Potato Curry Soup

Potato Curry Soup (on the moon!)

Potato Curry Soup (on the moon!)

Apparently, I first made this recipe in September 2007 — I’m an historian, so I do tend to date all my notes. I never really finished it, though. Like so many things, I made it once, liked it enough to sketch down sorta kinda what I did and what I threw into the pot, and never looked back at it. But this is why good notes are important right?

For this time of year, when “cool” feels “cold” because of transitions in temperature, a nice soup with warming spices might be the most perfect dinner. Also, the house smells amazing. As a finishing note, I add coconut milk, just a bit, to give it a richer, creamier curry flavor, though this is not necessary. I am reasonably sure that most non-dairy milks would work here, though I’m not sure rice milk would add much (and don’t use “light” coconut milk — it adds very little). But I think it’s fine without the added non-dairy milk, too. Because of the optional coconut milk, I’ve confusingly tagged this with a “tree nut warning” as well as “nut-free.” It depends on how you make it; do what works for you.

I basically took my forever-perfect combination for soup (onions, potatoes, carrots, celery) and changed up the seasonings to a mad fantastic curry blend. The spice of this soup stays mainly in the broth, which is a nice play against the earthy vegetables and beans. When you taste it to adjust seasonings, taste the broth AND a potato or carrot; they balance.

Because this is a big pot, mix it up as you work through the leftovers. A handful of spinach added before re-heating is pretty awesome. I’ve also used a serving, with lots of broth, poured over fish and simmered until the fish is done. I like to get a little creative with leftovers.


Potato Curry Soup

Potato Curry Soup

Curry Potato Soup

  • 1-1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 of an onion, softball-sized, chopped (between 1/2 and 3/4 cup)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or chopped finely
  • 1 good chunk of ginger, one inch around (size of a walnut), finely minced or micro-planed
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder (choose sweet if you like it mild, hot if you like that)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional, but I’d suggest adding at least a pinch)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (if you’re using commercial broth, use 1/4 teaspoon then taste)
  • 1/4 of a bell pepper (about 1/2 a cup)
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes, small cubed (smaller than dice, about 3 1/2 cups). If you want a super creamy soup, peel your potatoes. If you’re lazy like me, or want the fiber, leave the skins on. It’s up to you.
  • 2 cups or one can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6-8 cups broth or stock, vegetable or chicken
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk, unsweetened and unflavored, optional
  • additional hot sauce, if that’s your thing, optional

Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add oil to your stock pot for a good thick coat (hence the range), and let that heat until shimmery. Add your onion and cook until translucent.

Add the ginger and garlic, stir well, and cook until fragrant. Add about 1/4 of a cup of broth and stir well, making sure to scrape up any of the garlic and ginger that stuck to the bottom.

Add all the spices and stir well.

Add the pepper, celery, and carrots, stir well, and cook for 5 minutes or so. Add potatoes, stir until completely coated with spices, then add the beans and stir again. Add the rest of the broth, covering your soup ingredients completely, stir well, and cover until it comes to a boil. Do this over medium heat. When you’ve reached the boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer until the potatoes are fully cooked and starting to break down a little — about 30 minutes.

Stir soup well, and taste. Add salt, if needed, and then add the coconut milk, if using (or use another non-dairy milk here) and hot sauce if everyone wants it. If you do like it really spicy, I’d recommend harissa here.

Enjoy. This soup reheats fantastically, but I’ve never frozen it.





2014-10-24 Fabulous Friday Finds


This post is brought to you biggest pumpkins Goffstown, NH could grow.

This post is brought to you biggest pumpkins Goffstown, NH could grow.

Hey, it’s Friday again. You survived! So did we, despite not seeing that thing people call “sun” all week.

For Halloween, maybe consider not handing out candy? FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project invites families to hand out something everyone can have (a non-food treat), and to signify this with a teal pumpkin out front. I even heard this being discussed by random people I didn’t know at the grocery store the other day, and that makes me so happy for kids that normally feel left out.

This crock pot vegetable broth is a brilliant idea. Brilliant, I tell you. Set it and forget it. (Oh, wait, that’s a different appliance, isn’t it?)
Have a great weekend, everyone. Remember, if you’re in Springfield this weekend, find us at the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo and say hi.

