Food Hero

Roasted Beet and Potato Borscht by Rachelle
February 20, 2011, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Main Dish, quick fix, Soup, Uncategorized

photo from Everyday Food Website

I made this soup for a two-family dinner and all the kids gobbled it up. It cooks up with minimal prep — the only thing that take time is peeling the beets. This recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine — my go-to source for mid-week cooking. It too about 20 minutes to peel the root veggies, and then you can make a salad while the veggies roast.

Roasted Beet and Potato Borscht

2 lbs red beets
1 lb russet potatoes
2 shallots
fresh thyme
olive oil
salt and pepper
5 c veggie broth (can do some broth and some water)
red wine vinegar
sour cream
fresh parsley (opt)
green onions (opt)

Pre-heat oven to 400. Peel beets and dice medium. Peel  1 lb russet potatoes and dice medium. Add these to a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet. Coarsely chop 2 shallots and add to pan along with 3-5 springs of fresh thyme. Drizzel with 2T olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss lightly to coat.  Arrange this mix in a single layer and roast until beets and potatoes are cooked through. (About 45min)

Discard thyme. Add vegetable to a soup pot along with 5 cups vegetable broth. Bring to simmer over medium-high. Use a potato masher to mash some of the veggies until the soup is think and chunky. Stir in 1 T red-wine vinegar and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, top with sour cream, chopped fresh parsley, and thinly sliced green onions if desired.


Emergency Dinner: Huervos Rancheros and Roasted Veggies by Rachelle
September 22, 2009, 6:46 am
Filed under: Breakfast/Brunch, Main Dish, quick fix, Rachelle Mee-Chapman | Tags: , , , , ,

huervos rancheros and roasted vegggies

I threw two parties this weekend: one for 15 11 year olds, and another serving dinner and dessert to 25 folks. Needless to say, I did NOT feel like cooking again come Monday night.

Alas, the children, they demand to be fed.

I had a bunch of leftover cornbread and wanted to make Katy’s Huervos Rancheros with Chorizo to go with it. But I didn’t have the right ingredients.  So this is what came up instead. I bet you could do something like it with what you have on hand as well. Here’s the un-recipe:

Roasted Veggies: Put a couple halved, seeded bell peppers cut side down on a baking sheet. On the other half of the sheet put a row of asparagus. (I snap the ends. Some people peel.) Drizzle the asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast at 375 until the asparagus are bite-tender. Set aside. (They are fine room temp.) Keep the pepper in there until the skins blister slightly. Remove peppers and cool until you can just handle them. Pinch off the skins and discard. Slice.

“Emergency” Rancheros Sauce: In a skillet or saucepan heat olive oil. Sautee a some onions (I used green) and a couple cloves of crushed garlic. Add a can of stewed tomatoes (mine had peppers in it). Add 1/2-1 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp chili powder. Adjust to taste.

Scramble up or fry some eggs and serve the whole feast with corn tortillas, chips, rice…whatever you have on hand. Have Yum.

Jamaican Black Bean and Rice Soup by Rachelle
September 21, 2009, 7:10 am
Filed under: Main Dish, quick fix, Rachelle Mee-Chapman, Soup | Tags: , , ,

Jamacian Black Bean and Rice Soup

Last night was our Annual Fall Chili Fest for the Autumnal Equinox. I try out a different chili every year, and this one got rave reviews from our guests. It goes well with easy Pineapple Salsa and Buttery Cornbread, both of which can be found here. Have yum!

Jamaican Black Bean and Rice Soup
(serves 10)

1/4 olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1-2 red bell peppers, finely chopped
2 tsp each cumin and oregano (adjust to taste)
2 tsp salt
4-5 cloves minced garlic
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
4 c veggi stock
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 1/2 cup cooked brown or white rice
2-3 T red wine vinegar (I use balsamic)

Toppings: sliced radishes, sour cream, limes, pineapple salsa

1) Saute onions, bells peppers, spices and salt in a large pot until onions are tender.

2) Add veggie stock. Add beans and tomatoes. Heat thru.

3) Right before serving, add cooked rice and heat thru. When soup is steaming add vinegar and adjust salt.

Tip: Only add enough rice to the amount you are planning to eat right away. Store rice and soup separately to avoid the rice breaking down into starch in your leftovers.

Strawberry Spinach Salad by Rachelle
August 18, 2009, 7:45 pm
Filed under: Main Dish, quick fix, Rachelle Mee-Chapman, Salads | Tags: , ,


Too hot to cook? I’m a huge fan of “big salads.” (Remember how Elaine on Seinfeld always wanted to order “big salad.”) But sometimes you just can’t think of something yummy to put on your salad greens. My soulssitah Jen Payne to the rescue! Jen passed this great list of 101 Salads from the New York Times on to me, and I offer it now to you. (I understand #7 , the carrot blueberry salad  is especially great.)

In the meantime, here’s one of my favorite combos: Strawberry Spinach Salad. Start with clean, dry baby spinach leaves. Toss in a couple hand full mint leaves. Add very thinly sliced red onions, chevre (goat cheese), and cashews. The lightest splash of olive oil and rice vinegar, or poppy seed dressing is nice.

Basil Peach Sangria by appetista
July 18, 2009, 4:02 am
Filed under: Appetista, cocktails, quick fix

basil peach sangria

It was Robert Frost who said that good fences make good neighbors. I always assumed that this meant you should have clearly delineated boundaries and not drag your neighbors into the family feuds, nor the other way around. But, then I read the rest of the poem, and it is the retelling of how Mr. Frost and his neighbor spend one day together each year repairing the fence between their lands. And I think perhaps the line refers to the fact that it is good to join with your neighbor, and undertake a task with mutual benefit that would be too large for either of you alone.

