Mediterranean Roasted Eggplant Veggie Stew

I grew up eating lots of eggplant, thanks to my parents’ prolific organic home “Garden of Eatin’!” A dear friend of mine, a sweet Greek lady by the name of Vicki, introduced me to eggplant tomato stew years ago and I loved it from the start! She passed away at a very young age late November 2019, just days shy of her December birthday. I cannot find the recipe Vicki gave me, but I was able to modify this recipe from memory, and the help of similar recipes I found online. I hope you enjoy it!
NOTE: The stew tastes much better the following day, if you can refrigerate it overnight. Otherwise, allow a few hours before serving warm, and garnished with fresh chopped parsley. I serve this with toasted or pan-friend polenta cakes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large eggplants ~ peeled alternately lengthways (leave skin on every other section), sliced in halves or quarters, tops removed
  • 2 large red bell peppers ~ sliced in halves, tops and seeds removed
  • 2 large zucchinis ~ slided in halves, tops removed
  • 1 large yellow onion ~ peeled, diced
  • 3-4 organic roma tomatoes ~ cut into chunks
  • 1 can (16 ounce) garbanzo beans ~ rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (28 ounce) stewed organic tomatoes
  • 1 container (32 ounce) broth ~ I use vegetable
  • olive oil
  • sea salt ~ to taste
    fresh ground black pepper ~ to taste
    pinch cane sugar
  • fresh thyme
  • fresh oregano
  • fresh curly parsley ~ I like a giant handful of parsley (even before chopping)

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Roast the eggplant, bells, and zucchini on the top rack at 450°F for 10 minutes each side. When they are done, set aside for a few minutes to cool down.
  2. While the veggies roast, heat some oil in a large stainless steel pot and sauté the onions until golden and aromatic. Cut the roasted veggies into chunks. If still warm, hold them with tongs in one hand, and cut with the other.
  3. Add the broth, garbanzo, roasted veggies, fresh and stewed tomatoes, and 3/4 of the chopped parsley, into the pot. Bring it to a boil for about 2 minutes.
  4. Lower heat, season to taste, and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes with lid slightly askew.
  5. Remove from burner. Serve warm, garnished with freshly chopped parsley, with a side of polenta cakes.

Curry Butternut Soup

luluesque_cozy curry butternut squash soup

Oh baby, it’s cold outside! Where I live, the mercury has begun its winter drop. Just in time for some fleece-lined pants, fuzzy socks, a cozy fire, and delicious homemade soup! Give this Martha Stewart recipe a try! It’s healthy, easy, cozy, hearty, and packed with some exquisite exotic flavors that will liven up the blustery season. This soup is so delicious, I will be making it again during winter!

Have a warm, wonderful, and safe Thanksgiving holiday! 🙂

NOTE:
The ingredients and instructions below are verbatim from Martha’s site, with my modifications/annotations in magenta. To make this soup vegan/vegetarian, replace with vegetable broth.

 INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup diced shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh peeled ginger ~ lightly scrubbed with veggie brush, skin left on
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 2 1/2 pounds Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
  • 1 1/3 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder ~ 3 teaspoons of Madras Curry powder
  • 2 cups homemade or canned, store-bought low-sodium chicken stock, heated ~ 1 carton Imagine organic free-range chicken broth (=4 cups)
  • 1 one-inch chunk palm sugar (available in Asian grocery stores) ~ evaporated cane sugar
  • 1 fifteen-ounce can low-fat coconut milk
  • Freshly chopped chives (or scallions), for garnish
  • Fresh curry leaves, for garnish ~ omitted
  • Fresh organic cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Fresh ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, and continue to stir; add ginger. Continue cooking until shallots are soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add bay leaves and red pepper; continue cooking for 1 minute more. Stir in squash, salt, and curry powder; cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Raise the heat to medium-high, and add chicken stock. Cover, and bring to a boil. Immediately lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring and mashing every 5 minutes. Add the palm sugar and cook for 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and continue cooking for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove bay leaves from soup. Using an immersion blender or in batches using a bar blender, puree until smooth.
  4. Reheat soup, seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish with chives/scallions and cilantro leaves, and serve immediately.

