Edamame Guacamole ~ A delicious accident....

I happened upon this lovely addition to my guacamole quite by accident.  I was having a friend over for pizza and a movie.  And then at the last minute, it ended up being three friends.  Well  impromptu dinners are fine and easy for me, but with homemade pizza?  Ugh!  How do you stretch dinner when you only were planning on making one pizza?  So I thought of serving a couple of appetizers.  Easy peasy, right?  But I only had one ripe avocado, which makes for a very small amount of guacamole.  Hmm, what to do?

So being the "johnny on the spot" that I am, I thought of the edamame in my freezer.  It's green, it's mild and makes a paste like consistency if I buzzed it up in the food processor.   Yes, I knew I was onto something good here, really good.  And one other thing, it was absolutely heavenly.  My friends loved it.  I never told my friends of my addition until after we ate it. Then I confessed and they thought it was excellent.  So now  I'll make it time and time again.  And a big plus?  It's almost half the fat of the normal guacamole and no one even guessed.

By the way, this recipe would be great on toasted bread with a slice of fresh tomato in the summer, when the tomatoes are ripe!

Here is the recipe: 

1 large ripe avocado
1/4 cup shelled, cooked and cooled edamame
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/2 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 of a medium red onion
1 garlic clove
1/2 ripe lemon

Special equipment.

Food processor (I used a small Cuisinart)

Pulse the red onion until it's finely chopped.  Put in a medium bowl.  Add edamame and garlic, pulse until a paste forms.  Add to the red onion.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Remove the pulp from the avocado and mash with a fork.  Add avocado to emamame mixture and blend together until incorporated.  Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon to the mixture and blend together.

Cover with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.

Serve with chips, baked pita or nachos.

By the way, this guacamole never turned that murky green/brown color that happens with plain avocado.  Nice addition, very nice!

I also managed to stretch my one pizza with a big salad and lots of wine!  See, I told you.... I'm quick on my feet!


Go for the gold.... beets that is ~

I'm a beet liker, not lover, they have a really pungent flavor.  But I do love golden ones, especially roasted!  Yes, they are called golden beets and most grocery stores have them in either the just your produce aisle or if not they most likely will be in the organic section.

They are so easy to prepare too!  However, they do take about one hour or even longer in the oven to roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  But the end result is worth it and if you want to be economical like I am, then roast other vegetables at the same time. 

Choose smooth, rounded ones about the same size.  I don't get tiny ones and I never buy the largest ones.  Medium are good.  Take them to your sink and scrub them clean, the bottoms can be quite dirty.

Place them on a sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle with a little olive and a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper.  Cover them up to make a packet out of the foil and place them in the oven for 1 hour.  After an hour, remove them from the oven and open the foil packed and see if your paring knife will slide through the middle part easily.  If not, then place them back in the oven for another 15 minutes.  That should do it.  Remove them from the oven and place them on a cutting board to let cool a bit.  After 15 minutes or so, remove the foil and slice the top off and peel the skin away.  You can do this with your fingers, just remember to wait until they are cool enough to handle.  You can clean them of any spots of skin with a paper towel at the end of your peeling.  The skin removes quite easily.

Aren't they gorgeous?  And the flavor is amazing, just as is.  So you can serve them warm right out of the oven.

You can also served them sliced with a sprinkle of olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper.

Or dice them up and keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days and eat them as a snack or put them on your salads.

All I can say is yum ~


Cauliflower, cilantro, cumin and lime.... oh my!


I make a lot of soup in the winter, because I love it and it's easy.  And it's great to pack for lunches, freeze or have for dinner with a chunk of crusty bread.  Most of the time, my soups don't have meat in them and a lot of the time I use whatever vegetables I have in my fridge at the end of the week.

But, lately I have been on a cauliflower kick.  Cauliflower is so versatile, yet it's still a bit underrated.  Although it's climbing up there on popularity.  If you have ever had roasted cauliflower, you'll know what I mean.....  Adding cumin, cilantro and lime juice to this soup makes it bright and satisfying. It's also healthy, delicious and very easy to make.  Perfect to make on a cold weeknight in the middle of winter, it's done in less than 30 minutes.  Here's the recipe.

1 head of cauliflower, cut up
1 stock of celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped (or 2 shallots, which I used)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups of chicken stock
1&1/2 cups of milk (or coconut milk)
1 bunch of cilantro
1&1/2 tsp. cumin
1 T. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Heat oil in dutch oven, add onion, celery and carrot.  Simmer for 5 minutes on medium low to sweat.  Turn off heat, add garlic, jalapeno and cumin.  Stir.  Add chicken stock, bring to a simmer and add cauliflower.  Turn to a low simmer and let cook for about 15 minutes with the lid askew (until you can run your knife through the florets easily).

Remove pan from heat, add salt and red pepper flakes.  Let cool for about 10 minutes, stir.  With an immersion blender, puree soup.  Return soup to medium heat and bring to a simmer, add milk.  Stir well.  Add chopped cilantro and check seasoning. Turn off heat.  Squeeze juice from 1/2 lime in soup right before serving. Accompany with wedges of lime and crusty bread.

