Flowing into the fullness of December with a few recipes from this Winter’s Deep Dive practice with lunch.
Pumpkin Soup with Sage Butter
*serves 10-12 I like to make big batches and freeze for the next cold, stormy day
preheat oven to 375
3 3 lb sugar pumpkins (pie pumpkins)
1 1/2 sticks butter
2 sweet onions
6 leeks washed and trimmed of the most fibrotic green stalks. (how to wash a leek? Cut the top and tail then slice lengthwise in half , bring to the sink & run water through the layers to release all the dirt )
8 cups chicken stock (or less, for a thicker soup) *use No-chicken bullion base if cooking vegetarian
1 large bunch of sage
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the pumpkins in half, scoop out the seeds and pulp, discard that, then place the pumpkins on a large parchment lined cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the fleshy side then flip them over, skin side up and bake for about 45 mins or until you can pierce through the skin easily with a fork.
While the pumpkins are cooking, melt one stick of unsalted butter in a soup pot and add the chopped leeks and onions. Let em sweat over low heat for about 15 mins (adding a splash of water if needed to prevent sticking or burning)
Once the pumpkin has cooled enough to easily peel the skin off, discard the skin and add the pumpkin to the leek and onion pot. Then add all the stock, season with you favorite salt (Himalayan Pink Salt is fab!) & fresh ground pepper, once it’s come to a boil, simmer on low for about 20 mins.
While soup is on simmer, melt the remaining butter in a skillet over medium heat and sauteé the sage leaves in batches for about a minute each batch, until crisp.
Now add a handful of crisped sage leaves with all the butter it cooked in, to the soup. Use your emulsifier to puree the soup completely and if you don’t have an emulsifier, bring the soup in batches to your blender or food processor to blend until smooth.
Add a several crisp sage leaves atop each bowl of soup once served.
*serves about 8
1 Cup pearl barley
1/2 Cup dried chick peas
1 tsp baking powder
1 bay leaf
1/8 Cup olive oil
8 cups water
1 Cup grated carrot
1/8 Cup dried cranberries
2 Cups fresh spinach, chopped
2 Cups red chard, de-spined & chopped
1/4 Cup crumbled Feta cheese
1/4 to 1/2 Cup chopped scallions (green onions)
4 Tbls chopped fresh spearmint (save 1 Tbls for the dressing)
1/8 Cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
4 Tbls fresh chopped dill
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
1/2 Cup whole milk yogurt (not thick Greek)
the juice of half a lemon
Soak the chickpeas, fully submerged in a bowl of water overnight. The next day, when you’re ready to make the salad, rinse them in a colander and place in a large saucepan with enough water to cover the chickpeas completely (about 4 cups of water) As the water heats, sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda over the top and allow to cook for about 20 mins, or until chickpeas are soft, but keep their shape. I like to scoop up the foam off the top as they cook and discard. When cooked, strain in a colander and let cool.
Cook the barley in a saucepan according to instructions on the packet, (or about 4 cups of water) and add the bay leaf. Cook until barley is soft and holds its form, about 25 mins.
While barley and chickpeas cook, grate the carrot, chop the spinach, chard & onions. place about a tablespoon olive oil in a sauteé pan, toss in the carrot and a sprinkle of green onions and sweat for about 4 mins.
Then, in a large mixing bowl, add the cooked carrot and onion to the warm barley and chickpeas and season with salt and pepper. Then mix in the chard, spinach, fresh green onions, cranberries, all the fresh herbs
Let’s make the dressing!
Whisk the remaining olive oil to the yogurt, cumin, chili, dried oregano, lemon juice and zest, and 1 Tbls spearmint
Dress the salad and serve at room temp, or refrigerate and serve cold the next day
Split Pea Spread
2 small white or yellow onions, chopped
1-2 cloves pressed garlic
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 Cup olive oil
2 1/3 Cups orange split peas
1 bay leaf
8 cups water
1 tsp kosher or pink Himalayan salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 Tbls fresh lemon juice
1 Cup thinly sliced almonds
In your stock pot, heat 2 Tbls olive oil and add the onion, garlic & turmeric. Cook for about 5 mins until onions are soft. Rinse the split peas and remove any little stones, then pour the water and peas into the pot with the onions , garlic & tumeric, toss in the bay leaf, put the lid on and cook about 40 mins, until water is absorbed. The consistency will be a little like a chunky mash. Remove the bay leaf, stir in the honey and add salt and pepper.
