Spicy Black Eyed Pea & Sweet Potato Stoup


How about a flavourful and heat loving blast into the New Year?
Healthy and sinus clearing, this is a lunch to knock that cold back outside where it belongs.

It’s been frigid and I’ve been sick. The extra sleep has been good, but I’m in need of a hug from the inside and this soup delivers.
Thick like a veggie stew, it’s not too spicy but still turns up the heat with seasonal, hearty goodness.
Phew.
I’m almost feeling better already.


SPICY BLACK EYED PEA + SWEET POTATO SOUP

1-2 Tablespoons Safflower or Vegetable oil
2 Onions, diced
2 Stalks of Celery, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups dried black-eyed peas, picked over & rinsed
6 cups water
1 teaspoon Oregano, dried
1/2 teaspoon Rosemary, dried
1 Sweet Potato, peeled and diced, about 2 1/2 cups once diced
1 16-ounce can San Mariano Tomatoes, diced
4 cups  Vegetable Broth
1/3 Cup Mixed Grain & Brown Rice
1 tablespoon Sriracha Hot Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Smoked Sweet Paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Heat the oil in a pressure cooker or a large pot.
Add the onions and sauté for about 3 minutes, until they begin to soften.
Add the celery and garlic to the onions, stirring, for 3 minutes more.
Add the black-eyed peas, water along with the dried oregano.
Seal the pressure cooker and bring to a boil. Once it locks and begins to steam, cook for 10 minutes under high pressure.
Remove from heat and release pressure. (If you’re cooking in a regular soup pot, the boil for about 50 or until the peas are tender.
Add cubed sweet potato, tomatoes, along with all their juice and the vegetable stock.
Return the pot to medium-high heat. Bring it to a rolling simmer.
Add rice, Sriracha, paprika, rosemary, salt and pepper, then continue to cook until the sweet potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes.

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Super Bowl of Chili


As I sat, thinking what the ultimate food for Sunday would be, it actually took me a bit to come to the chili conclusion.
Crazy, yes, I am aware of this.

Coming from an advertising background, I have to honestly admit that the majority of my Superbowl viewing experience takes place during half time.

Perfect for cooking for a crowd, the chili is a dash of this and a can of that – and then you leave it.
So quick and easy, you won’t even miss the commercials.

Continue reading Super Bowl of Chili

Last Summer Weekend


Last of glamping, at least for me this year.
The days are beautiful, but let me tell you, these late summer nights can get c h i l l y.
As lovely as the morning dew and hikes with trees hinting of crimson are, that’s all folks, until next year anyway.
We just returned from a group camping trip. A trip to cook or not to cook could be the question, but what we did do was Eat For Freedom. The task for the weekend, if you’d want to call it that, was to cook only once, but to cook for the group. The trick was, at it’s high point the crowd was pushing 40+ people.
Sure, some could opt for the easy route out, cracking open a dozen cans of beans, but these guys were pretty hard core. I was told about successful curries, fresh pies, even home made gnocchi but I think the burritos topped for my favourite. Easy, delicious and vegan, fit to satisfy the 90% carnivorous crowd.

Continue reading Last Summer Weekend

No Hot Soup For You.



Cold soup? Ew. I never would have thought to eat something like THAT.

But that was before a trip to New York where I’d stood in a line, a long line; could you even imagine, in New York?
However, I was prepared, I had my money ready, but I still couldn’t decide. I was at Al’s Soup Kitchen International, so the last thing I wanted was someone shouting the theatrical “no soup for you” at me.
It was hot and I was next. I love lobster and after a night before at City Crab, I was eying the lobster bisque. The stress and unseasonable warmth made my cash moist in my clutched hand. I swallowed hard when I heard the famous and firm “next” and before I knew it my brain made a quick decision and I blurted out for the gazpacho.
This was my voice – I heard it. What had I done? I wanted the bisque not the cold vegetable soup. But obeying the signs, I had my money ready and moved immediately to the left after ordering.
I paid, I moved and waited – briefly.

I found a rock in Central Park where I could perch and people watch. In the few blocks it took to walk there, I’d decided to embrace my gazpacho like a true New Yorker, I owned it. It was mine now, so I was going to like it, no matter what.

