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Archive for March, 2011

Family Meal

I got a little closer to my family cooking goal last week, when I made something that all three of us could eat.  Cooking and planning for Ben’s meals has taken precedence, so Chris and I end up eating a lot of fried eggs and buttered noodles for dinner these days.  I even catch Chris stealing bites of Ben’s food from time to time, just so he can have something homemade.

It turns out the solution, for now, is soup.

I never think of soup as a dinner option – it always seems like a lot of prep for the payoff, I tend to think it’ll be bland, and my fickle appetite can’t always deal with the prospect of eating an entire vat of soup for the week.   But with a pantry full of sweet potatoes and the choice of takeout or buttered noodles ahead of me, this soup was the perfect solution.  I’ve been sneaking spices into Ben’s purees for weeks now, and I found a recipe that, aside from the red pepper flakes, had all ingredients that he can eat.

Curried Sweet Potato Soup,  from The Splendid Table

1c chopped onion
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large knob ginger, grated (about 1 Tbsp)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (I left these out for our littlest tongue)
2 1/2 lbs peeled diced sweet potatoes
6c chicken broth
goat cheese or yogurt

Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a dutch oven or large stockpot.  Saute the onion for about 10 minutes, or until soft.  Add the garlic and spices, saute for another minute.  Add the sweet potatoes and broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the sweet potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and puree the soup with a hand blender (or, allow to cool and run it through a blender in batches).  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish each bowl with a dollop of goat cheese (or yogurt if you’re a baby).

Now all you need is a spoon – choose your tool.  I upped the iron content and thickness on Ben’s bowl with a bit of turkey puree, and we were free to eat as a family.

I think it’s a hit.

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Dreaming of Summer

It’s starting to warm up in San Diego after a particularly unusual wet and chilly winter.  Spring is just around the corner (and I’ve got the seed catalogs piling up to prove it), but the last few days have felt summery to me.  It’s just the right feel in the air to remind me that these gnarly colds will clear up soon and we’ll be all cleared for a hot, sunny summer!

Ben and I spent all afternoon yesterday playing outside on the lawn, and when we came inside nothing sounded better than this old favorite.  I got the recipe years ago, and I no longer remember where it’s from (Cooking Light, perhaps), but it’s the perfect warm-weather healthy salad to fuel your high energy summer afternoons.  There’s very little prep required if you let Trader Joe’s do the work for you on this one, and all the ingredients are adjustable based on availability and taste.  This will taste a little better when your garden is bursting at the seams with cherry tomatoes, but if you’re feeling summer nostalgic, it’s ok to cave and get some overpriced tomatoes at the store.

Bean, Tomato and Shrimp Salad (gosh, that could sound better – let’s call it Salad of the Summer)

1 bag ( oz) shelled edamame, cooked according to package directions
1 can (15 oz) canellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 bag ( oz) frozen medium shrimp, defrosted and rinsed
16oz cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
generous swig olive oil (2-3 Tbsp)
handful of cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

We have many more things to talk about – progress made on the 101, freshly baked bread, hot and comforting soups, and a new obsession with cookies baked in mini-muffin pans.  Be back soon.

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