Puree the pea mash in your food processor, adding the lemon juice and the rest of the olive oil (minus 1 Tbls) When the mixture is creamy and smooth, you’re all set to spread a generous, thick portion onto a platter and sprinkle with the spiced almonds.
How to spice the almonds?
In a small sauteé pan, add the tablespoon of olive oil and toss in the almonds, coating them with the oil. Add the Za’atar and stir around so the almonds are coated.
Enjoy with warm whole wheat pita bread
*the beauty of this salad is you can always increase or decrease the quantities, depending on how many are coming for lunch. It’s really all about the gorgeous colors and presentation on a large platter
1 large broccoli floret, cut and separated into smaller, bite sized florets
2 med golden beets, boiled, peeled and diced
1/4 head of cauliflower, cut and separated into smaller, bite sized florets
6 fingerling potatoes
4 carrots, halved and quartered into strips
a generous handful of green beans, tops removed
3 Hard boiled eggs, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 Salmon fillet cooked
half a lemon
flake salt & fresh ground pepper
Fill your stockpot full of water and a dash of salt and let it come to a boil (this is for your beets
Prep the Salmon fillet by placing on a large piece of tin foil. Season with the juice of half a lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of fresh ground pepper and your favorite salted herb blend. Wrap the fillet well, sealing the edges and place in a preheated oven at 350. Cook for 15 mins, then check on it to see if it’s cooked to your liking by peeking into the center of the fillet with a butter knife. Take it out before you think you need to as it will continue to cook in its foil wrapping and you don’t want it to dry out by overcooking.
While salmon cooks, get your beets cooking in that big pot of salted boiling water you have going already. Beets take the longest to cook and you’ll know they’re done when you can ease a fork into them. (cooking time really varies depending on the size beets you choose. Med to large size beets can take up to 30 mins or more to soften.) When they’re ready, take out of the pot and place in a chilled bowl. Wait for them to cool before you peel and chop.
In another stock pot, start boiling water for your other veggies, and toss in a dash of salt to the water.
Once boiling, it’s time to par boil separately for 2 mins each: the carrot, cauliflower, green beans and broccoli last, removing each veg batch after 2 mins, with a slotted spoon and placing aside to cool. Use the same water to boil the potatoes until they’re firm yet a fork can easily glide into one. About 15 min
When the potatoes are cooled, cut them in half lengthwise.
When salmon cools, break it up into chunks & remove any bones.
The hard boiled eggs you can do the day before so they’re nice and cool and easy to cut in half. (see below for how to cook an egg)
Now the fun part! Assembling your masterpiece on a large platter! Sprinkle thyme, flake salt (Maldon brand is easy to find) and fresh ground pepper on top and Ta-Da! Gorgeous!
Dress it up any way you like. I’m a big fan of dips, dressing and sauces, so choose your adventure !
💛And spread the love by sharing this and any other blog post you enjoy, with someone you think would also enjoy💛
**You probably have your special way of cooking hard boiled eggs, but in case you don’t, here’s how I cook them:
Fill a medium pot with cold water and gently submerge your eggs in the water completely making sure they have a little space around them. Bring to the boil and once the water is rolling, start your timer for 10 mins. Once timer goes off, turn off the flame and let eggs sit and settle for a few mins, then take the pot of eggs to the sink and pour off as much of the hot water out of the pot as you can & give them a cold bath right there in the same pot. Run the cold water over them until the pot begins to feel a little cooler, then let them sit in the cold water until you’re ready to peel and cut.
Stay in the flow, loves……🙌