Tag Archives: detox

Collard Green Wrap With Carrot-Ginger Hummus and Rainbow Veggies

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I’ve been making collard burritos for some time now.  They have never made it to my blog.  Maybe it’s because I think of them as my go-to quick meal that I eat when I don’t have time to play around with making things pretty.  They are usually filled with a hodgepodge of quinoa, beans, and some random veggies.  Nothing fancy.  Maybe it’s because if I’m eating a collard burrito it means it is late and I don’t have daylight to photograph my creation for the blog.  Winters are hard for food bloggers.  There are nights that I prep my dish the night before, then race home, fly into the kitchen, and make a mess of everything, just so I can get the last ten minutes of daylight to capture my creation.

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Six Bean Soup With Butternut Squash and Farro

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Soup season has arrived, folks.  You’ll be seeing many soups posted on this blog over the next several months, a testimony to my efforts to survive another cold and dark Michigan winter.  The leaves on the trees are nearly gone (please hang on while I wipe the tear that is rolling down my cheek…sniffle), the lawn furniture looks eerily out of place and begs to be put away, Halloween is over and talk of the holidays creeps into conversation.  We’ve already got a game plan for Thanksgiving dinner (my first time hosting!) and my mind is focused on developing recipes for healthy Thanksgiving sides for my next cooking class.  The sun sets at around five o’clock and I’m still considering bucking the trend and ignoring daylight savings time (who’s with me?).  The space heater is fully broken in and we are ready to hunker down under afghans for the next five months.  For those of you who do not live in a similar climate, this is serious stuff, folks.  A true test of resilience or sisu, as my mom would say.  Sisu is the Finnish word for strength in the face of adversity…my mom would say, “you’ve got sisu, girl!”

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Roasted Carrot Soup with Cilantro and Coconut Milk

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What an incredibly gorgeous weekend it has been.  The weather was perfect.  And by perfect, I mean 70 degrees, crisp, sunny, and chock full of fall fun.  On Saturday we headed about an hour and a half southeast to Bellevue, MI, to Crane Fest.  It was well worth the drive.  Each year, thousands of sandhill cranes migrate to Florida for the winter.  They happen to stop off for a rest at the Baker Sanctuary in Bellevue each year in October.  Sandhill cranes are amazing and beautiful birds.  They are the oldest living species of bird, having existed for over 9 million years.  They are graceful, lovely, and have a gorgeous rolling trumpet song that fills the air as they join together for the evening at the sanctuary.  If you’d like to read more about Crane Fest and about these beautiful birds, click here.

Now, at the end of the weekend, cozied up with my sweetie, the pup, and our brand new calico kitty (!), I’m thinking of the week ahead and what I’ll make for dinners.  I’ve got plenty of squashes and root vegetables and not much time this week so I’ve got a hunch I’ll be making some soups.  This time of year is perfect for soups.  You’ll be seeing a lot of soups posted here over the next several months.  As gorgeous as Michigan is in the spring, summer, and fall, winter is (though beautiful in its own way) long and cold.  Perfect for warming bowls of soup.

This soup is a creation of mine.  Most of the time I see carrot soup, it is carrot-ginger soup.  Carrot-ginger soup is great but it’s everywhere so I wanted to make something a little different.

This soup is so easy and takes only about 15 minutes hands on.  You roast the veggies in large chunks until soft, add to a soup pot with broth, coconut milk, cilantro, and spices, and give it a whirl.  Easy, warming, and delicious.  And healthy to boot.  I hope you enjoy!

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Roasted Carrot Soup with Cilantro and Coconut Milk

