Lemon tahini sauce

Are you thinking what? Lemon tahini sauce? Really?

Yes. really. It’s basic and it’s so good. And we all need a reminder sometimes of the basics. I went to look up the recipe online only to find my favorite Mollie Katzen recipe. I searched my shelves at home high and low for my Moosewood Cookbook and Enchanted Broccoli Forest. I’m so sad. I think in an extreme Kon Mari moment I gave them away. I haven’t completely accepted that possibility and am hoping I will stumble across  them.veg-and-lemon-tahini-sauce-7I do add roughly 2 TB olive oil.  And if you like cilantro, throw a little handful of that in as well.

veg-and-lemon-tahini-sauce-4And often I use a little more lemon juice and water because I don’t like it too thick. This is where you have to adjust to your own liking.

veg-and-lemon-tahini-sauce-3I prepped and lightly steamed broccoli, cauliflower. Then I sliced and sautéed button and shiitake mushrooms and added sticks of parsnip and carrot. THEN I toss in the lightly steamed cauliflower and broccoli. Please don’t try to cook these veggies altogether- no matter what sort of veggie stir fry you are creating.

veg-and-lemon-tahini-sauce-2I grated a little garlic and ginger, threw in a TB of sesame seeds and seasoned with rice vinegar and a little salt.

veg-and-lemon-tahini-sauce-6Steam up some brown rice in whichever method you prefer. For me it’s the rice cooker if I don’t have time to watch the pot or I’m away from home. Other times, I just cook it in a pot.

Put it together for one of your “meatless Mondays”. Is that still a thing? Rice on the bottom followed by sauce and veggies- garnished here with a few strands of raw purple cabbage for color and crunch. Or add another protein if you like.

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Again to find this basic but awesome recipe check out Mollie Katzen’s recipe page for lemon tahini sauce. And doctor it up with a little olive oil, cilantro and extra lemon.

We just returned from New Orleans and the annual JEN (Jazz Education Network) convention where musicians, players and teachers, of all ages come to play, learn and share jazz. We wanted to connect with people, listen to as much jazz as possible and start talking about the revised educational website we’ll be rolling out in the spring for Jazz Everyone– Authentic Guide to Bebop, that my dad started. New Orleans was a lot of fun too! The final concert, one of the highlights of the convention, was a quartet with Sean Jones on trumpet. They put on a great show AND he imparted some inspiring words. He simply talked about how in this time of division, no matter what personal beliefs held, we all came together under the umbrella of jazz music and the love of it. Granted, I imagine a vast majority of jazz lovers are democrats but music has the ability to cross all lines!

I say find more umbrellas. Food, gardening, volunteering…. What else? What places in our lives do we or can we unite, despite our differences, for the betterment of a collective purpose?

That’s a wrap,

xx wendy

 

Chunky Chicken and mushroom soup

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup…

chicken soupWe are working, I hope, through the last of the days on end rain storms where even the worms drown in unforgiving driveway puddles…

IMG_7389 and unplanned driveway streams…

IMG_7390Goats are hanging near the doorway..

IMG_7398As well as the dynamic duo…

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We tried basic ditching to get a little immediate relief. They have a little bridge to cross.

IMG_7396So for days like this, chicken soup is still in order. But I wanted a soup with big chunky vegetables, mushrooms and meat. I started by cooking the chicken whole (and frozen) on a low simmer for about an hour. Next I pulled out the crock pot. I pulled the cooked chicken and strain the bits. Once cooled, I  pulled the meat off and put it in the fridge till day 2. Here comes the crock pot.

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.comBones go in along with a couple carrots, celery tops, onion (or scallions if like me that’s all you have in the fridge), @ 4 bay leaves,  a wedge of lemon, peppercorns, and a couple cloves of garlic. Potato bits and mushroom stems are also a nice addition. I use all the liquid from cooking chicken and top off to about 10-12 cups liquid. It will sit on low for about 24 hours and fill your house with a savory, homey scent. It’s gold baby.

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-2No dicing or cubing here. I want to know if it is a slice of carrot or piece of celery in my mouth. 1 large onion, 4-5 carrots, 4 stalks of celery.

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-3Same goes for the mushrooms- 6-8 larger brown caps (small portobellos) and 8-10 larger shiitakes. Don’t forget how much they shrink.

