Tag Archives: water

Hamming it Up in Hamtown, or “Who Needs an Entire BAG of Bones?”

In my pantry today:

  • 1 meaty hambone, ceremoniously frozen after its Christmas gifting from Mom and Dad
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can “Italian” flavored diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can green beans
  • 1 15 oz can corn
  • 1 15 oz can chicken broth
  • 2 c leftover cabbage
  • 2 tsp asafoetida
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 4 c water

Oh, the meaty hambone! It’s from one of them-there high-end holiday hams, so it’s definitely not got any such sort of canned or “poor” taste. As someone who falls under the poverty line I find this increases the flavor, and only serves to justify my “Mostly” form of vegetarianism.

Put everything in a big pot. Cook it for a day or more on L after bringing it to occasional slow boils. Make sure you also stir at intervals while inhaling deeply of its promising odor. This particular pot has been on the stove for two days and will be quite proud by that at dinner time.

5 spoons. One can nearly never best a good hambone.

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Not Yo Mama’s Ramen [5 Spoons!]

In my pantry today:

  • 1 package extra firm, pre-cubed tofu
  • 1 head Napa cabbage
  • 1/3 package Hakubaku ramen
  • 1/4 c dumpling sauce
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 c water
  • 1 cube vegetable boullion
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 2 tsp safflower oil
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp asafoetida

(blurred only by the steam of deliciousness)

This meal requires a full day and night of preparation, so plan accordingly and make sure your Big Girl Britches are on. The early afternoon before, drain your tofu and instead place it to soak in your own marinade overnight. Put your dumpling sauce, vinegar, garlic paste and 1 tbsp of soy sauce together and pour over the tofu and let set in an airtight container until the morrow. Take special care to occasionally rotate the container at intervals to fully soak each cube.

The next day, you can go ahead and slice your cabbage while the mustard seeds warm in ghee on M. Add cabbage when the mustard seeds begin to pop and stir to coat thoroughly. Stir fry the cabbage for about two minutes, adding 2 tsp – 1 tbsp of soy sauce, turmeric and asafoetida. Add .5 c  water, cover and turn the burner to L. Cabbage should be wilted and tender, not sloppy country-kitchen style. Unless you’d really like that or have no teeth.

Start safflower oil out on M, then turn to MH. When hot, add your drained tofu cubes and begin frying with impunity. This took longer to do than I thought it might, so when they’re beginning to show signs of crispy edges, do this:

Mix vegetable boullion and remainder of the tofu marinade with 2 c water and bring to a boil. Put in ramen.

Move back to your tofu pan and keep the spatula twirling. Squirt in about 2 tsp of soy sauce and stir vigorously to coat. When they begin to share the same medium shade of brown, remove from pan and allow to drain on paper towels while you prepare the bowls. Put some ramen and a little broth in the bottom of your bowl. Top with cabbage, then top the cabbage with tofu.

I have never fried tofu — in fact, this is only my second time cooking with tofu at all. I certainly did not quite expect its ensuing deliciousness! This got to be one of those rare dinners where I enjoyed everything on my plate instead of acting my own critic. Plus I was rather proud of myself for ensuring the tofu did not become part of an incongruous meal where animal products were also involved. To be fair to the ‘fu ‘n all. I am very obviously not a vegetarian simply an admirer of its health benefits — as someone who just months ago was nearly bed-bound I absolutely cannot refute the differences it makes to eliminate a lot of those quintessentially American food choices.

Of course, a 5 spoon meal is reason to dancey-dance all its own.


Sloppy Smoothie Seconds

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c packed raw spinach
  • 1 c reserved asparagus stems
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1.5 c strawberries
  • 1/2 c blueberries
  • 1.75 c water
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup

Okay, so yeah yeah. Put it all in a food processor and puree until a palatable consistency. I apologize for its apparently beastly color — honestly, I’m as surprised as you. The last one was so pretty that I was damn near repulsed when this concoction was poured. I mean, there were bubbles on the top. That’s a Froth Territory into which I am uncomfortable venturing. The previous smoothie’s surprising deliciousness emboldened me to jump mouth-first into this one… I mean, that was a lot of fresh (er, ‘Bout to Go) produce in that there glass! Verdict: Surprisingly Delicious. Even more delicious was mixing it 1:2 parts with unsweetened almond milk.

