Monthly Archives: March 2012

No Thanks to You, Parsley.

In my pantry today:

  • 1 tbsp reserved sausage grease
  • 1/4 large onion, chopped clumsily
  • 1.5 c cooked lima beans
  • 1.5 c chopped parsley
  • 1 10 oz can Hunt’s rosemary & oregano tomatoes
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp red hot chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • cooked angel hair pasta
  • Parmesan cheese to taste

Ok, let me start out by being completely up front: parsley is unattractive to my palette. I’ve recently boarded the phytonutrient bandwagon and because of that am giving all manner of new-to-me vegetables a try. And parsley is losing the office pool. I do not recommend using parsley in this, and most other, dishes. The health benefits of parsley are well-known enough, and I do not deign to refuse it entrance to my kingdom on all counts… it did very well with the walnut pesto recipe, but when not ground by a food processor can be a little too prickly for the roofs of mouths.

Anyway, we’ve still gotta do this thing, don’t we? Start your sausage grease and onions in a cold pan heating to M. Once it reaches full heat and the bottom of your pan shows the slightest indication of browning, turn heat to L and gently fold in lima beans along with seasonings. Add the undrained can of tomatoes, mix gently enough not to puncture or smash your beans (that’s for later! with forks!). Cover and let simmer for as long as you’ve got, but enjoy at any point now with angel hair pasta and Parmesan cheese. Excepting the parsley (for which, you see, I did not allow room in these instructions) this gets 5 spoons.

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Spicy Kale and Celery with Quinoa

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c quinoa
  • 2.5 c vegetable broth
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 c kale, stems removed
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp red hot chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida

Slice your onion and celery with industrious attention to detail so as to ensure you’ve got the thinnest intact slices possible. Mince your kale with only slightly less care. Put the onion and celery in a cold pan with the olive oil and heat to M. Once you’ve heard the pan sizzlin’ propa for a minute or two, add the kale and toss until coated. Add garlic, red chili, asafoetida and salt; toss. Toss in 1/2 c broth then cover, turn off and walk away. Cook quinoa using broth instead of water. When it is finished, fluffed and cooled add back to the reheated pan of kale. Mix it all together until hot, then serve. I used 1 tsp of butter as garnish here because, well, I thought it would be tasty. And lo, it was good. 4 spoons!

Leftover Lunch (& More Oven-Fried Broccoli)

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c leftover Basmati rice
  • 3 tbsp minced onion
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp kala jeera
  • 1 tbsp ground golden flax seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida

I’m making more oven-fried broccoli for lunch. It was, indeed, delicious enough to warrant an immediate do-over, but just broccoli makes for a lonely lunch. What to do?

Fluff up that cold half-pot of rice from the fridge. Put onion and jeera in a cold pan with your butter and crank it to M. Once the butter is melted, reduce heat to L and let sit for as long as you got — I’ll have had about an hour under my belt before I move to the next step:

Go ahead and have your seasonings mixed together in a dainty cup or some such nonsense. Turn the pan back up to M and begin mixing in rice with the seasoning blend. Fluff and stir until everything is warm, the serve under the much esteemed broccoli. Bazow! 5 spoons!

 

Oven-Fried Broccoli and Cajun Dal Gravy

In my pantry today:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1.25 c vegetable broth
  • 1/3 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 3/4 c dry moong dal
  • 1 tbsp Piquilo and Artichoke bruschetta
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1 tsp hot red curry powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp brown ground flax seeds

and:

  • 3 c broccoli florets
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp got curry powder
  • 1/3 reserved packet of Shake N Bake® Parmesan bread crumbs

oh, and:

  • 1 c dry Basmati rice, prepared and ready to eat

So when I looked in the fridge today, I was a little astounded at how much produce was still living within its walls — when there are viable choices in the ice box then it indicates that I’ve been a little too often relying on convenience foods. Wallets and asses can only take so much. It is time to begin a systematic (and hopefully delicious) eradication — it looked like the broccoli would be first to fade in this horse-race, and therefore there is a lot of broccoli in urgent need of digestion.

Start out by prepping the head of florets into florets with their own minds, toss with olive oil and seasonings, then set aside while you get your gravy on.

Puree onion and garlic paste together in a food processor, then add to the tsp of olive oil warming to M in a deep pot. Start your dal to rapid boiling and let it stay that way for about 10-15 minutes. As your onion begins to warm, stir in seasonings, bruschetta and flax. Mix your corn starch with your broth and add to the fray. Stir over M until it begins to thicken just the teeniest bit, then drain and add your dal and almond milk. Turn off the heat and cover; let it stand for at least an hour before serving over Basmati rice.

