Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Broccoli and Potato Mash

December 11th, 2013

potato & broccoli mash

This is not the most appetizing photo, I admit, but it’s the best I could do under trying circumstances such as being late and wanting to get one decent shot of this really yummy dish. After it’s put through a Vitmix it is light and airy and tastes so..oo good!


  • 3 large broccoli crowns, cut into small florets
  • 1 large , 1 medium russet potato, cut into 1 or 2 inch dice
  • 2 Tb butter
  • 2 Tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (optional)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste


  1. Peel the potatoes, cut them into  1 or 2 inch chunks and add them to a large pot of boiling water. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and boil until very soft, 10 to 12 minutes
  2. Roughly chop the the broccoli crowns into small florets. Place in a steamer over a pot of simmering water and steam covered for 10 to 12 minutes until broccoli is soft and well done. The color is likely to be an unattractive green.
  3. When the potatoes and broccoli are done, place in a Vita mix or food processor. Add the butter and cream and puree until thoroughly mixed and there are no chunks or particles remaining.
  4. Serves 4-6.

Butternut Squash (with Miso)

December 2nd, 2013

butternut maskToday while I’m on the subject of butternut squash,  I should point out that it’s perfectly fine all by itself, not as a soup, but as a dish of squash! This recipe is adapted from River Cottage Every Day by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. He’s called “a British iconoclast and sustainable food champion” in the blurb on the back of the book. All of his books are excellent. In this one, he’s really into mashes: mixed mashes, three-root mash, celery root and potato mash, rutabaga and potato mash, thyme and caramelized onion mash, you get the idea. All of which really reinforces the point that there’s a huge array of food and recipes that are delicious for  persons with swallowing problems without the need for any special adaptation.


1 tablespoon canola or olive oil or coconut oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

One butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into pieces*

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

3 to 4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon Miso (optional)**

Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

  1. Melt the oil with 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter in a large pot (if you have one, use ceramic).
  2. Add the squash and simmer for 5 minutes or so, until the squash just barely begins to brown.
  3. Now add the garlic and sage and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of water.
  5. Cover the pan and let the squash steam in the water for about 20 minutes.
  6. Check after 10 minutes and add more water if it seems dry.
  7. Now put the squash and liquid into a food processor or Vitamix with the rest of the butter. Add the optional Miso (highly recommended) and process until smooth and airy.
  8. Taste and adjust seasonings. Ad more butter or cream if you want it thinner.

***Miso adds a wonderful, rather mysterious, taste to this dish. It’s a umami sort of mystery. Try it. I bought my Miso from Amazon.

Butternut Squash Soup

December 2nd, 2013

This is a delicious soup, a perfect consistency for swallowing–it can easily be thinned with a bit more chicken broth or cream, it’s heart-warming, and it’s filling. The only thing negative about butternut squash in general is peeling it. It is, indeed, infuriatingly difficult. A very sharp knife helps, of course. But you can also not peel it, at least not until it’s soft. Simply put it in the oven or microwave until it’s soft, then let it cool enough to cut in half (length-wise), scoop out the seeds, and then scoop out the meat and there you have it!


whole butternut squash


It’s mushed up anyway once it’s in the soup, so that’s not an issue. Of course, you can also buy the squash already cut up. At my local Eataly, you can buy a vegetable, pay for it, take it a counter where very skilled lady is prepared with very sharp knives and an excellent cutting board, to cut your vegetable to your specification. I do this all the time, particularly with vegetables that are hard to peel and/or cut up, the aforementioned butternut squash, eggplant, celeriac root, etc. But enough. Here’s the recipe





Butternut Squash Soup

1 tablespoon coconut oil or regular cooking oil

1 medium onion, cut into a rough dice

2 stalks of celery, diced

1 clove of garlic, finely diced

1 medium apple or pear, peeled and diced

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes (or if you’ve roasted it and then peeled it, just add the squash)

1 teaspoon grated ginger (or powdered ginger)1 teaspoon salt

4 cups of chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup cream or milk


