Tag Archives: fall

Wild Mushroom Wild Rice with Caramelized Onions


Wild Mushroom Wild Rice | Spoonwithme.com-19

Rice, gone wild!  Double wild!  Mushroom madness!  All this Thanksgiving recipe testing and eating has put me into a food-induced euphoria.  Wild two times in one title is two too many wilds for one recipe, young lady!  Bring your torches.  Ban.  This.  Site.  Hide your childrens’ eyes!  With all this fungus among-us, it’s gettin’ crazy up in here.

Wild Mushroom Wild Rice | Spoonwithme.com-25Wild Mushroom Wild Rice | Spoonwithme.com-48

I bought a gigantic bag of assorted dried local Colorado mushrooms at the farmers market this summer.  We’re talking two freezer bags worth.  There will not be a mushroom shortage for the foreseeable future in the Spoon With Me house, in case anybody was wondering. What does one do with so many dried mushrooms, you ask?  You know that mouth-coating savory depth that can be hard to achieve in plant-based recipes?  Think of them as a way to boost the umami factor, especially in vegetarian and vegan dishes.  I love to grind them into powder to add savoriness to sauces gravies, and soups.  In this recipe, I used the broth from rehydrating them as part of the cooking liquid for the rice. If you’re a full or part- time vegan or vegetarian, you need dried mushrooms in your arsenal if you want to up the ooooh mommy!

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Filed under Side Dishes, Vegetarian and Vegan

Spiced Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Apples and Butternuts with Caramelized Pepitas

Spiced Glazed Butternuts|Spoonwithme.com-34

The way we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving throughout history has both changed and stayed the same.  What if, instead of the venison and freshly harvested vegetables the Native Americans and the pilgrims shared to celebrate the harvest, this happened:

Once upon a time, back on the first documented Thanksgiving in 1621, the pilgrims that had arrived on the Mayflower shared a feast with the local Native Americans.  

“Thank you for welcoming us to this bounteous land.  I offer unto you this can of cream of mushroom soup as a gesture of peace.  Please prepare it with your freshly harvested green beans and crispy fried onions.”

 “Why thank you, kind pilgrim.  Please, take this gift of congealed cranberries as a symbol of this shared celebration.  And as an extra special bonus offering, this bowl of mashed potatoes, from a tuber that will not actually make its way to ‘America’ until many years from now.”

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Filed under Uncategorized

Tomatillo-Veggie (or Chicken) Posole


I broke out my fall garb this week, and taught my students a valuable lesson while wearing a cozy wrap/scarf that the mister got for me in Amsterdam.  A scarf is just a socially acceptable way to wear a blanket to work or school.  You’ll see me wearing a lot of “scarves” in the coming days.  The Dutch have a specific word for all things cozy, inviting, friendly and warm: gezellig.  It’s one of those words that has no English translation.  Picture a cool misty fall day.  Gezellig is arriving home from work and snuggling up in a cozy knit blanket with a cup of tea, a book, and your favorite furry companion (canine, feline, or hey, even human).  It’s huddling around a fire with friends, steaming mugs of soup in hand. The leaves are swirling around, and it’s hinting at frost.  It’s gezellig time, so I thought I’d share my favorite after-work gezellig I meal to spread a bit o’ the cozy.  If everyone were just a bit more gezellig, the world would be a happier place.

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Filed under Main Dishes, Soups and Stews

Lemony Steam-Roasted Artichokes with Garlic and Cherry Tomatoes



I first saw an artichoke plant while wandering through a botanical garden in Spain.  Have you ever seen one?  Quite a prickly beast, and I do mean beast!  Since then, I’ve become obsessed with the idea of growing my own, even though Colorado isn’t exactly known for artichokes.  I’m cornering off a little–okay–sizable corner of my garden for the beast to expand.  I dream of little shop of horrors style plants, arms reaching out, prickly mouths open wide.

Steam Roasted Artichokes|Spoonwithme-com

Steam Roasted Artichokes|Spoonwithme-com (1)

Eating an artichoke is a religious experience.  Don’t talk to me, and don’t give me a napkin.  Just let me pluck and dip and scrape and savor.  They make me so food-protective that I have to make more than anyone in my household could ever eat in a night.  Here’s your artichoke (if you don’t eat it all, I’ll finish it off), and here are my artichokes.  You may have all the aioli you would like (I made an inhuman amount so that you would not eat my share.

