Simple Potato Leek Soup

From Klesick’s Family Farm
(these are the awesome folks who provide my farm box each week)

DSC_4291

3 large leeks, white and light green parts only
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
Kosher salt
6 medium to large Yukon Gold potatoes
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or homemade vegetable stock or water)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Sour cream, for serving (optional)

Slice leeks in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly. Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons. Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat in Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Add leeks and garlic and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softened but not browned, about 10 minutes.

While leeks are cooking, fill large bowl halfway with cold water. Peel potatoes, placing each in bowl of water immediately after peeling to prevent browning. Cut each potato in half lengthwise and slice into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons. Drain potato slices and add to pot along with stock and a few generous grinds of pepper. Raise heat to high and bring soup to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until potatoes are very soft, about 20 minutes.

Puree soup with an immersion blender or in batches in standing blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with sour cream if desired. Soup reheats well and will keep in refrigerator for up to one week.

Reprinted with permission from Klesick’s Family Farm.

© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Advertisements

Balsamic Roasted Red Cabbage

DSC_4093Cabbage is one of those veggies I didn’t eat as a kid.     I don’t know that it was ever even fixed in our house.   Maybe in the rare cole slaw, but I seem to remember eating that out of little styrofoam containers. So when I got a full head of red cabbage in my farm box  I was feeling serious underwhelmed.    I try desperately to use everything that comes.    It’s a good exercise in being creative and stretching our palate outside it’s normal limits.     But I was REALLY hesitant about what I could do with this cabbage.    The only thing that came to mind was fish tacos and since I’m the only person who eats fish in the house…. well, I knew it was time to hit Pinterest. After doing a bit of oogling, I came upon the theory of roasting it.    Roasting is probably my favorite thing to do with veggies.   You add some olive, oil, garlic, salt and pepper and it’s pretty much a win in my house. So here it is! Balsamic Roasted Red Cabbage Adapted from Family Friendly Food 1 head red cabbage, chopped 1 large red onion, chopped 3-5 cloves fresh garlic, diced (we LOVE garlic) a couple glugs of olive oil (estimated at 3-4 tbsp) Sea Salt Fresh Ground Pepper 1/4 to 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (more = stronger taste, we love the stuff) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Chop the cabbage in half, then in quarters – then cut out the core from each piece. DSC_4096 Rough chop the quarters into about 1” pieces.    Throw the cabbage into your biggest rectangular pyrex.   Rough chop the onion and throw that on top of the cabbage.   Dice the garlic and throw that on top.   Sprinkle with salt and pepper to season.   Give it a glug of olive oil. DSC_4100 Stir it all up.   You want enough olive oil to have a light covering on everything.   If not,  give it a bit more and stir again.    Drizzle on your balsamic and give it a good stir.   Roast for 40-50 minutes, stirring about half way through. And here’s what you get! DSC_4108 Not only is this GEORGOUS, it tastes wonderful! This makes a big pan.    It was great as leftovers, I even ate it cold (but I can be weird like that). Note:  the recipe I based this one on calls for sugar to be added for sweetness.   I think the onions add plenty – but feel free to add a couple teaspoons of agave for the last 20 minutes if you like it extra sweet. © Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Kale & Sausage Quinoa Salad–Recipe Review

Two years ago I would have passed this recipe by.   It would have scared me.    Back then, I had never had quinoa.     I would gladly pass off the kale in my CSA box to my friend, Jeannie, who couldn’t get enough of the stuff.

Times have changed.

Quinoa is one of my favorite ingredients these days.     It’s a wonderful protein filled, gluten free grain!    I’ve used it in place of rice in numerous recipes with great success.   I’ve heard complaints that people can’t get their kids to eat it, but Grant LOVES it.

Kale is slowly becoming my friend.     It’s taken time.    I started with kale chips and it probably took 6 batches before I really started to like them.   Now, I eat ‘em like potato chips.    Kale’s worked it’s way into my smoothies and has started making main course appearances.

Last week I found this recipe posted on one of my favorite blogs – Queen of Quinoa.

Here is Alyssa’s, Queen of Qunioa,  much prettier picture:

Picture used with permission from Queen of Quinoa

I knew I had kale coming in my farm box and this just looked warm and inviting.  What the heck, I’d give it a whirl.   And the results?

YUM!!!!!

