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Lettuce and chard soup

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Do you have a head of lettuce but you’re bored of salads? Is it summer, but you feel like soup, maybe a cold soup, something light, refeshing? Do you want your kids to eat their greens, but they won’t touch salad or spinach or chard or kale? Try this summery refeshing soup made with yougurt. I don’t know where it originates, but  I used to eat as a child in Romania, during the spring or summer when people have loads of lettuce in their gardens and can’t have any more salad! The traditional recipe is made with lettuce, but I included chard as well, in order to add more nutritious value, and also because I love chard in general. Feel free to try other greens if you feel like experimenting: spinach, kale or mustard greens. The soup is thickened traditionally with thick sour cream and eggyolk, but for a healthier and lighther version I’ve used yogurt instead of sour cream. I’ve used bacon, as it is usually made in Romania, but you can skip the bacon. I’ve also used ginger in this recipe, which is my own thing, not at all Romanian or Eastern European or french, but it gave the soup a great kick.

Ingredients (for 4 people):

one head of lettuce

3-4 leaves of chard

one big onion

4-6 head of garlic

one spoon of chopped ginger

fresh parsley and dill (dry if fresh is not available)

one small yogurt container

vegetable broth (or not)

olive oil

sea salt

pepper

one egg

juice of one lemon

 

Directions:

Chop the onion and the bacon, and put them in a pan with some sunflower or coconut oil , and sautee them for 1-2 minutes, stirring ocasionally. Add the chopped garlic and ginger and continue cooking for a few more minutes, until all the flavours come out.

Pour the vegetable broth over. You can also use water instead, the flavour will be stronger with the vegetable broth of course, but it should be fine with water as well, especially if you use bacon.

Allow to boil for a few minutes.

In the meanitme wash the lettuce and the chard, and chop them in thin long strips.

 

Separate the eggwhite from the eggyolk.

Add the eggwhite to the soup while the soup is boiling, and do not stir. Leave it for a minute or so, and only then, lightly stir, so that it breaks into pieces but it won’t completely dissapear in the soup.

Add the lettuce and the chard, and boil on low temeprature for about 8-10 minutes. turn off the fire and let the soup cool down a bit.

In a bowl, mix the yogurt with the eggyolk and the lemon juice. Do this right before serving.

Pour it into the warm (not hot ) soup while mixing. Turn the fire back on and heat the soup up to boiling point, but don’t really let the soup boil again.  Sprinckle some fresh parsley and dill on top and serve.

The soup can also be served cold.

 

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Cabbage rolls stuffed with rolled oats and seaweed

This is a recipe inspired by the traditional Eastern European stuffed cabbage : sarmale or dolmas.

In the traditional recipe the cabbage leaves are stuffed with rice and ground meat. Instead of rice I’ve used rolled oats, and instead of meat, seaweed and mushrooms. I’ve also made some rolls with ground meat added to the mix, and they tasted pretty good too.

This dish takes a bit of hard work…I won’t claim it’s easy to make. But if you have the time and enjoy cooking,  it’s definitely worth.

Can be served hot, as well as cold.

As a side dish you can serve mashed potatoes, polenta, rice or simply fresh whole wheat bread which you can dip in the tasty  sauce!

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Ingredients:

(for about 4 people)

1 large onion

5-6 cloves garlic

one cup soaked seaweed

chopped fresh mushrooms of any kind

2 cups rolled oats

olive oil

sea salt

one large head of cabbage with large leaves that have no wholes

tomato sauce

paprika powder

optional: ground red meat

Directions:

Chop the onion and sautee it in olive oil. Add the chopped garlic. Add the mushrooms and the drained seaweed. If you’re not using meat, add the mushrooms and seaweed to the onion and cook for about 5 min. Add paprika powder.

Put everything into a bowl, add rolled oats and mix it all up until you get a thick dough. if you’re using meat, add the meat as well.

Set aside.

Take apart the cabbage leaves, wash them and place them carefully in a large pot of boiling water.

Boil them for a few minutes, 2-5 min, just enough for them to soften, but not become mushy. Take them out carefully and set them aside. Strain them, let them cool down, and even pat them dry with paper towel.

Chop the rest of the cabbage and place half of it on the bottom of a large and deep pot.

Fill the mushrooms with the oats mix. You can find videos online that show you how to stuff cabbage leaves. For example:

Place the stuffed cabbage leaves over the chopped cabbage. Layer them, and place the rest of the chopped cabbage on top. Pour tomato sauce on top, and cover with a lid.

Boil for about one hour on low heat.

Serve warm or cold, with some yogurt or sour cream on top.

For more flavour, mix the sour cream (or yogurt)

that goes on top with chopped and crushed garlic, sea salt, olive oil and dill.