Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. ~Hippocrates

Posts tagged ‘parsley’

Mushroom Barley Soup


P1010325 (1)What could be better on a wintery day than a nice hearty, savory soup? I love making huge pots of soup in the winter and freezing family meal size portions to pop out of the freezer or to give to a sick friend. This one is filling enough for a meal with some bread and a salad. IF you prefer vegetarian, use vegetable broth. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of mushrooms. Chop one pound finely and slice the other pound into thin slices. You can use any kindof mushrooms you like. Mixing varieties makes it interesting.
  • 1 Cup of pearl barley
  • 2 Quarts of vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh, chopped parsley
  • 1/2 bunch of chopped, fresh dill
  • 1 cup of sherry or other wine of your choice
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Oil to brown herbs

Directions:

In a stock pot, sauté onions and garlic until just beginning to caramelize. Add chopped parsley, stir and remove from heat. Add the stock and wine, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any sticky onions. Add dill, salt, pepper and barley. Cover pot; bring to boil then lower heat to a simmer. Cook for one hour, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot every 10 minutes. After an hour, check the barley for doneness. If it is still hard, you can continue cooking the soup until the barley is tender.

There are many types of barley. Some take as little as 40 minutes to cook and some take 2 hours If you know how long your barley will take, adjust cooking times appropriately. You want the mushroom soup to cook for at least an hour but it can cook longer. If the barley is quicker cooking, add it later in the process.

Optional additions: chopped carrots, shopped spinach or kale to add extra goodness and nutrition.

Pesto Sauce: easy and delicious!


Pesto ready for pasta

Pesto sauce is a great accompaniment to pasta of course, but yesterday I used it in a baked fish recipe. It was scrumptious! I altered the usual recipe, halving the olive oil, so there would be less “oozing” when the fish was cooked. Why waste this precious extra virgin olive oil?

Here is the standard recipe. In a later post, I will note the changes to this recipe as incorporated into the fish dish.

PESTO SAUCE

2 cups of basil (I prefer to replace 1 cup with parsley for a less potent taste)

3 cloves of garlic

1/3 cup shelled pignoli (pine) nuts

1/2 cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Chop basil/parsley, garlic and pine nuts briefly in food processor. Scrape bowl. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until blended. Add cheese, blend and serve with whole wheat pasta. Remember it goes a long way, so don’t drown the pasta in the sauce. It is used more like a butter. Put a tablespoon on the pasta. It will melt and coat the pasta. It is hard to find a good tasting whole wheat pasta with a good “bite.” I like Trader Joes’ brand best, especially their thin spaghetti in the cellophane wrapper.

Roasted Tomatoes


Roasted Tomatoes

Technically a fruit, we use tomatoes more like a vegetable. Tomatoes are SO healthy! They have no fat or cholesterol, very few calories, sugar and sodium, yet pack a lot of flavor and nutrients. They have a good dose of Vitamins A, C, K, folate and choline, and minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Their high antioxidant content makes them good cancer fighters as well, sweeping up all those free radicals we accumulate from other “bad” foods, particularly those with nitrates and nitrites, grilled foods, etc.

Roasting tomatoes brings out the intense tomato flavor that is delicious with the right herbs and spices. I find the best complement to tomatoes are spices used frequently in Italian cooking: parsley, oregano and basil. Because they will bake and absorb the seasonings, you can happily use dried herbs, but feel free to use fresh if you want to.

I use many kinds of tomatoes, but the juicier varieties are the best. Roma tomatoes are nice, but tricky to stand in the baking dish due to their shape. Slice lengthwise if using this variety. Here is the simple recipe. Enjoy.

Discard the stem. Slice tomatoes in half and line up on a lightly oiled baking dish. Sprinkle the tomatoes with dried oregano, basil and parsley (equal amounts of each) and a dusting of salt if you like, though it is not necessary if you are minding your sodium intake.

You can also sprinkle with grated parmesan or romano cheese (then don’t use the salt) and bake at 350 degrees. The length of time depends on the size of your tomatoes. For cherry tomatoes, 20 minutes will do. For medium to larger ones you will need at least 30 minutes, and up to 45 minutes. Remove and serve!

Also good at room temperature, so you can make it a little ahead if you need the oven for other dishes.

Recipe: Middle Eastern Couscous and Tomato Salad


3 cups of middle eastern couscous

1 bunch of fresh curly parsley, chopped

2 large beefsteak or other juicy tomatoes, chopped.

1 small-medium red or sweet onion, chopped

3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Boil 3 1/4 cups of water. Add couscous and lower heat. Cover pot and simmer about 8 minutes. Taste to see if done and continue cooking if too hard. Remove from heat and put in bowl to cool. Add balance of ingredients, stir and chill. Enjoy!

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