Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Machu Picchu Quinoa Salad

I have been coming up with more and more recipes these past few weeks as my husband and I try to follow a vegan diet. We have drastically reduced the amount of days a week that we eat meat.  Most weeks we may have it only once and often not at all.  It is not that difficult to do when you have wonderful beans, seeds and grains that will supply you with all the protein your body needs.  This salad was inspired from watching a video on Quinua Peru the other night and seeing a group of Indians picking quinoa in the fields.

Machu Picchu Red Quinoa Salad
(Makes 8-1 cup servings)

Quinoa (pronunced KEEN-wah) seeds require rinsing to remove the bitter saponin coating, that protects them from being eaten by birds. Simple rinsing with water in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear is enough of a cleaning. Make sure to use a fine mesh strainer so you don't lose the seeds down the drain.

1 cup dry Red Quinoa, rinsed well
1¾ cup Roasted Corn, frozen
1½ cups Cooked Pinto Beans, rinsed drained
5 small Scallions with tops, sliced
2 small to medium fresh Poblano Peppers, cleaned and diced
1 cup Roasted Roma Tomatoes, chopped (or 1 cup canned, diced tomatoes, well drained)
6 -8 Black Olives, such as Kalamata, chopped
Juice from 2 small lemons (about 4 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp gr. Coriander
1 Tbsp gr. Cumin
1 Tbsp dried Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh Cilantro leaves (garnish)

Cook Quinoa; follow package directions or use a rice cooker and add 3 cups of water to 1 cup of dry quinoa.  This should make about 3 cups of quinoa.  Make sure to rinse the quinoa prior to cooking under running water to remove the

Mix together olive oil, lemon juice and herbs and spices in the bottom of a 3 quart bowl.  

Add quinoa, pinto beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers, olives and scallions to the oil mixture and toss together. The remaining heat from the quinoa will thaw the corn if you have not already done so.   

Add salt and pepper to taste.  I use the optional fresh cilantro leaves for a garnish, but you can also add that to the salad directly

Serve warm or refrigerate to blend flavors.

***This is fantastic heated and rolled up in a tortilla or Flatout flat-bread.  Top with your favorite salsa and some cheese if you like.
 Since I have this wonderful Peruvian wall hanging depicting children at a school in Machu Picchu, I will give you a history lesson on Quinoa.

Quinoa is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds. Quinoa originated in the Andean region of Peru, where it was successfully domesticated 3000 to 4000 years ago for human consumption, though archaeological evidence shows a non-domesticated association with pastoral herding some 5200 to 7000 years ago. (Wikipedia).

"Disfrute de la ensalada"
 Nutritional information provided by NutriMirror

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


You will need about ½ cup of fresh picked Nasturtium seeds for this project. Omit any dry, old seeds. You want the fresh flesh of the green ones.
Pick through the seeds to remove the flower petals, rinse seeds in cold water and spread on paper towels to dry. Place the seeds in a bowl and cover with a brine of 2 tablespoons salt to 1 cup of water. Let sit covered in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours. Rinse and dry. Proceed with the following recipe.
Prepare the pickling brine:
In a small non-reactive saucepan measure ¼ cup of water and ¾ cup of white wine vinegar.  Bring this to a boil. 
Place the clean, dry Nasturtium seeds in a heat resistant glass bowl.  Pour the hot brine over the seeds and add 1 to 3 whole cloves, 1 teaspoon pickling spices, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 whole allspice (this may already be in the pickling spice mix, if so omit).
Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 24 hours. After the 24 hours, place the seeds, spices and brine in a small, sterilized jar with lid; I used a mustard jar from Trader Joe's. You may have extra brine. Place the jar back in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks and up to 6 weeks.
They are wonderful tossed on salads that have fresh Nasturtium flowers added for color, or added to canapés.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tuscan Kale & Cannellini Bean Salad

My salad was inspired by a recipe that I found on Dr. Weil's site.  I have made his version many times since.  Today I decided to add some Cannellini beans to the mix which resulted in this recipe.

