Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Soup: Borscht!

Happy Valentine's Day!
This delicious Borscht soup of beets, potatoes and cabbage is made a little heartier for today. I followed this recipe from 2010, but used a small heart shaped cutter to create the beet and potato hearts (per my daughter's request).  The remainders were diced and cooked, as in the original recipe (no waste!)

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy day!

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Green Bean, Cannellini Bean & Potato Pesto Salad

If you're looking for a crowd-pleasing dish to share this weekend that delivers indulgent flavor without throwing good nutrition out the window, this Green Bean, Cannellini Bean, and Potato Pesto Salad is a winner!  

Like all my favorite recipes, it's quick and easy to prepare, whether you make everything diligently from scratch or take advantage of my stress-free cheater tips. As long as you can boil water, you can make this delicious dish and I guarantee your friends and family will be impressed with the result.

I used a bag of Trader Joe's tiny potatoes, which I put in a saucepan with water and salt and brought to the boil and boiled for 4-5 minutes. I then cut them in half and put them in a large mixing bowl with a little sea salt. I "cheated" by using 1 1/2 bags of pre-trimmed green beans from Trader Joe's ($2.99) that I cooked in the microwave for 3 1/2 minutes. I then put the beans in a cold water bath to stop the cooking and cut the beans in half and added them to the potatoes. I drained and rinsed a can of white cannellini beans and added them to the beans and potatoes.  I thinly sliced two green onions (spring onions) and then added 3 TBS of a pre-made fresh pesto from our local high-end grocery store.  Fresh ground salt and pepper and my dish was ready to go! 

I wouldn't recommend using a commercial pesto that isn't freshly made for this. They typically have a lot of additives and, while they are acceptable in a hot pasta dish, you'll notice the waxiness in a fresh salad like this one. Go for a fresh made pesto from a good store like Whole Foods, Paradise, Molly Stones etc that has a few basic ingredients (basil, olive oil, parmesan, pine nuts, salt and garlic). It's quick and easy to make your own pesto in a mini-prep, if you need to, and, if you're catering to vegan sports fans, simply leave out the parmesan.  

I tested this out on my friends at the horse ranch today and everyone loved it!  Not only does it taste great, but those fresh green beans and protein-packed cannellini beans make it pretty darned guilt-free.

I'm also happy to share this recipe to celebrate the tasty seventh birthday of Albion Cooks!  And, as a Bay Area Blogger, "Go 49ers!"

Happy Groundhog Day and enjoy the game tomorrow!