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Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

Fifteen baguettes later, I’ve arrived home to Philly after a two week excursion in France and Belgium. There was a serious amount of baguette action on this trip. And brie, and pastries, and bottles of wine, and poorly accented bonjour’s and bon appétit’s. You can expect a food-related post on my trip soon. First, however, I need to sort through my 1,000 photos, memories and jetlag, stalk the chef I met on Facebook, and remind myself life will be okay without cute French boys on every block. I also need eat some greens and whole grains. And grab this soup from the freezer.

Wanting to clean out my refrigerator, I whipped this up just before heading to France.  It was literally the perfect light and veggie-packed meal I needed before jetting off to a foodie haven of artisan cheeses and pistachio macaroons. Luckily, some soup still remains waiting for me…waiting for my detox of daily croissant consumption. I admit, the thought of saying farewell to that makes me want to cry.

Oh well. Oatmeal simmers away, energy-restoring smoothies whiz in the blender, and breakfast and life goes on — with or without pain au chocolats. On the bright side, I’ve come home to ridiculously lovely weather in the midst of my favorite season. For that, I will continue to ride my life high. Come home in the winter, on the other hand, and I’m sure this would not’ve been the case. Good thing its springtime. Cheers to that. I also stumbled home to my tax return in the mailbox yesterday afternoon. After Paris, it needn’t even be mentioned I’m cheersing to that too.

Minestrone Soup

If the thought of soup and warm temps makes you want to slap me and proceed to go flag down the ice cream man, well, then bookmark this one for later. But considering it’s still May and sweat-drenching days have yet to arrive, I’m going to argue on behalf of this meal. This minestrone is certainly not a hearty, gut-warming winter stew. Rather, it’s a light soup, fit for a wide range of seasons, and packed with tons of nutrition. Given what was in my fridge the day of its creation, this also happens to be heavy on the green beans. If green beans aren’t your veggie of choice, feel free to add in a handful of spring greens or any other seasonal ingredient that might sound good to you.

Make this minestrone a meal by simply serving it with a slice of crusty bread and a side salad. That’s what I’ll be doing — baguette on the side, pretending I’m still in Paris. Au revoir.

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Rosemary Garlic Roasted Potatoes

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

Word is that rosemary can boost your memory, according to a recent study presented at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society in Harrogate. It’s being speculated that the eucalyptol compound within the herb has an affect on the brain and our memory systems. I’ll take it. A little freshening up never hurt my brain, especially when it results in a bonus for my tastebuds too.

Regardless of its potential magical powers, I’ve always loved the natural fragrance of rosemary. In honesty, I don’t utilize it enough. I think this is largely because rosemary’s most often paired with meats. But of course it goes well with vegetarian cuisine too, crispy potatoes especially.

I absolutely adore this simple combination, and as mentioned in previous posts, can never get enough of roasted garlic. I contributed this dish for a family dinner the other week. As straightforward as it is, it surprisingly got a round of comments from the table. I was worried it’d be masked by all the other seemingly elaborate dishes on the table. There’s something about potatoes, however, that nearly always bring high fives.

Healthier, and much more elegant, than a deep-fried french fry, this is a classic side suited for numerous occasions. I always opt for a red-skinned potato for the touch of color they add to the bowl, but feel free to experiment with other varieties.

Tuscan White Bean Rosemary Soup

Soup season has arrived, meaning you’ll find me happily slurping down recipes like this for the next few months. I love nothing more on cool days than cupping my fingers around a hot bowl of soup, nearby a side of crusty bread waiting to be grasped by those warm hands. If I were still living at my parents’ house, you’d find a lit fireplace in that equation, too.

The heat-emitting comforts of winter can occasionally make me enjoy the season. The majesty of contrast.

This soup finds beauty in its simplicity. Good olive oil, garlic and a tablespoon or two of fresh herbs is really all you need to create a soup that’s tasty and equally as comforting. Spinach gives each bowl its color and a healthy dose of fueling nutrition, without overpowering the blend of delicate flavors.

To live as the Tuscans do, pair with a hearty slice of bread and a quality, full-bodied wine.

Click here for recipe…

Crispy Sweet Potato Burgers

I have been eyeing this recipe for months. And waiting and waiting, since April (!), to make this. Unlike many of the enticements I spot online and store away, this one didn’t get forgotten and then suddenly rediscovered in my recipe lost and found. No…this one’s kept an impression in my mind since its bookmarking, buying my excitement as I waited for its star ingredient to fall into season.

You see, though these would make a nice summer burger alternative, my dad harvests gallon buckets of sweet potatoes every early fall. It seemed silly for me rush out to the store in the middle of the spring just to make this recipe, when garden sweets would eventually be on their way.

Finally, October hit and the wait ended. On her last visit to Philly, my dad sent my mom up with a bushel basket full of butternuts and sweet potatoes (totally tubular, dude). The first few went straight into aluminum foil, into the oven, and then into my belly.

But the second few, they went into these gorgeous burgers. Seriously, the slider version from Love & Lemons, the blog where these were spotted, made sweet potato burgers look so cute that there was no way I could not make these.

This is a refreshingly interesting, slightly sweet burger rendition that pairs well with the recipes’ notable hints of rosemary and tahini. Add a few extra sprigs of rosemary if you really want a fresh herb feel.

For a light and healthy burger that doesn’t have the texture of rubber and looks amazing, too, this is it. For an even lighter treat, opt for the slider size, but likely you’ll want more than one.

Click here for recipe…