2 bunches of Lacinato Kale, washed dried and center stem removed (about 6 cups)
2 - 4 Tbsp Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
Zest from one Lemon
2 - 4 Tbsp excellent quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used 2 Tbsp)
2-3 cloves fresh Garlic, minced
1 ounce (about 1/3 cup) finely grated Asiago or Parmesan Cheese
9 ounces cooked, drained Cannellini Beans. If using canned, rinse under cool water and drain well. (use the no salt added)
A few grinds of fresh Black Pepper
Sea Salt to your taste

In a 2 qt bowl place the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper and mix lightly.  Stack the kale leaves and slice very thin and cut into bite size pieces.  Toss Kale into the bowl with the olive oil, garlic, etc. and massage the leaves to incorporate the lemon juice.  This process will soften the leaves and make them a dark, rich color. Toss and mix in the grated Asiago Cheese and Cannellini beans.  Cover and let stand at least 5 minutes, the longer the better. I generally make this a few hours before I plan on using it, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Here is a video of Dr. Weil at True Food Kitchen making Tuscan Kale Salad. I have omitted the red pepper flakes as I did not like the punch it gave to my salad. I also omitted the bread crumbs as I didn't feel it needed it. But try it that way first, and see what you think or add a little to one serving.


Cleaned kale with center stem removed, ready for chopping.
Lacinato kale has a flatter, longer leaf than traditional curly kale. Be sure to give this one a try, but if you have trouble finding it you can always use the curly leaf varieties.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Calendula Flowers and a new blog I found

My flower gardens are full of Calendula plants in full bloom. They reseed easily and this is the second blooming cycle I have had this summer. I Googled calendula flowers and came across this blog, beautifully written with lovely photos,  The Little Herb Farm  from the East coast of Scotland, she has a great idea for using dried calendula flowers as well as many other ideas and valuable information.  I can't wait to try this.  Also check out my Calendula Flower Cake I made last spring for another great idea on what you can do with these beauties.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Making Pickles and Remembering Times With My Mother

Yesterday and today I made pickles. We don't eat that many pickles anymore since we are trying to watch our intake of sodium, but with so many cucumbers coming in now I just could not resist making them.

The smell of dill brought the memories back to me as if it were yesterday...

When I was a child growing up in Wisconsin, my mother made so many pickles it would take up an entire shelf in the basement, or cellar as we called it. She had the old black enamel turkey roaster and colorful Pyrex bowls full of small perfect cucumbers soaking in ice water. I think she soaked them overnight or maybe had this going for a few days while she added more cucumbers from the morning harvest.

We picked fresh dill with full heads in bloom, and had the pickling spices ready along with some fresh garlic and some small sections of cabbage. Yes, cabbage, I will get to that later.

The jars and lids were sterilized first and standing ready for the process to begin. She always had my sister and me stuffing the jars with the dill because our hands fit better through the opening. We then put in a small amount of the pickling spices, maybe 1/2 teaspoon, a piece of garlic and then began the task of putting the cucumbers in the jar. "Line them up now" my mother would say. You can't just stuff or toss them in the jars; there is an art to making the perfect jar of pickles. We lined up as many cucumbers as we could all around the inside edge of the jar, then we put one or two down the center; we then put another full stem of dill on top, and now the cabbage; just a small amount maybe just a leaf, folded then placed on top of the dill. Next step was to pour the hot vinegar solution into the jars. This solution was a mix of white vinegar, salt and water. Mother poured the hot pungent mixture in each jar. I always wanted to do this but understandably she would not take the risk of a possible burn on my sister or me. Now the final step, wipe each of the jar rims to make sure they were dry, then place the lid and the ring on the jar, tightening it just enough.

As the day progressed I remember hearing each one of those jars "POP" as the lid would be forced down from the cooling of the brine, sealing the jar. We would listen for each one so that we knew that they had all sealed. Then off to the cellar they went.

My father had built about six shelves against the old stone wall of the cellar which housed all of the wonderful foods my mother put up each summer. There were rows of jars of peaches, pears, berries, tomatoes, tomato juice, carrots, green beans, corn, beets, asparagus, yellow beans, and of course the wonderful pickles. Jars and jars of hamburger pickles, dill pickles, relishes, pickled crab apples. Jars of sauerkraut, greens of all sorts, canned meats like corned beef. There were small jars of every imaginable jelly and jams, marmalade and preserves.

