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Pitter Pâté

23 Jun

We have fallen head over heels for veggie pâté to serve with cocktails. So very farmers’ market fresh and a nice break from heavy cheese in summer months.
Here are some pâté recipes that benefit from summer’s bounty: carrots, green beans, eggplant, peppers, mushrooms. The list is limitless.

ZESTY WALNUT HUMMUS
½ cup (125 mL) toasted walnuts (we used more, and turned our hummus into pâté)
1 can (19oz, 540g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ cup (50 mL) canola oil-based Italian dressing (we happened to have Newman’s Own Parmesan & Roasted Garlic dressing which was amazing)
½ tsp (2 mL) cayenne pepper

Toast walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking occasionally until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
In a food processor or blender puree walnuts, chickpeas, salad dressing and pepper together until smooth.
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EGGPLANT WALNUT PATE
1 large eggplant
1 cup walnut pieces
2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, peeled, grated and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Salt and hot pepper sauce to taste

Preheat oven to 450°F. Pierce the eggplant with a fork in several places and bake until very soft, about 45 minutes.
While the eggplant is baking, grind the walnuts in a food processor until very fine, and set aside.
Remove the eggplant from oven, slash to let steam escape, drain off any liquid, and scrape the pulp into a food processor with the ginger root, garlic and olive oil. Process until smooth.
Add the ground walnuts and allspice, and process until smooth.
Season to taste with the salt, and hot pepper sauce. Spoon into a small loaf dish and chill several hours or until firm.
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WHOLE FOODS MUSHROOM PATE
2 tablespoons butter
6 shallots, finely chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound mushrooms, finely diced
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup soft whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Method
Preheat oven to 325°F. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Add shallots and sauté 2 minutes. Add rosemary, parsley, salt and pepper. Sauté 2 minutes longer. Add mushrooms, cream cheese, bread crumbs and mustard. Mix well and remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Add eggs and stir ingredients to combine well. Butter a loaf pan and fill with mushroom mixture. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool before unmolding.

Chicks dig chickpea patties

1 Apr

So many google hits for veggie burgers, people! We are happy to post some more veggie patties here (soon to come).
In the meantime, here is an interesting topper we may experiment more with this summer.
While we love dried apricots and their jammy sweetness, we’re curious about fresh fruity mayos and if, say, fresh mango or peach or even blueberry would work well with savory goodness.
We may also indulge in Trader Joe’s dried chili mango strips for this. Palm Springs, here we come!

APRICOT BASIL MAYONNAISE
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup mayonnaise (or 3/4 cup olive oil and an egg)
zest of lime 1 tsp
1/4 cup lime juice (2)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup basil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

pour water over apricots, let cook until room temperature. Drain.
Process everything except olive oil. Stop to scrape down sides.
Gradually add olive oil in a stream until mayo is smooth and creamy. Serve at room temperature or chill. Keeps two weeks refrigerated.
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CHICKPEA PATTIES
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 slices nutty oatmeal or wheat nut bread, torn into small chunks
1/2 large red onion, sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup egg substitute or 2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 for moistening, if needed

Shredded lettuce
Sliced tomatoes
8 to 10 warm pita pickets or toasted English muffins

1. Pulse the chickpeas, bread, onion, jalapeno, garlic, oregano, cumin, pepper, and salt in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Remove half the mixture to a medium-sized bowl.

2. Add the egg substitute to the mixture in the processor and process until almost smooth. Spoon into the chopped chickpea mixture in the mixing bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. If the mixture seems too stiff, mix in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.

3. Form the mixture into 8 to 10 patties, 1/2 inch thick each, and place in a large dish or on a baking tray sprayed with non-fat cooking oil. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the patties. (If desired, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours.)

4. Cook on a griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties (4 at a time if necessary to avoid crowding) and fry 4 to 5 minutes. Spray the tops with cooking oil or drizzle olive oil around the sides of the skillet, turn, and fry the patties 4 to 5 minutes longer, until nicely browned.

