Fresh, Fattoush

Hey There,

I’ve been spending all week rehabbing by diet since last weekend’s outing. Now, that I’ve spent the last five days eating relatively healthy, I’m ready to cut up again but before I do, I want to share with you all the last recipe I made from Persiana. This recipe is super simple, fresh and easy. It honestly tastes like summer. Traditionally, the salad has romaine in it, but because of the scarcity of romaine, I opted for arugula. Also, I prefer arugula over romaine any day especially when the salad calls for a lemony, citrus dressing.

This is a great example of using a recipe as a launching pad. When you are making something as simple as a salad you can definitely add and subtract anything you want to make the salad yours.

Again, be sure to check out this book. Preferably, pick up a copy from your local library. I’ve said it before but renting cookbooks from your local library is a great way to start exploring different foods. Also, it’s just always a great idea to visit and USE your local library, after all, your tax dollars pay for it! I feel like I get smarter the minute I walk to my local library….LOL.

Anyway, check out this recipe and if you decide to make it, let me know how it turns out!

See ya Monday!

~Samantha J.

Cheesy Tomato Harissa Soup

Hey There,

Soup season, soup season, soup season…I know you all are tired of hearing about soup season, but yall….it’s SOUP SEASON!!! LOL. Just bear with me a few more weeks. After about March, you won’t hear the words, “soup season” until October (well maybe).

But anyway, I have another soup for you all today. It’s a cheesy tomato harissa soup and it’s easy to make, which is always a plus. As yall know, I’ve been playing around with different and new spices and this soup is a result of that. Now harissa isn’t a new spice to me, but this is the first time that I have cooked with it. Since I normally make a spicy tomato soup each winter, I figured that I would use harissa to spice up my soup this year.

Harissa has a very full and dimensional flavor. It is spicy, robust and smokey all of the same time and it really adds a great punch of flavor to anything its added to. It pairs so well with tomatoes

Be sure to check out the recipe for this soup below. Like most soups, it travels well and makes for a great lunch or a healthy and simple dinner.

*Quick Note* – On this website, you will very rarely, if ever find measurements for the spices used in a recipe. I believe that cooking should be an organic process and the best way to season food is truly by taste. Also, a person’s tolerance for spices is truly a personal preference. My mother barely uses salt in any of her food but I on the other hand almost always load up on the salt in my recipes. I encourage you all to taste your food along the way and to season it accordingly.

Ingredients:

7 Tomatoes (on the vine) 1 1/2 yellow onion

Red pepper flakes/salt/pepper/harissa/garlic and onion powder

4 cups vegetable broth 2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour 1/4 cup olive oil

large handful of shredded cheese 1 head of garlic

Directions:

  1. Cut tomatoes and onion into wedges. Cut the top off of the head of the garlic place all ingredients on a baking sheet.
  2. Drizzle ingredients with olive oil and season (according to tastes) with salt, pepper, harissa, garlic, and olive powder. Toss and make sure all ingredients are coated well.
  3. Roast for 45 minutes at 400 degrees. Turn ingredients occasionally so that they don’t burn.
  4. Puree mixture until completely smooth and set aside.
  5. Dice half of the onion and saute in a dutch oven until translucent over med-high heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Sprinkle two tablespoons of flour over the diced onions and whisk until mixture thickens. About 1 minute. Reduce heat to low-med. heat. Be sure to continually whisk the mixture so that it does not burn.
  7. While whisking vigorously, pour in one cup of vegetable broth. Continue to whisk until mixture is smooth and lump-free, about 2-4 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and while whisking add in a handful of shredded cheese. Continue to whisk 3-5 minutes. Add in another cup of vegetable broth. The mixture will be stringy, but continue to whisk until smooth.
  9. Add in tomato mixture and whisk to incorporate.
  10. Add in the last two cups of vegetable broth.
  11. Season with more harissa and seasonings to taste.

*Note* – If you feel that at any time during the cooking process, the soup to too thick, add in a little extra broth to get the desired consistency.

Vegetable Chowder

Hey Guys,

There are only a few more weeks left in soup season so I figured I’d share a few more of the soups that I’ve recently made. Whenever I make soups, I always try to opt for healthier options. For me, soups should be clean and relatively healthy. They should be satisfying but not too heavy, so vegetable soups are perfect. 

A couple of weeks ago a featured my vegetable noodle soup on the site and over on my IG (@thekitchenonwellington) and it was a hit. This recipe is pretty similar in that it’s another vegetable soup but this recipe is a little more hearty and filling. It’s really interesting how you can use basically the same ingredients from another dish and come up with a completely different recipe. 

