Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Green Soup

This is a recipe that highlights flexibility and resourcefulness. It's also simple, comforting, and delicious with cheese and crackers, similar to tomato soup.

I usually make green soup in tandem with poached chicken, using the broth from the chicken for the soup.

If you don't have broth, just make it with seasoned water and it'll come out fine. If you don't have potatoes, use lentils, chick peas or white beans to thicken it up.


4 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, or seasoned water
1 - 2 bay leaves
1 tsp thyme
1 lb cubed potatoes, or 1 can lentils, or white beans (1.5 - 2 cups cooked beans)
2 lbs various chopped greens (parsley, escarole, romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, swiss chard, etc)
Lemon zest and juice from one lemon, or 1/4 diced preserved lemon
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
Dash of nutmeg (optional)
Tsp of white pepper (optional)
Hot pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
Salt to taste (less salt if using preserved lemon - they are very salty)
Lots of black pepper
Olive oil and/or Romano cheese to serve (optional)

In a large pot heat the broth on high until boiling and add the potatoes or beans. Lower the heat to medium and cook until tender (or heated through for the already cooked beans).

Add the greens and lemon zest/juice (or optional white wine) and lower the temperature to a low simmer for about 5 minutes. It might take longer for tougher greens like kale. yet less time for baby spinach. The greens should be just wilted.

Once the greens are wilted, remove from the heat, remove the bay leaves, and (carefully) use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Season to taste with nutmeg, white pepper, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt. 

Serve hot in bowls with a drizzle of nice grassy olive oil and a generous sprinkling of Romano cheese. This soup keeps in the fridge for about a week if using vegetarian broth, freeze leftovers within 4 or 5 days if using chicken broth.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Xocolatl Fried Plantain Pfannkuchen


For Fried Plantain Filling
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 large black ripe plantain
Splash of rum (white, dark, or spiced)
Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne to taste

For Xocolatl Pfannkuchen
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (used special dark cocoa powder)
1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional) 
2 tbsp vanilla sugar  (or normal sugar, brown sugar, or even molasses)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
dash cloves
dash cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup black coffee
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Extra coconut oil, if necessary, to grease the pan
Powdered sugar and cinnamon for dusting (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On the stovetop, heat 2 tbsp coconut oil in cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Dice the plantain by peeling it, cutting it into thirds, cutting each third into quarter spears lengthwise and then dicing the spears into 1/4 inch chunks. When the oil is hot, toss the plantains in the pan, coating them evenly with the oil, and let them caramelize for a couple minutes. Once they have turned a golden yellow, add a splash of rum to deglaze the pan and stir the plantains around a bit while it boils off. Turn the heat to low and let the plantains cook down.

Meanwhile, whisk flour, cocoa, chocolate chips, sugar, spices, and salt in a bowl. Whisk in the yogurt, coffee, eggs, and extract until smooth. Add more coffee if the batter is too thick. It should be pourable like pancake batter.

Remove the skillet with the plantains from the heat, adding another tbsp of coconut oil if the pan looks dried out. Dust the plantains with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne. Pour the Xocolatl batter into the skillet over the fried plantains, distributing it evenly around the pan.

Put the skillet in the oven and bake 20 - 30 minutes or until the pfannkuchen puffs up and is set in the middle.

Once out of the oven, pfannkuchen will collapse as it cools. Run a knife around the edge, carefully lift it with a large spatula, and turn it out onto a plate for serving. Dust with cinnamon and powdered sugar, cut it into wedges or squares, and serve at room temperature.

You could also replace the vanilla with orange liquor/juice and zest or use bananas in place of the plantain.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Banana Nut Granola


2 large ripe bananas
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 cups oats
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (or shelled sunflower seeds)
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mash the bananas in a large bowl. I use a bent fork, but you could use a potato masher. Stir in the coconut oil, molasses, and vanilla. Add the rest of the ingredients on top of the mashed bananas and stir them all together until thoroughly coated and clumping together. Use your hands to squeeze into clumps if you want.

Spread the granola evenly onto two trays. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, then take the sheets out and stir the granola up a bit to make sure it browns evenly. Turn the oven down to 300 and put the sheets back in to bake for another 10 - 15 minutes, or until toasted to your liking. I like mine a little underbaked. The granola will crisp up as it cools.

It should make about 6 cups, which equates to a dozen half cup servings. Each serving has 215 calories, 12 grams of fat, 5 grams protein, 4 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, and 22 grams total carbs.

It costs about $4 to make the entire batch, using bob's red mill coconut, with the coconut oil, oats, and walnuts coming from Aldi.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Schokoladen-Pfannkuchen (German Chocolate Pancake)

My mom's signature dish, from the cookbook that came with her Oster Kitchen Center some 30+ years ago, is Apple Pfannkuchen.

I don't claim to make mom's original recipe. I've never been able to pull it off anyway. However, I am notorious for adjusting and "messing with" original recipes, so I made a chocolate version instead.