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 and ½ lbs. of carrots, scrubbed
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced into thick slices
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 6 cups of vegetable broth or water with bouillon if you prefer
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. garam masala spice blend
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro, stems and all
  • 2 tsp. good quality olive oil to garnish, optional
  • Cilantro to garnish, optional
  • 4 tbsp. goat cheese to garnish, optional
  • OR 4 tbsp. plain yogurt to garnish, optional
  • Pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds) to garnish, optional
  1. Heat oven to 375°.  Lightly oil a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  2. Roughly chop carrots and sweet potatoes into pieces about 1 inch in size.  Slice onions into thick slices.  Peel garlic clove (you can leave the garlic clove whole).  Place all into baking dish and cover.  Roast vegetables for 45 minutes to an hour, until tender.
  3. Pour roasted vegetables into a heavy stock pot or Dutch oven and turn heat to medium.  Add vegetable broth, coconut milk, cumin, coriander, garam masala, and cilantro.  Be sure to save a little cilantro for garnish.
  4. Using an immersion (stick) blender (see note below), blend the contents of the soup pot until smooth.
  5. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a few leaves of cilantro.  If you are in the mood, sprinkle some goat cheese onto the soup.  Or plain yogurt.  Or pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds).  Whatever you fancy!  The version in the photos is cilantro and olive oil.  Simply delicious.
  6. This makes a large batch of soup—you can enjoy it for several days and freeze any leftovers.

Kitchen Tip:  If you don’t have a stick blender, you should get one!  It is one of my favorite kitchen tools.  It helps you avoid having to pour hot liquids into a blender.  All you need to do is place the stick blender in the soup and whirl away.  You can also use it for smoothies, hummus, salsa, and so much more! But if you don’t have a stick blender today, you can use the ol’ blender method, just be careful!  And put a stick blender on your wish list…!  And no.  Cuisinart Smart Stick does not pay me for this endorsement 🙂).

Cold Oats with Dried Fruit and Nuts

‘He looked at his watch, astonished how the months had fallen out of it.”  –The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx

This summer has flown by in a happy, hectic whirl.  Amidst the excitement and busy-ness, there have been a few constants.  Warm, heavy evenings interrupted only by the crack of the bat and the roar of a crowd while listening to the Detroit Tigers on the radio.  Letting the dog out, then in, then out again.  The slow summer rhythm of the neighborhood, with neighbors spilling out on porches and long, spontaneous chats while walking the pup.  Drew’s wet waders slung over the white pipe railing of the back porch to dry, oozing tales of trout or simple tales of a good wade down a stream (“That’s why they call it fishing, not catching,” he reminds me).   The communion of friends sharing meals and stories under the twinkle fairy lights on our back patio.  Saturday mornings bumping into friends and talking with our farmers at the market.  The sweetness of a good night kiss shared.  Cold oatmeal for breakfast.

We have eaten cold oatmeal nearly every morning over the last four months.  And yet, each day I wake up looking forward to it in its many variations.  Soon the warm months will have moved on and we’ll be switching back to oatmeal in other forms, oat bran, cooked rolled oats, baked oats, oatmeal griddle cakes.

Cold oats can, and have, been enjoyed in our household in every which way.  On a Saturday morning in summertime, in a patch of sunlight on the back stoop, glasses still on, hair wild, eyelids heavy, one hand thumbing through a cooking magazine.  On a Tuesday morning, racing to get out the door to work, spoon in one hand, blow dryer in the other.  At the desk at work, typing with one hand, eating a greatly anticipated breakfast with the other.  At the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula at a campground, coffee bubbling in the percolator on the camp stove, a morning fire in the fire pit, reading the What’s U.P.? paper, a hodgepodge of odd news and Upper Peninsula real estate.  On a Sunday, listening to our BBC radio drama, The Archers, and drinking our pour-over coffees.

Cold oatmeal (aka Muesli) has been a constant in these moments over the warm spring and summer months.  It has been both a breakfast made for the simplicity and the quickness of it, and a breakfast made for the enjoyment of it.  Some of the best meals are the simplest and this is an excellent example.

Because oatmeal is such a constant in my life, it has become the unsung hero of my mornings.  I have not thought to post about cold oats until this post came about, opting to write about more savory, later-in-the-day meals instead.  But how could I not share this beloved meal with you?

Cold oatmeal can be made in a huge variety of ways, whatever suits your tastes or pantry at the moment.  The formula I usually follow is oats, almond milk, dried fruit, nuts, maple syrup.  Occasionally if the fruit is good I’ll stir in some fresh peaches, blueberries, raspberries, figs, or plums but usually I enjoy dried fruit, soaked in the oat mixture over night.

