Alan's Favorite Recipes

Here are some of my all-time favorite, tried-and-true recipes. I hope you try and enjoy them.


Tofu/Vegetable Stir Fry
3 T soy sauce
1 t rice wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic (minced or pressed)
1 t grated ginger
dash of hot pepper sauce, red chili paste or cayenne
10 - 14 oz firm tofu cut into 1/2" cubes
2 T vegetable oil
1 large carrot (peeled and chopped)
1 head broccoli (bite sized chunks)
3 T water
green onions for topping (cut into 1/4" tubes)
Combine soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic and grated ginger in small bowl. Add pepper sauce (if desired). Add tofu chunks and turn to marinate with mixture (overnight is good but even 15 minutes will do in a pinch.) Heat skillet over high heat 2-3 minutes. Add oil, heat 30 seconds. Add carrots, stir for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add broccoli, 3 T water and stir 2 minutes (until broccoli is bright green.) Add tofu and heat until liquid boils away. Top with green onion. Serve with white rice. Serves 2-4.
This is nice and light. Its also easy to change around by adding different veggies or using different spices in the tofu marinade.

Asparagus in wine
1 lb fresh asparagus
2 T unsalted butter
3 T shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup salted water
2 T dry white wine
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
Wash asparagus then snap off and discard tough ends. In a wide frying pan, bring 1/2 inch of salted water to a boil. Add asaparagus, cover. Cook over medium heat until asparagus is tender-crisp when pierced (approximately 5-7 minutes). Drain well and turn into a shallow 3-4 cup casserole dish. Melt butter in a small frying pan over high heat. Add wine then cook uncovered until reduced by half. Pour sauce over asparagus, sprinkle with salt, pepper and cheese. Place under broiler (2-3 inches from heat) until cheese melts (approximately 2 minutes.)
Quick and tasty.

Vegetable Pullao
1 1/2 large onion, diced fine
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 inch piece of ginger, diced
2 green chilies, diced
3/4 inch cinnamon stick
8 cloves
5 small bay leaves
5 T butter
3 medium carrots, diced into 1 inch pieces
1 cup cut green beans
2 medium potatos, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
1 cup green peas, fresh or defroasted
1/2 t turmeric
1 1/2 t salt
2 cups rice
Soak the rice in water for about an hour. Drain and set aside. Put 1/2 an onion and all the garlic, ginger and chilies into a blender along with 4 or 5 T of water and blend into a smooth paste. Break the cinnamon into small pieces. Also break each of the cloves into 2. Heat a large pan (preferably non-stick) on a medium flame. Put in the butter and as soon as it melts, add the cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves. Stir for a few seconds and add the rest of the diced onions. Stir and fry until the onion starts to turn brown. Now add the mixture from the blender and fry for about a minute, stirring often. Take care to see that the mixture doesn't get burnt. Add the drained rice to the pan and continue frying until the rice becomes translucent (you may have to add more butter.) Now add 4 cups of water to the pan. Put in all the vegetables, salt and turmeric. Cover and cook until the rice is done.
Great with an Indian bread and yogurt.

Vegetable Curry
2 large potatos, diced into 1 inch cubes
1/2 onion, cut into 1/2 inch wide slivers
3 cloves garlic
8 mushrooms, sliced into slivers
1/2 head broccolli, broken into 1 inch clumps
1/4 head cauliflower, broken into 1 inch clumps
2 turnips, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch slivers
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch slivers
3 T butter
2 t salt
1 T pepper
3 T curry powder
1/2 cup water
Get a really large pot. Peel and boil the potatos until they soften. Pour the water and potatos out of the pot. Melt the butter. Saute the onions and garlic until the onions soften. Add curry powder, salt and pepper. Once the onions turn golden, add the other veggies (broccolli, cauliflower, turnips, bell peppers, etc). Let the veggies cook in the butter until slightly browned. Add some water to make things a little saucy. Add more seasoning. Add additional salt to bring out the flavors.
This is another seat of the pants recipe. All spice measurements are approximate.

Portobello Mushrooms in Port Wine Sauce
2 Portobello Mushrooms, sliced into 1 inch wide strips
1/2 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t black pepper
1 - 1 1/2 C cream
1/4 C port wine
4 T butter
Heat the butter in a large skillet. Brown the mushroom slices, then remove them from the skillet. Add 1 cup cream to the hot skillet, bring to a boil. (Don't boil vigerously, just a few bubbles is sufficient.) Add the port wine, the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add back the mushrooms and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
Recipe adjusted from a chicken recipe (the chicken was breaded with flour and the spices). Its just to decadent for a vegetarian to miss. Enough fat to cause coronaries in three counties.

Tuscan-Style Fettuccine With Artichokes
1 lb. fettuccine
2/3 stick butter
14 oz canned artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 T chopped fresh oregano
2 T minced garlic
1/2 t black pepper
2 to 3 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In large skillet over medium heat heat, melt butter. Add artichokes, cilnatro, oregano, garlic and pepper. Cook, stirring, for several minutes until ingredients are combined and mixture is hot. Cook fettuccine "al dante". Drain. Pour artichoke mixture over warm pasta and toss to coat evenly. Divide onto hot plates, sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese and serve.
Really easy. Original recipe called for 1/2 cup margarine instead of butter. Should work equally well with a light oil. Tastes great with fresh fettuccine.

Cheese Grits
1 1/2 cups uncooked grits
1 lb cheese, grated
6 cups water
2 t salt
3 eggs, beaten
dash of Tabasco sauce
1 stick butter
Bring water to boil and add grits slowly and cook until done. DO NOT ADD SALT TO WATER. Beat eggs and add other ingredients to hot grits. Stir until cheese and butter melts. Turn into a large baking dish. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour. The grits can be frozen before the baking, just take them out of freezer the day before using. I have also been known to cook at 300-350 for less time.
This is a traditional southern dish, often served with fried fish. I got the recipe form my Aunt Carole Gordon.

Mango Pineapple Chipotle Salsa
1 Pineapple, peeled and diced
1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 Red Onion, diced
3 Chipotle Peppers, minced
6 Mangos, diced
2 Limes, zested and juiced
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tsp Chili Powder
2 tsp Coriander
2 tsp Cumin
2 tsp Salt
Mix ingredients together. Refridgerate until serving. Best resuls if allows to soak overnight.
Recipe by Billy Jack.

Tracey's Herbed Chicken-fried Tofu and Gravy
16 oz Firm Tofu
2 cups Vegetable Stock
1/3 cup Whole-Wheat Flour
3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
2 Tbsp Fresh Herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme and/or oregano), finely chopped
Black Pepper to taste
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
Drain tofu and cut into 8 slices (about 1/2 inch thick). Place slides on paper toweling, cover with more paper toweling, and press to expel much of the moisture. Pour 1/4 cup vegetable stock into a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, whisk together flour, nutritional yeast, herbs and pepper. Heat a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the oil. Dip tofu slices in vegetable stock, then dredge in flour mixture, and place in hot skillet. Saute until crispy, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from skillet to paper toweling to absorb excess oil. In same skillet, over medium heat, add remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and the remaining flour mixture. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes, until toasty. Add remaining vegetable stock (including any left in dipping pan) and stir until bubbly and thickened, about 5 minutes. Makes 4 servings.
Recipe from

Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto
7 cups Vegetable Broth
1/2 lb Butternut Squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup Shallots, minced
1 3/4 cups Arborio Rice
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Dry White Wine
3 cups Swiss Chard leaves, chopped
3/4 cup Canned Plum Tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp Fresh Sage, chopped
2 Tbsp Fresh Flat-leaf Parsley, chopped
1/4 cup soy Parmesan or Romano Cheese, grated (optional)
In large saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Drop squash into boiling broth, reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, but still firm, about 3 minutes. Remove squash with slotted spoon and set aside. Reduce heat and let broth simmer. In large, deep skillet, combine oil and shallots. Place over medium heat and stir to cook without browning, about 2 minutes. Add rice and salt. Stir until ride is coated with oil. Add wine and bring to a goil over medium-high heat, stirring, until rice absorbs wine. Ladle 1/2 cup of simmering broth into skillet and stir until absorbed. Continue with remaining broth, adding 1/2 cup at a time and letting each addition be absorbed by rice before adding more liquid, about 24 minutes total. Add chard and stir until wilted. Stir in squash, tomatoes, sage and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cheese if using and serve hot. Serves 4. Vegan.
This recipe is from Vegetarian Times magazine, Jan 2001 by Myra Kornfeld.

