Vegetarian Springtime Rigatoni

Vegetarian Springtime Rigatoni

Rigatoni with Broccoli, Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula, and Buffalo Mozzarella
Recipe by Nicole Putzel

All hailing from Chicagoland, Chef Nicole Putzel and I were virtually introduced a few years back by our mutual friend and discerning foodie, Peg. We recently thought it might be fun to collaborate on some of our cooking experiences, especially during these challenging times.

Nicole sent me a copy of her delightful book just published last year, The Seasoned Plate: Delicious and Healthy Real Food. She says, “This cookbook is the result of a beautiful recipe: one of food, friendship, and wellness, told by the seasons.”

Throughout the seasons, Nicole would create a vegetable-centric recipe every Friday, often harvesting the produce from her own organic garden. Her friend Photographer Claudia Chocano would shoot the dishes, after which they would partake of the fruits of their labors together.

The first recipe I chose from the Spring section was this fresh, vibrant, vegetarian rigatoni dish. Nicole wrote, “This colorful pasta dish came together on an evening  when my house was filled with company and my guests asked for a tour of the vegetable garden. The broccoli, arugula, and basil were all ready for harvest and everyone was hungry, so voilà! This was a true crowd pleaser.”

Springtime Rigatoni Recipe and Cookbook Giveaway!

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Heirloom Bean and Tomato Crostone

Heirloom Bean and Tomato Crostone

Heirloom Bean and Tomato Crostone

Have you been baking a lot of bread during this pandemic time? More than you and your family can possibly eat? Maybe you have some slices in the freezer? Here is a delightful meatless meal to use the remainder of the bread that may be becoming a little hard and stale.

The flavorful bean broth rehydrates the toast…and for such a simple dish, this crostone is really extraordinary. Butter AND olive oil add rich mouthfeel while colorful cherry tomatoes add sweetness. Fresh thyme adds herbaceous earthiness while yellow eye beans bring a deep creaminess. It’s a peasant-style vegetarian dish drenched in flavor and texture, and is extremely satisfying. And extremely economical.

Heirloom Bean and Tomato Crostone

Heirloom Bean and Tomato Crostone Recipe

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Eggplant Steaks, Restaurant Style

Eggplant Steaks, Restaurant Style

Eggplant Steaks, Restaurant Style

A couple months ago we had an absolutely delightful and completely unique meal at Roy Choi’s restaurant, Best Friend, at Park MGM on The Las Vegas Strip.

“Best Friend is… Koreatown in a capsule – a portal to the streets of LA, but also rooted in what makes Las Vegas… VEGAS. Hip hop-to-bibimbop. Kimchi-to-spaghetti. BBQ and late-night food. I want Best Friend to energize the minds of people looking to experience the best in life. Whether they are from Hollywood or Hong Kong, D.C. or Down Under, I hope all guests are licking their fingers with their mouths full saying ‘holy sh!t’ as they reach across the table for another bite. LA food in Las Vegas. Los Vegas. Best Friend. Forever.” – Roy Choi

Blown away by the KALBI Korean BBQ marinated bone-in short rib; SLIPPERY SHRIMP crispy rock shrimp, chili mayo, walnuts; ELOTES kewpie mayo, lime juice, tajín, cotija, cilantro; and EGGPLANT SCHNITZEL.

The eggplant was simple yet elevated with its silky interior and crunchy exterior. The sauce was intriguing, creamy, and mustardy. Fresh peppery green arugula provided the perfect balance to the fried eggplant. Brilliant.

In his endearing, personal, and somewhat irreverent cookbook L.A. Son, Chef Choi writes, “I make a mean schnitzel.” Yep, he sure does.

Eggplant Steaks Recipe

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Broccoli and White Bean Soup with Tempeh Croutons, Microgreens

Broccoli and White Bean Soup

Broccoli and White Bean Soup
#glutenfreevegan
Tempeh Croutons, Microgreens

I’ve got a corned beef brisket cooking on the stove top right now, but that won’t be ready in time to share with you for St. Patrick’s Day dinner. I do, however, have a gorgeous striking spring-green soup here.