One of the best things about this breakfast is that it is a huge time saver.  The night before, you simply put old-fashioned rolled oats into a jar or bowl, cover with just under twice as much plant-based or animal-based milk, any additions you want, and place back in the fridge overnight.  In the morning, you don’t need to lift a finger (or turn on the stove if the day is a hot one) to enjoy a filling and satisfying breakfast.  Convinced?  Follow the easiest-recipe-in-the-world below and you’ll be singing its praises too.

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Cold Oats With Dried Fruit and Nuts

  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 and 3/4 cup almond milk, soy milk, or cow’s milk
  • 3-4 dates, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup, optional (some folks are happy with the sweetness of the fruit without additional sweetener)
  1.  Mix all ingredients into a jar or bowl.
  2. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Grab a spoon, stumble to the fridge, grab cold oats, and dig in.

Serves 2

Variations:

  • Substitute raisins, cranberries, dried plums, dried cherries, or any other favorite dried fruit.
  • Add fresh fruits when in season.  Blueberries, peaches, nectarines, prune plums, raspberries, blackberries…all are good options.
  • Cook up some apples with cinnamon and stir into the mix.
  • Substitute yogurt for some or all of the milk.
  • Experiment with raw pumpkin seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, or any other nuts you love.

 

Samaritans, The Gift of Food…and Fresh Spring Rolls With a Thai Dipping Sauce

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A week and a half ago I met a remarkable woman whose work brought me to tears and who gave me a sense of hope in the kindness of others.  Shura Wallin, the founder of Green Valley Samaritans in Sahuarita, AZ, spoke to a small group of like-minded participants of a seminar discussion at the Circle Pines 75th Anniversary Celebration in Southwest Michigan.  A tiny woman with a huge heart, a big message, and a spitfire to boot, shared with us her stories of locating migrants who are found suffering and offering them first aid, food, and water to prevent them from dying in the desert as they cross the border and make their way toward Tucson.

Her stories were touching and she reminded me just how closely tied we are to others and how we can always find a common thread of understanding to carry us past differences of personality, religion, politics, and all other ‘issues’ that can stand in the way of finding common ground.  If we try, we can usually find a common thread despite our differences.

One of the reasons I love food and cooking so much is that it offers a common ground and shared experience.  Drop the politics and a group of people coming together over good food can come to coexist over the shared joy of food.

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It is also the finest way I know to show someone you care for them.  For me, cooking healthy but tasty foods and sharing them with those I love is the simplest gesture of love I can offer.  I love having friends over to share a meal with us.  I love sending them home, bellies full and leftovers in hand to enjoy for lunch the next day.  To me, food is love.

Not too long ago (but long enough ago to make me feel like I’m behind on posting!) I whipped up these spring rolls when our friend, Natalia, had a canceled flight and ended up staying the night with us.  Although I’m sure she wasn’t thrilled about the canceled flight, I was overjoyed at the opportunity to have her for dinner.  It was a hot and sticky night that called for something fresh and cooling.  We had a wonderful night hanging out and I loved hearing Natalia and Drew share their new songs with each other. I felt lucky to share an unexpected meal with a very cool new friend.

This recipe is great because it satisfies those who eat gluten-free, vegans (without the sauce or with a modified sauce), and vegetarians, as well as meat eaters and picky eaters.  The fresh spring rolls seem to be a universally enjoyed dish, at least amongst the many friends I’ve served them to.

Fresh spring rolls can be concocted in a myriad of ways–this is just the way I do it most of the time.  Feel free to experiment or pick and choose various components from other recipes.  Here are a couple of others to pick and choose from:  Fresh Spring Rolls from Cooking Light (2004), Fresh Vegetable Rolls from Cooking Light (1999).

