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Beans, Dinner, Lactose Free, Recipes, Soups, Veggies

Vegetable & Farro Soup

November 20, 2017

Vegetable & Farro Soup

Though the seasons change ever so slightly here in Hawaii, a warm bowl of soup is still soothing once November comes around. The days are still sunny and the beaches are full of people, yet there’s a noticeable difference in the temperature.  This soup is based on one that is served at Eataly in New York City.  It’s really quite simple to make, and it doesn’t need to simmer for hours.  The soup is brimming with healthy vegetables, beans and whole grain farro. It is light yet satisfying.

Carrots, Onion, Celery, Leeks, Peas, Beans

The vegetables are sliced thin which enables them to be cooked for a shorter period.  This soup is ready to eat in 40 minutes.

Sliced Leeks

Use only the white and light tender green parts of the leek. Slice the leek into narrow strips so that they cook up nicely in a few minutes.


It seems that only a few years ago farro could not be found at any of our local markets. I would purchase farro on my annual trips to San Francisco and bring it home to Maui.  These days you can buy farro in the bulk section at most markets.

Vegetable & Farro Soup

Vegetable & Farro Soup
Adapted from Mario Batali's recipe for Eataly
Serves: 6
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup thinly sliced celery (about 2 celery ribs)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
  • 1 cup thinly sliced leek, white and pale green parts only (1 medium leek)
  • ¾ cup farro
  • 1½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup canned small white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small bay leaf (or half of a medium-sized bay leaf)
  • 1 heaping cup thinly sliced carrots (halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise ¼-inch thick)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons julienned basil for serving
  1. In a large enameled Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat the olive. Add the celery, onion and leek and cook over moderately high heat, stirring a few times, until softened. Add the farro and tomato paste and cook, stirring until the grains are coated, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the chicken broth and water to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the beans and bay leaf and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the carrots and cover the pot. Simmer on low for 20 minutes or until the carrots are just tender.
  4. Add the peas and fresh herbs. Simmer until the peas have warmed up, about 5 minutes. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle basil over each serving.



Beans, Dinner, Dressing, Italian, Recipes, Salad, Side Dishes

Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

June 5, 2017

Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

This salad is one you will never get bored with.  Crunchy lettuce, tart pepperoncini, wholesome chickpeas, and savory peppered salami, all tossed together with a refreshing oregano vinaigrette makes this a perfect lunch.  I love serving it with slices of hearty sourdough bread or avocado toasts.  There are many fine chopped salad recipes but this one created by Nancy Silverton and published in The Mozza Cookbook is by far my favorite.  This beautiful salad will bring much satisfaction to whomever you share it with.

Iceberg Lettuce, Radicchio, Pepperoncini, Onion, Chickpeas, Tomato, Salami & Cheese

Peppered Salami

There are so many different types of salami however I always reach for the peppered version. The slightly peppery crust adds an extra level of flavor to the salami.  Leftover slices are perfect in a sandwich or served with slices of extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Oregano Vinaigrette

Don’t hesitate to use lots of dried oregano in the vinaigrette. It really makes the dressing stand out and goes well with the chopped salad.

Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette
Adapted from Nancy Silverton's Chopped Salad Recipe
Serves: 6
  • Vinaigrette:
  • 2½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 medium garlic clove, crushed + 1 small garlic clove, grated finely
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or more to taste)
  • Salad:
  • 1 medium head iceberg lettuce cut into ribbons ⅓" wide
  • 1 small head radicchio cut into ribbons ¼" wide
  • ½ small sweet white onion cut into thin strips
  • ¾ pounds diced tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 6 ounces yogurt cheese sliced into ¼" wide strips (you may substitute with provolone)
  • 6 ounces peppered salami sliced into ¼" wide strips
  • 5 medium pepperoncini sliced into rings
  1. Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar and shake to combine. Set aside.
  2. In a large salad bowl toss the lettuce, radicchio and onions together. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, cheese, salami and pepperoncini. Spoon dressing over the salad and toss well so that all ingredients are well seasoned with the vinaigrette. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and more vinaigrette. You will not need all of the dressing. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and use within a week. Serve the salad with some good sourdough bread on the side.


Beans, Dinner, Lactose Free, Pressure Cooker, Recipes, Salad, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian, Veggies

Flageolet Beans & Wilted Greens

October 31, 2016

Flageolet Beans & Wilted Greens

A few years ago I purchased Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton’s highly regarded Canal House Cooks Every Day cookbook.  The book has gorgeous photos with straightforward, practical instructions and is formatted by the four seasons.  It’s just a lovely book.  I had not consulted it in several years but I won’t neglect it again.  An example of their beautiful cuisine is this simple and delicious meal that lets the beans and greens shine.

Dried Flageolets

The original recipe calls for borlotti beans but they weren’t available at any of the stores I visited.  Instead, I used flageolets, one of my favorite beans.  Beautiful pale green and ivory colored, they cook up nicely, holding their shape.  I used my pressure cooker to save some time but you can certainly cook them in a Dutch oven if you don’t have a pressure cooker.  As with all types of beans, some will break during the cooking process.  A few will be too soft.  Though it may take an extra 5 – 10 minutes, I sort through the beans discarding the broken and soft beans after they have cooked.  Your finished dish will look beautiful and all of the beans will be the perfect texture.

