"Be not an abomination to the Bees and Butterflies and then your garden shall know the enchantment

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Cure for the February Blues - Albondigas Soup

The usual mid-February blues has me in it's hold right now with the foggy, misty weather these past few days.  The cure:  Homemade Albondigas Soup !  Easy, nutritious and fun to make with kids this soup is also a great way to make your food budget stretch.

  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbls vegetable oil
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 (10-1/2-ounce) cans low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 medium red potatoes, unpeeled and cubed
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced diagonally
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced diagonally
  •  1/2 head of cabbage, cut into quarters
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/4 cup snipped cilantro or parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup cooked long grain rice
    • Prep Time: 15 minutes
    • Cook Time: 40 minutes
    • Total Time: 55 minutes
    In large saucepan cook onion and garlic in hot oil till onion is tender but not brown. Stir in water, broth, and tomato paste. Bring to boiling; add potatoes and carrots. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add cabbage and zucchini, continue to simmer.

    Meanwhile combine egg, cilantro or parsley, salt, oregano, and pepper. Add ground beef and uncooked rice. Mix well. Form mixture into 1-inch meatballs.

    Add meatballs, a few at a time, to the simmering soup. Return soup to boiling; reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes or till meatballs and vegetables are done.

    Yield: 8 to 10 servings

    Sunday, January 4, 2015

    Going Loco For Brussel Sprouts!

    They say that time heals and so it goes that I have a fondness for foods I once thought despicable.  The lowly Brussel Sprout, oh how you disagreed with my young taste buds.  Boiled was the only way I remember by mom preparing them, leaving them flavorless and mushy.  The journey to find ways to alchemically alter the Brussel Sprout Bitterness has been amazing.

    And now Huffington Post has 50 Ways to Eat Brussel Sprouts !

    Sliced, quartered, slivered, sautéed, roasted, steamed, spice em up and enjoy their sweet, nutty aromatics.  They're also one of the funnier looking plants so kids get a kick out of growing them!

    Health benefits of brussel sprouts

    Brussel sprouts are a cultivated bunch of wild cabbage that are selected for their leafy and small green buds, green buds which commonly just look like mini cabbages. Brussel sprouts are a long-storied vegetable because their forerunners have been around since Ancient Rome, where they were already cultivated at that time. Unsurprisingly, the modern version of Brussel sprouts as they are known today began to be grown in Belgium, sometime in the 13th century.
    While you may not enjoy this vegetable taste-wise, it is important that you eat more Brussel sprouts in your diet . Here is an upcoming list of the three reasons you should be eating Brussel sprouts.

    1. Sulforaphane

    If you are concerned about getting cancer or merely concerned with warding it off, you will want to learn everything you can about sulforaphane. It is a chemical that is thought to contain anti-cancer properties, and this is thought because of research and studies establishing a link between this chemical and anti-cancer properties. Interestingly, Brussel sprouts are not the only vegetable that are thought to feature this amazing chemical; other brassicas like broccoli have properties that exhibit sulforaphane also.
    If you want your Brussel sprouts to feature high levels of this chemical, be sure not to boil them. Instead, steam, stir-fy or microwave your Brussel sprouts, as these cooking methods do not cause a big loss of the anti-cancer effect of sulforaphane.

    2. Sodium and Fat Content

    Another reason you ought to be eating Brussel sprouts is simply that they are healthy for you in regards to the sodium and fat content, which are both quite low. For a serving that consists of 3.5 ounces, Brussel sprouts only include a negligible 0.3 grams of fat and a reasonably good 25 milligrams of sodium. Having a low sodium and fat content means that eating Brussel sprouts will be heart-friendly, among other things. Low fat content means a lot lower risk of fat accumulating around your arteries and causing you heart problems. Since sodium has also been linked with morbid diseases like hypertension, cardiovascular problems and edema, having a low sodium content in Brussel sprouts is comforting.

    3. Good Source of Vitamin C

    An important nutrient for people of all ages, vitamin C also functions as an antioxidant because it helps your body to fight off oxidative stress. Vitamin C is also a potent fighter against the common cold; however, it may not be what you or most people think. Vitamin C has probably been embellished as a vitamin that actually reduces the severity of the common cold. In reality, it only helps to lower your chances of contracting the common cold.