White Bean Kale Soup

luluesque-white bean-kale soup

Betcha didn’t know that you actually like lima beans, huh? Lima beans (Phaseolus Lunatus) and butter beans are actually the same beans, but at different stages: limas are green and immature, while butter beans are, white, mature, and dried. These kidney-shaped legumes got their name from Lima, Peru, their place of origin. They are a great source of fat-free protein and their high fiber content help stabilize sugar levels—perfect for individuals with diabetes or hypoglycemia!

I normally use canned organic cannellini beans, but for this particular post, I wasn’t able to find them at the grocery store. You can essentially use any of the three popular “white beans” (i.e., navy, Great Northern, or cannellini), that pleases your palate. Read about the differences HERE.

INGREDIENTS:

  • organic grape seed oil
  • 10 cups filtered water
  • 1 28-ounce can organic stewed Roma tomatoes ~ cut into large chunks, keep the liquid
  • 1 16-ounce can organic butter beans~ strain the beans of the liquid
  • 1 16-ounce can organic Great Northern beans ~ strain the beans of the liquid
  • 1 medium yellow onion ~ washed, peeled, and diced
  • 8 large cloves garlic ~ peeled, smashed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium organic carrots ~ washed, cut into desired size
  • 5 large stalks organic celery ~ washed, ends discarded, cut into desired size
  • 2 medium zucchini ~ washed, ends discarded, cut into desired size
  • 1 bunch organic lacinato kale ~ washed, tough stems discarded, leaves cut into strips or large chunks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried organic oregano
  • sea salt ~ to taste
  • evaporated cane sugar ~ to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper ~ to taste
  • red pepper flakes ~ optional
  • organic curly parsley ~ washed, stems discarded, and chopped; optional

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Prep all your vegetables.
  2. In a large stock pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until translucent and aromatic.
  3. Add the carrots, celery and zucchini; sauté until half cooked.
  4. Add the 10 cups of water, canned beans, canned tomatoes, and the bay leaf.
  5. Bring to a boil for a few minutes. Skim off the foam and discard.
  6. Lower heat to medium for a soft rolling boil.
  7. Add the oregano, sugar, salt, and any spices you’d like.
  8. Reduce heat to low and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
  9. Slowly stir in the kale strips/chunks and remove from the stove.
  10. Serve with freshly ground black pepper and chopped parsley. Enjoy and stay warm! 🙂

 

Cozy Chicken Chowder

luluesque_cozy chicken chowder

Wow, it has been many moons since my last post and “Lulu Original” recipe! I’ve been a tad bit busy, to say the least. I think you’ll like this recipe. I was inspired to make a cozy soup that was relatively quick and easy to make now that we have lost 1 hour of sunlight and the mercury has dipped well below 32°F.

Many of the ingredients may already be in your refrigerator and/or freezer, so just pop by your local grocer and pick up that rotisserie chicken.  As always, I encourage you to use organic ingredients if possible. Some vegetables just aren’t available organic, but it’s ok!

Enjoy! 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • organic avocado oil
  • 10 cups filtered water
  • 1 lb rotisserie chicken legs ~ shred the meat into desired size and discard skin and bones
  • 1 medium yellow onion ~ washed, peeled, and diced
  • 8 large cloves garlic ~ peeled, smashed and coarsely chopped
  • ½ lb white potatoes ~ washed and cut into small cubes
  • 5 large stalks organic celery ~ washed, ends discarded, cut into desired size
  • 2 medium organic carrots ~ washed, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large poblano ~ washed, seeds removed, cut into ½” pieces
  • 1 bag (16 oz) of organic vegetable mix (peas, green beans, carrots, corn)
  • organic curly parsley ~ washed, stems discarded, and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • sea salt ~ to taste
  • evaporated cane sugar ~ to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper ~ to taste
  • red pepper flakes ~ optional