All perfect in a brown bag, it had come with bread, fruit, napkin, cutlery, even a little chocolate – how sweet. This guy couldn’t have been as bad as everyone made him out to be. It looked good. It smelled good. But cold, raw and fresh just didn’t seem like soup and I just couldn’t get my mind around the notion. Tomato soup is so with a grilled cheese in November, at least in my mind.

I’d closed my eyes and hoped for the best. And, by God, it was one of the best, most perfect things I’d could have ever tasted. The shock it sent my mouth into was utter craziness. It was refreshing for the hot spring day but it still had enough kick to make me sweat, as the spice of the peppers warmed up my mouth. It was awesome.

Soup has always been an amazing food. It’s comfort food, scrap food, soul food – personal food. It’s a dash of this and a use up of that, it’s taste it then add a bit more. I’ve been trying to recreate that flavour of Manhattan on a hot day all to myself and up until now, I never really could.

It was still a bit of this taste and try some more of that but I just knew when I went for that first taste and I still closed my eyes trying not to forget it was cold. I’m still always nervous eating cold soup. I know now that it can be good it’s just that my brain is being played such a trick as I occasionally find myself blowing on it before slurping the spoonful.
It had the fresh heat from the tiny crunch of the slivered jalepeño and the soothing burst of cool from the flecks of cucumber and tomato making this soup, so summer perfect.

Next.

SUMMER GAZPACHO

1/2 White Onion
1 Clove Garlic
1/2 Jalapeño Pepper, seeded
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
3 Large Field or Beefsteak Tomatoes
1 English Cucumber, seedless
1 – 28 oz Can of Diced Tomatoes with juice
3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Fresh Italian Parsley
1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
1 Avocado, diced

In a food processor, finely chop the onion and the garlic, followed by the jalapeño pepper.
Core and chop the tomatoes, add to the processor.
Roughly chop the cucumber and seed the yellow pepper; add the 3/4 of the cucumber and pepper to processor.
Add the remaining tomatoes with juice, cucumber, yellow pepper, vinegar, oil, herbs, salt and pepper; pulsing only to combine, leaving some finely chopped vegetables.
Taste and add salt, if necessary.
Chill prior to serving.
Garnish with the diced avocado.

Serves 8

Five Things And A Basket Of Peaches – Part Three


After so many sweet peaches I wanted something savoury. To get over the top of the mid-week peach, I decided on a chutney. Perfect along side anything roasted, grilled, atop some chèvre on a cracker, or as individual tarts with pistachio and parmigiana. You can make it as spicy as you’d like, or even double the recipe, it’ll last for a while in the fridge.

SPICED PEACH CHUTNEY

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Red Onion, finely chopped
3 Slices Candied Ginger or 1″ fresh ginger, grated
1 Clove Garlic, minced
Juice and Zest of One Lemon
1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
3 Peaches, peeled
1 Green Scallion
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon Coriander Seeds
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes, or one dried, red chili
3 Peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon Dried Cumin

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan.
Peel and finely chop the onion and sauté until translucent; about 3 – 5 minutes.
Peel and cube the peaches into small, bite sized pieces.
Using a mortar and pestle, crush the ginger, coriander, chili and peppercorns.
Add the garlic, spices and salt to the onion, followed by the peaches and sugar.
Once the peaches have begun to release their juices, add the vinegar and finely chopped scallion.
When the chutney has thickened, remove it from the heat and adjust any necessary seasonings.
Cool slightly and store in a seal able container or jar in the refrigerator.

Blogging By Mail: Take Two!


Imagine my surprise when I returned from a weekend at my in-laws to find a package wedged in between our front doors; addressed to me!

All the way from Austin Texas came a wonderfully sweet gesture of thanks. Yes, the cat’s out of the bag, Jerry at Food and Photo was my Blogging By Mail match and I’m so glad she received her package.

Little did I know I was going to get one in return.

In it was a great spice rub, perfect for grilling or dips. I think I might try it as a vegetable marinade with oil or just sprinkled over portabella mushrooms to grill.
Next was a hibiscus tea. The directions included ice tea, so I may just attempt Jumbo Empanada’s Recipe for sorbet, only with this great tea from Jerry.

Last, is a gift after my own heart, a Chipolte Chocolate Brownie. The ingredients include the standard chocolate and butter, but next is the chipolte in adobo sauce, so that’s smoked jalapeno in a tomato purée. This should be a tasty, interesting treat!

Thanks so much Jerry, you’ve made my day!