Well, FARE announced some new findings in adult-onset food allergies. You might want to check it out here. Here’s hoping they do more research.

I (Denise) don’t know if it’s the cold that makes me want to have alcoholic drinks or the fact that I’m contemplating some large-ish life changes, but I found this recipe for homemade blackberry liqueur that I think I have to try with safe for me ingredients. I just bought a nice big bottle of vodka because I’d been thinking about making limoncello, so why not?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Dry Rub for Barbecue


Dry Rub for Barbecue

Dry Rub for Barbecue


This one’s pretty simple, but often the rubs and seasonings that you can buy pre-mixed at the grocery store have something I’m not supposed to have, whether it’s citric acid for flavor, or a filler, or an anti-flow agent that happens to be derived from corn, wheat or milk. I can’t tell you how ticked off I was to find that one of my favorite taco seasonings had lactose in it. I’ve given this a try on some boneless pork ribs and I bet it’d be great on chicken, but I can’t find out since I’m allergic to chicken. I really liked the bark (the crispy browned bits) the rub gave to the pork. I mixed just enough as listed in the ingredients below to cover two pieces of pork about six to eight inches long and about  five inches wide, because I live in an apartment and they won’t let me put a grill on my second floor balcony. If you grill a lot, you might want to double or triple the recipe so that you can have it on hand. This is also pretty great on roasts and stuff you broil in the oven since we’re getting pretty close to only indoor cooking time of year. The recipe below makes about a third of a cup or so.

Dry Rub for Barbecue

  • 2 Tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of kosher salt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of paprika
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a fork or a whisk until everything is completely blended.  Wow, that was easy wasn’t it?  Put it in an air-tight container to store.

To use it, simply coat your cut of meat with it and put it on the grill or roast or broil it in the oven.  If you’d like to use it with vegetables, I’d coat the veggies in a safe oil first, and then coat them in the rub.

Dry Rub for Barbecue on Boneless Pork Ribs

Dry Rub for Barbecue on Boneless Pork Ribs

2014-10-17 Fabulous Friday Finds

An alpaca hosts the blog this week. It seemed apropos.

An alpaca hosts the blog this week. It seemed apropos.

Hey, it’s Friday. World-ending Friday, in Mary Kate’s world (but given that that happens once a month, it’s lost its lustre). What did you read this week? Anything good?

Here’s what we’ve got:

While I (Mary Kate) like the occasional meditation on cooking, this one from The Kitchn is particularly resonant — how many pots of soup have come about from using up all the things left in the bottom and back of the fridge? How many other dishes of the type one of my former roommate’s called “goulash” came from the same place? With a well-stocked pantry of beans, stocks, spices, and herbs, almost any mess of leftover veg can become dinner.

Ever think you were going crazy because your doctors keep underestimating the effect food allergies and intolerances have on your body? Had a gut specialist tell you that what you eat doesn’t matter to digestive disorders? Or had people not understand that “that food will make me sick” isn’t limited to puking? This Gluten Dude post on celiac and brain effects of gluten — especially reading all the comments, too — will make you feel in good company.

I’ve (Denise) been exploring the world of MOOC’s (Massive Online Open Course) lately. I just finished with Fundamentals of Immunology, Part 1,  on edX.org and I’ll be starting Part 2 next week. I’m also taking Gut Check: Exploring your Microbiome on Coursera.org, which led me to hear about the American Gut Project.  There’s starting to be some research potentially pointing at your gut bacteria population being involved in food allergies and MS. I’d love to do this, but I don’t have the donation fee at the moment. If anyone wants to get me a fun and weird present, this would be good to put on the list. 

Although paleo recipes are generally pretty good for me, in that they avoid quite a few of my allergies, they can be frustrating due to my coconut allergy.  Because the paleo peeps put coconut in everything it seems. But I did find this nice post from Paleo Leap on How to Replace Everything Coconut, which is a nice thing to have. 

Hope you all have a great week!

Mung Bean Patties

Mung Bean Patties with roasted potatoes

Mung Bean Patties with roasted potatoes

This recipe is actually perfect for coming out of last week, as, like so many things that happened last week it arose out of the ashes of me screwing something up because I did not know what I was doing and was not paying attention. Last week was just that kind of week. I need a nap. Or a vacation.