Take broccoli out of the fridge and toss with that leftover Shake N Bake®. Spread the florets evenly over a baking sheet. Use parchment paper if it’s handy, or just have a non-stick pan. Put in a preheated-to-425° oven for 8-10 minutes, and serve atop the rice-n-gravy. 5 spoons!

3 Recipes in One Meal! (or, “Tuber Good to be True”)

In my pantry today:

  • 3 leaves of kale
  • 2 tbsp onion slivers
  • 6-10 white grapes
  • 2 tbsp raw walnuts

Sweet potato bites:

  • 1/2 medium-sized sweet potato
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp hot red chili powder

Mandarin orange vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 c drained mandarin oranges
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp hot red chili powder

The weather is starting to get warm. Not summer’s “Blast Y’all from Face to Anus” hot as South Carolina will soon prescribe, but warm enough for me to start thinking about cold showers in the afternoon.* Warm enough that soup weather has gracefully exited the stage so quietly that I didn’t even get to have a season’s finale recipe for it. When soup weather departs, it’s salad weather.

So to inaugurate this climatic change, de-stem and chop your kale; set aside. Sliver off some onions; set aside. Peel and finely chop your sweet potato into little fork-size chunks, then toss with olive oil and hot red chili powder then put on a baking sheet and into a 400° oven for 15-20 minutes.

To make the vinaigrette, I measured everything in a Pyrex glass then dumped it all into the food processor and blended; just pour it in your serving apparatus and chill until dinner. Like many, but not all, things, it will taste better with a little time under its belt.

When the sweet potatoes are done, spatula them onto a plate and let them cool while you gently but thoroughly massage your kale with a little of the vinaigrette. Halve the grapes then twiddle your thumbs for about 15 more minutes before assembling kale, onions, sweet potato, halved grapes and walnuts. Top with another small dollop of mandarin vinaigrette and give the sun your first middle finger of the season (if’n you hadn’t already). 5 spoons!

*When my core body temperature rises, even when not from physical exertion, I can expect pseudo-exacerbations and Uhthoff’s Phenomenon. A cold shower can help dissuade these noisemakers.

Power to Ya Health Breakfast!

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c cooked steel-cut oats
  • 1 tbsp ground golden flax seeds
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tbsp walnuts

So this one’s real easy once you’ve made a batch of the steel-cut oatmeal and stocked it in the fridge (or if you’ve just finished making said batch). Stir all that junk up there, ‘cept the nuts, into your oatmeal. Once hot, put it in a bowl (if’n you’re feeling hifallutin) and top with a few walnuts. It’s a delicious experience — I will never again eat instant oatmeal because I did not know how delicious the true face of oatmeal was. The consistency is amazing — silky without being slimy, then a chewable texture that the instant stuff doesn’t provide. It’s almost more pudding-like than any oatmeal I’ve before experienced. 5 damn spoons, yo.

 

Kielbasa, Cabbage and Quinoa (w/ Cheese)

In my pantry today:

  • 1.2 head cabbage*
  • 1 turkey polska kielbasa
  • 1/4 c quinoa
  • 2 c vegetable broth*
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

So I thought too late to take a photo of the quartered half-cabbage I’ve had in a bag of broth for the last two days. The other half of the quartered cabbage is in the freezer. Both halves, fearing the same natural end of produce’s rightful place, huddled together for salvation two days ago in a crock pot. So there was all this cabbage I’d saved from the trash can and no apparent endgame.

This bag of cabbage was in about 2c of the vegetable broth/garlic paste mixture from its crock pot. I bought a turkey kielbasa and decided upon quinoa to balance everything out. I sliced the kielbasa and let it brown on M in a deep frying pan. Once it began sticking, I poured in 1.5 c of the cabbage broth and the now-chopped cabbage. Add asafoetida, cayenne and just a hint of cinnamon. The other 1/c c of broth use to cook your quinoa. Strain cabbage and sausage out and top with quinoa and Parmesan cheese. 5 spoons!