Last weekend I undertook such a task with my neighbor (the lovely Katy K) and we hosted a party for our coworkers. (Because Katy and I are friends, and neighbors, and coworkers all at the same time – there are precious few people in the world who can put up with that much of me, bless her soul.) Anyway, we decided to have a party in our shared backyard, and we decided to be lazy and make everyone else bring the food. All we supplied was sangria (and artichoke dip and two gallons of peach ice cream, just for kicks.) So three different sangria recipes were scouted, and three different bottles of wine were purchased, and three different sangrias were made – classic, berry, and basil peach. And by far, the best of these three was the basil peach.  And so many people liked it and asked for the recipe that I thought I would put it here, so the regular Food Hero readers could see the results and a few new people could discover Food Hero.

The sangria was so good I made it again for a boat trip when the divine Rachelle came back for a visit from Denmark. And this time I was running late and made it in 10 minutes (no kidding). So from personal experience I can swear that the whole part about cooling for an hour afterwards is purely optional – just add more ice to the glass. And without further ado, basil peach sangria.

Basil Peach Sangria

(from Gourmet July 2005)

1c loosely packed fresh basil leaves plus 8-10 sprigs.

¾ c sugar

¼ c fresh lemon juice – about one big lemon

2 cans peach nectar

1 bottle chilled dry white wine

1 large peach, peeled if desired, diced.

Put 1 cup basil leaves, sugar, and lemon juice into a small saucepan and bruise leaves by mashing with a wooden spoon. Add 1 can nectar and bring just to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes, then pour through a sieve into a pitcher. Discard basil leaves. Stir in wine, peach, remaining can nectar, a basil sprigs. Chill at least 1 hour. Serve over ice.

A few notes on the recipe. I bought one of the big tubs from the store and that was enough for two pitchers. I think the little flat tubs would not quite be enough, so either buy a big tub or two little tubs and plan for a few leftovers. I find peach nectar in the fruit juice aisle of the store, although sometimes it’s in with Mexican food. I really would pick a drier white wine for this – the peach nectar and the sugar give it plenty of sweetness and a sweet wine would just send it over the top. We used chardonnay.

Stir-Fried Eggs with Shiitake Mushrooms by Katy K
February 24, 2009, 1:50 am
Filed under: Breakfast/Brunch, Katy K, quick fix | Tags: ,


The next time you are in the mood for something a little different at breakfast time try Stir-Fried Eggs with Shiitake Mushrooms. This dish is delicious and a little exotic. The aroma is wonderful. It is a slight modification of a recipe in Low Carb 1-2-3 by Rozanne Gold. This interesting cookbook consists entirely of three-ingredient recipes for all times of a day but I added a fourth ingredient to this breakfast. Stir-frying shiitake mushrooms in toasted sesame oil lends a more substantial “meaty” element to simple scrambled eggs. I top it all with some sliced Canadian bacon because I think the tang complements the flavours and makes it more of a meal – but you can always keep it vegetarian if that’s what you like. Rozanne Gold calls this dish suave.  According to the dictionary this adjective means “having a sophisticated charm”. I quite agree.

Ingredients (per serving)

2            eggs
1/2 tsp   toasted sesame oil
3            big shiitake mushrooms
1            slice of Canadian bacon 

img_2581Slice the mushrooms. Fry some Canadian bacon until turning golden and a little crispy in places. Slice the bacon into batons (a little bigger than matchsticks which are a little bigger than a julienne). Mix eggs with a splash of water using a fork or whisk. I think adding a little water to scrambled eggs makes them more tender when they are cooked (more tender than when you use milk, I find). Heat the sesame oil over medium heat in a nonstick pan, add mushrooms and cook until they soften a little, about 2-3 minutes, add some salt and pepper, and continue to cook until soft.  Add the whisked eggs and cook, stirring, until scrambled to the right consistency. Serve on a warm plate with the sliced bacon scattered on top.

Cinnamon Spiced Mango with Toasted Coconut by Katy K
November 10, 2008, 3:59 am
Filed under: Baked Goods/Desserts, Katy K, quick fix | Tags:

img_24891Another winner from the Low Carb 1-2-3 cookbook by Rozanne Gold. I have been having good luck picking mangoes lately.  They say to pick one that gives a little under your thumb and that isn’t wrinkly. I picked an organic one that fit this description at the local food co-op and the cashier gave it to me for free because he thought it was bruised.  I left it on a shelf where I keep my tomatoes for a couple of weeks, and then I prepared this recipe. It turned out to be a great mango, in flavor, color, texture…and price!


Fresh mango
shredded coconut
cardamon and/or cinnamon

Toast the coconut over high heat in a pan, stirring constantly. As soon as they are as toasted as I want, I pour them out of the pan onto a cold plate to stop the toasting process. Slice the mango into attractive pieces.  I found that using a serrated knife (bread knife) was helpful because it bites into the skin of the mango instead of sliding off.  Put the mango on the cutting board on an edge. Use the serrated knife to cut close to the pit and slice off a “cheek”. Use a paring knife to make vertical slices in the cut side of the cheek (the goal is to not cut through the skin but it’s okay if you do a little).  Then use a spoon to remove the slices of mango from themango-en-place22 peel. I found it useful to remove one slice at a time with the spoon (see right).  Arrange the mango slices on a plate, sprinkle with some cardamon and/or cinnamon, and scatter the toasted coconut on top. I used a very little cardamon (for an exotic hint) and more cinnamon. I also used a tea strainer to sprinkle the spices, lightly and evenly. The mango tastes delicious with the coconut and spices. It feels like a really indulgent dessert – even without ice cream!