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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Recipe Round Up: Christmas Pineapple and Garden Vegetable Soup

Christmas Pineapple

I read about this recipe on a link from a cooking group. It was a pretty loose recipe anyway, so I changed it up a bit and made it for our family. It smells just like Christmas scent. It is delicious, and the remaining syrup is wonderful over ice cream. If you rinse and dry your vanilla pods, you can save them to flavor and scent sugar, as well. It's really a rather frugal recipe, except for the vanilla pods, and I think would be a great recipe for anytime during winter.

2 ripe pineapples, peeled, cored, with eyes removed, and cut into large chunks
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup bourbon (I used a honey bourbon) or cognac
24 ounces crabapple jelly or orange marmalade (I think the crabapple jelly is better)
2 vanilla beans, slit lengthwise, with the seeds scraped and reserved
4 cardamom pods
6 pink peppercorns
3 allspice berries
3 whole cloves
4 slices of peeled ginger
1 cinnamon stick, broken

Preheat oven to 325 F. Place pineapple in a deep baking pan that will fit it all and allow room to stir occasionally.

Whisk together the orange juice, bourbon, jelly or marmalade, vanilla pods and seeds, cardamom pods, peppercorns, allspice berries, cloves, ginger and cinnamon sticks. Pour over the pineapple in the pan. Bake the pineapple for about one and a half hours, basting the pineapple and turning it in the syrup about every 15 minutes, until it is tender and appears almost candied.

Allow to cool to a comfortably warm temperature. Strain the syrup and reserve. Serve the pineapple (cut into bite sized pieces if you wish) in pretty dishes with some of the syrup. You can remove the whole spices or keep them in as a garnish, as you choose. Keep the remaining syrup to serve on pancakes or over ice cream, or to eat out of the container with a spoon.

Garden Vegetable Soup

This is a wonderful soup for Lent or Advent or other abstinent meals. It is vegan, so can be eaten with any rule.

2 tablespoons safflower oil
2 onions, peeled and diced
5 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks of celery with tops, diced
4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 beets, scrubbed and cubed
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh green beans
1 bunch of kale, finely chopped (center rib removed and discarded), or 1 bunch chard, finely chopped (if you sub the chard, use the stems and add with the celery)
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 bay leaf
3/4 teaspoon garlic granules
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 cups vegetable stock or water
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
3 cups fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add onions, and remaining vegetables through the kale. Sauté until the onions are tender. Add the seasonings, tamari sauce, and stock or water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the peas and cook for about 10 minutes more. Do not overcook. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Garnish each bowl with parsley.

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