A few years ago, I’d bought mung beans, dried, because I understood that they could be cooked relatively quickly, like lentils. So I put them in a pot with water, on a burner, and then wandered off to do something else. By the time I came back, I had mush instead of beans. Oops. So I made a bean loaf. You know, like meatloaf, but without vegetarian. The thing is, “bean loaf” sounds kind of gross, and baking this in a loaf meant you only had a few edges. Plus, it wasn’t really that successful at holding its shape when sliced.

You really should soak the beans overnight, so far as I can tell, but you can also just dump a kettle of boiling water over them and soak them for about an hour. They will plump up quite nicely. They are “done” cooking when they are starting to fall apart but haven’t actually fallen apart yet.

Since then, I’ve refined this so that I have less bean mush and more mushy beans, and revised the add-in vegetables and seasonings somewhat to create a flavorful bean-based patty. Actually, if you make them my way, they’re more ball-shaped, but bean balls isn’t appetizing either. We’ll go with patties. This recipe makes 16 patties measured out by a 1/2 cup ice cream scoop. These store and reheat well, but I have not tried freezing them. Structural integrity is still low, but they taste good, and who cares if your patty falls apart a bit? You already have a fork on hand.

Soaked Mung Beans before cooking

Soaked Mung Beans before cooking


Mung Bean Patties

  • 2 cups dry mung beans, soaked overnight or covered in boiling water and soaked an hour
  • 3-4 carrots
  • 1/4 of a bell pepper (use up to half if you really love the flavor)
  • 1 bunch (6-8) scallions
  • 1 portobello mushroom cap
  • 2 cups fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon (crush the leaves as you add it)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (also crush this as you add it)
  • 1 Tablespoon basil
  • 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt (to taste)

Put soaked mung beans in a saucepan and cover with water so that there’s about an inch of water over the mung beans. Put over high heat, covered, and bring to a boil. Boil 8-10 minutes, turn to low, and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes. Water should be completely absorbed, and beans should be slightly mushy but not entirely without structural integrity at this point. Remove from heat, remove cover, and let cool while you prep the veg.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Using a food processor, grind up all the veg. You can do this any way you like, but here’s what works for me — I use the shredder attachment for the carrots and bell pepper, and then put the S-blade in to grind them up a bit more. The scallions and parsley will need liquid, so add the oil or vinegar to this. The mushroom should be fine with just the S-blade.

Add the ground vegetables and all the seasonings, along with the mung beans, to a large bowl. Stir well, longer than you think you should, and then use your hands to really work the beans.

There are two ways to form patties — either grease a muffin tin and fill it, or make scoops with an ice cream scoop and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or greased lightly. Make sure to pack the bean patties/balls together as you form them — these won’t be masterpieces that will stay together through a coming apocalypse, but they will hold their form as you dump them out of the muffin tins.

Bake 15 minutes, then enjoy.

Mung Bean Patties

Mung Bean Patties

2014-10-10 Fabulous Friday Finds

Here's the ocean in the fall from Pulpit Rock Tower in Rye, where they used to watch for submarines during WWII. Yeah, history is kind of cool.

Here’s the ocean in the fall from Pulpit Rock Tower in Rye, where they used to watch for submarines during WWII. Yeah, history is kind of cool.

How was your week? It’s been kind of a beast of a week here, so here are some fun links.

Have you somehow amassed a lot of essential oils? We both have. Here’s a recipe for making your own perfume with them (and some vodka).

I (Mary Kate) am a huge fan of the UfYH “method” or philosophy of trying to keep up with the messes in your life, and this week’s column in Persephone magazine is great: 5 Things to Clean When You Only Have 5 Minutes. You can really do a lot in 5 minutes.

And lastly, as we head into “close the windows, share the germs” season (and in honor of Denise’s cold), let me share this xkcd comic that someone taped to the hand sanitizer dispenser in a Federal building in Boston. You’ve got to love bureaucrats with a sense of humor (because that’s what Denise and Mary Kate like to believe themselves to be).

