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Summer Squash Risotto

I suppose I have a risotto for all seasons. This one is just right for a cool, rainy spring evening in Austin; comforting but bright and summery. The base is sweet onions just harvested from my garden. Pulling 50 beautiful little onions out of the dirt is a great way to celebrate the end of another semester. Cooking up recipes full of them is a great way to celebrate being on vacation.


2 Tbs Butter
1 cup Sweet Onion [Texas 1015 or the like, chopped]
4 Garlic Cloves [minced]
2 medium Summer Squash [mixed colors, grated]
1/2 cup White Wine
4 cups Vegetable Broth
1 cup Arborio Rice
Lemon Zest from 1 lemon
1/4 cup chopped Flat Leaf Parsley + Basil
Salt to Taste

Heat vegetable broth and keep at a low simmer.

Melt butter in a large shallow sauce pan over medium low heat. Saute sweet onion till translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic + summer squash. Season with salt, depending on how salty your veggie broth is. Cook for a few minutes more, until the squash just begins to soften. Add rice + toast for a minute. Add wine + stir. After all liquid is absorbed, add about a half cup of vegetable broth. Stir frequently until liquid is absorbed. Repeat until all broth has been added and rice is tender and mixture is creamy. Stir in basil + parsley. Serve in shallow bowls garnished with plenty of lemon zest.

Serves 4 as a substantial side.

Navy Bean Soup

I loved my grandpa’s navy bean soup as a kid.  This is a vegan twist on the original with smoked olive oil for richness + collard greens in place of celery. Its perfect with glass of red wine for a very satisfying winter meal.

1 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Onion [about 1 cup, chopped]
2 Carrots [about 2 1/2 cups, sliced]
3 Garlic Cloves [minced]
1 Yukon Gold Potato [skin on, chopped]
2 Tbs Tomato Paste
4 cups Vegetable Broth [or water with good quality veggie bullion]
Sea Salt [to taste]
1 Tbs Smoked Olive Oil
2 1/2 cups Navy Beans [cooked till very tender*]
6 Collard Green Leaves [about 3 cups, sliced thinly]

Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large pot. Sauté onion for about 5 minutes, add carrot + garlic and sauté a few minutes more. Add remaining ingredients + bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes. Season with sea salt to taste.

*If you use canned beans, don’t add salt until the end of cooking so the beans cook the whole while + get very tender. I always pressure cook my beans. It yields a far better texture in a fraction of the time of stove top cooking. Its easy to pressure cook a big batch + freeze a few two cup containers for easy same day use. No need to ever buy another can of beans.

Tangy Citrus Slaw


1 small head Green Cabbage [sliced very thinly]
3 small carrots [grated]
1 Orange [segmented, then juiced]
1 Grapefruit [segmented, then juiced]

Dressing:
4 Tbs Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Orange + Grapefruit Juice [from segmenting 1 each]
2 Tbs Rice Vinegar [seasoned]
1 Tbs Honey
Salt to Taste

Whisk all dressing ingredients together + mix with veggies + fruit in a large bowl. Allow to marinate half an hour+ then serve.

Ginger Curry Scramble

3 large Collard Green Leaves [center ribs removed, chopped]
1 Garlic Clove [grated]
1/2 tsp Ginger Root [fresh, grated]
1/4 cup Red Onion [chopped finely]
1/2 tsp Sweet Curry Powder
3 Eggs [free range, well beaten with 1 Tbs water]
1 Tbs Safflower Oil
Sea Salt
Smoked Hot Paprika or Cayenne Pepper

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Saute onion, garlic + ginger till fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add collard greens. Saute until just tender + bright green, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder + stir. Add eggs + stir frequently until just cooked. Season with sea salt + serve with a dash of hot paprika.

Butternut Squash Risotto

1 Tbs Butter
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1-1/2 cups Onion [chopped finely]
4 Garlic Cloves [minced]
1 small Butternut Squash [peeled + chopped, about 3-1/2 cups]
1/2 cup Dry White Wine
1 cup Arborio Rice
4 cups Vegetable Broth
1/2 tsp Mexican Mint Marigold [or Fresh Tarragon, minced]
1 cup Arugula [chopped finely] + a few handfuls for serving
Salt to Taste

Heat vegetable broth in a small pan to a simmer. Keep over low heat.

Melt butter + heat olive oil in a large shallow pan over medium heat [15 quart saute with 2″ sides is perfect.] Add onion, season with salt + saute for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, butternut squash + a bit more salt, then turn up the heat slightly and cook 5 minutes more, stirring infrequently. Add rice + toast for about two minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in wine + stir frequently until liquid is absorbed into rice.

