Friday, October 24, 2014

Orange & Fennel Salad with Pomegranate & Feta (Served with a Simple Grilled Salmon)

I have had fennel and orange on the brain lately and pomegranates have been popping up in the grocery store for the past few weeks, so when I saw a salad of those three ingredients combined with feta in Crazy Water Pickled Lemons by Diana Henry, I knew it was destined for my dinner plate. 

The online recipe I found differed slightly from the book (using mint instead of parsley and cilantro, omitting the cucumber and using runny honey instead of sugar in the dressing) and that is the one I used. Served with a salmon grilled with a little olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper, it was a quick dinner with wonderful flavors. 

Diana Henry says, "Salty and aniseedy with bursts of sour sweetness, this is a real palate cleanser."  

Orange & Fennel Salad with Pomegranate & Feta
Adapted from Crazy Water, Pickled Lemon by Diana Henry, or online here
(Serves 4 as Starter, 6 as Side Dish)

2 bulbs fennel
1/2 red onion, very finely sliced (Whoops--I forgot red onion & used a sweet Maui instead)
200g (7oz) feta cheese
2 small oranges, peeled and carefully sliced
seeds of 1/2 pomegranate
leaves from small bunch fresh mint, torn

For the dressing
1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
30ml (2 Tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp runny honey
salt and pepper 

(I added the juice from the oranges)

Make the dressing by mixing together the vinegar, oil, honey, salt and pepper in the bottom of a shallow serving bowl.

Trim the fennel bulbs, reserving any of the little feathery fronds, and remove any tough outer leaves. Quarter the bulbs and cut out the central core. Finely slice the fennel, lengthways, and toss it into the bowl containing the dressing, with the reserved fronds. Add the onion, orange slices and mint.

Toss the salad and scatter the pomegranate seeds and feta on the top - don't add the seeds before tossing, or they will leach out their crimson juices. 

Notes/Results: This was a wonderful salad--so pretty and so good. I loved the combination of flavors and textures. The sheep's milk feta I used was perfectly salty and creamy and contrasted so well with the honey in the dressing and the sweet oranges and slightly tangy pomegranate seeds. It would have been fabulous by itself but it is the perfect salad for a good piece of fish. I will make this again.

This salad is linking up to this week's Potluck at I Heart Cooking Clubs where we are making any recipe from our current IHCC chef Diana Henry, or any recipe from one of the previous IHCC chefs.

Happy Aloha Friday!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Book Tour Stops Here: Review of "The Unforgivable Fix" by T.E. Woods Served with Chickpea 'Tuna' Salad Sandwiches

I am a fan of a good series--especially one in the mystery/thriller genre. I like getting to know the characters at a deeper level as each story unfolds. The Unforgivable Fix: by T. E. Woods is the third book in the Justice series which gets better and better with each novel. I am excited to be a stop on the TLC Book Tour for The Unforgivable Fix today, and to offer up and review and a dish inspired by the book.

Publisher's Blurb

The killer won’t come for you, you fool. He’ll come for me.

Detective Mort Grant of the Seattle PD has finally decided to sell. The home where he and his late wife raised two kids feels too large and too full of old memories. His son is married and raising a family of his own, and despite desperate efforts to find her, Mort has lost touch with his wayward daughter. That is, until the day she walks back into her childhood home and begs for his help.

For the last four years, Allie Grant has been the lover—and confidante, confessor, and counselor—of one of the world’s most powerful and deadly men. But a sudden, rash move has put Allie in the crosshairs of a ruthless Russian crime lord. Mort knows of only one place where Allie will be safe: with The Fixer.

As a hired desperado, The Fixer has killed twenty-three people—and Mort was complicit in her escape from the law. She has built an impregnable house, stocked it with state-of-the-art gear, armed it to the teeth, and locked herself away from the world. But even The Fixer may not be able to get justice for Allie when real evil comes knocking.