5. Serve with the mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomatoes in the pita pockets or on the English muffins.

Serves 8 to 10.

Workplace potlucktics

25 Jan

Do you have foods banned from your office kitchen?
Office politics can be just as cut- throat when it comes to lunch, it appears.
Our office fridge smell is toxic. Subsequently, if you are part of the Monday morning crew and absent-mindedly place your day’s lunch in the refrigerator, it gets tossed during the morning’s weekly mass cleaning. (P.S. who are these lunch-leaving people? Apparently the same ones who forgo washing their dishes and leave them in the sink. Really?)
We have learned the hard way after losing our perfectly fresh lunch.
This recent purchase may be the answer to our problem.


The built-in cold pack keeps our lunch safe and cool as it sits out on our desk. And today, it’s keeping our lunch out of the hands of those who would trash it alongside someone’s week-old take out. When you’re trying to save money and eat well, this is a pretty good solution.

The first time we encountered this bright-tasting salad 15 years ago, we were in hippy heaven. A tiny vegetarian cafe offered a sweet and sour blend of nutritious broccoli, red onion, raisins and sunflower seeds bound with a mustardy yogurt mayo. The sweet and nutty combo was a healthy delight.
We’ve since learned that it’s been a potluck and buffet table staple for ages, but we can’t sleuth the social anthropology or origin of broccoli-trail mix salad. We’d have assumed it was a Mollie Katzen creation (UPDATE: see Mollie’s broccoli, apple creation at bottom). Online, a bacon-laden version declares it Amish; another labeled Wisconsin Sunshine Salad includes grated cheddar. Some add slivered almonds or pecans, other forgo nuts altogether. One adds sliced red grapes.
Regardless, it is simple and nutritious, and makes a fantastic lunch to take to work.

IMG-20130402-00610[1]

BROCCOLI SALAD
3 cups broccoli florets (steamed or raw)
1/4 cup chopped red onion (we have been grating onion and reducing the amount down to a couple of teaspoons.)
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup raisins (I substituted a mix I keep handy for shaking on salads: roasted sunflower seeds, tropical dried fruit, dried cranberries, flax seed).
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup low fat yogurt (I used vanilla and omitted the sugar called for in this recipe. Honey balkan-style is great also. One day I’ll try a creamy vinaigrette with apple cider vinegar, dijon, and a touch of maple syrup.)
¼ cup light mayonnaise
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbs. lemon juice
(I also added a few tablespoons of hemp hearts simply because they were on hand.)
Greens if you have them

Steam bite-sized broccoli florets and set aside to cool. Mix onion, nuts, raisins, and feta. Add broccoli. Mix dressing (yogurt, mayo, dijon and lemon juice) and add to salad.
Serve atop salad greens.

Broccoli, Apples, and Red Onion Salad
Mollie Katzen
1 large bunch broccoli
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons honey
5 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 medium sized tart apple, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Put up a large saucepan of water to boil. While waiting for this to happen, remove and discard the thick lower stems of the broccoli, and cut the thinner upper stems and tops into medium-sized spears.
Measure the vinegar into a medium-large bowl. Use a small whisk to stir constantly as you add the mustard, garlic, salt, and honey.
Keep whisking as you drizzle in the oil in a steady stream. The mixture will thicken as the oil becomes incorporated.
By now the water should be boiling. Turn it down to a simmer and add the broccoli. Let it cook in the water for 1 to 2 minutes, or until it becomes very bright green and tender-crisp. Meanwhile, place the sliced red onion in a large colander in the sink
Pour the broccoli and all its water over the onion in the colander. ( The hot water will wilt the onion slightly upon contact. ) Place the colander of vegetables under cold running water for a few minutes, then shake to drain well.
Transfer the vegetables to the bowlful of dressing. Use tongs to toss until the broccoli is well coated, adding the apple slices as you go. You can serve this right away, or cover and let it marinate in the refregerator, where the flavor will deepen. Serve cold or at room temperature, topped with freshly ground black pepper to taste

Veggie burger sleuthing

15 Oct

There are two types of people in this world: those who love Rebar’s almond burger and those who haven’t tried it yet.

