Italian Potato-Pasta Soup With Greens

Italian Potato-Pasta Soup With Greens

Some soups are light and refreshing preludes to a meal; others, like this one, are an entire meal in a bowl. Pasta and potatoes, like pasta and beans, are frequently combined in Italian vegetable dishes. The potatoes should be starchy, like Yukon Golds or russets, so that they lend body to the broth. Short pasta shapes add texture; onion, fennel, garlic, tomato paste and fresh herbs and greens add flavor. The soup may be made a day or so before serving: It improves in the refrigerator and reheats beautifully, but don’t add the pasta in this case until serving.

Once I read this description, I had to try the recipe. It was delicious! Happy cooking, hon!

Italian Potato-Pasta Soup With Greens


3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for garnish

2 cups diced onion

1 cup diced carrot

1 cup diced celery or fennel (I used celery)

salt and pepper to taste

1 bay leaf

1 large thyme sprig (I used a couple of dashes of dried thyme)

2 garlic cloves

2 teaspoons paprika

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

3 quarts/12 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or water (I used veg. broth.)

2 pounds medium-size starchy potatoes, such as Yukon Golds or russets, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks

8 ounces kale or chard, stems removed, leaves sliced across into ½-inch ribbons (about 4 cups total)

½ pound dried pennette, orecchiette or other small pasta

1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or marjoram, for garnish

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish


  1. In a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the 3 Tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add onion, carrot and celery (or fennel), stir, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened and golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust the heat to prevent vegetables from browning or scorching.
  2. Stir in bay leaf, thyme sprig, garlic, paprika and tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add broth, potatoes and a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a brisk simmer. Cook until potatoes are cooked through but still firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Taste to adjust the seasonings.
  3. Stir in kale and pasta and simmer another 10 minutes, or until greens are well cooked and pasta is done. (Soup can be made up to this point, without the pasta, cooled and refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
  4. Ladle soup into bowls, and sprinkle with chopped rosemary and Parmesan. Drizzle each serving with a teaspoon of olive oil. Pass extra Parmesan at the table. (I didn’t add Parmesan or olive oil on top of servings.)

Yield: 6-8 servings

To make vegan, eliminate Parmesan.

To make gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.

Source: The New York Times, City Kitchen by David Tanis


Crispy Potato Cake (Galette De Pomme De Terre)

Crispy Potato Cake (Galette De Pomme De Terre)

Crispy Potato Cake (Galette De Pomme De Terre)

I made this delicious dish a long time ago and wanted to make it again many times, but I couldn’t find the recipe. (I didn’t trust myself to make it from memory). When I finally organized cut-outs from newspapers, chicken-scratched napkins, and a ton of loose recipes, I found it.  Yay!  It takes some patience, but it’s worth it.

Happy cooking, hon.

Layer potatoes in a spiral.
Slowly cook potatoes until well browned.


2 pounds (about 3 medium) potatoes, peeled and sliced very thinly

1 Tablespoon olive oil, or as needed

Freshly ground nutmeg

Freshly ground black pepper

1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1 Tablespoon minced garlic


Fresh thyme leaves for garnish (optional)


  1. Pat potatoes dry if very starchy or moist. In a sauté pan large enough to fit potato slices in just two layers, spread 1 tablespoon oil with and sprinkle with nutmeg and pepper to taste. Starting in center, arrange potato slices in a closely overlapping, attractive spiral. When pan is filled, repeat to make second layer.
  2. Place pan over medium heat and cover. Slowly cook potatoes until well browned on underside, about 15 minutes, occasionally shaking pan gently to avoid sticking. Wipe inside of lid as needed to keep it dry.
  3. Press potatoes down with a flat spatula and remove from heat. Place a larger platter over pan and flip it upside down, transferring potatoes to the platter. Check pan to make sure it is clean and has enough oil to keep potatoes from sticking.
  4. Slide galette, raw side down, back into pan, and return to medium heat. Cover and cook until browned, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a persillade by combining parsley and garlic in a small bowl. To serve, slide galette onto a serving platter, season to taste with salt, and garnish with persillade or thyme.

Yield: 4 servings.

Source: “A Culinary Journey in Gascony” by Kate Hill



Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas

Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas
Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas

Winter puts me in the mood for hearty soups, and this one is practically a meal. Serve it as a soup or over quinoa, brown rice or polenta. Yum.

Happy cooking and stay warm, hon!


3 cups chopped onions

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 Tablespoons olive oil

6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1/2 teaspoon ground Coriander

1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups water

2 cups diced peeled butternut squash (I substituted yellow squash)

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup diced bell peppers (optional)

5 cups chopped kale (see note)

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar


  1. In a soup pot on medium-high heat, cook the onions and salt in the oil, stirring often, until very soft and beginning to caramelize, 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, coriander, thyme, and black pepper and stir for a minute. Stir in the water, squash, chickpeas, tomatoes, carrots, and bell peppers. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the kale, cover, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the greens are tender but still bright green. Stir in the basil and vinegar.

Note: About 1 pound of kale will yield 5 cups sorted (discard yellow or wilted leaves and large center stems), stemmed, and chopped kale.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings or about 8 cups

Time for Pie (Gluten Free Dough)

Gluten Free Baking cookbook by Michael McCamley.
Gluten Free Baking cookbook by Michael McCamley.
Inspiration Photo.
Inspiration Photo.

Do you need a good gluten free dough recipe? 

This gluten free pastry dough recipe can be used for pie, quiche or other baked goods.  In this post, you’ll find ingredients and directions for making an Apple Pie as well as a link to a How To video I posted on You Tube.

Raw gluten free pastry dough doesn’t have the same sweet, buttery scent of regular dough but, once baked, the crust is flaky and delicious. Trust me, when this is served, there are no leftovers!

Happy baking, hon.

My Gluten Free Apple Pie.
My Gluten Free Apple Pie.

Click HERE to watch–Ta Dah!–my second, and short, How To Video.

Gluten Free Pastry Dough Ingredients

3 2/3 cups gluten-free flour, plus extra for dusting

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 stick butter, plus extra for greasing (I used Crisco vegetable shortening.)

1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)

Apple Pie Filling Ingredients

6 cups apple slices (I use a combination of Granny Smith and other varieties)

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

approximately 1 Tablespoon flour

dash salt

1 egg, beaten (used to brush on top of crust before baking)


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degress F.

2.  Combine apples, sugar, lemon juice, salt and spices.  This mixture will give off a lot of liquid so use a slotted spoon when spooning into pie crust, allowing you to spoon the apple mixture without the excess liquid.

3.  To make the pastry dough, combine the flour, xanthan gum, and confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl. Rub in the butter (or vegetable shortening) with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the egg and milk (or almond milk) and combine to make the dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

4.  On a gluten free floured surface, divide the dough in two and roll each piece out to form a large circle*–one to line the pie plate and one to go on top of the pie. Line the pie plate with one of the pasty circles and add the apple filling.

5.  Add the second pastry circle as a lid and, using a fork, crimp the edges of the pasty all the way around. Pierce the pie in the middle a couple of times to let out steam during baking.

6.  Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden.

Serves 8

*I rolled out the dough by a)pressing dough ball down to flatten it, b)sandwiching dough between two pieces of wax paper, then c)rolling the rolling pin on top of the wax paper.  (Demo can be seen in the video.) If the dough sticks to the wax paper, you can spray the wax paper with non-stick spray.

**You can make this pie ahead and freeze it.  Let pie cool completely before wrapping in saran wrap and aluminum foil.  A couple of days before serving, defrost at room temperature.

Serving options:

Serve warm–after removing from oven, let cool about 20 minutes.

Serve room temperature–cool completely.

Rewarm defrosted pie– warm in a preheated 250- 275 degrees F oven, uncovered, until desired temperature.

DIY Raincoat Crisps, Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps


I had never heard of Raincoast Crisps until a friend served her homemade crisps with cheese as appetizers. I couldn’t stop eating them!  Thekitchn describes them perfectly.

“These crackers are thin, crispy, and packed with flavor. The raisins add their chewy texture and sweetness, while the nuts and seeds give the crackers substance. The fresh rosemary gives a breath of pine-y goodness to every bite, just like in the original crackers.”

Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps


2 cups all-purpose flour (to make these gluten-free, substitute with gluten-free flour or rice flour)

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups buttermilk (to make these gluten-free or non-dairy, substitute with 1 ¾ cups almond milk)

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup honey

1 cup raisins

½ cup chopped pecans

½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

¼ cup sesame seeds1/4 cup flax seed (ground)

1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary (I used dried rosemary)


Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

  1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt.
  2. Add buttermilk, brown sugar and honey and stir a few strokes.
  3. Add raisins, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed and rosemary. Stir until blended.
  4. Spray two 8 x 4 inch loaf pans with non-stick spray, then pour batter into two pans. Bake for about 35 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Remove pans and cool on a wire rack.
  5. The cooler the bread, the easier it is to slice really thin. When ready to continue baking, preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Slice loaves as thin as possible and place slices in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet. (Tip. One loaf can be sliced and baked, and the other can be frozen to be slice and baked at another time.) Bake for about 15 minutes, then flip over and bake another 10 minutes, until crisp and deep golden.

Yield. About 8 dozen crackers.

Source: Dinner With Julie

Tips from  thekitchn

–freeze loaves before slicing in order to get the thinnest crackers

–bake loaves in mini-loaf pans for the perfect cracker shape

–double quantity of rosemary if you love the rosemary taste

–replace half of all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour

–plump up raisins before mixing them into batter if you want them to stand out more in finished cracker


Chocolate Meringues

Chocolate Meringues
Chocolate Meringues
1. Gather ingredients.
1. Gather ingredients.
2. Beat egg whites until they peak softly.
2. Beat egg whites until they peak softly.








3. After adding sugar and beating until stiff, fold in chopped chocolate.
3. After adding sugar and beating until stiff, fold in chopped chocolate.
Drop tablespoons of meringue mixture onto cookie sheets.
4. Drop tablespoons of meringue mixture onto cookie sheets.








Ready to eat. Sweet!
Ready to eat. Sweet!

Satisfy your sweet tooth!

I should make meringues more often because they are quick and easy, not to mention light and sweet. Even though I chose this recipe as a complement to other Kosher-for-Passover Seder desserts, meringues would work any time of year. At a recent fundraiser Hubby and I attended, gourmet-flavored meringues wrapped and ribboned were handed out as favors. Hmm, I think I’ll file that under party ideas.

Happy baking, hon!

Chocolate Meringues


4 egg whites

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (I chopped semisweet parve chocolate chips in a food processor.)


  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Coat lightly with nonstick vegetable spray.
  2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until they peak softly.
  3. Add sugar gradually, 2 tablespoons at a time, and continue beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. Fold in chopped chocolate.
  4. Drop tablespoons of meringue onto prepared cookie sheets or press through a pastry bag with a large star nozzle.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn oven off and leave meringues inside without opening door for 3 to 4 hours, or overnight, to dry completely.
  6. Store in airtight container in a cool, dry place. Do not refrigerate.

Yield: 25 – 30 meringues

Source:  Everyday Cooking for the Jewish Home by Ethel G. Hofman

Related Post: Lemon Meringues

Roasted Cauliflower


Brown cut-up cauliflower in olive oil over medium .heat
Brown cut-up cauliflower in olive oil over medium heat.
Mix browned cauliflower with spices.
Mix browned cauliflower with spices.







Spread cauliflower on a greased baking pan.
Spread cauliflower on a greased baking pan. 
Bake at 400 degrees F, uncovered, for approx. 20 minutes, until top is golden. Serve.
Bake at 400 degrees F, uncovered, for approx. 20 minutes, until top is golden. Serve.


Roasted Cauliflower–Easy, Delicious and Healthy.

I used the recipe from David Tanis’ City Kitchen column* as guidance, and then altered the spices. Tanis baked his cauliflower with pre-cooked rigatoni and added cheese for a main dish. Click Rigatoni and Cauliflower Al Forno to see the his recipe. I’ll definitely be making this side dish again.

Happy cooking, hon.


–1 cauliflower

–olive oil

–1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced

–salt, pepper, thyme, about 1 to 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro or any spices you think will go well with cauliflower


  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut cauliflower in half from top to bottom, cut out tough core, stem and extraneous leaves. Lay cauliflower flat side down and cut crosswise into rough 1/4-inch slices.
  3. Put 3 Tablespoons olive oil in skillet over high heat. Brown cauliflower for about 2 minutes, then turn pieces over to brown other side. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until cauliflower is easily pierced with a fork. Some pieces won’t be brown.  Season with salt and pepper and stir to coat.’
  4. Put cauliflower in a mixing bowl. Add cilantro, garlic and thyme.
  5. Spray a foil-lined baking sheet.
  6. Spread cauliflower evenly on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake, uncovered, for approximately 20 -30 minutes, until top is crisp and golden.

*Source:  City Kitchen column in The New York Times