African Yam Stew ~ Amazing, Spicy, Sweet Peanut Buttery YUM!

african-yam-stew

This is divine!  I made it two nights ago and was crazy over the depth of flavor it has.  The small amount of peanut butter truly added this whole level of yum, beyond the awesome spices it has.

I have to say the next time, I would half the recipe because it simply made too much for just the Mr. and myself.  The girls tried it and well… not so much mom!  Perhaps the flavors are just too grown up for them, yet.  Enjoy!

Two popular vegetarian soups of Central Africa were the inspiration for this stew. In this region, sweet potatoes, beans, chili peppers, onions, ginger, garlic and peanuts are common ingredients. The peanut butter makes this a creamy stew, but there is only a small amount per serving. To decrease the richness serve over a whole grain or use only ¼ cup of peanut butter. Feel free to kick up the heat by using jalapeno pepper or more red pepper flakes.

Forks Over Knives

http://www.forksoverknives.com/african-yam-stew/

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

• ½ cup water
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1-2 tablespoon(s) Anaheim or jalapeno pepper, minced
• 1 tablespoon ginger, ground
• 1 tablespoon garlic granules
• 2 teaspoons cumin, ground
• 2 teaspoons coriander, ground
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• 6 yams, peeled and chopped
• 2 cups vegetable broth
• 24 ounces tomatoes, chopped
• 14 ounces garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
• 14 ounces black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
• 1/2 cup almond or peanut butter, unsweetened natural
• 1½ cup corn
• 6 cups collards, chopped

Instructions:

In a large pot, sauté onion and pepper with water for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally

Add ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander and red pepper.

Cook and stir for 1 minute.

Mix in yams, vegetable broth, tomatoes, beans and nut butter.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Stir in corn and collards and cook for about 10 more minutes, until yams and greens are tender.

Serve over brown rice or other whole grain.

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Italian White Bean, Potato and Kale Stew

italian-white-bean-kale-and-potato-stew

“Let food be thy medicine.”  Hippocrates

A few days ago while on Facebook, I got one of those “suggested posts” for a website ‘Forks Over Knives’ and it showed a recipe for Italian White Bean and Kate Stew.  It sounded delightful and very healthy.

I clicked on the link to the recipe and was happy to find this amazing site and documentary on being mindful with food choices.  The documentary is quite telling and should be watched by all.

Italian White Bean, Kale and Potato Stew
Serves 6

Ingredients

• 1 cup diced red or white onion
• 3 cloves garlic
• 2 28 ounce cans diced tomatoes (salt free if you prefer)
• ¼ – ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 5 cups red-skinned potatoes cut into one inch squares
• 1 tablespoon dried oregano
• 1 tablespoon dried parsley
• 6-8 packed cups of kale, after it has been de-stemmed and chopped
• 2 15 ounce cans Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
• salt (optional)

Instructions

Place a large soup/stock pot over a medium high flame and pour some of the liquid from one of the cans of the diced tomatoes into the pot to cover the base of the pot. When the tomato liquid starts to bubble, add the onion and stir. Lower heat a little. Press garlic into pot. Add red pepper flakes (to taste). Continue to cook and stir, lowering heat as the time passes, for a total of about 10 minutes or until onions are soft.

Add the rest of the first can of diced tomatoes and the entire second can into the pot. Bring heat up to medium-high again so that tomatoes begin to simmer. Place diced potatoes, oregano and parsley into the pot and stir. Cover pot, lower heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Place all of the kale into the pot and cover the pot again. Let kale steam and shrink for 3 minutes. Uncover pot and stir in kale. Add Cannellini beans and stir. Taste and season with salt (or not). If potatoes are not as soft as you desire, continue to let simmer.

Vietnamese Pork Pho Soup ~ Delicious, Healthy Love for Your Tummy!

Pork%20Pho%202

When the Mr. and I used to frequent Montreal for our weekend “adult” getaways, our favorite go~to hangover remedy, as with most other cultures was some sort of big, fresh vegetable, noodle and protein soup.

Thanks to many great reviews online from Montreal natives, we were lucky to find a lot of great restaurants that are “off the beaten path” of tourists, that have phenomenal cuisine at low prices!

So where is the best place to get pho?  A tiny hole-in-the-wall place in Chinatown, Cristal No. 1.

It was absolutely AMAZING!

http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/67/1548051/restaurant/Chinatown/Cristal-No-1-Montreal

The whole late night, post partying, healthy soup practice, seems to not have taken hold here in the U.S. as it has pretty much everywhere else.   That is, it’s probably unlikely that it will become popular, unless the Golden Arches start carrying it, anyway!

I’ve been making this soup at home for years in the chicken form.  Chicken stock and meat.   This past week I made pho with a lovely, tender pork loin and it was absolutely amazing.

Here is the recipe I used.  Feel free to add any variety of veggies on top that you have, the key is to add them AFTER the noodles, meat and broth.  The idea is to keep them fresh, vibrant and crispy.  The nice thing about this soup is it’s easily made ahead of time.  If you chop the veggies first and refrigerate till you’re ready, it’s only a matter of heating up the broth.  This means, healthy, quick dinner!

