Groovy Green Recipe Sampler:

Sweet Red Pepper and Salsa Soup

A flavorful, brilliantly- colored cream soup. Perfect for any meal, even an elegant, company dinner. Serves 4-6. Note: Sweet red peppers have a lot of water in them and will add to the total volume of this soup as they cook.

3 T. olive oil
4 large sweet red peppers, coarsely diced
1 large sweet onion, coarsely diced
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced (to taste)
½- 1 T. crushed dried thyme leaves (to taste)
¼- ½ teas. freshly ground- pepper (to taste)
¼- ½ teas. sea salt (to taste, optional)
1 T. cornstarch
4 T. tomato salsa (mild or medium)
3 C. vegetable soup stock
½ C. light or regular sour cream
Garnish: Finely chopped fresh parsley
In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over MEDIUM-HIGH heat. Add red peppers, onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in spices. Cover, reduce heat to MEDIUM and steam for 5 minutes to release flavors. Transfer to slow cooker.
Stir in cornstarch, dredging all vegetables evenly. Add all remaining ingredients except sour cream.
Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 6 hours, adding sour cream for last 10 minutes of cooking time on HIGH.
Remove from heat and allow soup to cool slightly. Using an immersion blender, puree to desired consistency. Reheat slightly if required. Garnish and serve. 

  Toaster-Oven Focaccia (with choice of toppings)
A wonderful addition with almost any kind of soup or stew dinner and so much better and fresher than the pricey, store-bought varieties. Focaccia bread has a wonderful, chewy texture with a slightly crisp crust. Great for sandwiches too. 
Bakes perfectly in a large toaster-oven or use a conventional range if desired.
1 C. warm water
2 teas. Traditional dry yeast
1 teas. raw sugar
1 1/2- 2 C. unbleached white flour
½ teas. sea salt
 Extra-virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, combine warm water, yeast and sugar. Stir to combine, cover and set aside for 15-20 minutes until yeast is completely dissolved and foamy.
Combine flour (start with 1 C.) and salt and gradually add to the first mixture to form a soft dough. Add more flour as required.
Knead on a floured board for about 5 minutes until dough forms a smooth ball. 
Wash and dry mixing bowl previously used, grease thoroughly with olive oil and place dough into bowl, turning over to oil all sides. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise for about 1 hour, until doubled in volume.
Punch down dough and knead for 1 minute.
Lightly oil (use olive oil) a 9 ½ x 11” or 8 x 12” metal baking pan (with a rim).
Spread dough out on pan to outer edges, keeping thickness throughout as even as possible.
Top with desired toppings (see below) and allow to rise (uncovered) in a warm place for 30-40 minutes, until doubled.
10 minutes before end of rising time, preheat oven to 450F for toaster-oven or conventional range, on convection setting if available and with oven rack at lowest position. Bake 10-12 minutes until slightly golden on top. Reduce heat to 425F after first 5 minutes, if browning too fast. 
Basic: Drizzle dough with 3 T. olive oil and sprinkle with medium-grind sea salt (to taste) before rising.
Basic Savory: Drizzle dough with 3 T. olive oil and sprinkle with medium-grind sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste) before rising.
Cheesy-Italian: Drizzle dough with 3 T. olive oil and sprinkle with 1 C. finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese, 1 teas. Mrs. Dash Original Blend seasoning and 2 teas. crushed dried oregano leaves or Italian seasoning blend, before rising.
Sunny Paris: Drizzle dough with 3 T. olive oil and sprinkle with 1-2 T. Sunny Paris salt-free seasoning from the Spice House (a wonderful and unique flavor blend!) Featured in the photo above.
Pesto: Spread 4 T. basil pesto over dough before rising.
Greek: Drizzle dough with 3 T. olive oil and top with 1 teas. crushed dried thyme leaves, 2 teas. crushed dried oregano leaves and 1 C. thinly-sliced green or black olives.
Whole Grain: Substitute 1 C. whole wheat flour for 1 C. of the unbleached white flour. 

I've always loved sauerkraut, but I know that it is a "no no" food for a lot of people. 
Hopefully, if you're one of those sauerkraut haters, you'll still give this recipe a try. It just might change your mind about all things "kraut"!
And if you're looking for a good sauerkraut brand, stop by to read my full review of Bubbies Brand Sauerkraut, over at My Real Life Reviews. 

German Sauerkraut Feast
Bring on Oktoberfest! Make this hearty and flavorful feast, with minimal prep time and simple pantry ingredients. Serve with Beet and Fresh Dill Layered Salad (recipe also from the Groovy Green Kitchen I) and with grainy mustard and/or sour cream for dipping sausages (if desired). Serves 6.
1 teas. butter or margarine, for greasing slow- cooker liner
10 medium red potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 T. dill or caraway seeds, your choice. 
Caraway has a stronger, very distinctive flavor, the dill is milder. 
Either one works well, don't leave out!
2 T. olive or vegetable oil
1 large onion, coarsely diced
4-6 large cloves of garlic, minced (to taste)
1 L. Bubbies brand or wine-type sauerkraut (use the marinade too)
6 vegan beer-brat sausages, cut in 1' thick circles (I use Tofurky brand)
Thoroughly grease the slow-cooker liner with butter or margarine and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine potatoes, dill or caraway seeds and oil. 
Pour mixture into slow-cooker, followed by a layer of onions and then the minced garlic. 
Top with the sauerkraut and marinade. 
Pour 1 cup cold water over all ingredients. 
Cook on HIGH for 3 1/2 hours or LOW for 7 hours, or until the potatoes are tender but not mushy, adding the sausages for last 15 minutes of cooking time on HIGH, layering on top of the sauerkraut.