Reduce heat to medium then add hot broth about 1/2 cup at a time to the rice + vegetable mixture, stirring frequently. Add the next half cup when all the liquid has been absorbed until you have added all 4 cups + rice is tender.

Stir in arugula + Mexican Mint Marigold. Allow to stand 5 minutes before serving on a bed of arugula leaves.

4 main course servings.

Sweet Potato Salad

4 small Sweet Potatoes [skin on, chopped, about 5 cups]
3 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes [skin on, chopped, about 3 cups]
2 Pickling Cucumbers [chopped]
3 small Leeks [sliced, about 2 cups]
1/2 cup Mustard Sprouts*

Dressing:
1 tsp Water
very generous pinch Sea Salt
3 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar
1.5 Tbs Honey
1/3 cup Canola Oil [non-GMO]
freshly ground Black Pepper

Steam chopped potatoes + sweet potatoes in separate batches until just tender, 10 – 15 minutes.  Be careful not to over cook so the skin does not separate from the rest of the tuber.  Allow to cool.

Dissolve salt in water + vinegar. Whisk in honey + oil + season with pepper. Combine all sweet potatoes, potatoes, cucumbers + leeks in a large bow + toss with dressing. Gently stir in the mustard sprouts.  Can be made ahead + great the next day.

* Mustard sprouts are a delicious little spicy sprout that tastes just like, you guessed it, mustard. To grow at home, simple sprinkle a layer of seeds on top of a small pot of soil + water. Cover with a damp paper towel until the sprouts emerge, then give them a pinch of water a couple times daily until they are about 2 inches tall, about 5 days. You can find mustard seeds for mere pennies in the bulk spice section of good grocery stores like Whole Foods or a local Co-op.  You could always whisk a tablespoon of Dijon or whole grain mustard into this dressing if you don’t have sprouts on hand.

* Inspired by my favorite sweet potato salad from Moosewood Cooks at Home.

Cashew Okra

2 cups Okra [no longer than 2″, ends trimmed]
2 Garlic Cloves [sliced thinly]
1/4 cup Cashews [raw, unsalted]
1.5 tsp Soy Sauce
2 tsp Rice Vinegar [seasoned]

Heat a bit of oil in a small pan over medium heat. Saute okra for about 3 minutes, until bright green. Add sliced garlic, soy sauce + rice vinegar + cook for a minute more until sauce thickens slightly. Stir in cashews + serve

Mustard Grilled Tofu


1 lb Firm Tofu [sliced into 6 pieces + pressed*]

Marinade:
1 Tbs Dijon Mustard
1 Tbs Soy Sauce [or liquid amino acids]
2 tsp White Wine Vinegar
1/4 tsp Basil [dried]
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Mustard Seed
1 Tbs Olive Oil
dash Cayenne Pepper

Mix all marinade ingredients together in a shallow dish [I like to use a glass loaf pan]. Dip slices of tofu in marinade, coating all sides. Allow to marinate [in the same dish] for an hour or more.

Heat grill to medium high. Grill tofu, about 5 minutes per side, until it is a little crusty + has nice grill marks. Serve immediately.

Grilled Potato Leek Salad


3 small Leeks [well washed, green ends trimmed to 2″]
4 medium Golden Potatoes [cut in half]
1/4 cup Garlic Chives [chopped]
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Heat the grill to medium high. Lightly rub potatoes + leeks with a little bit of oil. Grill potatoes for 10 minutes on each side. Add leeks to the grill away from the hottest heat [top rack or over cooler coals]. Grill for 5 minutes, until leeks have grill marks + potatoes are just cooked through.

Chop leeks + mix in a medium size bowl with mayonnaise. Season generously with salt + pepper. Chop + stir in potatoes. Garnish with a bit of sweet Hungarian paprika. Serve warm or room temperature.

4+ side dish servings.

Cucumber Melon Salad


1 Pickling Cucumber [small, sliced thinly]
1 cup Cantaloupe [sliced thinly into 1″ pieces]
1 Carrot [small, peeled + shaved]
1-1/2 Tbs Red Onion [very thinly sliced]
1 Tbs Rice Wine Vinegar [seasoned]
Sea Salt [to taste]
1/2 tsp Honey
dash Sesame Seeds

Dissolve honey and salt in rice vinegar. Mix melon, carrot, red onion + cucumber in a small bowl. Toss with vinegar dressing + top with sesame seeds. Serve very cold, immediately.

Serves 1.

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