Kale, Tomato, and Cannellini Bean Soup

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Cannlini soup

This is such a hearty, healthy, satisfying soup — and it’s so tasty. Did we neglect to mention that it’s also incredibly easy to cook and inexpensive to make — and that it tastes even better the next day and the day after that? Need we say more?

Kale:Carrot

_cannellini_beanThis soup is chock full of vitamins and nutrients and so easy to make.

kale soup retouch

Pair it with a crusty bread and dinner is served.

 

Kale, Tomato, and Cannellini Bean Soup
Makes about 3 quarts (6 servings)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 quart low-sodium vegetable broth
One 28-ounce can puréed tomatoes
One two-inch Parmesan cheese rind (optional if you want to make this vegan)
3 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Two 15-ounce cans organic cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch kale, stems and tough center ribs removed, leaves roughly chopped (about 6 packed cups)

 Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until slightly translucent, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the carrots, celery, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the vegetable broth and puréed tomatoes. Add the Parmesan rind, thyme, bay leaves, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Add the cannellini beans and kale and cook for 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally, so that the kale wilts. Discard the Parmesan rind, bay leaves, and thyme. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.

Soup w spoon

Grilled Clams and Oysters

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 _Grilled-Clams-and-OystersPhoto Glenn Koetzner

We adore spending an early morning or late afternoon clamming, and we love eating clams–and oysters–too. Yet no matter how many tricks or techniques we try, opening them is always a hassle. Finally, we had an ever so clever brainstorm– we let the grill do the shucking for us. Voila! Summer’s easiest hors d’oeuvre.

Grilled clam

Grilled Clams and Oysters
4 to 6 servings as an appetizer

Kosher salt
10 to 16 Little Neck clams, rinsed
8 to 10 large oysters, scrubbed
2 lemons, quartered
Your favorite hot sauce

Line a platter with kosher salt.

Heat a charcoal grill to hot or set a gas grill to high. Place the clams in a single layer on the grate, and lay the oysters in a single layer with the cupped side down, to retain the juices.

Close the grill and cook just until the clams and oysters open, about 5 to 7 minutes, taking a peek after 3 minutes. Using tongs remove the clams from the grill, and remove each oyster the minute the top shell opens (even if it only opens slightly). Set the bivalves on the salt-lined platter, add a spritz of lemon or a dash of hot sauce, and serve.

_Grilled-Clams-and-Oysters copy

 

White Bean Fritters With Yogurt Cucumber Dip

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White Bean Fritters

So much has been written about the wonders of the Mediterranean diet, one of the primary elements of which—is beans. Beans have tremendous health benefits—they are packed with fiber, vitamins, protein, and phytochemicals. We wanted to incorporate even more of these nutritional powerhouses into our diets, so using cannelloni beans we made fritters that are both light and flavorful.

Our white bean fritters are so quick and easy to prepare. Mash up the beans and add the Parmesan, shallots, and parsley, form into small patties, and cook. They are crisp on the outside, and soft and creamy on the inside. They go especially well with our Yogurt Cucumber Dip—also easy to make. Greek yogurt mixed with cucumber, lemon juice, and garlic is a refreshing complement. These fritters are perfect served as an appetizer or as a side—ideal for entertaining, or paired with a salad for lunch.

Yogurt Cucumber DipBe sure to mix the Yogurt Cucumber Dip well before serving.

Mashed ingredients frittersMash the beans with a fork making sure to leave a few chunks.The shallots, parsley, and Parmesan cheese are then added.

Uncooked frittersUsing your hands, form the mixture into 2 1/2 inch round patties.

White Bean Fritters With Yogurt Cucumber Dip
4 servings

For the Dip
1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
1 English cucumber, finely grated and drained
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Fritters
One 15-ounce can organic cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra if needed

For the Dip
In a medium mixing bowl mix together the yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator while you make the fritters.

For the Fritters
Place the flour in a wide, shallow dish and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl mash the beans with a fork making sure to leave a few chunks. Add the shallots, parsley, Parmesan cheese, 1/8 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and mix well.

