Middle-Eastern Scented Vegetable Stew

Courses:  Cuisines:  
In the middle of a New England snow storm that was threatening to shut down New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New England for up to three days, I was craving something warm, comforting and sustaining - that wasn't going to take all day to cook. I've been trying to eat healthier as well. So I look for ways to pack those vegetables into my meals: green smoothies loaded with vegetables (and very little fruit so as not to up the glycemic index), turkey meat-loaf "muffins" stuffed with shredded broccoli, carrots and zucchini, "zoodles" - zucchini noodles made with a nifty gadget called a "spiralizer." Anyway, last Monday, I developed this delicious and hearty vegetable stew. Caramelizing the onions and roasting the grape tomatoes is key to adding lots of full-bodied, rich flavour to the stew. It's well worth the time and effort. The Middle Eastern spices waft through the house as it cooks. And you can make it as "hot and spicy" or mild as you like.

Roasted Tomato-Basil Soup

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I set out to create a soup full of tomato flavour, perfect for a wintery day. By combining lots of ripe Roma tomatoes, rich sundried Italian tomatoes and a can of organic fire-roasted whole tomatoes, I was able to ramp-up the flavour and create a full-bodied and delicious soup. I have two secret ingredients that always add that little extra touch to my soups: some lemon juice to add a little brightness, and a touch of maple syrup to round out the flavours and add a little more body and richness. (Just be careful to add both in small amounts at a time and: taste, taste, taste!)