Here are some fresh / raw veggies I’ve seen on Pho:

Julienne carrots

Julienne cucumbers

Mushrooms

Cilantro

Sliced thin red peppers

Jalapeno thin sliced

Bean sprouts

Sliced thin read onion

Chopped mint

Chopped basil

Lime wedges

http://guiltykitchen.com/2009/10/14/daring-cooks-vietnamese-pork-pho/

And if you’re ever in Montreal, definitely check out Cristal No. 1.  It’s the best pho in Montreal!

Maine Haddock Chowder

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Living in Maine for over 30 years haddock was a staple at our dinner table as much as meat was in most families.  During the long cold winters, fish chowder was our go to meal for a hot and hearty supper.  Here is a delicious recipe from one of Portland, Maine’s most famous diners, Becky’s.

http://www.beckysdiner.com/

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Ingredients:

6 tablespoons butter + 4 tablespoons
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups diced raw potato
3-4 haddock filets (a little over one pound)
4 cans evaporated milk
2 cups whole milk
6 strips bacon, cooked crisp and broken into pieces

Directions:

  1. In a deep saucepan or Dutch oven, sauté the onion in the 6 tblsp. butter until it is transparent. Add pepper, garlic, salt, and potatoes, plus enough water to cover the potatoes. Boil until the potatoes are fork-tender.
  2. Lay the haddock atop the cooked potatoes and onions. Do not drain off water or add more. Cover the pan and boil over medium heat until the fish flakes apart with a fork (no more than 10 minutes).
  3. Add evaporated milk and milk and heat but do not return to boil.
  4. Add bacon and additional salt and pepper to taste.  Float remaining 4 tblsp. butter on top.

Scottish Cullen Skink Soup ~ Smoked Haddock Soup

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This is a traditional Scottish smoked haddock recipe.  It is a fine Scottish soup of great taste and
simplicity.  This Cullen Skink recipe was provided by Kris Burrin, the exceptional English Chef of The
Seasons restaurant in Stonington.

Preparation time:
About 30 minutes

Ingredients: (4 servings)
1 lb Finnan Haddie
2 pints full fat milk
2 oz. butter
85 ml double cream
2 cloves
1 fresh bay leaf
12 oz potatoes cut into 1/2″ cubes
2 medium onions
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Method:
Peel one of the onions, cut in half and stud with the cloves.  Put into a pan with the milk and bay leaf,
bring just to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the Finnan Haddie and simmer for 4 minutes.  Lift
the fish out onto a plate and strain the liquid through a sieve into a jug.  When the Finnan Haddie is cool
enough to handle flake into large pieces and set aside.


Peel and finely chop the remaining onion.  Melt the butter in a large pan, add the onion and cook over a
gentle heat for 5 minutes, until softened but not brown.  Add the reserved milk and diced potatoes.
Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 10 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked but still just firm.
Blend half the soup in a liquidizer until smooth.  Return to the pan with the double cream and Finnan
Haddie flakes, season with a little salt and pepper and warm through for 1-2 minutes.


Serve in a warmed soup tureen, scattered with the chopped parsley.  In the picture above – taken at the
Seasons Restaurant in Stonington, Kris Burrin also added a few flakes of crisped parsnip to garnish.

Creamy, Dreamy Corn and Chicken Chowder

Corn-Chowder

Corn Chowder

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

5 strips thick cut bacon; sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 sweet onion, diced
2 carrots peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon chipotle seasoning
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (add more if you like some heat)
6 cups vegetable stock
2 cups heavy cream
2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
6-8 ears corn
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken; I use rotisserie chicken from the local market
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
green onions; sliced for garnish

Directions:

1. In a Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium high heat until crisp; remove bacon with a slotted spoon and allow to drain and reserve for garnish.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, jalapeno and thyme to the bacon drippings and cook until the vegetables are soft; about 8 to 10 minutes. Dust the vegetables with flour, chipotle seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes and stir to coat well.

3. Cook vegetables, flour and seasonings for 2 minutes; stir frequently.

4. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add the cream and the potatoes, bring to a rapid boil. Allow soup to boil hard for about 7 minutes, until the potatoes break down. This process will help thicken the soup.

5. Cut the corn kernels off the cobs and add to the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add in the cooked chicken. Simmer until the corn is soft and chicken is heated through; about 10 to 12 minutes.

6. Stir in the parsley. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the reserved bacon and green onions.

Notes:

– If you are not a fan of heat, eliminate the jalapeno. Personally I would not omit the crushed red pepper or the chipotle seasoning. It adds a smokiness and depth of flavor that is truly magical in this soup.
– If you like heat, definitely toss some more spices in and even leave a few jalapeno seeds hanging around.
– This soup is perfectly delicious without the addition of the chicken, but is definitely more of a meal with it.

Vermont Colby Cheese Soup

When we lived in Vermont we frequently went to our friends deli and got their cheese soup.  It was amazingly rich, thick and filling.

Vermont Colby Cheese Soup

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup each carrots, celery, green peppers, and onion, diced as fine as possible.
3 cups grated Colby cheese
2 cups milk warmed
Salt and cayenne pepper

Method:

Make a roux of the flour and butter. Add the stock and the vegetables. Bring to a simmer and cook slowly for 30 minutes. Add the cheese and bring to just before the boil, stirring until the cheese is melted and well incorporated. Add the milk and reheat again, but do not boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Note: If you want more cheese flavor, simply increase the amount of cheese)

This recipe serves 6.