Talkative Mark
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Aromatic Foot Soak

OK, so this isn't a food recipe... but it's very, very nice, especially in dry winter weather.

2 quarts warm water
1/4 c. epsom salt
25 drops tea tree oil
10 drops lavender oil
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
rosemary springs (optional)

Stir together water, salt, oil, and vinegar in a large basin. (A plastic dishwashing tub is an inexpensive choice you can find at Target or similar stores.) Add rosemary springs, if you have a convenient bush in your garden. Trim toenails and immerse feet. Soak for 30 minutes. Towel-dry feet and massage with lotion. Cover feet with cotton socks.
Talkative Mark
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Good Luck Soup

Good Luck Soup

2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 small onions, chopped (about a cup)
4 small carrots, chopped (about a cup)
½ tsp. red chile flakes
½ tbsp. turmeric
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles
½ tbsp. salt
1 lb. dried black-eyed peas
1 pot of chicken or vegetable stock (about 16 cups)
1 bay leaf
1 lb. collard greens, chopped
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat butter and oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for 10 minutes, covered. Stir frequently and reduce heat if the onions are browning too quickly. Add carrots and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Add red chile flakes and turmeric and continue cooking for an additional minute. Add tomatoes and salt and bring to a boil. Stir in black-eyed peas. Add chicken stock and bay leaf and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until peas are tender, about 45 minutes.

Add collard greens, cover, and continue to simmer until greens are tender, about 1 hour. Stir in vinegar and season with pepper before serving.
narnia // edmund // DAZZLE

Courgette/Zucchini Squash Recipes?

Hello everybody! My mum and I just harvested three GIANT zucchini squashes from our garden, and now we don't know how to cook them! What's your favourite way to cook/eat courgettes and squashes? Also, our plant is a zucchini blossom, which apparently is a gourmet delicacy. Do any of you have any suggestions of how to cook/serve the blossoms?

Thank you for all your suggestions :D !!

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Talkative Mark
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Miso Ramen Soup

Miso Ramen Soup

1 bunch beet greens, about 1 lb.
110 g. soba noodles
1 head broccoli, about 12 oz., chopped
2 1-oz. miso soup packets
Chicken or pork, cooked and chopped (optional)
Roasted sesame seeds

Bring 6 cups of water to boil in a soup pot. Add beet greens and cook for five minutes, covered and stirring occasionally. Add noodles and cook for five minutes, uncovered, at a high boil. Add broccoli, stir, lower heat to medium-high and cover. Simmer for three minutes. Remove from heat and stir in miso soup mix. Stir in cooked chicken or pork, if desired. Serve with a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top. Makes four servings.
Talkative Mark
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Asian Spiced Almonds

Asian Spiced Almonds

30 g. canola oil (about 2 tbsp.)
10 g. sesame oil (about 1 tbsp.)
1½ tbsp. dried crushed red pepper
½ tbsp. ground black pepper
½ tbsp. Chinese five spice blend
16 oz. raw almonds
1 tsp. coarse kosher salt

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and spice and stir to distribute evenly. Add almonds and stir to coat. Cook until almonds begin to darken slightly and mixture is fragrant, stirring frequently, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and let cool completely.

Per 31 g. serving (about ¼ cup): 182 calories, 16.5 g. fat, 1.2 g. saturated fat, 3.9 g. poly fat, 10.8 g. mono fat, 6 g. carbs, 3 g. fiber, 6 g. protein, 145.3 g. sodium
Talkative Mark
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Chile-Chicken Soup

This is a quick meal if you use a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the market -- it should yield about the right amount of meat for the recipe. Save the leftover bones for stock.

Chile-Chicken Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
A handful of Serrano and/or jalapeno peppers, chopped finely
64 fl. oz. chicken broth
1 14.5-oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 15-oz. can black beans
1 15.25-oz. can corn kernels
12 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast, shredded
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 6-oz. package prewashed baby spinach
1 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 fresh lime

Warm the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, garlic and peppers and sauté for about five minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, stir well, and add beans, corn, chicken, and spices. Return to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in spinach, cilantro, and lime juice, cover, and turn off the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes and serve.

Makes 10 servings. Per 2-cup serving: 196 calories, 5 g. fat, 1 g. sat. fat, 20 g. carbs, 5 g. fiber, 16 g. protein, 28 mg. cholesterol, 908 mg. sodium, 278 mg. potassium.