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Fresh Spring Rolls With a Thai Dipping Sauce–Serves 4

Dipping Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oolek (garlic chili paste)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated carrot

Spring Rolls:

  • 12  (8-inch) round sheets rice paper
  • Head of butter lettuce (tender leaved lettuce)
  • 1 cup julienned carrots
  • 1 cup julienned cucumber
  • 1 cup shredded radishes
  • 1/2 cup basil and/or mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 block of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed for 1 hour (for instructions, click here), cut into fat matchsticks
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or high quality soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil or olive oil
  1. Add oil to a wok or skillet and heat until very hot.  Toss tofu into pan–you’ll need to keep an eye on it to avoid burning and toss with a spatula or spoon until browned.  Turn off the heat and dash the soy sauce onto the pan.  Toss tofu into sauce and let sit to cool for a bit before making the rolls.
  2. To prepare dipping sauce, combine all six ingredients.  Stir until sugar dissolves.   Let sit while making spring rolls.
  3. To make the spring rolls, put an inch or two of hot water in a wide, shallow dish with sides.  I sometimes clean out the sink and fill it with water if I can’t find a bowl right away.
  4. Place one rice paper sheet at a time into the water.  Let soften–it will take about 30 seconds.  Don’t soften too much or the sheet will fall apart–you’ll get the hang of it after a couple of tries.  Put rice paper sheet on clean counter or a large plate.  Put one piece of lettuce in the center of the sheet and top with carrots, cucumber, radishes, tofu, and some chopped herbs.  Fold one edge over the filling, then both sides, rolling as you go.  The rice paper will stick and form a seal.  Press the seam if it doesn’t automatically stick.  Put the spring roll on a platter, covering with a wet paper towel to keep from sticking.
  5. Repeat with remaining ingredients until you are out of either filling or papers.  Slice on a diagonal, arrange on a beautiful platter, and serve with dipping sauce.

Indian Cooking At Home: Easy Red Lentil Dal

Red Lentil and Vegetable Dal

Welcome to another Food Matters Project/Meatless Monday!  Today, Anita from Cooking Poetry chose Dal With Lots of Vegetables from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Project Cookbook.  I love making a quick and easy dal and have been meaning for some time to show everyone what I typically do for a quick and easy weeknight supper.  You can add whatever vegetables you want.  Today I kept it simple, adding just carrots and onions.  Cauliflower, eggplant, tomato, potato all work well in this dish also.  You can fiddle with the combination of spices to find something that you like and that works with your current pantry contents.  I served mine with whole wheat naan and basmati rice. This dish is hard to mess up so have fun with it and enjoy!

To see the other FMP cooks’ takes on this dish, head over to The Food Matters Project website.

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Easy Vegetable and Red Lentil Dal adapted from Mark Bittman The Food Matters Cookbook

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 tbsp butter, ghee, or olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tbs minced ginger
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 cup carrots, cut into little chunks
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 dried mild chilis
  • 1 cup dried red lentils, washed and picked over
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar, optional
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  1.  Put the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, ginger, garlic, and carrots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the cardamom, cumin, mustard seeds, garam masala, cinnamon, and chilis and stir until the spices are fragrant but not burning, just a minute.
  2. Add the lentils and cover with water by about 1 inches. Cook until lentils and vegetables are tender and the mixture is thick, about 35-45 minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve.

Cabbage or Collard Greens Stuffed with Lentils and Rice

Cabbage Rolls Stuffed With Rice and Lentils

Welcome to Food Matters Monday!  This week, Keely Marie chose the recipe for us–stuffed cabbage rolls!  Keely Marie has some really great food on her blog–a couple of my favorites are her homemade naan (so brave–I haven’t tried making my own naan yet because I’m afraid I’m going to ruin it…) and her take on the polenta cake we all made a while back.

The stuffed cabbage recipe in the Food Matters Project Cookbook has meat in it and I’m a once-in-a-while meat eater (and a never ground beef eater) so chose not to include it in this recipe.  Wanting to stay with Bittman’s approach, though, I headed to my cookbook collection and grabbed his How To Cook Everything Vegetarian book.  And there it was.  A vegetarian version.  This reminded me of stuffed grape leaves quite a bit.  With the advantage of being able to use only pantry items I already had.  I always have cabbage on hand and ended up having collard greens on hand to test (with great results!).  The filling reminded me of mujadarrah, one of my favorite dishes, and one I will make when I know I’m going to have a busy workweek ahead of me.  Mujadarrah is basically rice and lentils with cumin, topped with fried onions and plain yogurt.  It was all I could do to not use the lentils and rice to make mujadarrah today and knowing this, I made extra so I could make the dish tomorrow!

