Category Archives: vegetarian

Green Pea Soup from Bergdorf Goodman – Happy St. Patricks Day

IMG_7457IMG_7459IMG_7455 IMG_7466 IMG_7469Let’s celebrate St. Patricks Day with this delicious green soup! The first time I had this soup was downstairs in BG and I thought to myself I must re-create this delicious light soup. Low and behold along came *The Bergdorf Goodman Cookbook which included this delicious recipe.   My two favorite items to order on the BG menu are the Gotham Salad and  the Green Pea Soup and they are both right there in this wonderful little cookbook. There are many other delightful recipes in the book as well which make it a worthwhile purchase. The shocking part of this delicious soup was the addition of a sweet potato and soy sauce. I didn’t see that coming, I would have made it without either of those two items. The soy sauce adds an intense layer of flavor and the potato gives it some real texture. Blend well. I used my high-speed blender for this .

*The Bergdorf Goodman Cookbook by Laura Silverman–available through Amazon or Bergdorf Goodman


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 1/2 cups yellow onion, chopped

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrots

1 whole sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1 Tablespoon chopped garlic

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, if you have white pepper use it but I didn’t so I used black

3 3/4 cups chicken stock

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 lb. fresh or frozen , thawed green peas. I used one whole bag of frozen green peas.

1/2 cup chopped fresh flat parsley


Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat and sauté the onion, celery, carrots, sweet potato, garlic, salt and pepper until the vegetables are tender but not brown. I let it cook down for about 1/2 hour.

Add the stock and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Stir in the peas and just blanch them for a minute.

Turn off the heat. Cool slightly, then add the parsley ( don’t omit the fresh parsley, please) Taste for Salt but I found it was just right with the 1 teaspoon.

In a blender or food processor, do it in batches ( I did it in 3) , puree all the ingredients until smooth. Serve warm!

Love the taste and enjoy all the healthy benefits!!!

*can be made vegan with vegetable stock

Mushroom Barley Soup (can be vegetarian)

I have the funniest story about me and this soup. The first time I made it, I received the recipe from a friend. I didn’t see that it said .5 lbs. of mushrooms and I thought it was 5 lbs! So you can only imagine how much chopping I was doing. I had never seen a recipe say .5 instead of 1/2 lb! Joel happened to be in the kitchen and he kept saying that is an awful lot of mushrooms, and until I looked at it carefully I hadn’t seen that it said .5 . Who writes .5 ? Well, we had enough mushroom barley soup for the whole winter and then some–it expanded to a huge amount, and I had to keep adding liquid, it was hysterical. Once I realized what I had done, I had a good laugh, but the soup was still pretty tasty. I will write it it the way it should be and I doubt you’ll be making that same mistake any time soon. This is a very tasty , deeply robust soup, very healthy rendition of Mushroom Barley Soup. (and I always wear my reading glasses when I read a recipe now because you never know when you really need to see the difference between .5 and 5! )


1/3 cup dried mushrooms, like porcini

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

12 medium carrots, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 lb. of white mushrooms, coarsely chopped

1/2 lb. of shitake, cremini, portabello or other mushrooms, coarsely chopped

1/2 lb. of whole barley( I had to use pearl barley because that’s what I had in house, it’s fine) I just used 1/2 a bag. Don’t worry over exact measurements here, just eyeball it. If you have a scale, you can measre it exactly, I just halved the bag.

6 cups of beef broth (vegetarians can use vegetable broth)  and you will need the other 2 cups in the box if you are using boxed broth. You will need 8 cups total, just start out with 6.

3 tablespoons sherry

* 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar – I like this and add it before I serve it. It’s no biggie if you don’t want to use or don’t have it.


Cover dried mushrooms with 1 cup of  hot water and set aside for 20 minutes. Reserve the liquid and finely chop mushrooms.

Heat oil in heavy bottom pot (Le Creuset).

Saute onions and carrots over medium heat until onions begin to turn golden and transparent. Add garlic and saute for a minute. I always throw a bit of kosher salt and pepper in while veggies saute. Just a bit, you’ll taste for Salt and Pepper later.

