As soon as the market is open, my day begins. I shop for all my ingredients for the day, scurry home and then I get cooking!
Lucky friends in Sarasota have been enjoying my food .– enough for two — delivered by me, with love and butter!
There are quite a lot of steps in making my Spinach & Meat Lasagna because I use both béchamel and tomato sauces.
Also, instead of piling on Spinach, or squeezing out frozen spinach, I chop fresh spinach into fine bits, then combine it with some cream and ricotta cheese to make it spreadable and hold its integrity.
In addition to the Ricotta spinach mix, and the béchamel, which has Parmesan, I use Provolone in one layer because I find it less gooy. Then I top with the fresh, soft Mozzarella.
In the old days, I used to boil my noodles until al dente but today, I find it easier to use the “oven ready” type. Hey. I’m a modern girl with lots to do!
When my lasagna is cooked and cooled, I package up 32 ounces, enough for two hungry adults, and include bread that is lathered in my own, fresh herb butter.
When I came across Alison Roman’s NYT-Famous Chickpea Stew, I thought “Ohhh … I’ll try this one!” Alas, and as usual, I found I had neither the patience nor temperament to read a complete recipe or to follow anything or anyone. But you can find Alison’s recipe here. Famous Chickpea Stew.
I took my own path to delicious (USING double the Turmeric; adding Nutmeg and Curry, Carrots, Celery and the option of adding chicken or shrimp). The result was a hearty, gorgeous soup with a beautiful, golden color. Here is what I did, from me to you, With Love and Butter!
A note to meat eaters!: Look for the notes in Bold below, if you are adding Shrimp or Chicken..
1, 29 ounce can of Chickpeas, or 2 15 oz cans Rinsed Well!
2 15 oz cans of full fat coconut milk
1 Cube of vegetable or Chicken stock
1-1/2 cups chopped Kale or Mustard Greens. This is optional. The soup is also very good without the greens! Spinach or Arugula are ok, but not sturdy.
NOTE TO MEAT EATERS: Option: If you want to make this meaty, have some raw chicken Breast Chunks OR Fresh Shrimp at the ready.)
3 Sticks Celery, diced small
2 Carrot Sticks, diced small
1/2 a Medium Onion, diced small
A knob of fresh, minced ginger (about as big as your whole thumb) (I keep mine in the freezer)
3 Teeth of garlic, finely minced
2 Tbsp. Turmeric
1 Tsp Yellow Curry
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
Salt & Pepper
1/4 Tsp (or more) Red Pepper Flakes (Cayenne will work)
In your favorite a sturdy soup pot, heat 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil plus 1 tbsp butter.
Toss in the chopped Garlic, Onion, Ginger, Celery & Carrots.
Sauté over medium heat, adding a bit of water to prevent sticking or burning, until the onions are clear and becoming soft.
Add the Turmeric.
Now add your rinsed Chickpeas. Stir.
After the Chickpeas are in the pot, add all the coconut milk. Stir.
Into this mix, add the remaining spices:, Nutmeg, Salt & Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes. (Gentle with the pepper flakes. You can add more later.)
Cover and simmer on low for 30 – 45 minutes.
IF YOU ARE USING GREENS, this is when you add your chopped Kale, or whatever greens you prefer. I served some of this dish before adding the Kale! It’s optional, really. See my photos at the end. I have pictures of this soup with and without the kale!
IF YOU ARE ADDING MEAT, this is the point when you add your Chicken Chunks or Fresh Shrimp!
Cover and cook on low for another 20 minutes.
SERVING & GARNISHES Ladle into a bowl and garnish with any of these:
Sour Cream or Yogurt
Fresh Mint OR Cilantro Leaves
Orchid, Hibiscus flower or any edible flower (Pansies are nice!)
Sometimes you need the comfort of a good, warm, creamy Mac ‘n Cheese, but with an adult flair. My creamy Mushroom Risotto with white wine and parmesan fits the bill. And it was SO easy!
I started mine on the stove top — and you can complete it here — too. But I popped my mixture into an electric pressure cooker for 8 speedy minutes and … voila! Creamy, mushroom risotto as comforting as any mac ‘n cheese, but with a grown-up taste.
ALL YOU NEED: Pressure Cooker OR Stove Pot
All the measures below were actually estimated by me. This is pretty forgiving!
1 cup of rice (Arborio Rice OR White Rice. I used 50-50 Basmati and Quinoa
3/4 cup chopped mushroom
1 tooth of chopped garlic
1/4 to 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, depending on your taste
A few sprigs or fresh thyme or 1/2 a tsp dry thyme
salt & pepper
HERE IS WHAT I DID
In a tablespoon of butter, I sautéed 1 smashed tooth of garlic with 1 cup of 1/2 Rice, 1/2 Quinoa. (You can use 1 cup of all Arborio rice, or regular rice, or a mixture.)
To this, I added 3/4 cup of chopped mushrooms.
Then I added a 1/2 cube of chicken or vegetable stock.
Sautée on medium high until the rice begins to turn whiteish and your mushrooms soften, about 2 – 3 minutes.
I put the mixture in a pressure cooker and added 3/4 cup of white wine, 3/4 a cup of water. To be honest, I eye-balled the liquids to about 1-1/2 cups.If you are doing this on the stovetop, just add your liquid to your pot, cover and steam on medium low for about 17 minutes.
Into the pressure cooker, I added a few whole, fresh sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 tsp of dry thyme).
I set my cooker on high for 8 minutes. (Again, on a stovetop, cover for about 17 minutes on low-medium.)
When you release the pressure, stir in 1/4 cup of cream, a few dots of butter, salt and pepper to taste, and top with few tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese.