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Green Thumbs for Lunch

 This month has been busy and fun.  I had different groups from the Lake Gaston Ladies Club.  The first was the Gourmet Club and Take Away Food.  The second group is called the Green Thumbs and wanted a class on herbs and spices.  I prepared a lunch of Tomato Peanut Soup, Roasted Beet and Pecan Salad, Peta Bread with a Truffle Butter, and ended with Berry Rolls.  These are ladies cooked all their lives and  I wanted to put different flavors on the table.  The tomato soup with peanut butter and curry was definitely different.  Some people are scared of curry, I think a little goes a long way.  So here was a spice that most of us rarely use and pared with the peanut butter and tomatoes gives a unique flavor.  The Roasted beet salad has champagne vinegar, brown sugar, and vanilla,  also a different blend of flavors.  My idea was to show them its not just the spices but how we pair flavors.  We also discussed how to freeze the leafy herbs they grow.  

 To freeze a leafy herb remove the leaves from the stem and lay them on a parchment lined cookie sheet and place in freezer for about 15 minutes.  Remove to plastic freezer bag and continue till done.  Remove air and seal place in freeze and remove as needed.  Do not cut the herbs before freezing, I think they retain more flavor whole.  This is a great way to keep almost fresh herbs all winter.

Tomato and Peanut Butter Soup 

Tomato Peanut Soup 

 
 
 
 
 
Yield: 6 serving 
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 to 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 to 50 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling
1 small Onion, finely chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, finely chopped
1 Stalk Celery, finely chopped
1 clove Garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp Madras-Style Curry Powder
½ tsp Smoked Paprika
⅛ tsp Cayenne Pepper
Kosher Salt
 26 ounces Crushed Tomatoes I use Pomi Seeded and Stained tomatoes in a carton
4 cups vegetable Broth
1 Tbsp Packed Light Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Smooth Peanut Butter
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Sour Cream, fresh cilantro and chopped peanuts, for topping

Directions:  

1)  Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery; cook, stirring, about 5 minutes. 
2)  Add the garlic, curry powder, paprika, cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring, 2 more minutes.
3)  Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth, and brown sugar, then whisk in the peanut butter until incorporated. 
4)  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the soup thickens slightly, about 30 minutes. 
5)  Puree with an immersion blender or in a regular blender in batches.
6)  Season with salt and black pepper.
7)  Ladle the soup into bowls; top with sour cream, cilantro and peanuts. Drizzle with olive oil.

 

Roasted Beet and Pecan Salad

Beet and Pecan Salad with a Champagne Vinaigrette

 

 
 
 
 
 
Yield: 6 serving 
Prep Time: 15 to 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Keywords: Salads
Ingredients:

6 Med Golden Beets Or Red Beets
1 cup Pecan Halves
1  5 ounce Bag Of Mixed Greens Washed And Drained
1 cup Gorgonzola
¼ cup Champagne Vinegar
1 large Shallot small dice
2 Tbs Light Brown Sugar
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
¼ cup Canola Oil

Directions:  
1)  Preheat oven to 400°. Trim beet stems to 1 inch; gently wash beets. Wrap individually in aluminum foil, and place in jelly -roll pan
2)  Bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Transfer to wire rack, and let cool, wrapped in Foil for 30 minutes.
3)  Decrease oven temp to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer on jelly-roll pan 5 to 7 minutes till lightly toasted. cool
4)  Whisk together vinegar, shallot, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until smooth
5)  Peel beets and remove stems. Cut beets into ½ inch wedges; gently toss with ½ cup vinegar mixture.

6)  Arrange greens on a serving platter. top with beet mixture, gorgonzola, and pecans: serve with remaining dressing 

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