First things first, I need to get your weekly book drawing in here, before you cookbook lovers start thinking I’m trapped under something heavy.
Thanks to everyone who entered the drawing for “Sweet Christmas.” The winner is Karen Fritts. It has lots of good ideas for year-round holidays. I’ll pop it in the mail today. In fact, I already did.
Second and more important, I hope you had a joyful holiday season. Ours was great but crazy (both at work and at home), and I limped out of it exhausted with a lingering cough and a house in complete disarray.
But here we are with a fresh start and, despite the wreckage I’ve left behind of past resolutions, I have a few again this year. One of them is to eat enough vegetables and fruits.
It’s not rocket science: If you put “good health” into your GPS, it will keep sending you back to the produce section.
So I’m going to start there.
Trader Joe’s, that grocery store everyone in the Northeast raves about, for its shelves full of healthful, sustainable deliciousness, has started publishing cookbooks and right now I have a copy of "The I Love Trader Joe's Vegetarian Cookbook", by Kris Holechek Peters.
All of the recipes call for Trader Joe’s brand something or other, but we can find most of them in national and store brands, at least in natural foods sections and health food stores.
To enter the drawing, please send an e-mail to email@example.com including your NAME, THE NAME OF THE BOOK YOU WANT and your MAILING ADDRESS. I don’t share or store this information, by the way.
Just looking for a recipe? Here’s one of the best-looking ones that will get me some veggies IN MY BELLY. (Little Austin Powers joke for Mike Myers fans)
TUSCAN TOMATO SOUP (vegan and gluten-free)
2 medium yellow or red potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow or white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups sliced celery
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 to 2 cups water (I would use vegetable broth)
1. In a small stockpot, cover the potatoes with just enough water to submerge, and simmer over medium heat until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Drain the water and transfer the potatoes to a blender or food processor and blend with the can of tomatoes. Set aside.
3. In the stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the onion until it starts to slightly soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes. Add the celery, beans, oregano, and salt, and mix to combine.
4. Add the potato mixture to the pot and simmer, with the lid on, until the celery is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the water until the soup is the consistency you’d like. Cook until heated through, 5 minutes more.
Serves 4 to 6
“The I (Heart) Trader Joe’s Vegetarian Cookbook”