Steam Roasted Artichokes|Spoonwithme-com (2)

Back in the day, I started making artichokes the way most do, by boiling them in salted water (play disappointing music here).  Why would I want to infuse my artichoke with nothing?  Then, I steamed them in water with lemons and garlic.  Meh.  The first time I roasted an artichoke, I thought, Now we’re talking!.  

Steam Roasted Artichokes|Spoonwithme-com (3)

My newest method involves roasting the artichokes face down with a garlicky olive oil mixture, and then pouring enough white wine or vermouth into the bottom of the pan to steam the artichokes at the same time.  The artichokes become more tender, and in the end, that means more artichoke to eat!  I hope you enjoy luxuriously plucking, dipping, scraping, and savoring as much as I do.



 White Wine Steam-Roasted Artichokes With Garlic and Cherry Tomatoes

  • 2 large artichokes
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and minced
  • 3 lemons
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes (about a cup), halved if large
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white wine (or dry vermouth, or broth)
  • 1/3 cup additional water or broth
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried italian herb mixture
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

Prepare the artichokes:

Fill a large bowl with cold water and add the juice of one of the lemons, about 2 tablespoons.  Cut off the top inch of one artichoke, and the bottom of the stem, leaving an inch or so of the stem intact.  Using kitchen scissors, cut off the tips of the leaves.  Cut the artichoke in half lengthwise.  Place one half in the acidulated water while you work with the remaining artichoke.

On a cutting board, smash the garlic and  one teaspoon of the salt into a paste using the side of a chefs knife.  Put the garlic paste into a small bowl.  Juice one of the remaining lemons into the bowl.  Cut off the peel of the remaining lemon (top and bottom first, then cut off the sides in sheets, making sure to remove the white pith).  Chop the peeled lemon, discarding the seeds, and add to the bowl.  Add the olive oil, dried herbs, crushed red pepper, and a few grindings of black pepper.  Whisk everything together.

Rub every surface of each artichoke half with the garlic oil mixture, making sure to push some of it in between the leaves.  Arrange the artichokes face down in a dutch oven (a roasting pan or casserole dish will work too).  Scatter the cherry tomatoes over top, and use your fingers to toss them around, trying to coat them with some of the oil mixture that has settled in the pan.  Pour the white wine or vermouth into the bottom of the pan along with the additional 1/3 cup broth or water.

Roast, covered, in the oven at 375˚F for 35-45 minutes, or until the outside leaves easily pull away from the artichoke.

Serve with lemon-garlic aioli or your other favorite dipping sauce.

Lemon-Garlic (Cheater’s) Aioli

Sometimes (okay, rarely), I go through the extra effort to make real aioli.  Most of the time, I start with a good quality mayo and go from there.  This is just one of my go-to combinations for artichokes.  If you like spicy aioli,  chile-garlic paste.   If you just want a little spice, garnish the top with a sprinkling of cayenne pepper.

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise (use vegan mayo if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced and smashed into a paste (or finely grated, or pushed through a garlic press)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1-3 teaspoons Sambal Oelek (chile garlic paste)*, or 1/8 tsp-1/2 tsp ground cayenne

Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with cayenne if desired.

*Sambal Oelek can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores


Filed under Appetizers, Condiments, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Vegetarian and Vegan

Lucky Black-Eyed Pea, Turkey Sausage and Kale Soup (with a vegan variation)

Vegan Black Eyed Pea and Kale Soup 

Welcome to the first week of the new year.  I don’t know about you, but the mister and I ate well these past couple months!  This time, I don’t mean well in the nutritional sense, I mean well in the tasty carb-laden sense.  January is the time I like to bring myself back into balance.  In these winter months, I’m usually looking for something to fill me up, warm me up, and satisfy my craving for food that comforts, without using heavier meats, carbs and creamy dairy.  That’s where knowing how to coax and prod ingredients together is key.

Dried Black Eyed Peas

Black Eyed Peas (1)

Today’s soup is the definition of slow food.  It’s meant for one of those days where you can give the ingredients time to transform–roast and caramelize, lazily simmer… It’s best to be made while you laze or work around the house, breathing in the smells, taking momentary breaks to chop or saute.  Roasted vegetable stock is a secret weapon that every full- or part-time vegetarian should have in their arsenal.  I make the stock whenever I’m looking for caramelized fullness, adding a layer of depth to soup or sauce.


