My parents got me a year subscription to a magazine called Cuisine At Home for Christmas. It’s a great magazine filled with recipes related to the season and/or month the issue is out. I was looking through the February issue and I came across this recipe for Tomato-Kale Soup. The recipe was easy; simple ingredients and about 30 minutes total to cook. Kale is a great food to add to your diet since is full of fiber and calcium. The magazine suggested that this soup be made for lunch for a week but I decided to make it for dinner. They also suggested to add a 15 oz can of cannellini beans to add more fiber and protein to the soup. This is completely vegetarian however I only had chicken broth in the pantry and I used that instead of the vegetable broth that is called in the recipe. The flavor definitely got better with age and the last bowl I ate tasted so good that I can’t wait to make this again.
Ratatouille is a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice. The full name of the dish is ratatouille niçoise. This French dish is perfect to make when its cold outside. It is a healthy, low-fat stew and completely vegetarian. I have made this a few times before but I couldn’t find the recipe I wrote down. I went off memory when I made it last week. I am sure the method I used isn’t exactly the French way to cook, but the flavors were there. This dish is also good as it ages; it tastes better the next day warmed up than it does when its first made because all the flavors marinade together. If you are dieting, this is a great meal to have as the yield is enough to last a full week and its a stew of all vegetables.
Last weekend I was invited to an Italian themed pot-luck dinner party. It was agreed that instead of making large dishes that everyone would make appetizers. I was trying to think of something to make and my friend Katie sent me the link to this recipe from Tasting Table. As I read the recipe it seemed easy enough just a lot of prep work so I decided to prepare most of it at home and then fry them once I got to the party. These ended up being a massive hit and they were eaten up really quickly.
Here is the excerpt from Tasting Table:
Eggplant is a persnickety vegetable: It can easily turn bitter or get lost under heavy cheese sauces. But at New York’s bustling new Spasso restaurant, chef Craig Wallen gives the creamy vegetable its deserved attention in a dish that’s a mash-up of two Italian classics: eggplant parm and Sicilian arancini. By substituting eggplant for the fried rice ball’s traditional risotto filling–and flavoring it with basil, garlic and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese–the earthy vegetable shines at its brightest. Light and crisp, these unconventional arancini can be served alone or, better yet, with warm marinara sauce as an homage to their eggplant parm predecessors.
Sweet potatoes are very rich in vitamins and antioxidants and they can served in many different ways. I decided to make a soup out of them; but I thought it would be boring with just sweet potatoes so I decided to spice it up by adding chipotle peppers to the soup to give it a Southwestern/Mexican taste. This would be a great soup to make if you have left-over sweet potatoes from a holiday gathering. The chipotle transforms your palate into something far from the typical holiday meal. Be careful though with the chipotle chilis; I had to make this soup twice because I added too much chilis to the soup and it was way too spicy to eat. I tried to save it; I added some water and even a little bit of agave nectar but I ended up throwing it out and starting over.
This is one of my favorite things to make and to eat. My mom got this recipe out of the newspaper about 14 years ago and used to make it for us when we were in high school. The key ingredient in my opinion is the cilantro; which makes this taste so much better. The other secret is the tasty filling with half of the beans being pureed.
About two weeks ago I was thinking of something to make that would be tasty and refreshing since NYC was in the midst of a heat wave. I have heard of restaurants serving watermelon salad and I wanted to make my own spin on this dish. I decided to make the watermelon salad with cilantro and feta cheese. To save time I bought the watermelon that was already cut. The presentation wasn’t he best but the flavor was on point. It was the perfect combination of savory and sweet.
I went to Florida during Memorial Day weekend to visit my family. It was also the last weekend that my mom’s cousins’ restaurant John G’s was going to be open in the spot it has occupied since 1973. They had a party celebrating the restaurant that was catered by my mom. One of the dishes she made was stuffed grape leaves. Two of my mom’s cousins and my aunt came over the day she was making them and she gave a quick cooking lesson on how to make the grape leaves since they wanted to know how to make something they all grew up eating.
This recipe was one of the first recipes I posted when I started the blog but now I am re-posting it adding the step-by-step photo instructions on how to make them. Stuffed grape leaves are not difficult to make, they are just time-consuming and it also helps if you have a couple of family members or friends making them with you.