April 29, 2012 § 2 Comments
In college, I had an across-the-hall-chum who was borderline obsessed with lentils. She piled them on top of mammoth salads and claimed they were nature’s most perfect food. When she’d go up for seconds, I’d roll my eyes and crunch through another bowl of frosted mini wheats. Suffice it to say, I found these little legumes entirely underwhelming.
Fast-forward to 2012: In a turn-of-the-new-year cleaning frenzy, I began sorting through the pantry dregs. I found a couple of gems: unsweetened Scharffen Berger chocolate; a quart of dried, Mexican oregano! I also found hoards of lentils in little baggies, nicely twisty-tied. (Several years ago I tried to perfect a lentil soup recipe; clearly, I didn’t get very far.) After a day of lentil pondering, I decided it was time for two recipe experiments: I set out to make a savory lentil burger and a springtime lentil salad. As I type, Trial Two of the lentil burger is in the oven. As for the salad, after four different trials, this Mediterranean bowl — punctuated with a little dill, citrus, scallion, garlic, winter greens — is down-right wonderful. Just be sure to season it as you go; salt is key! And the silver lining, you can make a huge batch and freeze it. It thaws perfectly.
Ingredients for the Lentils:
2 cups lentils, raw*
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
1.5 cups purple cabbage, shredded
2 cups winter greens (kale/collard greens/brassica leaves/etc.)
8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
sea salt, to taste
dressing (see below)
1/3 cup scallion, sliced on diagonal
3/4 cup ricotta salata grated (or feta) **
1/2 cup dill
*If following the SCD-diet, soak lentils 24 hours prior to cooking and rinse well.
**If following the SCD-diet, use a hard cheese like Parmesan.
Ingredients for the Dressing:
4 tablespoons meyer lemon juice
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar*
3-4 tablespoons fruity olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dill, chopped
3/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
sea salt, pepper
*If following a strict SCD diet, swap balsamic vinegar with apple cider vinegar.
1. In a large pot, boil lentils until al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a wide-brimmed pan, saute onion in a little olive oil. Salt and saute until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add cabbage and saute an additional few minutes, until slightly softened. Add garlic and winter greens and stir until wilted. Remove from heat.
3. Prepare dressing; whisk and set aside. In a large serving bowl, combine lentils, sauted mixture and dressing. Taste and add dressing and salt as needed. Top with scallion, dill and cheese. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, nut-free, SCD-safe (see asterisks)
March 10, 2012 § 4 Comments
My mom claims that this salad is how I’m going to make my first million. (Bless her.) This slaw is creamy, crunchy, tangy and a little sweet from the basil and avocado. I’ve made multiple batches of it this week so that at any time of day, a forkful is mere seconds away. That’s right: even the slaw leftovers are good (not gloppy). Give it a try. I’ve never been so emphatic about a brassica recipe in my life. In fact, it actually takes the cake — literally. I ate a second helping of this cabbage salad instead of a chocolate coconut muffin, hot outta the oven. (Recipe coming.) Now that’s sayin’ something.
6 cups cabbage, shredded
2 avocados, sliced
1/2 cup basil, ripped
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup plain kefir (or tangy, sharp yogurt)
2-3 tablespoons lime juice
1 large clove garlic, minced
salt, to taste
1. Cut cabbage into thin strips. Place in a large bowl and salt lightly. Toss and set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, prepare the dressing. Whisk until thoroughly incorporated. Taste and adjust lime juice and salt as needed.
3. Chop scallions and rip basil. Toss with cabbage. Slice avocados and dunk in the dressing (to prevent browning). Drizzle dressing and avocados over cabbage. Toss carefully until cabbage is coated. Eat immediately or chill until serving.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, nut-free, SCD-safe
October 31, 2011 § 1 Comment
I’ve had a couple days to rewind my September and October in Maine. My two month stay at Super Chilly Farm — a homestead and genetic bank for apple diversity — served as an indoctrination into the technique, science and delectability of food preservation. (I’m hooked.) I saved tomato seed and studied biennials. I pressed grapes and drank cider; I canned tomatoes and made apple pectin. I also read great big books about apple identification; I’m now somewhat versed in biological lingo like “mucronate” and “emarginate.” I even helped resurrect an outhouse wall; I used my first power tools! (Vrroom! Vrroom!) Puttering around my cozy, Tucson home, I tend to perseverate on my unfettered access to electricity, running water and plumbing. These conveniences seem somewhat extraordinary to me, and I’m a little embarrassed about my feeble comprehension of their mechanics.
I left Super Chilly Farm with a 50-pound (on the nose!) suitcase, bursting at the zippers with canned salsa, jam, apple molasses and a small bag of heirloom apples–Blue Pearmain, Sweet Sixteen, Black Gillyflower, Grimes Golden and Wagner among them. Upon arriving at my southwestern doorstep, with no water to pump or chicken eggs to scrub, I felt a little bit stalled, unsure of how to spend my time. I jump-started this slightly static homecoming by donning my cowboy hat, grabbing a pair of scissors and heading out to the garden. I clipped basil (for drying) and dehydrated tomatoes, lemon rind, banana, grapes and fruit puree (for fruit leather). That evening I made this salad; I shredded cabbage and chopped up the Sweet Sixteen and Black Gillyflower into thin matchsticks, giving my family a little taste of Super Chilly, here at home.