We can’t believe how many people google rebar+almond+burger daily looking for the Victoria, B.C. cafe’s secret recipe. We posted about it here, but sadly have yet to crack the code or hear from anyone who’s come close.

While Rebar’s nut burger has a cult following, we were intrigued to learn about another veggie burger from Northstar Cafe in Columbus, Ohio that inspires similar swooning.

 The good folks at Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn brought this to our attention and have tried experimenting with a beet/black bean/brown rice/chipotle combo. Readers insist oats and reconstituted dried dates are part of the mix. Click that link! The picture is amazing.

Here is an excerpt:

“Because our addiction was edging toward the unhealthy, we created this recipe in the spirit of the Northstar veggie burger. The key is to dice the beets very small and then cook all the ingredients until they’re very tender and soft. Don’t be tempted to use a food processor – that would give you the mushy texture we’re trying to avoid.

The other key is to sear the burgers very well in a hot cast-iron skillet to get that flavorful crust. You could also use a well-oiled stainless steel skillet, but a non-stick skillet probably won’t get the same kind of crust. If you want to throw them on a grill, cook them in a veggie basket or other grill-top device so the patties don’t break and fall through the grates.

One last note: we think the original Northstar burger has about double the amount of brown rice as beets or beans – that is to say, a large proportion of rice as compared to everything else. But in our testing, we ultimately decided that we liked the meatier texture we got when those three ingredients were in more equal proportion. We’ve written the recipe as such, but if you prefer the crunchier texture of the Northstar burger, just double the amount of rice.

Best-Ever Beet and Bean Burgers
Inspired by the veggie burgers at Northstar Cafe in Columbus, Ohio
makes about 6 burgers

1/2 cup brown rice (doubled if you like more rice)
1 onion, diced small
3 large red beets (about 1 pound), diced small
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons parsley, minced
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
salt and pepper
thin slices of provolone or monterey jack cheese white cheddar (optional)

Bring a large amount of water to a boil. Add a handful of salt and the rice, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the rice until it’s a little beyond al dente. You want it a little over-cooked, but still firm. This should take about 35-40 minutes. Drain the rice and set it aside.

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the onions are translucent and softened. Stir in the beets. Cover the pot and cook until the beets are completely tender, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan using the cider vinegar.

Empty the black beans into a large bowl and use a fork to mash them up a bit. Add the cooked rice, the beet and onion mixture, the lemon juice, the olive oil, and all the spices. Stir to combine and then taste for seasonings. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once it tastes the way you like it, add the flour and stir until you see no more dry flour.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over the highest heat. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil – the oil should completely coat the bottom of the pan. When you see the oil shimmer and it flows easily, the pan is ready.

Using your hands, scoop up about a cup of the burger mixture and shape it into a patty between your palms. Set it in the pan, where it should begin to sizzle immediately. (If it doesn’t sizzle, wait a minute or two before cooking the rest of the burgers.) Shape and add as many more patties as will fit in your pan. Once all the patties are in the pan, reduce the heat to medium-high.

Cook the patties for 2 minutes, then flip them to the other side. You should see a nice crust on the cooked side. If they break apart a little when you flipped them, just reshape them with the spatula – they’ll hold together once the second side is cooked. If you’re adding white cheddar cheese, lay a slice over the burgers now. Cook the second side for another 2 minutes.

Serve the veggie burgers on soft burger buns or lightly toasted sandwich bread along with some fresh greens.

Cooked burgers should be eaten that same day. You can also save leftover mix in the fridge for up to a week and cook just one or two burgers as you want them.”

Choppin’ broccoli

9 Sep

With apologies to Dana Carvey , we really do adore our broccoli.

This is broc at its best: viscous with fruity olive oil, spicy and salty. This is also an amazing topping for pizza.
Our fave is an unforgettable slice from New York’s Famiglia Pizzeria on Madison and 97th Street.