    Friday, December 19, 2014

    Recipe of the Day - Creamy Cauliflower Soup

    Creamy Cauliflower Soup Recipe

    For a simple, impressive, and downright delicious soup, you can’t surpass this rich and creamy blend. A scoop of cooked grain or a piece of crusty bread makes this soup a meal. It freezes nicely, too.
    The secret ingredient is the nuts, which, when blended with the cauliflower, create silky texture, a rich flavor, and an intoxicating aroma. It’s staggering that something so easy delivers so complex a result. Just be sure to soak the nuts and puree the soup really well to get the consistency that my friends proclaim “liquid air.”






    Yield: 6 servings as a starter, 4 servings as a main course


    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (about 2 cloves), plus more to taste
    • 2 cups (200g) chopped leeks (white parts only, from 2 or 3 leeks)
    • Natural salt
    • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
    • 7 cups (1.65l) vegetable broth
    • 1/4 cup (35g) raw unsalted cashews or 1/4 cup (35g) blanched slivered raw almonds, soaked
    • 3 tablespoons chopped chives or a grating of nutmeg (optional; choose one, not both), to garnish


    1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the garlic, leeks, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt for about 3 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
    2. Add the cauliflower and sauté for another minute. Add the vegetable broth, increase the heat to high, and bring just to a boil.
    3. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the cauliflower is completely tender. Stir the mix periodically and mash the cauliflower with a wooden spoon.
    4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly; stir in the nuts.
    5. Pour the soup into your blender in batches and puree on high for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy. (Remember to remove the plastic cap in the blender top and cover the opening with a kitchen towel so steam can escape while you blend.)
    6. Return the soup to the saucepan and warm it over low heat. Stir in salt to taste. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with either chopped chives or grated nutmeg.

    Nutrition Information - Cauliflower

    Monday, December 15, 2014

    Food Networks Top 50 Cheese Appetizers

    With little time to work on new ideas to bring to the host of holiday gatherings Food Network's list made it simple!  Something fitting for everyone......I think we'll be starting off with #50!

    2. Chili-Cheese Straws Make Parmesan Cheese Straws (No. 1), replacing the Parmesan with shredded cheddar. Use smoked paprika and sprinkle the dough with 1 teaspoon chili powder.

    3. Prosciutto-Parmesan Palmiers Roll out 1 sheet thawed frozen puff pastry into a 12-inch square on a floured surface. Cut in half; cover each half with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan and 1 ounce sliced prosciutto. Roll the short sides of each rectangle toward the center so the two ends meet in the middle; gently press together and freeze until firm. Trim the ends and slice each log 1/4 inch thick. Bake at 400 degrees F until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.

    4. Bocconcini Kebabs Toss bocconcini (small mozzarella balls), cubed fontina, pitted kalamata olives and Peppadew peppers with olive oil, chopped parsley and rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Thread onto small skewers.

    5. Sausage-Cheddar Bites Top 1/4-inch-thick rounds of summer sausage with sliced cheddar. Bake at 375 degrees F until the cheese melts, 3 to 5 minutes. Sandwich between butter crackers.

    6. Cheddar Crackers Pulse 1/2 stick cold butter, 1 cup each grated sharp cheddar and flour, 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and paprika, and a pinch of cayenne in a food processor until crumbly. Add 2 tablespoons water and pulse until the dough clumps together; form into a 9-inch log, wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour. Slice 1/4 inch thick. Bake at 375 degrees F until golden, about 20 minutes.

    7. Cheddar-Cracker Sandwiches Make Cheddar Crackers (No. 6). Sandwich with peanut butter.
    8. Frico Crisps Arrange tablespoon-size mounds of shredded Parmesan about 1 inch apart on a silicone mat–lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with pepper and chopped herbs (rosemary, sage and/or thyme). Bake at 450 degrees F until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool slightly.

    9. Sage Cheese Crisps Arrange thin 1-inch-square slices of raclette cheese 1 inch apart on a silicone mat–lined baking sheet. Top with chopped sage and pine nuts. Bake at 450 degrees F until melted and golden, 7 minutes. Cool slightly.