Publisher: Alibi (October 14, 2014)
E-Book: Pages: 320
Like any great series with well-written characters, you will want to start with the first book, The Fixer, to get the background on the characters and see how things evolve. (You can read my Book Tour review of The Fixer accompanied by an easy chocolate hazelnut mousse recipe here.) In between book tours, I caught up with the second book, The Red Hot Fix which I reviewed on Goodreads here. The Unforgivable Fix is the third book in the series and the action doesn't let up. Mort's guilt and sadness over his missing daughter Allie has been brewing and when she shows up running from her drug czar lover and the Russian that he started a war with, Mort wants to protect her--no matter how it could cost him. Stashing her with (spoiler alert--if you haven't read the first book) Lydia seems the best way to keep her alive. Lydia is immediately on guard, having someone much to close for comfort to the secrets she has hidden in her house from her time as "The Fixer"-- not to mention her dislike and distrust of Allie and her motives. Lydia seems to be slowly putting her life together, restarting her practice and working with a psychology grad student as a favor for a friend but the guilt over her past keeps creeping in. 

I love both Lydia and Mort, and their relationship--which feels real based on the ups and downs they have with each other. I like how the action is divided between both characters and it felt more equally divided in this book than the first two. There is also more than one story going on--in this case the secondary story line involves a troubling molestation case. As in the other books, the edges between 'right and wrong' are blurred, that moral ambiguity is something both Lydia and Mort struggle with. Author Woods keeps the pace fast and the twists and turns coming, making for a quick and tension-filled read. If you haven't discovered this series yet, and love taut, dark, and well-written thrillers give it a try--you'll fall for The Fixer too. I am impatiently waiting for the next book!

Author Notes: T. E. Woods is as eager as her fans to return to the thrilling world of the Justice series. She’s busy writing the next installment and is developing a new series set in Madison, Wisconsin. 

Connect with TE Woods: Facebook | Twitter

Although there are usually more bodies than meals in this series, there are certainly mentions of food throughout. Lydia is fond of lattes with honey--especially from the Olympia coffee shop of Oliver, the man she wants but cannot let herself get close to because of her past. Mort makes chili with two secrets--"The first is to use both beef and pork.The second is to add one tiny habanero pepper." Lydia cooks a simple steak, veggies and rice, and Allie makes a special beef dish she learns in the islands with veggies and beans, and a dessert of peaches broiled in a brandy sauce, served warm over vanilla ice cream. It all sounded good but in the end, I decided to take inspiration from tuna sandwiches. Allie and her mother, Mort's deceased wife Edie, used to linger over tuna salad sandwiches after shopping, and Lydia makes tuna sandwiches for lunch with the grad student she is supervising for his clinical practice.  

Although I stay away from meat and poultry, I eat fish a few times a week and I make a tasty tuna sandwich myself (capers are the key) but, I have been wanting to try the vegan Chicky Tuna Salad' Sandwiches from Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and this seemed like a good opportunity to make them. Also, in these books everything is not always as it seems so the mock-tuna salad is a nod to that. They aren't in Isa's recipe but I just had to add some capers to mine. ;-)

Moskowitz says, "Chickpeas have a soft meatiness and then the little pieces of sunflower seed provide some bite. Carrots and celery stud the salad with lots of fresh crunch."

'Chicky Tuna Salad Sandwiches'
Adapted from Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
(Makes 4-6 Sandwiches

large carrot, peeled
large rib celery, leaves removed
1/4 white onion (I used Maui sweet onion)
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained--about 1 1/2 cups
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup vegan mayo + more for bread
1 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 Tbsp kelp or dulse flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper 
(I added 1 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained)

bread of choice, toasted
lettuce, tomato, sprouts, and/or avocado to garnish

Cut carrot, celery and onion into large chunks and place in food processor. Pulse until veggies are chopped but not pureed. Pieces should range from pea-size to chickpea-size. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl, scrapping down the sides of the food processor bowl to get as much as possible. 

Place chickpeas and sunflower seeds in the food processor and pulse until a somewhat chunky mash--with bits of whole chickpea left. Transfer to mixing bowl and combine with the veggies.

Add mayo, vinegar, seaweed flakes (if using), salt pepper and capers and mix well. 

Serve on (multigrain preferred) bread or toast with garnishes or on top of romaine leaves. Enjoy!

