Swedish Brown Bean Soup

Well, it appears that our rare, sunny streak in San Francisco has come and gone. Now back to the cool, foggy perfect-for-soup weather that we know and love. And, Spring cabbage abounds, so what better excuse to try a new heirloom bean and cabbage soup?

For this recipe (you may want to double this recipe if you want leftovers!) we used :
1/2 pound Swedish brown beans, soaked in cold water for 2 hours before cooking
6 slices high-quality bacon
3 cups sliced green cabbage
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp chopped, fresh parsley

Put the beans and their soaking liquid in a soup pot and add enough cold water to cover by one inch. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently until the beans are about halfway done, 45-60 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skilled over medium heat, saute the bacon until the fat is nearly rendered but the bacon has not begun to brown, about 8 minutes. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp of the fat, leaving the bacon in the pan.
 Add the cabbage and toss with the bacon fat to coat. Cook the cabbage over medium heat until wilted and beginning to brown, 6-8 minutes. Add the cider vinegar and a pinch of salt. Stir and toss for 1-2 minutes.
 Add the cabbage, bacon, molasses, brown sugar, and 1 tsp salt to the beans. Cook uncovered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Add water if the soup is too thick.
 In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest and parsley. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with the lemon zest mixture.


Mexicana Salad

This salad is delicious and fun! Plan for an overnight bean soak if you're using dry beans. Prep and cooking time is about 60-90 minutes. Serves 10-12.

You'll need:
8 oz dry black-eyed peas
8 oz dry red kidney beans
1 large sweet potato
1 large red onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/4 chopped fresh basil
3 flour tortillas
1 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
1/4 cup sour cream or Greek-style yogurt

For the dressing:
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp olive oil

For the guacamole, use your favorite homemade or store-bought recipe.

1. Soak the beans in a large bowl of cold water overnight. Drain and cook in a LARGE pan of rapidly boiling water for 30 minutes, or until just tender (taste test occasionally to check). Skim any scum that appears on the surface during cooking. DO NOT overcook or the beans will become mushy. Drain and set aside to cool.

2. Chop the sweet potato into large pieces and cook in boiling water until tender. Drain and combine with the onion, bell pepper, tomato and beans. Stir in the basil.

3. To make the dressing, shake the ingredients in a container until combined. Pour over the salad and toss to coat.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using a small, sharp knife, cut cactus shapes or large triangles out of the tortillas, brush lightly with oil and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for 5-10 minutes, or until they are crisp and golden.

5. Grab or make your guacamole.

6. Pile the guacamole in the center of the salad, top with sour cream or yogurt and arrange the cactus shapes on top.



Leftover Risotto Frittata

Last night I served a risotto with mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, and pecorino tartufo, and the kids looked at me like I served them a death sentence. As I was wrapping up the leftovers, my husband asked, "Does risotto even keep well?" "Not really," I said, but I put it in the fridge anyway... well, today I had an inspiration, and like most of my inspirations it has been done before... FRITTATA! I just barely heated some red, orange and yellow bell pepper strips so that they retained their crunch, threw a few pieces of diced Canadian bacon into the skillet, added a scoop of the leftover risotto to heat it through, and then whipped up a couple of eggs to add to the mix, topped it all with some Anglesey sea salt, and had a lunch to die for. I am not blogging this as a recipe because you could use just about any ingredient your heart desires. Fear not the leftover risotto... :)


Lamb Tagine

Apparently my cooking is driven lately by food envy. Take my previous post about pancit and lumpit as an example. Food so unique and desirable that it warrants a special delivery and special mention? Well, I'll have what she's having! Tonight's dish is inspired by the occasional evening drop-in on my neighbors across the street who lived in Egypt for several years and quite frequently cook Middle Eastern cuisine. Whenever I come into their house and smell something delicious cooking for dinner and I ask what the wonderful smell is, it seems that at least half of the time the answer is "tagine". Well, I want *my* house to smell delicious, too!

If you want YOUR house to smell delicious, then this is what you do:


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 pounds lamb meat, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 5 carrots, peeled, cut into fourths, then sliced lengthwise into thin strips
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can homemade chicken broth or low-sodium canned broth
  • 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon water (optional)


Place cubed lamb in a bowl, toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and set aside. Combine the paprika, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, salt, ginger, saffron, garlic powder, and coriander; mix well. Add to the lamb in the bowl, and toss around to coat well. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the lamb in batches, and brown well. Remove to a plate.

