Monthly Archives: April 2013

Roasted New Potato Salad with Lentils and Feta

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c baby spinach
  • 4 new potatoes
  • 1/2 c lentils, cooked
  • 1/2 c feta cheese
  • 1 small tomato
  • 2 tbsp sweet onion, minced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • dash salt
  • house vinaigrette du jour*

P1100487There was fresh spinach. There were potatoes. There were lentils in the refrigerator. With spring in what little prime it gets in South Carolina I didn’t want a hot meal, but it is because summer still isn’t here that I’m not sold on salads yet this year as a meal. What might draw that bridge o’er troubled waters? If you said “potatoes,” then you’re damn right I’m 1/2 Irish.

Wash, halve then toss your potatoes in olive oil, garlic, turmeric and salt. Put cut-side down on a pan and bake in a 400° oven for 40m. Let them cool for 5-10m out of the oven while you prepare a bed of spinach, onion and tomato. Top that with the halved, roasted potatoes… then top that with (cooked, drained, cooled) lentils and feta cheese.

I used some of our house vinaigrette du jour* on it — that’s just 1/4 what was left of our Good Seasons® red wine/olive oil dressing, more olive oil/red wine vinegar, some garlic powder, turmeric and asafoetida (lentils would be afoot). As far as salads go, this one gets 5 spoons both on the flavor and fullness front.

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Black Beans ‘n Slaw

  • 1 12 oz can black beans
  • 2 c red cabbage
  • 3/4 c asparagus, minced
  • 1/8 c minced red onion
  • 4 baby carrots, shredded
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 c red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 3 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 dash asafoetida
  • feta cheese to taste (omit for vegan status)

P1100429This is easier than the ingredient list suggests: start by emptying a can of black beans into a small pot. Add 1 tsp garlic paste, 2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp turmeric and a dash asafoetida; bring to a low boil on MH and reduce to ML once said boil is reached. Cover, let cook for as long as it’s got liquid.

I did use the food processor for a quick few pulses on the cabbage for a closer-to-slaw-without-being-too-tiny-to-care-it’s-cabbage size, and I used a cheese grater on the carrots. Come to think of it, the cheese grater might’ve been a good idea for the onion too, but today a knife did the trick. I dealt with frozen whole asparagus stems, and carefully excised 1/8-1/4″ chips from the top half of the stems. So mix all of that together.

In a small sauce pan, heat oil on ML and add garlic paste. Stir until paste is one with the oil. Mix vinegar with the rest of the seasonings; once pan is hot and paste dispersed stir in vinegar mix. Pour over all the stuff you mixed together from the above paragraph and let sit at room temperature for an hour. Top with your preferred quantity of feta cheese (about 1/3 c here) and serve alongside black beans over rice. These two dishes are surprisingly good together; I ended up mixing everything together and it tasted like the burrito filling you’d get at a fancy, um, burrito filling place… except with no sour cream and little cheese it was a touch less terrible for your health. 4 spoons!

May I Curry Your Flavor?

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c leftover rotisserie chicken, chopped
  • 3/4 c tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 c fresh spinach
  • 1/4 small red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 c vegetable broth
  • 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp hot curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • dash asafoetida

P1100392Looking for — or didn’t know you were looking for — a spicy new sauce for pulled chicken or pork? Tailgate dishes becoming a little predictable? Don’t usually cotton to curries? Give this a try for more kick than curry.

Start onion and garlic in melted ghee on the L side of L for at least 20m. Sprinkle in the mustard seeds and increase heat to the M side of ML until crackling is heard. Add tomatoes, a dash of broth and cover 5-10m. Chop up your chicken and spinach, set aside. Return to the pan and crush those tomato bits with your spatula, adding the remainder of spices. Mix, mush and gently pummel everything before adding in the spinach. When it begins to wilt upon stir, add in the rest of your liquids, stir well, then add in the chicken. Do some more stirring well while it comes to a boil on M. When it does, cover the pan and turn heat back to the L side of L. Let sit and be heated together as one, then enjoy on a bun or over rice for 5 spoons of flavor.

