Posts Tagged ‘Ginger’

As I’ve said in prior posts, my family eats a lot of soup through the chilly Fall and Winter months.  Some lighter soups I prepare as a first course to a meal, while other more substantial versions become the meal itself.  This is one of those that is hearty enough to stand alone.  It has the added benefit of not only being delicious, but it’s somewhat unique.  It has an interesting flavor that breaks up the monotony of all those broth-based soups.  My neighbor introduced me to this beautiful soup two years ago.   It is has become one of our favorites.

Take a look at all of those vegetables!  Just when you think you cannot possibly add more, it’s time to put an entire bag of spinach into the pot.  The veggies are just one of the many reasons to love this soup.  The broth is another.  It’s hefty and creamy, with just the right amount of peanut, ginger, and curry to give it that unique flavor.  You may think you’re cheating by eating such an indulgent dish, but fear not– the small amount of peanut butter goes a long way here.  Another reason to love this soup is that it comes together in a snap and cooks up in little time.  The sweet potatoes become tender quickly, so it doesn’t need to simmer on the stove for long.   Finally, the addition of chicken is a nice contrast to all of the vegetables, and makes the soup even more substantial.  If you prefer, you can easily leave it out for a vegetarian version– just be sure to add a few more vegetables.

The Recipe:  African Peanut Soup

Makes 4 -6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 medium green pepper, chopped

1 medium red pepper, chopped

1/2 cup chopped carrot

1/2 cup chopped celery

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

2 tablespoon curry powder

2 cups canned crushed tomatoes

1 bay leaf

4 cups organic chicken stock

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed into bite size pieces

1 – 1 1/2 pounds organic/free-range  chicken breast, cooked and cubed

1/2 cup  or more of peanut butter (try to use a natural kind containing just ground peanuts)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 – 5 oz bag of baby spinach leaves, torn

kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper chopped

peanuts and lime wedges,  for garnish

To make the soup:  Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven.  Saute on medium heat the onion, peppers, carrots, and celery until soft — about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, ginger, and curry powder.  Saute for about  a minute.  Add the tomatoes and bay leaf.  Cook for three more minutes, so the tomatoes can reduce a bit.

Add the broth, sweet potatoes, and chicken.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are soft. 10 – 15 minutes.  Stir in the peanut butter and cook for another 2 minutes.  Stir in the cilantro and spinach.  Cook until spinach wilts.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve with a wedge of lime and a sprinkle of peanuts.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from an article in Parade Magazine, I’m told

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It  — have a wonderful weekend!


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Tomato Jam

You are looking at my latest addiction– tomato jam.  You read correctly, it’s  jam made from tomatoes.  I’ve been eating this heavenly spread on everything lately.  Now you may not have heard of tomato jam, but in food circles it seems as though everyone is talking about it.  The recipe is simple and easily adaptable into both sweet and savory versions.  To me, it’s perfection in a jar.

So how simple is it?  Just chop up the tomatoes, add a few spices, and plop everything in a kettle.  Stir.  Wait an hour, or so for it to thicken. Done.  Depending on what you add, you can make it as sweet or savory as you like.  I’ve been using both versions… a lot.  The sweet jam pairs beautifully with crusty bread and a rich cheese, like a nice white cheddar or goat cheese.  Or how about serving it on top of a beautiful round of brie, with cocktails?  The savory jam is a perfect match for eggs, bacon, or braised meat sandwiches.  And that’s just the start.  Once you taste this topping– like me, you’ll spread it on everything.

Like any other jam, you’ll want to refrigerate this one (it should be used within 2 weeks).  You can also ‘can’ the jam for later by following basic canning instructions.  That way you’ll have it available throughout the winter.  It’s a good idea to double or triple (or more) the batch if you’re going to go through the work of canning it.  It’ll need 20 minutes in a hot water bath.  I’ll certainly be canning several jars, because for the past few weeks I’ve been starting my day off with an egg and tomato jam breakfast sandwich.  And I don’t want this new-found favorite to end anytime soon.  It’s so quick and easy.  Try it, you’ll be happy you did!