Add onions and carrots to the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the fresh garlic and ginger; continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes.

Return the lamb to the pot and stir in the lemon zest, chicken broth, tomato paste, and honey. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender. If the consistency of the tagine is too thin, you may thicken it with a mixture of cornstarch and water during the last 5 minutes.

Serve over warm couscous.

Pancit and Lumpia

A while back my stepmother posted on Facebook that she was so excited because a friend was bringing her some pancit and lumpia. Say what? I had never heard those word before, and they sounded so strange to me! Well naturally my curiosity led me to search those words on Google, and I found that they are quite tasty sounding foods traditional to the Philippines. I don't know why it took me so long to actually get around to making them, but it was inevitable as I just kept thinking about them! So, last night I took the plunge and found some recipes online at allrecipes.com.

Quick and Easy Pancit


  • 1 (12 ounce) package dried rice noodles
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken breast meat
  • 1 small head cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 4 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 lemons - cut into wedges, for garnish


Place the rice noodles in a large bowl, and cover with warm water. When soft, drain, and set aside.

Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft. Stir in chicken cabbage, carrots and soy sauce. Cook until cabbage begins to soften. Toss in noodles, and cook until heated through, stirring constantly. Transfer pancit to a serving dish and garnish with quartered lemons.

Filipino Lumpia
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound ground pork
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup minced carrots
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon soy sauce
30 lumpia wrappers
2 cups vegetable oil for frying

1.Place a wok or large skillet over high heat, and pour in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Cook pork, stirring frequently, until no pink is showing. Remove pork from pan and set aside. Drain grease from pan, leaving a thin coating. Cook garlic and onion in the same pan for 2 minutes. Stir in the cooked pork, carrots, green onions, and cabbage. Season with pepper, salt, garlic powder, and soy sauce. Remove from heat, and set aside until cool enough to handle.

2.Place three heaping tablespoons of the filling diagonally near one corner of each wrapper, leaving a 1 1/2 inch space at both ends. Fold the side along the length of the filling over the filling, tuck in both ends, and roll neatly. Keep the roll tight as you assemble. Moisten the other side of the wrapper with water to seal the edge.

3.Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat, add oil to 1/2 inch depth, and heat for 5 minutes. Slide 3 or 4 lumpia into the oil. Fry the rolls for 1 to 2 minutes, until all sides are golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

(side note: my interpretation of "3 or 4" is "however many fit in the pan at once without overcrowding.")



Summer Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Arugula

Something about having an entire heirloom tomato to one's self feels incredibly indulgent, and wonderful!

Heirloom tomatoes, by definition, are open-pollinated cultivars (a plant selected for desirable characteristics that can be maintained by propagation - unlike varieties of GMO produce that have been bred to lack seeds). A true heirloom is a cultivar that has been nurtured, selected, and handed down by family members for many generations.

Typically, I've been enjoying salads with baby arugula as the base, but on this occasion, shortly after returning from my local Farmer's market, I decided to have some fun with this "Cherokee purple" tomato:

First, I sliced it into big, beautiful wedges.

Then, just a sprinkle of organic baby arugula to add texture and a mild peppery flavor, plus a generous drizzle of olive oil.

Next, lemon zest to give it some extra zip!

And, finally, some fresh walnut halves to add texture, crunch and heart-healthy fat; and some freshly ground salt & pepper to taste.

Oh, my, goodness. Num num num num num.


Fettucini with Asparagus and Fresh Goat Cheese

To make the fresh egg pasta all you need is 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 3 large eggs, beaten. Pulse the flour with a metal blade in a food processor to distribute and aerate; then add the eggs and process until the dough forms into a ball, about 30 seconds. Turn the dough ball out onto a dry work surface and knead until smooth (1-2 minutes). Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 15 minutes up to 2 hours. Then use a pasta machine to roll out the dough and cut (per your pasta machine instructions).

To prepare for the sauce, steam 1 pound of 1-inch asparagus pieces until just tender (about 2 min). Set aside. Then place 3 ounces of fresh goat cheese (crumbled), 1/4 cup heavy cream, and 1 clove of minced garlic into a small bowl and combine. Chop about 2 Tbsp of fresh mint leaves. Meanwhile, bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil with a Tbsp of salt and cook your pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and transfer it back to the pot. Stir in the asparagus, goat cheese mixture, and mint; and use the reserved cooking water to moisten as necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately. Enjoy!