The Lo Mein Course

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c leftover vermicelli, cold
  • 2 c broccoli florets
  • 6-10 baby carrots, quartered
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 1/3 c red cabbage, diced
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 tbsp sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin/minced
  • 4 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • dash asafoetida

P1100374I don’t generally order lo mein when take out is afoot… dumplings and other fried things are my vice; I could make a meal easily out of everything on the Appetizer menu at most Chinese restaurants. This is to say that I am no expert on Asian cuisine (as I just used Americanized Chinese take-out as my primary example of Asian cuisine), but it can’t hurt to start with garlic and two kinds of onion in oil on L for an hour. This will deliver plenty of prep and clean-up-from-prep time.

When your time is right, put 1 tsp of olive oil in the bottom of a stock pot (or use a big pan if you’re fancy, but I make messes) and turn to MH. When the highest MH is reached, toss in your vegetables and stir fry for a few seconds. Pour broth into the pot, add seasonings and 3 tsp soy sauce. Stir then cover when boiling happens and reduce heat to ML. Let the vegetables cook in the flavored broth until fork-tender (about 5-10m).

While that’s going on, pour room temperature vermicelli into the pan with oil, garlic and onions. Mix well. Remove the stock pot from heat and mix in noodles. Once there’s a successful consummation cover the pot and let it sit for 3-5m. A hearty 5 spoons await.

 

Chicken and Black Beans in Macadamia Nut Gravy

In my pantry today:

  • 1 6oz can chicken breast
  • 1 14oz can black beans
  • 1/2 c vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp macadamia nut butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1/2 S sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • dash asafoetida
I forgot to take photos of this meal, so here is a picture of the most tantalizing of all nutmeats.

I forgot to take photos of this meal, so here is a picture of the most tantalizing of all nutmeats.

First and foremost, thank you mom for the bag of macadamia nuts that in part went to the making of the macadamia nut butter that makes this dish great. I don’t have a specific magic recipe for macadamia nut butter, but nut butters in general are all pretty similar. Grind the nuts until they are butter. Add a little oil. Maybe a little salt. There was just a little left in the fridge this time, and a little is all you need.

Start the onion and garlic in olive oil on ML and let cook 15-20m (depending on your patience), stirring occasionally,  then sprinkle with turmeric and stir a little more. Stir in the macadamia nut butter until it melts into a gooey, near-liquid paste, drizzling in the vegetable broth until a thin gravy is made. Add then the entire can of black beans and entire well-drained can of chicken; stir and increase the heat to MH until a boil begins. Before rolling commences reduce to the ML side of L, stir in the cayenne and cover. Let cook another 20-30m. Serve over rice or pasta. 5 spoons!

The Dinner Slawlad

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/3 c walnut halves/pieces
  • 1/2 mozarella ball, in tiny cubes
  • 1 S carrot, shredded
  • 1/4 c baby corn kernels
  • 1 tbsp celery, minced
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 c red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinager
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 dashes black pepper

slawlad

I spent a lifetime not liking cole slaw, but I had never had anything but mayonnaise-based cole slaws and thus considered no other slaws of which to speak. About two years ago a little place called Farm Boy’s in Chapin, SC would become the new slaw-spiration in my vastly expanding relationship with cabbage. It was easy to accept with joy the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables, and the general price of a head of cabbage means there’s almost always one in the fridge. This cost:benefit ratio makes it an exciting endeavor to make an entree out of cabbage. Don’t you scoff.

Start your thinly sliced garlic simmering on the L side of ML. Let it infuse while you prep other ingredients. Whisk together sugar and vinegar; set aside. When you’ve got mixed in all the solids but cheese and walnuts, increase the oil to the high end of ML. Toast walnuts with garlic for a minute or two, stirring frequently, then mix in vinegar/sugar mixture. Pour warm dressing and walnuts over and into the bowl of cabbage. You can mix in the cheese now, or wait until serving time — if it sits in the vinegar it will emerge with almost a paneer-like texture. This is not necessarily a bad thing; plus it turns pink.

Let the entire cabbage conundrum  sit at room temperature for at least an hour before serving or chilling. I let it sit at room temperature for a couple hours before serving, then I waited a day of refrigeration before serving the rest — both ways work fine. This is going to become a meal staple as the weather begins to warm into its boil: prepare yourselves for more summer slawlads at 5 spoons!

 

Fet-accompli!