Talkative Mark
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Mai Tai Pitchers

Mai Tai Pitcher

1 750-ml. bottle of rum (approx. 3 cups)
32 fl. oz. pineapple juice
16 fl. oz. orange juice
4 fl. oz. pomegranate juice
1 liter sparkling water
Pineapple chunks
Maraschino cherries
Fresh limes

Combine rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and pomegranate juice in a one-gallon pitcher. Add sparkling water and stir well.

Pour over ice and add a squeeze of lime. Spear pineapple chunks and cherries on cocktail umbrellas for garnish.

Makes about 14 one-cup servings.

Per serving: 159 calories, 12 g. carbs, 7 mg. sodium, 155 mg. potassium, 16 g. alcohol.

Talkative Mark
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Roquefort Salad Dressing

This is a delicious, simple dressing that's great with lettuce fresh-picked from the garden. It also goes well with cooked greens. You can use any herbs you like -- my preference is chives and Italian parsley.

Roquefort Salad Dressing

¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
ground pepper, to taste
chopped fresh herbs, to taste
½ cup (2 oz.) crumbled Roquefort cheese

Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and herbs. Add the cheese and whisk until combined.

Makes 1¼ cups (ten 2-tablespoon servings). Per serving: 165 calories, 18 g. fat, 3 g. sat. fat, 1 g. poly fat, 12 g. mono fat, 4 mg. cholesterol, 192 mg. sodium, 8 mg. potassium, 1 g. carbohydrates, 1 g. protein.

Talkative Mark
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Greens and Anchovy Soup

I made this for lunch today, based off a recipe from Mark Bittman's blog in the NYT. My boyfriend was hesitant about the anchovies, but the soup turned out great -- they just sort of melt into the mix and give the broth a deliciously rich flavor.

I might make it with two tablespoons of oil next time, instead of four -- I think that would work just as well.

Greens and Anchovy Soup

1 red jalapeno pepper
1 serrano pepper
1 small onion
A few garlic cloves
½ can (about five or six fillets) anchovies
¼ cup olive oil
1 lb. chopped cooking greens
1 14-oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 15-oz. can white beans, rinsed
4 cups (32 fl. oz.) chicken or vegetable broth
Parmesan cheese

Chop the peppers, onion, garlic, and anchovies. Heat oil in a large pot, being careful not to let it smoke. Add the first five ingredients and cook until onion is translucent, about five minutes. Add the greens and stir to mix. Add the tomatoes, beans, and broth. Stir and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and cook for fifteen minutes. (Don't overcook, or the greens will become tough.) Serve with fresh-grated Parmesan on top.

Makes about five 2-cup servings: 238 calories, 13 g. fat, 1 g. sat. fat, 1 g. poly. fat, 8 g. mono. fat, 24 g. carbs, 9 g. fiber, 9 g. protein, 2 mg. chol., 1082 mg. sodium, 244 mg. potassium per serving.

Talkative Mark
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Festive Beef Stew

Festive Beef Stew

For a vegetarian variation, use two cans of rinsed white beans instead of the meat and flour. Just add them at the end of the recipe and cook for about five minutes, until heated through. Oh, and buy a good-quality wine: there will be a glass or two left over for the chef to enjoy while the stew is simmering.

1½ lbs. lean beef stew meat
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
6 cups water
2 cups wine
1 can diced tomatoes in juice
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
Salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
1 bunch celery, chopped, about 2 cups
2 cups chopped parsnips
2 cups chopped carrots
4 turnips, chopped, about 5 cups
A handful of pearl onions, peeled

Dredge the meat in flour. Heat oil in a large soup pot and add meat in a single layer. Turn until browned on all sides. Add shallot and garlic and cook until transparent, about five minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add water, wine, and tomatoes. Stir, raise heat, and bring to a boil while adding herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about an hour. Stir once, halfway through cooking.

Remove lid and stir. Add celery, parsnips, carrots, turnips, and pearl onions. Add more water if necessary to cover vegetables. Stir, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, about an hour.

Remove lid and simmer, uncovered, for fifteen minutes, until stew is slightly thickened. Makes about 9 servings.

Per 2-cup serving: 244 calories, 9 g. fat, 3 g. saturated fat, 19 g. carbohydrates, 5 g. fiber, 19 g. protein, 54 mg. cholesterol, 634 mg. potassium.