Cooked Flageolets

Flageolet Beans & Wilted Greens

Flageolet Beans & Wilted Greens
Adapted from Canal House Cooks Every Day
Serves: 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish
  • 1 cup dried flageolet beans, rinsed (sorted through to remove broken beans)
  • ½ medium onion cut in half
  • 1 bay leaf
  • good extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 5 ounces baby kale, spinach, or a combination (I used Organic Girl I Love Baby Kale mixture)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. For stove top pressure cooker:
  2. Place beans in pot with 5 cups filtered water, bay leaf and onion. Pressure cook for 25 - 30 minutes. Let pressure release naturally. Check beans for doneness. They should be tender and cooked through but not mushy. If they need a little more time, pressure cook for a few additional minutes or simmer on the stove until done.
  3. For Dutch oven stove top:
  4. Place beans in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot along with the onion and bay leaf and cover with at least 2½ inches of water. Bring the beans to a gentle boil, then turn the heat down so the beans simmer gently. Check on the beans after 50 minutes to see how they are doing. Add more hot water as needed to keep the beans submerged. Continue to monitor the beans until they are completely cooked through but not soft.
  5. If you made your beans in advance remove them from the refrigerator and place them in a pot with a few tablespoons of water and a good splash of olive oil (discard onion and bay leaf). Cover and heat on low until just warm.
  6. Meanwhile, put 1½ tablespoons olive oil and the sliced garlic in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Rinse your greens and add it to the pan with the water still clinging to the greens. Sauté the greens, stirring and turning them in the oil, until wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. To serve, place beans in a shallow bowl. Drizzle beans with a little olive oil. Top with the wilted greens and season with salt and pepper. I serve this with open-faced ham sandwiches but toasted garlic bread would be a delicious accompaniment as well.



Appetizers, Beans, Lactose Free, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

Easy Homemade Hummus

April 4, 2016

hummus - 1 (6)

Hummus and pita chips are a great snack any time of the day.  I have purchased hummus from our local markets in the past, but I’m always disappointed. Most of the time it’s because there’s too much garlic in the hummus for my taste.  When it comes to using raw garlic, especially in hummus and pesto, I prefer a light garlicky flavor, just enough to give the dish a nice zing, but also allowing the other flavors to shine.  This simple recipe does just that.  You taste the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, and a bit of garlic.  A few dashes of cayenne pepper adds a delightful touch of heat.  This snack will take you just 10 minutes to whip up in your food processor.

chickpeas - 1

I’ve tried a number of brands of canned chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) and finally decided that I like Eden the best (so far).  The beans have a nice color and a good texture.

hummus - 1 (7)

Easy Homemade Hummus
Ready in just 10 minutes!
Serves: 4 - 6 as an appetizer
  • 1 15 ounce can of chickpeas drained, 2 tablespoons of liquid reserved (you may reserve a few beans to sprinkle over the hummus)
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons reserved liquid from the beans
  • 1 very small garlic clove, pressed (scant ¼ teaspoon)
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • few grinds of black pepper
  • few dashes of cayenne pepper
  1. Place chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon reserved bean liquid, garlic, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. If the hummus seems too thick, add the other tablespoon of reserved bean liquid and process for a few seconds. Taste and add more salt and cayenne pepper if you desire.
  2. Before serving, drizzle a little olive oil over the hummus and sprinkle with a bit of cayenne pepper or paprika and reserved garbanzo beans. Serve with pita chips.



Beans, Chicken, Dinner, Recipes

Indian-Spiced Chicken with Chickpeas

March 15, 2015

Indian Spiced Chicken with Chickpeas I have a new appreciation for chicken thighs.  There. I’ve said it.  I never thought I would, but I’ve learned they are essential in certain recipes, such as this Indian Spiced Chicken.  It is exceptional.

Ground Coriander, Turmeric, Cumin, CayenneThe spices that flavor this dish are incredibly fragrant.  Your kitchen will be over whelmed with wonderful aromas!

Fresh Grated Ginger

Sliced Onions

Indian Spiced Chicken with ChickpeasAfter just an hour in the oven, the chicken is tender and moist.  The sauce is so tasty you’ll want to spoon it over your rice, which I quickly did (after taking a few snapshots of the dish).  My stepson, Ivan, loves Indian cuisine, but I have always been on the fence.  Now however,  I’m in love with this Indian recipe.

Indian Spiced Chicken Plate

Indian-Spiced Chicken with Chickpeas

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Serves 4


1 tablespoon canola oil

4 each, bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks, skin removed (you may also use 8-10 boneless skinless thighs)

1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter (or unsalted butter)

2 large onions, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons grated peeled ginger

1 1/2  teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed (if you want to have lots of chickpeas add another 1/2 can)

2 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon sour cream

salt to taste

fresh cilantro


Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 325°.  Heat oil in a large oven proof pot over medium high heat.  Season chicken with salt.  Working in two batches, cook chicken, reducing heat as needed to prevent over browning, until golden brown on all sides, 8 -10 minutes per batch.  Transfer to a plate.

