Sunday, September 23, 2012


Cold-weather cabbage soup adapted from Mario Batali.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
1 leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced [be sure to cut it vertically first and to wash the layers under running water, or you might get sand in your soup]
2 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 to 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, plus 1 whole garlic clove
2 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary or both
1 bay leaf
1 pound roughly chopped cavolo nero (black cabbage)
1/2 pound roughly chopped white cabbage
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can Cannellini beans, drained (but not rinsed)
4 to 6 cups water (or more, if necessary)
Italian peasant bread or sourdough, sliced thickly
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan
n a Dutch oven or large pot, heat the olive oil and add the onion, leek, carrot, celery, sliced garlic and herbs. Sprinkle gently with salt, stir and cook until the vegetables are soft but not at all brown. Add the black and white cabbage, sprinkle again with salt, and cook until they’ve softened and the flavors have blended, about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Remove the rosemary, thyme and bay leaf. Add the tomato paste and stir until it’s well distributed throughout the vegetable mixture. Add the beans and enough water to make it look soupy (about 6 cups). (You could also add a Parmesan rind here, if you have one.) Sprinkle again with salt, stir all around and simmer for 30 minutes until the soup thickens slightly and tastes great (you may need to adjust with more salt and pepper). Meanwhile, place the bread under the broiler and toast, on both sides, until deep dark brown. Rub the toasted bread with a raw garlic clove and drizzle with olive oil. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve up with the toasted bread (Mario calls it “garlic bruschetta”) and Parmesan for grating on top

Grilled Delicata Squash with Mizuna, Pecorino and Pinenut Salad

1 medium delicate squash, sliced into 1/2" thick disks or quartered, lengthwise
Olive oil, for brushing squash
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups mizuna leaves, loosely packed
2 tablespoons juice from 1 to 2 lemons
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces pecorino or parmesan cheese, shaved into thin slices using a vegetable peeler
2 tablespoons toasted pinenuts
1 Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over the coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, preheat a gas grill to high, covered, for at least 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.
2 Using a pastry brush, brush squash with olive oil on both sides, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
3 When grill is hot, add squash slices and cook, covered, until squash is well-browned on one side, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip slices and cook, covered, until zucchini is well-browned and tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer squash to a serving platter.
4 In a medium bowl, toss mizuna with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Gently mound salad on top of grilled zucchini. Garnish with cheese and pinenuts and serve

Monday, September 3, 2012

Buffalo Mozzarella with Balsamic Glazed Plums

This recipe serves 4 to 6
1 large ball buffalo mozzarella, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
4 ripe plums, pitted and quartered
1 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 splash olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Put vinegar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Adjust heat to low and simmer until it is reduced nearly three-quarters in volume and thickened to a syrup. About 15 minutes. Add plums to syrup turning gently to coat and continue to cook for another 4-7 minutes more. Turn off heat and let cool.
Meanwhile assemble mozzarella slices on platter, allowing to overlap slightly and season with salt and pepper to taste. WIth a fork, remove plums from syrup and place atop cheese, then top with the remaining syrup, pine nuts and mint. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

SCRUMPTIOUS PLUMS By Valerie Hould-Marchand

Fresh fruit and berries are such a delight to the taste buds and a rich source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre and enzymes. Local, fresh and seasonal fruits are of course the ideal choice. And this time of year, there’s plenty of fresh produce to enjoy.

It’s always great to see beautiful piles of plums in all shades from dark blue, through purple and green to yellow and red. They are not only sweet and scrumptious, they are very nutritious.

Plums help to lower cholesterol levels and eliminate parasites from the body. The contain benzonic acid, which is useful in the treatment of liver disease, kidney disorders and blood poisoning. They are also a great source of vitamin C, B1, B2, B3, B6, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, and small amounts of lipids and amino acids.

Plums ripen fast, and we often underestimate their versatility in the kitchen beyond eating them in their raw form. Who can resist a plum jam on a fresh slice of baguette, or served as a crepe filling? But have you tried searing your plums? It is a perfect accompaniments to your favourite roasted meats, especially when your plums are slightly overripe.

Give this recipe a try and you will be sure to impress your guests.

What You Need

4 plums, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
6 sprigs of thyme
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients and let it rest for 10 minutes.
3. Heat a nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium heat, add the plum mixture, and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the surface of the plums are seared and caramel-coloured.
4. Bake for about 10 minutes in the oven , or until the plum skins are just beginning to break and the colour is vibrant.

Plums contain salicylates, the same compounds used to make aspirin. Researchers believe these compounds may discourage the formation of blood clots.

Until next time,

Heal yourself
Heal the planet

References : Prescription for Dietary Wellness, Phyllis A. Balch, CNC