Paired with soft, bubbling mozzerella, this makes a pizza-perfect combo on pita or whatever you can toast. Dreamy!

Ingredients:
1 cup broccoli florets (pieces)
up to 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon cold water
1 clove minced garlic
Sea salt to taste
Red pepper flakes, chili oil, or in a pinch, Rooster sauce

Separate the broccoli florets from the stems. (Peel the stems and cut them into bite sized pieces – optional, you can toss out the stems). Break the florets into bite sized pieces. Place all ingredients into a covered fry pan and turn on high. When the steam seeps out the side of the lid you are done!~ Should take no more than 3-4 minutes. The broccoli will be bright green.

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Still on the veg-fest, we are big fans of the lovely Mollie Katzen and her charming, hand illustrated 1982 cookbook, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest.

This recipe of the same name brings broccoli, herbs, rice and cheese together beautifully. Although we love Best of Bridge’s Wild Rice Broccoli Casserole (2, 180 g cooked packages of Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice layered with steamed broccoli, 2, 10 oz/284 mL cans of mushroom soup and 2 c. grated old Cheddar), this is a cleaner, herbed version. It might be fun to revamp it as a baked risotto with the fun tree toppers.

Cook the rice as directed –  it’s fine if the rice is tender and there’s still extra moisture left.  Prepare the broccoli and in a medium bowl mix together 1 1/2 c. of the cheese with the soup.

Grease a 4 L casserole and spread half of the rice evenly on the bottom followed by half of the broccoli and then half of the soup mixture.  Repeat the layers and top with the remaining 1/2 c. of cheese.

When you’re ready to bake it, cook at 350 for about an hour.

Cook 2 cups brown or white rice in 3 cups boiling water until tender. (This will take 15-20 minutes for white, and 35-35 minutes for brown.)
Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and set aside.
Trim the tough bottoms from the broccoli stalks and cut the tops into trees. Steam until bright green and just barely tender. Rinse under cold running water, drain well and set aside
Preheat oven to 325F.
Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan.

Melt the butter or heat the oil in a large, deep skillet or a Dutch oven. Add the onion and salt and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and lemon juice and saute for about 2 minutes longer.

Stir in the rice, two eggs, some black pepper and cayenne to taste, the herbs and the optional sunflower seeds and cheese (swiss, cheddar, some parm).
Taste to correct salt, if necessary and spread into prepared pan.
Now for the fun part. Arrange the broccoli upright in the rice, and, if desired, drizzle with melted butter. Cover loosely with foil and bake until just heated through (15-20 minutes).

Burger Nut

18 Aug

almond burgerAugust is a perfect burger month. Give us salty, crusted beef patties paired with cold tomatoes and silky sweet mayo and we’re in heaven. While we have our coveted collection of recipes from favourite restaurants and cloned fast-food sauces, veggie burgers are welcome in summertime. We enjoy experimenting with veggie and nut patties because we’ve had so many grim ones (Money’s Mushroom cardboard discs, anyone? Bleech). The quest to discover heavenly, healthy concoctions is a good challenge.

Victoria, B.C.’s Rebar doesn’t give out the recipe for their amazing Almond Burger. Ack! So good — their secret recipe almond-veg patty is served on a multi-grain kaiser with fresh salsa, mayo, Dijon, banana peppers, pickle, sprouts, red onion, tomato and Jack or feta cheese if you wish.

Rebar co-chef Jeremy White told the National Post: “It’s got a good bite to it and lots of flavour,” he says. “Basically, it’s a nut burger with a lot of seasonings, similar to a soup or stuffing. There’s cornmeal, eggs, butter, onion, celery and red pepper.”

Those should be enough clues to start experimenting with your own version. If you are game for trying to replicate the famous almond burger at home, do let us know of your results. Given the number of google searches for “rebar almond burger recipe” leading folks to this site, we know there are a legion of you out there looking for the same thing! Shout out if you can make a patty that comes close!

The restaurant does share the recipe for another yummy veg patty as a consolation.

