Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Butter Bean And Tomato Salad

I've had moderate success with my two tomato plants this year and by moderate I mean that I have actually been able to gather enough tomatoes at one time to make something.

Look at these beauties. The wave of feelings is swelling within me. Pride. Resourcefulness. Thriftiness. Domestic Bliss. My grandma would have been proud.

While these sweet, cherry tomatoes are delicious straight off the vine, I decided to marry them with my other love: Butter Beans. Unlike their smaller cousin, the Northern Bean, Butter Beans are big and meaty and beg to be eaten with a fork. Your mouth won't even know that you just slipped it a vegetarian meal!

To begin the salad, heat 1/3 cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon minced garlic for one minute in the microwave. Let sit. Sure, you could heat it on the stove and let that sweet, garlicky aroma fill the room, but this method is quick and easy.

Next, cut 4 cups of cherry tomatoes in half and place them in a bowl.

Realizing that your initial bowl was too small, switch to a bigger bowl and add two cans of Butter Beans, drained and rinsed.

Drizzle the garlicky olive oil on top of the beans and tomatoes.

Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of Montreal Steak Seasoning (or coarsely ground black pepper, if that's all you've got.)

Add a generous 1/2 cup of of green onions, whites and greens, chopped.

Add a dash of rice wine vinegar and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

This salad has sweet, savory, salty, meaty, chewy and crunch. 
It's the total package. Enjoy!

Butter Bean & Tomato Salad
by Rachel @ Simple Girl


4 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2-15 ounce cans Butter Beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup green onions, whites and greens, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 tablespoon Red or Rice Wine vinegar.
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Heat olive oil and garlic in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute.  Let stand.  Combine tomatoes and butter beans in a bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil mixture.  Season with salt and Montreal Steak Seasoning.  Add green onions and vinegar.  Toss.  Just before serving, top with toasted pine nuts.

Serves 6

Friday, August 22, 2014

Chalkboard Tags - at Target!

School started yesterday. I'm somewhere in-between Yipee! and Sigh. Where did the summer go? One thing the girls and I love about back-to-school is school supply shopping!  A new school year. A fresh start. Sharp pencils. Crisp, coordinated folders. Who knew office supplies could create so much bliss?

While we were shopping at Target, I spotted these adorable little tags:  Chalkboard!  Of course, the permanent chalkboard pens were right by their side.

Arielle dressed to impress on her first day of middle school. She handed out apples to her teachers that were tied with green raffia and labeled with these cute chalkboard tags.

Ella celebrated her 10th Birthday on the first day of school and attached the chalkboard tags to the ultimate first-day-of-school-birthday-goody-bags:  Clear pencil cases with some super fun (also from Target) school supplies! The possibilities are endless!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Cream of Kohlrabi Soup

One of the things I like best about summer is our local farmer's market. I love gathering the kids on Tuesdays and driving them to the community center parking lot filled with white canopies where they are required allowed to pick one item. That grows from the ground. I'm not saying that we never indulge in chocolate bread and peppermint bath bombs, but a fruit or vegetable is a must.  It's fun to find unusual varieties of carrots and tomatoes and even more fun to find foods that we don't even recognize (i.e. that they don't sell at Costco.)

This was my pick for the week: kohlrabi. Kohlrabi has been described by culinary experts as a cross between a spaceship and an octopus. Can you see the resemblance? The name kohlrabi is of German origin and translates to "Cabbage Turnip".  Webster defines kohlrabi this way:
Form of cabbage (Brassica oleracea, Gongylodes group) of the mustard family, which originated in Europe. Its most distinctive feature is the greatly enlarged, globular to slightly flattened stem that grows just above the soil. Its flesh resembles that of a turnip but is sweeter and milder. Low in calories, kohlrabi is an excellent source of vitamin C, minerals, and dietary bulk. The young tender leaves may be eaten as greens; the thickened stem is served raw or cooked. Though not widely grown commercially, it is popular in some regions.

I asked the man under the white canopy how he usually cooked kohlrabi and he said that he he cooked it with chicken or put it in soup.  He said it was starchy like a potato, but not as heavy.

I decided to take his advice.
I made soup.

Start by peeling the outer skin of the kohlrabi and trimming off the ends.

Dice the kohlrabi into 1" pieces, along with one large diced sweet Vidalia onion.
Spread the veggies on a parchment lined baking tray.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.

NOTE A:  I probably should have used two pans, but I really, really, really don't like washing dishes.
NOTE B:  Thanks to my 13-year old daughter, the hand model, who has very lovely hands and is currently obsessed with nail polish.

Roast the veggies at 400 degrees F. for 30 - 40 minutes until the kohlrabi is soft and edges are golden.

Bring out your friend, Mr. Vitamix.
Prove to your husband that it really was worth spending almost $400 on a blender because now you can go to the farmer's market and make soup.

Blend the roasted veggies with 2 cups of chicken stock until it is creamy and lump free.  Pour the blender mixture into a larger pan and reheat, adding two more cups of chicken stock (1 quart in all.)

Add 1/4 cup of cream or buttermilk or coconut milk and adjust seasonings if needed.

 Ladle into bowls and garnish with more cream and green onion tops.

If you like the flavor of cream of asparagus soup or cream of broccoli soup or cream of cauliflower soup, you will LOVE the fresh and milder flavor of this one.

The ingredients are few and simple.
Just like good food should be.

Cream of Kohlrabi Soup
Serves 6

By Rachel @ Simple Girl


3 bulbs kohlrabi, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1 large sweet Vidalia onion, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
olive oil
kosher salt
1 quart chicken stock
cream, buttermilk or coconut milk, optional


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place kohlrabi and onion on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with  olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Place in oven and roast for 30 - 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender and starting to brown.

Remove vegetables from oven and place in a high speed blender.  Add 2 cups chicken stock and blend until smooth and creamy.  Pour puree into a heavy stockpot and add 2 more cups of chicken stock.  Gently reheat.  Add cream if desired and adjust seasonings if needed.

Ladle into 6 bowls and garnish with a drizzle of cream and green onions.