Bacon, Mushroom, and Wild Rice Chowder


Clara has been sick for over 2 weeks now, which means little sleep for everyone but lots of time stuck at home to try new recipes. We missed a church Halloween party the first weekend of her illness (which has evolved through several phases now, to include a fever and cold and ear infections and obnoxious persistent cough- poor babe). I had planned to take my favorite Mushroom, Sweet Potato, and Smoked Gouda Chowder to the party we never attended. So a few days later I had all those ingredients sitting around when I found this recipe and decided to make it instead. It also features bacon and mushrooms and potatoes (I used sweet ones). But a little less rich without the Gouda and heartier with brown/wild rice and a few extra veggies. A little bacon goes a long way in this case and this chowder is wonderfully creamy and smoky and just the comforting meal we needed.

Bacon, Mushroom, and Wild Rice Chowder


3 Tbsp. butter
4 oz. bacon, small dice (about 3/4 cup)
8 oz. white or cremini mushrooms, chopped or thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 medium russet potato or sweet potato, peeled and chopped (I used a sweet potato)
2 cups cooked wild or brown rice (I used brown rice)
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme leaves or 3/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 bay leaf
4- 6 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (I used 4 1/2 cups)
1 cup half-and-half (I used 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup whole milk)
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice + more to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until foaming. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 5 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate; set aside.

2. Add the mushrooms to the saucepan, stir to coat in the bacon fat, and cook over medium heat, stirring rarely, until they begin to brown and the liquid they give off evaporates, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside.

3. Melt the remaining 2 Tbsp. butter in the saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened, about 3 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, and potato, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 7 minutes.

4. Add the rice and thyme to the saucepan and stir to combine. Sprinkle the mixture with the flour. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the flour is no longer raw-tasting and a film of cooked flour coats the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes.
Add the reserved mushrooms, bay leaf, and broth (I used 4 1/2 cups for a thicker chowder) and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

5. Uncover the saucepan, stir in the half-and-half, bacon (reserve some for serving) and season with freshly ground black pepper. Let the chowder simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and the flavors have combined, about 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, taste, and season with more salt, pepper, and lemon juice as needed. Remove the bay leaf and serve garnished with the reserved bacon.

Serves 6.

(Adapted from CHOW)

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By in Pork, Soup, Vegetables · Comments { 1 }

Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins


Pumpkin season it is so pumpkin muffins I bake. Clara and I have been devouring these spiced pumpkin and zucchini filled muffins all week. As usual, they’re whole wheat and minimally sweetened with honey (and chocolate chips if you wish- I just tossed a few on top as a treat). And they’re easily made dairy-free by using coconut oil and almond milk (I tested them this way).

Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins


1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (I replaced 1/4 cup flour with ground flaxseed)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cloves
pinch of ginger
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup shredded zucchini, squeezed of excess moisture
1/3 cup honey
1 Tbsp. olive or coconut oil
1 egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk or unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I just sprinkled a few on top)


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 12 cup muffins pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.

3. In a separate large bowl combine pumpkin, zucchini, honey, oil, egg, and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Whisk in almond milk. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips (if using), reserving a few for sprinkling on top.

4. Bake in preheated oven for about 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for several minutes before removing muffins from the pan to the wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes 12 muffins.

(Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen)

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By in Muffins, Whole Wheat · Comments { 1 }

Chipotle Salsa


What I love about this salsa: It uses chipotle peppers, as in smoked jalapenos that come from a can (you can freeze what you don’t use for later). Also from a can- the tomatoes (fire-roasted for the best flavor), which means you can make it any time of year. And then it requires hardly any chopping at all as you throw everything in the blender/food-processor and let it do the work for you. It’s also completely customizable as far as texture (smooth or chunky), acidity (lots of vinegar or a little), and heat (just increase the peppers). Amazing on tacos or for dipping quesadillas and chips in (our new favorite tortillas chips). It’ll keep for about a week in the fridge and would be awesome canned in little jars to give as gifts, though I’ve yet to ever do this.