Cheesy Chick-pea and Quinoa Bake
1 Tbsp Margarine
1 cup Zucchini, coarsely chopped
1 cup Celery, chopped
1 cup Scallions, chopped
4 cups Water
2 cups Quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 cup Canned Chick-peas, rinsed and drained
1 cup Low-fat Cheddar Cheese, shredded and divided
1/2 cup low-fat Swiss Cheese, shredded and divided
1/4 cup Seasoned Dry Bread Crumbs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 2-quart casserole with no-stick spray, set aside. In a large no-stick frying pan over medium heat, melt the margarine. Add the zucchini, celery and scallions; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the water, quinoa, chick-peas, 3/4 cup of the Cheddar and 1/4 cup of the Swiss. Spoon into the prepared casserole. Cover and bake for 1 hour, or until the liquid has almost been absorbed. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and the remaining 1/4 cup Cheddar and 1/4 cup Swiss. Bake, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the cheese has melted. Serves 4.
This recipe is from Linda Rosensweig's New Vegetarian Cuisine cookbook.

Butternut Squash Soup
1 medium butternut squash, diced into 1 inch cubes
1/4 onion, cut into 1/2 inch wide slivers
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch wide slivers
3 cloves garlic
2 1/2 cups of water
2 T butter
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t onion powder
1 t white pepper
1/2 t white pepper
1 t salt
1/2 t sugar
3 T cream (optional)
Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the onion, garlic and squash pieces. Cook until the onion softens. Before the onion and garlic brown, add enough water to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then return to a simmer. Add the red bell pepper and the spices. Cook until the squash is soft. Puree half the vegetables in a blender and add back to the soup. Thicken things up with some cream, if desired.
All spice measurements are approximate. I just add a dash of each until things taste right.

Paprika Mushroom Soup
12 oz Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 cups chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 T butter or margarine
3 T flour
1 cup milk
2 t dill weed
1 T Hungarian Paprika
1 T Tamari
2 t lemon juice
2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup sour cream
black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
Saute onions and half the butter in large pot for five minutes. Add mushrooms and crushed garlic, along with dill, paprika, vegetable stock and tamari. Simmer covered for fifteen minutes. In a seperate suacepan, melt remaining butter over medium heat and stir in flour. Whisk while heating for 2 minutes, then stir in milk. Stir often for 10 minutes or until thick. Combine mushroom mixture with sauce and simmer for 15 inutes. Add sour cream. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste before serving. Top with chopped parsley.
This takes awhile but is excellant. The only snag is making the flour/milk mixture. If you aren't diligent, you'll end up with something resembling Play-Dough(tm). In addition to the parsley, I garnish with a thin slice of lemon.

Mushroom Barley Soup
1/2 cup barley
6 1/2 cup water
1 t salt
3/4 cup tamari (or soy sauce)
1/2 cup sherry
4 T butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup onions, chopped
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
pepper, to taste
Cook barley in 1 1/2 cup water until tender. Add remaining water, tamari and sherry. Saute onions and garlic in butter. When soft, add mushrooms and salt. When mushrooms are tender, add to barley and simmer on low heat. Season with pepper.
This soup ages well. After a few days in the fridge, the mushrooms soak up the soy/sherry flavor.

Fire-Roasted Garlic Soup
Seasoning Mix:
2 t salt
1 1/2 t garlic powder
1 t dried basil leaves
1 t cayenne
1 t dry mustard
1 t onion powder
1 t white pepper
1/2 t black pepper

Soup Ingredients:
2 onions, roasted (see instructions) and chopped
3 heads garlic, roasted (see instructions) and chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup couscous
6 T all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup tamari
5 cups rich vegetable stock
1/4 cup honey
2 13.5 oz cans unsweetened coconut milk

Combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl. Mix the couscous and flour together in a small bowl. To roast the onions and garlic, if you have a gas range, simply place them right on the burner, in a high flame, and roast, turning with tongs until the outer skin is charred all the way around. If your range is electric, you can roast in a preheated 500F oven. Plunge the roasted vegetables into ice cold water to stop the cooking, then rub off the black charred skin under running water. It should slip right off, but if there are stubborn spots, just remove them with a sharp knife. When roasting garlic, first remove the loose papery skin. After roasting garlic, gently remove the cloves by pulling off the burned outer husk, which will be fairly hard and can be removed like a shell. The cloves inside will be a rich brown color and fairly soft. Removing the cloves is easy if you work from the bottom of the garlic head, gently prying the head open with your fingers and removing the cloves one at a time. Heat the olive oil in a 5 quart pot over high heat just until it begins to smoke, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the couscous and flour mixture. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Add the seasoning mix, onions, garlic, vinegar, and tamari and continue to cook, stirring, and scraping the bottom of the pot for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the stock and cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes. Add 2 cups of the stock and cook, stirring frequently, for 8 minutes; then remove from the heat. Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor then return the mixture to the pot and stir in 1 cup of the stock. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the remaining stock, the honey, and the coconut milk and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir gently and serve.
This recipe is from Paul Prudhomme's Fiery Foods cookbook.