Now our cellar was cool and damp. The walls were made of old stones, a part of the floor was concrete and a part of it was packed soil. On the soil area there lived two salamanders, we called them Sally and Sam. There was also a shower, without a curtain for privacy, a toilet without a door, and my mother’s washing machine, an old ringer type, all these were on the concrete side of the cellar, all just out in the open. And since we did not have a shower or a toilet upstairs we had to use the cellar for bathing, etc. When we were small, my mother would fill a galvanized tub for us to bathe in. My sister and I took a bath together first, then my younger brother would be put in the water after we were finished. Boys are always dirtier than girls, everyone knows that.

Sally and Sam were always in the cellar as I remember. There were old wood steps leading down, and a heavy wood door at the bottom that had one of those big spring hinges on it so it would close by itself. The bottom step was about 5 inches off the concrete floor, just enough so that you would wonder if Sally or Sam might just be hiding under that last step. You never knew where they would be, and being girls my sister and I were sort of afraid of them and the thought that they might be under the last step frightened us. Before we would enter the cellar, we swung the heavy wood door wide open, then jump out as far as we could before it came crashing back to close;  we would land as far away from the step as possible. You know just in case the salamanders might be hiding under the last step waiting for us to come down. I don’t remember them ever being under that step, but we always jumped.

Sally and Sam were harmless of course but now and then one or both of them would be on the concrete floor when we went down to use the bathroom, up the stairs we went to call mom to move them. Bravely she picked them up behind the neck, and moved them to the dirt area. When I say we, I am referring to my sister and me, we rarely went to the basement alone. Most often we went together and being small girls we could share the toilet at the same time, too. That meant we could get back up stairs faster and before Sally and Sam had a chance to get to the concrete floor.

Oh yes, the pickles. I got a little melancholy there for a moment. The best part of opening a jar of my mother’s pickles was being the first one to get a chance at the cabbage. I can’t explain the flavor but it is something between mild sauerkraut and a dill pickle. It is still very crunchy, not at all like sauerkraut, other than the vinegar, but the flavor of the dill is present along with the hint of juniper berries from the pickling spices. It is wonderful and a wonderful memory for me.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Red Zebra Tomato Crostini

Bring out the fine china and silver we have tomatoes!
I picked a beautiful Red Zebra tomato this morning and this is what I made for a delicious afternoon snack. Nutritional information is provided at the bottom of the recipe. (Thank you NutriMirror !)

Recipe for one serving:

One piece of whole grain bread, toasted crisp (I used Trader Joe's Artisan Whole Grain Bread)
½ clove of fresh garlic
3 or so small fresh basil leaves
1 small Red Zebra Tomato (any tomato will do!)
½ to 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt (optional)
½ oz mozzarella, sliced thin

Place the thin slices of mozzarella on the hot toast. Finely mince the garlic and basil, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. I blend this on the cutting board, but a small bowl will work too.

Drizzle basil mixture over top of cheese, Place the tomato slices on top of cheese and any basil/oil mixture that is left in the bowl.

Eat as soon as you can!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Roasted Baby Dutch Yellow Potato Salad with Dill (Not Your Grandma's Salad)

Potatoes are a good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin B6.  They are full of Fiber, Potassium, Thiamin, Niacin, Copper, Manganese and Magnesium.  Who needs a vitamin supplement when Mother Nature has provided us with all we need in one little brown bundle!

This recipes is very low in fat and calories.  Today I have used Baby Dutch Yellow Potato's from Melissa's Produce.  I bought these at Trader Joe's,  if you don't have a Trader Joe's nearby try using any of the new potatoes at the farmer's markets or your local supermarkets; they come in a rainbow of colors! I also like fingerling potatoes for this salad.