INGREDIENTS, FLOUR MIX

  • 1 cup organic, unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1  cup water
  • sea salt ~ to taste
  • evaporated cane sugar ~ to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper ~ to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Prep all your vegetables and flour mix.
  2. In a large stock pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat.
  3. Sauté the onion and garlic until translucent and aromatic. Add the potatoes, carrots, celery and sauté until half cooked.
  4. Add the 10 cups of water, chicken, and 2 bay leaves.
  5. Bring to a boil for a few minutes. Skim off the foam and discard.
  6. Lower heat to medium for a  soft rolling boil.
  7. Add sugar, salt, and any spices you’d like.
  8. Slowly stir in the flour mixture and cover the lid.
  9. Reduce heat to low and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
  10. Serve with freshly ground black pepper and chopped parsley. Enjoy and stay warm!

*NOTE: I used 3 small potatoes and 2 chicken legs because I prefer my soup to be more “soupy” than with chunks of stuff.

Kale, Pollo, Sweet Potato, Hominy Soup

kale-pollo-sweet potato-hominy soup-a

Folks, I think winter has finally passed and spring is well on the way. This may be the final bit of cooler evening temperatures until Autumn!

Back in January 2013 I tested a delicious recipe from one of Clean Eating magazine’s back issues. I wasn’t able to post the full recipe at the time, but here it is now: modified, improved, and then some! This time in lieu of mushrooms, I’m adding hearty hominy, along with sweet corn kernels. My darn sweet neighbor introduced me to hominy, and now I’m obsessed with them! The best way to describe hominy is that they are like “chewy nubs.” Enjoy! 🙂

I might as well have called this the “everything but the kitchen sink soup,” given the lengthy name! 🙂

kale-pollo-sweet potato-hominy soup-b

INGREDIENTS:

  • organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion ~ peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic ~ peeled, sliced
  • 10 cups filtered water
  • 1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes ~ peeled and diced
  • 1 lb organic or free-range boneless, skinless chicken breasts ~ cut into 1″ chunks
  • 1-2 ears corn ~ cut kernels from the cob
  • 1 can (30 oz.) golden hominy
  • 1 large bunch organic kale ~ tough stems removed and leaves coarsely torn
  • dried oregano
  • organic evaporated cane sugar ~ to taste
  • sea salt ~ to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper ~ to taste
  • scallions (optional) ~ chopped
  • cilantro or Italian parsley (optional) ~ chopped
  • jalapeños (optional) ~ sliced

PREPARATION:

  1. In a large, stainless steel stockpot, heat the oil on med-high heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until they are an aromatic golden brown.
  2. Add potatoes and chicken. Sauté until about 1/2 cooked (about 5 minutes). Add more oil as needed, to avoid the chicken from sticking to the pot.
  3. Add water, corn, hominy, oregano, and spices of your choice. Bring it to a boil for about 2 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat down and let the soup simmer until the chicken and potatoes are cooked (about 5-10 minutes).
  5. Turn off stove. Remove the pot from the burner and fold in the kale with a metal ladle.
  6. Garnish with sliced jalapeños, scallions, and cilantro or parsley.

Hominy and Corn Chowder

When I think of chowder, it’s usually a bowl of creamy soup with vegetables, potatoes, and clams. It’s not a brothy soup with tomatoes. However, when I started looking for recipes to try because I have hominy and corn in the pantry, most corn-hominy chowder recipes called for lots of tomatoes, sans cream or dairy of any sort. I thought, “Well…OK. I’ll give it a whirl, but it just sounds like I’m making corn-tomato soup with some hominy in it.” While it tasted great, it just didn’t have that cozy, “chowder-y” feel I was craving. SO, after having already cooked this pot of chowder, I took out a new pot and sautéed some diced celery in butter, added milk, and several heaping spoonfuls of organic flour I had in the freezer, then into the already cooked soup they went ─ voila! Instant chowder! 🙂

