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No Sear Lamb or Beef and Chickpea Stew

This is an easy one pot stew for lamb or beef. I chose lamb and was not disappointed! Add the greens at the very end just before serving. Serve with an earthy flavored yogurt such as Organic Valley Grassmilk Plain Yogurt

This delish lamb stew recipe comes from the cookbook Taste of Persia by Naomi DuGuid. She was featured on Christopher KimballsMilkStreetRadio where she shared this recipe. You can find it at: 

Milkstreetrecipes

Recipes.177milkstreet.com

Virgin White Sangria

I made this refreshing drink for a bridal shower and everyone loved it! It is tart and refreshing! Sorry I don’t have a photo. It’s a light neutral pink color. It’s very easy and uncomplicated.

Mix this up just before serving. The sparkling water will get flat if it sits too long. Or you can combine the 3 juices. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve, and then add the sparkling water and fruit when you’re ready to party!

4 cups 100% white grape juice (Welch’s is best!)

1 cup FRESH pink grapefruit juice or more

2 tablespoons FRESH lime juice or more (I used an entire lime)

1 liter sparkling water

Add more of the tart flavors if you like.

Add fresh sliced limes and peeled fresh grapefruit segments and serve in a cool bowl, pitcher or beverage dispenser. I use the peeled grapefruit segments packed in natural unsweetened juice you can find in the produce refrigerated sections.

You can also make an ice ring out of the punch ingredients with some lime and grapefruit slices added.

Quick and Easy Chocolate Mousse


This is a super fast and easy method for a pure chocolate dessert! It’s a recipe from Food52.com which is a fabulous source for all things food!

3/4 cup water

4 oz chocolate you love! I like the chili pepper flavor dark chocolate. Any style that has 70% cacao is good

  • In a small saucepan heat the water
  • Whisk in the chocolate and mix until smooth
  • Place saucepan over a larger bowl of ice
  • Beat with a hand whisk, hand mixer or an immersion/stick blender until thick for a minute or less.
  • Pour into small serving bowls
  • Serves 4 small rich portions
  • Top with whipping cream
  • When melting the chocolate you may add other flavors such as vanilla, spices, rose water or liquor.
  • Don’t refrigerate it, just keep it at room temperature until you’re ready to eat it.

Whisk the chocolate and water over medium heat until smooth


Place the saucepan over a bowl of ice and beat with a stick blender


Beat just until thick. Do not over do it!

Voila! I hope you love this as much as we do!

Orange Lettuce Salad


This simple salad can be whipped together in minutes! Oranges are the main feature.  

The pink are called Cara Cara and the red are Blood Oranges. There are two types of blood oranges. Here I used the Moro orange which are available December through March. The other blood orange is Tarocco and are available from January through May. The Cara Cara is a cross between two naval oranges and their peak seasons are December and April. I bought them in February.

The mixed spring greens are beautiful and easy. I have found really fresh greens at Aldi, the European discount grocery store.

Edamame is very popular. I used the shelled version which is called mukimame. It’s all soybeans. The Target brand Archer Farms makes a frozen version I like!

High quality olive oil and white wine vinegar are essential for this delish dressing. I use champagne balsamic vinegar or a white balsamic vinegar from a local oil and vinegar shop. Mercato di O & V

Here’s what you need:                   Serves 4

4 cups mixed spring greens

2 Cara Cara oranges

2 blood oranges

1 cup shelled soybeans, also called edamame (mukimame)

1/4 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil

1/8 cup white balsamic vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon or less black pepper 

Here’s how to do it:

  • Place the lettuce on salad plates
  • Sprinkle soybeans over lettuce
  • Slice the ends off the oranges, then slice the rest of the rind off from end to end. Leave no rind or white pulp
  • Cut each orange crosswise in 4 thick slices
  • Layer 2 of each orange slice on the salad
  • Combine the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl with a small whisk or shake it all together in a small jar with a lid
  • Pour about a tablespoon or so over each salad
  • Sprinkle with black pepper if you want 
  • Voila!

Caesar Salad 

Caesar Salad is very common in today’s menus. Really it’s too common!  This recipe is adapted from the 1961 Antoinette Pope School Cookbook. It was a cooking school in Chicago where my mom took classes in the 1940s and 1950s. 

I’ve omitted the anchovies and the coddled egg. Everything else is the same. They gave you a choice with the garlic too. Either rub it in the bowl and discard it or leave it in the bowl to blend in with the dressing. Instead I minced the garlic and salt and then added it to the dressing.  

The original recipe uses oil, no specific type.  I like sunflower oil. It is very mild and allows the flavor of the dressing ingredients to blossom! Definitely don’t use olive oil.

