Sunday, August 24, 2008

Simple Skillet Zucchini

We've said it before and now we'll say it again: well-loved zucchini is zucchini cooked on high heat until all the gross wateriness is obliterated. This is our latest breakfast dish, delicious with a side of scrambled eggs.

1 zucchini, sliced into 1/8 to 1/4-inch rounds
1 clove garlic, chopped roughly
a few sprigs of dill, minced
oil or butter

Heat a cast-iron skillet with a little bit of oil or butter. When hot, add the chopped garlic and stir a few times, then add the zucchini. Shake some salt over the zucchini. Fry the zucchini on medium-high until the bottom sides are golden brown with a few darker spots. Flip the zucchini over and fry until the other side is equally brown. If you have more zucchini than will fit in the bottom of the pan at once, you'll need to do a juggling act to get all of the zucchini browned. Don't worry if some of the zucchini get very dark -- our friend Denise leaves her zucchini in the pan until it's verifiably charred and it's delicious!

Serve immediately -- the zucchini will revert to a soggy state if you leave it sitting around for too long.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tomato and Tahini Soup

For our final tomato soup week recipe, here's a simple, creamy version that gets its bulk and protein from a swirl of tahini. The concept was inspired by Mark Bittman's Tomato and Onion Salad with Tahini Dressing; here, we've added some honey, substituted scallions for the onion and put it all in the blender.

2 lbs tomatoes, chopped roughly
2 scallions, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons tahini
1-2 teaspoons honey

extra minced scallion for garnish

Combine everything in the blender. Puree. Garnish with extra scallions.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Green Tortilla Soup

For the fourth day of tomato soup week, we bring you this greener, rawer version of our tortilla soup. Green zebra tomatoes, shown below, are an heirloom variety that stay green even when fully ripe. This wouldn't be delicious with what we usually consider green tomatoes (i.e. unripe red tomatoes), so if you can't find green zebras at your farmer's market, go ahead and use whatever delicious ripe tomatoes are on hand.

15 green zebra tomatoes (about 2.5 lbs or 5 cups pureed)
1 small avocado
juice of 2 limes
1 jalapeño pepper (or some cayenne), diced, seeds removed if you're not into spice
1/4 teaspoon smoked spanish paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
water, as needed

6 corn tortillas, sliced into 1/4 inch ribbons
canola oil

Combine tomatoes, avocado, lime juice, jalapeño, paprika, cumin and salt in a blender and puree until smooth. Thin out with a little water if it's too thick--you want soup texture, not guacamole.

Fry the tortilla strips in canola or peanut oil until golden and crisp, then remove to a paper-towel-lined plate. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with tortilla strips.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Potato Gazpacho with Avocado

OK, gluten-free friends, we hear your pain: why the incessant thickening of soups with slices of day-old artisan bread? (Also, non-Alice Waters friends, we hear your pain as well: why the incessant assumption that you just happened to spend yesterday at a boulangerie?) We answer your well-placed concerns on the third day of tomato soup week with this gluten-free gazpacho, which gets its texture from a cold cooked potato. Obviously it's best to have the cooked potato ready, but nothing catastrophic will happen if you boil the potato when you're ready to make the soup and chill it in the freezer for half an hour, since the only other thing this soup involves is throwing stuff in a blender and pressing go.

6 large tomatoes, chopped
1 scallion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 boiled Russet potato, cooled, peeled and diced
1 finely minced jalapeno chile (leave out the seeds if you're a spice wuss)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 cucumber, diced
1 avocado, diced

Combine tomatoes, scallion, garlic, lemon juice, cilantro, potato, chile, olive oil, salt and pepper in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into bowls and top with the cucumber and avocado chunks. Best served at room temperature!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gingered Raw Tomato & Coconut Soup

Day two of the great tomato soup challenge! Sometimes we post recipes knowing that most of you won't really make them. I mean, we have to give our moms something to forward to their friends. This is not one of those times; with whatever power you've vested in us, we now strongly urge you to drop everything and make this smooth, addictive soup. This recipe came about because we wanted to try the tomato-coconut soup we made last fall with raw tomatoes, to let the tomato flavor really shine. Result: the best soup we've had this summer. Really. The richness of the coconut milk, the fruitiness of ripe tomatoes and the heat from the garlic, ginger and jalapeño all cooperated to produce a final product that had us squealing with tomato-induced joy. (Sorry, heartburn sufferers, you should probably sit this one out).

We used Early Girl tomatoes, which are about the size of a racquetball. Use whatever delicious tomatoes are at your disposal.

