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musings from a health supportive culinary artist

Lentil Sausage Soup November 18, 2012

Filed under: how to make it — chezdesblog @ 11:36 am
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I’m always in the market for a good hearty soup! This delicious Lentil Sausage Soup is great for a weeknight as lentils cook relatively quickly. I served it up with a green salad and some equally hearty Irish Soda Bread.  ~yum~ Like most soups, it freezes well.

When making soup, it’s important to cool it quickly in order to refrigerate it. If hot soup goes into the refrigerator, you risk raising the temperature in the fridge, possibly compromising everything in it. If warm soup lingers in the “temperature danger zone” (40 – 140 degrees Fahrenheit) for too long, you risk an unwelcome science experiment.

I use a prep sink to make an ice bath for my soup. I fill it with ice and some cold water, as high as the soup is in the pot. If you don’t have a small sink, you can use a giant bowl. I take the pot off the stove and put it directly into the ice bath. Alternatively, you can cool soup quickly by pouring it into a bowl and then setting it into an ice bath. You can also distribute it into smaller, shallow containers for quick cooling.


Special Turkey Day Edition! November 16, 2012

Filed under: how to make it — chezdesblog @ 6:45 pm
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It’s Friday and I imagine most of us are shopping or planning to shop for Thanksgiving next week. I thought I’d share some of my turkey day favorites from the GYYB archives.

As you know, I always brine and grill my turkey. It’s delicious and it keeps the oven free all day for everything else!

The thing I love most about Thanksgiving is the side dishes (and time with family and the bubbly). Some recommendations for different and delicious side dishes include Warm Corn Salad, Kale and Apple Salad with Spiced Pecans, Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad, Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Dried Cranberries, Spiced Pumpkin Dinner RollsThyme-Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Shallots.

If you are hosting family, make chili, soup, quick breads or Mini Fritattas to have around. They freeze well, make great snacks, or can feed a crowd. There are lots of recipes from which to choose. I also like to make a batch of Birchermusli (Swiss-style oats) for breakfast.

Once the main event is over, use your leftover turkey to make Chunky Turkey-Barley Soup or this great Turkey and Wild Rice Salad. But most of all, be thankful for the bounty our Earth provides and be well!


Wild Mushroom Pastitsio + Savory Goat Cheese Toasts September 30, 2012

Filed under: how to make it — chezdesblog @ 3:56 pm
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Photo: John Autry; Styling: Cindy Barr

It actually felt like Fall yesterday. While it was still sunny and 70 degrees, the air was different and the shadows were just a tad bit longer in the afternoon. Along with the change in seasons comes a backlog of casseroles, soups and stews for testing. Bring it!

The first out of the box was this Wild Mushroom Pastitsio. A lighter, vegetarian version of the traditional Greek dish, this casserole has comfort written all over it. Don’t let the multiple steps prevent you from attempting this dish. Basically you create two layers – a mushroom layer and a pasta layer, each with its own light sauce. It took me about an hour, but then, I always get distracted. Save it for a Saturday or Sunday and enjoy every single step before relishing in the result. I served it with a mixed green salad and these Savory Goat Cheese Toasts. Yum.


Tomatoes: Sauce + Tart + Oven-Roasted September 23, 2012

Filed under: how to make it — chezdesblog @ 12:37 pm
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We were gone for a few days. Thank goodness we made it home when we did or else the tomatoes may have taken over the house. We’ve got Early Girls, Bush Goliath, Sweet Cherries and Yellow Pears growing out back – and boy do I have plans for them!

These tomatoes taste like sunshine, so I enjoy them simply sliced and salted, on their own, or with avocado, basil and goat cheese. But, when I’ve got this many, I head for Pim’s Super-Quick and Fantastic Tomato Sauce (because the name tells it all). I also love to make this French Tomato Tart.

Finally, when I start to get tomato’d-out, I oven roast them and freeze them for future use. Simply heat the oven to 325. Slice the tomatoes in half length-wise and remove the stem. Toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper and sliced fresh garlic. Spread them out on a baking sheet (do not overcrowd them) and roast them for about 2 hours. Their color and flavor will concentrate. Depending on the size of the tomatoes, it may take more or less time. Once cool, portion them and freeze them for use in soup, stew, sauce, lasagna and bruschetta. Be thankful later.


Savory Mushroom Tarts August 26, 2012

Filed under: how to make it — chezdesblog @ 10:15 am
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Following a shopping spree for Grilled Rosemary-crusted Pizzas, I had the perfect ingredients around for savory tart making. All I had to add was some puff pastry. The result was these Savory Mushroom Tarts, and they made the perfect complement to a bowl of Chickpea Noodle Soup. Delicious!

Smaller in scale, they make the perfect little side dish. They would also make for a great little lunch on the go or starter for a dinner party.