    10. Pepper Jack Toasts Mix 3/4 cup each shredded pepper jack and cheddar, 1/2 cup mayonnaise and 4 chopped chives. Spread on 5 slices white bread. Bake at 425 degrees F until golden, 15 minutes. Cut into triangles. Top with chopped chives and pickled jalapenos.
    11. Honey-Walnut Goat Cheese Combine 1/4 cup each olive oil, walnut oil and chopped walnuts, 2 tablespoons honey, and pepper to taste. Pour over one 11-ounce log sliced goat cheese in a dish. Let sit 2 hours; top with chopped chives. Serve with crostini.

    12. Ricotta-Pistachio Crostini Beat 8 ounces ricotta, 2 tablespoons each heavy cream and grated Parmesan, and a pinch of salt until smooth. Stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch each of red pepper flakes and chopped rosemary. Spread on crostini; top with orange marmalade and chopped pistachios.

    13. Greek Halloumi Combine 3 tablespoons each olive oil, chopped Kalamata olives and roasted red peppers, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 minced garlic clove; stir in 1 tablespoon each chopped mint, oregano and scallion, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Halve one 8-ounce block halloumi into 2 thin rectangles; dredge in flour. Cook in olive oil until golden, 3 minutes per side. Top with the olive salad; serve with bread.

    14. Middle Eastern Cheese Dip Combine 2 cups labneh (yogurt cheese), 2 grated garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons each chopped parsley, dill and mint, 2 chopped scallions and the juice of 1 lemon. Season with salt, ground cumin and hot paprika. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika. Serve with pita bread.

    15. Garlic and Herb Cheese Dip Combine one 5-ounce package garlic-and-herb cheese spread, 1/4 cup buttermilk and 2 tablespoons sour cream until smooth; season with salt. Top with chopped scallions. Serve with chips.

    16. Gorgonzola Cheese Dip Combine 3/4 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola and 1 tablespoon milk until smooth; season with salt and cayenne. Serve with crudites.

    17. Caraway-Havarti Beer Cheese Melt 1/2 stick butter over medium heat. Stir in 1/4 cup flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add 1 cup each heavy cream and beer, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and hot sauce; simmer 5 minutes. Stir in 2 cups shredded caraway havarti until melted. Serve with chips.
    18. Fig-Walnut Cheese Balls Pulse 8 ounces softened goat cheese and 4 ounces gorgonzola dolce in a food processor until smooth. Mix in 3 tablespoons finely chopped dried figs; chill. Form into 1-inch balls; roll in freshly ground pepper and finely chopped candied walnuts.

    19. Bacon-Chive Cheese Balls Mix 8 ounces softened cream cheese, 1 cup shredded gouda, 2 chopped cooked bacon slices, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, and hot sauce to taste; chill. Form into 1-inch balls; roll in chopped chives.

    20. Fig and Cheese Toasts Cut rosemary focaccia into small slices. Make the Fig-Walnut Cheese Ball mixture (No. 18); do not chill or roll. Spread on the focaccia; sprinkle with Parmesan. Broil until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Top with chopped parsley.
     21. Olive-Asiago Flatbread Combine 1/2 cup each chopped green olives and parsley, 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 grated garlic clove; season with pepper. Spread onto 2 lavash flatbreads; top with 1/2 cup shredded asiago. Bake at 425 degrees F until crisp, 12 minutes. Cut into pieces.

    22. Camembert-Mushroom Pizzettes Cook 8 ounces sliced oyster mushrooms in olive oil until tender; season with salt and pepper. Form 1 pound refrigerated pizza dough into two 4-by-12-inch rectangles on parchment. Top each with 3 ounces sliced Camembert and the mushrooms; drizzle with olive oil. Bake on a preheated baking sheet at 475 degrees F until the crusts are browned, 15 minutes. Top with chopped parsley; cut into pieces.
    23. Spanakopita Tartlets Warm one 10-ounce package thawed frozen creamed spinach as the label directs. Stir in 1/2 cup crumbled feta and 2 tablespoons each chopped scallions and dill. Fill 30 frozen mini phyllo shells with the mixture. Bake at 400 degrees F until set, 15 minutes. Cool slightly.