Roasted Vegetables

You can choose between two different variations of this soup: the vegan version or the turkey sausage version.  I use the turkey sausage when I’m looking for a more filling soup with an added layer of savoriness, and the vegan version when I’m just in the mood for vegetables.  Either variation will satisfy your craving for healthy comfort food during these chilly winter months.

Soup with Turkey Sausage

I hope the new year brings you everything the ingredients in this soup represent;  peas for prosperity, greens for money, and healthy ingredients married together to satisfy your belly and make your body happy!

Lucky Black Eyed Pea, Turkey Sausage and Kale Soup

Although this is slow food, be sure to read through the steps first in order to avoid making it slow-er food!  The black eyed peas will need to soak overnight (or quick soak for 2-3 hours).  While the half the vegetables are being roasted for the stock, the other half can be simmering while the beans are cooking.  

  • 1 1/2 cups dried black eyed peas, soaked overnight or quick-soaked (see note)
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey sausage (optional)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5 ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (I use Muir Glenn brand)
  • 6-8 cups roasted root vegetable stock (recipe follows)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme, or 3/4 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus additional to taste
  • 1 bunch dino kale (aka: Lacinato), torn into 1 1/2 inch pieces (discard the thickest parts of the stem)
  • 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar, or to taste

1. Make the roasted root vegetable stock (recipe follows)

2. Drain and rinse the soaked beans (this step can be done while the broth simmers). Place them in a medium saucepan and cover with 2-inches cold water.  Bring to a boil, then cook at a simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half, until beans are tender but not mushy.  Drain and set aside.

3. For the turkey sausage version only (otherwise, skip to step two): heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large dutch oven or saucepan over medium high heat.  Add the turkey sausage to the pan, breaking it into smaller pieces with a spatula.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 5-6 minutes, or until the sausage is cooked through and browned.  Remove the sausage to a plate and set aside.

4. Heat the remaining oil in a large dutch oven or saucepan until shimmering.  Add the diced onion, carrot, parsnip and celery.  Saute for 8-10 minutes until the root vegetables are crisp tender and onion is softened.  Add the garlic and saute, stirring constantly, for an additional minute.  Add the tomatoes, cooked black eyed peas, cooked turkey sausage, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper, thyme, bay leaves, and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt.  Add 6-8 cups broth (you may need more if using turkey sausage).

5. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for an hour.

6. Add the torn kale and simmer for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until the kale is cooked but still holds its shape.

7. Add the red wine vinegar, and season to taste with additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

Roasted Root Vegetable Stock

Adapted from The Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley

Makes about 6-8 cups

  • 2 pounds carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 pounds yellow onions, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 head garlic, separated into cloves (unpeeled)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/2 quarts cold water
  • 1 pound parsnips, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small turnip, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 celery rib with its leaves, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 (1-inch) piece ginger root, cut into 1/8-inch thick rounds
  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss together half the carrots, parsnips, onions, and garlic cloves with the oil, and spread them across one or two baking sheets.  Roast for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are well caramelized.
  3. In the meantime, put the remaining vegetables, along with 2 quarts of the water in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the other half of the vegetables are finished roasting.
  4. Add the roasted vegetables and an additional 6 cups water to the saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Strain the stock and discard the solids.


Filed under Main Dishes, Soups and Stews

Spiced Apple Croustades

Thanksgiving is a day where you can eat dessert during dinner (sweet potato pie, anyone?), and still eat bonus dessert after dinner is all over.  It’s a time to eat slowly, and together, with friends and family.  Is your time spent laughing and joking, as was par in my family, or participating in more “mature” grown-up conversation?  Growing up with my comedian of a brother, there really was no other option.  Either way, Thanksgiving is sacred time.  Not sacred in the traditional sense, but sacred as in upheld; a time when cell phones are off, no television commercials blaring in the background, and no reason to run off to the next errand.  A time for the face-to-face conversation with people who hopefully uplift you, or if not, at least people who help you grow.

