Counter Intelligence
Spicy Leek and Roasted Pepper Soup

This was the result of a “how do I cook everything in my fridge at once?” exercise.  Tasty and malleable, I’ll be doing something like this again very soon.

Spicy Leek and Roasted Pepper Soup

Leek Pepper Soup

two green and one red bell pepper, cut into strips

1-2 jalapeno peppers, cut into strips

3 small-medium leeks, trimmed, washed

half of a medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, sliced or crushed

Turn your oven or toaster oven to 400.  Toss the peppers with some olive oil and course salt, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet/in a pyrex and roast until the skins just start to blister.  We don’t really want char.  I forget how long this took.  15 minutes, maybe?  Keep an eye on em.

While the peppers are roasting, add a tablespoon of butter to a saucepan (or sub oil to make the recipe vegan).  Saute leeks, onions, and garlic until the onions and leeks are soft.  Add these items and all of your green pepper strips to a blender, and puree til smooth.  Add this mix back to the saucepan and throw in the red pepper strips whole.  Simmer and taste, you might want more salt.  If I make this again I’ll probably try it with some lime zest.  It’s a really nice starter recipe for almost anything, I think.  The base could take just about any addition of veggie or chicken, if that’s your inclination.  Also, I made mine extra spicy (act surprised) and had four jalapenos in there, two of them seeded.  So ratchet the jalapeno use to your spice liking.

Beet Green Bruschetta

This recipe was borne of necessity.  A certain friend of mine* doesn’t eat hummus or guacamole (no obstacle to friendship is insurmountable, kids) and I didn’t want his unfortunate picnic disability to keep him from some al fresco snacking.  This is tasty and pretty, and super simple.

Beet Green Bruschetta

Beet Green Bruschetta

1/2 onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, diced

1/4 cup diced fresh fennel (opt)

one bunch of beet greens (from 3-5 beets) washed and chopped, stems separated from leaves

one medium tomato or a handful of grape tomatoes

black pepper, salt

Heat some olive oil in a pan on medium-low heat, add onions, saute til translucent.  Add garlic, saute another few minutes before you add the stems of your beet greens (and fennel if you have it).  This can cook over low heat with occasional stirring until the onions and garlic start to brown.  It’s even ok to wait til things are sticking to the bottom of the pan, a little.  This is when you add your diced tomato (or quartered if you’re using grape tomatoes).  Stirring constantly as the tomato heats will allow the liquid from the tomato to deglaze the pan, making for a richer dish.  Add in your chopped beet green leaves and incorporate them well, they should wilt nicely.  Add some cracked pepper and a dash of salt.  Cook everything just long enough now to reduce the amount of liquid in the pan so you don’t soak the bread you spread it on.  I like it with some hard cheese shaved on top, asiago (pictured) or grana padano or parmesan.  You could probably add a few diced olives in there, too (and skip the salt).  Next time…

*Addn’l detail: This friend recommended I call this food item “Boomschetta, cause that shit was DOPE.”  

Sungold Tomato Sauce

And they said it couldn’t be done.  Most sauces are annoying cause you have to skin the tomatoes, but I sure as hell* wasn’t going to skin a hundred baby tomates, so instead we have this.  Basically, this works if you like chunky sauce and tomato skins don’t bother you.  And it works well.  I had an overabundance of yellow grape tomatoes from my most recent CSA pickup, as well as a bunch of other relevant items, and I thought about how opening your freezer to summer tomato sauce in the fall is kind of the best, so I’m gonna do it.  You can, too!

Sungold Tomato Sauce

pasta and kale

1lb sungold cherry tomatoes

1 head garlic

1 onion

2 stalks celery

1 green pepper

2 small carrots

1/4c basil leaves

herbs de provence

salt n pepa

First!  Oven or toaster oven to 400.  Drizzle garlic cloves (skin on) with olive oil, double wrap in foil, and stick in there.  Cut all your tomatoes in half and fill a little pyrex (or whatever you wanna roast em in) and toss with some olive oil, salt, and pepper.  These went into the 400 degree oven for something like twenty minutes.  they start looking like this:


and when they’re done they’ll look like this:


The garlic is done when you squeeze the foil (which will be hot, remember) and it’s soft, 40ish minutes.

Everything else (onion, carrots, pepper, celery) gets chopped finely and put in a pan with 1-2T olive oil until the carrots are tender enough for a food processor.  Add the basil and herbs a few minutes before transferring the vegetable mixture and roasted garlic to a cuisinart.  Blend!

Then put it all in a saucepan to combine!  End result:


Top photo is with pasta and kale!  So easy, I made it twice.  

*This idiom is especially apt, as hell isn’t sure, and I’m prone to taking on needlessly time consuming and tedious projects.  This time I didn’t.

Cilantro Lime Potato Salad

This.  Rocks.  I hate mayo, so I wanted a vinegar-based recipe for potato salad.  But instead of doing a traditional German version with parsley, I wanted to use the cilantro I’d gotten from my CSA.  Lime juice, vinegar, vegan Mexican Chipotle sausage instead of bacon?  Yes.

Cilantro Lime Potato Salad

Potato Salad

3c sliced potatoes

half a medium onion, diced

two cloves garlic, sliced

half a link of Mexican Chipotle vegan sausage

1T butter/oil

juice of one lime

2T white vinegar

2T water

2T fresh cilantro

Boil potatoes (quartered, sliced, however you want it to look) for about ten minutes, or until just fork tender.  Drain and place in a cold water bath so they don’t overcook.  