Spicy Crockpot Chicken with Parsely-Walnut Pesto (or, “The Corned Beef is All Yours Today”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1.5 c chicken tenders
  • Ancient Harvest® garden pagodas
  • 1 c parsley sprigs (stems removed)
  • 1/2 c walnuts
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 3 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1.5 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Start your chicken out on the train to Easytown — plop it in the slow cooker with 2 tbsp garlic paste, cayenne and black pepper and cover with water. Set the cooker on L and walk away for a few hours. It’s a great set up, actually, because your pesto will only taste better after it’s sat a minute:

Put parsley, walnuts, Parmesan, salt, flax, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 tbsp garlic paste into the food processor and puree the heck out of it. When it’s good and chunk-free (even the little chunks! be vigilant!), move it to an airtight container in the fridge and pray your patience will bring a huge, delicious payoff.

At dinnertime, boil water and cook your gluten-free pasta; drain. While it’s still hot mix in all but 1tbsp of the pesto, making sure to get a little all up in the crooks and spirals of your self-proclaimed “pagodas” — really, they taste nothing like a Buddhist or Taoist temple of worship, but the flavor of your earlier endeavor should eclipse this misnomer. Strain your chicken and mix it up with the remaining tbsp of pesto, then marry the pasta and the meat. Mazel tov, 4 spoons!

And because it is St. Patrick’s Day, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Please note that, despite often having my Irish red hair belie my Italian heart (and that birthmark on my head that grows black hair), I did not make corned beef today. Did I just forget? Not have it in the pantry and have no vehicle with which to go procure some from a grocer? No and yes. I have never liked it, and even if I wasn’t dead-set (so to speak) on getting to an animal-free diet you would never catch it on any plate of mine. And a day that forces it down your throat (along with copious amounts of alcohol)? I am no fan. Despite the red damn hair. Here, let me have another disenfranchised genetic Irish speak:

“I have never been greatly tied emotionally or sentimentally to my own Irish background. The Irish in America are sometimes more Irish than the Irish and I suppose some of my indifference is a reaction against that.” – Flannery O’Connor Letter, 7/25/63

To summarize: I have red hair and a genetic heritage linked in part to the Irish culture but will consume neither corned beef nor copious amounts of alcohol. Happy St. Patty’s!

 

 

Standing Ovation Vegetarianism*

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c cooked lentils
  • 2 c finely cubed butternut squash
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 14.5 oz can vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp ground brown flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp garlic-ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp yellow curry powder
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 c Basmati rice

This was one of those dishes where I felt like an orchestra conductor around all the separate in-progress sections of a single, delicious meal. And when that symphony — er, meal — comes out as well as this one did, it deserves a standing ovation.

Let mustard seeds and the chopped onion cook on M in butter until the snappling begins, then transfer pan contents to the food processor and add pastes. Process until it’s reached the consistency of soupy grits and leave it set aside for a moment.

Oh, be boiling your lentils in straight-up water until they’re ready, then, upon draining, set those aside.

In that pan where you were just onioning, put your butternut squash and broth in and bring to a boil on MH. Cover and let cook for about 10 minutes, then turn off the burner, uncover and selectively smash 50-80% of the pan. Add food processor contents with flax seeds and the remainder of your seasonings to this. Fold lentils in with milk backup and serve over Basmati rice. Or eat it alone from a mug. Or just take the whole dang pan upstairs with you. This is totally a 5 spoon dish.

*To make this a vegan meal, just substitute vegetable ghee for the butter!

Sausage Grease is the New Healthy!

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c cooked extra large lima beans
  • 1 bunch asparagus tips (reserve stalks for other projects)
  • 1 c dry quinoa pasta spirals
  • 1 tbsp reserved sausage grease
  • 1 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 tbsp  garlic paste
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • Parmesan cheese to taste
  • “Greek seasoning” to taste
  • 1 tbsp minced parsley

You’ve only got twenty minutes, so hop to it! Drain and set aside those beans so you can start heating water to a boil in the same pot. Portion out everything and start the grease to warming on M. Toss in a few mustard seeds for good measure. Once your water starts boiling, drop in the pasta and once the mustard seeds are popping, pour most of the grease into a glass measuring cup and set aside. Add asparagus, toss to coat then drop in a tbsp of garlic paste to brown in the hot pan. Scrape up the not-yet-burned parts with water and sprinkle Greek seasoning on the asparagus before covering the pan and reducing heat to L.

Drain pasta, set aside. Open up pan and return grease, then fold in lima beans with more seasonings. Add almond milk, 1 tbsp garlic paste, asafoetida, cayenne, Greek seasoning and pasta. Stir everything together and once the flavors are all in, serve topped with Parmesan and parsley. 20 minutes and 5 spoons!