When Priya of “muffins on sunday” invited me to post one of my favorite fall recipes on her blog, this one surfaced to the tippy top of my arsenal of tested apple dishes. If you’re in the mood for a seasonal, sweet and savory salad, please head over to her site for the recipe. Be sure to scroll down and read her witty and laugh-inducing posts about killer pasta salads, soups, cookies and lip-smacking jams. Priya recently posted a muffin recipe on my blog and in the last week and a half, I’ve made five batches. She’s good, you guys… real good.
One final note: If you try out this slaw recipe, I’d love to hear how you liked it and if you have any recommended tweaks. I’ll share your suggestions with my Super Chilly gang back in Maine; I know they’d love to hear from you.
Diet Notes: SCD-safe, gluten-free
March 20, 2010 § 1 Comment
Last night I peeled a butternut squash and grabbed an open bottle of white wine out of the fridge shelf. I was prepping all the ingredients to make a hefty pot of butternut squash risotto – a family favorite. Along side, I wanted to serve a vegetable side dish. But my veggie-dish possibilities were a tad limited: For one, committing to risotto chains you to the stove top with constant stirring for at least a half hour. I didn’t want to worry about looking after a second dish on the stove; I wanted a side dish that was hands-off. Second, as I peered into the dregs of the refrigerator bottom drawers, I saw that my choices were meager: a lone red potato, a few shriveled lemons, a giant bag of heirloom broccoli side-shoots, a sack full of teeny apples and one smallish cabbage head. With those scintillating options, cabbage seemed like the best bet.
Generally speaking, the ladies in my family are the cabbage eaters – they’ll eat it stewed, boiled, microwaved or sauteed, so long as it’s covered in butter. The dudes are a little fussier. I knew I wasn’t going to get a lot of male enthusiasm if I dished up a quarter of a cabbage stewed in water and apple cider vinegar.
But there’s nothing like mindless stirring to get the brainwaves humming. My oven was already hot – the butternut squash was sizzling inside – and I had only just started stirring the risotto. I had plenty of time to dabble in a vegetable roasting experiment.
I often find that roasting brings out the intrinsic flavor vegetables, and, as a result, I do very little doctoring. I’d never roasted cabbage before, but I had a hunch that cooking it this way would not only be aesthetically pleasing, but also pack a delicious punch. Forty minutes later, I pulled seven cabbage slices out of the oven and dinner was served. The side-edges were potato-chip-crispy and the inside of each cabbage slice was tender. The caraway seeds added a savory crunch, but if you don’t have any seeds on hand, don’t run out to the market to pick up a jar – truly, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper will do just fine. And what’s more, the dude in the household liked it so well, I don’t think he knew he was eating cabbage!
1 head green cabbage
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon caraway seed*
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
*If on the SCD-diet, omit until 6 months symptom free.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees or 400 if your oven runs hot. Balance the cabbage head on its base and slice into thick, 1/2″ – 3/4″ strips – pick your preferred width and try to be consistent so each slice cooks evenly. Rub the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil and layer slices of cabbage on top. Drizzle (or brush) cabbage slices with another tablespoon of olive oil (or more, if necessary). Sprinkle each piece with sea salt, pepper, caraway seeds and dried thyme. Cook 35-40 minutes until the outside edges are crisp and the inside is tender. Serve hot.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, nut-free, vegan, SCD-safe (see asterisk)
January 2, 2010 § 3 Comments
My family is divided when it comes to New Years’ Resolutions. Some members of my family treat January 1st as if it were no different than October 4th and July 29th. Other members of my family make resolutions pronto, and when they hear I haven’t made mine by January 4th, nag me to do so, ad nausea – as if I’m running out of time? I have mixed feelings about “resoluting” (doesn’t that sound more fun than “resolving”?). For the past 17 years, New Years has arrived directly after a semester ends (often a brain-squeezing one at that) and the last thing I want to do is make another laundry list or Venn diagram. That said, list or not, I do relish blank slates, fresh starts, new numbers and one more reason to pause, rewind, clean up, make food, goof-off with friends and look forward to something new.
Comic by Bill Watterson
And so, despite my recent resurface to the world after Thesis Season and graduation, I have made a hope for the new year. In short, I’d like to move nice and slow and live a little bit lighter. In the past half-dozen weeks, I’ve been moving faster than ever, subsisting on whole-milk yogurt, bread, apples, peanut butter and chocolate, and I didn’t have enough brain power to read the morning comics in the back of the paper. Something’s gotta give, if you ask me. That brings me to the kitchen: I’d love to soak up my afternoons fogging up my glasses over a big pot on the stove; I’d like to stir away my evenings; I’d like to smell my breakfasts.