Thanksgiving also marks the starting point to the holiday finish line.  It’s really the calm before the holiday storm, although it may not feel calm now. Ovens on full whack,  family members stuffed into small kitchens, dishes full of Thanksgiving feast components…  Soon enough, there will be concerts to hear, and parties to throw and attend, and gifts to buy…  And more gifts to buy (as I’ve been reminded by all the gurus of black friday advertising).  After the turkey is roasted, and all food is magically hot and ready to put on the table at the same time (ha!), you can let out a big breath and enjoy just being for a little while before the real craziness ensues.

Speaking of all the upcoming festivities,  now’s the time to put a few tricks up your sleeve. You’re going to need a few show-stoppers in your repertoire.  The kind that people ooh and ahh over, and think you spent hours on.  The kind you want to set on the table underneath a silk scarf, and reveal like a rabbit in a hat.

I first laid eyes on these fancy little croustades in the October issue of Bon Appétit. After a little bit of customization (the original recipe needed a few tweaks to turn out right), I was thrilled with the results.  With a medium amount of effort (ie: not this, but certainly not that)  They emerged from the oven in their own little packages, tops all crackly and crisp, filled with gooey spiced apple.  A dusting of powdered sugar put them over the top, and they tasted as good as they looked.  I served them with chinese five-spice coconut milk ice cream (that’s a whole other subject, for another time), and decided to field test them for you, eating one during breakfast time, snack time, and dessert time.  I’m happy to report with confidence that these croustades are equally suited for breakfast (think apple turnovers) as they are for dessert.

Happy cooking, eating, and conversation today, and remember to keep this little gem in your repertoire for when you need a fancy little bite to add to your upcoming festivities.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Apple Croustades

Loosely Adapted from Bon Apetit

Makes 12 Croustades

The apples mixture can be made and refrigerated a day in advance, so all that will be left to do is to layer the phyllo and assemble the croustades.  It’s hard to find dairy-free desserts at this time of the year, with everything filled with heavy cream and butter.  If you’re lucky enough to be a butter-eater, by all means enjoy, but for my dairy-free friends, the results are equally good with Earth Balance.  Oh, and do be sure to thaw your phyllo dough in the refrigerator overnight, as phyllo doesn’t take kindly to thawing in most other ways.


3 pounds apples, a mix of tart and sweet

1/4 cup unsalted butter or Earth Balance vegan butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons of cornstarch mixed to a paste with 2 teaspoons water (optional)

Pastry and Assembly

12 13×18-inch sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed (from a 1-pound package)

1 stick butter or Earth Balance Butter, melted and cooled, plus more for pans, at room temperature

1/3 cup (approximately) sugar

All-purpose flour (for pan)

powdered sugar for dusting


Standard muffin pan


For the filling:

Peel half the apples.  Core and chop all of the apples into 1/2” pieces.

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Add the apples, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and kosher salt.  Stir to coat.  Reduce heat to medium and cover the pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes, or until the apples are soft but not mushy.  If much liquid remains, add the cornstarch mixture and stir well.

Set aside to cool completely.  Filling can be made and refrigerated a day in advance.


Preheat oven to 375˚F.

Butter the muffin cups and dust with flour, tapping out excess.

Unroll the phyllo onto a work surface and cover with a damp kitchen towel (squeeze out as much moisture from the towel as you can).

Carefully transfer 1 sheet of phyllo to a clean work surface.  Using a pastry brush, brush the surface of the phyllo with a thin layer of butter, and sprinkle with a generous teaspoon of sugar.  Top with another sheet of phyllo, brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar.  Repeat 2 more times, for a total of four layers of phyllo.Cut the layered phyllo in half lengthwise, then cut both pieces in half crosswise, for a total of four pieces.  Set aside, covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying.

Repeat the process of layering and cutting two more times with the remaining phyllo, butter and sugar, for a total of 12 rectangles.

Arrange the phyllo into each muffin cup, gently pressing the dough down the sides.  Fill each cup with 1/4 cup apple filling.  Gather the edges of the phyllo and press toward the center to make a purse.

Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until golden brown on top, 27-35 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly.  Dust with powdered sugar.  To remove from pan, run a paring knife around the edge of each croustade, and lift them out of the muffin cups onto a serving plate.

Croustades can be returned to the muffin pan and re-warmed if needed.


