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Recipe Roundup: The Mysterious Artichoke

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The artichoke. We all know this beauty and most of us love them too, but their mystic can be somewhat… intimidating. But don’t let the perceived “hassle” scare you away, and I promise you are not the only one who might be shy around an artichoke.

First, get oriented with this great article on 9 Ways to Make the Most of an Artichoke. When you are feeling more adventurous check out these 10 recipes that use the artichoke in a variety of ways, from salsa to on the grill.

Simple Grilled Artichokes – Kristi’s Farm to Table

Pan-Roasted Artichoke with Lemon and Garlic – Cooking Light

Raw Artichoke, Celery, and Parmesan Salad – Bon Appetit

Artichoke Halves Stuffed with Beef – Leite’s Culinaria

Artichoke Salsa – Cooking during Stolen Moments

Grilled Artichoke with Yogurt-Dill Dipping Sauce – Bon Appetit

Minted Tomato Artichoke Salad – Fork and Flower

Braised Artichokes – Simply Recipes

Creamy Artichoke and Asparagus Lasagna  – Cooking Light

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms – Hummusapien

Garlicky Leek and Artichoke Soup – C’est La Vegan

Continue to unravel the mystery with our Artichoke Pinterest board.

 

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Recipe Roundup: 7 Seasonal Winter Soups

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Soup is always a good idea but especially with the crazy weather we have been having where some mornings you wake up and it’s 28 degrees, oh joy. The good news is it’s so easy to incorporate more seasonal vegetables into your diet with winter soups. Also a great way to rescue wilting vegetables that need a little help but are still begging to be eaten.  Check out these recipes I have put together for seasonal soup inspiration. Happy cooking!

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Scarlet Runner Beans and Turnip Soup – No scarlet runner beans around? No problem, use whatever dry beans you have in the pantry. And don’t forget to put those extra turnip greens to work with some Spicy Skillet Turnip Greens.

Chorizo & Winter Vegetable Stew  from Kristi’s Farm to Table

 Spicy Pork and Mustard Greens from Bon Appetit

Cauliflower, Bacon and Potato Soup from The Whimsical Wife

Black Bean, Pork and Sweet Potato Stew from Kristi’s Farm To Table

White Bean Swiss Chard Soup from Pickled Plum

Red Curry Coconut Chicken Thai Soup from Vanille Verte

 

 

 

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Scarlet runner bean and turnip soup

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Until a few years ago, I never really paid much attention to beans.  Thanks to Tex-Mex and Southern cuisines, I grew up eating pinto and black beans with the occasional Boston baked bean thrown in, but we really didn’t eat a lot of beans.  They just didn’t seem that interesting and you had to soak them, so they were kind of a hassle to cook.

Then, while visiting San Francisco a few years ago, I found the Rancho Gordo booth at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Markets.  I was intrigued by all the different types of beans they had for sale – yellow eye, Christmas lima, scarlet runner, purple runner and zarco beans.  Clearly, I was missing out on something.

I bought several bags of beans that day and started my love affair with beans.  As it turns out, beans are great for you – both high in fiber and protein while being low in fat – and it’s easy to throw a pot on the stove to cook while you are working or doing chores around the house.  They also freeze well so it’s nice to make a big pot and store the leftovers for those days when I can’t cook or for lunches.

Now when I go to markets around the country, I seek out new bean varieties to try.  During my recent trip to Santa Barbara I was excited to find scarlet runner and calypso beans.

I made this simple soup using the scarlet runner beans, turnips and leeks – a lovely taste of spring.  You can substitute another bean variety for the scarlet runners.

Scarlet runner bean and turnip soup

Scarlet runner bean and turnip soup

1 tbsp olive oil
4 leeks, trimmed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 medium turnips, chopped
1cup scarlet runner beans, soaked in water for two hours
water to cover
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
salt, to taste

Heat olive oil in a large pot.  Saute leeks and garlic in oil until just tender, about 4 minutes.  Add the turnips and saute for another 5 minutes.

Drain the beans and add to the pot.  Cover with water.  Bring the beans to a gentle boil, then lower heat and allow to simmer until the beans are tender – about an hour and a half.   After an hour of cooking, add rosemary and salt to the bean mixture.   Adjust the seasoning as necessary when the beans finish cooking.

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Borscht: A hot pink bowl of comfort

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Lately, I’ve been obsessed with soup.  First, I was sick, then the weather got cold, and a comforting, piping hot bowl of soup sounded like the cure to my woes.  But, I didn’t want just any old soup – I wanted borscht.

Hot Bison Borscht
Hot Bison Borscht

I cannot tell you why I wanted borscht.  To my knowledge, I’d never had borscht. But I got these big, beautiful beets from Farmhouse Delivery and, suddenly, all I could think of was borscht.  I’ve learned to just give in to these unexplained fixations; it really is the only way to make them go away.

After studying up, I discovered borscht can be served hot or cold, depending on the region of origin, and can have meat or be vegetarian.  I picked a hot beef borscht recipe from Bon Appetit, but substituted a few ingredients for what I had on hand – turnips for the potatoes and bison short ribs instead of the beef.  Don’t be scared off by making the stock – you can substitute store bought beef broth and add some browned stew meat to the soup.

Brown the bison for stock
Bison Short Ribs for the stock

The end result is worth the effort a hearty, rich, slightly sweet soup that is deeply satisfying. I’m so glad I made enough for 10 people so I have plenty in the freezer.

It’s chilly outside – what soup are you cuddling up with?

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