Sunday, September 25, 2016

Vegan Artichoke Soup

Artichoke Soup

Soup, what does it mean to you? For me it’s warmth, comfort and nourishment in one bowl. I can enjoy soup any time of day or year, no matter what the weather. When your full from enjoying a bowl of soup you feel nice and warm, it’s like you’re getting a hug back. There are different kinds of soup depending on region and ethnicity. They can be clear, creamy, full of meat, veggies, hot or cold. When my husband and I would visit his late Uncle and Aunt who were in their nineties, a pot of soup was always brought out, I cherish that memory.

Artichokes in the Garden

I’ve been clearing out the garden and preparing the ground for winter. Some of the plants I will leave alone and just cover them with some hay. Others I will till into the soil. This year I let some of the dill and bush beans dry out and go to seed so I could save them and plant them again next year. Hopefully I will remember where I tucked these seeds away. One of the plants that I did not pull out but cut way down was the artichoke bush. Hence this fresh artichoke soup.

yield: 3 to 4print recipe

Artichoke Soup

prep time: 45 MINScook time: 30 MINStotal time: 75 mins
Light and creamy with the distinct flavor of artichoke is the best way to describe this soup. The perfect way to bring in fall.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 large potato, chopped
  • 7 Artichokes (about 2 cups hearts)
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • chives for garnish
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Heat olive oil in a heavy, large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and shallots and stir. Cook until onions are translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes and artichokes, cook for 5 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, salt, and pepper and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Puree the soup using an immersion blender or regular blender until smooth. Pour back into pot, taste and season again with salt and pepper if needed.
  4. To serve, ladle into bowls and then garnish with fresh chives.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Old Fashioned Peach Butter with Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

Old Fashioned Peach Butter with Homemade Biscuits
This recipe is a little late seeing that we had our canning spree two weeks ago, but as they say better late than never. And today is the first day of fall, yay! At the time we canned tomato salsa, peach salsa and peach butter. I can’t really say that I have a favorite as they are all unique and delicious in there own way.

Canning Peach Butter
Here is the thing about peach butter, it is somewhere in between a jam and a sauce and is so easy to make. Basically you clean the peaches. Remove the pit and then cut them into fourths. (Notice the skins we not removed). We cooked ours on the lowest setting in a cast iron dutch oven with sugar and cinnamon overnight, about 18 hours (lid was left slightly ajar). The next day lemon juice was added and then the butter was scooped into jars with lids and rings and then processed for 10 minutes in a water bath. I’m not sure if you noticed or not but no butter had been added. Yep, cooking it low and slow developed all the flavor that you need.

yield: 5-6 pintsprint recipe

Old Fashioned Peach Butter

prep time: cook time: total time:
Slow-cooked peach butter is an easy way to make sure your extra peaches are turned into something very tasty. This recipe is from my canning friend’s grandma in Oklahoma. Thank you, P!


  • 6 pounds peaches, quartered and pitted
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • Juice of 1/2 medium lemon


  1. Cut the peaches into quarters. Place into a large dutch-oven. Add the sugar, salt and cinnamon, then stir to combine.
  2. Place in oven on the lowest setting with lid slightly ajar. Stir every few hours, until thick and spreadable, approx. 12 to 18 hours. Make sure to re-vent the lid after each stir.
  3. Remove from off the oven, uncover and add the lemon juice, stir to combine.
  4. Funnel the peach butter into clean, properly prepared jars. Wipe the rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.

The buttermilk biscuit recipe has been slightly adapted from

yield: 9 to 12print recipe

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

prep time: cook time: total time:
This simple recipe creates fluffy, light biscuits. Be sure to work fast so the butter stays cold and be careful to not overwork the dough.


  • 6 tablespoons of butter, cut into small pieces, (then back into fridge to keep very cold until use)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 450 °F. Prepare a baking sheet or round pie pan with butter. For soft biscuits have biscuit sides touching in a round pan, for crispy edges place 1 inch apart on baking sheet).
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Transfer to a food processor. Add butter, then pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture resembles rough crumbs. Now add buttermilk and pulse just a few more times.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and pat it down into a rough rectangle, about an inch thick. Fold it over and gently pat it down again. Repeat.
  4. Gently pat out the dough some more, so that the rectangle is roughly 1 inch thick. Cut dough into biscuits using a biscuit or round cutter. Do not twist cutter as this crimps the edges of the biscuit and the biscuits will not rise.
  5. Place biscuits on a cookie sheet and bake until light golden brown, approximately 10 to 12 minutes.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Victuals, A Cookbook

Victuals, A Cookbook
We all love a hearty meal of comfort food every now and then. Sometimes it’s a piece of Granny’s fried chicken or a bowl of hearty beans. It’s a feeling and flavor that brings many of us home to a more comforting and stable time, something that brings us warmth and familiarity.