Notes/Results: Although they are not likely to get mistaken for tuna sandwiches, this chickpea-sunflower mixture is full of great flavor and texture. Between the dulse seaweed flakes and the capers, it definitely has an appealing briny taste. I served mine on a multigrain oat bread, toasted with romaine and sliced avocado. The creaminess of the avocado went well with the crunchier salad and toasted bread. With an apple, it made a healthy and fiber-filled lunch and the leftovers hold up well for a few days making it great to make ahead and have on-hand for weekday lunches. I will make this again. (Note: Chickpeas also make a yummy mock chicken salad--check out this Deli-Style Chickpea Salad Sandwich.)

Note: A review copy of "The Unforgivable Fix" was provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in return for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are my own.  

You can see the stops for the rest of the TLC Book Tours and Reviews here.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mark Bittman's Spanish-Style Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta & Bean Soup) for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

Although I frequently make an oath not to buy any more cookbooks, there are times that I just can't help myself. Like when Mark Bittman comes out with a new one. Plus, since I already have How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, I felt like I needed to have How to Cook Everything Fast--Bittman's collection of 2000-ish quick cooking recipes, processes and tips too. 

I have been craving Pasta e Fagioli but I liked Bittman's Spanish-style variation because of the chickpeas and smoked paprika and wanted to try it. He didn't mention the cheese in his version but it seemed only right to replace the Parmesan with some of my favorite Manchego.

Spanish-Style Pasta e Fagioli  
How to Cook Everything Fast by Mark Bittman
(Serves 4)

3 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp smoked paprika
(I added 1 tsp ground cumin)
14-oz can whole tomatoes
6 cups chicken or veggie stock, or water
2 cups (15 oz can) cooked or canned garbanzo beans
6 oz spaghetti, broken into 1-inch pieces
1 bunch fresh parsley to garnish
(I added 4 oz Manchego cheese, about 1 cup grated)

Put 3 tablespoons oil in a large pot over low heat. Add vegetables to the pot and stir. Raise heat to medium-high, when the veggies start sizzling sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until they soften and begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and smoked paprika to the pot and stir until fragrant--about 1 minute. 

Add the tomatoes and their juice, breaking them apart with a spoon and scrapping any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add stock or water and raise heat to high. 

When the soup begins to boil, stir in the beans and the pasta. Return to boil, then adjust heat so it simmers steadily. Test pasta after 5 minutes, it should be tender but not mushy. If pot starts to look dry, at water a bit at a time. 

When pasta is tender, turn off heat. Taste and adjust seasoning. Divide soup into four bowls. Garnish each with the parsley, 1/4 cup cheese, and drizzle with olive oil; serve.

Notes/Results: A simple and tasty little soup. The combination of the garbanzo beans and mini spaghetti noodles was fun. My sister (Yes, when you visit Hawaii, especially in the midst of a tropical storm, Deb feeds you soup) said that she really liked the flavor from the smoked paprika and felt it set it apart from the typical Italian pasta e fagioli. I think the manchego was a nice touch. Warming and satisfying for a rainy night, I would happily make this again. 

This soup will link up to this coming week's Potluck! at I Heart Cooking Clubs--the opportunity to make any Diana Henry recipe or any recipe from our past IHCC chefs. You can see what everyone made by following the links once the post goes live.

In the meantime, we have some great friends and their dishes waiting in the Souper Sundays kitchen. Let's have a look!

Janet of The Taste Space shares Three Sisters Soup (Black Bean, Corn and Squash Soup) and says, "This is a perfect end-of-summer, beginning of fall soup, as the last of the local corn arrives and the first winter squashes arrive. Or perfect for the dead of winter, too, using frozen corn kernels. This meal is simple but elevated by choice herbs and spices (cilantro, chiles, smoked paprika, garlic) with a heavy hand of lime juice. I used the full amount in the recipe and even I, the lover of all things tart, found it off-putting. Please start with less and taste as you go."  

Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog is here with a creamy Gluten Free Mushroom Bisque. She says, "When the weather starts to chill, I start thinking about homemade soup. This simple recipe couldn't be easier; I made it in 20 minutes start to finish. I pride myself on preparing tasty "quickie soups"  that I can complete and eat within the half hour. This gluten free favorite was light, delicious and soothing.  It was perfect for a calorie conscious, yet satisfying lunch! It's healthy too. Mushrooms contain valuable nutrients.