Lentil Coconut Soup With Wilted Spinach
1 cup Puy or Brown Lentils
2 cups Water
2 cups Vegetable Stock
1 medium Onion, chopped
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 can Coconut milk
2 tsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
12 oz Baby Spinach, washed and drained
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Kosher Salt
Wash, pick over and drain the lentils and add them to a large pot with the water. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, chopped onion, minced gralic, coconut milk, cumin, soy sauce and several twists of black pepper. Bring the soup back to a boil and simmer on low heat, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and add kosher salt to taste. Stir in the baby spinach and let stand for several minutes.
This recipe is from Celia Brooks Brown's New Vegetarian cookbook.

Locro de Papa (Creamy Ecuadorian Potato) Soup
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Annatto oil (gives the characteristic golden hue, but could be left out)
2/3 cup Scallion, chopped
2 lbs Yukon Gold (or other mealy potato), peeled
1 1/2 cups Milk
6 cups Hot Water
Salt and Pepper
1 cup "Queso Blanco", crumbled or grated (substitute cow's milk feta)
2 sprigs cilantro, (optional)
In a heavy 4-5 qt. saucepan, heat vegetable and annatto oils. Add scallions and saute over low heat until transparent. Slice half of the potatoes thinly. Cut the others in 1 1/2 inch chunks. Add all the potatoes to the sauce pan and stir constantly, over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes until potatoes are somewhat browned and transparent. Let them stick somewhat, that gives flavor. Add the milk, when boiling add the water, salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the sliced potatoes have partly disintegrated and thickened the "locro". (This process can be helped along by mashing some of the potato against the sides of the saucepan with a wooden spoon.) Just before serving, heat with the cheese and cilantro. Make sure to top the soup bowl with a thick avocado slice and serve with your favorite salsa. Makes 4 main dish servings.
This recipe is from Michelle O. Fried's Andian cooking website. We added some avacado to the soup and partially blended with a stick blender to thicken a little and blend the avacado flavor into the soup.

Buddhist Monk's Soup (Canh Kiem)
1 qt water
1 lb pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup raw peanuts, shelled and red skin removed
1/3 cup dried mung beans
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 block tofu bean curd
1 qt coconut milk, fresh or canned
1/2 oz cellophane noodles
Soak the peanuts for 30 minutes, then drain and roughly chop. Soak the mung beans for 30 minutes, then drain. Soak the cellophane noodles for 20 minutes, then drain and cut into 1-inch crosswise sections. Once ingredients are prepared, start the soup. Bring the water to a boil. Drop in the pumpkin or squash, sweet potato, peanuts and mung beans. Cook over medium heat for 35 minutes. While the soup is cooking, prepare the bean curd. Heat the oil in a small frying pan and fry the bean curd on both sides until light brown. Slice lengthwise into strips 1/4 inch wide and reserve until needed. After 35 minutes of cooking, check to make certain that the mung beans are soft. If they are, add the coconut milk. Add salt. Bring to a boil and drop in the cellophane noodles and fried bean curd. Serve with rice and Buddhist Nuoc Leo sauce. Serves 6. Note: If using canned coconut milk, add enough water to the contents of a 12-oz can to equal 1 qt of coconut milk.
This recipe is from Bach Ngo & Gloria Zimmerman's The Classic Cuisine Of Vietnam cookbook.

Russian Cabbage Borscht
2 Tbsp Butter
1 1/2 cups Onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups Potato, thinly-sliced
1 cup Beets, thinly-sliced
1 Large Carrot, sliced
1 stalk Celery, chopped
3 cups Cabbage, chopped
1 scant tsp Caraway Seeds
4 cups Vegetable Stock
2 tsp Salt
Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Dill Weed
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Honey
1 cup Tomato Puree
1 Tbsp Raisins (optional)
Place potatoes, beets and stock in a saucepan and cook until everything is tender. Save the stock. Begin cooking the onions in the butter in a large kettle. Add caraway seeds and salt. Cook until onion is translucent, then add celery, carrots and cabbage. Add stock from beets and potatoes and cook, covered until all the vegetables are tender. Add potatoes, beets and all remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer slowly for at least 30 minutes. Taste to correct seasonings. Serve topped with sour cream, extra dill weed and/or chopped fresh tomatoes. Serves 4 to 5.
This recipe is from Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook.