“Victuals” is a regional cookbook that concentrates on the people and foods of the Southern Appalachian mountains. It is truly a journey that one woman; Ronni Lundy, the author who was born in Corbin, a small town in Eastern Kentucky took to write this book. As a child her family moves to the city for work but visits “home” when they can. “Home” is where she cooks with relatives and enjoys the same traditions and recipes that her parents did.

Ms. Lundy, travels over 4000 miles criss-crossing several states to find and collect recipes in the region. She came back with beautiful vibrant stories from the new generation of locals. Their passion to bring back the same types of foods that their parents and grandparents before them was evident in each chapter. This type of revitalization is happening all through America as the search for the old foods and ways are beginning to become more main stream again. She has written nine previous books, is a founder of Southern Foodways Alliance and the Appalachian food summit. She is an accomplished woman.

"Victuals" is divided into eight chapters, the first titled roots and seeds. In this section you are taken through a small tidbit of history that helps explain how certain foods were introduced to the area. Here you find a recipe for roasted chicken and dumplings. Using meager ingredients they created the most delicious and soulful foods. For example, an old rooster was simmered slowly all day which created tender meat and an amazing rich broth.

From this book I prepared the buttermilk cucumber salad which is from the Beans chapter. We were still able to purchase the most wonderful cucumbers from the farmer’s market. They were not too big, but still sweet and crisp. This was easy to make and such a simple but flavorful dish. The buttermilk added a delicious tanginess and the dill was ideal in here. I will be making this again and again, next time using fresh basil.

Cucumber Salad with buttermilk, sliced red onions and fresh dill

Beautiful photography, local stories and down home recipes make this cookbook a delightful read. I would definitely recommend “Victuals” to anyone that enjoys honest real home cooked food.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Mushroom Pappadelle with Parsley and Chives

Mushroom Pappadelle with Parsley and Chives
It’s was nine thirty in the morning and I was stress eating peanut butter cups, (you know the amazing dark chocolate ones from Trader Joe’s). Anyway, we were in the midst of replacing part of our plumbing which is under the house with access in a small crawl space outside two of the bedrooms windows. What makes this whole mess even more stressful is the realization that  sometimes replacing one pipe could cause more damage to another…….we are just wishing for the best. Enough of this as mixing food with certain  subjects is probably a big no no.

Maitake and Shitake Mushrooms
Anyway, I knew that something special was needed for dinner that night. After visiting the mushroom vendor at Newport’s farmers market, I knew at once this meal would fit the bill as it was easy to make, comforting and most of all delicious!

yield: 3 to 4print recipe

Mushroom Pappadelle with Parsley and Chives

prep time: 20 MINScook time: 25 MINStotal time: 45 mins
Enjoy this earthy comforting fall meal. Simple but quality ingredients is what makes this mixed mushroom pappardelle dish.


  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces Pappardelle pasta
  • 1 handfully of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, thinly chopped


  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water cook pasta al dente, (check pasta package instructions for cooking times).
  2. Brush off any dirt from the mushrooms with a pastry brush or a paper towel. Slice the mushrooms thinly.
  3. In a large skillet on medium-high heat add olive oil and butter, add mushrooms. Let them fry fast, tossing once or twice, then add the garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook 6-8 minutes, tossing regularly. Toss and season to taste.
  4. Now add pasta, Parmesan, parsley and chives. Toss gently, coating the pasta with the mushrooms. Serve, adding additional parsley and Parmesan. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

End of Summer Tomato Salsa

Tomato Salsa, Peach Salsa and Peach Butter
Fresh salsa is delicious and fun to make especially if you are canning with a friend. Last week-end a friend (P) and I got together and canned tomato salsa, peach salsa and apple butter. Phew! We started off with 2 cases of tomatoes and 1 case of peaches. In all we canned for 6 hours and had over 90 jars of different sizes, but we did it. Mission accomplished.

Tomato Salsa
This was our second time canning tomato salsa, the first time we both felt the salsa turned out too thin and watery.  I also thought the onion, peppers and tomato chunks were too big. So this time we hand chopped and used a food processor. This combo worked wonderfully. Also the onions, peppers and jalapenos were roasted along with one half of the tomatoes. At the very end we added tomato sauce and paste to help thicken it up and then processed everything in jars. This time the consistency is more like that of a great Mexican restaurant, nice and thick.

print recipe

Tomato Salsa

prep time: 20 MINScook time: 45 MINStotal time: 65 mins
Capture summers greatness in a jar with this thick and delicious tomato salsa. Perfect for gifts and entertaining!


