Rotisserie Chicken Banh Mi Sandwich

Inspired by Mindy's post about composing Banh Mi sandwiches, I took a stab at it. Surprisingly simple to make, it's a hearty and filling sandwich.


Using veggie peeler, peel the carrot and part of the daikon into thin strips.  Cut into slices.  Mix 1 TB rice vinegar (komezu) with a pinch of salt and a 1/4 tea agave or sugar. Marinate the carrot and daikon in the vinegar mix for 15-30 minutes. 

Toast 2 sliced baguettes, hoagie rolls or hoagie-style hot dog buns.

Shred leftover rotisserie chicken into a microwave safe bowl.  Dab 1 tea thai curry paste or any other spicy mixture of your choosing along with a drop of agave to balance the hotness of the curry paste. Mix together with chicken, microwave until warmed through.

In the toasted buns, layer:
  • mayonnaise
  • chopped jalapeno pepper
  • warmed curry chicken (see above)
  • thin sliced cucumber
  • carrot-daikon pickle
  • lettuce
  • cilantro sprigs
Wrap up and enjoy! A good accompaniment is sugar snap peas.

Vegan Variation: replace the chicken with marinated tofu, seitan, or marinated mushrooms. Swap out mayo for vegan mayo.

Update: you can also use hamburger buns or mini-slider buns! Here are the slider versions, using leftover tandoori grilled chicken thighs:

Vegan Mini Peanut Butter Cookies with Sea Salt

I was inspired by this blog which was based on 101Cookbook's original recipe for vegan peanut butter cookies.  Reduced the maple syrup and the oil (b/c my peanut butter is particularly oily). These were delicious! Really cute in quarter-sized mini tea cookies. These are great with tea.  I could imagine them making an adorable gift package in a little stack with a ribbon.  Or you could try making them flatter and filling with jam for pb&j sandwich cookies.

Combine wet ingredients in a bowl with a fork:
1/2 C peanut butter
1/3 C maple syrup
2 TB olive oil (hazelnut or peanut oil would be decadent here)
1 tea vanilla extract

 Stir in the dry ingredients, use a spatula to combine:
1 C whole wheat white flour (gluten free flour mix or more whole-grainy flours should work too)
1/2 tea baking soda 
scant 1/2 tea coarse salt

Roll into balls about the size of a quarter. Put on non-greased baking sheet. Press fork tines into top to create pattern. Sprinkle coarse or flaky sea salt on top.

Bake at 350 for 9 minutes.

Made 18 mini cookies.

PS these freeze well and taste great straight from the freezer!

Update Nov 2012: made these with almond butter and they were delicious! You could try cashew butter for a more exotic take on these cookies.   Or do as J does and use almond flour or other ground up nuts (hazelnuts anyone?).


Coconut Crepes (Dairy Free)

Inspired by Paleo Crepes, I made a few edits to an old crepe recipe.  These (or any other crepe or pancake) are marvelous with lemon curd and blueberries!! Other favorite fillings are maple syrup and cinnamon, or plain old chocolate chips!

Blend in bowl:
1.5 C coconut milk and/or rice milk or other non-dairy milk
1 C whole wheat white flour
2 eggs

1 TB coconut/palm sugar
1/8 tea salt (like a pinch)

 Preheat heavy bottom pan to medium heat for a few minutes.  Pour in a small dab (<=1 tea) of olive oil to coat the bottom of the hot pan.

Drizzle batter in thin stream into pan.  Let it cook until it starts to firm up on the top.  Use large rubber spatula to unstick the crepe from the pan, then use a regular spatula to flip over. Cook for 30-45 seconds on the other side, until firm. Turn out onto plate and serve hot.

Repeat with remaining batter.

If you have leftovers, you can layer then with lemon curd, chocolate cream, whipping cream, jam or hte filling of your choice and stack into a crepe cake. Slice into wedges and serve cold.

Favorite Light Salad Vinaigrette; Edible Flowers Salad

This is so simple, and so good! I use this when I've got a light salad and don't want to discolor it with balsamic dressing.

