YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Fennel Vegetable Soup

The folks where I work are always coming up with the most sublimely delicious recipes. This is one. If you’ve never eaten fennel, you are in for a delicious treat. Raw, it’s crunchy and sweet, a bit like celery with a faint whiff of licorice. Cooked it’s a different vegetable altogether. A great addition to any vegetable soup recipe, it is a total team player, happily absorbing other flavors from the pot at the same time as it shares its own. Fennel comes in bulbs, and the easiest way to cut it up, no matter how you intend to use it, is to slice it in half from top to bottom, and then to slice the half-bulb into thin blades, all of equal length and width, as you work around the bulb.

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thin
2 ribs celery, rinsed and sliced very thin
1 medium bulb fennel (sliced, top to bottom around the bulb, into thin blades)
1 tsp. Kosher salt
15-ounce can diced tomatoes
4 cups kale, washed VERY well, deveined and shredded
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Instructions:
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes, until softening, stirring often. 2. Add garlic, carrots, celery, and fennel. Stir often, approx 5 minutes more, until vegetables begin to wilt.
3. Add tomatoes, kale, 5 cups water, salt and pepper.
4. Allow to boil, immediately reduce heat to medium, and simmer 25-30 minutes, until all vegetables are tender. Stir in the parsley and serve. Serves 4.

Thank you to ClevelandClinicwellness.com for a prior version of this beautiful recipe.


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Feminista White Beans

Here’s a recipe served throughout the Middle East by families, the families who love them, and the families who love to feed them. All kinds of families.

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, peeled & minced (approx. 1 med-large onion)
  • 1/2 cup celery, rinsed & minced (approx. 2 medium stalks)
  • 16-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 3 cups canned white beans (navy beans or cannellini), drained and rinsed well
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil

Heat olive oil to medium-high in a large, deep skillet. Add onion and celery, lower heat to medium, and sauté until translucent and turning golden.

Add crushed tomatoes, honey, and paprika to the skillet, and stir gently until mixed. Continue to heat until mixture is simmering. Stir in the beans. Add a pinch or two of salt and a few shakes (or grinds) of black pepper.

Cover and simmer over very low heat for 25-30 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and basil just before serving. Serves 6-8 hungry feminists (and their families).

A prior version of this recipe was published at www.vegkitchen.com. Thanks!


My Dad’s Thing About Ketchup

My dad is on a mission to get people to eat less ketchup. But it’s not because of the ketchup. It’s because of the high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). He has an especially hard time wrapping his brain around the fact that most national brands of of ketchup list HFCS either first or second in the ingredient list. Yuk. So he asked if I would post an entry about this. And here it is, Dad! Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Nearly Magical Tomato Sauce

Thanks (and I really mean that!) to my daughter and her friend, among whose many talents I would definitely include garden building, we now have so many tomatoes it’s hard to know what to do with all of them. It’s a wonderful problem to have. I’ve actually been dreaming about dehydrated tomatoes, pickled tomatoes, marinated tomatoes, skewered tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, sliced tomatoes, and … sauced tomatoes. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Judith’s Eggplant Caponata

We went to a dinner party last week and ate the most elegant dinner, courtesy of my wonderful friend Judith, who mixes a mean martini, makes magic with shallots, has a good knife, and knows how to use it. I highly recommend you give some thought to adding this eggplant caponata to your upcoming holiday celebrations. It’s quite spectacular. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Red September Soup

I am trying to keep to a new plan, which is to make a crockpot full of soup every Sunday. My hope is that it lasts far into the week, providing warm lunches or dinners to anyone in need, until it’s all gone. I started the first week with a green French lentil soup, but last week I decided to go red — red beans, red lentils, red tomatoes, red paprika.  Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Gazpacho, Gazpacho, Gazpacho!

If your counter looks anything like mine, there is only one thing to do! Tomatoes are best stored and eaten warm, so you’ll probably be starting with tomatoes at room temperature. Make this early enough in the day that it has time to cool thoroughly. It will be worth it, especially on these hot, humid, late summer days. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: The Simplest of Salads

Here’s what I made for lunch a couple of days ago. Its success is built on simplicity. My strategy remains similar, week in and week out. Nevertheless, it is never quite the same, and always delicious. Thank you to Alice Waters for teaching me to eat simply. This salad makes one single serving, but is infinitely flexible if you’d like to invite a friend or an army to your table to share a meal. Continue reading