It's spicy Kimchi-guk (Kimchi Soup) from Joyce at Kitchen Flavours. She says, "I have made this kimchi soup many times using my homemade kimchi. I love kimchi soup and could finish a whole bowl of this soup, and slurp on every last drop! ... I have added in more hot pepper paste (gochujang), as I like the soup a little more spicy. Use less hot pepper paste for a milder soup, but if you love heat, you would probably add on more, just like I did! Delicious! With just this one dish, you would eat two bowls of rice!"

Debbie of The Friday Friends brings Mexican Chicken Soup and says, "On Tuesday I saw this on my Facebook page, was having a bad day (just tired mostly) and thought: I'm going to make this soup. This looks like COMFORT FOOD!! And I got to chop lots of vegetables. Does that sound weird? Chopping vegetables makes me happy. I don't know what it is. I think that's why I like to make soup---it has lots of vegetables that need chopping. ... This is a great soup. Good for you too. Just fresh veggies simmered in broth served over some homemade Spanish rice."

One sandwich this week, healthy Roasted Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Wraps from Shaheen of Allotment2Kitchen. Shaheen says, "I have mostly been having sandwiches for work, and I have to admit I have been getting a little bored with the plain filling, so the BBQ butter that I made recently was delightful, but sometimes its not sandwiches, its a pasta salad or today, it was Roast Sweet Potato with Red Pepper Wraps.  These were nice, but I think they would have benefited with a touch of soured cream." 

Thanks to everyone who joined in this week. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the sidebar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Chilled Rice Pudding with Orange, Honey, & Cardamom Syrup: Cool and Creamy Comfort

Not everyone loves rice pudding. It's one of those things that I disliked growing up but blogging and trying recipes had made me a fan. It's comforting. And, served chilled topped with a scrumptious syrup of orange, honey, and cardamom, this recipe from Diana Henry makes a wonderful breakfast, snack or dessert for humid weather. We are gearing up for a tropical storm/hurricane hitting (now) passing south of the islands this weekend so the weather is particularly sultry today. Having this pudding and its syrup simmering away this morning and chilling throughout the day to be enjoyed tonight, is definitely a comfort. ;-)

Chilled Rice Pudding with Orange, Honey & Cardamom Syrup
Adapted from Pure Simple Cooking by Diana Henry
(Serves 4)

3/4 cup short-grain rice
4 cups whole milk (I used coconut milk)
3 Tbsp sugar (I used 2 Tbsp raw sugar)
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used coconut creamer)
3 Tbsp Greek-Style yogurt
a couple drops of vanilla extract

6 Tbsp honey 
3 Tbsp water
juice of 2 oranges
crushed seeds from 4 cardamom pods
finely grated zest of one orange

Put rice in saucepan, cover with water and boil for 4 minutes. Drain, put rice back in pan with the milk and sugar and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes (Note: I cooked mine about 35 minutes total), until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is soft. Stir from time to time and add more milk if it has absorbed before the rice is soft. 

Take the pan off the heat. Stir in half the cream and yogurt and all of the vanilla into the rice. Taste to check for sweetness, bearing in mind that the syrup is sweet. Leave to cool, then chill. When chilled, the pudding will be very firm, so before serving, loosen it by stirring in the rest of the cream and yogurt--and maybe even a little milk if needed.

Put everything for the syrup (except the zest) into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil to reduce to a syrup (remember: it will thicken as it cools). Strain to remove the cardamom, then add zest and cook for another minute. Leave to cool. Serve with rice pudding.

Notes/Results: Mmm... sweet and creamy and the syrup is practically drinkable, this rice pudding is simple but sophisticated and delightfully cool and soothing. I made some small changes, subbing in coconut milk as I like what it does for sweetness and texture. Diana Henry gives a couple of other syrup combinations like sour cherries in rose syrup and pomegranate and blood orange sauce--both which sounded tempting. In a tweet (Thanks to an introduction from Foodycat we are talking about doing a live chat with Diana on Twitter for any interested IHCC peeps soon!) she mentioned that with the coconut milk I was using lime marmalade would be good. Definitely trying that at some point And, in case you were wondering, Diana Henry is very gracious and so lovely to offer us the live chat so stay tuned!) I will make this again--trying the other sauces and I think this orange, honey, and cardamom sauce would be a little bit of heaven drizzled on French toast.