May your weekend be amazing. And don’t forget to get your tickets for the GFAF Expo in Springfield, MA, October 25-26!

Cure your own Corned Beef

Cure your own Corned Beef

Cure your own Corned Beef

You may remember that we posted a Stout Braised Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe way back in the depths of time. Well, that was in the time before my wheat and corn allergies were diagnosed.  At the time, since Mary Kate had issues with gluten, and a lot of our readers are gluten-free, I had put in the modifications needed to make it gluten-free. But once my corn allergy hit, I couldn’t find a safe brand of corned beef that I could buy, because of the dextrose, sodium erythorbate, and other corn ingredients that tend to show up in commercial versions. A while ago, I came across a beef brisket while shopping, and it occurred to me that maybe I could research how to make corned beef, just like I had for learning to cure bacon. Worst case scenario, I’d cook it as brisket if it didn’t work. So I bought it, but I didn’t have time to deal, so I threw it in the freezer. During my most recent “vacation” otherwise known as “food prep week”, I finally decided that it was time. So I looked at recipes from Alton Brown on the Food Network and the Wellness Mama, and modified and added things based on my other research.

I prepared the brine, then I brined the brisket for 10 days, and cooked it according to my original recipe, but using the gluten free tweaks, and without cabbage, because I forgot to buy any. And it was corned beef, and it was good. Even my husband (no food allergies) said it was good. So I’m sharing.

Just a note, this takes a long time. And it’s probably best to do the brine the day before you’re actually going to start marinating, because it has to be completely chilled. Also, be aware that it’s not the right color because we’re not adding curing salt or saltpeter, but it still tastes right.

Cure your own Corned Beef after curing and cooking

Cure your own Corned Beef after curing and cooking

Cure your own Corned Beef after cooking and slicing

Cure your own Corned Beef after cooking and slicing

Cure your own Corned Beef

  • 2 quarts of water
  • 1 cup of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces (I used a zip top bag and a rolling pin and smacked it a couple of times)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon of whole black peppercorns
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 8 whole allspice berries
  • 2 bay leaves, broken into bits
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger or 1/2 Tablespoon of crystallized ginger (whichever you have on hand)
  • 2 pounds of ice
  • 1 cup of fresh celery puree (Take 5-7 stalks of celery and put them through a food processor or blender until they are pureed)
  • 1/4 cup of juice from sauerkraut made from red cabbage (optional – just an attempt to get the correct color since I’m not using curing salt)
  • 1 – 2 1/2 gallon zip top plastic bag (They have these now! They are brilliant for marinating and knitting projects!) 
  • 1 – 4 to 5 pound beef brisket

In a large stockpot, add the water, salt, sugar, cinnamon, both kinds of mustard seeds, black peppercorns, cloves, allspice berries, bay leaves, and ginger, and mix to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat until salt and the sugar have dissolved completely. Remove the stockpot from the heat, and add the ice. Stir the mixture until the ice has melted. Put the brine in the fridge until it has completely chilled. And I mean it, completely chilled, so that could take several hours or it might even be the next day.

Once the brine is completely chilled, mix in the celery puree and the sauerkraut juice.  Place the brisket in the 2 1/2 gallon zip top plastic bag and add the brine mixture to the bag.  Push as much of the air out of the bag as you can and seal it.  Place the zip top bag in a container that allows it to lay flat and put it in the fridge for 10 days. You want to check it daily to make sure that the brisket is completely submerged and to flip the bag to stir the brine. After 10 days, remove the brisket from the brine and rinse it off using cold water. Discard your brine, it can’t be used again.  Now you have corned beef brisket to cook as described in our original Stout Braised Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe, or to cook it how you normally cook corned beef.



2014-10-03 Fabulous Friday Finds + Win Tickets to the GFAF Expo!

Dramatic New Orleans

Dramatic New Orleans

Welcome to October, folks. Do you have any idea how it got here? Because I am confused.

The Kitchn is doing an October cooking school — want to sign up? 20 days, 20 lessons. New skills are never wasted in the kitchen. I’m hoping for some knife skills, among other things, especially in the veg sections. (I signed up too – D)

Also from The Kitchn, some organizing ideas for small spaces. I have ideas, just haven’t found what I’m looking for yet.

