Chimichurri Variation

One of the most delicious things that I have found on my visits to Argentina is the chimichurri that is often served with their steaks. As I was playing around with some herbs from my garden and what happened to be in my fridge, I came up with this variation on the Argentinean classic. It is quick, easy, and tasty! Try it out and play with your own variations on it! Log in and post your results below as well.

1 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves
½ sweet onion (vidalia)
¼ tsp chili pepper flakes
3-4 mini bell peppers
1/3 cup kalamata olives
3 tbsp chopped parsley leaves
3 tbsp chopped mint leaves
3 tbsp chopped basil leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
juice from half a lemon
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp sea salt

Peel and press the garlic. Chop the onion very finely and cut the leaves of the herbs into razor thin short strips. Mix this together with the chili pepper and vinegar. Add two thirds of the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Chop the peppers and olives very finely and add to the mix along with the oregano. Stir well and taste it. Does it need more of something? Go ahead and add it according to your taste. Add remaining olive oil until you reach a desired consistency. Enjoy with a steak or fresh bread!

Dill & Celery Soup

This vegetarian soup can be served warm, hot or cold. It can also be made with half the amount of dill than I used if you want more of the celery flavor in the foreground. Served cold, it is a perfect lunch soup for summer. Served hot, it will warm you up inside during colder days or nights. The recipe below makes four servings.

Celery Soup

8 celery stalks
1 green zucchini
1 small or medium yellow onion
1-2 potatoes
2 oz. Butter
1 cup fresh dill leaves (or ½ cup frozen dill)
3 tbsp olive oil
½ cup sour cream, crème fraîche, or heavy cream
3 cups vegetable broth (I make my own and will post recipe later.)
3 tbsp dry white wine
freshly ground pepper
freshly ground nutmeg

The beginning of the cooking process

1. Peel the potatoes and chop them up in smaller chunks. Chop the celery, onion, and zucchini into smaller chunks as well. Put it all in a pot with the butter and olive oil and cook while stirring until the onions start looking slightly translucent.
2. Add the broth and simmer until potatoes are cooked through. Add the wine halfway through so that the flavor is absorbed and the alcohol is evaporated.
3. Add the dill and mix the soup in a blender until smooth. (You want to use mostly leaves of dill so make sure you remove any coarse stems before adding it to the soup.)
4. If you want a cold soup, strain it and stir in some heavy cream. If you want to serve it warm, just add a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche on top when you serve it. You will get a heartier soup if you don’t strain it and serve it warm or hot.
5. Serve with some freshly ground nutmeg and black pepper on top.

– Add a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar at the end of the process for a different flavor profile.

Vegan version:
– Use double the amount of olive oil or add canola oil instead of butter if you want to make a vegan version. In that case, you can use coconut milk to get the creamy consistency instead of cream. (Make sure you buy coconut milk that doesn’t come from child labor or animal abuse!)

Strained soup served cold

Light Vegan Lunch

Today I was in the mood for something light, healthy, and flavorful. Quinoa is easy to make, but lacks flavor so I chopped up some celery to cook with it as well as some fresh dill. Once it was done, I also squeezed fresh lemon over it to bring out some more flavor. The veggies were made with roasted peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, onion, garlic, shallot, celery, and some fresh basil. On the side I chopped up a ripe tomato and added some hummus. It was all very satisfying and easy!

Light vegan lunch with sauteed veggies and quinoa

Roasted Pepper
You can easily roast your own pepper in a frying pan. It is best to use one with a non-stick coating for this. Cut the peppers lengthwise creating pieces that are as flat as possible. Then place them in the pan on high heat with the skin side down. You may need to gently press the peppers down so that more of the skin makes contact with the hot surface. Once the skin has “blistered” and the pepper is getting soft, it is done. Take it out of the pan and if you have black burnt skin, just scrape it off under running water.