Sunday, February 19, 2012

Kale Chips

My first attempt at homemade Kale Chips. Inspired by my friend Jennifer, at whose home recently I had the most wonderful Kale Chips, I decided to try making these. And...success! Why didn't anyone tell me how easy these are to make at home?? Not to mention, I would venture to guess that munching on homemade oven-baked Kale Chips is any day better for you than munching on fried things.

   Kale Chips

I started with a beautiful bunch of organic Purple Kale. Simply wash, rinse, rip into bite sized pieces, dry (this is where a salad-spinner is a huge help!), then toss with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake on a cookie sheet at 350 F for 10-15 minutes. Results: crispy, yummy, wonderful green goodness. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spiced Chick Pea Soup

Chick peas, spinach, and tomatoes simmered in savory herbs and spices, with homemade garlicky crostini...dinner is served! This soup is perfect on a cold winter's evening, and very hearty for being completely vegetarian. Quick and easy to make, and, you will have plenty leftover for tomorrow's lunch!

Spiced Chick Pea, Spinach, and Tomato Soup

You will need:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons harissa (a versatile condiment well worth having on hand!)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste (I did not need to add any)
1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans), rinsed really well and drained
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of all water
1 can fire roasted tomatoes (regular diced tomatoes are fine too)
4 cups vegetable broth, warmed

Heat up the olive oil in a soup pot on medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and saute for a couple of minutes on medium heat. Then add the bay leaf, cumin powder, and dried herbs. Stir for a minute, then add the harissa paste and stir for another minute. Add pepper (and salt if you like), chick peas. spinach, and tomatoes with their can liquid as well. Stir well for two minutes. Add the warmed vegetable broth and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to a strong simmer and leave uncovered for 30 minutes. Fish out the bay leaf. At this point the soup is ready to serve!
Or, you could remove half the soup, puree it in the food processor or with an immersion blender, then add it back into the remaining soup - this gives it a wonderful thick consistency and the textures play off each other really well!
Toss in some croutons or any kind of bread when serving. Enjoy!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Memories Of Potatoes And Marriage

We are just about halfway unpacked in our new home, after one full week. I had most of the kitchen unpacked within the first few days, therefore had few excuses not to start cooking right away. The only issue was, with not much more than a sack of potatoes in the pantry, I was at a loss for what to make for dinner (unless there was a harried rush to the grocery store involved - which is never a good idea where I'm concerned).

Then a memory came back to me about the first meal that my now husband (then boyfriend) ever made for me. We had been dating for about a month at the time, and he told me that one of his favorite foods was the mighty Potato. Ever the sassy one, I asked him to make me something with potatoes...and voila, he produced this amazing foil-wrapped roasted potato dish. Adding to the fact that this meal was prepared with care, I couldn't help but notice that this foil-wrapped method locked in all the yummy herbs and spices and infused the potatoes with their flavor in such a marvelous way. It is a stand-alone meal for us potato-lovers, but is probably better suited to being a side dish for normal folk!

I have since made my husband's special potatoes quite often and every time we enjoy this dish, those fond memories come rushing back. So, what better way to break in our new kitchen than to load it up right away with fond memories of our first meals together?

As an added bonus, I got to celebrate the fact that I finally have an oven that I can turn up to over 400 F without having to worry about an over sensitive smoke alarm!  :)

Foil Roasted Potatoes

You will need:

4-5 baking potatoes, cubed (we like skin on, but feel free to peel)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 tablespoon dried rosemary
1/4 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste
Aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 425 F. Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Tear off enough aluminum foil to cover a cookie sheet twice. Pour the potatoes over this double layer, then cover with another double layer of aluminum foil. Fold the edges over tightly, to make a "packet". Put the cookie sheet in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Then carefully flip the packet over and bake for another 20 minutes. That's it. Enjoy!