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-5And if you want to give your soup a little more flavor, I strongly encourage sautéing your veggies in olive oil first and seasoning them on their own.

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-6And then add the liquid gold to the big pot of veggies and lift up the “suc”- the yummy brown bits on the bottom  (that you hopefully didn’t burn black:) with a spatula or spoon.

I have to admit after nibbling on the chicken for a day, I bought another split breast that I gently simmered in the 24 hour stock for only 30 minutes. So I essentially had 3 big breasts… keep it down folks.

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-7About 4 cups largely shredded chicken in the end- mostly white meat. And of course these pieces still fit in your mouth. I don’t want to have to cut my soup into smaller pieces for god’s sake. Not that big!… Throw the meat in the pot.

And lastly, I added about ½ cup chopped parsley and seasoned the soup with salt, pepper and lemon. I wanted a simple, clean flavor and skipped any other herbs (rosemary, marjoram and thyme would be on another batch)

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-4

We are all ready for a break of sunshine.

IMG_7392And dry soils…

IMG_7393But until then how about another bowl of chunky chicken and mushroom soup!

RECAP: Portions – About 8-10. One dinner and lunch for 2. Then dinner for 4 at the neighbors…. and still a little left for the freezer.

  • Simmer one  3-4# chicken (skin on for me) in water till cooked- about 1 hour. Fill water to about ½  up way around chicken.
  • Pull chicken and let cool. Strain liquid and place in crockpot. Add enough water to make approx 10-12 cups liquid.
  • Remove meat from the bones and place all bones in the crockpot.  Put meat in the fridge till day 2.
  • Add to crockpot- 2 medium carrots, 2 celery middle stalks w/ leaves, ½ onion, peppercorns (8-12 if you must count), 4 bay leaves (less if you want-  won’t make or break your stock), couple cloves of garlic. Anything else you feel moved to add to create flavor- mushroom and potato bits, parsley stems.
  • Cook on low for up to 24 hours for a dark, rich, healthy chicken stock. Pull a little cup out and add a pinch of salt to just enjoy on its own. Strain liquid. (Cook up another breast for more meat if you ate a bunch waiting for your stock! and for a heartier soup)
  • Cut up 3-4 carrots, 4 stalks of celery, 1 onion
  • Slice 6-8 large cap mushrooms, 8-10 large shiitake mushrooms
  • Sauté veggies in your big soup pot with a little olive oil and season to taste. Add 24 hour stock. 
  • Take your chicken meat and pull apart/shred into larger but mouth fitting pieces. Add to soup pot.
  • Chop ½ cup parsley and add to soup pot.
  • Season to taste with salt, white pepper and lemon 

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-8Cheers,

WT

 

 

juicing… meat eaters fear not!

Juicing 1-2014-19I don’t know why I say that except that many of the meat eaters just might turn their heads the other way. Myself included. It’s not an either/or. I love meat. And I’ve been absolutely content for a couple weeks to do without it. With the door closing on the holiday over-indulgence, I was more than ready to regain a little control over my eating. I’ve loved juicing over the years but have never honestly gone more than one day without solid food.

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Summer harvest begins!

Here we are already ending the first week of July. The garden is going gangbusters and we’re loving every minute and every morsel. We’ve been enjoying greens since March, peas over the last month and the broccoli has actually gone to seed now. But for me when the root veggies start showing their true selves, I feel summer harvest knocking at the door. These baby carrots and beets are only moments shy of fully maturing. We are devouring the first zucchinis, blissfully ignorant to the idea of the late August green giant overload. We have Green zucchini, Costata Romanescos with the racing stripes, and Scalloped green/yellow pattypans soon to arrive. Unfortunately, I mismarked the yellow crookneck and they seemed to have gotten lost in the shuffle.

Harvest dinner 7-7-2013-2

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Muffins and smoothies…

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Does anybody know why i’m getting a little arrow on some of these pics???

Celebrating health with more muffins and smoothies…

One of my favorite sounds this time of year rang through the valley as I took these photos. Baby lambs calling for their mama’s and mama saying “for God’s sake I’m right here- Can’t I just go pee for thirty seconds on my own!”

Really though, they are so sweet… just like these muffins I had to make again. Here’s the GF version if you missed it.

