Category Archives: Soups: Chowders, Chillies and Stews

Hello August

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Is it August already? Summer is flying by far too quickly. This month’s produce guide marks a full year’s worth of seasonal produce.

Grocery shopping is already a pretty time consuming task, but not knowing what to buy when you get there can be overwhelming and pricey. However, purchasing seasonal foods is a healthy and cost effective way to approach food shopping, especially during the summer months. Grocery stores tend to stock up on these items in bulk because they are plentiful, making them less expensive for you—especially when they go on sale. These Summer fruits and vegetables should be on your grocery list—making your weekly trip to the store easier on you and your wallet, while eating healthy on a budget.

Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables for August:

Apricots
Avocados
Basil
Bell Peppers
Beets
Blackberries
Blueberries
Boysenberries
Cantaloupe
Carrots
Chard
Cherries
Chiles
Cilantro
Corn
Eggplant
Fennel
Figs
Garlic
Grapes
Green beans
Green onions
Kiwi
Lemongrass
Limes
Mangoes
Melons
Nectarines
Okra
Onions
Peaches
Peas
Plums
Potatoes
Radishes
Raspberries
Rosemary
Scallions
Shallots
Strawberries
Summer squash
Tomatillos
Tomatoes
Watermelons
Zucchini

And this month, we are featuring the Avocado!

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Avocado on toast is almost impossible to beat, but it’s also a fantastic addition Mexican meals and fresh green recipes of any kind, really. The avocados you’ll find in stores now are probably from Mexico, where avocados are in season year-round, but California avocados are in season now, too.

Nutrition wise, as a super food, avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including a good source of fiber and folate, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid.

They also act as a “nutrient booster” by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit.

You can find detailed avocado nutrition information listed in the Nutrients Section at California Avocado, and the site includes all of the vitamins and minerals found in avocado.

Happy Hearts and Happy Eating!

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Salmon Ravigote

 

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Poach delicious salmon steaks or fillets in only 15 minutes!

Salmon fillets are poached briefly, then served with a ravigote sauce. Ravigote means “to invigorate” in French, and this sauce, containing tomatoes, scallions, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil, awakens the taste buds and complements the salmon. Pickled capers lend wonderful piquancy to the sauce.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
For the Sauce:
2 plum tomatoes  halved, seeded, and diced
1 tablespoon drained capers
2–3 scallions, trimmed  and sliced
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the Salmon:
Four 5 ounce skinless salmon fillets, about 1 1/2 inches thick
3 cups of water
Kosher salt, to taste

Directions:
To make the sauce, mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.

To poach the salmons, bring 3 cups of salted water to a boil in a large stainless steel saucepan. Add the salmon to the pan and bring the water back to a boil over high heat for 2 minutes. Immediately turn off the heat, or slide the pan off the heat and let the salmon steep in the hot liquid for 5 minutes. Note that your fillets will be slightly underdone in the center at this point and you may have to adjust the cooking time to accommodate thicker or thinner fillets, depending on your personal taste preference.

Remove the fillets from the poaching liquid with a large spatula, drain them well, and place on four warm plates. Absorb any liquid that collects around the fillets with paper towels, then spoon the sauce over and around the steaks and serve.

Cook’s Notes:
Alternatively,  for the poaching liquid, you can substitute 1½ cup dry white wine, like a good Sauvignon Blanc added to  1½ cups of water, for a different flavor profile.

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Italian Sausages with Bell Peppers and Polenta

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This dish  offers the classic Italian-American combination of sausage and peppers on a bed of polenta enriched with Parmesan cheese. By putting the emphasis on the peppers and onions, it makes an indulgent meal a healthy one, as well, with 34 grams of protein and just 31 grams of fat.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
½ cup polenta
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 mild pork sausages
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
2-3 Italian frying peppers, sliced, seeds discarded
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
2-3 springs fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves, torn

Directions:
To cook the polenta,  add 4 cups of water to a 2-quart sauce pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Whisk in the polenta and let the water return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta thickens and absorbs most of the water, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
While the polenta cooks, prepare the sausage and peppers.

In a 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil until hot but not smoking. Add the sausages and cook until well browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate. Do not wipe out the pan.

In the same pan used to cook the sausage, warm 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onions, season with salt, and cook until the onions begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add the peppers, garlic, and rosemary, and continue cooking until the peppers start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup wine, if using and cook until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Stir in the tomato paste and 1½ cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook until the liquid has thickened, about 5 minutes. Slice the sausages and add them to the pan, turning once or twice until heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, transfer the polenta to serving bowls and top with the sausage and peppers. Garnish with torn fresh basil.

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Braised Chicken with Tuscan Kale and Andouille Sausage

chicken and kale.jpgA traditional Italian dish of braised chicken nestled in a bed of earthy kale and sweet red peppers makes a perfect combination with the spiciness of Louisiana Creole andouille sausage, giving you a one-skillet meal packed with lots of flavor!