Roasted Baby Dutch Yellow Potato Salad with Dill 
Makes 4 servings

1 pound Baby Dutch Yellow Potatoes
2 teaspoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon minced Garlic

Preheat oven to 400°
Scrub potatoes under cold water, removing any dark spots.  Cut potatoes in quarters or in half if small, you want to have them about the same size.  Pile potatoes in a roasting pan or glass baking dish and toss with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil and garlic; spread potatoes out evenly in a single layer and roast for 35 minutes. Check halfway through and toss to make sure they brown evenly.
When potatoes are cooked through, remove from roasting pan to a medium bowl, making sure to scrape any leftover oil and brown bits into the bowl. 
In a small bowl, combine:
1 Tablespoon nonfat Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon minced fresh Parsley
1 Tablespoon minced fresh Dill
⅛ Teaspoon Sea Salt

Add to potatoes and toss well.  Serve warm.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hummus Dip with a Scent of Earthy Cumin

Earthy Cumin Hummus Dip

Makes: 4 Cups
Serving Size: 2 Tbsp

The addition of ground Cumin gives my version of the Mediterranean dip an earthy flavor that I love.  Drizzle with some additional fruity olive oil when serving if your calories will allow it. Sprinkle with added lemon zest and fresh chopped Cilantro for color and a nice zip before serving. 

Garbanzo Beans are also known as Chickpeas. If you look closely at the bean it resembles a baby chick face. Perfect, it is spring after all.

3 1/2 cups cooked, drained Garbanzo beans ( or 2 15 1/2 oz cans of Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed)
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2-4 Tablespoons fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
2 teaspoons Lemon Zest (from one lemon)
2 cloves fresh Garlic (germ removed) see note***
1/2 cup Tahini Sauce
1/4 cup yellow Onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2-1 teaspoon gr. Cumin

Drain Garbanzo beans and place in food processor or blender. Add remaining ingredients to processor and blend for 3-5 minutes; stopping to scrape down bowl when necessary. If you are using a blender this will need to be done often to get everything down to the blades.  Blend until smooth. 

Place the dip on a large serving platter, and surround with warm toasted flatbread, pita bread or fresh crisp vegetables cut for dipping.  I always sprinkle on a bit more ground Cumin too, but then I like it earthy! 
This makes a lot of dip, but freezes well. Just divide into 1/2 or 1 cup bowls, cover and freeze.

***The sprout in the center of a garlic clove is called the germ. When garlic is young, the germ is pale, small, and tender. As the garlic ages, the germ turns green, grows larger, and develops an unpleasantly bitter quality. If your garlic has these large green sprouts and you’ll be using it raw or just quickly cooked, you’re better off removing the germ. It’s easy to do: Just cut the clove in half and use a paring knife or your fingernail to pry the germ out. (If you have a lot of cloves that are doing this, save them to plant out in your garden. These cloves are from my garden last year). Plant each clove separately and it will grow into a full garlic bulb by the beginning of winter.

 In the bowl for a whirl!

Scrape down the sides now and then.

Blend until nice a smooth.

Ready to EAT!!

Nutritional Information is based on 2 Tablespoons and does not include the Flatbread.

                    Nutritional Information Provided By

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pickled Eggs for Easter or Everyday


I originally posted this recipe for pickled eggs on my garden blog Thyme in a Bottle, last April. I thought I would post it here now that I have a blog devoted to my herbal cooking adventures.

Growing up on a turkey farm in Wisconsin we were never short on eggs. I am sure one of the reasons Mother made these eggs was because of the abundance we had. It has always been a family tradition to have these eggs on Easter morning for breakfast. 

I remember how excited I was as a child to wake up Easter morning, leaping from the bed trying to be the first one down the stairs to search for my Easter basket.  Sometimes it was in the old oven, sometimes under the sink or in the crawl space behind the stairway.  I don't remember all the hiding places now, but I do remember these EGGS! 

After finding our basket my Mother would bring out a canning jar filled to the brim with these eggs.  I remember the first sour bite of the egg, pungent from the spices and the cider vinegar she used.  I am sure that this is the reason I love the taste and smell of anything made with vinegar.

Easter Morning Pickled Eggs with Tarragon and Fig Balsamic Vinegar.

**12 hard boiled eggs, cooled and peeled. 

In a small saucepan over moderate heat add:
1 cup Rice Wine Vinegar (you may use seasoned rice wine vinegar)
½ cup Water
2 tablespoons Pickling Spices
2 slices Sweet Onion, rings separated and cut in half
5 Black Pepper Corns
1 tablespoon FreshTarragon (if using dried tarragon, 1 teaspoon should be enough)
1 tablespoon of a good quality Balsamic Vinegar (I like to use a Fig Balsamic ; this will help to make the eggs a nice rich brown color and give a wonderful earthy flavor).

Simmer this mixture for a couple of minutes. Place the eggs in a sterilized canning jar, now pour your brine over the eggs.  Make sure the spices that end up at the bottom of the saucepan go in the jar too.  If your eggs are not completely covered with liquid, add some very hot water.  Cover tightly with a new clean lid and jar ring, cool and place in refrigerator.
These should be made one week ahead, depending on how tangy you would like them.  I have eaten them after only 24 hours and they are very good.  Serve these with a teaspoon or so of the brine poured over the egg and a nice piece of toasted whole grain bread for your Easter Breakfast.  These eggs are a wonderful addition to salads, especially a Nicoise Salad.

You may or may not need all of this brine, it all depends on the size of your eggs and the jar.  I used a wonderful old Norge one quart canning jar that my friend brought back from a trip she made to Norway.  The 12 small chicken eggs fit perfectly and had more than enough room.

** To make 12 perfect hard boiled eggs.  Use eggs that are not fresh; week old eggs will make better hard boiled eggs and will peel easier.  Place cold eggs in a saucepan with enough room to cover the eggs with water by at least one inch.  Add 1 teaspoon cider vinegar, bring eggs to a boil.  Turn off burner; if using an electric stove remove pan from burner.  Let sit for 20 minutes; drain and run cold water over eggs for a few minutes.  I also like to add ice cubes to the water and let them sit in the pan, until cold, about 30 minutes.  Now you can peel them and make your pickled eggs. They always turn out perfectly this way.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pinto Bean Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

Colorful, Pinto Bean Salad is full of flavor and texture.  Simple ingredients combined together make a perfect light lunch or side dish for poultry, fish or beef.  Add to a wrap sandwich and you have a satisfying meal full of healthy carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Pinto Bean Salad
Makes 3 ½ cups

1 cups (276 grams) cooked Pinto Beans, if using canned no salt added rinsed and drained
½ cup (72 grams) Sweet Red Bell Pepper, diced
¼ cup (20 grams) green onion, sliced fine, include green tops
½ cup (70 grams) English or Persian Cucumber, unpeeled, diced
½ cup (140 grams) Red and Yellow Tomato Cherry Tomatoes cut in quarters
Combine all ingredients together in medium size bowl.  Add Oregano Vinaigrette (see recipe below) mix until combined,  serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.   (serving size 1/2 cup).

Fresh Mexican Oregano from the garden
Oregano Vinaigrette
⅛ Teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Teaspoon minced Garlic (1 clove)
¼ Teaspoon ground Cumin
1 Tablespoon fresh **Mexican Oregano, minced
¼ Teaspoon fresh Jalapeño Pepper, minced fine
2  Tablespoon Lime Juice or Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Zest from Lime
Fresh ground Black Pepper, to taste.
In a small bowl combine above ingredients. Mix until well blended and pour over the Pinto Bean mixture.

**Mexican Oregano (Lippia graveikebs) has an earthier, citrus flavor, but you may use whatever Oregano you have on hand. If you don't have fresh, use 1 teaspoon dried.
Serving size 1/2 cup
Nutritional information provided by NutriMirror

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Celery Roses with Herb Cream Cheese

Yesterday was a cool, rainy day.  Today I awoke to clear skies and sunshine!  You never know what kind of weather you will have in Southern California. 
I decided to cut some fresh herbs from my garden and make something I have been thinking about for some time.  I had seen stuffed celery in an old cookbook I have that belonged to my mother.  The photo was of a tray of canapes from the late forties.  Many of the recipes were for things I would never make now, but this one for stuffed celery in the shape of a flower looked exactly like something I would like.  I gave it a try and this is what I came up with.  The directions said to make a cream cheese dip from a package and stuff the celery stalks.  Well, I don't use any packaged dip mixes, not with an herb garden right off my kitchen patio! 