    24. Chicken and Cheese Tartlets Mix 2 cups diced rotisserie chicken (skin removed), 1 cup each mayonnaise and diced dill havarti, 2 tablespoons each grated Parmesan and lemon juice, and a pinch of nutmeg. Fill 30 frozen mini phyllo shells with the mixture. Bake at 425 degrees F until the cheese melts, 4 minutes. Top with paprika and chives. Cool slightly.

    25. Grilled Cheese Strips with Chutney Spread chutney on 4 slices sourdough; top each with 1/2 cup shredded Comte cheese. Top with 4 more slices bread. Cook in a skillet with butter and fresh thyme until golden, 4 minutes per side. Cut into strips.

    26. Grilled Cheese Strips with Bacon Caramelize 1 sliced onion in butter over medium-low heat, 30 minutes. Divide 8 slices cheddar, the onion, 4 crumbled cooked bacon slices and some fresh thyme among 4 slices rye bread; top with 4 more slices bread. Cook in a skillet with butter until golden, 4 minutes per side. Cut into strips.

    27. Baked Brie with Apples and Ham Mix 1 small diced Granny Smith apple with 2 tablespoons honey mustard. Slice off the top rind of a small wheel of brie. Top with the apples and 2 ounces chopped deli ham; drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a small dish at 375 degrees F until slightly runny, 12 to 15 minutes.

    28. Goat Cheese and Pear Crostini Cook 2 chopped peeled pears, 1/2 cup each water, dry Riesling and raisins, 1/3 cup sugar and 4 strips lemon zest over medium heat, 20 minutes. Serve on crostini with goat cheese.

    29. Cheesy Pigs in a Blanket Divide one 8-ounce tube crescent-roll dough into 4 rectangles. Wrap each around a 3-ounce bacon-cheese bratwurst; trim and press to seal. Brush with beaten egg; sprinkle with shredded cheddar. Bake at 350 degrees F until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Slice; serve with mustard.

    30. Three-Cheese Deviled Eggs Peel and halve 12 hard-boiled eggs. Scoop out the yolks; mash with 1/4 cup each mayonnaise and sour cream, 2 tablespoons each shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar, 1 tablespoon relish, 2 teaspoons mustard and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne; season with salt. Spoon into the whites; top with crumbled cooked bacon and shredded dill havarti.

    31. Spanish Manchego Tortilla Bites Mix 4 cups potato chips with 12 lightly beaten eggs; let sit until softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add half of the egg mixture, 4 ounces each cubed manchego and muenster, then the remaining egg mixture. Cook, undisturbed, until the bottom is golden, 5 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F until set, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool; unmold and cut into squares.

    32. Polenta with Gorgonzola Slice one 18-ounce tube polenta 1/2 inch thick; cut each round in half. Bake at 400 degrees F until warmed through, about 7 minutes. Top with crumbled gorgonzola and chopped walnuts; bake until lightly browned, 3 minutes. Top with chives.

    33. Cheesy Crab Cakes Combine 8 ounces lump crabmeat, 1/4 cup shredded monterey jack, 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon each Dijon mustard, lemon juice and chopped cilantro; season with salt and cayenne. Form into 16 patties (1 inch each); dredge in flour. Cook in vegetable oil until golden, 2 minutes per side.

    34. Shrimp Quesadillas Combine 8 ounces chopped cooked shrimp, one 4-ounce can chopped green chiles, the juice of 1 lime, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin and 2 chopped scallions. Divide 1/2 cup grated queso fresco and the shrimp between two 8-inch flour tortillas; top each with another tortilla. Cook in a buttered skillet until golden, 1 1/2 minutes per side. Cut into wedges.
    35. Pepper Jack Latkes Peel and grate 2 russet potatoes and 2 carrots; squeeze dry. Mix with 1 egg, 1/2 grated onion, 1 cup shredded pepper Jack, 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley and 1 teaspoon kosher salt; season with pepper. Form into 2-inch pancakes; cook in vegetable oil until golden, 3 minutes per side. Sprinkle with salt; top with sour cream.
    36. Cheddar Biscuits with Ham Pulse 2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in a food processor. Add 1 stick diced cold butter; pulse until crumbly. Pulse in 1 cup each buttermilk and shredded cheddar, and 1 chopped scallion. Roll out to 1/2 inch thick on a floured surface, fold in half and reroll. Cut out 1-inch rounds. Bake at 400 degrees F until golden, 15 minutes. Sandwich with fig jam and ham.