Shake in a canning jar until emulsified. It will become sparkly in the light once the oil and vinegar are combined.
  • White Wine Vinegar (the good stuff, not plain old distilled)
  • Hazelnut oil (or other good quality nut oil)
  • Pinch Salt

I used this dressing on greens from my garden, topped with pear slices, crumbly gorgonzola (a new kind of gorgonzola that reminds me of feta!) and edible flowers (chive blossoms and the yellow flowers from mizuna greens that are going to seed).

Spring Veg Salad: Potato, Snap Pea, Asparagus & Mustard Vinaigrette

Made this with goodies from the farmer's market.  The potato gives the salad something warm and filling. The snap peas are just so slightly sweet. The photo at right is just the salad greens from my garden- ate the composed salad too fast to get a photo!

Cut 1-2 potatoes into large chunks (1-2 inches) and boil in water until done.  Drain and reserve.

Trim asparagus, put in a heat resistant bowl and pour boiling water over. Let it cook itself in the hot water until bright green, then drain and reserve.

Mix up mustard vinaigrette dressing:
white wine vinegar
olive oil
pinch salt
dab of mustard

Toss salad greens in the mustard dressing. Arrange on plates. Top with cooked potato, blanched asparagus, and snap peas cut on the diagonal.

Sprouted Wheat Sourdough English Muffins

 Had good success with the english muffin recipe at WildYeast Blog.  Made a few adjustments to include sprouted wheat berries.

Soak & sprout 1/2 C wheat berries in water.

Stir together in a bowl, cover, then let rest for 8 hours or overnight in the fridge;
  • 110 g sourdough starter (ripe or unfed)
  • 160 g whole wheat white flour
  • 100 g whole wheat flour
  • 276 g milk or mixture of cream/buttermilk and water to make 276 g
Grind up wheat berries. Add 75 g of ground sprouted wheat berries to the starter bowl along with:
  • 1 tea salt
  • 1 tea baking soda
  • 1.5 tea honey
Knead lightly until comes together in a dough. Roll out with more flour until 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 3" rounds. Let rise for 1 hour.

Preheat heavy bottomed skillet pan for 5 minutes over high heat.  Lower heat to medium/medium low (may need to be higher on electric stove).

Dry toast english muffin rounds in the hot pan- 2.5-3 minutes on each side and flip a couple times.  Don't let them burn!  They may look a little doughy on the sides but after about 9 minutes total on a gas stove mine were done. I had to reduce the heat to low after the first batch because the pan kept heating up.

Tip: don't use a knife to cut these open.  Push the tines of a fork in the sides and gentry pry open- this way you get the nooks and crannies instead of slicing through the muffin. 


Vegan Vietnamese Peanut Sauce with Tamarind

This is a lightened-up (and simpler!) version of an old favorite peanut sauce. I can't stand all those recipes out there that use plum or hoisin sauce- really easier and tastier to use tamarind! This version is vegan because there's no fish sauce. 

Chop 3/4 C raw peanuts in food processor until fine but not peanut butter.

Saute 3-4 minced cloves garlic in 1 tea olive oil until just fragrant. Add the chopped peanuts, and stir, cooking over medium-low heat for 3 minutes to release peanut scent.

Add and stir over medium high heat until it thickens, about 5 minutes:
1/2 C lite coconut milk
2 TB tamarind extract/paste
2 TB coconut or palm sugar
1 tea red chili pepper flakes

Remove from heat, store in small containers and use with your favorite salad roll, noodle or salad dishes. 


Vegan Cauliflower "Alfredo" Sauce

What a clever idea! Found it used on socca on this recipe. The concept is using steamed cauliflower for the base of a white sauce- so lower fat, higher nutrient content and vegan too. And tastes good too!