This recipe not only won me over, but also my hubby, Glenn.    We both found it scrumptious and incredibly filling.     It was also a quick and easy fix, which is always a plus.   Glenn took leftovers for work the next day and said it reheated wonderfully.    I’m going try making it into a DIY frozen meal and will let you know how it turns out.

Grant, who is 5, would have nothing to do with this salad.   This is no surprise as he doesn’t like anything with combined ingredients.    He happily had a big bowl of plain quinoa and a green salad for dinner.

Get the Queen of Quinoa’s Kale & Sausage Quinoa Salad Recipe Here!

Notes on my ingredients / preparation:

  • I used Trader Joe’s Organic Multi Color Quinoa (because it’s what I had) in place of the rainbow quinoa called for.
  • Iserno’s Sausage is a favorite in our house.   I used their Italian Chicken Sausage (gluten & nitrate free)  which I had precooked and in the freezer.
  • I probably used 3-4 tomatoes  instead of the called for 2.   I had heirlooms I needed to use up, so I threw them in (is there ever such a thing as too many tomatoes?)
  • I just gave the kale a quick chop instead of the thin slice called for.    Take the time, do the thin slice.

Eating healthy often takes stepping out of our comfort zones.    This is one step out that we will be repeating often!   Thanks to the Queen of Quinoa for a great recipe!

© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Gluten Free Focaccia Breadsticks

Since we found out that my son, Grant,  was gluten sensitive, bread has become a big issue in our house.    Grant LOVES bread.   Even before his diagnosis, I had been baking all of my own breads.    I was having issues with all of the preservatives in bread.   My body DID NOT LIKE THEM.    I’d eat a piece of bread for lunch – I’d feel like I’d been hit by a truck all afternoon.   In retrospect,  this was probably a gluten and preservative issue.  But have you looked at your bread label lately?   If not,  go do so!   Do you know what everything in there is?   I’ll have a post coming soon on wonderful breads (regular & GF) that you can make your self at home – simply! (I already hear your skepticism – but really you can!)

For now, here’s a yummy for you….

This recipe is super easy because it uses Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix as a  flour base so you don’t have to pull out 5 different kinds of flours.   For those of you that don’t eat Gluten Free (GF) – this is still a great 100% whole grain option that passed that test with dinner guests who didn’t know it wasn’t made with wheat!

Gluten Free Focaccia Breadsticks

1 Bag of Bob’s Red Mill GF Pizza Crust Mix  (see purchasing notes at bottom)

1.5 cups  Warm Water

2 Eggs (or 2 Tbsp Ground Flax Seed +6 Tbsp water for egg free option – let sit for 5 minutes before using)

4 to 6 Tbsp Olive Oil – Divided

2 Palms full / about 3 Tbsp Dried Thyme (you can use fresh and reduce the amount by about half – just didn’t have any when the idea struck!)

GF Cornmeal or GF Flour for pan

Sea Salt to top

Parchment Paper

Get out your stand mixer.    Empty the yeast packet (included with the mix) into the bowl and add 1.5 cups of warm water.   Let sit for about 5 minutes to let the yeast activate.   After the 5 minutes is up, add in your eggs (or replacement) and 2 tbsp olive oil.  Mix until blended on low speed.  Still on low speed, add in about half the flour mix, add the Thyme and then the rest of the mix.  Blend on low until all flour is taken into the dough then mix on medium high for about a minute.

Now comes the messy part.   If you’re an experienced GF baker – you know to expect sticky dough – and this fits the bill.    For those of you that aren’t used to working with GF  dough, now is the time to roll up your sleeves, take off your rings and get your hands doughy.    I’ve found the easiest way to work with this dough is with wet hands.   Any spoon or spatula you use just makes a mess.

Wet those hands and use them to scrape the mixer blade of the dough and then divide the dough into to two sections.   (If the dough is sticking to your hands – go get them wet again!)

Cover (go eco and use a stainless bowl instead of plastic wrap) and give it a good 30 minutes to rise in a warm location.   I like to preheat my oven to 425 degrees and place the bowl by the vent.   Your oven will get good and hot and it will help the rise.   That said – don’t expect a big rise out of this – you won’t get it and that’s OK!

While your dough is rising, pull out your baking sheet, parchment paper, cornmeal (or flour) and sea salt.    Line your pan with the parchment and give it a good coating of cornmeal  (think of the amount used for rolling out a pie crust).