16 Early Girl tomatoes, chopped (which came out to 5 cups pureed)
1 cup coconut milk
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 jalapeño chile, minced (seeds removed for the heat-shy)
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
lemon wedges and chopped cilantro for topping

Combine tomatoes, coconut milk, garlic, cumin, chile, ginger and salt in a blender and puree until smooth. (If you have a hot date later tonight, drop the whole cloves of garlic into boiling water for minute to mellow them out. ) Serve at room temperature with cilantro and lemon wedges.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Yellow Tomato Soup with Cucumber and Yogurt

It's a tomato explosion all this week on iheartkale! The Berkeley Farmer's Market is bursting at the seams with heirloom tomatoes in every size and color, and we've created a rainbow of raw* tomato soups. Soup number one -- yellow tomatoes!

We started with your regular old cucumber-yogurt soup and took advantage of this tomato challenge to mix it up a little. The result: a creamy, pale green puree, perfect for a light summer meal or first course. We used a mix of yellow heirloom tomatoes, but feel free to use whatever tomatoes are accessible, ripe and delicious (although the color will obviously be quite different).

1 and 1/4 lbs tomatoes (it'll be 3 cups pureed)
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup plain yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
1 cup grated cucumber (we used two lemon cucumbers, but half of a regular-sized one will work too).

Combine tomatoes, dill, yogurt, garlic and salt in a blender and puree until smooth. Stir in cucumber, taste for salt and serve.

*Okay, picky raw food folks. We call them "raw tomato soups" because the tomatoes are always raw, but other ingredients may have been heated above 112 degrees Fahrenheit. Pay $30 at Cafe Gratitude if you want the real thing.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Cucumber and Summer Squash Carpaccio

When your garden is overrun with cucumbers and summer squash, it's time to get creative. Really fresh zucchini are excellent raw, like in this simple salad. It's important to slice the cucumber and squash incredibly thin. All you newlyweds, now would be the time to whip out that mandoline you registered for.

2 small summer squash (we used a zucchini and a pattypan)
4 small cucumbers
2 shallots
1 clove garlic
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil

Blanch the garlic and shallots briefly in boiling water. Slice squash, cucumbers and shallots paper-thin and combine in a serving bowl. Mince the garlic and whisk it together with lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss well. You can eat right away, but this will benefit from sitting around for half an hour if you have time.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Kale Recipe Shoutout

Dear readers,

Many of you heart kale as much as we do. We bet you have some really good kale recipes up your sleeve that ought to be shared with the world. Well, here's your chance. Consider this post an open forum for your best kale recipes -- raw, cooked, salads, soups, we want them all. Give us your recipes in the comments section as well as links to the most delicious and inventive kale recipes you've seen online. Then let's eat them all! Prizes will be awarded for the most delicious and inventive. (Disclaimer: there are no actual prizes, except the satisfying warmth of a bellyful of kale.)

If you need inspiration, check out the Kale and Friends tag on the right-hand side of the blog, or try this:
Kale with Tomato Peanut Sauce

1 bunch kale, stems removed
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped.
3 large chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky -- your choice!)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Heat up a little olive oil in a medium saucepan, then add the tomatoes. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes reach sauce consistency. Stir in the peanut butter and cayenne. Salt to taste.

Meanwhile, chop the kale and heat a wok with a little olive oil. Stir-fry the garlic and kale over medium-high heat. When the kale is wilted to your liking, stir in the tomato sauce. We served ours over brown rice and roasted okra. Yum.

Yours in kale,
Hannah & Phoebe

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Plum Crisp with Sunflower Streusel

This is just to say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast.

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.

William Carlos Williams

We ended up with a ton of plums from our friend Bianca's family farm this week, and used most of them in this crisp. Most crisp recipes involve macerating the fruit with white sugar to bring out the juices; here, we've provided some extra juice by mixing the fruit with a lemon-agave solution. The plums give off a beautiful reddish-purple bubbliness when baked, and the crunchy vanilla-scented topping is a nice textural contrast to the soft baked fruit.

For the filling:

8 plums, pitted and sliced roughly
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon minced ginger

For the topping:
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
5 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup agave nectar

Preheat oven to 375. Whisk together lemon juice, agave, cinnamon and ginger and pour over plums in a 9 x 13 inch pan, mixing well to coat. In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats and sunflower seeds and cut in the butter. Add the vanilla and agave, stir well to combine, and crumble topping over the plums. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake another 5-7 minutes or so, until fruit is bubbly and topping is starting to brown. It's good served warm, but it's also delicious straight out of the icebox, so sweet and so cold.