Green Soup
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 tsp salt, divided
2 Tbsp plus 3 cups water, divided
1/4 cup arborio rice
1 bunch green chard (about 1 pound)
14 cups gently packed spinach (about 12 ounces), any tough stems trimmed
4 cups vegetable broth, store-bought or homemade
Big pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp lemon juice, or more to taste
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add 2 tablespoons water and cover. Cook, stirring frequently until the pan cools down, and then occasionally, always covering the pan again, until the onions are greatly reduced and have a deep caramel color, 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 3 cups water and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a soup pot or Dutch oven; add rice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Trim the white ribs out of the chard (save for another use, such as to add to a stir-fry or other soup). Coarsely chop the chard greens and spinach. When the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, stir in the chard greens. Return to a simmer; cover and cook for 10 minutes. When the onions are caramelized, stir a little of the simmering liquid into them; add them to the rice along with the spinach, broth and cayenne. Return to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring once, until the spinach is tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes more. Puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender until perfectly smooth or in a regular blender in batches (return it to the pot). Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice, if desired. Garnish each bowl of soup with a drizzle of olive oil. Serves 4 to 5.

Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup
approx. 3.5 cups of pumpkin (or butternut squash), skin and seeds removed
2-3 Tbps coconut oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves of crushed garlic
3 lime leaves (or a bit of lemongrass)
2 Tbps red curry paste
1-2 tsps grated ginger
1 can coconut milk, light or full fat
4 cups veggie broth
1/4 cup maple syrup
pinch of cayenne
salt to taste
pepper to taste
Roast the pumpkin. (You can do this step in advance). I find pumpkins difficult to cut into so I start by softening mine in the oven. Place whole pumpkin in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove it from the oven and when it's cool enough to touch slice it in to quarters. Drizzle the quarters with olive oil, salt and pepper, and continue roasting in the oven for 35-50 minutes until the flesh is really soft. (time will depend on the size of your pumpkin(s). Remove from the oven. Let cool and scoop out the seeds and guts. Scrape the pumpkin flesh from the skin and set aside until you're ready for it to go into the soup. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the coconut oil. Add the onion and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until soft and translucent and add garlic cloves lime leaves, curry paste and ginger. Cook until fragrant, about 2-3 more minutes. Add the pumpkin and mix everything together. Let the pumpkin cook few more minutes, breaking apart the larger pieces with your wooden spoon or spatula. Before things start sticking to the bottom of your pot, add the coconut milk and the veggie broth. Add the maple syrup and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lime leaves and pour the soup into a high speed blender (you may have to work in batches), and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. optional: Serve with extra coconut milk and a few more pinches of cayenne. Serves 6-8, freezes well.
From the Love & Lemons website: (

Vegetarian French Onion Soup with red wine croutons
2 Tbps neutral, medium-heat oil (like grapeseed oil)
7-8 medium yellow onions (about 5-6 pounds), thinly sliced into half or quarter moons
1/3 cup dry sherry
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup mushroom broth*
1 cup water
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbps olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1 small Italian or French loaf (day-old is fine), sliced into 1? cubes
1/4 cup good red wine
Gruyere cheese shavings (about 3 ounces)
Prepare the soup: Preheat oven to 375 deg F. Position rack in the center of the oven (you might have to remove the second rack to accommodate a pot with a lid). Meanwhile, heat oil in a 4 to 5 quart dutch oven (on the stove) on medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions along with a big pinch of salt, and stir well to coat with the oil. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent. (You can also do this part in the oven - it will take 30 to 45 minutes for the onions to reach the soft stage.) When the oven finishes preheating, give the onions one final stir and spread them evenly on the pan bottom. A long, slow simmer in the oven ensures the onions are caramelized - not burned - which can easily happen on the stove-top. Set the lid askew on the pot, and place in the oven. The onions will need to cook for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Check after 45 minutes, giving everything a good stir, resetting the lid again askew. Begin checking the onions about every 10 minutes at the 1:20 hour mark - you don't want the onions to burn, but if they're deeply golden brown with some burnt bits stuck to the bottom, they're ready. Remove the pot from the oven, and immediately place on stove on medium heat. Add 1/4 cup water and begin deglazing the the pan, loosening any baked on bits. Cover and simmer for 10 more minutes. Pour in the sherry and thoroughly deglaze the pan. Simmer until most of the sherry is evaporated (about 5 minutes). To make a quick homemade mushroom broth, purchase a 1/2 ounce bag of dried porcini or cremini mushrooms. Empty the bag in to 1 cup of very, very hot water and soak for about 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms, and strain the mushroom broth through cheesecloth or a coffee filter to catch dirt residue. Wash the mushrooms to remove residue, mince and add to broth. Add the vegetable and mushroom broths to the onions, plus the thyme and bay leaf. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about a half hour. Prepare the croutons: Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium until shimmering. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Mix in the bread cubes, stirring to soak up the oil. Saute until the cubes are toasted on all sides. Drizzle the wine evenly over the croutons and heat for a few additional minutes to dry out the cubes just a bit. Preheat the broiler. Ladle the soup into broiler-safe bowls. Layer croutons on top. Drape gruyere shavings over the croutons. Set bowls on a rimmed baking sheet and place under broiler. Remove when cheese begins to bubble and turn brown. Serve immediately. Prep Time: 20 minutes. Cook time: about 3 hours. Yield: 4 servings.
From the Leaf & Grain website ( using a technique adapted from Cooks Illustrated.