Chipotle Salsa


1 (14.5 oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 -3 canned chipotle chiles in adobo (two for medium heat, three for hot)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper
2 -3 Tbsp. cider vinegar (I used 2 Tbsp.)


1. Combine tomatoes and remaining ingredients in food processor or blender and pulse until well combined (pulse less for a chunky salsa, longer for a smooth salsa). Adjust seasonings (salt, pepper, and vinegar) to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

(Adapted from

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By in Appetizer, Southwestern, Uncategorized · Comments { 0 }

Salmon Burgers with Spicy Mayo


I doubted that a salmon burger could be better than a simply seasoned and perfectly cooked salmon fillet. Some things shouldn’t be messed with. But I’m always up for trying an old favorite in a new way. And I was pleasantly shocked when I took a bit of this burger. Absolutely delicious. And tender (I wouldn’t describe fish as juicy, but it was nowhere near dry). Flavorful (the add-ins don’t outshine, only enhance the salmon-ness). And topped with avocado, arugula, and spicy mayonnaise- perfect. I’ve picked up salmon patties from Whole Foods before, but never again. This was so much better.

My go-to quick salmon dish: Maple-Ancho Grilled (or baked) Salmon. And another favorite salmon on a bun: Blackened Salmon Sandwich.

Salmon Burgers with Spicy Mayo


Salmon Burgers:
1/4 cup red or yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup onion, diced
6 Tbsp. panko bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. salmon fillet, skin removed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 Tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 whole wheat hamburger buns
baby arugula, for serving
avocado, sliced for serving

Spicy Mayo:

3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tsp. sirracha (more or less to taste)
chives, thinly sliced (optional)


1. Combine mayonnaise and sriracha and chives (if using), set aside.

2.Place salmon, bell pepper, onion, and garlic in a food processor or chopper and pulse until well combined and only small chunks remain. In a medium bowl gently combine the salmon with the panko, egg, soy sauce, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Form mixture into 4 patties and refrigerate about an hour (to help them become firm and hold together during cooking). Note: I’ve popped them in the freezer for a few minutes instead and that seemed to do the trick.

3. Lightly coat a grill pan or skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high. Cook the patties 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Serve on a bun with arugula, avocado, and spicy mayo.

Makes 4 burgers.

(Adapted from SkinnyTaste)

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By in Seafood · Comments { 2 }

Sweet Corn Pancakes


Another recipe we made repeatedly this summer and I’m late sharing. These pancakes (you could probably call them corn cakes, they’re pretty much the same thing) were a bit hit with Dustin and Clara. We had them for both breakfast and dinner with butter and maple syrup (or honey) and berries. I’d love to try a savory version that incorporates some cheese and chives, with a fried egg sitting on top. And in case you don’t eat them all at once, pop them in the freezer and reheat at will.

Sweet Corn Pancakes


2 Tbsp. butter
3/4- 1 cup corn kernels (from about 1 large ear fresh corn)
1/8 tsp. salt + additional for seasoning corn
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used half white whole wheat and half all-purpose flour)
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda


1. Melt butter in a large cast iron skillet or griddle pan over medium heat. Add corn and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to brown ever-so-slightly. Sprinkle with salt and set aside to cool. Wipe out skillet.

2. Lightly beat egg in the bottom of a large bowl, then whisk in buttermilk, corn, vanilla and sugar. In a smaller bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and 1/8 tsp. salt. Stir dry ingredients into wet, mixing until just combined but still lumpy in appearance.

3. Reheat your skillet or saute pan to medium heat. Brush the pan with butter and ladle 1/4 cup batter at a time, 2 inches apart. When the pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around the edges, flip them over and cook them until golden brown underneath. If they seem to be cooking too quickly (dark on the outside, raw centers) turn your heat down to low for the next batch and inch it up as needed. Repeat with remaining batter, and serve immediately with a pat of butter and a healthy dose of maple syrup.

Serves 3-4.

(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

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By in Breakfast · Comments { 1 }