Blend until creamy:
1 cup steamed cauliflower 
2 TB olive oil

1/3 C almonds
enough water to get blender going
1/2 tea coarse salt (or more to taste)

1/8 - 1/4 tea black pepper
1/2 - 1 tea garlic powder (raw garlic is too strong) 

1/4 tea onion powder

Uses: spread over bread (focaccia, flat bread etc.), use as a sandwich spread or as a white pizza sauce.  It made a good lunch twirled into hot spaghetti with veggies!

Vegan "Alfredo" Pasta with Veggies: 

Saute mushrooms, green bell pepper, white onion slices, and extra leftover steamed cauliflower in olive oil until done and starting to brown.  

Throw in spinach and stir until wilted. Toss these veggies with cooked whole wheat spaghetti and a few tablespoons of the cauliflower alfredo sauce above. Sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste. 

Whole Wheat Sourdough Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry muffins are a favorite around here, and it's also a great way to use up the "discard" sourdough starter for when you feed your starter.


Stir together loosely in a medium bowl:
1 egg
1/4 tea almond extract
1/4 cup softened butter (or vegetable or coconut oil)
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup organic whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
3 TB sugar
1/2 tea salt
1/2 to 3/4 C frozen blueberries

Scoop or pour into oiled muffin pan. (I got 9 medium to large muffins out of this recipe)

Bake 15-25 minutes at 375F or until done in the middle.  Best when eaten hot!

Vegan Rhubarb Crisp with Walnut & Oat Topping (wheat free)

I bought a bunch of rhubarb at the farmer's market ($2.50!!) and then was stumped with what to do with it. Surprisingly, I nibbled a chunk of it that had been tossed in the sugar and it was not bad.  I have been enjoying the topping as a variation out of a raw vegan book by Ani Phyo.

Full disclosure: ate this for dinner and breakfast!! Seriously addictive... I am now citing a location in the yard to acquire a rhubarb plant.
Toss in a 9x9 inch pan:
1.5-2 lbs rhubarb, washed and cut into dice (this was 4-5 stalks)

1/3 C sugar
1 tea vanilla extract

In food processor, combine topping ingredients until comes together:
1 C oats
1/2 C pitted medjool dates
1/4 C coconut oil
1/3 walnuts
1/8 tea salt

Using hands, crumble the topping over the rhubarb in the pan. Bake at 375 F for 35-45 minutes, or until rhubarb is gooey and the topping is crisp.

  • Add diced oranges to rhubarb
  • Add grated ginger to rhubarb
  • Use pecans, hazelnuts or any other nut instead of the walnuts
  • Substitute dried figs for the medjool dates
  • Add nutmeg, cinnamon or other spices to the topping
  • Add flax meal or other nuts/seeds to to the topping

Easy Chicken Drumstick Chile Verde (Slow Cooker)

This is a simpler version of chicken chile verde.  Drumsticks are really the best choice- great flavor and super cheap! The bones impart good brothi-ness to the cooking liquid.

Pull the skin down to the ankle bones on 1.5 - 2 lbs chicken drumsticks.  Toss in slow cooker.

Add a couple cubed yukon gold potatoes, 2 smashed cloves garlic, 1 cubed white/yellow onion.

Pour 1 pint tomatillo salsa or sauce over and add as much water as is needed to just cover the contents.

Cook on low in the slow cooker for 6- 8 hours. Pull the bones and cartilage out and shred the meat. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve in bowls as a stew, or over cooked brown rice, or with warmed tortillas.

Vanilla Cream Pudding

Had way to many egg yolks left over from making angel food cake, so I decided to make vanilla pastry cream, and serve it up in ramekins as a cream pudding.  It makes a rich pudding and sets up fast (assuming you cook it to the right point).  I think the photo looks a little too yellow but you get the idea- like the color of french vanilla ice cream.

Used my trusted pastry cream recipe with  whole milk instead of the half and half, and added the seeds from half a vanilla bean to the mix. 

Make sure you cook it (stirring of course!) long enough to where it becomes thick and pudding-y consistency while on the stove. 

If you just bring up to a simmer without getting to this point, you could use it as a french vanilla ice cream base (i.e. chill the liquid then throw in an ice cream maker).