For Pfannkuchen
3/4 cup milk (almond milk works too)
3 eggs
1/3 cup oat flour (or all purpose flour)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla/almond extract (or 1 splash of amaretto, which is what I used)

2 tbsp butter (for pie plate)

For Topping

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
shot of amaretto

Whipped cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put milk, eggs, flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and extract into a bowl. I use my immersion blender to blend it into a smooth batter. Or you can skip the bowl and put it all in a regular blender and use the highest speed to get a smooth batter.

Place the butter in a pie plate, then put that in the oven for a minute until it melts. Watch it closely so that it doesn't burn. Once the butter has melted, using oven mitts, take the pie plate out and carefully pour in the batter. Place the pie plate back in the oven and bake 20 - 30 minutes or until the pfannkuchen puffs up and is set in the middle.

While the pancake is baking, place berries and liquor (or you can use a shot of water, 1/2 tsp vanilla and sugar to taste) in a pot on the stove and heat on medium until the berries break down a bit and thicken into a sauce.

Once out of the oven, pfannkuchen will collapse as it cools. Serve warm, with the topping, and whipped cream.

Or wait until it cools and slice it like a pie into eighths. Spread the slices with peanut butter, and cinnamon or chocolate chips, then roll each one up like a crescent roll.

You could also replace the vanilla with orange liquor/juice and zest. Then spread it with marmalade, or Cannoli dip, instead of raspberry sauce.

Guten Appetit!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dried Mushrooms - Dehydrated Dish #4

Sometimes a recipe for stock or soup will call for dried mushrooms. Drying your own is much cheaper than buying them that way at the store. I used 1lb white button mushrooms. Unless you are a mushroom aficionado and can tell the difference, fungus is fungus and these will give a dish that richly earthy flavor.

The method:

Brush any dirt off the mushrooms, but I don't wash them. Cut them in half. Place them cut side down on a cutting board and slice them vertically into 4 or 5 slices. Arrange the slices on dehydrator trays, using inserts for smaller pieces if necessary. They should not overlap, but they can be crowded since they shrink a lot. I dry these out at a medium temp for the first 12 hours to keep them from molding since they tend to start out damp. I lower the temp as they dry out. It takes at least 24 hours until they are thoroughly dry.

They can be stored in airtight containers in a dry dark place for a month or two. I also grind them into powder and use it in place of bullion powder when making soup broth.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Garlic Chips - Dehydrated Dish #3

Add these to soups, stews, sauces, and pasta/rice/potato water for extra flavor. Being cooked softens them up and mellows the intensity. It saves me from burnt garlic, spoiled garlic, and fingers that smell constantly like garlic.

The method:

Separate 2-3 bulbs of garlic into cloves. Skin the cloves by cutting the ends off, slitting the skin end to end, and slipping the cloves out. Slice the skinned cloves crosswise into thin rounds. You can see I've tried both crosswise and lengthwise. Crosswise chips dry more evenly.

Spread the rounds on dehydrator trays. I have some inserts that I have to use for this since the normal tray holes are too big to accommodate small garlic bits. I dry these at a lower temp (around 120 degrees) so as to not dry them out too quick. They will smell burnt in that case. This will take 1-2 days. Wait till they are thoroughly dried and crumble or snap when you attempt to break them or they are likely to spoil.

Store them in an airtight container. You can leave them as is, or pulverize them in a spice grinder into powder. I've had the powder last up to a year. but it's impossible to get the smell out of the grinder so I usually leave them as chips and use them up within a couple months.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Apple Chips - Dehydrated Dish #2

My second favorite thing to dehydrate, so far, has been apple slices. If I slice them thin enough, and dry them long enough, they come out nice and crisp. When stored in an airtight container, they seem to get more crisp over time too.


1 lemon (or 2 - 3 lemon cubes)
About a dozen apples (depends on dehydrator size and apple size)
1 tbsp sugar (try lemon sugar or vanilla sugar)
1 tbsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg or cloves (optional)
dash or two of salt

Cut the lemon into quarters or melt the lemon cubes in a small dish.

Scrub the apples, then cut 3 of them in half. Place them cut side down on a cutting board and slice them horizontally, across the core. Use your best knife and slice them as thinly as possible, 1/8" thick or less. The widest side of a box grater works too. The apples should not need to be cored as the seeds will fall out with such thin slices. Just remove the ends, seeds, and any larger core pieces with the tip of the knife. Don't worry too much about the core fragments, most of the smaller ones will dry right up and not be noticeable in the finished chips.

However you get your slices, place them in a large non reactive bowl (glass or plastic) as you go. To keep them from browning, after you cut the first 3 add 1/4 of the lemon juice and toss to coat. Add another 1/4 with the second 3, and so on until all the apple slices have been coated. Finally, add the sugar, spices and salt at the end and make sure the slices get evenly coated with that too.

Arrange the slices on the dehydrator trays as close together as possible, without overlapping, since they will shrink. Dry them at around 135 degrees for up to 2 days until they are very dry and have a bit of snap to them when bent. It's ok if they bend a little, they will crisp up over time.

These are addictive to eat like chips. They are also good to crumble up and mix with dry oatmeal to make homemade instant flavored oatmeal packets. They keep for at least a couple months in dry airtight containers.