Extremely versatile, one option is to skip the puff pastry all together and turn these into empanada- style taste treats using this pie crust recipe.  Another option is to fold the puff pastry over the filling, from corner to corner, for savory turnovers. Either way, enjoy!


The Real Deal: Pesto Genovese August 5, 2012

Filed under: how to make it — chezdesblog @ 3:05 pm
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Our Italian exchange students, Giovanni and Giacomo, are from Genoa. They immediately showered us with gifts including a cook book featuring traditional recipes from Genoa, and of course pesto, the “queen of sauces.” Given that my basil patch is exploding, I found it only fitting to make them Pesto Genovese

A very simple, non-cook sauce, pesto is packed with flavor and can be used in a variety of ways. For this meal, I simply tossed it with spaghetti and spicy chicken sausage. According to the boys, it rated a “7.5 – like Italy.” (At first I was a bit put off a 7.5 rating, but then I took comfort in learning that nothing really rates higher than a 7.5 in their world. Ha!)

I also used this pesto as a sauce for roasted pork tenderloin (delicious!) and as a dressing for potato salad and a spread on a turkey sandwich (delicious again!). You can also freeze leftover pesto in an ice cube tray for later use. Although, I can’t imagine leftovers.

Giovanni and Giacomo left for home this morning, but we hope to see them again next year, when the basil patch is once again in full bloom. Ciao ciao!


Celebrate Something New! July 1, 2012

Filed under: how to make it — chezdesblog @ 1:39 pm
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I love it when July 4th falls on a Wednesday. A day off in the middle of the week – what’s not to love about that?! It’s like a bonus vacation day without the pressure of making some grand plan for a 3-day weekend. And, of course, there are the fireworks at the beach. Need I say more?

Whether you’re putting burgers on the grill, cooking over the campfire, or beating the heat with no-cook summer meals – it’s time to try something new!

Some of my seasonal favorites include Watermelon Tomato Salad, Haricot Vert and Red Onion Salad with Pistou and Basil-Blackberry Crumble. Visit the Recipe Index and let me know if you try something new.  I’ll do the same. Happy 4th!


Quinoa and Corn Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette May 6, 2012

Filed under: how to make it — chezdesblog @ 5:20 pm
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We’re having dinner with family tonight and I got assigned a quinoa salad. I came up with this recipe for Quinoa and Corn Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette on the fly, using what I had on hand, and like it enough to share here. It’s herb-y and citrus-y, perfect for this warm May day we’re having. If you don’t use all of the dressing for the salad, save it for mixed greens during the week or as a dipping sauce for grilled chicken or fish.

In fact, while you’re at it, why not make a double batch of quinoa? Use half of it for this salad and set the rest aside for later this week in Herbed Quinoa and Chickpea Salad, Curried Quinoa Salad, or in place of barley in this delicious Halibut with Artichokes, Tomatoes and White Beans. Good stuff!


Fantastic Party Menu for Cinco de Mayo April 22, 2012

Filed under: how to make it — chezdesblog @ 3:58 pm
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I created this menu for an engagement party where the hosts wanted to feature my tamales. As a party menu, it worked really well. Many of the elements can be made ahead of time and reheated or refrigerated until go-time. I am really pleased with how it all turned out – and so were they. I thought I’d share the menu with you as I think it would be great for a Cinco de Mayo party. Many of the recipes came from my recipe index. Enjoy!


~ Mango Gazpacho Shooters

~ Seared Coriander-Crusted Tuna and Crunchy Slaw on Crisps

~ Grilled Cheddar Cornmeal Cakes with Avocado Mousse and Pico de Gallo

Main Buffet:

~ Green Chili Chicken Tamales with Chipotle Crema, Salsa Verde and Pico de Gallo

~ Wild Mushroom Quesadillas

~ Shredded Pork Tacos

~ Farro Salad with Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette

~ Jicama, Radish and Pepita Salad with Citrus Herb Vinaigrette

Dessert Buffet:

~ Coconut Layer Cake

~ Tequila Lime Tartlets


Hungry yet?


Food Photographer! + Black Bean Hummus March 25, 2012

Filed under: how to make it — chezdesblog @ 11:38 am
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There are lots of exciting things happening at GYYB headquarters. I’ve been baking all sorts of samples for folks – vegan cookies, gluten-free brownies, whole grain muffins – you get the picture. Then I had a thought – I need someone to come take pictures of all this beautiful food! A few phone calls later, I had a full-blown photo shoot under way in my kitchen. See photos here. It was really fun, educational and exciting.

As for this week’s new recipe, I chose Black Bean Hummus. I am always looking for new ways to make lunch interesting. In addition to being a great dip for crackers or veggies, this dip makes a tasty spread for sandwiches and wraps.

In the meantime, it’s a totally rainy Sunday in my neck of the woods and I have the ingredients for Lemon Herb Cheese (for the Urban Farm Handbook Challenge). Another perfect day for playing in the kitchen!



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