Asparagus Soup

On May 7, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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This is simple, quick recipe that only takes about 20 minutes to prep and make. Add a salad with some cut apples and red onions and some crusty bread to make it a meal.

Asparagus Soup
Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 bunch asparagus, tips and mid section cut into 2 inch pieces
1 quart vegetable broth
1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained
Lemony Pesto (recipe follows)

In a large pot saute onion in olive oil over medium-high heat until the onion begins to brown. Then add the asparagus, reserve the tips.  Cook for another minute.  Add the vegetable broth and let the pot come to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes at a simmer.

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Add the beans and blend the soup with a immersion blender to get a creamy texture.

When ready to serve, add the asparagus tips and lemony pesto. Cook for about 2 minutes and then serve.

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Lemony Pesto

1 tablespoon garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon black crushed pepper
1/2 cup fresh italian parsley

Grind all ingredients together in a food processor or using a mortar and pestle.

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Fava Bean Spread

On May 2, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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The past two weekends I bought some fresh fava beans.  They’re hard to miss. Giant peapods with a rich green color usually next to a box of beans, fava beans are sure to catch your attention. The next thing to wonder is what to make with these colorful bean monstrosities. For me, there was an obvious answer – fava bean spread.

Last year, we were dining out and enjoyed some fava bean spread on toast at a local restaurant. I immediately came home and started to search the Internet for some recipes to try my own take on this wonderful, buttery bean spread.  Some recipes called for mixing in some goat cheese or Crème fraîche. I wanted to try something without the addition and then build from there.

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The recipe below is just that. A basic fava bean spread that you can use as a base to experiment. Maybe add a 1/3 cup of goat cheese to it. Perhaps some tablespoons of Crème fraîche until you get the texture and flavor you want. You could also add grated cheese.

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For now, this basic recipe will get you started and really it needs nothing. The flavor is great as is, but if you do experiment please leave me some comments on what you did to enhance or try. I would love to hear it.

Fava Bean Spread
Serves 6-8 slices

1 1/2 lb whole fava beans with pod
1/2 lemon, juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the whole fava beans in boiling water for 5 minutes.  Remove and let them cool for 5 minutes.  Start chucking the pods by removing the pod. Put beans aside in a separate bowl.  When all finished removing the pods, now remove the skin from each bean.  You’ll see a dingy green skin that you can peal off to reveal bright green peas. Place the bright green beans in a saute pan.

Heat the saute pan on medium heat and toss the beans with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.  Add water to the pan.  Toss to coat everything and heat mixing the beans around for about 5 minutes to soften the beans.

Add the cooked beans, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to a food processor. Puree it until you have a thick paste.  Add more olive oil or lemon juice if you need to get it smoother or modify the flavor a bit.

Heat some bread slices brushing olive oil on top of each and place in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Remove the bread when done and spread on the paste. Shave some parmesan and drizzle a little olive oil to finish.

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Swiss Chard, White Bean and Lentil Bake

On May 26, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Chris Baccus
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Since adding vegetarian to about half our weekly meals several years ago, I have come to appreciate a casserole or in this case a “bake.”  There’s really no difference.  Combine a bunch of complimentary ingredients and top with some cheese.  So much right.

This dish can be altered by switching out lentils with couscous or quinoa.  Or you can replace swiss chard with any other green like spinach or kale. Some added cubed sweet potatoes would be a nice addition too.

It does feel more like a fall comfort dish than something to make on a 70 degree day in May. Even so, this dish has a lot of versatility and can be enjoyed anytime of year.

 

 

Swiss Chard, White Bean and Lentil Bake

Prep Time: 10 Mins Cooking Time: 35 Mins Total Time: 45 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1bunch swiss chard, chopped
  • 1 can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Heat onion and garlic in a small pot with olive oil on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes until onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes, beans, basil, salt, and pepper to the onions and cook together for another 3 minutes then add the swiss chard and cook for a couple minutes to soften.
  2. In a small baking dish, add the cooked lentils and then fold in the pot of vegetables. Add the pine nuts mixing everything together in the baking dish then top with grated cheese and cover with aluminum foil.
  3. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for 5 minutes uncovered. Remove and serve.
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Vegan Moroccan Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup

On April 28, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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After a couple weekends of back-to-back smoked meats, I was due for a Saturday and Sunday of vegetarian meals. Last night was some great Asparagus Risotto. Following up last night’s meal, I had some beautiful swiss chard from the La Canada Farmers’ Market that needed to get used.  This dish was a perfect way to end the weekend.