Using your hands, form the mixture into 2 1/2 inch round individual patties (about ¼ inch thick) and dredge each one in the flour, shaking off any excess. Place the formed patties on a platter. You should have ten to eleven patties.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of the oil and heat until shimmering. Add half the patties to the pan and cook undisturbed until golden brown, five to six minutes. Flip the patties carefully with a spatula and cook until the second side is golden, about five minutes more. Add a little more oil if the pan looks dry (the fritters can absorb the oil).

Wipe the skillet clean with paper towels, add 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, and cook the remaining patties. Add more oil if necessary.

Transfer to a platter or individual plates and serve with the Yogurt Cucumber Dip.

White Bean Fritters crop1

Baked Artichoke Dip With Baby Kale

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Artichoke Cover Pic

We just may love artichokes more than any other vegetable. Corky introduced us to them early. In fact, when she first cooked them for us, most of our friends had never even heard of them. Etched in our memories is the crazy amount of work she put into preparing them; trimming the ends, scraping the choke, and soaking in lemon juice (to keep their beautiful green color). At the table, we kids loved the ritual of taking each separate leaf, and dipping it one at a time into the warm melted butter or creaming, citrusy hollandaise. Little did we know that many of the men in our lives would find eating artichokes almost as arduous and labor intensive as we found cooking them. We experimented, tried the canned, but didn’t love that tinny, preserved taste, and we found that artichokes in the jar had seasonings that didn’t go with how we wanted to prepare them. Then we discovered frozen artichokes! They are not only delicious, but have all of the nutritional benefits with none of the fuss.

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We created a zesty artichoke dip as an appetizer for company but soon realized it also makes a perfect side dish at dinner. As an added bonus, scooping with a pita chip makes eating artichokes a snap.

Baby Kale

Baby Kale Blended

Adding baby kale to the dip not only makes it healthier, but even more flavorful.

Baked Artichoke Dip with Baby Kale
6 to 8 servings

For The Topping
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

For the Dip
Two 9 ounce boxes frozen artichokes, do not thaw
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups packed chopped baby kale
1 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup light cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Organic olive oil cooking spray
Sweet paprika, to taste

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450˚ F.

In a small mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients for the topping, mix well and set aside.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place the artichokes in a medium sized mixing bowl. Combine 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, and toss to coat. Spread the artichokes on the prepared baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25 minutes. Allow the artichokes to cool, and set aside.

Reduce the oven temperature to 400˚ F.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, and the garlic, and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the kale and stir to incorporate. Cook for an additional 6 to 7 minutes, until the kale is soft.

In a food processor combine the artichokes and kale mixture. Blend until just smooth. Add the mayonnaise, cream cheese, the 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, thyme, and cayenne pepper, and blend until just combined, leaving a few chunks. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Spray the bottom of 9- by 13- inch casserole dish with the olive oil spray. Transfer the mixture to the casserole and using the back of a wooden spoon or spatula, to smooth the top.

Generously sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the artichoke dip. Top with a sprinkle of paprika and place in the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until browned.

Serve warm with pita chips, toasted French bread slices, or crackers.

Artichoke Final

Cream of Tomato Soup

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Cream of Tomato Cover Pic

Cream of tomato soup is the ultimate comfort food. We especially like it paired with an even more comforting grilled cheese sandwich. The wonderful thing about this soup is that it is a favorite with both kids and adults alike. It also looks very elegant in a beautiful white bowl served as a starter for company.

We like to make up a huge batch of chicken stock to freeze and use when preparing soups. This makes any soup a great quick last minute weeknight meal. Here, we have prepared it with canned tomatoes but in August, when tomatoes are at their peak, this soup is absolutely dreamy!

Tomato Soup Side by Side

 

Tomato Soup With CreamCream of Tomato Soup
4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
5 cups organic low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
One 15- ounce can peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed with a fork or the back of a wooden spoon
3 sprigs thyme leaves
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons dry sherry
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons crème fraiche
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Croutons, about 4 or 5 per bowl

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring an additional 2 minutes. Pour in the broth, tomatoes, and the thyme. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Remove the thyme sprigs and transfer the soup from the saucepan to a food processor or blender and puree, in small batches, until smooth. (As an alternative you can use a handheld immersion blender and blend the soup right in the pot.) Return the soup to the saucepan, turn the heat to medium-low, add the heavy cream, the sherry and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Garnish with a dollop of crème fraiche, a sprinkle of chives, and four or five croutons. Serve hot.