Add fresh mushrooms(dried ones as well)  and saute for about 5 minutes until mushrooms release their water. Raise the heat and add the barley. Saute until barley begins to color. Add broth and sherry. Add mushroom soaking liquid to pot. Add kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Soup will start to naturally thicken as barley plumps up, if you need to add more liquid either water or broth will be just fine.  Simmer for about an hour, you will probably need more liquid, I always add the other 2 cups of broth, and I add water then if it is still too thick, play it by ear. I also add additional Salt and Pepper at this point, you will have to adjust to your own personal taste.  Add vinegar right before serving, if you are using it.  Serve with nice crusty bread! Enjoy!

This makes for a delightful lunch meal with a salad and bread. I also make this in the morning , put whole pot in fridge ( once it cools down) and right before dinner heat it up. This gives flavors time to meld together, and then if you need to add more liquid  you will add water since you’ve already added the additional 2 cups of broth. Freezes up beautifully, and exactly what I will do, because whole family will be coming to visit at the end of week, Yeah!!!! 🙂 🙂

Lasagna in the Slow Cooker

I have to say when I first heard about lasagna in the slow cooker I was sort of skeptical.  My friend Cathy told me about it; she said she had made it for her family and I should give it a go.   The original recipe is from Jessica Seinfeld, who sneaks vegetables and healthy stuff into her food. I did make a few changes from original recipe , I used more sauce and a little more salt , I used fresh spinach which can easily be substituted for ground turkey, sausage, or any type of meat you like.  Next time I make this recipe I will be using meat because it really was quite easy and pretty quick even by slow cooker standards. It cooked in 3 1/2 hours, looked amazing and tasted delicious. I am still a little surprised by how good it was. The spinach wilts down and almost looks like basil in there. Even if you don’t like spinach, don’t worry because even though you start out with 5 ounces (which looks like a lot),  you hardly taste it at all but for those of you who do like it, it’s an added bonus. This lasagna was moist, cheesy and hearty.   So get out your slow cookers and give it a go. This is especially great for a big crowd. It easily serves 6 people.  We of course had a chicken dish alongside, because no amount of prodding could get Joel to try the lasagna, once he saw the spinach. Oh well, what are you going to do? He doesn’t know what he’s missing.  Thanks Cathy for the great idea, and of course, Jessica Seinfeld.


I used 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes (the recipe original calls for 3 14 oz. cans but I thought it needed a little more sauce and I used 2 large cans which are app. 28 oz. each . You can always use homemade sauce if you have it already made and want to use it. Just make sure you have enough.)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp. dried oregano

1 teaspoon kosher salt

*1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (use as much or as little of this, whatever you like)

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 containers (15 ounce each) ricotta (Fresh is awesome, but not always available. Use whatever you’d like. I used part- skim ricotta.)

2 cups grated mozzarella (again use whatever you’d like, package is fine. Just don’t use fat free, it doesn’t work well.)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

12 lasagna noodles (about 3/4 of a 1 lb. box) don’t cook them*see note at bottom

5 ounces (or 6 cups) of baby spinach (1 package in the produce section is 5 ounces)


In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, salt, red pepper and black pepper. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, 1 cup of the mozzarella and Parmesan.

In the bottom of a 5 – 6 quart slow cooker (which I sprayed with Pam first), spread a thin layer of sauce. Top with 3 of the noodles (breaking to fit as necessary). Spread about 1 cup of the sauce over the noodles and layer with 2 cups of the spinach and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese mixture. Repeat twice more with the noodles, sauce, spinach and cheese mixture. Top with the remaining 3 noodles, sauce and 1 cup of shredded mozzarella.

Cook on low, covered, for 3 – 3 1/2 hours. Noodles should be tender in center by then, mine was. I then switched it to warm until we ate it. I served it from slow cooker with a big spoon, you don’t get those neat little squares but it really held together quite well,  I left some in fridge for leftovers and froze the rest for another time.

*I broke the side noodles in 1/2 and just angled them a little, keeping the center one intact. Once it’s all cooked it doesn’t matter that they were broken, it really came out perfectly.

Winter Cabbage Soup with Veggies


Skiing on Aspen Mountain


Simmering Soup

Because this has a lot of cabbage I am calling it Cabbage Soup but it’s really a tomato based Vegetable Soup with a lot of cabbage — 1/2 head of cabbage. I love it and it’s very tasty and delicious. Heart warming on these cold winter nights. A perfect lunch meal or dinner alongside a salad with some toasty crunchy bread for dipping. This is what I did.