If you prefer, you can also “deconstruct” the dish, serving it as a lentil/rice/cabbage bowl with some crumbled feta and a drizzle of olive oil.   Equally delicious, though not nearly as fun to eat.

Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage with Lentils and Rice

I’m so glad I got to try this recipe because now I know that I can use cabbage and collard leaves to make cool “burritos” with any variety of fillings.  I’ll take this healthy option over a flour tortilla any day!

Cabbage or Collard Greens Stuffed with Cumin-Scented Lentils and Rice; adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian Cookbook

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus a little for garnish
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1/2 cup brown, white, or Basmati rice (I used short-grain brown and Lundberg Farms is my favorite brand)
  • 1/2 cup dried brown lentils
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large cabbage or collard greens, see below for preparation
  • Feta, Gruyere, Fontina, Gouda, or mozzarella cheese slices or butter (optional–leave out the cheese and this recipe is vegan)
  1. Put the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then add the stock and bring to a boil.
  2. If you’re using brown rice, add it to the pot along with the lentils.  If you’re using white or basmati rice, add the lentils and cook them for 5 minutes, then add the rice.  Turn the heat to medium-low so that the mixture bubbles gently, cover, and cook until the lentils and rice are tender and the liquid is mostly absorbed (you don’t want it completely dry), 25 to 30 minutes.  If there is excess liquid, take the cover off, turn the heat to high, and boil it off, being careful not to burn the bottom.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, use a thin-bladed sharp knife to cut a cone-shaped wedge out of the bottom of the cabbage, removing its core.  Pull off 8 to 12 large, untorn leaves and put in a steamer above a couple inches of salted water.  If you are using kale, simply Cover and cook until the leaves are just flexible enough to bend.  Make a V-cut in each leaf to remove the tough central stem.
  4. To stuff the cabbage or kale leaves, put a leaf, curved side up, on a counter or cutting board.  Put 1/4 cup or so of  filling in the center of the leaf, near where you cut off the stem.  Fold over the sides, then roll up from the stem end, making a little package.  Don’t roll too tightly — the mixture will expand as it cooks.  Skewer the rolls with a toothpick or two to hold them together or just put them seam side down.
  5. Put the cabbage packages in the steamer and cook until the cabbage is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.  Top with a slice of cheese and run under the broiler until bubbly if you like or drizzle with olive oil or melt a pat of butter on top.  Sprinkle with herbs and serve.

Sesame Soba Noodles with Spinach and Baked Hoisin Tofu

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Welcome to another Food Matters Monday!  This week’s recipe was Sesame Noodles with Spinach and Salmon, chosen by Sara from Pidges Pantry.  Check out everyone’s variations on the dish here.  So far I’ve seen posts starting with this simple noodle dish and changing things up with crab, sea bass, kale, green beans, lamb, ahi, and fried tofu.  Wow!

Whatever variation you choose, this noodle dish is a perfect weeknight supper or quick lunch.  Add more spinach than noodles and you have a perfectly satisfying and very healthy dish.  The sweet soy-garlic-ginger sauce will be a hit with any diner at your table.

My version uses baked hoisin-glazed tofu and adds ginger and agave nectar.  I love the chewy texture of baked tofu and I wanted to make some for a friend of mine who is not eating meat this month to show her how satisfying baked tofu could be.  This was the perfect opportunity!  I promised to take photos to illustrate the process so here goes…!

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First, I press the tofu for a while to get some of the liquid out.  This is an especially important step when you are frying tofu but I do it for baked tofu anyway to speed up the baking time.  To press tofu, wrap the tofu in a clean towel (I use flour sack towels but any clean towel or paper towel will do) and place a small plate on top for 1/2 hour or longer to press.  Make sure the plate isn’t too heavy or else it can smush and crack the tofu.

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Once the tofu is pressed, unwrap and slice into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Place on an oiled baking sheet and brush with a marinade or hoisin sauce.

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Bake at 300 degrees for 1/2 hour.  The result is toothy and satisfying:  smooth on the inside and crispy on the outside with a dense texture.  It is my favorite way to eat tofu!

