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Archive for the ‘greens’ Category

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I made this pesto for my daughter and her vegan friend. My daughter often is not fond of pesto because of the strong basil taste. This recipe incorporates spinach, which makes the flavor much more mild and eliminates the need for a side salad or veggie. I had mine with macerated tomatoes on the side (diced tomatoes, minced garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, chopped basil and Italian parsley– combine and let sit for an hour or more).

Pesto
In a food processor, combine (amounts are approximate– adjust for your taste– I added a little extra basil when I made it again for myself):

1 (packed) cup basil leaves, rinsed
2 (packed) cups baby spinach, large stems removed if you’re ambitious, rinsed (don’t worry about residual water)
3 cloves of garlic
1 t sea salt
1/3 cup lightly toasted pine nuts, cooled
1/3 cup raw walnuts (adjust nuts to your taste– I like a lot. The walnuts add good protein)
Olive oil until the pesto is combined and soft– approx 1/3-1/2 cup. I like a lot of olive oil– it makes the pesto creamy and soft.
If you like, add a couple 1″ cubes of Reggiano cheese.
Blend until creamy. Combine with cooked pasta– something that hold the pesto well. Serve with macerated tomatoes and red wine (water for the kiddies).

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This is my favorite lentil soup. Beginning when I was a teenager in Michigan, we visited almost weekly a small Lebanese restaurant. To this day I have not had Lebanese food as good as we had there. Many of my Middle Eastern dishes I develop are aimed to taste the way they did at this small family restaurant. What makes this lentil soup unique is the fresh lemon and the greens. I prefer to use swiss chard, but many people use spinach or just parsley. I think the chard holds up better. What makes this soup really extraordinary is the fresh lemon juice. You’ll never make lentil soup another way…

Begin by chopping a small yellow onion [I used half of a large onion], 2 carrots, and 2 stalks of celery and sauté them in a few tablespoons of olive oil in a medium size soup pot. If you want, you can sauté the onion alone until it’s brown, and then add the carrot and celery; this makes for a richer broth. I like the soup light, I think it’s nicer with the lemon. I leave the veggies in medium size chunks so they don’t disappear into mush when cooked.

After the veggies have sautéed, add about 2 cups of dry green lentils that have been rinsed and looked over. As with beans, you will sometimes find small stones amid dry lentils. Rinsing them washes away any contaminates and any lentil dust that might thicken or cloud the soup liquid. Add the lentils to the veggies and sauté for a few minutes to let the flavors absorb into the lentils.

Add chicken stock and water. Homemade stock is of course the best, but I use a 1 qt. container of organic, low sodium chicken stock and 4 cups of water. I don’t think it’s as good if it tastes too much like chicken. To make vegetarian or vegan use vegetable stock or just water. You can add more liquid as the soup cooks to maintain the consistency you like; I don’t like it ultra thick and always end up adjusting the liquid. Add a bay leaf, 3 [or more] large cloves of garlic peeled and whole, about 1 T of [preferably white] whole peppercorns, and a small cinnamon stick. I prefer the peppercorns whole, as I enjoy biting into them unexpectedly, but you can omit them or put them with the garlic in a bouquet garni with some parsley stems. Let the soup simmer for about an hour, skimming the top when needed, until the lentils are tender.

When the soup is ready, cut the ribs out of two or three large leaves of chard. Cut the ribs into small pieces [I like to cut them on the diagonal– they’re pretty] and sauté in olive oil or coconut oil in a skillet. I pretty much keep an iron skillet on a burner constantly that I cook greens in. When the chard stems start to soften, add the leaves that have been cut into small strips. When the leaves are wilted, add them to the soup. If you’re using spinach you can just throw it in the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a large wedge of lemon [I like Meyer lemon, the flavor is less acidic and richer]. You can add the lemon juice to the pot, and if you add a little it keeps the greens fresher looking; but I like the fresh juice squeezed when served. I don’t like the taste of lemon juice after it’s been sitting in food.

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