P.S. Vegan and Gluten Free for those who care


1 large yellow onion , chopped

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 Tsp. Kosher Salt– you may want to add more it’s up to your taste– I added more

4 medium carrots, cut into small pieces

4 ribs of celery, cut into small pieces

5 cups of Vegetable Stock and if you don’t care about the Vegan thing add Chicken Broth –you can also just use plain old fashioned Water if you don’t have Broth in the house . The broth adds a little more flavor for sure.

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

1/2 of a smallish head of cabbage– if it’s a large head use a little less

2 Tsp. of chopped fresh Rosemary

2 15 oz. cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Grated Parmesan for Serving


Chop the onion. In a very large pot, ( think Le Creuset large Dutch Oven) heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and 1/2 tsp. of the salt and cook the onions down till they’re translucent ( lower heat if necessary because we don’t want any burning here) Cook until soft and translucent about 5 minutes.

While the onion is cooking down, cut the carrots and celery into small pieces. Add to the pot and cook along with onions till softened about 6- 10 minutes on a low flame.

Add the finely chopped garlic to the pot and cook for a minute or so

Add the tomatoes and 5 cups of broth ( you’ll probably have to add more broth or water as the soup cooks ) Break the tomatoes up with your wooden spoon and let this come to a low boil.

Shred the cabbage and chop the rosemary. Add the cabbage and rosemary, drained beans, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and the remaining 1 tsp. of kosher salt to the pot. Partially cover with a lid allowing some steam to escape, reduce the heat to a simmer until the vegetables are tender. I definitely cooked for an hour or so, I like to cook my soups for a long while. You’ll have to check on it for more salt and more liquid.  I definitely added more salt and more broth as I went along.

Serve topped with grated Parmesan Cheese if you’d like .




Aunt Pammy’s Chipotle Sweet Potatoes


Fully Baked Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

This recipe belongs to my sister, Pamela. She is a great cook, and this is her signature Thanksgiving Dish. We count on it every year as her contribution.  I highly suggest it if you like spicy because it is! It definitley packs some heat, be careful when you buy the chipotle peppers in adobe sauce , just make sure they don’t say Hot or you might be blowing the roof off of your Thanksgiving Dinner! Be prepared for a lot of flavor !  If your family likes spicy this is an awesome recipe, and you all know how much I like spicy by now.  This is certainly a new take on Sweet Potatoes because they aren’t sweet.  I also make a Sweet Potato dish with Marshmallows (* see recipe) and the two are always on my table, one sweet and one spicy.  Thanks Aunt Pammy.


5 lbs.Yams or Sweet Potatoes

Kosher Salt ( about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)

Heavy Cream ( about 1 1/2 quarts)

Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce (canned) *look in Mexican Food Aisle in most supermarkets


Slice Potatoes thinly and add salt. Place in baking dish you are going to use and cover with kosher salt, start with 1/4 cup and go to the 1/2 cup. Use your clean hands and toss together.

Puree Chipotles in small food processor .* you can keep pureed chipotles in fridge for up to 2 months. So you can do this step ahead.

Put approximately 1 – 2 tsp. of chipotle pepper puree in heavy cream and mix together

Pour Cream Mixture over Potatoes in an ovenproof baking dish ( earthenware is nice for this)

Place in 375 degree preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour depending on your oven.

Potatoes should be somewhat set and browned on top when ready.

Enjoy! and Happy Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Walnut Bread (no butter)

I just love pumpkin and I can’t stop posting about it. Pumpkin Season is here.  I love baking this bread because the smell in the house is beyond. I usually serve pumpkin bread and a banana bread in my bread basket on Thanksgiving. It’s hard to believe that there is no butter in this moist, delicious bread. I make both of these way ahead of time, because they freeze so well. You can even double the recipe if you have two loaf pans, and eat one now and tuck one away for another day like Thanksgiving. It’s a nice thing to bring to someone’s house as a gift as well if you’re so inspired.  This recipe will make one perfect loaf.

*this bread freezes beautifully for up to 8 weeks. Double wrap it in plastic and put in a resealable plastic freezer bag, and put the date on it. Defrost, still wrapped in the plastic to avoid condensation on the bread, at least 2 hours before serving. I take out of freezer the night before I’ll be using it.


2 cups all-purpose flour (I sift)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

1/2 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts (obviously this is optional)

You will need a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, parchment paper, large bowl, medium bowl, whisk, silicone or rubber spatula.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position oven rack in the center of oven.

Lightly coat the loaf pan with melted butter and dust with flour, or spray with Pam. I line my loaf with a piece of parchment paper that extends one inch beyond the edge of the pan (this makes it easy to life the bread out. It is optional , just make sure you grease pan in one way or another first. If you’re not comfortable working with parchment paper, skip it. I like it but it can be tricky in a loaf pan. Just grease well, or give it a good spray.)

In a large bowl, sift the flour. Then, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, and salt until thoroughly blended. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and the water. Add the sugar and blend well. Add the pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract and blend well. Add the pumpkin moisture to the dry ingredients and whisk until well blended and smooth. Add the walnuts and stir until they are well distributed. Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 55 – 65 minutes, until the bread is firm to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean from the center of loaf.  I let it cool for about 10 minutes, then I turn it out onto a rack to cool completely. I don’t freeze it until it is completely cool.

Mushroom Barley – Side Dish

cookingwithcandioct7 003this is an old recipe of mine that I’ve played around with and made last night for this evening. it came out delicious. it makes a perfect side dish anytime of the year. not too difficult to make , takes a little playing around but pretty easy . i used Manischewitz egg noodles in a toasted barley shape this time. you can use pearl barley which is available in almost every supermarket out there. i have to say this product worked very well. Not exactly Mushroom and Barley?? but barley shape


1/4 cup butter or margarine

1  3/4 cup Pearl Barley or any kind you can find ( I used Manischewitz egg noodles in a toasted barley shape) it doesn’t have to be toasted it can just be regular barley shape noodles. I love to use this product , it’s usually found in kosher section.

1 lb. fresh mushrooms sliced

1/2 spanish onion chopped

2 – 3 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper


i use a very little bit of vegetable oil ( maybe 1 tablespoon) and saute onions, then mushrooms till cooked down. i salt and pepper generously here. i remove the mushroom/onion mixture from saute pan, wipe the pan clean with a paper towel . melt butter or margarine in pan, brown the barley for about 4 – 5 minutes, move it around as you brown it. in the meantime transfer mushroom/ onion mixture to a 9 x 13 baking dish (spray with pam) when barley is browned place in dish with mushrooms and onions and mix well. add 2 cups of chicken broth. cover with aluminum foil, and bake in oven covered at 350 degrees for app. 45 minutes. remove from oven, and add a little broth, depending on how dry it is, i would say i added about 1/2 cup , you may need to add more, add the 1/2 cup and mix well and see if you need more, not too watery, keep it dryer. cover, and i put it back in oven for 10 to 15 minutes. taste for salt and pepper. and there it is. very delicious.

Corn and Tomato Soup – no cream

DSCN0358DSCN0382DSCN0381The corn is so delicious right now that I had to make this soup. I was going to save this recipe for the Fall but I used the fresh Olathe corn at the market now and couldn’t wait to share. When the corn is not as fresh and sweet you can definitely use frozen . I used fresh tomatoes from the farmers market and fresh Olathe corn ( local in Colorado) but I happen to know Long Island has particularly good sweet local corn. So while the getting is good and you can get fresh vegetables please do so. Farm to Table here we go again.

I made this soup for dinner as an appetizer. I think it would be good cold but I prefer it warm.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 shallots , coarsely chopped or 1 large one

1 teaspoon kosher salt ( more to taste)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ( more to taste)

3 1/4 cups corn, or 1 lb. bag of frozen corn thawed it’s approximately 5 – 6 ears of fresh corn

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian

2 beautiful medium size tomatoes, seeded and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces*

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn


In a large dutch oven ( Le Creuset) type of pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, salt and pepper, cook stirring occasionally until shallots are soft, app. 5 minutes. While this is going on cook up the corn as follows.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and just cook corn till it turns yellow for 1-2 minutes, then I throw into an ice bath to stop the cooking. When corn is cooled down cut kernels off cobs.

Place the cooked shallots, corn and chicken stock into the blender.

Pour the corn mixture back into the pot. Bring the mixture to a low simmer , cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, just to heat through.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the tomatoes and basil, let it cook for another 10 minutes or so.  Taste for Salt and Pepper.

