Sunday, January 18, 2015

Curried Heirloom Carrot Soup

Still winter... though you wouldn't know it based on the SoCal weather!

Even so, I've been in winter comfort food mode. One of my favorite things to make this time of year is root vegetable dishes. I always keep carrots stored away. They're such handy ingredients in so many different dishes. Check out these beautiful organic heirloom carrots.

I whipped them up for lunch, turning them into a lovely little soup. This soup is vegan—instead of cream, I add a few peeled potatoes to give it a creaminess. Though I did serve it with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt (totally optional). Curry powder gives the soup an unexpected twist.

Did I mention this recipe is easy peasy?

And it's hearty enough to be the centerpiece to a meal. Keeps great in the fridge, and it's even better the next day, if I so say so myself. What else is there to say?

Curried Heirloom Carrot Soup
Serves 4 to 6 people
Cooking time: about 25 minutes
Vegan; gluten-free

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
4 cups low sodium vegetable stock (plus more for desired thickness)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
about 1 tablespoon maple syrup (possibly more to taste depending on the sweetness of the carrots)
salt and freshly ground pepper
good olive oil for drizzling
creme fraiche or plain Greek yogurt for garnishing (optional)

1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until softened (about five minutes). Add the garlic and curry powder and saute for another minute, or until fragrant. Add the carrots, potatoes, and stock. Bring to a boil and then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about twenty minutes.

2. Remove from heat and puree the soup until smooth using an immersion blender, or transfer to a regular blender and puree in batches. Season to taste with maple syrup (for extra sweetness), salt, and pepper. Note: more stock may be added to achieve desired consistency.

3. To serve ladle the soup into bowels and drizzle with good olive oil. Top with a dollop of creme fraiche or plain Greek yogurt if desired. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Chickpea Quinoa Veggie Patties

Happy new year!

May we all have a fantastic 2015, filled with cooking and great food!

I've been meaning to share this recipe. It's an updated version of my Chickpea Quinoa Veggie Burgers. A little easier than the original. I can't stop making these suckers. They can be eaten by themselves, or foisted onto a bun and eaten like a veggie burger. They're chocked full of healthy ingredients, like kale and sweet potato.

They're also kind of "anything but the kitchen sink" recipe. You can substitute in any vegetables you want to play around with. In this recipe, I mention adding flax or hemp seeds, but I've also made them with pumpkin seeds. You can change it up however you like. If you want to make these vegan, leave out the egg. And I make them gluten free, but you can use any sort of all purpose flour.

Seriously, I love this recipe! They can be made ahead of time, and they're great leftover, especially for breakfast with a sunny side up egg. Enjoy!

Chickpea Quinoa Veggie Patties
Makes about 8 patties
Cooking time: about 30 minutes
Vegetarian (with easy vegan conversion); dairy-free


1/2 cup quinoa, prepared per package instructions
1 14 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 sweet potato, cooked and skin removed (this can be done quickly in the microwave)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh kale
2 tablespoons flax, hemp and/or pumpkin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and freshly ground pepper
flour for dusting (I use gluten free all purpose flour)
grapeseed oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Add the kale, chickpeas, and kale to a food processor and pulse a few times until chopped. Place the veggie mixture in a mixing bowl with the sweet potato, quinoa, flax/hemp/pumpkin seeds, cumin, and egg. Season to with salt and freshly ground pepper. 

3. Mix together well (I use my hands). Shape the mixture into individual patties.

4. In a heavy-bottomed saute pan or cast iron skillet, heat two tablespoons of grapeseed oil over medium high heat. Working in batches and adding more oil as needed, drench the patties in flour and then fry up until nicely browned, turning once. Transfer the patties to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. 

5. Remove from the oven and serve with ketchup and/or hot sauce. Enjoy!

Advance Preparation: The patties can be shaped up to 3 days ahead of time and kept tightly wrapped in the refrigerator until you're ready to brown them. They can also be made in advance and then reheated in a low oven or on the stovetop. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tuscan-Style White Bean, Quinoa & Kale Soup

Happy December!

So... I first made this recipe in Iowa with ingredients from my mother-in-law's cupboard. I was craving something warm and toasty to combat the snow piling up outside. It worked.

Now that I'm back in LA, I decided to make it again, this time with my slow-cooker. That worked beautifully. This soup is rich enough and hearty enough to be the centerpiece to a meal. It's also great leftover. Homemade chicken stock is an added bonus if you've got it. I always keep some in my freezer. Here's my easy stock recipe using a slow-cooker.

I used a combo of cannellini and garbanzo beans. I like to make it thick, almost like a stew. But you can add more or less beans depending on your preference. Usually, this sort of soup would have a glutenous pasta component, but I made it with quinoa—gluten free! And still delicious.