We are celebrating 'Icy Cold!' dishes this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs. To see what sweet and savory cold Diana Henry dishes everyone made, check out the picture links on the post. 

Happy Aloha Friday!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "The Lost Tribe of Coney Island" by Claire Prentice with (a Vegan Version of) Arroz Caldo (Filipino Rice Stew)

Much of America has an obsession with people and things that are different or that we don't understand. We have a strong carnival and circus history, hitting its peak in the 19th century. Even today, FX's American Horror Story: Freak Show premiered last week with the highest ratings on that network's history--proving that we still like to gawk. In the summer of 1905, it was a tribe of Philippine aborigines that had America lining up in record numbers, and their story is told in today's TLC Book Tour Stop of "The Lost Tribe on Coney Island: Headhunters, Luna Park, and the Man Who Pulled Off the Spectacle of the Century" by Claire Prentice. 

Publisher's Blurb: 

Coney Island, summer 1905: a new attraction opened at Luna Park. Within weeks it would be the talk of the nation.

For the first time, The Lost Tribe of Coney Island unearths the incredible true story of the Igorrotes, a group of “headhunting, dog eating” tribespeople brought to America from the Philippines by the opportunistic showman Truman K. Hunt. At Luna Park, the g-string-clad Filipinos performed native dances and rituals before a wide-eyed public in a mocked-up tribal village. Millions of Americans flocked to see the tribespeople slaughter live dogs for their daily canine feasts and to hear thrilling tales of headhunting. The Igorrotes became a national sensation—they were written up in newspaper headlines, portrayed in cartoons, and even featured in advertising jingles, all fueled by Truman’s brilliant publicity stunts.

By the end of the summer season, the Igorrote show had made Truman a rich man. But his genius had a dark side and soon he would be on the run across America with the tribe in tow, pursued by ex-wives, creditors, Pinkerton detectives, and the tireless agents of American justice.

Award-winning journalist Claire Prentice brings this forgotten chapter in American history to life with vivid prose and rich historical detail. The book boasts a colorful cast of characters, including the mercurial Truman Hunt; his ambitious, young Filipino interpreter, Julio Balinag; Fomoaley Ponci, the tribe’s loquacious, self-important leader; Luna Park impresarios Fred Thompson and Elmer “Skip” Dundy; and Frederick Barker, the government man dead set on bringing Truman to justice.

At its heart, The Lost Tribe of Coney Island is a tale of what happens when two cultures collide in the pursuit of money, adventure, and the American Dream. It is a story that makes us question who is civilized and who is savage.

Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: New Harvest (October 14, 2014)

I wanted to be on this book tour because I found the subject matter fascinating--the tribe themselves, the sideshow culture, Coney Island at the turn of the century--and it was a true story. It turned out to be an absorbing, albeit disturbing book because of the exploitation of the Igorrotes by Truman Hunt and many others. The amount of research that that Claire Prentice put into the book, tracking down information across America, Canada and The Philippines is pretty incredible and the challenge to spin out that level of detail and combine it with her own conjecture to create a readable story must have been daunting--but overall, it works. The book did start slow for me (I kept putting it down and picking it back up again) as the story and players were set up and it was tough to keep all of the detail straight. (There is a cast of characters list in the front of the book that was helpful to keeping track of most of the main players.) About halfway through, the pace picks up as Truman Hunt's true colors come to light and he turns from an almost avuncular caretaker who, while first and foremost out to make a buck--or many bucks, still seems to care somewhat for his charges, to an abusive drunk and a force of pure evil who cares for no one but himself. The final third of the story is a page turner as Hunt is tracked down and put on trial and the reader anxiously waits to see if justice is served and the Igorrotes get to finally go home. 