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The noodle dish is so simple.  Just cook the noodles while quickly sauteing the garlic, ginger, and spinach in a wok.  Add the noodles, toss in soy sauce and agave, top with the tofu and you have a meal to the table in 1/2 hour.

As I always like to remind you, feel free to change things up if you would like!  This dish would also taste good with cabbage, green beans, zucchini, snap peas, or snow peas.  I added a few cubes of sweet potato to one of my plates of noodles.  Enjoy!

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Sesame Soba Noodles with Spinach and Baked Hoisin Tofu

Makes 4 servings; Time: 30 minutes

  • 1 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
  • 8 ounces firm block tofu
  • 3 tablespoons store-bought Hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 and ½ pounds spinach, trimmed and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar (or sugar)
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 8 ounces buckwheat (soba) noodles
  1. Drain the tofu and wrap it in a clean towel.  Place a small plate on it and let sit for a half hour to extract some of the liquid.
  2. Heat oven to 300 degrees.  Lightly oil a baking pan.
  3. Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch slices. and place on baking pan.  Brush with hoisin sauce on both sides and bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet on medium. Add the garlic, ginger, and sesame seeds and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic begins to soften and the sesame seeds turn golden, about 30 seconds. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, for another minute or 2. Add the soy sauce, agave, sesame oil, and a splash of water and cook until the spinach is wilted, another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  6. Cook the noodles in the boiling water until they’re tender but not mushy (start tasting after 5 minutes), then drain, reserving some of the cooking water. Turn the heat under the spinach mixture to medium and add the noodles. Toss, adding enough reserved liquid to keep things moist. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately or at room temperature with tofu laid on top and some sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

“Hippie Rice” With Beet Greens, Currants, and Seeds

Hippie Rice:  With Beet Greens, Currants, Sunflower Seeds, and Orange Zest

Welcome to my first post of 2013!  It’s been a busy, busy (yet wonderful) few weeks but as much as I hate to admit it I’m kind of happy to be getting back into my old routines.  I am even somewhat relieved that the holidays have passed and I can look forward to catching up on my “honey do list” including actually organizing my office closet, sewing the linen pillow covers that have been cut and ready for the machine for months, organizing the photo folders on my computer, and other riveting grown-up extra-curriculars (when I feel as good now when my house is clean as I did when I was a kid and I got an elephant ear at the fair, I wonder if I grew up and somehow found myself in some twisted opposite-world).

This post is also the first Food Matters Project post for 2013.  This week, Gracie chose the recipe, “Hippie Rice,” and how fitting it is considering all of the “diets” I’m sure we are thinking about or actually following through on.  It is a good reminder from Bittman that “we are what we eat” and that feeling better (emotionally and physically) and looking better starts with eating better.

My goal this year is to eat mindfully.  I do a good job of eating well:  eating whole foods and following a mostly plant based diet.  But I have my hangups with some junk foods and tend to overeat, especially when I am not being mindful about my eating.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened a bag of pistachios or popcorn in the car and when I got home realized that half the bag was gone and my car was a mess (followed soon thereafter by a declaration that “there will be no more popcorn/pistachios/other messy snacky foods eaten in this car from this point to as long as we both shall live and into eternity!”).  I can get carried away when I’m distracted.  So my goal is to eat mindfully, to take my time, to try (I said try, okay?) not to eat in front of my computer, to savor each bite and taste the flavors, to eat more deliberately.

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Let’s start with this dish.  I used Bittman’s recipe as the starting off point (see Gracie’s blog for the full recipe) but diverged quite a bit based on what I had on hand and what I was in the mood for.  My version has interesting flavors, textures, and colors…a perfect dish to enjoy mindfully.  Beet greens add color and powerful health benefits.  Currants add a hint of sweetness flavor without overpowering.  Sunflower and pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds) add crunch and depth.  A little bit of heat comes in from the crushed red pepper.  And orange zest adds a bright pop to finish it off.

This recipe can be modified in any-which-way-you-choose.  So don’t get hung up on the exacts.  I used my standard grain blend, a mix of brown rice, quinoa, farro, and radish seed, which I had cooked ahead of time and frozen, making this recipe very quick and easy!

