Tag Archives: winter

Brussel Sprout Soup

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As you know I am totally and completely focused on seasonal eating, but for some reason I got a massive craving for brussel sprouts this week and had been wanting to make Brussel Sprout soup ever since I got the inspiration flipping through a cookbook at Le Pain Quotidien where I visit my friend Lauren when I need some solace from office. Okay, I guess it’s really not all that surprising considering I could eat an entire pound of brussel sprouts in one sitting if I didn’t control myself. I didn’t mind the warm hearty Fall and Winter flavors in this delicious creation since we’ve been experiencing some June Gloom here in LA this week. But if you are totally opposed to hot soup in the summer, store this away for later this year and you will not be sorry. It would be a great twist on the classic Brussel Sprouts dish to start off Thanksgiving dinner! In fact, I may add this to my second-annual Fall dinner party menu.

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Brussel Sprout Soup (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4)

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 organic scallions, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 lb. organic brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved (or quartered if they are exceptionally large)
  • 2 large organic parsnips, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs organic thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 4 c. water, veggie, or chicken broth (I used water but would opt for organic chicken broth next time)
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. dried mustard
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 c. aged cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)

In a large dutch oven, saute the onion and scallions in butter until slightly translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, brussel sprouts, and parsnips and continue cooking until the sprouts have slightly changed color, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, nutmeg, lemon pepper, dried mustard, salt to taste, and water or broth. Simmer until sprouts are cooked through, about 10 minutes.

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Remove half of the soup mixture from the pot, add 1/2 c. cheddar cheese (Do yourself a favor and buy Trader Joe’s aged goat’s milk cheddar–pictured below! It is divine and our bodies actually process goat and sheep’s milk products much better than cow’s milk), and puree remaining veggies in the dutch oven using an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, simply transfer the mixture to a regular blender. Spoon about 1/2 cup of whole veggies into soup bowls and ladle the pureed liquid over the top. Season with salt and pepper and top with grated cheddar cheese and bacon crumbles (if using–I highly recommend Trader Joe’s Applewood Smoked Bacon that comes from a local Woodland Hills butcher). Enjoy!

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Beef Bourguignon (or Beef Burgundy)

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I had beef stock and red wine leftover from making French Onion Soup and the first thing that came to mind was Beef Bourguignon which I had been curious about for years since the infamous Julie and Julia movie introduced the world to Julia Child’s famous Beef Bourguignon recipe. Although, I  ended up using Ina Garten’s recipe since they are almost identical and Ina is equally credible in my opinion. This is another wonderfully hearty winter dish to warm your tummy. I served it with my ever-satisfying cauliflower rice (without the coconut)–if you haven’t figured it out yet, I can’t get enough of this stuff. I also was in a pinch for time and my dutch oven was full of leftovers in the refrigerator, so I strayed from the traditional dutch oven preparation and did this completely on the stove top, which works well if you don’t have a dutch oven.

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Beef Bourguignon (Adapted from Ina Garten) (Difficulty-Intermediate; Serves 4)

  • 8 ounces applewood smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 1/2 lb. organic chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 stalks organic celery, plus greens, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1/2 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
  • 1 c. organic beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. fresh organic thyme leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. arrow-root powder
  • 1 lb. frozen pearl onions
  • 1 lb. fresh mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thickly sliced

Heat a large heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate with paper towels to soak up the grease.

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Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot bacon grease for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

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Toss the celery, greens, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices.

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Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and cook for about 1 hour or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.

Combine 1 tablespoon of butter and the arrow root powder with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

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 Serve over cauliflower rice, quinoa, or eat as a stew from a bowl.

Hearty Chickpea Pasta

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I still remember when my dad first saw an idea for this recipe from Mario Batali on the Food Network many years ago. He always gets so excited about new recipes, especially pasta–must be where I get it from! I have been in love with this dish ever since he first made his much more exciting version of it, and have adapted it into my own over the years. It is a great comforting hearty dish for a winter day, one where you are cheating and eating pasta of course. I think this sauce could also be could with quinoa or even zucchini ‘pasta’ if you wanted to try to make a lower carb version. I had some organic rotini in the pantry so I used that, but I think the texture of the sauce goes best with mini rigatoni.

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Pasta with Chickpea Puree  (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4-6)

  • 8 oz. organic mini rigatoni or other pasta shape
  • 4 Tbsp. cold pressed organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow or red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ribs organic celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 organic carrot, grated or finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 (16-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2-1 c. reserved pasta water or organic chicken broth
  • 1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Put a large pot of salted water up to boil. Cook pasta according to box directions, reserving one cup of cooking water (if using). When al dente, remove the pasta to a strainer and run under cold water to stop the cooking process–there’s nothing worse than overcooked pasta!

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion, celery, and carrot, and saute until softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, chickpeas, and red pepper flakes and cook another 2-3 minutes.