 Begin with 6 or 8 washed and dried Ribs of Celery that have been cut all the same length.
Herb Cream Cheese
(Makes 16 tablespoons)
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Chives, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Marjoram, minced
  • 1 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme (lemon thyme if you have it)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Zest
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/8 Teaspoon  Sea Salt
  • 4 ounces of Light Cream Cheese (50% less fat), at room temperature
Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Don't use a food processor for this or the cream cheese will turn green.  Spread cheese mixture on each rib of celery, making sure to clean the sides; do not overfill.  After you have all six ribs filled, stack them together beginning with the smaller center ribs of the celery. Press together gently so as not to squeeze out the cream cheese.  Wipe the edges clean after you have them all formed together.  The more celery ribs you add the more your "flower" will take shape. The celery stalk I used today did not have small center stalks. I think those would make a better center than what I show here so use those if you have them.  Once you get all your stalks together, lay it down on a cutting board and carefully cut into 1 inch thick slices.  Clean you knife off after each cut.  Now that I see them plated, I think it would be a good idea to rotate the celery roll after each cut.  You can see by the top flower that it kept it's round shape, where as the lower flowers have a flat side to them.
I placed my "flowers" on a bed of Fresh Sorrel leaves and added a few Rosemary flowers for color.
Information is based on 1 Tablespoon Herbal Spread
Nutritional information provided by NutriMirror

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

1 Potato, 2 Potato, 3 Potato 4, Soup

“Pray for peace and grace and spiritual food,
For wisdom and guidance, for all these are good,
but don't forget the potatoes.”

John Tyler Pettee, 'Prayer and Potatoes
Potato soup is comfort food at it's best!  This version uses sweet potato, white potato, red potato and baking potatoes.  All of which are high in vitamins and minerals. 

 4 Potato Soup

Serves 6
¼ pound ham (or bacon) diced and browned
1 pound leeks, white part only, washed and chopped (about 3)

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
4 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups russet potato, peeled and diced
2 cups red potato, peeled and diced
2 cups white boiling potato, peeled and diced

2 cups sweet potato (or yam) peeled and diced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly ground if possible)

¼ teaspoon ground pepper, (I used white)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Additional chicken broth if needed

1.       In a small saucepan brown the ham, cool and set aside. If using bacon dice first then cook until crisp, drain on paper towels and set aside.

2.       In a large soup pot or dutch oven, saute the leeks using some of the chicken broth to “water sauté” until softened but not browned, about 15 minutes.  Add additional broth as needed to keep from sticking and browning.

3.       Add the flour and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the broth, fresh thyme leaves,  the potatoes and sweet potato.  Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a low simmer and cover.  Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly. 

4.       Place small amounts of soup in a blender, puree until smooth.  You may also use a hand blender such as Braun, which is what I do.  Be careful if using either method as it can squirt up and burn you or make a mess on the stove and you.

5.       Pour the soup back into the pan and add the nutmeg and white pepper.  Over very low heat, bring soup to a low simmer.

6.       Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with diced ham (or bacon) and chopped parsley.


Nutritional Information Provided by NutriMirror

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Spiced Lavender Scented Citrus Salad, for Dessert

So many people are stuck inside this week with the catastrophic snow storms that has hit across the country.  I wanted to bring you all a little sunshine from California with a delicious Citrus Fruit Salad.  Most supermarkets carry citrus fruits year round. I hope you can make it to the store soon so you can bring a little sunshine home with you and make this salad.  It is really a refreshing, light, dessert. Enjoy!

Spiced Lavender Scented Citrus Salad
(recipes makes 4 servings)
¼ cup sugar (I used turbinado raw sugar)
½ cup water
1 star anise
3 whole cloves
3 whole allspice
⅛ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
Lavender leaves and flowers (optional)
3 cups assorted citrus fruit (I used pink grapefruit, grapefruit and navel oranges)
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Add the star anise, whole cloves, whole allspice, dried red pepper flakes and lavender leaves if available.  Boil for 2 minutes, watching carefully so as not to burn.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Peel the citrus fruit, removing all the pith and seeds.  Cut into bite-size pieces and place in a glass bowl; pour spiced syrup over all, stir to mix. Cover tightly and refrigerate for several hours.  Serve in a clear bowl to show off the pretty colors.  Garnish with fresh lavender flowers.
I served mine on a pretty butterfly plate that was a gift from a friend. Wishing for spring to come soon so I can make this again when the butterflies arrive.
Nutritional information provided by