3 spoons

Asparagus: Worth the Funny Pee Smell!

In my pantry today:

  • 3/4 c cooked Central American white beans
  • 2 c cooked Kashi® multigrain pilaf
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1/2 leek
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tbsp safflower oil
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp dumpling sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp salt

So my experience with leeks do not include saving or cooking the top green sprouts. I changed all that today. Start your sliced leek and diced garlic cloves out in a cold pan of ghee and 2 tsp safflower oil on M. Add mustard seeds and let it all festively fester until the leeks are translucent and the edges of the garlic pieces begin to turn a golden color. Turn heat to L, cover and turn back to your cutting board.

Cut just the tips of your asparagus stalks off for this. With the leftover stalks, remove the tough ends and reserve in a plastic bag for the next smoothie experiment you’ll have. Return pan to MH and add 1 tsp additional safflower oil. When the mustard seeds begin to crackle add your asparagus tips and toss to coat. Add water then spray with lemon juice from one of those plastic fruit-shaped squeeze bottles you find on wayward racks in the produce section and cover. Let it steam for about thirty seconds then uncover, remove the pan from heat and turn off the burner. Add cooked white beans, asafoetida, a touch more lemon and your dumpling sauce; coat. Add Kashi® multigrain pilaf and repeat the tossing to coat thing. Cover and return to cooling burner for a few minutes of togetherness before you decimate it with your mouth. 4 of 5 spoons.

Black Eyes in Butternut Cashew Sauce

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c finely cubed butternut squash
  • 2 c cooked black eyed peas
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 1/4 c cashew butter
  • 2 tbsp safflower oil
  • 2.5 c water
  • 2 packets Swanson Flavor Thingys (Vegetable)
  • 2 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Dice your onion and garlic as chunky or fine as you see fit and start them in cold pan of safflower oil; turn your stove-knob to M. While that’s warming, finish tidying your counter and pulsing your cashew butter to the creamiest possible consistency. Take 1/4 c out of the food processor or whatever jar you may have and add 1/2 tsp hot red chili powder. Set aside. Return to your pan and stir contents; after about seven minutes of sizzling add squash and toss everything so that your tiny orange cubes gleam with flavor. Let that sizzle some more while you empty those flavor packet thingies into 1.5 c  water. Stir in seasonings, add it to pan and cover. Let cook until squash is tender.

Once everything is at an affable consistency in the pan, push contents to one side and add your cashew butter. Stir in 1/2 c water and once it’s all of a mostly liquid consistency, push the squash back into it and fold everything together. Add the salt to make up for the second flavor packet thingy you’d like to add but didn’t for the sodium content. Finally, gently fold in your lonely beans and let everything sit together for a few minutes. Serve over rice and/or with naan.

Bacon Black Bean Blitzkrieg! (Now With Spoons!)

In my pantry today:

  • 1.5 c cooked black beans
  • 3 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1/2 clove of garlic, skinned
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 2 c cooked Basmati rice

First thing’s first: Cut your three slices of bacon in half and start them off in a cold pan warming to MH. While that’s happening, crush your garlic cloves into chunks, and when the bacon is sizzling and ready for its first fork-flip add the garlic to the pan. I recommend, from learning the hard way, not to scatter it all around the pan. Keep the garlic isolated for easy removal in a few minutes when it becomes golden brown and crispy around the edges. Set aside for later garnishing.

Once the bacon begins to brown, cut it (either in the pan or taken out for a quick second) into inch long pieces and let finish browning until you are satisfied with the color (everyone’s got a different bacon barometer here). I let it cook until about 70% crispy. Drain out 1/4 c of the grease and reserve for future cookings. Add the black beans and pepper and gently toss until everything becomes one. Add water, salt and asafoetida then cover upon slow boil and reduce heat to ML. Let cook until more paste-like than water, then serve over rice with a fried garlic garnish.

