to make a killer healthy macaroni and cheese  last week and in homemade tomato soup.  Alas,  the healthy  mac n’ cheese was downed before I could photograph it. Food blogger photography problems….the subject disappears quickly.

 

To Your Health,

Lydia

Peanut Chicken Stew

Serves 8
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Allergy Peanuts
Meal type Main Dish, Soup
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
This peanut chicken stew , filled flavorful ingredients and superfoods, is the perfect cold-weather healthy meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 roasted bell pepper (chopped finely)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1.5 teaspoons grated coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dark chili powder
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 16 oz can plum tomatoes
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 rib rotiserie chicken, meat removed and chopped
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Note

You can puree this stew before adding in the coconut milk , peanut butter, and chicken and rice for a smooth and creamy soup.  Then warm it up, stir in the rest of the ingredients, and serve. I prefer the chunky stew though.

Sriracha is a delicious hot sauce, but you can substitute tobasco is you have no sriracha on hand.

 

Directions

Step 1
Saute the onion in the oil on medium-high heat until it is translucent. The add in the spices, garlic,and ginger and saute 2 more minutes.
Step 2
Add the chicken broth, grated carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, brown sugar, sriracha, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium and let it simmer with the top on for at least 45 minutes.
Step 3
Stir in the coconut milk and peanut butter and whisk until combined.
Step 4
Stir in the roasted chicken and cook another 2 -3 minutes on medium high until the chicken is hot. Garnish with fresh chives or cilantro.
Step 5
Serve atop the cooked brown rice in a bowl and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

 

 

 

The next best thing to being in Italy

Hello from the dark depths of Tropical Storm Beryl, or as I like to call it the hypothetical- storm- that- forced- us- to-  cancel- our- weekend- kayaking- and- cycling- trip- and has- yet- to- produce- one- freaking -rain -drop. I’m not bitter. Not at all.

We have power. Blue skies. A little wind.No rain. And a whole lotta food. It’s been a cooking week here on the urban farm. I am up to my neck in squash and tomatoes in our garden, which I feel so blessed to know came straight from the dirt we cultivated and has no pesticides in it. It’s yummy!

The past week was truly special because I had the pleasure of attending a cooking class on Mediterranean fare by chef, Robin Asbell….right after a stomach virus, so the food tasted extra delicious because I was starving! The timing could not have been more perfect, because lately I cannot stop daydreaming about my trip 2 years ago today to Italy with all of these fresh tomatoes, basil, rosemary, and zucchini around the house.

For the next few weeks, I will be cooking up  Italian dishes because Thursday night’s  class  with Robin brought back so many memories of my own . It inspired me to not only try a few of her recipes, but re-create a few I learned myself at an Agriturismo in Tuscany and Cinque Terre.  Love:-)

Robin Asbell and I are so much alike in a myriad of ways.  Of course, I contained my excitement in the class with a serious face, but I was secretly jumping around  on the inside. That’s just how I am. My emotions are much better put on paper…

Not only is she a whiz on food history and politics (my senior project in college was about the effect of the Industrial Revolution on our food system in the U . S. ..Go food nerds.! ), but she is  a proponent of eating real foods. And if you have read this blog lately, that’s my cup- of- tea, my passion ,and my forte.

Other similarities between her and I include baking with  sucanat and coconut oil , cooking with  grass-fed butter, and memorizing random food facts that most people would never know. And what recipe did I just post on my blog a week before her class?!

A recipe that includes grass-fed butter, coconut oil, and sucanat.Whoa.

She is a famous chef who writes for Clean Eating, and I, well, I write to keep my sanity and to keep Larsen from falling asleep at the dinner table whenever I am telling him about what is in the dish I just cooked and the entire history of it. And you know what, she admitted that is why she writes, too?

I feel almost normal.

As Robin pointed out and I agree, simple foods that po’ folks eat  and grow is usually the healthiest. In sleepy Tuscany,where agriturismos grace the landcape, old grandmothers  churn their  own  butter from their grass-fed cows , pick  only a few, fresh ingredients and turn it into something flavorful and healthy, just as their grandmothers did, and are able to create a dish from whatever is on hand. Where did this knowledge go in the U.S.??