Filed under Desserts

Fragrant Dried Herb Salts

I’m forever trying to preserve the best of what the garden offers. and can’t bear to see my frost-bitten little babes giving me sad eyes from the compost pile.  At this very moment, jars of charred tomato and habañero salsa are boiling away in the canning pot. It’s enough to drive a girl crazy trying to figure out how to preserve 30 pounds of tomatoes that all decided (“okay, go!”) that it would be a good idea to ripen all at the same time.  I just keep telling myself that future me will thank present me.  Or maybe future me will be running around like a chicken with her head cut off too.  She’ll be convinced that future-future her will be able to relax due to all the forethought and industriousness.  I just love-hate food preservation!

At this point, in the frost-bitten apocalypse that was once my flourishing garden, only a few survivors remain.  The root vegetables, the leafy greens, and the cold tolerant herbs.  Normally, I use up as many of the herbs as I can for cooking, and make a feeble attempt at drying or freezing the rest, never completely happy with the results.  On a recent Splendid Table podcast, Sally Schneider (my favorite improvisation-friendly cookbook author) described the process for making dried herb salts.

Keep in mind that at the time I decided it was a good idea to harvest massive amounts of herbs to make my own dried herb salts, all surfaces of my kitchen and dining room were covered.  Baskets…and bowls…and sheet pans of green tomatoes were taking over the house, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes-style.  I am happy to report, that even in the midst of the green-tomato maze, bunches of herbs, and photography equipment, the process for actually making the herbs was quick and simple.

No fancy equipment required–just a good knife, a cutting board, and a little time–and I literally mean little.  Whether you use the hand chopping method or the food processor method, you’ll have fragrant herb salt ready to dry within 20 minutes.  This recipe is of my favorite type–the kind that teaches a skill that can be improvised upon, and used over and over again.

My herbs dried in a couple days, spread on parchment paper over baking sheets.  I experimented with different combinations of parsley, sage, thyme, and dill… the herbs I had growing in my garden.  Once dry, the herbs retained more of their color and fragrance than most of the herb mixtures I have bought.

If you can get your hands on some herbs, I can assure you that future you will be singing praises to present you (or would it be past you?) for your efforts as he or she sprinkles some fragrant sage salt on a fried egg sandwich, or pulls a beautiful herb-roasted chicken out of the oven.  The possibilities are endless!

 Fragrant Dried Herb Salts

Adapted from Sally Schneider and the Splendid Table

This recipe can be adapted to incorporate any herbs you may have on hand.  You can find the combinations I tried, plus a few extra ideas below.  The hand chopping method is quick, but if you prefer, the food processor method also yields a good-textured herb salt.  If incorporating shallot, use the hand chopping method only, as the food processor will cause the shallot to release too much liquid.  


  • Scant 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh herb leaves, such as thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, etc…
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled (optional)
  • zest from 2 lemons (optional)
  • 1 shallot, peeled and minced (optional)

Hand Chopped Method:

1. Cut the garlic cloves in half lengthwise, and remove the sprout, if there is one.  Mound the garlic on top of the salt on a cutting board.  Chop the garlic into the salt until the garlic is minced.  Mound the herbs on the cutting board and coarsely chop.  Add the herbs (and shallot and zest, if using) to the salt, and chop until it reaches the texture of very coarse sand.

2. Spread the herb salt in a thin layer on parchment paper covered baking sheets.  Set out in a well ventilated area (such as near an open window or underneath a ceiling fan) for 2-3 days, until dry.

3. Store in clean, dry jars.

Food Processor Method:

1. Cut the garlic cloves in half lengthwise, and remove the sprout, if there is one.

2. Put the garlic and 2 tablespoons of the salt into the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until the garlic is chopped medium-coarse.  Add the herbs, and pulse until the mixture has the texture of very coarse sand.

3. Transfer to a parchment paper covered baking sheet and toss with the remaining salt.

4. Set out in a well ventilated area (such as near an open window or underneath a ceiling fan) for 2-3 days, until dry.

5. Store in clean, dry jars.

Herb Combinations:

The possibilities are endless, but here are some ideas to get you started!

  • Tuscan herb salt:  Rosemary + Sage
  • Herbes de Provence salt:  thyme, savory, rosemary, marjoram, lavender and tarragon
  • Egg salad mix:  dill + minced shallot + chive + lemon zest


Filed under Canning and Preserving, Edible Gifts