I HAD to do it again. … with the all purpose flour, canola oil and white granulated sugar. As much as I love deviation- this is straight up followed. I even let them sit for twenty minutes before I buttered one and inhaled it in all it’s Morning Glory. They were good but not as good as in the bakery. That’s when you realize publishing a cookbook with your secrets won’t necessarily detract from your business.

Next is juicing…

Healthy mind-body smoothie-12

I’m not sure if the New Year juicing, fasting, GF cleansing has been plucked from popularity and you know I’ve had some dips already in the chocolate tin. Since I often get recycled magazines from the library I’m trending a little behind the beat anyway.  But if you could see me now I think I might be glowing.

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I’ve been reading about the positive impact of fruits and vegetables in the same blended drink. Sounds good except I don’t want to put my strawberries through the champion (old school around here) and my fibrous kale and carrots in the stand up blender (the one with a metal switch).

Healthy mind-body smoothie-5

So until I get something, if ever, a little more updated, then I’ll be pulling both units out. And this morning I had the time. Really it wasn’t so consuming.

I love juicing and I love smoothies and usually will crank both out for a week or two at a time. Because I have the attention span of a goldfish the thrill disperses quickly and I can’t justify a $500 bill on a new machine.

I juiced carrots, celery, kale and an orange. Poured this mixture directly into the blender and added a little spinach, berries, peaches, a frozen banana and my whey protein powder. Throw some flax or chia seeds in there and you will get an A++.

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Since I’ll probably do this for a few months , weeks, days, I decided to make up some packets. Two things that I still here my French cooking teachers say- “economy of motion… we must win the time”. This was his direct translation of gagnez le temp!… And “bien assaisoner”. Use the damn salt and pepper already (but that does not apply here).

I only made up three packets and they make about two servings each. Make them accordingly for yourself or family. But trust me the time it takes to pull out the peaches, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and frozen bananas (the going brown ones you already peeled and put in a baggie), reach a hand into each one, and put them all back… OR you could pull out one little baggie and plop it in the blender. You can always rinse out the baggie and reuse it

Healthy mind-body smoothie

You could of course also portion and prep your veggies for several days at a time too. This way when you pull out two machines- it’s not so bad. And if you have one of those Breville’s or Vitamixes, well hell – you’ve got it made.

You will literally start to glow at least on the inside when you see all this goodness your body will be shortly receiving. I’m just finishing my first glass now. Still picking the raspberry seeds from my teeth. The first sip was a little hmmm… I’m confused. A hint of greens and orange… berries. Do I like this? By the third sip. “I think so.” By the last bit. I love it and am  on for seconds. Or maybe I should wait a few hours so I don’t go into detox shock.

Here’s the official Macrina Morning Glory recipe:

Ingredients 
▪ 1/2 cup seedless raisins 
▪ 1/3 cup walnut halves 
▪ 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
▪ 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
▪ 2-1/4 teaspoons cinnamon 
▪ 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
▪ 1/4 teaspoon salt 
▪ 1 medium carrot, grated 
▪ 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated 
▪ 3/4 cup chopped pineapple 
▪ 3 eggs 
▪ 1/4 cup canola oil 
▪ 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
▪ 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 
▪ 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
▪ 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut 
▪ 1/3 cup coarse raw sugar

Have a lovely week,

Tschüß xx

Deep dish quiche

This was a popular item on our menu at Chez Chloé. Deep dish savory torte. Deep dish quiche. Let me know if you think of the perfect name. Honestly, I can’t remember where I saw this the first time or if I made it up. I don’t think I can take the credit for the original idea but this is my recipe.

This is a great dish to serve for a Sunday brunch or to bring to a gathering. I brought this last week to my choir rehearsal…. and I was an hour late. 30 minutes because I had the start time wrong and 30 minutes because I forgot how long this monster needs to cook. So give yourself a break and do it the night before. You can warm it up in the morning. Or if you insist on baking it fresh… have your crust ready in the springform, your veggies sautéed, and your egg mix ready to pour. Then just put it together and bake. Or how about make it for dinner.

What I love about this is you can really use what’s available in your fridge for the garniture (filling). Leftover veggies, sausages etc. Spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and feta is a great combo too.

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