Serves 8-10
4 medium cloves garlic

2 teaspoons salt

3/4 cup sunflower oil (not olive oil)

1/4 cup good quality white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons dry mustard

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling on the salad if you want

2 pounds romaine lettuce

1 cup small croutons or more

16 oz grilled chicken breast or more, optional

  • Rinse the lettuce well and drain. Wrap in paper towels. Keep in the frig
  • Mince the garlic and salt together to form a paste
  • Combine the garlic paste and oil in a medium bowl
  • Beat the mixture with a fork, whisk or immersion blender/stick blender until it’s thick.
  • Add the wine vinegar and lemon juice and continue to beat together
  • Add the Worcestershire, dry mustard, pepper and Parmesan. Continue to beat together. 
  • Tear the lettuce into bite size pieces. Place it in a large serving bowl 
  • Toss in the salad dressing to coat all the lettuce
  • Add the croutons
  • Add sliced grilled chicken if you like and drizzle more dressing over it all. 
  • You can also brush the dressing on the chicken before grilling or make a double batch of dressing and use half of it to marinate the chicken before grilling!
  • Sprinkle more Parmesan over your salad
  • Voila!

Rinse and drain the lettuce.  Place on paper towels and then roll it up. Keep it in the frig until ready to eat!

We’ve followed this recipe dozens of times! Can you tell? I hope you enjoy it too!


Beet Soup


I have made many variations of beet soup, also known as borsht. Borsht is a Russian soup that’s a mixture of vegetables including beets, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes and possibly other veggies. The bright color of beets gets muted when cooked with other vegetables, so I like to make this beet soup with only beets, tomatoes and some onion in a vegetable broth with added spices. It’s really so simple. 

And the big surprise is that this beet soup tastes delish hot or cold! Cold soup in the summer is so refreshing! 

We had dinner in Chicago at the Russian Tea Time. It’s much more than a tea room. Their menu is full of hearty Eastern European fare! Their borsht was a beautiful red of grated beets and carrots which inspired me to develop this recipe for Beet Soup! 

8 medium to large beets

16 cups (64 oz) unsalted vegetable stock, low salt if possible if using store bought stock. Stock is better than broth!

2 – 28 oz cans diced tomatoes in juice, not sauce!

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

5 large bay leaves

8 large cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

16 whole allspice

15 whole coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes. This adds a fair amount of heat. Use less if you don’t want it hot.

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon dried dill weed, optional

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper 

  • Trim off stems and leaves from beets. Reserve the stems. Use the leaves to make a Beet Salad. Look up my recipe here
  • Wash the stems and cut them into 1/2 –  1 inch lengths. Set aside.

  • Soak beets in water and scrub clean.
  • Peel beets with a vegetable peeler. Grate them with a food processor or Kitchen Aid attachment. Set aside in a bowl.
  • Meanwhile, in a large 12 quart stock pot, heat the stock. 
  • Add onion and tomatoes to the stock.
  • Add bay leaves, garlic, allspice, coriander, and hot pepper flakes. Cover and bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes. 
  • Add the grated beets and stems to the soup. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 10 minutes.

  • Add sugar, red wine vinegar, dill, salt and black pepper. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. 
  • Cool and store in the frig for a full 24 hours so the flavors meld. 
  • Float sour cream or plain yogurt on each bowl if you like. But you’ll lose some of the bright red color! This is traditional, but not necessarily always used.
  • Voila!

Empty bowls of beet soup offer a beautiful color that’s even pleasing to look at!

Beet Greens Salad


I love to make borsht or beet soup, but I don’t always want to add the beet greens to the soup. And greens still attached to the root vegetable are so very fresh! Beet greens are a great source of calcium which we need to treat and prevent osteoporosis. And they are full of antioxidants!

 This is quick and simple. Serve it cold as a salad or hot as a vegetable. Both are prepared the same.

  • Cut the leaves and stems from the beets
  • Wash well in water and drain
  • Place greens on a cutting board 

Beet greens quickly cool down in ice water

  • Cut off the stems and reserve for soup if you like, or use them here. Cut the stems in 1 inch or bite size pieces.
  • Cut the greens into 3 inch sections, perpendicular to the stems
  • Heat on the stove a large pot with 1/4 cup water
  • Place greens into the hot water
  • Toss greens a few seconds until slightly wilted.
  • Remove from pot with a slotted spoon
  • Place in a large container of ice water for 5 – 10 seconds or until cooled
  • Lift greens out of the water with your hands or slotted spoon and drain in a colander
  • To prepare the salad place 1/2 – 1 cup of the greens on a small plate
  • Drizzle over the greens good quality olive oil and white balsamic vinegar
  • Sprinkle with flaked sea salt
  • Voila! Your salad is ready
  • You can heat this in the microwave if you would like to serve hot.
  • Greens cook done a lot, so plan on 3 – 4 cups of raw greens serving one person.

If you let this sit in the frig, some of the red color will bleed. You can add this to the serving plate if you want more red color.