Soup’s on!

What a snowstorm yesterday!  It was a day of shoveling at my house … it started at 7:30am and didn’t end until 5pm.  After all that snow, it was time to think about dinner.  Soup sounded perfect.  I had cooked up a turkey breast the day before so there was plenty of meat in the refrigerator plus I had a box of chicken bone broth on the shelf and vegetables in the refrigerator.  All I needed was my pressure cooker and some seasonings and dinner would be ready in about 20 minutes.  I know so many people who are afraid to use a pressure cooker, but I just love mine.  It is the only way I make soup.  Something that might take 30-40 minutes cooked in a regular pot, only takes 10-15 minutes in my pressure cooker.  And it’s not just about time, but about flavor.  A pressure cooker locks in all of the steam and therefore all of the flavor.  I rarely follow a recipe when I make soup.  Basically I use whatever vegetables I have on hand, broth if I have it, water if not, and then some spices.  It’s hard for me to duplicate a recipe, but I never mind.  I like the variety.  Here is what came out of my pressure cooker yesterday:

Pesto Turkey Vegetable Soup

6 medium carrots

6 stalks celery

2 small zucchini

1/2 head of cabbage (small to medium)

1 box chicken bone broth

2 cups chopped turkey or chicken meat

1/4 cup pesto

2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or pressure cooker over medium high heat.  Wash and chop the carrots and celery into bite sized pieces and add to the pot.  Sauté for about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile core and chop the cabbage into bite sized pieces.  Add to the pot and cook for an additional 3 minutes.  Add the bone broth and bring to a boil.  Add the zucchini.  If you are using a pressure cooker, allow the soup to come to pressure and then lower the heat.  Cook for 7 minutes. (If you are cooking the soup in a regular pot, lower the soup to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are soft.)  Bring down the pressure and check to make sure the vegetables are soft.  Add the chopped turkey or chicken meat and the pesto.  Simmer for an additional 3 minutes to warm the meat.  Serve and Enjoy!

 

 

How Does Your Garden Grow?

There is nothing pleasanter than spading when the ground is soft and damp.

~ John Steinbeck

lower gardenI will have to agree that there is something so satisfying to me to be able to put my hands into the dirt.  This is the photo that I sent out awhile ago in the beginning of spring.  This was my garden before I got it planted.  Even though there is still a small section of my garden that is filled with weeds and yet unplanted, I wanted to share with you what I have growing.

bottom

In this row I have peas towards the back with some kale and arugula growing in front of them.  There are some onions left over from last year and some lettuce.  Under the ladder there are two winter squash plants of unknown variety.  It is a wait and see what grows!

middleIn this middle row I have zucchini and yellow squash towards the fence and the some pole beans next to them.  I have lots of basil so that I can make pesto for the freezer.  There are tomatoes, peppers and more lettuce towards the front.

topIn the top row I have lots of herbs and then below  I have potatoes, string beans and more onions that I just planted.

This is my spring garden because once the end of June comes and the sun starts dipping down, the trees start to shade this garden and it gets very little sun.  I hope that I will have some things to eat out of here soon!

On the side of my house where I keep thinking there is more sun, I have my other garden.If I am truly honest with myself, there is not much more sun on this side of the house.  I live in a beautiful spot, but those big trees are just getting in my way!

3

Lots and lots of greens in this part of my garden – kale, collards, tatsoi, spinach, endive, escarole and cress.  Yummy!  We have already been eating out of this side.

4

More peas on this side along with beets, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, radishes and chard.  Radishes are amazing!  They grow so quickly.  We have already eaten many of those.  There are some strawberries in the back but I transplanted them so they are still trying to find their roots.

blueberries

Hard to tell in this photo, but these are blueberry plants that I just bought this year and they are loaded!  I hope they make it!

Thanks for taking the tour of my garden!  I will keep you posted as I harvest my goodies!  Happy gardening!

Kitchen Experiment – Gluten Free Pizza

I am always on the look out for a good gluten-free pizza dough recipe.  I have been making homemade pizza since I was young.  My Mom would make her own dough and then set us up to make our own pizzas.  We would have friends over so that we could “teach” them how to make pizza the right way!  Pizzeria pizza is good, but I am very picky.  There is nothing like making it yourself.  Since starting the ALCAT diet, we have not been able to make pizza dough because my husband has a severe intolerance to yeast. Gluten-free is hard enough, but without the yeast, it is even more complicated. When I saw this new recipe made with Arborio rice, I knew I had to give it a try!

I like easy recipes and this was definitely easy.  Basically it was cooked Arborio rice, some parmesan cheese and an egg.  You mixed all of that together and then pressed it into a pan.  The recipe said that you could use the back of a fork to spread it out in the pan, but I found that wet hands worked much better.  When I usually make pizza, I like to use my cast iron skillet and a stone cookie sheet so I decided to use the same thing.

before crustpizza crust

You cook the crust first at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes before adding the toppings.

baked crustThe idea is to crisp is up first before you add the wet toppings.  So, as I said before, my Mom has been making pizza since I was little and I just love to make traditional pizza with tomato sauce and cheese.  My Mom would line up the tomato sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, parmesan cheese, olive oil and mozzarella cheese and show us just the right amount of each to put on the pizza crust.  I of course have to do it just the same way.

plain pizzaI also made one with sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and artichokes hearts …

pizzaI had some pesto that needed to be used so I made one more with pesto and sheep feta …

pestoSo, how did they turn out?  They were delicious, but I think that the crust could be crisper!  The next time I will cook them a little longer before putting the toppings on and I will put the pans closer to the bottom element in the oven before and after the toppings.  It seemed like if you kept the pizza in the pans, they stayed a little crisper than trying to take them out to cool on the cutting board.

Final say:  give it a try if you need an easy gluten-free pizza crust!

Kitchen Experiments – Rice Pasta with Tofu Pesto Sauce

Sometimes when I am thinking about what to make for dinner, I will remember a recipe that I have not made in a long time and if I am lucky, the recipe will actually fit in with our Alcat diet plan.

Well, I was lucky this week!  Years ago my brother Gregory made up this recipe using tofu, basil and miso – he called it a tofu pesto!  I remember him making it that first time – it was so creamy and delicious.  He served it over rice with big broccoli spears.  I always thought of it like a pesto alfredo sauce.  Well, however you want to think about it, it is just plain delicious!

pesto

I had since found a similar recipe in my Ayurvedic cookbook and had used it in the past.  With a little tweaking this go round, it fit perfectly into our daily plan. I love when something comes together so brilliantly!  My pesto sauce contained silken tofu, basil, miso, homemade walnut, sunflower, hazelnut butter, tamari and water.  That’s it!  I served it over rice pasta with mushrooms and asparagus!  I can’t wait to make it again!