Chili Lime Jicama Sticks (raw vegan)

Super simple, but pretty tasty. The jicama is actually slightly sweet and has a good crunch, not too different from watermelon.  This is a great munchie snack!

Peel and julienne slice jicama

Toss 1 C jicama slices with juice from 1/2 lime.  Sprinkle with chili or chipotle chili pepper.

Serve as a summer potluck appetizer or a side slaw/salad with sandwiches. 


Slow Cooker Adzuki Bean & Acorn Squash

Wanting to try out adzuki beans in the slow cooker, I tried this recipe. It was quite bland -- but I did learn a few key points:
  • adzuki beans can be cooked in the slow cooker. Probably 6 hours on low in a modern crock pot (more hours on low, or use high on old cooler slow cookers).  This would be a great way to start off for tsubuan or other anko/sweet red bean paste recipes.  Particularly b/c pressure cooking seems to burst the beans. 
  • squash can be cooked in the slow cooker.  In cubes, with a little bit of water (probably don't need to submerge 'em), cook on low for 2-4 hours in modern slow cooker. Although, I think roasting brings out better flavor from squash.
Here's the recipe:
Soak 1 C adzuki beans in water overnight. Place in slowcooker with just enough water to cover by 3/4 inch. Add a small strip of kombu seaweed.

Cook on low 4 hours.

Open lid, add cubed acorn squash, 2 TB brown sugar, 1 TB soy sauce, 1/8 tea chili pepper. Stir.

Cover with lid and cook on low another 4 hours.

Dish out onto plates with slotted spoon. Drizzle with homemade teriyaki sauce.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Cinnnamon Raisin English Muffins (Vegan)

This is a vegan cinnamon raisin adaptation of the king arthur recipe for sourdough english muffins. However, they are a little tougher/drier than I'd like because whole wheat flour needs a wetter dough. Next time I'd do a mixture of whole wheat flour and regular all purpose, or the new kid on the block, "whole wheat white" which is apparently still whole wheat but a naturally lighter/finer wheat berry.

These freeze incredibly well. Defrost at room temp or in microwave, then split and toast.  Amazing with butter or salted coconut oil.

English Muffins Recipe
Dissolve 1 TB sugar in 1 C warm water (105-110 F)

Mix in 3/4 TB instant yeast, 1/2 C sourdough starter and 1/2 C whole wheat flour. Let it sit for a minute or two.

Add the following and beat well to combine:
1 oz olive oil
1/2 TB salt
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/4 - 1/2 C raisins
1 TB cinnamon

Now mix in 2-2.5 C flour (whole wheat,  regular all purpose or whole wheat white), one cup at a time until combined. Let raise for 1-5 hours.

Roll out to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 3 inch rounds using a cookie cutter or a circular can/glass. Lay out on a baking sheet and let rise about 1 hour.

Pre heat heavy bottom pan on a medium high gas flame.  One it feels hot, reduce to medium flame and place the muffins in the pan (you are dry toasting- no oil or anything in the pan). Let toast for 4-5 minutes on each side. Careful not to burn-- a thin bottomed pan will scorch even at the same temperatures.  Cooking times may be longer on electric stove (King Arthur's original recipe said 10-12 minutes on each side).

Finish by baking in 300 or 350 F oven for 10-20 minutes.

Let cool, then slice in half. Enjoy toasted!

Lemon Pudding Sauce (aka lemon curd)

The name "lemon curd" is off-putting I know. But this is delicious stuff. Turns into a saucy-pudding like consistency; smells like dutch babies (b/c of the eggs & lemon!).  This is an excellent way to use up extra egg yolks, especially because it can take a lot of 'em, doesn't require a lot of other ingredients and goes together quickly.

Would be amazing on crepes or pancakes. Seems like it would go nicely with a tea time snack of some sort. And it would go well with angel food cake, which is serendipitously what made all the yolks left over!

