Dragonfly Home Recipes

Recipes, Photography, Musings

Month: February 2017 (page 1 of 2)

White Bean Soup with Leeks and Greens

Nourishing and wonderfully fragrant, this  white bean soup with leeks and greens will chase away any chills in the air.  Sauteed onions, leeks, and garlic, plus white beans, dark leafy greens and a splash of lemon juice make up this very simple, healthy, and flavorful soup.

In the winter, I love a good soup full of greens to fill me up with powerful vitamins and minerals.  There are a lot of germs flying around this area right now (including in my own house!) and I want to make our immune systems as strong as possible.  This soup is a delicious step in that direction.  The purifying properties of dark leafy greens make me feel like I am taking good care of my body.  This delicious soup is also a light soup, so it is perfect if you want a lighter meal, yet still want lots of protein and iron.  It goes well with a nice piece of rustic bread too.

soup in potThe onions, leeks, and garlic are gently sauteed till they are nice and soft and fragrant, and then the broth, beans, greens and lemon juice come in.  The soup only takes about forty minutes to make, so it makes a great weeknight meal or a warm, cozy lunch, and it tastes even better the next day.  For me, the lemon juice is what really makes this soup.  The bright citrus flavor balances the earthy flavors of the other ingredients.

The weather has been unseasonably warm here the past few days, and all the sunshine has gotten me longing for the green of spring.  That is probably another reason I had a craving to make a soup with lots of greens in it.  We are a long way from spring here in Michigan, and it is actually supposed to snow here tomorrow, but this recent warm-up has been refreshing and energizing.  It’s amazing what a few days of sunshine will do for a person!

white bean green soupGetting outdoors has been so pleasant this past week.  It’s too early to start working in the garden (though my husband did churn up the soil last weekend), so we did lots of walking/biking on trails along a river near us.  Being around water is so soothing and inspiring to me.  The river water level is really high right now because of all the rain we got earlier in the winter, so the water is moving quickly, making lots of currents and carrying sticks and leaves along with it.  As I was watching the water flow so smoothly and naturally, I felt like I should try to be more like the river.  Flowing naturally toward my destination.  Not fighting my own inner nature, but going with it.  Navigating the rocks and bends in the earth with such natural grace.

This white bean soup with leeks and greens is in that same vein, in that it is natural and pure and nourishing.  I hope you all have a great weekend! I will be sharing this recipe over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Anugya @ Indian Curry Shack and Margy @ La Petite Casserole.white bean green soupwhite bean green soup

White Bean Soup With Leeks And Greens

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion (or about 1/2 cup), finely diced
  • 2 leeks, washed thoroughly and finely chopped (I used just the white bulb parts, not the leafy parts)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  •  1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt (or to taste)
  • 4 cups of your favorite vegetable broth
  • 1 can (14 ounces) of cannellini (white) beans, drained and rinsed
  • a couple of big handfuls of dark leafy greens, such as spinach or Swiss chard, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • black pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, leeks, bay leaf, and salt and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until very soft.  About a minute before the onions and leeks are soft, add the minced garlic.

Then add the vegetable broth and beans to the pot.  Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, until everything is soft and the flavors are all nice and blended.  Discard the bay leaf.  With a wooden spoon, carefully smash some of the beans against the side of the pot to give the soup a thicker texture.  Add the greens and the lemon juice.  Cook over medium heat until the greens are just wilted, about 3 minutes.  Add some black pepper if desired and adjust the salt and lemon juice, if desired.  If it is too salty, add some water.  Serve warm with some rustic bread, if desired. Enjoy!

 

 

Mango Pound Cake

Moist and delicious with the added flavor and deep golden color of pureed fresh mango, this cheerful mango pound cake will brighten up any table!

I like to cook and bake with foods that are in season as much as I can.  But in the middle of February in Michigan, sometimes I need to just let that go and bake something with tropical fruit!  Sometimes we just need that burst of flavor and color, and thank goodness tropical fruits are available to us in February if we want them.  (My local grocery store even has mangoes on sale right now!) The sweet bright flavor of mango adds a burst of joy to this beautiful mango pound cake.

mango pound cakeCooking shows are some of my favorite things to watch on TV.  We don’t watch a lot of TV in my household, but when we are home and want to relax in the evenings, my husband and I sometimes turn on PBS and look for cooking shows and travel shows.  That is how I found the inspiration for this delicious mango pound cake.  We were watching Pati’s Mexican Table recently, and Pati made this beautiful, yet quite easy, mango pound cake while her main dish was cooking.

I love her show.  Her enthusiasm for food is inspiring, and I love the way she embraces food as a way to bring family and friends together.  And this mango pound cake is right up my alley because it can be made fairly quickly, yet the mango makes it special and fun.  I found the recipe on her website and tried it.  The cake turned out great–moist and flavorful, and I will definitely make it again.