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Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. While blender or food processor is still running, add the cooking water or chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time until the mixture is smooth but still thick. Drizzle in remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked pasta and sauce to the skillet and stir until heated through, adding more pasta water or broth as needed to achieve the preferred texture. I like my sauce to be thin enough to coat the pasta, but still thick enough to be creamy and hearty. Serve with a generous heap of parmesan cheese and a light drizzle of high quality finishing olive oil (I love their McEvoy Ranch Organic Olive Oil that my brother got me at Whole Foods).

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Short Rib French Onion Soup

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Why didn’t I think of this?! Enhancing the already rich decadent flavor of french onion soup with braised full-flavored short ribs- genius! And this dish is easily made primal by leaving out the bread topping, and if you like, you can still have the oozy bubbly cheese on top-just make sure to use a crock or bowl that has a more narrow opening than the size of your cheese slice. Really, you probably wont even notice there’s no bread since you’ll be too focused on the fact that this soup is loaded with flavors that will scintillate your umami taste buds. It really lifted my spirits when I was on the couch sick all weekend.

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I halved the original recipe since I wasn’t cooking for a crowd, but it is easily doubled to serve 6. I also added more liquid since the broth cooks down quite a lot in the oven.

 French Onion Soup with Braised Short Ribs (Adapted from Food Network Magazine) (Difficulty-Intermediate; Serves 4)

  • 1 lb. organic free-range bone-in beef short ribs
  • 1 Tbsp. arrow root powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ribs of organic celery, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 organic leek, chopped
  • 4 sprigs organic thyme, plus 1/2 Tbsp. thyme leaves
  • 1 organic bay leaf
  • 1/2 head garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1 Tbsp. organic tomato paste
  • 1/2-3/4 c. dry red wine
  • 4-5 c. organic low-sodium beef stock
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 organic Spanish onions, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup dry sherry or Marsala cooking wine (sherry is the traditional ingredient for this soup, but I only had Marsala at home and I really loved the flavor it added)
  • 1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 4 slices organic sourdough bread, toasted (optional)
  • 4 slices high-quality gruyere or swiss cheese

Braise the short ribs: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Toss the short ribs with the arrow root powder and season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the short ribs and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

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Add the celery, chopped onion and leek to the pot and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Return the short ribs to the pot and stir in the thyme sprigs, bay leaf, garlic and tomato paste. Add the wine and bring to a simmer, then cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the stock and return to a simmer. Cover, transfer to the oven, and braise until the short ribs are falling off the bone, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

IMAG0459'IMAG0463IMAG0466 Meanwhile, caramelize the onions: Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the sliced onions, reduce the heat to low and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown, about 2 hours, 30 minutes. (Add a splash of water and scrape up any browned bits from the pot, if necessary.)

IMAG0464 When the short ribs are done, remove from the broth with a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate and let cool slightly. Strain the broth, discarding the solids. Shred the meat, discarding the bones, and toss with 1 cup of the broth. Reserve the remaining broth.

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Add the thyme leaves and sherry to the caramelized onions. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes; add the reserved broth and cook 30 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Skim the fat from the top of the soup. Stir in the sherry vinegar.

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Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Divide the soup among 4 ovenproof bowls; spoon about 1/3 cup shredded meat into the center of each, then top each with a slice of the sourdough toast, trimming the bread if necessary. Top each with a slice of cheese, letting the cheese hang over the side of the bowl. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden and bubbly, about 10 minutes.

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Chipotle Pumpkin Chili

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This recipe was inspired by a few serendipitous occurrences. First, a friend of mine who loves beer even more than I do mentioned making a chili recipe with Rogue’s Chipotle Ale, which I thought was a brilliant idea. A week or so later, another friend made his pumpkin chili for a group of our childhood friends while we cozied up to the fireplace at his snowy Utah cabin over the winter holidays.  And being someone who is obsessed with pumpkin in every way shape or form, I also thought this was brilliant. Thus, my very own chipotle pumpkin chili recipe came to life! I’ve made it twice now, once with ground beef and once with ground turkey. I think it is delightful either way so have your pick. While chili is not completely primal due to the phytate-full beans, it is considerably high in protein and low in sugar, and it is most certainly gluten-free. So if you’re really hankering for some good chili and a spicy pumpkin pick-me-up, this is the way to go.  IMAG0233

Chipotle Pumpkin Chili (Difficulty-Easy, Serves 8-10)

  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed, avocado or other mild flavored oil
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 1 organic green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 lbs. organic free range ground beef or turkey
  • 16 oz. can organic pumpkin puree
  • 15 oz. can organic dark red kidney beans, drained
  • 15 oz. can organic black beans, drained
  • 28 oz. can organic diced tomatoes
  • 28 oz. can organic tomato puree or tomato juice
  • 16 oz. Rogue Chipotle beer
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Toppings of your choices-I like to eat mine with shredded cheddar, sliced avocado, hot sauce, and a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt

Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, and spices. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.

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Increase heat to medium-high and add half of the beef. Cook, breaking up the pieces until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining beef and cook until browned. Add the pumpkin puree, beans, tomatoes with juice, tomato puree and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for 1 hour.

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Remove the lid, add the beer, and continue to simmer 1 hour longer until the chili is rich and slightly thickened. Season with salt to taste. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese.

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