Quick and Easy Curried Carrot Soup
4 large carrots
1/2 medium red onion, diced
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp red curry paste
10 oz vegetable broth
10 oz coconut milk
fresh cillantro, coursely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Prepare the soup: Steam the carrots until firm. Saute the red onion in the olive oil. As the onions are just starting to soften add the red curry paste. Continue to saute until the onion is starting to brown. Mix the steamed carrots and sauted onions into a soup pot. Add the vegetable broth and coconut milk. Heat until it is just starting to bubble. Use an immersion blender to puree the vegetables into a smooth soup texture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh cillantro. Prep time: 5 minutes. Cook time: 20 minutes. Yield: 4 servings.
Recipe made by combining a few different recipes and then simplifying.

*** But wait...there are drinks too! ***

Mint Julep
2 oz. Bourbon
4 sprigs fresh mint
3 T sugar
1 C ice
1/4 water (optional)
Put half the sugar and the mint in a tall glass. Use a spoon to bruise the mint into the sugar. Fill with shaved ice (preferably shaved). Add Bourbon and stir. Add additional sugar if the Bourbon taste is too strong. Garnish with mint, orange slice and/or a cherry.
I hate the pre-made syrup. Use good alcohol and fresh mint and this is infinitely better.

750 ml of adequate red wine
1 nectarine
1 orange
1 lime
1 granny smith apple
1/4 cup rum or brandy
2 T superfine sugar
soda water
Combine wine, sugar, and rum/brandy in a large pitcher and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Slice the nectarine into segments and add to the wine mixture. Core the apple, slice into segments and add them crushing slightly with a wooden spoon to release the flavor. Cut the lime into wedges, crush them and add to mixture. Stir together and taste. To make is sweeter, add more sugar. To make it more tart, add more citrus fruit. Add ice and serve.
The beauty of sangria is that nearly *any* fruit will work and even cheap grocery store wine is acceptible. Cheap and easy for a party drink too.

Thai Iced Coffee
6 T whole rich coffee beans, ground fine
1/4 t ground coriander powder
4 or 5 whole cardamom pods, ground
1 or 2 t sugar
1 C boiling water
4 T sweetened condensed milk (optional)
Place the coffee and spices in the filter cone of your coffee maker or in the top of a Thai coffee maker. Add boiling water to make coffee as usual. In a tall glass, dissolve sugar in an ounce of coffee. Add 5 or 6 cubes of ice and pour coffee to within 1 inch of the top of the glass. Rest a spoon on top of the coffee and slowly pour whipping cream into the spoon. This will make the cream float on top of the coffee rather than dispersing into it right away. Can be made sweeter by adding sweetened condensed milk instead of sugar.
Watch the caffiene. Two of these and you'll be out running 440 sprints in the front yard.

Hibiscus Cooler
1 cup hibiscus flowers, dried
8 cups hot water
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp lime juice
11 cups sparkling water
Steep hibiscus flowers in hot water for 15 minutes. Strain flowers from tea. Pour into pitcher with sugar and lime juice. Mix with a spoon. Serve over ice with sparkling water, mixed approximately 2/3 tea and 1/3 water.
Very refreshing and easy to adjust for sweetness (more or less sugar) or strength (more or less sparkling water). Lots of good vitamin C too!

More to come...

The format of these recipes was shamelessly stolen from Richard Darsie

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Alan Fleming