Sunday, October 25, 2015

Blogging on the Road: Pumpkin Soup & Very Green Salad

A couple of days after Allison's visit, Roy and I took off again for a five week RV trip. We visited Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and even spent some time in South Carolina. Cooking in the motor home is a bit of a challenge; the stove runs on propane and the convection microwave runs on electricity. It's a balancing act between keeping an eye on how much propane I'm using vs electricity - especially if we are hooked up to 30 amp instead of 50 amp. However, the autumn scenery has been so beautiful that I couldn't resist making some fall type food that pics up on the colors and flavors of the season. The pumpkin soup posted here is more savory than sweet and the salad has one of my all time favorite flavor combinations: arugula, Parmesan cheese, and lemon. The best part is that besides being tasty, this recipes are nice and easy! 

Easy Cream of Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients and Directions for six cups of soup or four bowls:

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup butter
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds for garnish

Melt butter in a large sauce pan and add the diced onion and sliced green onion. Saute until tender and then add the garlic and the curry powder. Cook for 30 more seconds. Add the pumpkin and chicken broth and gently simmer for 10 minutes. Take off the stove and stir in the half-and-half. Check the temperature of the soup and gently reheat if necessary, but do not let it come to a bowl. Ladle into bowls or cups. Garnish with pumpkins seeds and a drizzle of half-and-half. 

Very Green Salad with Lemon Parmesan Dressing

Ingredients and Directions for Four Large Servings:

1 (5 oz,) package of spinach and arugula mix
8 oz. (1/2 pound) Brussels sprouts.
1 cucumber
1 large Granny Smith apple
1 lemon to make 1/4 cup juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Place the spinach and arugula mix in a large salad bowl. Rinse and drain the Brussels sprouts. Cut the ends off and slice the Brussle sprouts lengthwise into very slim slices. Leave the skin on the cucumber, cut the ends off, and then slice and quarter. Leaving the skin on, core and dice the apple. Add the Brussel sprouts, cucumber, and apple to the spinach and arugula mix. Gently toss together. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Divide the salad between four serving plates and drizzle with the lemon Parmesan dressing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What Allison Ate (While She Was Home)

We were absolutely thrilled that Allison came home for about three weeks this fall. She had spent the year teaching English in Spain, and then traveled around Europe this summer. It was a very fun visit; we spent about a week at the lake, and then the rest of the time we were at home. The weather was great! The mornings and evenings were on the cool side, but the middle of the day was filled with liquid sunshine and temperatures in the '70s. We took full advantage of our good fortune and managed plenty of hikes and bike rides. The above photo was taken on her birthday when we visited a very hipster restaurant in town that happened to be mentioned in Bon Appetit Magazine. However, the soup and salad posted here were not what we ate there! These recipes are quick and easy. They are also meatless to accommodate Allison's recent declining meat intake! However, slices of grilled chicken would be a great addition to either one. So what two dishes did Allison like enough to be posted here? 

Roasted Tomato White Bean Soup...

And Lentil Feta Salad

I hope you enjoy this soup and salad as much as we did!

Ingredients and Directions for Four Servings Roasted Tomato White Bean Soup

2 to 3 red ripe tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 (15 oz.) can chicken broth
1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
1 small bunch of lacinato kale
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
4 oz. piece of fresh mozzarella cheese 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash, core, and cut each tomato into eight slices. Peel and cut onion into eight slices. Peel and mince garlic. Arrange the tomato, onion, and garlic in an oven safe dish. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle the oregano on top, and place in the preheated oven for an hour.
After the tomato mixture has finished baking, place in a soup pot along with the chicken broth, beans, and basil. Fold each kale leaf in half lengthwise and cut the tough middle stalk out. Roll up the kale leaves, cut them in strips, and add them to the pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and allow it to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut the mozzarella into cubes. Ladle the soup into bowls and divide the mozzarella cubes among each serving.

Ingredients and Directions for Four Servings Lentil Feta Salad


1/2 cup black beluga lentils
1/2 cup diced onion
4 cups spinach and arugula mix
2 cups cherry tomatoes
4 oz. feta cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 pepper
1/4 garlic powder


Rinse and pick over the lentils to make sure there are no twigs, etc. Place in a pan along with the diced onion and cover with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cover the pot with a lid. Allow them to cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Remove them from the pot, drain off any extra cooking liquid, and place into another container to allow them to cool while you are putting together the rest of the salad. Wash the spinach and arugula mix and divide the greens between four serving plates. Wash the cherry tomatoes, cut them in half if they are large, and distribute them between the four plates. Ladle equal amounts of lentils over the greens and sprinkle each portion with one ounce of crumbled feta cheese. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Drizzle about three to four tablespoons of the dressing over each serving and dig in!