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RHUBARB GINGER STRAWBERRY FOOL

Nothing says spring like fresh, beautiful rhubarb.  (well that and fresh asparagus)  I love the gorgeous pink color….in fact when chopping the rhubarb it turned my cutting board pink!

While strawberries are not in season until June, I did use organic halved frozen strawberries in this dish.

There could also not be an easier dessert to make.  This recipe will easily feed 4 for a good 2 days.

6 cups chopped fresh organic rhubarb

3/4 cup water

1 cup organic cane sugar (or sweetener of your choice)

1 inch knob of fresh ginger, finely minced

1 tsp. vanilla

1 rounded Tblsp. cornstarch, and water to lightly thicken

1 rounded cup of frozen strawberries (mine were halved, then cut into quarters)

2 gluten free ginger snap cookies (we used Mary’s Organic) chopped small – for a garnish

whipped cream (we use lactose free)

To a large pot, add the water, rhubarb, ginger and sugar.  Bring to a boil, and turn down to a simmer cooking about 20 minutes.  Stir frequently, until the rhubarb is no longer chunky.

Taste for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary.  Make a cornstarch slurry and slowly add to thicken. (the rhubarb will also set in the fridge)  Remove from the heat and add in the vanilla and strawberries stirring well.

Transfer to a large bowl, and refrigerate until cold.

Serve the rhubarb/strawberry compote in a clear round wine glass, or dessert cup alternating with the whipped cream.  Top with the chopped ginger snap cookies.  Enjoy!  :)

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LASAGNA: A NEW TAKE ON AN OLD TIME FAVORITE

We have had endless days of rain in our neck of the woods which always leads me to comfort food.  Lasagna being a family favorite.  There are a number of different lasagna recipes on my blog and while this is somewhat of a traditional lasagna there are a few new ingredients as well as a very different method.  Why I used a different method was a result of having extra sauce.  This recipe will make a lot of  tomato sauce – there was almost 3/4 of a liter left – which will freeze beautifully.  This is also the first time I have used crushed tomatoes in place of whole canned tomatoes and tomato paste.  The canned crushed tomatoes gave a brighter sweeter flavor – very tasty!

We have been getting the most beautiful Swiss chard from our local farm winter box program, hence this new lasagna recipe.  So green and gorgeous don’t you think?

Normally we have this as a side dish:  saute the ends with a chopped leak, then add in the chopped leaves with a splash of fresh lemon and salt and pepper.  It got the wheels turning: adding it to the lasagna was a delicious alternative to steamed spinach.  Also, I tried a different method with the yogurt sauce – I used plain yogurt with a beaten egg mixed in instead of my standard yogurt cheese method.  Something we used to do years ago when making lasagna.  I always use uncooked gluten free lasagna noodles, making the dish in the morning to put into the oven for dinner.

TOMATO SAUCE:

2 Tblsp. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 of a finely grated carrot

1 large onion, chopped

4 minced garlic cloves

1/4 of a small green pepper, diced

2  28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes

1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. ground fennel

salt and fresh cracked pepper

1 large bay leaf

28 gr. package of fresh chopped basil

Heat up a large dutch oven (a stock pot would work too) with the EVOO on medium low heat.  Add the grated carrot, onion, garlic, green peppers to the pot and saute to sweat out.  Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Saute about 8 minutes, then add in the seasonings except for the fresh basil.  Saute for another 4 minutes.  Pour in the crushed tomatoes, bring to a simmer, then turn down to low.  Simmer for 1 hour  stirring occasionally.  Five minutes before it is finished cooking, add in the fresh chopped basil.  Remove from the heat.

YOGURT SAUCE WITH SWISS CHARD AND LEEKS:

1 bunch of fresh Swiss chard – 3/4 of a lb. stems removed, and chopped

1 large leek, sliced and chopped (rinse well)

EVOO

juice of a 1/4 fresh lemon

salt and fresh cracked pepper

1 cup of plain whole organic yogurt

2/3 cup of grated Parmesan Cheese

1 large egg

fresh cracked pepper

Heat up a cast iron pan with a drizzle of EVOO on medium heat.  Add the chopped Swiss chard ends and the chopped leek to the pan.  Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Saute about 8 minutes.  Add in the chopped chard leaves and continue to saute about 8 more minutes.  Remove from the heat and squeeze in the fresh lemon juice.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk up the egg.  Add the yogurt, Parmesan cheese, and fresh cracked pepper mixing well.  Add the cooled chard/leek mixture and stir well then set aside.

1 package Tinkyada Lasagna Noodles – 12  in total

4 crimini mushrooms, chopped

1 lb. lean ground beef

fresh cracked pepper

Parmesan Cheese

grated Aged Cheddar Cheese

In the same cast iron pan on medium heat, add the ground beef to brown – breaking the meat up into bits.  My ground beef is very lean so no need to drain excess.  Once brown, add in the diced mushrooms and saute for another 8 minutes or so.  Season with fresh cracked pepper. Remove from heat.

