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kitchen sink soup

I admit it.

Although I may appear normal on the surface, I’m no stranger to odd behavior (or so I’m told). Every time I sit down to write a blog post, I struggle with controlling my internal evil twin. The one who wants to launch into a long-winded political diatribe or write a geeky poem about genetic expression or transcription pathways. Maybe link to a current climb of Mount Everest, write a book review, or evangelize about the healing power of yoga.

Anything but food.

Writing recipes is not easy for me. I don’t follow recipes, how can I write one? When I cook I just throw stuff together, taste, adjust, add more stuff, taste and on it goes until I have something I like. Or something my guy Fairbanks will eat.

This soup was absolutely delicious. Explaining in a coherent manner how I came up with it won’t be easy, but I’m going to give it a try. It was that good.

kitchen sink soup – you could also call this clean out the fridge soup
what you need (whatever you have)

4 shitake mushrooms, washed well and chopped
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery (and leaves), chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 cup shredded cabbage
6 cherry tomatoes, chopped
8 cups broth (I used a combination of chicken and vegetable broth)
1 cup cooked rice (I used a mix of brown and wild rice)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
herbs: bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, oregano
* chopped means in small 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes (something like that)

what you do
1. In a large soup pot over low/medium heat, sauté mushrooms in a small amount of olive oil until fragrant. Remove mushrooms and place in a blender. Set aside until later.
2. In the same pot (add 1 or 2 more tablespoons of olive oil if you need to), sauté onions, garlic, celery, carrots and zucchini for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently to combine flavors.
3. While veggies are sautéing, add 2 to 4 cups of broth to the mushrooms in the blender. Purée well.
4. Pour mushroom/broth purée over veggies and add the rest of the broth to the pot. Add sweet potato, cabbage, tomatoes and rice. Stir, turn heat to low and simmer for at least 2 hours. Season and taste as you go.

This is better the second day and even better the third. You may have to add a little water to it over the next day or so. Adjust according to whatever you have in your fridge. It’s kitchen sink soup, it really doesn’t matter.

One of my all-time favorite British chefs gave me some tips on seasoning soups. Miles of suggests bay as a base ingredient in cooking. From there, he says hardy herbs like thyme, rosemary, sage and savory go well in mixed vegetable soups. I don’t always follow directions well, but when it comes to seasoning, I pay attention to what Miles has to say. He’s a master. Thanks, Miles!

Go forth, clean out your fridge and make kitchen sink soup! As another wonderful mentor of mine once said, everything you need, you already have.

the gf montana cookie diet

You’ve heard of the Hollywood Cookie Diet, right? I’m not kidding, it exists. The website has a vee-vee-la-voom blonde in a little white bikini, staring out over the ocean, flinging her hair back and forth. It’s one of those “this could be you” ads.

I’m not the beach-bunny, Hollywood type, so none of that appeals to me. I own an ice axe, a four-season tent, backcountry skis and an Alaskan Malamute that outweighs me. I don’t want to be her, although I do like flinging my hair around now and then.

I’m the Montana Cookie type. Hearty, gluten-free grains, fiber-filled oats, flannel-clad farmers, mountains, tractors and big skies. That’s much more to my liking than white bikinis, “diet” cookies, fake tans, or dogs that fit in purses.

Needless to say, the Hollywood Cookie Diet makes no sense to me. But tasty, gluten-free, monster cookies do. We’ll talk about that bothersome calorie thing later.

I love to experiment in the kitchen, I don’t follow rules well and I fancy myself as a chemist. No bikini necessary – I much prefer a lab coat or vintage apron. I’ve been playing with this hearty Timtana flour again. The independent and spirited stuff from Montana. It doesn’t always do what I want, but I like it, so I’m not giving up. I’m also smitten with gluten-free oats right now and mixing them with some Timtana flour eventually made for a perfect cookie blend. I’m also playing with eliminating xanthan gum and some of the starchy stuff, so my kitchen has been in full-blown test-baker mode lately.