With this recipe I am going to begin rating the success and deliciousness of each recipe I post from here on out using spoons. I give this eatsperiment 4 of 5 spoons. Spoons, you see, in an homage to Christine Miserandino’s Spoon Theory. It has become so much more widely known than it was when I discovered it a few years ago. I was desperate to find a way to explain my invisible limitations to others, and this story gave me, and countless others of all chronic illnesses, that ability. Imagine me now endcapping this article with a Braveheart-style spoon-thrust into the air.

 

And also because spoons, y’know, are in your kitchen ‘n junk.

My First Spinach Smoothie

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c raw spinach leaves
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped into equally medium chunks
  • 1 c fresh strawberries
  • 1 c fresh blueberries
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 c water

 Somehow being a responsible adult about my diet has found my refrigerator almost too full of produce (thank you, food stamps!*). I cannot and will not let any of it go to rot — I want those nutrients in my body, not in my trash can. Seeing as how I have no juicer or blender, I figured the food processor I got for making Christmas nut butters would work just fine. I did do a little preliminary research on what kinds of things went into these kinds of things, and ended upon a delicious success. Throw everything up there on that list in a food processor or like device and pulse until its individual parts are indistinguishable. Packed full of health and tasting of nothing but berries, I give this a thumbs up for taste and nutrient value (I had a glass today before my morning coffee!); it also deserves another shot on improving the texture. More pulsing, perhaps? I blame the strawberry seeds.

*I would like to note that I did, after many months of Bureaucratic hiccups, finally get my South Carolina EBT card. Now, it ain’t like winning the lottery but it will probably make my recipes here slightly more healthy — I hope you’ll be seeing more vegetables and fewer processed foods in the ingredient lists. In fact, the morning after receiving my card in the mail I went to City Roots and bought a medium share in the spring harvest. In April I will start getting weekly bushels of locally-grown produce. Again, I must ask myself, “Who are you and what did you do with my nucleus accumbens?”

Garleeky Black Beans

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c cooked black beans
  • 1 leek
  • 2/3 head fresh garlic
  • 1/3 c safflower oil
  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 c water
  • 1 packet of Vegetable Broth concentrate (or a bullion cube)
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Basmati rice

First, thinly slice the bulb off your leek and crush/mince your garlic. Add to safflower oil and turn heat to M. Let them cook together in a deep frying pan for 10m. Add your tomatoes in fist-fulls, squeezing each fist ‘o ‘maters ever so gently over their bowl to weed out extraneous tomato snot. Fold the tomatoes into the garleek mixture, pressing them down with a spatula after they’re completely coated with oil. The stove should remain on M so that everything in the pan is in a constant state of agitation.

Add your spices — put in the turmeric first just to enjoy the bright and cheery color change your dish will have for just a moment. Then add your packet of omavegetable bullion and c of water. Stir with emphasis on flattening your tomatoes, for when the beans come into the picture there will be no more fruit-smashing. And when you feel you have smashed enough, fold in the beans and stir. Let it all boil down together into a slightly less watery nonsense, then reduce heat to L with a lid and let it ruminate for an hour. Serve serve over rice.

Comfort Cabbage

In my pantry today:

  • 1 small head of red cabbage
  • 1/2 Hillshire Farms Hot Polska Kielbasa
  • 1 small yellow onion, coarsely diced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 c water
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp asafoetida
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 c dry penne pasta
  • Parmasean cheese to taste

Start out, as usual, with that large stockpot. Thinly slice your kielbasa and put each slice face-down in the pot as it heats to M. Just let them slices be for about 10 minutes while you prep your other ingredients; coarsely dice your onion and put that tablespoon of salt in your water and set it aside. Once the sausage slices begin to brown, remove them from the pot. Replace with the onion and butter and let that cook for a few minutes while you dice (also coarsely) your head of cabbage. Mix it into the pot, coating all the purple with a sheen of black pepper and garlic. Pour in saltwater, cover and reduce heat to ML. Let the cabbage cook until it is of a reasonable wilt for your palette while in the meantime preparing your pasta. Drain at al dente and set aside with the sausage. Fifteen or so minutes before serving add sausage and al dente pasta. Stir and let heat together, serve with Parmasean cheese.