Brown “sausage” in a skillet and set aside, letting it cool.  Add 1T of oil/butter to the pan and saute onions until just browned.  Add garlic and stir for a minute.  Add lime juice, vinegar, and water, bring to a boil.  Let the liquid reduce by half, then add your potatoes and chopped cilantro and combine thoroughly.  Crumble or dice the sausage and add that in, as well.

Strawberry Vinaigrette

We got fresh, local, delicious, adorable strawberries in my last CSA distribution.  I blended six of them with a few tablespoons of avocado oil, a couple tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar, some purple basil leaves, and some ground green pepper.  Loving it.

Strawberry Vinaigrette

Asparagus and Carrot Fried Pancake

I’m not totally sure why I thought to make this.  I was trying to think of something different to do with asparagus.  Grill for salads?  Saute for an egg scramble?  Then I remembered one of my breakfasts in California this March, when I had a perfect potato pancake with a sunny-side egg and delicious green mole.  I got out my grater and some veggies.

Last week was my first CSA distribution for the 2012 summer season (!!) so instead of buying groceries I looked to the contents of my full fridge.  One large white carrot and three large stalks of asparagus formed the substance of the mix, with some garlic chives for good measure.  I had some Citrus and Garlic Chive Dressing made earlier this week, which perfectly completed the salad.

Asparagus and Carrot Fried Pancake

Asparagus Carrot Pancake

one large carrot

three large asparagus stalks

a few garlic chives

one egg


2T coconut oil

Grate the carrot and asparagus into a bowl, use kitchen shears to cut in a dice of garlic chives.  Pro-tip: knuckles are not grate-proof.  Add some spices you have lying around.  I think I added cayenne, paprika, CHILI 3000 “The Now Chili” (no joke), and a dash of herbs de provence for no good reason.  A pinch of salt, also.  Whisk egg in a separate bowl and add to the carrot/asparagus mixture.  Heat a nonstick pan and add 1T coconut oil.  I made four palm-sized pancakes, and felt I needed to add a little more oil when I turned them.  My friend and breakfast chef in Cali gave me the tip that coconut oil helps to make a nice crust when you fry.  And it did!

I’m maybe a little too pleased with myself over this one.  You should try it.

Citrus and Garlic Chive Dressing

This week marks the beginning of Salad Season.  I’m excited.  Really!  For this dressing I used about 2T orange juice, 2T grapefruit juice, 1/4c walnut oil, 1T diced garlic chives, 1t apple cider vinegar, a pinch of salt, and a couple dashes of paprika.  If you have an immersion blender, whip it out!

Citrus Garlic Chive Dressing

Spicy Spanishish Rice with Grilled Shrimp

One night I had a dream that I was making rice and then I had all these tomatoes and I chopped them up and added them in and the liquid from the tomatoes made the rice delicious and somehow the tomato skins weren’t annoying (which is how you know it’s a dream, cause in real life that shiz would drive me crazy) and when I woke up I thought “I’ll make paella for my roommate’s birthday dinner party!  Kind of!”  And that is how it happened.  I present to you, a lazy man’s version of something that is reminiscent of paella.

Spicy Spanishish Rice with Grilled Shrimp

Rice and Shrimp

2T olive oil

Two (2) links vegan Mexican Chipotle sausage, sliced

one large onion

Two (2) cloves garlic

Two (2) cups rice

one 28oz can whole tomatoes (I used San Marzano) crushed by hand (fun!  it is recommended that you remove your shirt)

Three (3) cups water, or so


chili powder

cayenne pepper

black pepper


Heat the oil in the biggest pan you have.  Heat sausage through until just about browned.  Add onions and garlic to sweat for a few minutes.  Add rice to the pan and stir to coat with oil/toast mildly, not more than a minute.  Add a cup of water, liquid from the canned tomatoes, and stir well, making sure nothing’s sticking to the pan.  Crush the tomatoes by hand!  This is fun and messy.  Don’t overthink it.  Add in all your spices (save the salt for the end) and add water (or stock?) til the rice is covered.  Hopefully your rice is cooked in about fifteen minutes!  Salt needed will depend on the “meat” you use.  Mine was pretty spicy/salty to begin with.

I made the rice a day in advance, and heated it as I grilled the shrimp.  Winner.

Summer Citrus Salad

This is one my mom used to make all the time in warmer months.  It’s a refreshing delicious salad, very pretty, and super simple.  Fresh, juicy grapefruit and tangelos (or oranges, or cara cara?) are complimented by mild avocado and crunchy candied pecans.

Summer Citrus Salad

Summer Citrus Salad

This is more about assembly than anything else.  I used a head of lettuce, one avocado, two small oranges, one medium grapefruit, and a cupful of candied pecans.  I’ve used a bunch of methods for candying pecans, but this time it was a sugar and egg white mixture with chili powder, cayenne, and cinnamon.  Enjoy!

Lunch!  vegan chipotle sausage and spinach cooked in a reduced carrot soup with pecans over crisp batard

Lunch!  vegan chipotle sausage and spinach cooked in a reduced carrot soup with pecans over crisp batard