ASSEMBLY:

To a large lasagna pan add a generous amount of tomato sauce to the bottom of the pan.  Add 4 lasagna noodles laid out in a row then cover with 1/2 the yogurt mixture and top with the meat/mushroom mixture and a generous topping of tomato sauce.  Repeat using all of the lasagna noodles and finish with meat/mushroom mixture covering well with tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese and grated aged Cheddar cheese.

Cover with tin foil and bake in a pre-heated oven of 350 degrees for 1 hour until bubbly.  Remove tin foil, allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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CROCK POT VEGETARIAN CHILI

This was a recipe that was recently printed in our local newspaper.  I made some changes to the original – and we were delighted with the results.  Slow cooking with a crock pot has always been a little bit of a hit and miss result with me in terms of flavor.  Usually I have found that most recipes turn out some what bland….so I used this recipe as a guideline and added more ingredients.  (in most of my recipes I will always to endeavor to use organic ingredients)  We served this chili over rice to give it more heartiness.

Note:  For a spicy chili (I am a whimp when it comes to heat) add in a diced jalapeno pepper

Homemade organic vegetable stock:

1 large shallot, skin on, quartered

1 celery stalk with lots of leaves, roughly chopped

3 crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped

the green ends of 1 leek, rinsed well, roughly chopped

2 roma tomatoes roughly chopped

2 medium carrots, roughly chopped

2 bay leaves, a dash of Herbamare seasoning

2 cups of water

Add everything to a medium sized pot and bring to a boil lid on.  Turn down to a low simmer for 1 hour.  Strain into a 4 cup measuring cup and discard the vegetables.

Vegetarian Chili:

1 cup organic vegetable stock

1  28 oz can organic whole tomatoes, cut into quarters plus liquid

1  14 oz can organic tomato sauce

2  19 oz cans organic black beans – drained and rinsed well under cold water

1 large onion, chopped

1 organic celery stalk, chopped

3 large organic crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped

4 cups organic butternut squash cut into 1 inch sized pieces

4 minced organic garlic cloves

1 cup organic frozen corn

3 1/2 rounded tsp. chili powder

1 1/2 tsp. cumin

2 Tblsp. dehydrated onion

salt and fresh cracked pepper

2 green onions, chopped

chopped fresh cilantro

yogurt, and grated sharp cheddar cheese

Place all the ingredients into the crock pot except the green onions, cilantro, yogurt and cheddar cheese.  Mix well and set to the low setting cooking for 6 hours.

When done, add in the chopped green onions and a good handful of fresh chopped cilantro.  Serve hot with cheddar cheese and a dollop of yogurt over rice.

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VEGETARIAN PAELLA

As mentioned in previous posts, I have been cooking Vegetarian meals about twice sometimes three times a week.  Recently, we found this at our local grocery store:

No paid advertisement here….just wanting to share something yummy – a lovely basmati rice/quiona blend vegetarian meal. Next to dried pasta, this is the only thing in my pantry [...]

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VACATION AND COOKING WITH KITCHEN BASICS AND MUST HAVES

We recently had a week vacation – a lovely cabin on the lake at one of our Gulf Islands.  We love the cabin with its rustic charm, a cozy big fireplace, a kitchen (most important!) and beautiful lake views.

Over the years, I have learned what to bring as usually the kitchens are quite small, and [...]

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TOMATO PESTO PASTA WITH ROASTED GARLIC GOAT CHEVRAI (A RECIPE INSPIRATION)

We are huge lovers of pesto in this household.  Each year I make Organic Garlic Scape Pesto which we freeze to have throughout the year.  This is the first time I have made Tomato Pesto and Oh My Goodness, do we ever love it.

As mentioned in previous posts, every year, we buy our local organic [...]

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BALSAMIC CHANTERELLE RISOTTO

Chanterelle mushrooms are by far my favorite mushroom – even re-hydrated they have such a distinct woodsy sweet flavor.  Although, fresh is always the best.  They do have a short window of time for harvest, and as we did not get any fresh ones this year, I was happy to be able to buy dehydrated [...]

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PORK CHOPS IN A SHALLOT MUSHROOM SAUCE

What is not to love about shallots?  They are in my humble opinion much more flavorful than any onion – hands down.  They are also more of a “killer” on the eyes in terms of their sting!

Regardless, they are my favorite in the Allium family.  So much flavor – and a flavor that retains itself [...]

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SUN DRIED TOMATO BASIL VEGGI DIP

This is a recipe where you could certainly use cream cheese, however, in this household I always make Yogurt Cheese – or dripped Yogurt.  Recently, I discovered there is a company in California called Green Valley Organics that makes lactose free dairy products including sour cream and cream cheese.  Oh heaven!  It is very difficult [...]

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GLUTEN FREE CRANBERRY CHOCOLATE FUDGE CAKE

Merry Christmas everyone, and all the best for 2016.  Wow, that sure came up fast – where does the time go?

Mercy!  This was one decadent chocolate fudge cake.  It is rich, with full on chocolate flavor, a nice touch of cranberry, dense and ultra moist.  A very special occasion festive cake.

What is really nice about [...]