The weather here is supposed to be quite warm (for winter time, anyway) and sunny this weekend.  After a pretty gray few weeks, I am looking forward to getting out into the sun! It has been a strange winter here, with lots of rain and not much snow.  We have not been able to do our usual winter outdoor activities.  I think a lot of us are a bit deprived of the benefits of sunlight.  But this morning, this sunrise was just beautiful.

february sunrise 2And it looks like we will have at least a couple days more of sunshine! I hope you all have a great weekend, and hope you get a chance to get out in the sun.  I think that is why I was drawn to this mango pound cake–mangoes taste like sunshine to me.  I will be sharing this recipe over at Angie’s virtual potluck Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Zeba @ Food For The Soul and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cookmango pound cake

Mango Pound Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus a little more for greasing the pan
  • 1 and 1/3 cups of granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 and 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, plus a little more for dusting the pan
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of course sea salt
  • 1 and 3/4 cups of diced fresh mango (about 2 mangoes) or thawed from frozen
  • 1/4 cup of buttermilk
  •  1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of almond extract
  • confectioners’ sugar for dusting the top (optional)
  • fresh berries for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan and lightly dust it with flour.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until soft, for about 2 minutes.  Add the sugar and continue to beat for about 5 more minutes, until the mixture is soft and creamy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth and creamy, about 2 more minutes.

In another large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Place the diced mango, buttermilk, vanilla extract and almond extract in a blender.  Puree until very smooth.

In four additions, add the flour mixture and the mango mixture, little by little, to the bowl with the butter mixture, beating after each addition, and alternating adding the wet and dry ingredients. Mix just until everything is completely combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan.  Bake in your 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until the cake is lightly golden brown on top, springs back when touched, and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.

Allow the cake to cool.  When it is cool, flip it upside down on a board and then turn it right side up onto a platter.  Dust the top generously with confectioners’ sugar. Or, just leave it in the pan and cut slices from the pan, if desired. Enjoy!

 

This recipe is adapted from Pati Jinich @ patijinich.com.

 

Chocolate Honey Cake

Deep, rich, and moist, this chocolate honey cake is naturally sweetened with honey and topped with a strawberry jam glaze. Supremely decadent, yet at the same time full of whole food ingredients, this cake is a beautiful treat.

chocolate honey cakeWith Valentine’s Day around the corner, I have had chocolate and strawberries on my mind.  Also, my husband and I will celebrate our wedding anniversary tomorrow!  So I wanted to make something special for us. Plus, I always like to bake something sweet for the kids for Valentine’s Day. This cake is the solution for all those things!

The recipe, like many recipes, is a combination of different sources.  I adapted the cake recipe from an old favorite cookbook of mine, Mollie Katzen’s The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. (My husband and I went to her restaurant, the Moosewood Restaurant, when we lived in Ithaca, New York! Very delicious!).  When I made the cake this time, I used Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder instead of classic cocoa powder, and it turned out great. For the glaze, I got inspiration from the blog dessert for two The glaze is super-easy to make (just whisk strawberry jam, powdered sugar and milk together), and it adds so much flavor and is such a pretty pink color!  We have some of my mom’s delicious homemade strawberry freezer jam in the refrigerator, so the glaze is packed with intense strawberry flavor that goes with the deep flavor of the chocolate beautifully. To be honest, it was hard to finish photographing this cake because I wanted to take a bite so badly!

chocolate honey cakeIn addition to our anniversary and Valentine’s Day coming up, it has been an intense week. We have all been working really hard. We all need chocolate from time to time (some of us need it more often than others 🙂 ), and we have earned this treat. Maybe chocolate cannot save the world, but it can definitely do a lot of good for the heart and soul!  I hope you all have a great weekend, and stay warm! I will be joining the virtual potluck Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Ai @ Ai Make It For You and Petra @ Food Eat Love.chocolate honey cake

Chocolate Honey Cake

  • Servings: 6 to 8 servings
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for the cake:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter (plus a little more for greasing the pan), at room tempterature
  • 1 ounce (1 square) of bittersweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup of honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder)
  • 1 cup of unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

for the glaze:

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of strawberry jam
  • 4-6 tablespoons of milk (adjust depending on the consistency you want)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8 x 8 inch square baking dish.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat until just melted.

Pour the honey into a medium-sized mixing bowl. With an electric mixer or a hand mixer, beat the honey for about two minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Then stir in the vanilla extract.

In another medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.  Stir well with a fork.

Beat the melted butter/chocolate mixture into the honey/egg mixture. Then fold in the dry ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine well.  When everything is incorporated, spoon the batter into the prepared baking dish.

Bake in your 350 degree oven for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

While the cake is baking, you can prepare the glaze.  In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar, strawberry jam, and milk. Whisk the ingredients together vigorously until a glaze forms. Adjust the consistency if you wish by adding more milk or powdered sugar. When you are ready to serve the cake, spoon or pour the desired amount of glaze over each piece of cake. Enjoy!

 

 

 

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