Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Quinoa Soup – Sopa de Quinua (Peru)

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Chicken Soup with Quinoa 

sopa de quinoaMidtown Atlanta is home to a terrific bistro featuring the cuisines of South and Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico. Over the years, Tierra (Flavor of the Americas) Restaurant has received glowing reviews for serving the traditional dishes from these regions. Unfortunately, they have decided to close their doors on February 17, 2012 and will be missed.

During a recent dinner at Tierra, I savored their soup of the day: quinoa soup. The Inca’s knew what they were doing when they called quinoa ‘the mother of all grains.’ This traditional Peruvian dish can withstand the scrutiny of any chicken noodle soup. Who needs matzah balls when you can enjoy quinoa.

I’ve done my best to re-create Tierra’s Sopa de Quinua.  Hope you enjoy the healthy, hearty flavors.

 Quinoa Soup ala Tierra


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 – 6 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 zucchini, cut in bite sized cubes
  • 2 medium potatoes, cut in bite sized cubes
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup of diced celery 0r 1 can of corn kernels (drained)
  • 1/2 cup of quinoa, rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • zest from one lemon (approx 2 teaspoons)
  • parsley or cilantro as garnish, optional


  1. In a large stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat, saute the onions until tender and softened (but do not brown) about 10 minutes. Add the bay leaf, oregano and garlic.
  2. Add the broth and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low and add the vegetables* and quinoa. Allow to simmer covered for 3o minutes; stirring occasionally.  Add lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Remove the bay leaf and serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley or cilantro if desired.

Mama Says Note*: I par cooked the cubed potatoes separately to avoid releasing starches into the soup.  Once par cooked, drain the potatoes and add to the soup during the final 10 minutes of simmering. I also used a drained can of corn kernels in place of the celery.

Recipe Inspiration: Tierra Restaurant, Atlanta GA and My Life in Peru blog

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

This recipe stopped me in my tracks as I flipped through the November 2011 issue of Bon Appetit. One read through the ingredient list and I knew this was going to be incorporated into our Thanksgiving weekend meal plan. Finely shredded kale and Brussels sprouts with a lemony vinaigrette sounded like heaven in a bowl. I made this salad three times in the past week to rave reviews from family and friends.

The recipe is perfect as published, I’ve modified it below to match what is available from my local grocer and to pan-roast the nuts without extra oil.

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad (raw)


  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch of Tuscan kale (about 3/4  lb. total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 16 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino


  1. Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small blender. Pulse to blend; set aside.
  2. Mix thinly sliced kale and shredded brussels sprouts in a large bowl.
  3.  Add almonds to skillet, heat to  medium-high heat and stir/toss frequently until golden brown in spots, about 5 minutes. Transfer nuts to a paper towel-lined plate to cool. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.
  4. Add olive oil to lemon-juice mixture and pulse to incorporate. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. 
  5. Bon Appetit Notes: DO AHEAD Dressing, kale mixture, and toasted almonds can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover dressing and kale mixture separately and chill. Cover almonds and let stand at room temperature.
  6. Add dressing and cheese to kale mixture; toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit (November 2011).

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Jerusalem Artichokes at the Farmer's MarketWhen is an artichoke not an artichoke? When it’s a Jerusalem artichoke. Did you know that Jerusalem artichokes are native North American plants? Actually, they are an edible tuber of a flowering plant that resembles a sunflower and are often called sunchokes. According to Wikipedia, Samuel de Champlain, the French explorer, sent the first samples of the plant to France, noting that its taste was similar to an artichoke.

Resembling a ginger root, the Jerusalem artichoke has a slightly sweet, smoky, earthy taste and is very easy to prepare. It can be eaten raw sliced on salads, steamed or diced a cooked like a potato. This quick and delicious soup brings out the earthy flavor is ideal for the Fall.