My first try at Timtana oatmeal cookies was just so-so. Hearty and healthy? Yes. Sweet and tasty? Not so much. I wanted a nice mix of the two, not a horse biscuit. My second try was good, but I wasn’t quite satisfied. I didn’t use any starchy flours on that batch. My third try was okay, but not very sweet and not very “cookie” like. It was more like a power bar but the wrong shape. Power bars are next on my Timtana/oats test baking agenda. My fourth try was perfect, although there’s more sugar and a little starch – but no xanthan gum (that’s not easy to do with GF baking). See photo above, aren’t they gorgeous? Hearty (but light), nutritious, tasty, crispy around the edges and slightly-sweet. And they got better the longer I let them sit. Seriously, my test-tasters went nuts over these cookies.

Timtana gluten-free oatmeal garbanzo bean chocolate chip cookies (or something like that)
what you need

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill garbanzo/fava bean flour
1 & 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats *
1/2 cup Timtana flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened
3/4 cup organic light brown sugar
1/2 cup organic sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk (I used brown rice milk)
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

what you do
Place dry ingredients (except oats) in a medium-sized bowl and whisk well to blend. Cream Earth Balance with sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until creamy. Combine milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and let sit for a few moments. Mix in the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and add milk/vinegar mixture. Blend until well mixed. Stir in oats and chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Drop by spoonful onto a lightly greased cookie sheet or a silicon baking mat. Make sure cookies are a couple inches apart as they spread while in the oven. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for about 7 or 8 minutes and rotate pan. Bake for another 7 or 8 minutes until golden brown. Cool on wire rack and enjoy!

* Certified gluten-free oats are safe for most people (most people, not everyone) with celiac disease or a gluten-sensitivity. Make sure your oats are certified gluten-free and are from a reputable supplier. Montana Gluten-Free Processors products are certified GF and Kosher.

Don’t you love knowing where your food comes from? Check here for the Montana gluten-free harvest pictured above. I like knowing the details. This field is where these cookies started their journey into my oven. Who knows where those Hollywood Diet Cookies came from. In fact, I don’t even recognize half the ingredients listed on the package label. What a difference!

Go forth and support your local farmers!
P.S. I almost forgot – that pesky calorie thing. Don’t overeat. Exercise every day. (Easier said than done, I know.)
P.P.S. I’m including this recipe in Nancy’s “Calling All Cookies” post over at The Sensitive Pantry. Check out her long and tasty list of cookie recipes. You’ll be drooling in no time.

rhubarb blueberry sherbet


Mixing rhubarb and blueberries isn’t a blend that immediately comes to mind, but that’s never stopped me before. In fact, my approach to preparing food is more about what ingredients I have on hand than what combinations go together.

Sorry, but first I’m going to indulge my less mature side and expand on my veggie personality profiling. Several posts ago, Tom Robbins helped me describe the deadly serious nature of the beet. I took that a step further with my kohlrabi post, describing that peculiar vegetable as a strange and off-beat teenaged boy.

Rhubarb is a bit of a tart. Unlike the sobering beet, rhubarb is playful, saucy and tempting. Tempting, yes, but with a bite. If rhubarb wore clothes, she’d be wearing hot pants and a crop top and might convince the earthy and well-grounded potato to break ranks and take a hike with her on the Appalachian Trail. If you know what I mean.

rhubarb blueberry sherbet
what you need

1 cup rhubarb, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces *
1-1/2 cup blueberries
1-1/2 cup Redwood Hill Farm vanilla goat yogurt
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Electric ice cream maker

what you do
Heat water and rhubarb in a medium-sized sauce pan. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using a fork, mash rhubarb as it simmers and softens. After about 5 minutes, add blueberries and continue to simmer for another 8 – 10 minutes, mashing as you go. You want to end up with an applesauce, jelly-like consistency. If you need to add a little water, do it in small increments. If you end up with it too watery, simmer some off. Remove from heat, let cool and puree in food processor until smooth. Blend in maple syrup and vanilla and chill in refrigerator for at least two hours.

Once chilled, stir in the yogurt (mix well) and churn in ice-cream maker for 30 minutes or so (follow manufacturer’s directions).

* My CSA box contained 2 very long rhubarb stalks, which ended up as 1 cup of chopped vegetable.

For more information on rhubarb, including a gluten-free rhubarb crumble recipe, check here.


Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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(co-written with Pete Bronski)

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