I also pop a parmesan rind into the broth for added richness. It's not required, but it sure is amazing tasting. I'll write this recipe up with chicken broth, but it's super easy to make vegan. Just use vegetable stock instead.

This is the perfect mid-winter recipe. Enjoy!

To make in a slow-cooker, just add all the ingredients and simmer on high for 4-6 hours. 

Tuscan-Style White Bean, Quinoa & Kale Soup
Serves 6-8 people
Cooking time: about 40 minutes
Vegetarian; gluten-free

4 cups low sodium chicken stock (preferably homemade)
28 ounce can cannillini beans
14 ounce can garbanzo beans
14 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
pinch of chili flakes
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup quinoa
2 cups kale, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 parmesan rind (optional)
parmesan reggiano, for grating (optional)

1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and saute until beginning to soften (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and chili flakes and saute for one more minute.

2. Add the tomatoes, stock, beants, quinoa, thyme, bay leaf, parmesan rind. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for about twenty minutes. 

3. Add the kale, cover, and cook for ten more minutes, or until the kale is tender. Then pick out the bay leaf and parmesan rind. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

4. To serve, ladle a generous portion of soup into a big bowl. Top with grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, freshly ground pepper, and a healthy drizzle of good olive oil. Enjoy!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Quick Gluten Free Meatloaf with Grassfed Beef

We have some very generous friends. They buy half a cow every year, and then they give us some of their grassfed beef. I had some ground beef hanging out in my freezer. And I wanted to make something tasty yet homey for dinner. But also something that didn't take a long time to make.


Simple, hearty, healthy. And I wanted to use ingredients I had lurking around my kitchen. That's the beauty of meatloaf. It's a cupboard meal. Ketchup (you can't have meatloaf without this). Pastured eggs. Gluten free breadcrumbs. Parmesan reggiano cheese. Worcestershire sauce.

This is the result. I served the meatloaf with sautéed bell peppers and spinach cooked with a good amount of turmeric (on another note turmeric tea is my new obsession).


Quick Gluten Free Meatloaf
Serves about four people
Baking time: 60 minutes
Gluten free

1 pound ground beef (preferably grassfed)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt and some freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup ketchup plus another 1/4 cup for glazing
1/4 cup grated parmesan reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix together (you may use your hands). Shape the mixture into a loaf and place on greased baking sheet. Spread 1/4 cup ketchup over the top.

3. Bake for one hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to rest, before slicing and serving with ketchup. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Apple Walnut Kefir Muffins (Gluten Free)

Domestic Divas is back!

I know you've all been waiting for the return. The hiatus was refreshing and relaxing and much needed... but I missed posting here and sharing my recipes. So I'm easing back into cooking and photographing and writing recipes.

I've been busy on other projects. I'm elbow-deep into editing my latest novel (the series is being pitched as a TV show—fingers crossed!). I'm also writing a film treatment based on a short story I wrote that's gotten some Hollywood interest. But I figure it's good to mix-up my fiction with some old-fashioned food writing.

What's a better place to start than breakfast?

I made these muffins yesterday morning. I just felt like baking. You ever get that feeling? They're made with my gluten-free kefir muffin base (which also makes GREAT cornbread, by the way). In these muffins, I used Arrowhead Mills Organic Blue Corn Meal (you may notice the color is a bit blueish), but regular yellow tastes excellent, too. The organic kefir gives them a tangy flavor and keeps them extra moist. The kicker are the chopped apples, walnuts, and cinnamon. I used Granny Smith apples. I love their tangy flavor. It seems match the kefir.

These muffins just taste like fall. Like leaves falling. And fresh, cool breezes. And thankfully, it's been cooler here in LA (though I hear it may be 90 degrees again later this week).

For a little extra decadence, I sprinkled the top of the muffins with a little raw turbinado sugar (this is optional, but oh so yummy).

So enjoy! And I hope you'll join me back here as I get back into posting new recipes. I'm brewing a root vegetable and chicken slow cooker stew as we speak!

Apple Walnut Kefir Muffins (Gluten Free)
Makes about 8 muffins
Baking time 20-25 minutes
Vegetarian; gluten free

1 cup gluten free cornmeal
1 cup gluten free all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1 cup unsweetened kefir
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or regular milk
1/4 cup olive oil or coconut oil (melted)
1 apple, cored and diced
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
raw turbinado or brown sugar for sprinkling (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl (cornmeal, flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder). In a separate bowl, beat the egg. Then mix in the maple syrup, kefir, milk, and oil with the egg. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until combined, but be careful not to over beat the mix. Fold in the apples and walnuts.

3. Grease a muffin tin. Pour the mix into the muffin slots. If desired, sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a little sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve with butter. Enjoy!