Note:  The jalapeno peppers I buy can be either mild, medium or hot.  So, I use a half of one, seeded and chopped.  I like things spicy, so I usually add a pinch of red pepper flakes as well.  If you don't, then just use one or the other.  The chances of less spicy is with the red pepper flakes though.  And before you add the pinch of red pepper is to taste the soup beforehand.  Most times, it's got a nice kick with just the jalepeno.





Yellow split pea soup with Ham ~

All you need to make this fabulous soup is a meaty bone from a ham.  If you don't have a ham bone, you can also buy smoked turkey thighs or legs at your grocer.

With the cold winds of winter blowing, here in the northeast we have been a frozen tundra.  And we have had three major snowstorms already and it's barely the first week of January, ugh! 

But it does make it perfect soup weather, both making it and eating too!

Here's a pea soup that so easy, making your house smell heavenly while it's cooking on the stove.  I like yellow split peas rather than green, since they are a bit milder.

1 lb. bag of yellow split peas, rinsed
1 large leek, sliced
2 large carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large and meaty hambone.
6 cups of chicken stock
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 T. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Heat a dutch oven to medium heat and add olive oil.  Add the leeks, onion, carrots and celery.  Saute for about 5 minutes, stiring every once in a while.  Take pan off heat and add garlic, salt and pepper.  Add chicken stock and rinsed peas, stir.  Put pan back on the heat and bring it to a simmer.  Add the hambone and bay leaf.  Turn down to low, partially cover and let simmer for 45 to 60 minutes.
Stir and shut heat off.  Let cool for 15 minutes, remove ham bone from soup pot.  Let cool until you can touch and cut off some meat and place meat back into the stock, stir.  With an immersion blender, blend soup.  I like mine pretty smooth, even the meat gets pulverized.  But, if you don't like it like me, then leave it chunkier.  Serve with crusty bread.

Enjoy, it's only 165 days until summer!


Dark chocolate dipped, coconut macaroons ~

These cookies, are very chewy and delicious, but not too sweet  If you are a coconut lover like I am, then you will love these little treats.  On top of the fact that they are scrumptious, they are so, so easy to make.   To me, they are more of a bite of candy (in texture) than a cookie.  Whatever you think they are, think this.  These are simply fabulous and if you make them for company, your guests will think you slaved in the kitchen.   While in reality, you spent a few minutes!  Great for the Holidays to give as a gift too. 

Dark Chocolate dipped, coconut macaroon cookies ~

80 calories
9 g
17 g
5 g
1 g
3 g
19 g
27 g
8 g
0 g
1 g
Special equipment
1 digital scale
  1. 50g Butter (3.5 Tablespoons)
  2. 2 Eggs
  3. 120g Sugar (1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons)
  4. 200g Dried, shredded Coconut (unsweetened) I used Bob's Red Mill Brand (7/8 cups)
  5. 100g Dark Chocolate (chopped into small pieces) (1/2 cup, approximately)
Makes about 30 cookies.
  1. Start off by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Mix together the eggs and sugar in a large bowl, mix well.
  2. Melt the butter using the microwave in 10 second increments. Add melted butter to the coconut and mix well. . Let stand for a few minutes so the coconut absorbs all of the butter.
  3. Pour the sugar and egg mixture into the coconut and mix well to combine.
  4. Line a baking sheet of parchment paper and drop heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto the paper.
  5. Place baking sheet with cookies in refrigerator for 15 minutes to cool.
  6. Remove cookies from refrigerator and  form them into rough cone or triangle shapes.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes until starting to turn golden brown.
  8. Remove cookie sheet from the oven and with a spatula, loosen cookies away from the paper so they don't stick.  Let cool on paper for 5 minutes and then move to a cooling rack for about 10 minutes.
  9. Melt chocolate in microwave bowl in 15 second increments, stirring after each increment, until meted and shiny.
  10. Using your fingers to  hold top of cookie, dip each one into melted chocolate and place on it's side to allow chocolate to dry.  Let cool for 10-15 minutes.  Then place cookie sheet in refrigerator to let chocolate harden.
  11. Place cookies in a plastic container lined with parchment paper and store in refrigerator.
Right out of the oven:
Hand dipped in dark chocolate:
Make sure you lay them on their side after you dip them and refrigerate for 15 minutes to harden.


Long noodles for New Year's Day ~

Long noodles for a long life, an Ancient Chinese tradition.  I am not Asian, but love this thought!

May this tradition bring you a long, healthy and prosperous life!  Oh, and it helps that it's my favorite thing to eat, any day of the year!

Italians eat their spaghetti, simply dressed.  Just tossed lightly in tomato sauce with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Happy 2014, and while we are awaiting yet another snowstorm here in Boston, I will anticipate the arrival of spring.  Another favorite of mine ~