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Swiss chard is one of my favorite greens in soups.  It has such a wonderful bitterness that when coupled with some spices – and this dish is full of complex spices – it really shines a wonderful green choice.

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The addition of cinnamon and allspice in this soup really comes through in the final produce. Couple the dish with a hearty sourdough bread.  Also the quinoa is optional and best to use if you are making this soup as a main course.

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Vegan Moroccan Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup

Prep Time: 10 Mins Cooking Time: 45 Hours

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard, rough bite size cut
  • 2 cans of cannellini beans
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch moons
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook the carrots, onions, and garlic in oil for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat in a dutch oven or soup pot. Add the spices except the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Let it cook and combine for about 2 minutes. Add the beans and coat the beans with the spices too letting it cook for another minute.
  2. Add the vegetable broth, quinoa, bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Heat the pot to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes.
  3. After the 20 minute simmer, add the swiss chard then again cover and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  4. Serve with a good sourdough bread.
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Last Christmas I asked for some new cookbooks to add to my bookshelf.  With the change to making vegetarian/vegan 4 times each week, I thought some updated cookbooks in my meat-focused cookbook collection would be welcome.

One book that kept coming up is Veganomicon many reviews felt it is the essential vegan cookbook on the mark and the subtitle even makes the not-so-subtle claim of being “The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook.”

I made a couple recipes this past week. The first is vegan enchilada recipe that uses kale and potatoes.  The other is a leek and navy bean with biscuits recipe that reminds me of a meatless, no dairy version of a light chicken and biscuit recipe I also have on this blog.

Of the two, the biscuit vegetables and bean dish was excellent. One of the best vegan recipes I’ve ever had.

Veganomicon is definitely worth picking up.  I have a ton of recipes I still need to get too.  Fortunately the first two recipes turned out great.  I look forward to more ultimate vegan success!

Find out more about the book and buy it here!

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Three Bean Vegan Chili

On January 8, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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The finished result.

This week is the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) where I spend a good 5 days away from home working our AT&T Developer Summit and seeing all of the geek goodness the world’s largest gadget show has to offer. Unfortunately, for my wife she gets 4 days solo of getting our boys ready for school – not an easy task. Plus her chef is away from the house.

As way to cushion the blow of being gone, I make a couple meals to get her through the week. The request this time was a double-dose of chili. Stephanie enjoyed the last time I made Emily Levenson’s Embelly White Chili and wanted that, but she also wanted a more traditional vegetarian chili.

For the vegetarian chili, I browsed Pinterest, the latest social networking site that is a great visual way to share content. The site has a Food & Drink category and you can follow my “Mostly Vegetarian” board as I use it to tag future recipes.

I found a Three Bean Chili from a blog I wasn’t aware called The Wright Recipes, by a former editor of Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine.

The first step is to dry char Poblano chilies, garlic and an onion. This technique uses no oil or butter in the pot, just medium-high heat and some turning to get a charred result. Then the chilies, garlic and onions are put in a blender with a pint of grape tomatoes and pureed.

The puree is then added to some spices, brown sugar, and oil that is heated briefly.

The combined puree and spices form the basis for the chili. Two cups of water is added along with three types of beans. I use Eden Organic canned beans since they are also BPA free-lined cans.

A proper chili starts to take shape and heated to a simmer for 30 minutes when some frozen corn is added for the final 2 minutes before serving.

I tried some of the chili and it is full of flavor unlike most vegetarian chilies that taste like vegetable soup with chili powder. However, next time I’ll reduce the Poblano chili number from 2 to 1 as this chili is very spicy. Great, but too spicy for my wife and bordering on too spicy for me too.

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Mustard, Cabbage and Cannellini Beans with Sausage

On October 9, 2011, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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The kids and my wife will definitely not eat this one. I’m the sole kielbasa fan in this house. In fact, sausage is rarely made since the boys and Stephanie will only eat frankfurters from Burgundy Pasture Beef Ranch.  I’m sure Oscar and Theo will come around, but for now sausage is too spicy for their little taste-buds. As Oscar put it today, “if it’s a little spicy to you daddy, it’s a lot of spicy to us.”

For those of us who enjoy a pot of sausage, cabbage and beans, this recipe makes the perfect afternoon lunch for Sunday football. Just add some beer and you are all set.