  • 8 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained
  • 2 1/2 cups red onions, chopped into quarters
  • 1 1/2 cups green peppers, chopped into large pieces
  • 1/2 cups of jalapenos, chopped into large pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 cup salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1-15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1-6 ounce can tomato paste


  1. Sterilize jars and lids in water bath. Heat water to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, set aside.
  2. Roast the Onions, green peppers and jalapenos, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly. Pulse in food processor, just a few pulses.
  3. Now for the tomatoes, there are several ways of doing that. Blanching them is easiest; grilling or broiling will result in more flavor. We broiled half, giving the salsa some added flavor.
  4. Into a large pot all ingredients go, now add garlic, cumin, pepper, salt, sugar, vinegar, tomato sauce and tomato paste, stir. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook uncovered for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove jarsLadle salsa into jars, leaving 3/4 to 1/2-inch space between lid. Wipe the rims with a clean, dampened paper towel so that there is no residual food on the rims. Place lids on the jars. Screw on the rings. Tighten lightly, but not too-lightly. Air does need to escape from the jars during the next step, the water bath.
  6. Cover the jars with an inch of water. Bring to a rolling boil and process for 15 minutes, 20 to 25 minutes depending on your altitude. eat and let the jars sit in the hot water for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove jars and set on counter to cool, lids should be popping as this creates a vacuum under and helps the lid seal.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Summertime Vegetable Pasta

Summertime Vegetable Pasta
It’s early afternoon and the rain has been active all day. I look at the pictures of my summertime pasta dish and think back over the last few months. Life has been full with lessons learned and much appreciation for the simpler things. The vast ocean before me moves differently depending on the weather, the time of day and the earth. Nothing I can do will change the flow. It is much bigger than myself, than all of us. I feel happy and content as I sit here starring out my front window, it has been a wonderful summer.

Looking Out Our Front Window
This pasta dish started out innocently enough. A morning in the garden that stretched out into the early afternoon. Vegetables were picked and the earth was tossed and watered. Into the kitchen I went hungry with no idea what to prepare for dinner. We had a bag of elbow pasta in the pantry and the rest is written here. Enjoy these last weeks of summer. I sure will.

yield: 4 to 6print recipe

End of the Summer Vegetable Pasta

prep time: cook time: total time:


  • 16 ounces elbow pasta (or pasta of your choice)
  • 3 medium zucchini, spirilize or ribbons
  • 1 pint yellow tomatoes, halved
  • 1-2 medium ears of shucked corn
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 1 hand-full fresh basil, chiffonade
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of boiling salted water to boil, add pasta, cook al dente according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet; heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add zucchini, tomatoes and corn. Cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add pasta, then reserved pasta water. Toss gently. Stir in Parmesan, taste, season with salt and pepper. Garnish with basil. Enjoy!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Baked Eggs in Puff Pastry with Goat Cheese and Prosciutto

 Baked Eggs in Puff Pastry with Goat Cheese and Prosciutto
Have you ever had a full post written in your mind but after sitting down to actually execute your thoughts physically there is nothing there? That was me this morning, I now had nothing and didn’t feel there was much to share. I started to compare the way I felt to the state of my garden. Limbo, could I be in limbo? Sure in the garden there is still kale and chard……and maybe a few green beans. The plants and flowers are drying out and there are seeds, all kinds of seeds. Now seeds represent life and new beginnings and that conjures up all kinds of interesting things. I must remember this, as I prepare to leave this small town and house by the sea and head back to family and the big city, until next time.

Seagulls on Neptune Beach, Oregon
Puff pastry is one of my new secret ingredients, it’s delicious, versatile and most any food combination looks sophisticated. We all have enjoyed puff pastry for dessert but how many times for breakfast or brunch? After checking on-line it appears many have already jumped on board way before me. In this recipe the puff pastry is cut into rounds, pricked lightly with a fork, topped with goat cheese and prosciutto crisps and par baked about 8 minutes. The puffs are removed then from the oven and the eggs are added. They are baked for an additional 6 to 8 minutes and garnished with fresh basil. Delicious way to venture into the new season.

This recipe has been adapted from

yield: 4print recipe

Baked Eggs in Puff Pastry with Goat Cheese and Prosciutto

prep time: 25 MINScook time: total time: 25 mins
Delicious for breakfast or brunch, sure to impress your guest. Baked eggs on a crispy puff pastry with a salty tangy surprise in the middle.


  • 1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 3 slices prosciutto
  • 4 large eggs
  • Basil, cut into ribbons


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
  2. Cut four circles about 5 inches in diameter. (I used a small bowl). Place rounds on baking sheet and draw a inner circle to make a border, do not cut all the way through. Then prick with a fork. Do not price inside the border, I did and the sides did not puff up enough. Place in fridge for 15 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, in a small skillet on medium heat, cook the prosciutto, until crisp. Cool and then chop into pieces. Add goat cheese, then divide into fourths.
  4. Fill each inner puff pastry circle with the goat cheese mixture. Bake until the border has puffed up, about 7 to 9 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and add one egg into each one. (First break egg into a small ramekin, then pour carefully into each pastry).
  6. Bake for another 6 to 8 minutes until eggs are set and pastry is golden. Garnish with fresh basil. Enjoy!