 Took this recipe but tweaked it for what I had on hand (tons of egg yolks) and less sweet.  Here was the end result:

Mix these in sauce pan:
1/2 C lemon juice (1.5 large lemons)
1/3 C sugar
4-5 egg yolks
< 1/8 tea kosher salt

Now add 6 TB butter, in cubes. Turn on the heat to low and stir until butter melts.

Now increase heat to medium, whisking and the curd will thicken quickly- took me 5 minutes on a gas stove.

Pour through a strainer. This removed a few bits of curdled/cooked egg bits so I'm glad I did this step (even though I considered skipping it!).

Scoop into sterilized jars- made two half-pint jars for me. 

You don't need basil for pesto!

After years of thinking that pesto could only be made with pine nuts and basil, I've seen many recipes using other greens, other nuts and other cheeses!

Found the idea on a message board to use radish tops- and since I had a bunch lying around from the farmer's market, decided to try it.

Pesto is great on sandwiches, over crostini or in making crutons, tossed in hot or cold pasta, on pizza or flatbread, or on tomatoes. You could even use it over grilled zucchini.

Bitter/Herby Greens to use in Pesto:
  • Arugula
  • Radish tops
  • Basil
Chop in food processor or blender or by hand: 
1-2 C bitter/herby greens
1/8 C nuts (pine nuts, cashews, almonds)
1 TB - 1/4 C parmesan or other hard cheese (or you could try nutritional yeast + onion powder for a vegan version)
1 clove garlic
1-3 TB olive oil 
1/8 tea salt
pinch black pepper

The amounts are pretty forgiving, just taste as you go.

Spoon into clean/sterlized jars.  Should keep a week or 2 in the fridge. I've heard it keeps longer if you drizzle a thin layer of olive oil over the top.

Here's a photo of the second batch- blended a bit smoother:

Angel Food Cake

Made this as a lower-calorie alternative to strawberry shortcake.  While it tasted good, didn't turn out perfectly due to some miscalculation with the oven rack positions... oh well, you can visit the link for a pretty photo of a better-executed angel food cake!

You will have a dozen egg yolks left over, so visit this post for ideas how to use 'em up! Lemon bars, puddings and other goodies await! 

Bring a dozen eggs up to room temp. Then separate (yolks versus whites-- make sure no yolk in the whites!

Grind 1.75 C granulated sugar in food processor until powdery. Reserve about half in a separate bowl.  Add 1 C + 2 TB cake flour, 1/4 tea salt and 1/2 vanilla bean to the sugar and grind.  (This is not the recipe to use any whole wheat type flour- you need something light that won't weigh down the eggs.)

Check the oven.  You need a rack in the oven that has enough clearance for the pan + 3-4 inches or more before the burner/element at the top. Don't do what I did- slid it in and while it cooked it ran into the top of the oven.... what a mess!

Now preheat to 325 F while you do the next steps:

Beat the 12 egg whites and 1.5 tea cream of tartar  to frothy.

Add the ground up sugar in a slow stream while beating (i.e. half of the 1.75 C you ground in the beginning). Continue beating until you get soft egg peaks - about 3-5 minutes? 

Add 1 tea vanilla extract and mix to combine.

Fold in flour-sugar-salt mixture until just combined. 

Pour into UNGREASED pan (use 9x13" pan or usual angel food cake or bundt cake pan).

Bake at 325 F for 45 minutes. Invert to cool. Slice and enjoy.

Falafel Salad with Tali Sauce and Zatar Seasoning

This is a surprisingly good change of pace from the usual salad (i.e. the ranchy/ceasary/vinegrette-y dressing kind). The carrots and red onion are a little sweet and the whole thing is really refreshing. This is a little different take on this salad with chickpeas and tali sauce.

Use Tali Sauce for the dressing. I make mine in big batches, then freeze in ice cube trays- so I can defrost a couple cubes for this salad.

Salad Ingredients:
Lettuce greens
grated carrot
cubed cucumber
sliced red onion
chopped flat leaf parsley
Falafel (make your own or purchase at costco or a middle eastern store)

Top with zatar seasoning (sumac, thyme, white sesame seeds, salt).  I got my jar from Penzey's and it is quite delicious. I've recently become fond of topping salads with dried herbs- helps add another layer to the salad.