    37. Cheese Puffs Bring 1 stick butter, 1/2 cup each water and milk, and 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and cayenne to a simmer. Stir in 1 cup flour until a ball forms. Transfer to a bowl; with a mixer, beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, then 1 cup shredded Gruyere. Pipe into 1-inch balls on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F until puffed, 25 minutes.

    38. Mac and Cheese Bites Squeeze heaping tablespoon full of chilled macaroni and cheese into balls; dredge in flour, then beaten egg, then breadcrumbs. Deep-fry in 375 degrees F vegetable oil until crisp, 2 minutes. Sprinkle with salt.

    39. Fried Mozzarella Sandwiches Divide 8 mozzarella slices and 16 anchovies among 8 slices white bread; top with 8 more slices bread. Trim the crusts; cut in half. Dredge in beaten egg, then flour. Cook in olive oil until golden, 2 minutes per side; blot and halve. Fry parsley and capers in the oil until crisp and sprinkle on top; serve with marinara sauce.

    40. Spinach Croquettes Melt 1/2 stick butter over medium heat. Whisk in 1/2 cup flour, then 1 cup milk until thick. Stir in 2/3 cup each shredded Gruyere and thawed frozen chopped spinach (squeezed dry). Add 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and a pinch each of cayenne and nutmeg; chill. Form into 16 balls; dredge in flour, then beaten egg, then breadcrumbs. Deep-fry in 360 degrees F vegetable oil until golden, 3 minutes.
    Page 5 of 5
    41. Arancini Microwave 1 cup Arborio rice with 1 2/3 cups chicken broth, 1/3 cup white wine and 1/3 cup chopped onion in an 8-inch microwave-safe dish, stirring halfway through, until tender, 18 minutes; cool. Mix in 2 eggs and 3/4 cup each grated Parmesan and provolone. Roll into 1 1/4-inch balls; dredge in breadcrumbs. Chill. Deep-fry in 350 degrees F vegetable oil until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with marinara sauce.
    42. Fried Ravioli Mix equal parts all-purpose and semolina flour. Dip refrigerated cheese ravioli in beaten egg, then the flour mixture. Deep-fry in 375 degrees F vegetable oil until golden, 4 minutes. Serve with marinara sauce.

    43. Goat Cheese–Stuffed Peppers Mix 8 ounces goat cheese with 1 tablespoon each milk, olive oil, chopped parsley and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Spoon into 8 piquillo peppers; chill. Cut in half lengthwise.

    44. Manchego-Stuffed Dates Fill pitted dates with cubes of manchego; wrap with sliced serrano ham. Broil until golden, 5 minutes.

    45. Provolone-Stuffed Peppadews Fill Peppadew peppers with cubes of provolone; wrap with prosciutto. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar; top with basil.

    46. Cheese-Stuffed Olives Stuff Roquefort into 24 pitted green olives. Whisk 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons each olive brine and lemon juice, 1 tablespoon gin, 1 teaspoon thyme and a pinch of sugar; season with salt and pepper. Pour over the olives; chill.

    47. Fingerling Cheese Fries Toss 1 pound fingerling potatoes with olive oil; roast at 400 degrees F until crisp, 30 minutes. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons flour; cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Whisk in 2 cups milk. Cook, whisking, until thickened, 5 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 cups shredded raclette or Swiss cheese and 1/2 teaspoon each hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Serve over the fries.

    48. Tuscan Potato Bites Toss 1 pound quartered baby Yukon gold potatoes with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees F, 30 minutes. Toss with 1/4 cup grated pecorino, 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary and 1 teaspoon lemon zest; bake 10 minutes.

    49. Endive with Gorgonzola Mix 8 ounces gorgonzola dolce, 1/2 cup mascarpone and 2 tablespoons chopped parsley; spread onto 24 endive leaves. Top with crumbled cooked bacon and chopped candied pecans.
    50. Beer Cheese Soup Shooters Cook 1 chopped onion and 2 chopped garlic cloves in 1/2 stick butter in a large pot over medium heat until softened. Add 1/4 cup flour; cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Whisk in 12 ounces beer, 2 cups chicken broth, 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1 teaspoon each Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce; cook until thickened, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers and 2 cups shredded cheddar until melted. Puree; season with salt and cayenne. Top with more peppers.