The cover blurb says "It is a story that makes us question who is civilized and who is savage"--and how true this statement is. The Igorrotes, known to be a industrious and mostly peaceful people, are completely sensationalized for publicity and ticket sales and treated extremely badly. It takes quite a while for the American government to step in to investigate the situation--likely in part due to how portraying the tribe as savages, supported the viewpoint that The Philippines was not ready to govern itself after the Spanish-American War. It made me angry, it made me embarrassed for our country, and it made me shake my head many times. A very dark, and not a proud part of our history, but a colorful and compellingly readable book.

Author Notes: Claire Prentice is an award-winning journalist whose work has been published in The Washington PostThe Times of LondonThe GuardianSydney Morning HeraldBBC OnlineCosmopolitan, and Marie Claire.  

Connect with Claire on her blog,

OK, so there is not a lot of great food inspiration coming from this book--but you know how I do love a challenge. ;-) When Hunt's group of Igorrotes are getting food to eat, it is mostly beans, rice and potatoes. The book is pretty graphic in its descriptions of the dog killing, cooking and eating that becomes part of the daily show for the tribe--although in their culture, dog meat was only for special occasions. Sad and not at all appetizing. I was going to do a rice and bean dish or maybe a take on a vegetarian Coney Island hot dog to represent the book but again--too soon for any kind of dog mention for me. Finally, I went with a vegetarian take on a classic Filipino comfort food dish, Arroz Caldo or rice stew. A congee-like porridge with chicken in a gingery rice broth. I came across it in the last book I reviewed (Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials) when it was made by the main character's Filipino housekeeper / assistant. 

For my meat-free version, I used mock-chicken and I added corn because it was mentioned that the Igorrotes missed "the juicy maize and the sweet camotes (sweet potato) they could pick or dig up from the soil whenever they wanted them at home." As Julio, the translator and care-taker of the tribe tried to get fresh vegetables and "even a little chicken" for this charges when he could, it doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility that they could have made arroz caldo on occasion. In order to make it completely meat-free, I used a mock chicken stock and made up a batch of a homemade vegan 'fish sauce' recipe from One Green Planet that I have been wanting to try. 

Arroz Caldo (Filipino Rice Stew)
Inspired by this vegan recipe and this non-vegan one ;-)
(Serves 2-3)

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced 

2 cloves, garlic, minced
2 Tbsp finely-minced ginger
1 cup short or medium-grain rice
3 cups mock-chicken broth + more if needed/desired

1 cup fresh or frozen sweet corn kernels
2 Tbsp vegan fish sauce (see recipe link above)

freshly ground black pepper to taste 

To garnish:
mock 'Chicken Breast' Strips 
scallions--green parts, chopped
fried garlic or onion pieces
fresh calamansi, lemon or lime, sliced or cut into wedges 
extra vegan fish sauce

In a heavy pot, heat oil over medium heat and add onions, ginger and garlic. Cook,  about5 minutes, stirring regularly, until onion is translucent.

Add rice, stirring to coat the grains with oil. Cook, stirring frequently, until rice starts to lightly brown. Add broth and bring to a boil.

Lower heat and covering pot, simmer, stirring occasionally, about 25-30 minutes, or until the rice has softened and the porridge has thickened to desired consistency. Stir in corn, add extra broth as needed and cook a few minutes more. Stir in vegan fish sauce and season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.

To serve: Ladle the arroz caldo into bowls and garnish with mock-chicken strips, scallions, and fried garlic or onion bits. Serve with lime or calamansi wedges and extra fish sauce. 

Notes/Results: Filling, comforting, and pretty tasty. The ginger, garlic and fish sauce take care of any blandness I was worried about. Speaking of the fish sauce, I have two bottles of regular fish sauce in my fridge but I like this easy-to-make-vegan version even better--it adds plenty of umami but doesn't overpower (or smell!) like fish sauce does. I'll definitely be making it again. The corn was a good addition for its bursts of sweetness in all of that salty/savory. The mock-chicken strips (I used Morningstar Farms Chik'N Strips) were a bit dry (could be my cooking or how long they have been in my freezer) ;-) but pretty chicken breast-like in texture and flavor. The head of garlic I had was rotten so instead of fried garlic bits, I subbed in some fried onion pieces, chopped, to still have the crispy bites, and although sometimes I can find calamansi--when I actively look for it there is none to be found, so I subbed in lime. All in all, an easy dish and a fun vegan variation that I would make again. 