Apple Harvest Curried Soup
This is one of my all-time, favorite autumn soups; when apples are at their peak and priced right too. The addition of curry powder and yogurt or sour cream adds a distinctive tang to the mix! Flavorful and colorful too. Serves 4.
-5 large apples (red, sweet varieties), peeled and chopped
-2 T. fresh lemon juice
-3 T. butter or good quality, non-whipped margarine
-1 medium (preferably sweet) onion, diced
-1-2 T. curry powder ( to taste )
(Hint: if using Madras curry powder, use half the amount; it’s very HOT)
-2-3 teas. crushed, dried thyme leaves (to taste)
-¼ - ½ teas. freshly-ground black pepper (to taste)
-5 C. vegetable soup stock
-1 T. cornstarch mixed with 4 T. cold water
-½ C. plain yogurt (Greek or regular-type) or regular, low-fat or vegan sour cream
-Optional garnishes: finely chopped fresh parsley or a drizzle of yogurt or sour cream
In a large bowl, combine apples and lemon juice and set aside.
In a large soup pot, melt butter over MEDIUM heat. Immediately add onion and sauté for 1 minute. 
Add apples with lemon juice and continue to sauté for 2 additional minutes. 
Add spices and herbs and stir to combine all ingredients thoroughly. Cover and steam over MEDIUM-LOW heat for 5 minutes to release flavors.
Add the vegetable soup stock, cover and bring to a boil. 
Reduce heat to LOW and simmer for 20 minutes or until apples are soft but not mushy.
Add cornstarch mixed with water and bring back to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes over LOW heat, until slightly thickened. 
Add yogurt or sour cream and continue to simmer for 1-2 minutes additional minutes, just to heat through. 
Remove from heat and puree to desired consistency. (I like to leave this one a bit chunky!)
Adjust seasonings if required. Garnish and serve.

Cornbread and Poppy Seed Muffins
I love cornbread and I love poppy seeds, so combining the two in a muffin recipe seemed like a great idea! These colorful, tasty muffins are perfect with all kinds of soup, stews and chili. Makes: 8 large or 10 regular muffins.
-1 ½ C. unbleached white flour
-½ C. corn flour (preferably stone-ground, organic)
-1 teas. baking soda
-½ teas. sea salt
-1 T. poppy seeds
-1 large egg (preferably free range)
-1/3 C. vegetable oil
-1 1/3 C. buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400F.
Grease muffin tin or line with liners and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients. 
In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add to dry ingredients just to combine; don’t over-mix. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until muffins are slightly golden brown and a toothpick/tester inserted in center of muffin comes out clean. Reduce heat to 375F after first 10 minutes if browning too fast. Allow to cool slightly before cutting/serving.
-Cheddar Cornbread Muffins: Add 1 C. sharp Cheddar cheese with the dry ingredients,
-Spicy Cornbread Muffins: Add 1-2 teas. chili powder and/or ½ teas. red pepper flakes with the dry ingredients.

Tangy Barley Buttermilk Soup
This soup was inspired by a recipe from the first edition of the ground-breaking book: Diet for a Small Planet. My updated version adds garlic and herbs and leaves out the butter. 
I also "tweaked" the seasonings a bit, adding some from Splendor Garden (all certified organic, gotta love that!) and that added a wonderful flavor and more color to boost this hearty soup. Serves 6.
-3/4 C. pearl or pot barley
-3 T. olive or vegetable oil
-1 large (preferably sweet) onion, diced
-2-4 cloves of garlic, minced (to taste)
-2 teas. Bouquet Garni seasoning OR GGK Herbal Blend Seasoning (the latter herb blend recipe is included in: The Groovy Green Kitchen Volume II)
-1-2 teas. minced, dried chives (to taste)
-1/4-1/2 teas. freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1-2 teas. Splendor Garden Organic All-Purpose Seasoning OR Splendor Garden Organic Lemon Pepper Seasoning
-5 C. vegetable soup stock
-2 C. regular or low fat buttermilk
Optional garnishes: finely chopped parsley, chives or an additional sprinkle of the Splendor Garden seasoning blend. 
Thoroughly rinse and drain barley and set aside.
In a large soup pot, heat vegetable oil over MEDIUM-HIGH heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. 
Add herbs, black pepper, seasoning blend and barley and stir to combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Cover and steam over MEDIUM-LOW heat for 5 minutes to release flavors and to slightly brown the barley. (Hint: be careful not to burn the barley, stir at least a couple of times).
Add soup stock, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to LOW and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until barley is cooked but not mushy.
Add buttermilk to soup and simmer for 2-3 additional minutes, just to heat through.
Adjust seasonings if required. Garnish and serve.

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