Jerusalem Artichoke Soup


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 onions, peeled and diced
  • 8 cups (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound Jerusalem artichokes, unpeeled, diced into 1/3 inch thick pieces
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 green onion (dark green part only), chives or parsley, chopped (optional garnish)

Jerusalem (sunchoke) Artichoke SoupPreparation

  1. Heat olive oil in large stock pot. Add onion and saute until soft (about 8 minutes). If time permits, caramelize the onion for added flavor. Stir in garlic until incorporated about 1 -2 minutes.
  2. Add broth to the stockpot and bring to a boil. Add Jerusalem artichokes and potatoes. Cover and simmer until vegetables are soft, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in marjoram, ginger and salt and pepper to taste; cool about 20 minutes.
  3. Using an immersion blender  purée soup until smooth — there will be some small chunks which add to the rustic, earthiness of the soup. Taste and adjust seasoning. Simmer for 5 minutes to blend flavors, thin with additional broth if soup is too thick.
  4. To serve ladle soup into bowls; sprinkle with green onion, chives or fresh parsley and serve.
Adapted from Bon Appétit | November 1996

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Sweet potatoes are the reigning royalty of the super foods. Chock full of vitamins A and C, fiber, potassium, copper and manganese these tubers have something for everyone including those who want to stabilize or lower their blood sugar.

Today at the Dunwoody Green Market I had the pleasure of helping visitors sample delicious soups from M. E. Amore. While M. E. Amore is well-known for their incredible fresh pastas and prepared dishes, Chef Marc and Elisha Cicerone made three stellar soups using ingredients from the farmers market.  To compliment the soups, Chef Michele Greene (pictured left) prepared savory sweet potato biscuits and agreed to share her recipe. These biscuits would be ideal for Thanksgiving or anytime.

Sweet Potato Biscuits


  • 2 cups cooked, mashed potatoes (microwaved is okay)
  • 4 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • pinch of baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar


  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a  (9×13) baking pan.
  2. Scoop cooked sweet potato out of the skins and and discard skin.
  3. In a large bowl add the sweet potatoes, butter and milk mix until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in flour, baking soda and sugar until well blended.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball and knead on a lightly floured surface 8 – 10 times.
  5. Roll the dough out to about 1 inch thick and cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter. Place cut dough on the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until brown.

Sweet Potato BiscuitMakes about 15 biscuits.

Recipe Credits: Chef Michele Greene ( and adapted from Mama Dip’s Kitchen by Mildred Council.

Oven-Dried Tomatoes

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

oven dried tomatoesExtend tomato season by oven drying tomatoes. There are so many ways to use these tasty morsels — on pizza, couscous, rice and egg dishes and in quiches, salads, pasta and vinaigrettes. Roasting vegetables intensifies the flavor, adds a burst of color and texture.

When you oven roast tomatoes, consider making a second baking sheet with other root vegetable to expand your cooking options.

This weekend I gathered the last of the tomatoes from my garden (all sizes and colors). With the oven roasted vegetables I plan to make a brown rice salad featuring the veggies and the vinaigrette.

Oven-Dried Tomatoes


  • 2.5 pounds Tomatoes – firm but ripe
  • 2 sweet onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, or more
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 eggplant, small
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or Italian seasoning
  • salt & pepper
  • parchment paper


  1. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees F. If you oven has a convention setting use the convection setting.
  2. In a measuring cup mix olive oil, vinegar and spices; whisk to blend thoroughly.
  3. Cut the tomatoes in half or quarters, depending on the size. Leave tiny cherry tomatoes whole. In a large bowl add tomatoes and drizzle with half of the oil mixture. Mix gently with a spatula. Place tomatoes cut side up on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Cut onions, eggplant, and carrots into large bite-sized pieces and place in the large bowl. Peel garlic and add to the bowl. Drizzle with the remaining oil mixture. Toss gently with a spatula. Place prepared veggies on the second baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake for  2 1/2  – 3 hours or until the veggies are shriveled and browned on the edges.
  6. Use immediately in your favorite recipes or store, tightly sealed in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Store tomatoes and other vegetables separately.

beforeOven-Dried Tomato & Garlic Vinaigrette


  • 1/3 cup oven-dried tomatoes
  • 1 clove oven-dried garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup mild olive or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • salt and pepper


  1. Using a blender, combine the tomatoes, garlic and vinegar to create a chunky mixture — do not puree.  While the blend is running, slowly add in the oil. Add the thyme and pulse lightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Can be stored for one week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


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