Un Bacio in Cucina

a photographic exploration of Italian food, culture & wine

Month: February 2016

Pea Shoot Soup

How many times have you bought pea shoots for garnish or a sandwich and ended up having them go bad in the refrigerator? I’m guilty of that. I bought a bunch recently to use as a garnish for a styled image I was working on and didn’t want them to go to waste. It was cold outside, a bit snowy, and thought a soup would be nice. What harm could pea shoots do in a soup? Well, let me tell you, some broth, veggies and pea shoots created an incredibly delicious soup that warmed the body and soul.  Since they can be stringy and not very easy to eat in a soup it made sense to blend everything together to make a puree. I also had a lot of radishes leftover from a shoot. I wanted to use them as garnish and put a bowl in the styled set up but the bright red color just didn’t resonate with my vision. I decided to roast the radishes. Contrary to what people believe, they can be roasted. The peppery flavor is more subtle and a hint of sweetness comes through. The roasting ended up muting the red color giving it exactly what I was envisioning. The perfect understated pop of color to compliment the rest of the image.
Here is a quick and easy recipe you can make any day of the week with a few simple and healthy ingredients.


Pea Shoot Soup
Serves 2
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  1. 3 cups organic low sodium chicken broth
  2. 1 red potato, cut in quarters
  3. 1/4 t salt, optional
  4. 1/2 vidalia onion, coarsely chopped
  5. 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  6. 2 T olive oil (not high quality)
  7. 2 cups pea shoots, reserving some for garnish
  8. 10 radishes
  9. Extra virgin olive oil, good quality
  1. Bring to a boil in a medium saucepan the chicken broth, potato and salt.
  2. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover almost completely, until potato is tender.
  3. In a small frying pan, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until onion is translucent and a bit browned. Set aside.
  4. While potato is cooking turn on oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Cut stems off of radishes, rinse and toss with some olive oil.
  6. Arrange on cookie sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Set aside.
  7. Once potato is tender, add pea shoots and onion mixture to saucepan and simmer for ten minutes.
  8. Pour mixture into a blender and puree, leaving the blender lid slightly off to allow steam to escape.
  9. Pour mixture in bowl, garnish with sliced radishes and pea shoots and drizzle with good quality extra virgin olive oil.
  10. Serve with brown rice in soup or on the side.
  1. Take care when pureeing mixture in blender as contents is very hot and can splash out if not careful.
Un Bacio in Cucina http://www.unbacioincucina.com/

Homemade Almond Milk + Banana, Nut & Seed Smoothie

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to make good, healthy food. Homemade almond milk is one of my necessities and I make it consistently every four days to use in my daily banana, nut and seed smoothie. One cup of raw almonds soaked overnight will yield four cups of milk that you can use in cereal, smoothies or anything else.  I do have to admit it’s not the best for coffee because of the consistency but I use it for everything else.  Almonds are very healthy and full of antioxidants. The milk has minimal calories per serving, a lot less than regular milk, and if you have sensitivities to casein or lactose it’s the perfect alternative.
It’s easy to make and therapeutic, especially when you squeeze all of the milk out of the almonds through the mesh nut bag. It can help get any bottled up aggression out for sure and it’s fun to do! I decided I was going to do a little photography to capture the moment, below.
All you need is a blender and a nut bag really. Soak one cup of raw almonds in water overnight, drain and rinse, blend with four cups of water and strain in a pitcher through cheesecloth or a nut bag. I used cheesecloth and a funnel for a long time which can get messy and frustrating. The nut bag is definitely the way to go.  You can find these bags online or in any health food store.  I’ve seen them at co-op markets in New Hampshire, Maine and New York so they are surely available where you are.

Homemade almond milk

There are a lot of smoothie recipes out there but I’ve been making this particular one for years and have perfected it. It’s banana based and uses all raw nuts and seeds with a few special ingredients added in. Undeniably delicious and addicting.  Here is my version.


Banana, Nut and Seed Smoothie

Banana, Nut and Seed Smoothie

Banana, Nut & Seed Smoothie
Serves 1
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  1. 1 large frozen banana, peeled before freezing
  2. 1 ice cube
  3. 1 cup homemade almond milk
  4. 6 raw almonds
  5. 1 T pumpkin seeds
  6. 1 T sesame seeds
  7. 1 T flax seeds
  8. 4 cacao beans
  9. 1/2 t vanilla
  10. 1 t turmeric powder
  11. 1/2 t cinnamon
  12. 1 T almond butter
  13. fresh grated nutmeg
  1. Add banana, ice cube, milk, vanilla, turmeric, cinnamon and almond butter in a blender
  2. In a nut and seed grinder, grind almonds, seeds and cacao beans until fine
  3. Add nut and seed mixture to blender and blend until smooth, adding more milk if needed
  4. Pour into a tall glass and grate fresh nutmeg over the top
  5. Enjoy!!
  1. Use organic ingredients when possible
Un Bacio in Cucina http://www.unbacioincucina.com/
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