Anyway, this recipe is great for a super cold day or even better a snowy day. Check out the recipe below. If you’ve made a vegetable chowder in the past or if you are planning on making some, leave me a comment below or shoot me a note and let me know how you plan to make your chowder.

Until Next Time,

~Samantha

Vegetable Chowder

Ingredients:

2 stalks of Celery                        2 Carrots                            2 Cloves of Garlic

1 Jalapeno                                   1 Zucchini                          1 Red Pepper

1 Green Pepper                          4 Ears of Corn                    1 tablespoon of Salt

1 tablespoon of Pepper                                              1 tablespoon of Garlic Power

1 tablespoon of Sage                3 Sprigs of Thyme          2 tablespoons of Chives

2 tablespoons of Parsley         ½ Yellow Onion              4 cups of water

2 Bay Leaves                                                                        1 cup Half and Half

Directions:

*Recipe note. You will not use the whole portion of spices listed in the ingredient section above. Use the spices above to season the soup according to your preferences.

1. Dice the vegetables (garlic, carrots, jalapeno, celery, zucchini, red pepper, green pepper, yellow onion) and combine in a bowl.

2. Cook the mixed vegetables over low-med heat in a Dutch Oven until slightly soft. Add in fresh thyme and season vegetables with spices according to your taste level.

3. Add in water and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook until vegetables are mostly cooked.

4. Remove corn from ears and add to the soup. Cook until corn is mostly done, about 5-8 mins. Remove the bay leaves.

5. Remove 2 cups of the soup and puree in a food processor.

6. Add the pureed mixture back to the Dutch Oven and add the half and half. Cook until well combined and remove from heat.

7. Immediately serve and garnish with parsley and chives.

Lentil and Quinoa Salad

Hey There,

So in today’s post, I am keeping with the theme of using new spices and flavors. Today’s “featured spice” is sumac. Until I found a Middle Eastern cookbook I had never heard of sumac or even seen it, but as I flipped through the cookbooks I noticed that it is a pretty common spice. It’s used in/on everything from salads to breads to meats. Now since it’s not a traditional “American” spice, it was pretty difficult to find in the grocery store but I managed to find some at the World Market and of course on Amazon. If you can find some in your local area, I strongly encourage you to pick some up and try it out.

I decided to use my sumac to make this Lentil and Quinoa Salad I found in “Persiana”. I really love this cookbook. I found it at the library and honestly, I don’t want to return it. It is definitely going in my Amazon cart asap! All of the recipes in this book look so great and easy to make. This salad is already the second recipe I’ve made out this book. Definitely check it out.

Since this recipe isn’t my own, I won’t post it below but I will add a few pics of my salad. Hope you enjoy!

Until Next Time,

~Samantha

Vegetable Noodle Soup

Hey There!

As you are well aware we are well into soup season. As soon as the temperature drops we all bring out our crockpots, dutch ovens, and stock pots. We load up on vegetables, noodles, and broths and from about October to March we make every type of soup imaginable.

I personally love soups. They are easy to make and they are the perfect weekday lunch; not too heavy, not too light and easily transportable. Also, they are relatively healthy. Just take for example this vegetable noodle soup that I recently made. Around this time of year, I normally make chicken noodle soup but this time, I wanted to switch it up and try something different. Instead of using traditional wheat noodles, I opted for vegetable noodles made from zucchini. Just switching out the noodles not only made this dish healthier but it changed it into a vegetarian/vegan dish.

If you are looking for a way to freshen up your traditional winter soups try this recipe or consider swapping out traditional noodles for vegetable noodles (zucchini, carrots, squash, sweet potato) in any of your favorite recipes.

Until Next Time. Stay warm and well fed.

Samantha

Vegetable Noodle Soup

1 green pepper 2 ears of corn (or frozen corn) 1 red pepper

1 white onion 1 bunch of parsley 3 cloves of garlic

3 zucchini 2 cups shredded carrots olive oil

salt pepper garlic/onion powder

1/2 small eggplant 6-8 cups of vegetable broth/water

  1. Dice onion, garlic, red and green peppers, and eggplant. Season all diced vegetables with salt, pepper onion, and garlic powder.
  2. Add a small amount of olive oil to a cast iron dutch oven and cook diced onion, garlic, red and green peppers until semi-soft.
  3. While diced vegetables are cooking, spiralize zucchini, roughly chop parsley and remove the corn from the ear.
  4. When vegetables are semi-soft (still have a crunch to them), add in broth/water.
  5. Bring the soup to a simmer and add in the corn. Cook until the corn is soft. *If using frozen corn, add the corn and immediately skip to step 6*
  6. Add in the shredded carrots and the diced eggplant.
  7. Continue to cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Add in zucchini noodles and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  9. Stir in parsley and serve.