So, what is chowder? The word chowder is a corruption of the French word “chaudière,” meaning cauldron, the pot in which stews and soups used to be cooked. There are different styles of chowder. In North American cuisine, most chowder recipes contain some sort of fish and/or shellfish, like clams and oysters. New England-style chowder is rich and creamy, often containing salt pork, clams, onions, and potatoes. Manhattan-style chowder omits the cream-based broth in lieu of tomatoes. Of course, as with all recipes and cuisine, the dish will vary from region to region. If you go to the south, you’ll find corn instead of clams in your chowder. If you are in Florida, you’ll see conch in your chowder.

I guess I ended up making a New England-Manhattan-Southern chowder! 😉

I like this recipe because it forced me to use ingredients I never thought could, should, or would go into chowder: cinnamon, cumin, and garam masala.

INGREDIENTS: Use veggie broth if you want a vegetarian meal.

  • 3-4 tbs organic butter
  • 1 large yellow onion ~ peeled, diced
  • 1 garlic bulb ~ peeled, chopped
  • 1 large shallot ~ peeled, diced
  • 4 large organic celery stalks ~ diced
  • 1 carton (48 oz.) organic free-range chicken broth
  • 1 can (30 oz.) golden hominy
  • 1 can (28 oz.) Rotel (diced tomatoes & green chilies)
  • 1 can (15.25 oz.) organic sweet corn kernels
  • 1.5 cups organic milk
  • 3 heaping tbs organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala (or an Indian curry blend)
  • 2 tsp dried Thyme (or oregano) ~ crushed
  • sea salt ~ to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper ~to taste
  • .5 cup organic cilantro ~ coarsely chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the milk, cinnamon, cumin, indian curry, sea salt, black pepper, and flour together until disolved. Set aside.
  2. In a large stainless steel pot, heat the butter and sauté the onion, garlic, and shallots until aromatic. Add the celery and sauté until half cooked.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, except cilantro, and bring to a boil.
  4. Lower the heat to let your soup simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot!

Carrot Ginger Soup

luluesque-carrot ginger soup

This recipe is a combination of two similar recipes that I found from my cookbooks: Vegetarian and 400 Soups, both of which were treasure finds in the bargain section of Barnes & Noble ages ago. It is bound to kill any virus residing in your little body. 😉

It’s packed with potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerol. One of the main ingredients is the ginger root which boosts the immune system, aides digestion, curbs nausea and vomiting, acts as an anti-inflammatory, and protects against cancer cells. What more could you ask for from this pungent, versatile root? 🙂

Enjoy! If the soup is too spicy for your taste buds, let it simmer an extra 10 minutes and/or add some milk/cream to it.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8-10 cups filtered water
  • Organic EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 large yellow onion ~ peeled, roughly chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic ~ peeled, smashed
  • 1 organic sweet potato ~ roughly chopped into chunks, leave skin on
  • 1.5 lbs organic carrots ~ roughly chopped into chunks, leave skin on
  • 2 large stalks organic celery ~ roughly chopped into chunks
  • 5 inch ginger root ~ roughly chopped into chunks, leave skin on
  • organic curly or Italian parsley (optional) ~ big stems discarded, coarsely chopped; reserve some for garnish
  • 1-2 scallions ~ ends removed, chopped; reserve some for garnish
  • sea salt  & fresh ground black pepper ~ to taste
  • evaporated cane sugar ~ to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large stock pot, heat the EVOO on medium-high heat. Sauté onion and garlic until browned.
  2. Add sweet potato, carrots, ginger, and celery. Sauté for about 5 minutes on same heat level. Add more oil if necessary.
  3. Add water. Bring to a rolling boil for about 5 minutes. Be sure your pot doesn’t boil over. Stir occasionally.
  4. Stir in sea salt, sugar, and any spices/seasonings you desire.
  5. Place lid on the pot and let it simmer for about 20 minutes on low heat.
  6. Remove the pot from the stove. Use a hand blender to purée the soup. I opted for a semi-chunky texture.
  7. Stir in some parsley and scallions.
  8. Serve hot. Garnish with parsley & scallions.

