Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

We were snowed in for three days last week, with work closed and school canceled, which is very unusual for October in Colorado. A light dusting of snow is expected and welcomed, but it’s equally expected to melt in the sunshine the next day.  To have snow on top of snow on top of snow with subzero temperatures for days on end before Halloween is completely bizarre.  In the end, we had over a foot of snow outside our back door.  I don’t think anyone really took the weather forecast seriously.  I mean, this is Colorado and, while we are well-equipped to deal with snow in the winter (where it belongs), we also like to brag about our 300 days of sunshine every year and joke that if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.  I hope this latest storm doesn’t portend a harsh winter. Continue reading “Pumpkin Black Bean Soup”

French Garlic and Potato Soup

This traditional garlic soup is similar to a vichyssoise, with the leek being replaced by garlic and sweet shallots.  It’s my cure-all for everything from relieving a simple headache to treating the full-blown flu. Garlic has so many antibacterial, antiviral and medicinal benefits, I’ve always said it’s better than antibiotics.  For ages, women have kept their families healthy by making healing garlic soups to fend off sickness and disease.  Don’t let the whole head of garlic in the soup turn you off – as it cooks, it becomes sweet and buttery, and the bite is tempered by puréed potatoes and a splash of milk. Continue reading “French Garlic and Potato Soup”

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Bourbon Bacon Jam

Butternut squash soup is one of my favourite fall dishes. It’s quintessentially autumn – from the colour, to the flavours, to the aroma of warm spices simmered together in a broth made velvety by the purée of winter squash – which stands alone as something I look forward to making all year round.   Kind of like my favourite sweater, it’s reliable, but too warm for September.  I wait patiently for the “sweater weather” of October to arrive, when I can finally pull it out of the closet on that first blissfully cool autumn night.   Though our favourite sweaters may be worn and threadbare in places, I would never suggest that they should be changed or improved upon in any way. They are perfect as they are.  That’s not the case, however, when it comes to cooking.   When I’m in the kitchen, I’m always looking for ways to kick up the flavours a bit and that’s exactly what happened with this recipe. As I was stirring the pot it was almost as if I had an Angel sitting on one shoulder and the Devil on the other. . . Continue reading “Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Bourbon Bacon Jam”

Zucchini Vichyssoise with Sweet Corn Relish

French country cooking meets a mid-century American past-time.

Yesterday I made one of my favorite summer soups: a zucchini vichyssoise, loosely based on Ina Garten’s recipe from her book, Barefoot in Paris.  It’s an old stand by in my kitchen during the summer months for two reasons: 1) it’s a great way to use up all the zucchini that’s coming out of the garden and 2) it’s delicious!  It looks lovely garnished with green ribbons of julienned zucchini or with fresh snipped chives, as Ina suggests in the book,  but yesterday, as I stood at the stove and watched it simmer I realized that the soup alone wasn’t going to satisfy my craving for something cool and fresh the way it usually does. Continue reading “Zucchini Vichyssoise with Sweet Corn Relish”

Bone Broth Beauty Elixir

We all know that beauty starts with good health.  The first signs of disease or imbalance in the body often reveal themselves through our skin.  And good health starts in the kitchen, so it’s safe to say, then, that beauty starts in the kitchen. Continue reading “Bone Broth Beauty Elixir”

The Land of Enchantment

I go to New Mexico to be inspired.  The culture, the landscape, the food, the history, the textures, the colours – they’re all threads in a complex and fascinating tapestry.  At first sight New Mexico may be deceiving – a harsh, desolate wilderness where even the plethora of adobe houses somehow fade seamlessly into the landscape beyond leaving you to wonder whether they ever even existed in the first place.  Were they just mirages on the desert floor?   This is the place where dreams of the American Wild West were born and quickly went to die.  But there’s a reason New Mexico is called “The Land of Enchantment.” There’s a magic here, deep and ancient, rooted in traditions that never die. Continue reading “The Land of Enchantment”

An Easter Menu

Without a doubt, Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday!  I dream of turkey and dressing and cornbread and pumpkins for weeks leading up to the day.  Of course, when all the dishes are done and the tablecloth is in the washing machine, I start to realize that I like Christmas, maybe just a little more.  All the sweets, breads, nuts and big cinnamon rolls for breakfast!  I mean, how could Christmas NOT be your favourite holiday, really?  Oh, but then… Champagne and caviar and oysters and fireworks and the promise of a blank slate and a fresh start in the year to come and I’m certain that New Years is, indeed, my favorite.  But when the confetti settles, the house is cleaned, the windows are opened letting in the freshness of spring, I determine that, in fact, Easter must really be my favourite holiday. Continue reading “An Easter Menu”

Garlic-Turmeric Soup and Ginger Tea

I try not to worry about little things like the cold and flu season.  I tell myself, kids get sick.  It’s just a fact of life.  It strengthens their immune systems when they’re young so that they are healthier as adults.  Little colds here and there I can manage, but this flu season has been rough, and when there are so many teachers out sick at school that the children cannot even go out to recess because there aren’t enough adults to watch them, then I start to worry.  I’m a worrier by nature, thanks to my grandmother who worried herself into four heart attacks.  The best way, I believe, to stave off worry is by Continue reading “Garlic-Turmeric Soup and Ginger Tea”