Add butter and onions to pot, season with salt.  Cook, stirring often, until onions are soft and golden brown, 10 – 15 minutes.

Stir in garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne.  Cook, stirring constantly, until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir in chickpeas and 2 cups broth.  Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pot.  Add more broth if needed to cover chicken about three-fourths of the way up.  Bring to a simmer.  Cover pot and transfer to oven.  Braise chicken until fork-tender, 50 – 60 minutes.

Using tongs transfer chicken to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.  Remove pot from the heat and stir sour cream or yogurt into cooking liquid.  Season with salt.  Return chicken to pot and warm over low heat (do not boil or sour cream may curdle).

Transfer chicken to a large deep platter,  Pour sauce over and sprinkle with cilantro.  Serve with wilted spinach and basmati rice.



Beans, Dinner, Lactose Free, Recipes, Sandwiches, Vegetarian

Quinoa & Black Bean Burgers with Guacamole

June 14, 2014

Quinoa & Black Bean BurgerThe June/July issue of Fine Cooking magazine has a terrific article about quinoa and a number of tempting recipes that feature this unique grain/seed.  Quinoa is frequently referred to as a grain because it is cooked and used like one, however, quinoa is actually the seed of the Goosefoot plant.  Quinoa is so versatile and cooks quickly, 15 minutes to be exact.  It is delicious sprinkled on a kale salad with lemon-honey dressing.  The recipe that caught my attention was the quinoa and black bean burger.  I love burgers, beef as well as vegetarian, and this one is particularly good.

Garlic, Green Onions, Cilantro, Poblano PepperThis recipe is quite simple.  It involves just a can of black beans, quinoa, a few sautéed ingredients, spices, and guacamole.  Delicious straight out of the frying pan, the cooked patties firmed up nicely after being refrigerated.  We had the leftover patties the following day and they were perfect.  I warmed them briefly in the microwave, though you may choose to quickly pan fry them.  Served on a toasted onion bun or English muffin as the original recipe calls for, they are quite delicious.

Sliced Poblano

Poblano, Garlic, Green OnionsThe poblano pepper, garlic and green onions are briefly cooked, just to soften them slightly before adding to the other ingredients.

Cooked Tri-Color QuinoaI had tricolor quinoa in my pantry however any quinoa (white, red, or black) works well.

Quinoa & Black Bean Patty Ready to FryOnce you form the patties, chill them in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.  They are beautiful, filled with healthy black beans, quinoa, cilantro, and poblano pepper.

Quinoa & Black Bean Burger with Tomatillo Guacamole

Quinoa & Black Bean Burgers with Tomatillo Guacamole

Adapted from Fine Cooking

Serves 6

Ingredients: Burger

2/3 cups lower-salt chicken broth (or vegetable broth)

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed well

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil (keep 2 tablespoons oil in separate bowl)

1 small fresh poblano chile, finely chopped

4 green onions, thinly sliced

2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped

1  15-oz.can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup panko

1 large egg, beaten

1/2 teaspoon mild pure chile powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

kosher salt

6 English muffins or onion buns, lightly toasted

For the Guacamole

1 large avocado (we used a Green Gold from our garden.  You can also use Sharwil or Hass, though Hass are quite a bit smaller so use two)

juice of 1 lime

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 medium tomatillo, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon finely diced sweet onion (preferably Maui onion)

1 very small garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh serrano chile, or jalapeño


In a small saucepan, bring broth to a boil.  Add quinoa, cover, turn the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat, keep the cover on the pan.  Let stand for 15 minutes then fluff quinoa with a fork.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in an 8-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add the poblano, green onions and garlic, and cook, stirring, until just softened, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to a food processor.  Add the drained beans and quinoa, and pulse until the beans are chopped and the mixture is combined.  Do not over process, you want the burger to have a nice texture.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and gently stir in the cilantro, panko, egg, chile powder, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Gently form the mixture in to 6 patties.  Refrigerate, uncovered, until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

Meanwhile, make the guacamole.  Dice the avocado and squeeze lime juice over it, toss to coat well.  Sprinkle the avocado with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and mash the avocado lightly.  Stir in the tomatillo, cilantro, onion, garlic, serrano or jalapeño.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, lime juice, and more serrano pepper if desired.  The guacamole keeps well, covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

When you are ready to cook the burgers, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat.  I was able to cook all 6 patties at one time though you can cook them in two batches if your pan cannot accommodate them all at once (use less oil).  Once the oil is hot, add the burgers and cook until nicely browned, about 6 minutes.  Adjust heat as needed.  Check the burgers by lifting up an edge with a spatula.  You want the burgers to be well browned and sort of crispy on the outside.  Flip and brown on the other side, about 4 more minutes.

You may serve the burgers right away, on toasted English muffins or onion rolls.  I prefer to make the burgers in advance, chill them until they firm up, then gently reheat and serve. The texture improves once the burger has cooled completely.  Spread a bit of mayonnaise on the bun then top it with a burger and a generous dollop of guacamole.





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