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c broccoli florets
  • 1/3 c feta cheese in blocks
  • 1.5 c dry tagliatelle (bowtie pasta)
  • 1/3c olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1-? tbsp unsweetened almond milk

P1100313Simplicity is part of the song for this dish. Start garlic in oil on ML, reduce to L and let simmer until garlic pieces turn the lightest of browns; remove from heat. Take a small part of that and toss with broccoli, add a tsp plain olive oil and garlic/salt. Toss. Put on baking sheet in 400° oven for about 10m. Cook/drain pasta, put back in pot and add garlic olive oil and cubed feta. Toss. Add 1 tbsp almond milk and cover on L. Remove broccoli from oven, sprinkle with Parmesan and broil for 30-60 seconds. Take out and pour into pot with pasta. Toss and serve warm. 5 easy spoons!

The First 5+

In my pantry today:

  • 1.25 c frozen spinach
  • 1.25c blanched, chopped kale
  • 12 0z canned tomato sauce (plain)
  • 1 L yellow onion
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 tsp fennel
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp chile de arbol powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • dash asafoetia

P1100258I had some major cupboard rearranging to do so I started the onions in oil with mustard seeds on ML and let them rest largely unattended for about 30m. Sprinkle on turmeric a few minutes in, mix. Turn stove to M an mix in pastes and other spices until a gummy mound forms; dispatch the mound with your spatula and a small dollop of tomato sauce. Add greens and let the food processor run for a couple of minutes; spoon it back into the pan and stir in the remainder of your tomato sauce. Heat and eat, or add paneer, meat or a meat substitute — I threw in some cooked chana dal (split chickpeas) and served it over Basmati rice. I ate this for lunch and again for dinner… and maybe I heated my dinner in a small Ikea skillet then ate it then licked the skillet. Don’t you judge me.

kaleI know that eating foods of color is the way to go, so I feel really good about not only the outstanding 5+ spoons of taste this delivers but also because the recipe is full of enough greens for me to want to add a +. Following the Wahls Diet is my goal, but still isn’t entirely possible — both financially (SNAP only delivers so much) and… because I am still a product of my fatty culture and will submit to its baser dietary desires.*

 

 

* Don’t you judge me.

Holy Taters ‘n Beans, Batman!

In my pantry today:

  • 1 26.5 oz can black beans
  • 3 sm sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 small yellow onion
  • 1.5 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 small sweet pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chile de arbol powder
  • 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • dash asafoetida
  • dash water

Holy Taters 'n Beans, Batman!As it turns out, I am making a crock pot meal today… but not one which utilizes the free haunch-meat of rodents (April Fools!). A big spicy pot of something meatless was on the menu — in fact, I don’t see any meat happening in the very near future. Not until the image of the half-squirrel LouLou once did bring inside stops suddenly also being in a delicious sauce. Cut your onions, pepper and sweet potatoes. Put onion and pepper into the olive oil already heated to H on the slow cooker scale. Add turmeric and let simmer for a few minutes, then add the beans and remainder of the seasonings. Rinse out the can with a little water and mix it in along with your sweet potatoes. Cover and cook until sweet potatoes are tender… this can be arranged whether you’d like it set before you leave the house bright and early, or whether you want it a little quicker. Either way you’ll get at least 4 spoons for dinner.

Pinto Squili is Illin!

In my pantry today:

  • 1 20.5 oz can pinto beans
  • 2 squirrel legs
  • 1 large Vidalia onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • dash asafoetida

squiliNo, we’re not that poor — but I’ve lived in South Carolina my entire life and have never taken advantage of what’s right in my back yard. All over my back yard. Because I am mostly homebound, I hear them all day every day using our gutters as freeways. Maybe now I will feel as though I was able to exert more control over the tiny creatures who don’t know I am lord of their dominion than fist-shaking can communicate. Damnit.

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Dramatic recreation of how LouLou approached us this morning.

Have you ever dressed a squirrel? Because I’ve never even cleaned a fish, and this inadequacy is why I’m only using the legs. They were plump and easy to remove; the crock pot handled the rest of those hairless gams’ day. Chop up your onion and garlic for the event and throw it all in the crock pot. The longer you can let it simmer, the more tender your meat will be. Make sure to reach into things and take out any bones before serving. This wasn’t as terrible an idea as the wife told me — when cooked this long, the meat really resembles any other. Apart from the cultural finger-waggling that comes with eating rodents, this gets 4 spoons and will have leftovers frozen.

I will forever remember this small animal by the not-very-flashy name I gave him while ripping off his limbs: Pinto.