    Wednesday, December 10, 2014

    Recipe of the Day - Lamb & Dried Apricot Stew

    This aromatic stew is even better the next day, once the spices have had time to really infuse the meat with flavor. Serve with a simple green salad dressed with a lemony vinaigrette.

    Lamb and Dried Apricot Stew



    • 2 Tbs. olive oil
    • 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into
        1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
    • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
    • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
    • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more, to taste
    • 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) chicken broth
    • 1 can (14 1/2 oz./455 g) diced tomatoes
    • 1 can (8 3/4 oz./270 g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    • 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) dried apricots, halved
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    • Salt, to taste


    In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Working in 2 batches, add the lamb and cook until browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a bowl.

    Add the onion and garlic to the pot and sauté until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, cayenne and the 1/4 tsp. black pepper and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, apricots, cinnamon stick and lamb and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is tender and the stew thickens, about 1 1/4 hours.

    Stir in the parsley, season with salt and black pepper and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

    Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Soup of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2011).

    Monday, December 8, 2014

     Hello and Good Bye
                                                                                                                                                                  There's change afoot for us at Two Crones Farm.....with the installation of the front deck complete, we'll be installing the Outdoor Kitchen in the Spring.                                 By then the Kitchen & Herb Garden will be maturing nicely for our monthly gatherings which we will be starting up with a new theme:  "Keep It Simple".  We added 75 sq ft of planting space as a railing system on the deck with this theme in mind.  If it's simple to get to, then it will be simple to use and teach others how to design with Simplicity in mind.
    The other major change is that we have a new companion canine join the Menagerie in November.  Found wandering the streets of Vallejo by a neighbor who we linked up with via Facebook, Frankie was obviously in need of new digs.  Although she was flea infested and missing a lot of hair she was very sweet. For me it was love at first sight! Her first month has been all about vet visits, TLC, and training.  She's a wonderful, smart, energetic young Rottweiler and we're very happy to have her with us.  We'll be posting pictures of her antics soon!
    Our dear Bella passed on May 13, 2014 and we still miss her everyday.  She was my constant companion, the most loving and intuitive soul I ever knew.  She can never be replaced but having Frankie with us now brings back the Dog Energy the farm was missing. 
     RIP Sweet Bella  July 2005- May 2014. 

    White Bean & Chorizo Stew

    The pending stormy weather translates to "hunker down and cook" at the farm.  Smoky Paprika is one of my favorite spices to experiment with so when I find a recipe that features this beautiful addition, well now.....I just have to try it! 

    White Bean and Chorizo Stew

    Chef Richard Garcia of Boston's 606 Congress uses smoked Spanish paprika in his signature White Bean and Chorizo Stew. Garcia relies on this spice for a deep, smoky flavor that complements Spanish chorizo sausage.
    Photo: Thinkstock
    Serves 10


    • 1 16-ounce stick Spanish chorizo sausage, cut into a medium dice
    • 2 Tbsp. smoked Spanish paprika
    • 3 tsp. cumin
    • 2 tsp. coriander
    • 2 tsp. saffron thread
    • 4 cloves peeled garlic
    • ½ Spanish onion, diced
    • ½ cup sherry vinegar
    • 1 cup Chardonnay wine
    • 32 ounces cooked white beans
    • 6 chopped plum tomatoes
    • ½ carrot, peeled and diced
    • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
    • 4 Tbsp. tomato paste
    • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
    • 3 sprigs of fresh oregano
    • 5 sprigs of parsley
    • 1 bay leaf
    • Juice of 1 lemon


    Sweat chorizo and spices in a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add vegetables and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add beans.

    Deglaze the pan with sherry vinegar and white wine, scraping up browned bits. Add chicken stock and tomato paste.

    Wrap thyme, oregano, bay leaf and parsley in a cheese cloth and add to stew.

    Cook for approximately 5 minutes. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

    This recipe is part of an article on new, easy ways to spice up your dinner.

    Read more: http://www.oprah.com/food/White-Bean-and-Chorizo-Stew-Recipe-Chef-Richard-Garcia#ixzz3LJmmwRQJ