Marinated Tandoori Grilled Chicken Thighs

Tandoori chicken is one of my favorites at the indian restaurants.  And you can recreate it pretty well on a charcoal grill instead of the traditional tandoor oven (although I have not-so-secret dreams of someday building my own clay oven in the backyard!)

Forget chicken breast- boneless skinless chicken thighs look like white meat, taste better than chicken breasts and are cheaper than even sale priced boneless skinless chicken breast!

Marinate over night:
1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs

juice from 1 lemon (approx 3 TB)
2-4 TB rice milk

2 TB ground corriander
2 TB ground cumin
1 tea turmeric
2 tea paprika
1/2 tea chili powder
1 tea salt
1/2 tea garlic powder

After marinating time, grill to perfection.

Serve with mashed potatoes, roasted indian cauliflower, chapati or naan bread or rice.  Make sure to get some cruciferous veggies (like broccoli) to offset the carniogenic effects of bbq-d meat. 

Asparagus Pickles

Surprisingly, these taste more pickle than asparagus! They were prettiest just after packing into jars and prior to canning in boiling water, which diminished their verdant green color.


Sterilize 2 pint jars (either boil for 10 minutes or use dishwasher on sterilize mode)

Wash 1.5 lbs asparagus. Snap off woody ends. Cut into lengths that will fit into pint canning jars (remember headspace!)
Peel and cut 1 shallot into halves (lengthwise).
Wash 2 sprigs rosemary.

Combine in a small saucepan and bring up to a boil. 
1 C (250mL) white wine vinegar
1.5 C (187.5mL) white vinegar
1/2 C (125mL) water
1/8 C (25mL) granulated sugar
1/2 tea (2.5mL) pickling salt

Pack asparagus into hot sterilized jars along with sprig rosemary, half of shallot and 3 peppercorns.  Pour hot vinegar liquid over up to 0.5" inch headspace.

Process in water bath canner for 15 minutes.

Pickled Garlic

Not sure how I will use these yet... they are pretty easy, the only bad part being peeling the garlic cloves!

Sterilize 4 quarter pint jars (the itty bitty 4 oz onces).

Separate the cloves of 4 heads garlic and peel.

While peeling garlic, combine in a small saucepan and bring up to a boil:
3/4 C rice wine viengar (komezu)
1/2 C white vinegar
1 tea granulated sugar
1/2 tea salt
optional 2 tea pickling spice

Pack peeled garlic into hot jars. Pour hot vinegar liquid over, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Process in hot water bath canner for 10 minutes.


Millet Almond Poppyseed Muffins

I must admit, usually muffin experiments (especially a gluten free, trying-to-be-healthy muffin experiment like this one) don't have great texture.  Great flavor- yes but usually not amazing crumbly texture. But this one does!  It rose beautifully and tastes like a "real muffin".  And it is one of the only ways to get my husband to eat millet!

And like all muffins, these freeze beautifully. So they make a good lunchbox snack.

Pulse in food processor until nuts are ground up:
1/2 C ground nuts (almonds, sunflower seeds)
1/2 C gluten free flour mix or finely ground oats or oat bran
1/4 C  hemp seeds or golden flaxmeal
1 tea baking powder
1/2 tea baking soda
1/2 tea salt

Add to food processor and pulse until are thoroughly combined:
1/2 C mashed bananas (approx 2 bananas)

1/2 C water (or rice/non dairy milk)

2 eggs
2 TB maple syrup (or substitute honey or coconut/palm sugar)

1/2 tea almond extract
1 tea vanilla extract

Finally, stir in 2 TB poppyseeds and 1.75 C cooked millet (or amaranth) and mix just to combine.

Pour into greased muffin pan.

Cook for 30 minutes in 375 F oven or until done in the middle.

Daikon Salad hits the spot!

Ok this is an old recipe, but I love it!  You never see this in restaurants in the US. 