Oh yes, that’s right, we have factories and food scientists that  make our food now. And fast food joints. And chain restaurants. Boo.

I prefer the Italian way of life, which takes quality ingredients straight from the ground, includes Omega 3’s,vitamins, and minerals, and requires  just a touch of preparation to be transformed into a flavorful meal.

Let’s get to the food already, specifically Robin’s  “Chickpea Fritters with Romesco Sauce”.

Oh, dear God , who would have thought you could elevate a chickpea to that level?

I love chickpeas. I eat  hummus everyday, but never had I imagined what a bit of romesco sauce could do when set  into bed with a chickpea. A union of the Gods.

I  made a few changes to her recipe today, sauteed  ’em up, and served them to the man. He could not contain the groans of delight. This recipe is low-cost, easy, and delicious!

I bought Robin’s book The New Whole Grains Cookbook and could not be more satisifed with the recipes. A cookbook comprised of dishes made only with whole grains, and  no white flour in sight? I’m in heaven.

She also has a few other cookbooks including Big Vegan and the The New Vegetarian, both of which I plan to order in the next few months. Lastly, Robin has a blog, called Robin Asbell’s The New Vegetarian.

I tweaked her recipe to include fresh feta, coriander, and fried capers! Enjoy!

 

And look for Italy Part I & II cooking class stories  in the near future on 2 Blue Eggs .

 

If you care at all about what is going on in the agriculture world or about the future of GMO’s, I just read an informative and interesting article by Mother Earth News.

If you don’t know what GMO’s are, we can’t be friends. OK, just kidding..Kinda. 

Chickpea Patties with Romesco Sauce

Serves 8
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Allergy Tree Nuts
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan
Meal type Appetizer, Main Dish, Snack
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Lydia D. recipe adapted from author Robin Asbell
Crunchy, smoky, and flavorful, these Chickpea Patties with Romesco Sauce are a flavorful vegetarian /vegan meal or appetizer.

Ingredients

  • 1 jar capers (drained)

For the Patties

  • 1.5 cups canned chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 cups garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (fine)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 cups fresh spinach (chopped)
  • 6 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1.5 cups olive oil
  • 4 green onions (chopped finely)

For the Patties (Optional)

  • 1/2 cup feta or haloumi cheese (crumbled)

Romesco Sauce

  • 6 medium slices baguette (inch thick, cubed)
  • 1 cup almonds (slivered, unsalted)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 4 red peppers (roasted, skin-removed)
  • salt (to taste)
  • water (to desired consistency)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil (plus extra as needed)
  • 3 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)
  • 4 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Note

These can be vegan and still delicious if you leave out the feta cheese!

Also,  warm cooked patties  in a 200 degree oven to serve  later.

Directions

For the Patties
Step 1
Prep-Wilt the spinach in a pan. Set aside spinach and in large frying pan , add olive oil and set aside. Layer paper towels on a large plate for the cooked patties.
Step 2
In large bowl whisk together flour, water, salt, coriander and set aside for 1 hour.
Romesco Sauce
Step 3
In another fry pan, saute the slivered almond and baguette for 5 minutes or until browned at medium-high heat.
Step 4
Blend together the toasted almond and baguette and chopped garlic in a food processor until just blended. Add red peppers, parsley and paprikas and process so it makes a paste. Add vinegar and salt and olive oil. Then add water to your desired consistency.
For the Patties
Step 5
Add wilted spinach, garlic, baking soda, and lastly the chickpeas to the batter after it has been sitting for an hour.
Step 6
Heat the oil on medium-high in the pan until a test drop of batter sizzles. Drop batter in 1/4 C spoonfuls into hot oil, cook 3 minutes each side and turn heat down to medium. Cook until patties are browned each side and bubbly. Remove and let drain on paper towels. After all fritters have been cooked, dump the drained capers in hot oil and saute for 1 minute. Remove and let drain on paper. Serve patties with fresh romesco sauce and capers.

 

To Your Health and Fitness,

Lydia D.