Note: A review copy of "The Lost Tribe of Coney Island" was provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in return for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are my own. 
You can see the stops for the rest of the TLC Book Tours and Reviews here.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Stew of Baby Potatoes and Artichokes with Lemon and Rosemary: A Provencal-Inspired Ragoût for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

The October 2014 issue of Vegetarian Times is full of recipes I want to make but I was first caught by the article on in-between-season, 30-minute stews and the Baby Potatoes and Artichokes with Lemon and Rosemary. Simple, fast to make and featuring several of my favorite ingredients. I also like how it straddles the gap between late summer and full-on-fall with its lighter, lemony taste profile. 

I made a couple of small changes to the recipe--mainly to give me more (and more flavorful) broth. They are noted in red below.  

Vegetarian Times says, "A Provencal-inspired ragoût is a satisfying supper on its own--just add a salad."

Baby Potatoes and Artichokes with Lemon and Rosemary
Adapted from Vegetarian Times, October 2014
(Serves 4)

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 (13.75 oz) can water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and halved
4 cups quartered baby potatoes (I used a mix of colors--Yukon Gold, red, blue, white)
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used 3 cloves)
1 tsp fresh rosemary (I used 2 tsps)
1 tsp grated lemon zest (I used zest from entire lemon)
1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable stock (I used 1 cup)
(I added extra lemon zest and minced fresh parsley to garnish)

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook artichoke hearts cut side down in skillet without stirring, 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer to plate, and set aside. 

Heat remaining oil in skillet. Add potatoes, and season with salt, if desired. Stir, cover pan, reduce heat to medium low, and cook 10 minutes, or until potatoes are deeply golden all over. 

Uncover pan, add artichokes, olives, garlic, rosemary, and lemon zest. Stir 15 to 30 seconds. 

Add broth, cover, and gently simmer 5 to 6 minutes, or until potatoes are just tender and liquid reduces to a light gravy. 

Nutritional Info: Per 1 1/4 Cup Serving: 260 cal; 5g protein; 13g total fat (2g sat fat); 36g carbs; 0mg cholesterol; 266 mg sodium; 9g fiber; -1g sugars

Notes/Results: Satisfying but not heavy. The creaminess of the potatoes contrast well with the broth, slightly tangy from the lemon, olives and artichoke hearts. I like that the potatoes and artichoke hearts are browned a bit--it adds more flavor and texture to the dish. I added extra broth to mine to have more liquid to dip bread into and more garlic, rosemary, and lemon zest to flavor the added broth. I think you could add in other veggies of your choice, or even a can of beans for extra protein. Simple and pretty quick to make, I would happily make this stew again. 

We have friends waiting in the Souper Sundays kitchen, let's take a look! 

Debbie of The Friday Friends shares hearty Portuguese Soup and says, "I had not made it in YEARS.  Probably not since the last time I used blustery in a sentence. I challenge you to use blustery in conversation today! So, he likes this soup.  I made it and I loved it so much. To be honest---I didn't remember ever making it. But I must have at least once. I won't wait so long to do so again. It was warm and filled with such good things, beans and corn and peas and kielbasa! You should try it."

Pam of Sidewalk Shoes brings pretty Tarragon Chicken Salad Veronique and says, "As a creature of habit, once I find something I stick with it. Once I found Chicken Salad Veronique from Ina Garten, I never had to look for another tarragon chicken salad. Oh, she calls it chicken salad veronique and I believe in my limited technical food knowledge that the veronique is thanks to the grapes in the salad. But to me the shining factor in the chicken salad is the tarragon, so I make sure to include it in the title."

Janet of The Taste Space offers up Cali-Coco BLT Quinoa Salad and says, "I used my previous recipe for coconut bacon, added half an avocado, a handful of cherry tomatoes, a mound of arugula and then fortified it with cooked quinoa and smoked tofu. Rob thinks the smoked tofu looks like cheese, but I swear it is not. Mash up the avocado with each bite but I will admit I scooped a bit of garlic-infused mayo aioli with each bite as a quasi dressing. Delicious!

Thanks to Debbie, Pam and Janet for joining in this week. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the sidebar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week!