To make my grain blend, put 1 cup brown rice in a dutch oven and cover with water by 1 inch. Cover and bring to a boil then turn heat to low and let simmer for 25 minutes. Add 1/2 cup farro, 1/2 cup millet, 1/2 cup black and/or white quinoa, and 1/4 cup radish seeds (you can use any of these, some of these, or just make the brown rice plain–whatever works for you!). Add more water if needed so the water level is about 1/2 inch above the grains after adding all grains. Cook another 15-20 minutes covered on low heat. Turn off and let sit for 10 minutes before fluffing. The radish seeds are my favorite part. they pop in your mouth and are so fun to eat! This makes quite a bit of grain blend so once it is completely cooled I spoon the leftovers into quart-sized freezer bags, flatten, and freeze for future lunches or dinners. Makes things so much easier when I’m wondering what to make for a meal and don’t want to spend 45 minutes cooking rice!

My rice blen

Next, I lightly steamed shredded beet greens.  The next time you buy a bunch of beets with the greens still attached, don’t throw them away!  They cook up much like swiss chard but I like the flavor even better.  Beet greens are also an excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin A, making this a vision-boosting, cancer-fighting superfood.

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Next I sauteed some onion in a little olive oil, adding the seeds to toast for the last five minutes.  I squeezed the juice of an orange into the pan and added about 1 tsp of zest.

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Then I tossed all of the other ingredients into the pan (grain blend, beet greens, currants, red pepper flakes, salt), sprinkled it with a little patchoulie (just kidding), and voila, a bowl of righteous grains and veggies was born.

“Hippie Rice” with Beet Greens, Currants, Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds, and Orange Zest; makes 4 servings; takes 45 minutes (with pre-cooked grains will take 20 minutes)

  • 1 bunch beet greens, shredded
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sunflower and/or raw pumpkin seeds (or a blend)
  • 2 cups grain blend (anything you want but I make brown rice, farro, quinoa, and radish seeds in a pot ahead of time and freeze in quart-sized plastic bags)
  • Salt
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 1/2 tsp red chile flakes
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • juice of 1 small orange
  1. Put beet greens in a saucepan with 1/2 inch of water on the bottom.  Bring to a boil then simmer, steaming lightly for about 5 minutes.
  2. Put the onion in a heavy skillet and saute until lightly browned.  Add sunflower and pumpkin seeds and saute until they are lightly toasted.
  3. Add beet greens, grain blend, currants, red chile flakes, orange zest and orange juice to the pan and stir to heat through.  Enjoy!

Shredded Sauteed Cabbage With Tomato and Ginger

Shredded Sauteed Cabbage with Ginger and Tomato

At the risk of being totally unoriginal, I am going to share a Martha Stewart recipe because it is my absolutely favorite way to eat cabbage.  I think I ate this for three days straight a couple of weeks ago and I could have kept on going but alas, the head of cabbage had to meet it’s end.

This was one of my go-to detox dishes and a surefire way to convince anyone to enjoy cabbage.  I served mine over my grain blend (with short-grained brown rice, farro, quinoa, and radish seeds).  Note that Martha’s recipe lists ginger as optional.  It is a must, in my opinion!

Keep this recipe in your back pocket for when you ‘get back on track’ in January.  Light and healthy, yet warming.  Great as a main dish or side–I’m planning on serving these with some perogies on the day after Christmas.  Mmmmm.

Shredded Sauteed Cabbage; from Martha Stewart

  • 4 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  •  1 medium onion, sliced
  •  1 tomato, chopped
  •  1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and minced (optional)
  •  1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  •  1 small head of green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 10 cups)
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for serving
  1.  Heat a 14-inch skillet over medium-high heat, and then add the oil and onion. Saute to soften the onion slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato, ginger if using, and red-pepper flakes. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  2. Add the cabbage and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir to combine. Cover, and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook, stirring occasionally as the cabbage begins to collapse. Add a little water, 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed if the cabbage becomes too dry. (This depends on the moisture level of the cabbage. You don’t want it too wet.) Cook for approximately 13 minutes, or until the cabbage is just tender. Salt to taste and serve.