The Recipes: Tomato Jam: Two Ways

Somewhat  Sweet Version:

(Makes a bit more than 1 pint)

2 pounds tomatoes, chopped  (Roma are best,  though I used regular)

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons lime juice  (may substitute lemon)

1 serrano pepper, minced (or any hot pepper of choice)

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

Combine all ingredients into a large, heavy- bottomed sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered.  Make sure to stir often.  Cook for roughly 1 hour, or until it reaches your desired consistency for jam.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Place in a jar and refrigerate.

Source:  Adapted from Mark Bittman via The New York Times

Smokey, Savory Version:

(Makes 1 pint)

1 pound tomatoes , chopped

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

pinch of kosher salt

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 serrano pepper, minced (or any hot pepper you prefer)

Combine ingredients into a medium, heavy -bottomed sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook uncovered, stirring frequently.  Cook for roughly 45 minutes, or until the mixture has reached your desired jam consistency.   Remove from heat, cool, and refrigerate.

Source:  Adapted from Molly Hermann from Tastebud Tart Catering via Fresh Tart @ Minnesota Monthly Magazine

I hope you enjoy both versions of tomato jam.  Have a wonderful day and thanks for stopping by.


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I’ve had a wonderful few weeks here in St. Paul.  Yes, I’ll admit it has been a bit too rainy and cold for my taste, but there have been beautiful days as well.  As for those rainy days, well, they green the grass and allow the flowers and trees to bloom.  I’ve been wandering around the neighborhood with my children, taking in Spring while they shake off the effects of a Winter spent indoors.  Getting back outside is magical.

Once the weather turns for the better, I start counting the days until various fruits and vegetables ripen.  Rhubarb is one of the first, and its also one of my favorites.  As a child, I never understood why anyone would ever put rhubarb in anything.  I had tasted it raw, as many children have, and was less than impressed.  Bitter, sour, overly-tough celery. Yum.  Now I love baking with it, and love the tartness that it adds to any dessert– especially those that are quite sweet.

Rhubarb goes great in many desserts (rhubarb-strawberry pie, anyone?), but I really love it in that simplest of inventions– the fruit crumble.  Cut up some ripe, delicious fruit, mix it with a bit of sugar, then make a crumb topping and bake.  Done.  It’s the perfect stress-free dessert to throw together and enjoy with friends.  It’s very difficult to mess up a crumble– no matter what it’ll be delicious.

The original recipe called for just rhubarb.  I’m sure it would be fantastic if you use just the one ingredient, but I didn’t have enough so I improvised.  Instead, I replaced half the recipe with fresh organic strawberries.  It ended up with that perfect balance of sweet and tartness.

The Recipe:  Rhubarb, Strawberry, and Sticky Ginger Crumble

2  3/4 cups rhubarb, cut into 1-inch chunks

5 cups strawberries, cut into large chunks

2/3 cup brown sugar

Zest and juice of 2 small blood oranges (or 1 regular orange)

1 scant cup of whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup cold butter

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts

2 pieces of fresh ginger, pealed and chopped

Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.  Put the rhubarb half of the sugar (1/3 cup) into a sauce pan.  Add the orange juice and zest, put lid on top, bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes.  Remove the lid and simmer for a couple more minutes, until the rhubarb has softened slightly.  Remove from heat and add the strawberries.  Pour into an ovenproof baking dish and spread out evenly.

To make the crumble topping, use your fingers to lightly rub together the flour and butter until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.  Stir in the oats, walnuts, the rest of the sugar (1/3 cup),  and the ginger.  (If you like, you can make the crumble topping in the food processor.  Just add the flour, butter, sugar,  and ginger and pulse a few times.  Then add the oats and walnuts and pulse for a few seconds more.)  Sprinkle the crumble over the rhubarb and bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the rhubarb is bubbling and the crumble is golden.

Source:  Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie At Home Cookbook

Thanks again for stopping by for a visit!  Would love to hear if you are making any of the recipes and how they are turning out for you.  Hope you have a great start to the week!


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