Ladle into soup bowls and serve!

*to seed the tomatoes, cut them in 1/2 horizontally and using a small dessert spoon, scoop out the seed and discard. The seeds make the soup too watery.

Farmers Market to Table Gazpacho

photo (9)DSCN0375DSCN0378

Delicious fresh vegetables from the local farmers market went into this gazpacho. This time of year you must take advantage of the awesome selection of fruit and vegetables at your local farmers market. In Colorado there is so much local produce it would be a pity not to . I bought the tomatoes , cucumbers, peppers, garlic and red onion all from our local farmers market. Whole Foods also sells many local products which is so amazing. I don’t want to preach and there are so very many foods that I am particularly fond of that come from very foreign shores ( shrimp for one) . It’s just quite the thing to put food on your table from your own garden or at least from one within 100 miles of where you live. Farm to Table . Simply put it’s the best .


1 cucumber or 2 – 3 Kirby size cukes, halved and seeded , but don’t peel . If not Kirby cukes you can use a hothouse cucumber. Go organic, because you are eating the peel.

2 yellow bell peppers, cored and seeded. Of course you can use red bell peppers, but not green.

4 tomatoes , use what you can find. I went to local farmers market for mine . If you use plum tomatoes use 4.

1 red onion

3 garlic cloves, minced or throw them into the food processor along with vegetables

3 cups Spicy V8 or use regular tomato juice

1/4 cup champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

1/4 cup good olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

*1/2 to 1 whole jalapeno depending on how spicy you like it, remove seeds from jalapeno

* cilantro, chopped is a nice touch for garnish

*avocado cut up is also nice garnish

*shrimp is also a nice garnish


I cut up cukes, tomatoes, bell peppers and red onions into app. 1 inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor with steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not make baby food, don’t over process.

After each vegetable is chopped up combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic ( if you haven’t already) , juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. It’s a good idea to chill for a while, the longer it sits the more the taste develops.

The second night I added shrimp and avocado.



Yellow Tomato Gazpacho

photo 4 (3)photo 4 (2)I had purchased the most beautiful yellow  tomatoes and figured I would make gazpacho. Gazpacho is by far one of my most favorite summer time soups.  This one is fairly smooth.  Before serving I added  avocado and served with tortilla chips for a wonderful most satisfying meal. This is also super easy and you’ll look like a pro if you just follow these easy directions. You’ll need a decent blender and a few easy to obtain ingredients and you have a wonderful additional to any meal or a nice light lunch. This time I used beautiful yellow tomatoes, you can use any color you’d like and you can use any kind of tomato from the small grape or cherry tomatoes to the larger ones.  The yellow tomatoes with the flecks of jalapeno made a strikingly beautiful 2 (3) photo 2I have another recipe titled “Farm to Table Gazpacho” it’s more of a traditional gazpacho! I am going to re-post it as well.


2 lbs. yellow tomatoes, I used regular sized tomatoes. You can use yellow or orange cherry tomatoes and get the same effect. I washed and dried tomatoes and cut into quarters or halves for easier blending. Heirlooms are amazingly delicious when in season which they are right now! My sister makes this recipe by parboiling the tomatoes, removing the skin and cutting core out of tomatoes. This is an other option. I opted for the easier method but both are delicious and work well.

1 garlic clove (average sized)–you can use 2 cloves if you like a bit more bite of garlic

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced ( be careful handling jalapenos always, I use rubber gloves and be very careful not to get seeds on my hands) wash carefully after cutting up jalapenos, seriously. If you like more kick keep a few seeds from jalapenos. You can use Serrano Chiles also but I still think Jalapenos have the most bang for the buck.

app. 1 tsp. kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste , you may need to add salt and pepper at the end

Diced avocado and tortilla chips for serving.


In a blender, puree the halved tomatoes and garlic with 1/4 cup of water. While the machine is on I gradually add the olive oil until fully incorporated. Transfer to a bowl then stir in the jalapeno and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until chilled, at least an hour or so, better overnight.

When you’re ready to serve ladle the gazpacho into bowls and top with diced avocado. Serve with tortilla chips. If you leftover shrimp it is also delicious to add and makes it more of a meal!