Note:  the mix makes enough for 2 batches.   You can refrigerate the 2nd portion and use within the next 3 days.  If you want to make it all at once, I’d do it in 2 bakings to avoid mushy centers.

When your timer dings – go wet your hands again, pull a section of dough from the bowl, and place it in the middle of the parchment .   (At this point you will be spreading the dough – if your sink is more than a step away from the pan – you’ll probably want a small bowl of water to dip your hands in to keep them wet. )   With wet hands work the dough into a rectangle, re-wetting hands as needed.   You want your dough to be about 1/2 inch thick.    Don’t worry about making it too pretty.   Rough edges = Artisan!

After you dough is spread take a serrated knife and cut it into about 12 – 14 pieces.   I cut across the middle and then divide according to what looks right.  (Don’t worry if they close back in on each other a little bit – they’ll still break apart after baking.)  Brush with olive oil until nicely coated but not dripping.   Sprinkle with Sea Salt.

Bake for 18-24 minutes on center rack of oven.   Check after about 15 minutes for browning.   You want a nice crispy crust – medium browned.    Edges should be slightly hard to the touch on tapping.

Cool enough to handle, then break apart and enjoy!   Best when still warm – they didn’t last long in our house!

Another option you can try is to spread in a jelly roll pan (dough about 1/8″), top as noted above and bake for 14-19 minutes.   This comes out more like a flat bread/cracker – but still very yummy.

I plan to play with different herb combinations with this.   I will keep you posted on what I find that I like.   If you try something and it turns out yummy, please let me know!

*Purchasing Notes:   Bob’s Red Mill products can be found in the health food sections of most traditional grocery stores. I tend to buy mine online (and in bulk) from Vitacost or Amazon because the pricing is so much better.

 

© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blueberry Bliss French Toast

DSC_4179

Doesn’t this sound fancy?  Well, it couldn’t be more simple.

Simple is what I needed yesterday morning.     I had gone to bed early  (ok, fell asleep on the couch) and was the first one up.    Reveling in the glory of a quiet house, I snuck downstairs,  fixed a pot of coffee and fed the dog (there’s no peace until you do).

Before the coffee was done brewing my sleepy eye 5-year old, Grant, rambled into the kitchen and proclaimed he wanted cartoons.    With a deep sigh, I sent him back upstairs to find his Dad.   Oh how I had longed for a quiet morning to sit and read in the seldom seen Pacific Northwest sun.

Well, I got it.   Grant went back upstairs, crawled into bed with his dad and they both slept for 2 more hours.  BLISS!

I sat in the sun, sipped my coffee, crunched on a crisp apple and finished reading a novel.     The end of a book always brings a great sense of satisfaction for me.   I love when I have a few minutes to sit and contemplate.

This morning though, I wasn’t thinking about the book.    I was thinking about how good it felt to have 2 hours of interrupted time to myself and ALLOWING myself to do what I wanted to do.    It’s all too often that I let my to-do list dictate what I do with my  kid-free time.    Sound familiar?

I told you I’d give you a challenge each week.   Here’s the first one:

CHALLENGE 1:   Take an hour this week to do whatever it is that brings you bliss.   (or get REALLY crazy and take an hour a day)

It’s guaranteed  to make you smile.  Smiles = healthy!

And in honor of this, Grant got one of his favorite Sunday breakfasts.   French Toast.

Blueberry Bliss French Toast

It’s easiest to start the syrup first and let it cook down while you make your French Toast

for the French Toast
6 pieces 100% whole grain bread (gluten free works too!)
4 eggs (preferably organic, free range)
1 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon
Butter for pan

In a low, flat dish (like a small glass casserole) crack your eggs, whisk them up, then wisk in the cinnamon.  DSC_4164 Soak your bread in the egg mix until it soaks up the egg mixture, flip and duplicate for other side of bread.  You want your bread soaked through, but not soggy.   (How long this takes depends on the variety and freshness of the bread.)   Preheat your griddle.  Once hot, give it a quick once over with a stick of butter.    Cook each piece of toast 1-2 minutes a side until nicely browned.  Top with Blueberry sauce.

for Blueberry Syrup (start before French toast)
2 cups frozen blueberries (preferably organic)
2 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup (preferably organic, should read 100% Pure on the label)

Place frozen blueberries and maple syrup in a small sauce pan over medium heat.    Bring to a boil.

DSC_4166

Reduce heat and simmer until French Toast is done. Spoon over French Toast and ENJOY!DSC_4183

© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.