Roasted Garlic and Potato Soup with Parmesan

Here’s a spur of the moment recipe post for a soup I prescribed myself today. Even if you’re not feeling under the weather with a nasty cold as I am, garlic soup is as savory and nourishing as it gets.

I lifted this recipe from Whole Living, one of my favorite reads for healthy, beautifully inspired living – from the publishers of Martha Stewart magazine – but of course.

The small amount of potato in this soup gives it a luscious, satisfying texture, eliminating the addition of very much fat; just a tablespoon of olive oil coats the garlic cloves as they roast. A dusting of fresh Parmesan and some warm crusty bread makes this a perfect meal for a winter day.

Roasted Garlic and Potato Soup with Parmesan

Serving Size: serves 4 - 6


1 cup peeled garlic cloves, purchased peeled or from one or two garlic heads

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt

6 cups stock or water

2 Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh thyme leaves, optional


  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the garlic in a small baking dish, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and cover with a piece of foil. Roast until the cloves are golden and tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring the stock or water to a simmer. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and add the roasted garlic and potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Puree in batches in a blender (carefully - the soup is hot!). Taste for seasoning and add more salt if you like.
  3. Serve bowls sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, a few thyme leaves and a piece of warm crusty bread.


Based on a recipe in Whole Living, December 2011

Roasted Vegetable & Barley Salad

In the spirit of the season, I’m revisiting one of my go-to recipes that makes the best of summer produce. This barley salad with roasted Mediterranean vegetables is a great choice for sharing with family and friends at picnics, potlucks or parties over the next few summer months.

I originally posted this recipe in 2007, and haven’t really changed much except to simplify and punch up the flavor a little.

Happy summer!

Roasted Vegetable & Barley Salad

Serving Size: 6 - 8 side dish servings

I like to arrange some arugula or baby spinach leaves on the bowl or platter before piling on the barley mixture.

Make ahead note: Salad can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Return to room temperature before serving.


1 1/2 pounds eggplant, diced

4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (2 pint containers)

1 orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 red onion, chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/4 cups pearl barley

3 cups water

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup crumbled goat feta cheese

Arugula or baby spinach leaves; a few handfuls


  1. Put rack in middle of oven and preheat to 425°F.
  2. Toss eggplant, tomatoes and bell pepper with 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast vegetables until eggplant is golden brown and tender and tomatoes are shriveled, stirring halfway through, about 25 minutes.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the cumin, coriander, cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add barley and cook, stirring until well coated with oil for 1 minute more. Add water and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all of liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer barley to baking pan with roasted vegetables and spread to cool, about 20 minutes.
  5. Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, honey, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and oil; pour over the barley and vegetables along with the basil and feta; mix together, and transfer to a serving bowl or platter.
  6. I like to arrange some arugula or baby spinach leaves on the bowl or platter before piling on the barley mixture.
  7. Make ahead note: Salad can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Return to room temperature before serving.

Cool Spicy Cucumbers with Peanuts & Lime

Cucumber and lime. Just the thought of those two ingredients refreshes me. Plus they go together like …. bread and butter, gin and tonic, sugar and spice.

It’s hotter than an Inferno where I live, which is typical. We went straight from our schizophrenic spring weather to a sweltering heatwave within a week’s time. Ready or not, it’s time to let the season guide my menu cravings.

I turned to one of my favorite hot-weather flavor profiles – tart citrus; fresh, spicy chiles and cool-crunchy cucumbers. To me, that combination points in the direction of Asia and India.

I found the perfect recipe for what I had in mind with this Indian cucumber salad, Khamang Kakdi, in How to Cook Indian, one of my newest cookbooks. I think this book will become a definite favorite of mine. It’s huge, with a broad collection of easy and delicious-sounding recipes. There are no photos at all, but somehow that isn’t a problem since the information is so thorough and the design so appealing.

I love the utter simplicity of this salad. With just a few spices, a hit of citrus, toasty peanuts and a sweet exotic touch of coconut, cucumbers are transformed into something complex and unordinary.

Be warned, it’s a slightly addictive little salad.

Cool Spicy Cucumbers with Peanuts & Lime

Serving Size: serves 4


1 English cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)

1 Serrano pepper or 2 jalapenos, finely chopped

1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons roasted peanut oil (or olive oil)

1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste


  1. Put the cucumber, chile pepper, peanuts, 2 tablespoons of the coconut, lime juice and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Heat the oil in a small saute pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they start to sizzle and pop, stir in the cumin, salt and remaining 2 tablespoons coconut. Turn off the heat.
  3. Pour the mustard seed mixture over the cucumbers and toss everything together. Taste to make sure it's salty-sweet enough for your taste.


Adapted from a recipe in How to Cook Indian by Sanjeev Kapoor