This time I used a mandolin slices to cut the daikon into thin rounds, instead of using a veggie peeler to get thin strips.  Either way it is yummy!

The basic premise is:
Mizuna (or substitute chopped lettuce or spinach)
Katsuobushi (freeze dried fish flakes from a fish called Katsuo I think- see photo at right. This is nothing to be scared of- really tasty! get the more expensive kind that has larger flakes instead of powder. The powdery kinds are meant for making dashi soup stock)

Dressing: mayo, soysauce, ginger powder, mustard powder to taste

Eggplant Sandwich (and how to use up roasted eggplant)

I'm the only eggplant-eater in this house, so I have to get creative finishing off eggplants. 

I like to roast eggplant slices in the oven with a spray of olive oil.  For dinner, topping with hot tomato pasta sauce does the trick! But what about the rest of the eggplant?

Chopped up, it makes a very good sandwich filling. And it is vegan!

Chop in a food processor or cut/mash on a cutting board:
  • roasted eggplant
  • salt
  • pepper
  • lemon juice
  • balsamic vinegar
  • garlic/garlic powder
 Spread the eggplant spread on toasted whole wheat bread

Layer sliced roma tomatoes, lettuce and avocado.  Cut in half and enjoy!

Vegan "Cheesey" Broccoli Potato Soup

Tweaked a recipe from "Blissful Bites"- now this is a favorite soup! This is a great way to use up broccoli stalks, whose flavor is deliciously sweet but the texture isn't amazing.  I use mostly stalks and a little bit of the broccoli florets for this soup since it is mostly pureed anyway.

Most broccoli soups are pureed and hubby doesn't like straight up pureed soups.  So reserve some of the cooked potato and broccoli (or steam a little bit on the side) to put back in after pureeing the rest!

The soup itself is vegan (uses nutritional yeast for a slightly cheesey flavor). But I have to admit that I liked it best with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese on top-- for a strictly vegan version omit the cheese or use vegan cheese like Daiya.  Even with the real cheese on top, this recipe is less dairy-ish than a traditional "broccoli cheese soup".

Saute 1 chopped onion in olive oil until golden.

Add 2 C cubed yukon gold potatoes and  2-3 minced cloves garlic and stir. Cook for 2-5 minutes until everything is starting to yellow/brown.

Pour in 5 C water and stir, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan.

Stir in the following and let simmer for 4-5 minutes until potatoes are half soft.
1/3 C nutritional yeast ("nooch")
1 tea coarse sea salt
2 bay leaves
1/4 tea black pepper
1 TB basil (frozen is fine) 

Add 3 C chopped broccoli (stalks are great for this!) and simmer until the broccoli and potatoes are soft but not too mushy.

For chunky soup- remove some potato chunks and broccoli pieces and reserve. (or alternatively, steam a little bit of potato and broccoli on the side for this purpose).

Puree the soup- I like blending the whole amount to a cut-up consistency, pouring half back into the pan and then pureeing on high the other half of the soup. This gives a good variation in textures and makes the soup have body and a creamy texture.

Pour the soup back in the pan. Add the reserve potato and broccoli chunks. Add up to 1 -1.5 more teaspoons coarse salt, and pepper and garlic powder to taste. Bring up to serving temp. Then serve!

For non-vegan eaters: you can shred white cheddar over the top of the vegan soup to make it even more convincing!

Poker Chip Cucumber Slices

Maybe it is the wannabe-japanese in me, but I'm a little hooked on cutesy cutting of vegetables. I'm sure there is a name in Japanese for this phenomenon.  

Cucumbers have been on special at hte grocery store for 99 cents each so I've been eating these up!

1. Wash cucumber. 
2. Use a vegetable peeler to cut strips of peel off (and discard/compost/feed to dog!).
3. Now slice cross ways. 

I love the poker-chip pattern around the edge.  And it keeps snacking on cukes from feeling like a whole lot of peel-chewing.

These make a pretty and delish snack for work. Or I like them with a sandwich instead of chips!