Mustard Cabbage and Cannellini Beans with Sausage

1 kielbasa sausage, sliced in half and cut into 4-6 inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds, slightly crushed
1 tsp ground coriander
2 garlic cloves
1 head of cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 can cannellini beans, drained
Salt to taste

Cook sausage in a little olive oil in a pot at medium-high heat. Cook about 4 minutes on each side to lightly brown. Remove from pot.

Add onion to skillet and saute for 5 minutes. Add the fennel seeds, coriander, and garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add cabbage; cook 6 minutes or until tender. Add broth and mustard; cover and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in thyme, salt and beans cooking for 5 minutes to heat.

Serve with a Newcastle Brown Ale.

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Vegetarian Tacos

On July 7, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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It’s no secret I love tacos, but finding a great vegetarian taco is not easy. So many restaurants over use bell peppers or try to get to complicated with sauces or cheeses. Fortunately, I found a fairly basic recipe from the vegetarian cookbook Appetite for Reduction. I modified it quite a bit, but kept some of its essence too as I liked the minimalist but impact of the spices used.

On a side note, our son Oscar liked the tacos too with one change – “no hot stuff.”

Vegetarian Tacos
Serves 4

1 medium yellow squash, cut into small cubes
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 small red or yellow potatoes, cut into small cubes and cooked
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed, removing all liquid
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup of salsa verde
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
tortillas
salt

Cook the potatoes in a small pot for about 8-10 minutes until done.

Start by heating the olive oil and cooking the squash and jalapeno together for about 7 minutes on medium heat and adding some salt to taste. Add the cumin, coriander, black beans and cooked potatoes to the squash and jalapeno. Cook for 5 minutes on medium-low heat then add the salsa verde and cook for about a minute more.

Heat the tortillas. I prefer heating them on a gas stove top turning frequently to get a nice charred burn or two.

Serve.

 

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Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula

On June 1, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Continuing our tradition of moving to a more vegetarian balanced diet this recipe for Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula was a welcome addition to this quest to find good, easy to make vegetarian dishes.

What is most enjoyable about this recipe is how fast it is to make. It was literally 15 minutes from ingredients to plate. In the time it took to cook the pasta, the mustard vinaigrette dressing, washed arugula, drain cannellini beans, and crumbled goat cheese where ready and waiting for the drained pasta to complete the dish.

The pasta salad is great for a summer dinner or even for a dish to pass at a potluck or to bring to a family event. Simple, quick and enjoyable. We will definitely be making this one again as the boiling hot Dallas summer months are upon us.

For the Recipe: Martha Stewart’s Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula.

 

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Chicken Goat Cheese Burritos

On February 19, 2009, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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It was at my first culinary class at a local culinary college in Portland, Oregon that I tried my first taste of goat cheese. Back in 1993 goat cheese just wasn’t that common. I had tried it on toasted french bread in a French Bistro cooking course. It was excellent. Since then I have enjoyed goat cheese in several recipes, including this one that I make about every couple of months.

The photo above includes a dollop of sour cream and instead of green salsa I used Jack’s Special Medium Salsa. I also made some fresh guacamole to accompany the main course. Usually, I just make some Spanish rice but simply forgot tonight, so hey chips and guac is always a good quick backup!

The other thing I tried this time was a tortilla product at Whole Foods by IndianLife foods. They are large tortillas with a good flavor but not enough of an improvement to justify the $4.79 price compared to the ~$2 packaged flour tortillas. My favorite choice is picking up fresh made tortillas at Mexicantown Bakery in Detroit’s Mexican Village.

Chicken Goat Cheese Burritos

Makes 4

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tsp. ground cumin
1⁄2 tsp. (each) salt and pepper
4 flour tortillas
1 can (15 oz.) black beans
1 tsp. oil
1⁄2 cup soft fresh goat cheese, broken into small chunks
1 cup fresh green salsa

1. Cut chicken into bit sized strips. In a bowl, coat evenly with cumin, salt, and pepper.

2. Seal tortillas in foil and warm in a 350° oven until hot, about 10 minutes.

3. Place beans and their liquid in a 1-quart pan and cook over medium-high heat until bubbling,
about 5 minutes.

4. In a 10-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, frequently stir chicken and oil until meat is no
longer pink in center, about 6 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, combine the goat cheese with a little olive oil in a small bowl to make a paste.

6. Lay tortillas flat. Spread some goat cheese paste on tortillas. Then toward one edge of each,
fill equally with chicken, beans (including liquid), and salsa. Fold over sides and roll up tightly
to enclose. Add more salsa to taste.

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