Okramato Veggie Stew

Isn’t my recipe name clever? It’s my own amalgamation of “OKRA” and “toMATO.” (I may trademark this before some big company steals my idea. ;))

Amalgamation, simply, is the process of combining, or uniting, two or more entities. You’ve most likely heard this term used in science class (you were awake in class, right?). Well kids, you learn something new everyday! As it turns out, like gardening (think “companion planting“), there is MUCH science involved in cooking. Take, for instance, this delicious, fiber-rich, vegetarian meal you are about to create.

The high acidity in tomatoes actually neutralize okra “slime.” YES. Isn’t the science of cooking so much fun? In fact, if you were to make a different recipe that contains okra, but dislike the mucilaginous (fun word!) property that makes okra a much-loved or much-hated vegetable, just add acid in the form of citrus juice or vinegar.

This is another Lulu Original recipe. You may wonder “why all the veggie ingredients?” Life is short. Why not? 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 cups filtered water
  • Organic EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 28 ounce can stewed tomatoes ~ chunky
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans organic navy beans
  • 1 large yellow onion ~ peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic bulb ~ peeled, smashed or minced
  • 1 medium bag frozen okra ~ precut
  • 3 large tomatoes ~ skin on, cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup cremini mushrooms ~ coarsely chopped
  • 4 large stalks organic celery ~ cut into small pieces
  • 1 large organic carrot ~ skin on, cut into slices or small pieces
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 10 sprigs flat leaf Italian parsley ~ big stems discarded, coarsely chopped; reserve some for garnish
  • 5 scallions ~ chopped; reserve some for garnish
  • 2 tbs dried onion
  • 2 tbs McMormick “Grill Mates” Montreal steak seasoning
  • sea salt ~ to taste
  • evaporated cane sugar ~ to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large stock pot, heat the EVOO on medium-high heat. Sauté onion and garlic until browned.
  2. Add mushrooms, celery, and carrots. Sauté for about 5 minutes on same heat level. Add more oil if necessary.
  3. Add water, beans, okra, and all the tomatoes to the pot.
  4. Bring to a rolling boil for about 5 minutes. Be sure your pot doesn’t boil over. Stir occasionally.
  5. Stir in bay leaves, steak seasoning, dried onions, sea salt, sugar, and any spices/seasonings you desire.
  6. Place lid on the pot and let it simmer for about 10 minutes on low heat.
  7. Remove the pot from the stove and stir in some parsley and scallions.
  8. Serve hot. Garnish with parsley scallions.

Kale Sweet Potato Chicken Soup

luluesque-kale sweet potato chicken soup

A friend gave me her back-issues of “Clean Eating,” a wonderful magazine devoted to eating and living a healthy, whole lifestyle. In the January/February edition, there was a soup that caught my eyes, mostly because I’ve never thought of adding kale to soup. I’m used to roasting my kale or eating it raw in salads. I’m not sure I’m allowed to type this recipe and share it. I tried looking for the recipe online but it seems you have to purchase each back-issue for $5.99. SO, in order to respect copyright laws, I’m just going to tell you what I put in my soup, and you’ll just have to pull out your arsenal of culinary skillZ, which I know you have hidden under those fancy sleeves of yours. 🙂

As usual, I added my own touch (corn kernels!).

INGREDIENTS:

  • organic kale
  • organic sweet potatoes
  • chicken breast
  • cremini mushrooms
  • sweet corn kernels
  • scallions
  • garlic
  • yellow onion
  • organic extra virgin olive oil
  • filtered water
  • organic evaporated cane sugar ~ to taste
  • sea salt ~ to taste