It’s vibrant and velvety and vegan. It screams of springtime with its verdant color and micro purple princess flowers which have a delicate texture and mild green pepper flavor. Tempeh croutons add just the right amount of crunch and earthiness.

This Broccoli and White Bean Soup is hearty enough to be served as a satisfying lunchtime meal, one that is healthy and happy… chock-full of protein, veggies, and fiber.

Broccoli and White Bean Soup Recipe

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Chilled Carrot Avocado Soup

Chilled Carrot Avocado Soup #raw #vegan #glutenfree

Chilled Carrot Avocado Soup
#raw #vegan #glutenfree

Chilled soup, in January? Let me explain.

Rock Stars in the Kitchen Kelly Hansen, lead singer of Foreigner; and Mary Moore, Founder and CEO of Atlanta’s The Cook’s Warehouse teamed up last Sunday at The Las Vegas Market for a gourmet cooking demonstration.

The presentation was delightful and the food was divine. Along with Chilled Carrot Avocado Soup they prepared Kelly’s Kickin’ Guac with Blue Corn Chips, Ensalada de Noche Buena, and Argentinian BBQ with Chimichurri.

In addition to sharing his enthusiasm for cooking and how clean healthy eating was important to his career as a singer, Kelly captivated us with stories about his gourmet food competitions, life as a rock star, and a bit of history of Foreigner whose first album debuted in 1977.

Las Vegas Market Cooking Demonstration

Las Vegas Market is a trade show held twice a year at the World Market Center located in downtown Las Vegas. It is a 5 million square-foot showcase for home décor, furniture, lighting, textiles, housewares, gifts, gourmet products, hospitality furnishings and more. Additionally, the trade show features many excellent seminars, presentations, and cooking demonstrations.

Kelly & Mary’s soup demonstration was so fast and easy. Fresh vegetables, fruit, and spices just go into a blender, et voilà – a very tasty, raw, vegan, gluten-free, healthy soup is born! I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR A SOUP LIKE YOU, TO COME INTO MY LIFE.

Chilled Carrot Avocado Soup Recipe

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Mustard Greens Soup with Foraged Mustard Flowers

Mustard Greens Soup with Foraged Mustard Flowers

Mustard Greens Soup and Foraged Mustard Flowers
with
Shrimp, Great Northern Beans, Fennel, Onion
Chicken Bone Broth, Parmesan, Lemon

I am surrounded by mustard. Literally. The unusually rainy Southern California winter season has turned our hillsides into a gorgeous brilliant yellow.

Wild Mustard in Palos Verdes

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My Beautiful Matzoh Ball Soup

Beautiful Matzoh Ball Soup

My Beautiful Matzoh Ball Soup with Herbs and Flowers

Among the many Seder rituals, out of innocence the youngest child who is able asks The Four Questions. The first Question posed, “Why is this night different from all other nights? On all other nights we eat leavened bread or matzoh but tonight we eat only matzoh. Why?”

And to all the children at Seders around the world, the first Question is answered, “This night is different because we eat the unleavened bread called matzoh in remembrance of our ancestors’ haste to escape from Egypt’s bondage as there was no time to let the dough rise.”

Among the many Passover dishes, Matzoh Ball Soup is a perennial favorite.

Beautiful Matzoh Ball Soup

Since 2007, I have shared many a matzoh ball here on Taste With The Eyes. But this year, because winter had been especially rainy, cold, and snowy from LA, to Las Vegas, to Chicago…I am giving an extra nod to rebirth and springtime by adding more green herbs and pretty edible flowers to the soup.

Everyone had the same reaction to this bowl of soup. “That’s beautiful!” they said, so here I present the 2019 version called My Beautiful Matzoh Ball Soup.

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