Rebar Mushroom Pecan Burger

From Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook
2 tablespoons (30 mL) vegetable oil
1 diced red onion
1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
4 minced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) red chili flakes
6 cups (1.5 L) sliced cremini mushrooms
2 tablespoons (30 mL) balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) cooked brown rice
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) grated carrot
1 cup (250 mL) ground and toasted pecans
2-3 cups (500-750 mL) fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) cracked pepper
1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons (30 mL) soy sauce

Grilled onions
2 sliced Spanish onions
2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) salt
cracked pepper to taste

Horseradish Mayonnaise

1 cup (250 mL) regular, homemade or eggless mayonnaise
4 tablespoons (60 mL) prepared horseradish or, if available, grate fresh horseradish root to taste

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat and saute red onion. Turn up the heat and add the garlic, mushrooms, salt, thyme and chili flakes. Stir and saute until the mushrooms have released their juices and the pan begins to dry out. Deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar. Let the liquid evaporate, turn the mushrooms out into a large bowl and let cool.

Add the brown rice and grated carrot to the mushrooms; in a food processor pulse the mixture in two or more batches until well combined but coarse in texture. Return to the bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly and season to taste. Refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight. Shape into patties and saute until golden brown.

Before serving, prepare the grilled onions by heating oil in a large skillet and adding the onions and salt. Fry until golden and season with cracked pepper.

Prepare the horseradish mayonnaise. Stir mayonnaise and horseradish until well combined.

Serve hot burgers on your favourite bun with lettuce or sprouts, sliced roma tomatoes, pickle or Dijon mustard. Top with grilled onions.

OTHER FAMOUS VEGGIE BURGERS

Whitewater Cooks Veggie Burger

Vancouver’s Capers Cafe (now Whole Foods) sold these thick patties in its deli. The beet and carrot mixture gives them the look of ground beef. They don’t taste like meat, but they are bright tasting and delicious. I have served these as mini patties for appetizers. Try to cook them on medium-low heat for a long time. A longer cooking time gives thicker burgers time to transform into something wonderful.
CAPERS CAFE VEGGIE BURGER
(clipped from an ancient Canadian Living as Bryan Adams’ favourite burger. We hoarded this for years before we actually tried it, and now we don’t know how we ever lived without it!)
makes 4 burgers
4 medium carrots
1 small uncooked beet
3/4 cup unsalted mixed nuts
1 tbsp light sesame oil
2 tbsp finely chopped onion
3 oz or 90 grams crumbled tofu, preferably soft, about 3/4 cup
1/3 cup finely chopped mixed sprouts: bean, alfalfa, pea)
2 tsp liquid honey
1 tbsp miso
2 minced garlic cloves
2 tsp black sesame seeds
pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 to 1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp vegetable oil
Using a food processor, finely process raw carrots until they resemble pulp. Measure out 1 cup and place in a medium sized bowl. Finely process raw beet until it resembles pulp. Measure out 2 tbsp and add to carrot mix. Process nuts until finely ground but with some texture still remaining. Measure out 3/4 cup and add to carrot mixture.
Heat 1 tsp. sesame oil in a small frying pan over medium low heat. Add onion and cook three to four minutes, or just until onion has softened slightly.
Add remaining 2 tsp sesame oil, onion, tofu, sprouts, honey, miso, garlic, sesame seeds, salt and pepper to carrot mixture. Stir until well mixed. Stir in breadcrumbs. Add a couple more tablespoons if necessary until mixture is firm enough to hold its shape.
Form into four burgers. This burger will fall apart on the bbq unless you have a solid grill to prevent it from falling through the grate. Heat vegetable oil in a large non-stick pan and cook burgers four to five minutes a side, or until golden on the outside and hot inside.

Nutburgers
(this was clipped from Bon Appetit’s RSVP section from a reader asking for a California restaurant’s recipe. Very 1980s, no?)