Serves 6

Ingredients:

For the Chicken:
6 chicken thighs on the bone with skin, about 2 pounds total
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly black ground pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the bread
1 large sweet onion, quartered, thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced
7 ounces fully cooked andouille sausage, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
6 cups (10 ounces) roughly chopped Tuscan kale*
½ cup dry white wine or chicken broth

For the Crostini:
6 thick slices French or Italian bread
3 tablespoons crumbled feta
Fresh chopped parsley leaves, for garnish

Directions:
Season chicken generously on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large (14-inch) nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down, in single, uncrowded layer. (Use two pans if necessary.) Cook until nicely browned and skin is crisped, about 12 minutes. (Turn on the exhaust fan and use a splatter guard to keep mess to a minimum.) Flip chicken; brown the other side, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate skin side up so it stays crispy.

Spoon off and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the skillet. Add onion and red pepper. Cook, stir occasionally, over medium heat until onion is nicely golden, about 8 minutes. Add sliced sausage and garlic; cook, 1 minute. Stir in kale. Cook, stirring, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in wine to mix well. Nestle the chicken, crispy skin side up, into the kale mixture leaving the skin uncovered. Cook, uncovered, on low until chicken juices run clear, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat broiler. Brush bread slices on both sides with olive oil. Broil bread, 4 inches from heat source until golden, about 1 minute. Flip; top with a little feta cheese. Broil the second side until golden, about 30 seconds.

Sprinkle chicken with parsley leaves. Serve chicken with the bread for mopping up all the pan juices.

*Cook’s Note:
Polish sausage can be substituted for the andouille for a milder dish. Cleaned and cut Tuscan kale, also known as black or lacinato kale, is sold in 10-ounce bags at some grocers. If Tuscan kale is not available in your local area, you can substitute 2 small bunches (about 1 pound total) kale, then trim off tough stems before cutting into 2-inch pieces.

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Lotus Root and Pork Rib Soup

 

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Guinness Beef and Mushroom Pot Pie

Happy St. Patrick’s Day220px-Irish_clover.jpg220px-Irish_clover.jpg

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Thank you so much!

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Sesame Shrimp and Pork Meatballs with Noodles

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Shrimp and Pork Meatballs combined with bok choy, and lo mein makes for a fun twist on an old classic, and an awesome dinner for 4 in less than 30 minutes!

Serves 4

Ingredients:
¾ pounds ground pork
1/2 pound large (16-20 count) shrimp, devined, shelled and minced
1 egg white
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6  tablespoons soy sauce divided
¼ cup sesame seeds
4 tablespoons olive oil
One 8-ounce package lo mein noodles
1 bunch scallions
1/2 pound baby bok choy
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 medium red sweet bell pepper, sliced

Directions:
Mix the ground pork,  minced shrimp, and egg white with 2 tablespoons of the  soy sauce. With wet hands, form meat into 16 equal balls. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on a plate and roll the balls through, so they are completely coated with sesame seeds.

Heat half the oil in a large skillet and cook the meatballs over medium heat for 2 minutes. Cover the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Steam for 7 minutes., or until cooked through.

While meatballs steam, prepare the noodles according to package directions until al dente. Slice the scallions and bok choy. Heat remaining oil in a wok or skillet and stir-fry the ginger, garlic, and peppers for 2 minutes. Add the bok choy and the remaining soy sauce. Sauté for 3 minutes, or until peppers are tender. Stir in the noodles and green onions. Divide the noodles onto 4 plates and top with the meatballs.

Serve with extra soy sauce to taste, on the side.

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Chicken Chasseur

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A French classic that never seems to go out of style, this earthy dish combines mushrooms and chicken in a tomato and white-wine sauce. The name, literally “hunter’s chicken,” harks back to a time when game birds and mushrooms from the woods were a natural autumn combination.

Serves 4 

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon cooking oil
4 chicken quarters
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon butter
14 pearl onions peeled, left whole
3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons flour
1/2 cup  dry white wine
2 Tablespoons cognac
2/3 cup chicken broth or homemade stock
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes, drained
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions:
In a large, deep frying pan, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper and add to the pan. Cook until browned, turning, about 8 minutes in all. Remove. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the pan.

Add the butter to the pan and reduce the heat to moderately low. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to moderately high. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are browned, about 5 minutes.<

Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in the wine and cognac and bring back to a simmer. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, thyme, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices. Place into the oven to cook for about 45 minutes or until chicken is done.

Remove from the oven allow to cool for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the parsley and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper and serve.

All photographs and content are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

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Duo of Tomato and Corn Gazpacho

 

It is too darn hot to cook!

 

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So early this  morning, I went out to my garden, picked the  ripe  tomatoes , fresh corn and assorted  herbs and blended the corn separately from the tomatoes with a little  salt and black  pepper,to taste; poured  each of the vegetable purees into  separate  containers; covered and placed them  in the fridge for over an hour or longer.And there  you have it! GAZPACHO!

And  the best part about this recipe is that you can make this in the morning  before you leave for work, and return home  with  a delicious gazpacho waiting  for dinner!

 

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor