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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.



Dinner, Lactose Free, Recipes, Side Dishes, Soups

Hearty Tomato Herb Soup

February 19, 2015

Hearty Tomato Herb SoupI enjoy soup but it is not something I would typically order in a restaurant. More often than not, they contain dairy and being lactose intolerant, I have to pass.  So when I’m in the mood for soup I make my own at home, and lately, I’ve been in a soup mood. Maybe it’s due to the weather here on Maui.  It has been pleasantly cool and we’ve had more rain than we have seen in years.  We can go months and months without a drop!  So a bowl of hearty soup in February seems just right for lunch.

Onion, Carrot, Celery This soup is full of vegetables and fresh herbs.  There’s a tad of butter for sautéing  the vegetables, but other than that, it’s fat-free.

Tomatoes for Herb SoupLuckily, we have some nice tomatoes in the garden now.  Tomatoes are not the easiest fruit to grow.  They need a lot of attention (in our area), but with patience, you will be rewarded with the most delicious, juicy tomatoes ever.  If you don’t have fresh tomatoes for this soup, there are many good canned tomatoes you may use instead.

Oregano, Thyme, Parsley, BasilI appreciate our beautiful basil, Italian parsley, thyme, and oregano growing happily in the back yard. They add a wonderful fresh flavor to this soup.  By the way, this soup can be quickly prepared in an hour or so.

Cooked Green Beans

Hearty Tomato Herb Soup

Hearty Tomato Herb Soup

Serves 8


1 tablespoon butter or olive oil (I use Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup diced carrot

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced zucchini

2 cups peeled, seeded, diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

1 bay leaf

3 cans chicken broth (14 ounce)

3 cups water

1 cup cooked, chopped green beans

1 cup cooked rice (brown or white)

salt and pepper

grated parmesan, optional


In a large saucepan sauté onion, carrot,  and celery in butter over medium heat for 5 – 7 minutes. Add zucchini and sauté another 4 minutes or so.  Add tomatoes, herbs, bay leaf, broth, and water to saucepan.  Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Add cooked green beans and rice to pan. Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle grated parmesan over soup if desired.


Lactose Free, Recipes, Soups, Vegan, Vegetarian

Golden Soup

February 9, 2015

Golden Soup Bonnie Mandoe, a former Maui resident, published her cookbook Vegetarian Nights: Fresh From Hawaii in 1994.  It is still one of my favorites.  Her recipes are very simple to make, and full of rich flavors.  I recall ordering a veggie burger many, many, years ago at Maui Coffee Roasters, which still exists today.  The burger was topped with green chile pesto, a recipe found in her cookbook.  It made that burger so special.  One of Bonnie’s dishes that I have made many times is her delicious Golden Soup.  Golden from turmeric and nutritional yeast, it’s a breeze to make.  You can find nutritional yeast in the bulk section of your favorite health food store.  I love it. I always have some in my pantry and use it to make mock chicken tofu as well.

Red LentilsRed lentils are usually orange in color.  They don’t hold their shape well, and are best suited to thicken soups, as is the case with this recipe.  So don’t be disappointed when this happens, it’s part of the plan.

Carrots, Potatoes, Celery & Bay LeafLots of tasty vegetables go into the soup, beautiful orange carrots, celery and creamy potatoes. I’ve made this soup Bonnie’s way, using vegetable bouillon cubes however this time I used chicken broth because I didn’t have the bouillon cubes in the pantry.  So that means it isn’t a vegetarian soup, but you can easily make it the original way for a vegan meal.  Also feel free to add cup of diced zucchini once the potatoes have cooked through a bit.  Simmer for another 5 minutes or until the potatoes are just perfectly cooked.  Add the parsley and nutritional yeast.

Golden Soup for Lunch

Golden Soup

Adapted from Vegetarian Nights cookbook

6 Servings


3 cups water if using chicken broth

2 cans (14 oz.) chicken broth or 2 vegetable bouillon cubes combined with 6 1/2 cups water

1 cup diced onion

1 garlic clove, pressed

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 bay leaf

1 cup red lentils

1 cup diced celery

1 1/2 cups diced carrot

1 cup diced potato (I like to use Yukon Golds)

2 tablespoons minced parsley

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

salt and pepper


Bring water and chicken broth or water and bouillon cubes to a boil.  Turn  the heat down to a simmer and add the onion, garlic, turmeric and bay leaf to the pot.  Continue to simmer for 10 minutes.

Wash the lentils thoroughly in several changes of water until they stop foaming.  Drain and add to the soup, along with the celery, carrots, and potatoes.  Simmer another 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are just tender.  The cooking time will depend upon how large or small you cube your potatoes.  I go for a fairly small cubes for this particular recipe.

Add the parsley and whisk in the nutritional yeast.  Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.



Dinner, Lactose Free, Recipes, Soups

Maui Sweet Corn Chowder

December 7, 2014

Maui Sweet Corn ChowderThe climate in Hawaii couldn’t be better these days.  “Best weather on the planet” as Hawaiian weatherman Guy Hagi puts it!  The blazing summer heat is gone, at least for several more months.  Everyone I know, looks forward to this time of year.  Believe it or not, you may even have to dig out that sweater tucked away in the closet.  So, what better time of the year than now to make a big pot of corn chowder?

Sylvester's Sweet Maui CornHawaiian Moons grocery store has the best fresh, sweet corn.  I bought some the other day and noticed the label on the package: Maui Grown – Legendary Sylvester’s Sweet Corn.  I don’t know who Sylvester is, but I can tell you that his corn is fabulous.

Yukon Potato Cubes, Diced Ham, Maui Corn Yukon Golds are my favorite potatoes to use in corn chowder.  Their firm but creamy texture holds up well in this recipe.  If I have leftover baked ham from a special occasion dinner, I freeze thick slices and use it in corn chowder.  Most of the time, I ask the deli to cut a 1/2 inch thick slice of ham (Safeway’s Ham Off The Bone or Black Forest Ham).  You can use bacon instead of ham if you prefer.

Maui Sweet Corn Chowder

Maui Sweet Corn Chowder

Makes 8 cups


1 1/2 tablespoons butter (I use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)

1 cup diced onion

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 14.5 ounce can chicken broth

2 cups (about 1 pound) peeled, cubed potatoes 1/2 inch thick (Yukon Gold)

2 cups whole milk (I use lactose free milk)

1 14.75 ounce can creamed corn

4 ears fresh corn (about 3 cups corn kernels removed from cobs with sharp knife)

1 3/4 cups diced ham (about 10 ounces)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

fresh chives (optional)


Heat butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onions, and sauté until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add flour and stir continuously for 1 minute.  Pour in chicken broth, stirring well.  Add diced potatoes making sure they are submerged beneath the broth mixture.  Adjust heat to medium low, cover pot and simmer potatoes in broth for about 12 – 15 minutes. Give them a stir now and then.  Check for doneness at 12 minutes.  Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your potato cubes. If your cubes are on the small side, check for doneness after 10 minutes. Potatoes should be barely tender.  They will continue to cook further once other ingredients are added to the pot.

Once the potatoes are just tender, add the milk, creamed corn, fresh corn kernels and ham.Turn the heat up to medium, and simmer until potatoes are fully cooked and the chowder has thickened and reduced a bit, about 15 minutes.  Add salt, a few grinds of pepper, and a few pinches of cayenne.  Adjust seasoning to taste.

Sprinkle minced chives over chowder before serving.

*The chowder freezes well.  Gently reheating on the stove is suggested, rather than using the microwave (stove top  heating produces a rich, creamy texture where as the microwave will give you watery chowder).

Dinner, Recipes, Soups, Vegetarian, Veggies

Tomato Soup with Feta, Olives & Cucumbers

September 7, 2014


Fresh Tomato Soup with Feta, Olives & CucumbersLeave it to David Chang to come up with this unusually delicious tomato soup.  He is such a creative chef, always dreaming up new mouthwatering recipes.  One of these days I’ll make it to New York, sit at the bar of his famous Momofuku restaurant and slurp up spicy miso ramen with smoked chicken and poached egg.   Until that day comes, I’ll have to be content with preparing my own renditions of David Chang’s recipes.  So, with that in mind, and a dining room table covered with baskets of fruit from the garden, including one full of tomatoes, this recipe was perfect.

Homegrown Big Beef Tomatoes I’m so lucky to have the best “Big Beef” tomatoes growing in the garden. John spends a lot of time looking after the plants making sure they are watered early in the morning and applying regular supplements of organic fertilizer.  You just can’t buy tomatoes like these at any store that I know of.  This recipe calls for 5 tomatoes. Hmm.  I used 2 pounds (about 6 medium) and there was enough soup for just two servings, not four as the recipe states.  I did use all of the onion, oregano and vinegar the recipe calls for.  If you want to make enough soup to serve four, double the recipe.