8 servings
3 15-oz cans garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed and mashed or pureed
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch parsley
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
1 tsp curry power
1/2 tsp vegetable salt
1 egg, lightly beaten

oil for frying
sharp cheddar slices
8 pitas
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 avocados, finely diced
1/2 bunch green leaf lettuce, chopped

Combine beans, onion, parsley, nuts, seeds, curry powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add egg and mix well. Form into eight 3 x 3/4 inch patties.
Pour oil into heavy large skillet to depth of 1/4 inch. Place over medium high heat. When oil is hot, add patties and fry until lightly browned, about four minutes. Turn and fry the other side for four minutes, topping with cheese while the other side cooks.
Drain patties on paper towel.
Lightly spread inside of pitas with mustard. Place patty in each, add tomato, avocado and lettuce. Spoon dressing over filling.

Creamy Herbal Dressing
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup yogurt
2 tbsp finely chopped onion
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1/4 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp Worchestershire
1/4 tsp vegetable salt
combine in a processor or blender until smooth.

Detox

15 Jul

Uncle. We give in. With so many late nights, beer and beef, we feel like we have one foot in the grave. Here are two tried and true vegetarian soups packed with vitamins. You remember those, don’t you?

ELIXIR CLEANSE SOUP
 From Oprah…weight_wyn_elixir_120
Cathy Lewis: This elixir—a liquid I believe cures all ills—is something I give to Wynonna Judd after she has been on the road. The cleansing properties of the ginger, garlic and habanero have a great effect on the liver, the main filter in our bodies. It’s very important to detox your system if you have had a period of stress, poor eating habits or too much sugar. It is a very pleasing and flavorful broth that should be consumed at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The broth and healing properties of the ingredients will better assimilate into your system. This is also a good broth to curb your appetite.

1 piece (thumb-sized) fresh ginger root , peeled
2 large cloves garlic
1/4 habanero pepper
Juice of 2 limes, in a separate bowl
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 seedless cucumber, diced
1/2 carrot diced
1/2 cup jicama, diced
1 bunch cilantro , leaves picked and minced
1/4 red pepper, diced
1/4 yellow pepper, diced
1/4 orange pepper, diced
Put the garlic, ginger and habanero in a food processor, or blender, and grind to a fine puree, adding a few drops of the lime juice to loosen it up a bit.

Place this in a 1 1/2- or two-quart sauce/soup pan, over medium high heat. Sauté for 10 seconds and removed from heat.

Pour in the broth, return pan to heat, let it come to a slow simmer. Cook for 15 minutes to incorporate all the flavors.

Divide the garnish vegetables between four soup bowls and pour the broth over.

MINESTRONE
Kelly Ripa’s kids call this Tiger Soup because of the shredded cabbage “stripes.” She uses Jamie Oliver’s recipe, but substitutes chick peas for pasta. This low-fat soup tastes wonderful, and is perfect for snacking on throughout the day to keep you full.

10 large ripe plum tomatoes (or two 14 oz cans of tomatoes, drained)
3 medium carrots
2 medium leeks
5 ribs of celery
2 red onions
1 cabbage
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 heaped Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
3 cups ham, chicken, or vegetable stock
3 good handfuls of fresh basil, torn
6 oz spaghetti
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese, grated
Directions
Score the tomatoes and place briefly in boiling water. Then skin, seed and roughly dice. Peel or scrape the carrots, quarter lengthwise and chop. Remove the outer leaves of the leeks, quarter lengthwise, wash well and chop. Peel the celery with peeler to remove the stringy bits, then cut in half lengthwise and chop. Peel and chop the onions. When you are chopping all these vegetables, try to make them more or less the same size (around inch dice. Wash and roughly chop the cabbage.

Put the olive oil into a warmed thick-bottomed pan and cook the carrots, leeks, celery, onion, garlic and rosemary over medium heat until just tender (about 15 minutes). Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, skimming if necessary. Add the cabbage, cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the basil and the pasta, which will absorb the flavors of the soup. Simmer for a further 5 minutes or more. Taste and season. The soup should be quite thick, full in flavor, and the cabbage shouldn’t be overcooked–you want to retain its deep color.