Okay, this might not really be interesting for some of you, because you’re not making your own jam or canning yet, and it’s really nerdy, but you need to check out this article on The Chemistry of Jam-Making.

We got a pumpkin from our CSA, and I’m (Denise) going to pressure can it, so that I can use it for baking and so on, and because I can’t fit one more thing in my freezer. (Note to self: make some veggie stock and get the veggie scraps out of your freezer.) This recipe for Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat bars would work, if I use safe-for-me chocolate, and my other safe ingredients. 


So we have some tickets to give away for the Gluten-free & Allergen-free Expo. Want to win? Give us a recipe idea — tell us something you miss from your pre-allergy life and what the issues are for you now. We’re not saying we can fix all of them, but we’re still pretty proud of making allergy-friendly fried “cheese nuggets.” (And, yes, that link says “allergen-free.” We’re better about that now than we used to be. People are allergic to all sorts of stuff we don’t know about. [Of course, the nuggets are no longer safe for me, but I've got ideas on fixing it -D]) We’ll announce two winners next week — each winner will get two tickets to the Expo, and we’d love you to come find us while you’re there.

Comment early and often, get yourself as many entries as you can!

Greens and Beans: Swiss Chard and Cannellini


Swiss chard and cannellini@ beans

I am not quite sure who figured out that beans and greens is an excellent combination, and that almost any greens and beans can be used, and that, if the beans are cooked (or canned, if you can use them) and the greens aren’t collards (which really do take time), this is a quick and healthy and satisfying meal. I’m a fan because I like greens and often forget how much — until I make another version of this and wonder why I don’t eat this regularly.

Feel free to add a grain of your choice, but I usually skip that. Brown rice is particularly complementary. But in a rush, which I kind of feel I always am lately, beans and greens is enough.

This makes two large servings, three “normal” sized servings, and is great leftover.

Swiss Chard and Cannellini Beans

  • 2 Tablespoons oil of your choice
  • 1 can (or 2 cups) cooked cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (if canned)
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons dry sherry, dry white wine, or water
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic (if using crushed from a jar, use about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 bunch of Swiss chard, rainbow if you can get it, stems chopped, leaves chopped (separated)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar (beware “caramel coloring” or other additives) or lemon juice

Heat a large skillet over medium heat until hot.

Add oil. Heat until shimmering.

Add beans. Cook maybe 5 minutes, until they start to crisp a little.

Add pepper and sherry/wine/water. Cook until the liquid you just added is reduced by half.

Add chopped stems and garlic and stir well. Cook 2-3 minutes.

Add chopped chard leaves in handfuls, stirring each handful in as it wilts and adding the next. When it’s all in, add the vinegar or lemon juice, stir well, and let cook another minute. Taste, and add salt, pepper, or olive oil as needed to finish.

2014-09-26 Fabulous Friday Finds

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So it’s that time of year when you have to pick stuff because of the frost.  As some of you know, our green thumb friend, Mary S, was so generous and cool as to grow peppers in her garden for me (Denise) last year and this year. This year, Mary agreed to grow me some really crazy stuff, including the two hottest peppers in the world, the Carolina Reaper and the Moruga Trinidad Scorpion, besides some Habaneros, Hot Paper Lantern habaneros, Red Rockets, Bangkok Thai, Sante Fe, and Prik Chi Faa peppers. The final harvest weighed 11.56 pounds, and the slide show of pictures above show the harvest and what I did with it. I’m swimming in corn safe fiery condiments, woo hoo!!  I did want to make this habanero candy, but I ran out of steam.

Also since it’s fall, it’s apple picking time.  If you’re not sure how to use your apples, check out this chart for what varieties are good for keeping, cooking (pie or sauce), desserts or cider. 

Another thing to love about fall? SOUP WEATHER. Butternut squash ginger soup sounds really good, but I’m also guessing that I could sub in one of the weird squashes I’ve eyed warily at the farm stands. Squash is weird and wonderful. I’m also loving the idea of pumpkin chili.

Next Friday we will be running a contest for free tickets to the GFAF Expo, don’t forget to visit us on October 3, 2014!

MA Earlybird ticket image



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