Red Onion & Oregano

Finely Sliced Red Onion

Onion, Olives & OreganoThough the sautéed onions are not included in the title of the recipe, they may be the star of the dish, second only to the vine ripened tomatoes.  After a slow sauté in olive oil with the olives and oregano, red wine and sherry vinegar are added.  The mixture is set aside until the soup is served, then placed on top of the soup with the other garnishes (cucumbers, grape/cherry tomatoes, feta).  The vinegar adds a zing to the sweet onion and savory olives.  I could eat the sautéed, herbed onions and olives alone.  They are that good.

Fresh Tomato Soup with Feta, Olives & Cucumbers

Tomato Soup with Feta, Olives & Cucumbers 

Adapted from David Chang/Food & Wine Magazine

Serves 2


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup pitted Nicoise olives (I used assorted olives I had on hand)

2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

kosher salt

1/2 small Kirby or Keiki cucumber, thinly sliced

3 teaspoons honey

2 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped

freshly ground black pepper

2 ounces cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

baby greens for garnish


In a  medium saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil.  Add the onion, olives and oregano and cook over moderately low heat, stirring until the onion is softened, about 7 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in both vinegars.  Season with kosher salt.  Cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, toss cucumber slices with 1 teaspoon honey and season with salt.

In a blender, puree the chopped tomatoes with 2 teaspoons of honey and season generously with salt and pepper.  Pureeing tomatoes may cause quite a bit of air bubbles that will often make the sauce appear pink or orange in color.  I gently heated the pureed tomatoes for a few minutes, stirring the mixture often, then transferred the pan to an ice bath until cooled.  This step will transform the sauce into a gorgeous bowl of tomato soup.  You could also prepare the tomatoes in advance and store in the refrigerator for a few hours so that the air bubbles have time to settle down.

Pour the soup into shallow bowls.  Top with the onion-olive mixture, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, feta and a few grinds of pepper.  Garnish with baby greens if desired.


Dinner, Recipes, Side Dishes, Soups, Vegetarian

Summer Roasted Tomato Soup

September 10, 2013

Tomato SoupOur “Big Beef” tomato plants aren’t producing large tomatoes anymore, just a few golf-ball sized orbs.   The plants are looking a bit ragged yet we are still collecting a few tomatoes here and there and they’re so much better than any supermarket tomatoes (in our area, that is).  I had 4 pounds of ripe tomatoes and the freezer was already well stocked with fresh tomato sauce and homemade pizza sauce and there was no way I was going to oven dry tomatoes for 6 hours in this heat!  So soup it was going to be. I adapted this recipe from David Lebovitz who adapted his recipe from The Bonne Femme Cookbook.

thymeThyme is a perfect match for the roasted tomatoes.  Martha Stewart uses marjoram which would certainly work just as well in this soup.

Roasted TomatoesRoasting the tomatoes helps to intensify their natural sweetness and imparts a more delicate flavor to the garlic and onions.

Tomato Soup up close

Summer Roasted Tomato Soup

Makes 2 quarts

Adapted from David Lebovitz blog


4 pounds ripe tomatoes

1/2 large onion, sliced

6 – 10 cloves garlic, peeled

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 1/2 cups liquid (I used half water and half chicken broth)

2 1/2  teaspoons minced thyme

1 tablespoon sugar


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Core the stem portion of the tomatoes.  Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally and squeeze out the seeds.  Toss the tomatoes with the olive oil and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet and season generously with salt and pepper.  Rub a little oil on the onion slices.  Turn the tomatoes so they are all cut side down and lay onion slices between the tomatoes and garlic.  Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are completely soft and beginning to char on the bottoms.  Slip off the tomato skins before proceeding to the next step.

Warm the water and stock in a large saucepan with the tomatoes, garlic, onions and any juices left in the pan.  Add the thyme.  Once warm, simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool.  Blend the tomato mixture with the sugar (My blender could not accommodate the entire recipe so I did this in two batches).

I noticed that blenderizing the tomato mixture meant aerating the ingredients which gave the soup a very light orange color.  If you slowly reheat the soup, the color changes into a vibrant and gorgeous color.  This turned out to be a wonderful soup and I will be adding  it to my collection of recipes.

***For vegetarian tomato soup replace the chicken broth with water.


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