Simmer onion and celery in the oil for 5-10minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and apple or pear and simmer for 5 minutes more. Add the squash and ginger, stirring all ingredients together. Add the chicken broth. Simmer for 20 minutes. Check to see if all vegetables are tender by poking them with a fork.Cool. Pour all into your Vitamix, blender, or food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Add milk or cream and process to blend. Taste for seasonings and add more salt or pepper if needed. Serve hot with a twirl of cream on top


July 12th, 2013

polenta-2 mascarpone_polenta-1 creamy-polenta

Polenta is the Italian name for stone-ground corn, but it’s also known as cornmeal mush or grits and is a basic grain in many cultures.  It’s milled corn kernels that can be cooked into porridge or baked, or fried. An excellent, delicious recipe for people with swallowing disorders or anyone else who loves to eat. There’s really not any modification needed for this recipe: if the polenta seems too thick, add some more butter or stir in a dollop of cream.

Here are the basic ingredients for Polenta

6 cups water

2 teaspoons salt

1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal

3 tablespoons unsalted butter


Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a heavy large saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal.  Marcella Hazen, the famous Italian cookbook writer says the following: “turn the heat down to medium low so that the water is just simmering, and add the cornmeal in a very thin stream, stirring with a stout, long wooden spoon The stream of cornmeal must be so thin that you can see the individual grains, A good way to do it is to let a fistful of cornmeal run through nearly closed fingers. Never stop stirring, and keep the water at a slow, steady simmer” [Marcella Hazen, The Classic Italian Cookbook].  Cook very slowly until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 30 to 45 minutes. The polenta is done when it tears away from the sides of the pot as you stir.Then turn off the heat. Add the butter, and stir until melted.

Read more at:

You can make polenta with water only as in the recipe above, but it’s a little richer and creamier if you add 1/2 cup of milk to the recipe so there’s 6 ½ cups of liquid. I’d add more butter as well, vigorously stirred in along with ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

For polenta you’re serving right away, you want a consistency about as thick or sour cream.


Now comes the fun part. What do you put on top of the Polenta [not that it’s not perfectly delicious all by itself]?  You could add poached or fried eggs (be sure you don’t have crispy edges; mix the eggs into the polenta so there’s no “runniness”, that is, nothing to drop into the airway ).


Or, add a thick tomato sauce.


Thick Tomato Sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup finely diced onions

½ cup finely diced celery

½ cup finely diced carrots

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

1 large can (28 oz) Sclafani crushed tomatoes (preferred because they’re delicious & already thick)

2 tablespoons thick tomato paste

1 bouquet garni (1 teaspoon each of the following dried herbs: basil, oregano, thyme tied into a piece of washed cheese cloth; or use the same combination of fresh herbs, increasing the amount to 2 sprigs each)bouquet garni in cheese cloth

1. Heat the olive oil and add the onions and cook over low heat for 10 minutes until the onions are translucent.

2. Add the celery, onions, carrots and garlic and bouquet garni and continue to cook another 5-8 minutes until the celery & carrots are soft.

3. Add the tomatoesSclafani crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer (bubbles just starting to pop up). Lower the heat and set the pot’s lid at an angle, and cook until the sauce is thick, about 30 minutes.

4. Add the tomato paste and cook an additional 10 minutes.

5. Remove the bouquet garni and then strain the sauce to remove any remaining bits of vegetables.

6. Put a helping of the polenta in a bowl and cover with a ½ cup of the tomato sauce.


You could also use the polenta to make a lasagna-like dish, substituting sliced polenta for lasagna noodles, layering with cheeses such as Pecorino Romano and Fontina or gruyere.

Joy the Baker, on her food blog (January 14, 2013), has a recipe for baked polenta. It’s pretty much the same recipe as above, but here you pour the ingredients except the butter into an 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Stir to combine (the polenta will  sink to the bottom of the pan, she says,  & the water will be cloudy) and bake for 45 minutes in a 350 degrees F oven. Remove from heat and add butter, bake again for 15 more minutes. The top may be crusty and you might want to remove it, before serving it, as she did, with the thickened tomato sauce.






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