Spanish Tortilla with Spinach and Manchego Cheese

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Sometimes we just don’t have time to go to the market. Five o’clock rolls around and we open our refrigerator in a panic. Our old standby is often a Spanish tortilla. Guaranteed you will have the ingredients to whip up this easy dinner in no time. In this recipe we use spinach but you can just as easily use mushrooms, zucchini, or broccoli. This Spanish omelet is a great way to take familiar ingredients and turn them into something exotic and international. It’s perfect for a weeknight meal served with warm corn tortillas and guacamole, or for entertaining, cut into wedges and offered as tapas with a selection of Mediterranean olives.

tortilla

4 servings as a main course, 6 servings  as a side
1¼ cups peeled and diced Yukon gold potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 or 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 large eggs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 medium white onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (1 1/4 cups)
1 packed cup of baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup shredded Manchego cheese

Line a plate with paper towels.Place the potatoes in a medium microwave-safe bowl with a lid, and add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Cover the bowl and microwave on high for 3½ minutes. Remove the bowl (it will be hot) and shake to loosen the potatoes. Return the bowl to the microwave and cook until tender, about 3½ minutes more. Set aside.If you don’t want to use a microwave, place the potatoes in a small saucepan and add cold water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and cook partially covered for 5 to 7 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender. Remove from the heat, drain well, and return to the dry saucepan. Set aside. (You need only 2 tablespoons of butter in total if using this non-microwave method.)

In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, the parsley, and thyme; whisk to blend.

Place a medium ovenproof, nonstick skillet with a broiler-safe handle over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter. When it melts and starts to sizzle, add the potatoes in a single flat layer and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Flip the potatoes with a spatula and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the potatoes with a slotted spoon to the paper-towel lined plate, leaving the remaining butter in the skillet.

Set a rack in the upper third of the oven and turn the oven on to broil.

Add the onion to the butter and saute over medium heat until golden brown and tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the spinach and saute for an additional 2 minutes, until wilted. Return the potatoes to the pan and pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Stir quickly to mix all the ingredients together. Cook undisturbed until the edges begin to set, 4 to 5 minutes.

Run a rubber or silicone spatular around the rim of the pan to loosen the sides. Sprinkle the top of the tortilla with the cheese and place the pan under broiler until the cheese is lightly browned, about 2 1/2 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Slide the tortilla onto a platter, browned side up. Let it cool for 5 minutes, then slice into wedges and serve.

Stacked Watermelon and Feta Cheese Salad

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Nothing says summer more than watermelon and it’s one of our favorite summertime fruits. However, we can’t tell you how many times we’ve come home in the summer with a 20-pound watermelon and have been forced to throw out half of it because we can’t eat it fast enough! Last summer, we went to a restaurant and for the first time ordered a savory watermelon salad. It was so different and delicious that we decided to create our own version. We experimented combining watermelon with different ingredients and discovered that salty feta cheese enhances the sweetness of the watermelon. We added basil and finished it off with a balsamic vinegar glaze. This is our new “go to” summer salad because it’s so refreshing on a hot day. This summer we want to try mixing yellow and red watermelon together for an even more spectacular presentation.

stacked watermelon salad4 servings
1/3 cup basil leaves (16 to 18 leaves), sliced into chiffonade (thin strips), plus 8 whole leaves for garnish, optional
1/4 watermelon (4 pounds), rind removed and cut into eight 2 1/2 by 2-inch rectangles, 1/2 inch thick
8-ounce block good-quality Feta cheese, cut into eight 2 1/2 by 2-inch rectangles, 1/4 inch thick
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar glaze, or Saba
Freshly ground black pepper

To assemble each stack, scatter approximately 2 teaspoons of the basil chiffonade on an individual salad plate. Place a watermelon rectangle on top, followed by a Feta cheese rectangle, and 1 teaspoon more of the basil.Repeat with another layer, stacking the watermelon, Feta cheese, and basil. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of the olive oil, then 1/4 teaspoon of the balsamic vinegar glaze on top.Finish with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Repeat these steps for each salad, garnish with whole basil leaves as desired, and serve.