I’m jump-starting this new year with a wholesome bowl of minestrone soup. I made this last week, inspired by the latest issue of Cooks’ Illustrated Magazine, and polished off the whole pot with my family. This week I plan to whip out my heavy pot and simmer-away early January.
This soup is hearty, healthy and while you do have to hang around the house for a little while (unless you have a crock-pot), it hardly requires brain power. There are a modest number of ingredients in the recipe, but don’t let that deter you. Half of the ingredients are the standard soup aromatics – celery, onion, carrot. The more unusual ingredients include 1.5 cups of V8 Juice and a Parmesan cheese rind. If you don’t have a Parmesan rind, cut up a 1″ x 1″ block of Parmesan cheese and let it melt into the broth. Parmesan is an essential ingredient. This soup is strictly vegetarian – no chicken stock, here – and the flavors are extraordinarily rich, thanks to the cheese (and red pepper flakes).
Wishing you a healthy new year with hearty appetites and plenty of sweet teeth.
Ingredients (serves 8-10):
1 cup dried beans (I prefer heirloom Colorado River beans or Christmas Lima’s)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 large onion, diced
2 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
10+ cups of water
1 Parmesan cheese rid
1.5 cups V8 Juice (low-sodium is fine)
1/2 cup chopped basil
If you prefer to crock-pot this recipe, be sure to bring dried beans to a boil first, before adding them to the crock pot. Once beans have been brought to a boil, then combine all ingredients in the ceramic basin and let the crock do the work. To cook soup over the stove, follow the instructions below:
1. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of sea salt into 8 cups of cold water. Add beans and soak at room temperature overnight.
2. The following day, drain beans and rinse several times. Heat oil in the bottom of a large pot or Dutch oven and cook onions, celery and carrot until softened and slightly golden and caramelized, about 7 minutes. Stir in cabbage and garlic for 1 minute, until aromatic. Transfer the vegetables to a dish and set aside.
3. In the same pot, add soaked and rinsed beans, water and Parmesan rind to the now-empty pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and vigorously simmer, stirring every once in a while, until the beans are fully cooked. (Depending on your dried bean this could take any where from 45 minutes to 2.5 hours.)
4. When beans are tender, add V8 juice to the pot and add reserved vegetables. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Discard Parmesan rind. Just before serving, stir in chopped basil and serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, Nut-free
April 2, 2009 § 1 Comment
Instead of tackling my mountainous pile of gen-ed busy work, I invariably read cooking blogs. This week I spotted “Japanese Pizza” on Heidi’s 101 Cookbooks. I had a couple of eggs lying around and I’m game for any recipe that uses seasonal veggies like cabbage, so I gave it a shot. This recipe is just like my Grandma’s latkes, but instead of using shredded potato, onion and matzo meal, this recipe calls for shredded cabbage, leek and flour.
2 + 1/2 cups cabbage, shredded
2 leeks, chopped
sea salt, pepper
2/3 cup white whole-wheat flour
1. Wash cabbage and peel off scraggly, outer layers. Shred cabbage with a large knife.
2. Before washing, chop leeks. Place chopped pieces in a bowl of cool water and separate rings. Leeks are notorious for holding little bits of dirt between their layers; by cleaning them this way, the dirt falls to the bottom and the leeks float at the top; you can scoop out the clean leeks.
3. In a large bowl, mix leeks and cabbage, flour and salt. Crack two eggs in a separate bowl, whisk and combine.
4. Heat a skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Heat on medium-high until HOT. Then add cabbage mixture in one big pizza. (Alternatively, form into or a few smaller “latka like” pancakes.) Cook for approximately 6-7 minutes on one side, until you can see the sides getting crispy and brown; then flip. Cook about 4-5 minutes on the other side.
Diet Notes: nut-free
March 9, 2009 § 3 Comments
Last week at the farm we harvested sugar snap + snow peas, collard greens, lettuce mix, a couple teeny beets and carrots, and some beautiful cabbages. This one was a little shrimpy, so I got to take it home. I toyed with making stuffed cabbages (vegetarian-style), but I decided that for the first cabbage of the season, I just wanted to appreciate it plain. This is a recipe I made up that is simple, quick, flavorful, and you only need a couple of ingredients.
1 head green cabbage
1-2 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey*
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
few tablespoons water
few teaspoons olive oil
sea salt, pepper
*If following a strict vegan diet, substitute maple syrup.
1. Peel off scraggly layers around cabbage. Rinse and quarter.
2. In a medium-large sauce pan, splash a little olive oil to cover surface of pan. Heat on medium-high. When hot, add cabbage quarters and cook until crispy on one side (about 4 minutes). Then flip to other side and cook until browned.
3. Meanwhile, combine mustard, honey, cider vinegar and a little water in a small bowl. Whisk until combined.
4. When both sides of cabbage are nicely browned, pour liquid into pan and simmer, lowering the heat to medium. When all the liquid has boiled away, test cabbage with a fork. If necessary, add an additional two tablespoons of water to continue cooking.
5. When cabbage is cooked, take off the stove and serve immediately.
Diet Notes: SCD-safe, gluten-free, nut-free, vegan (see asterisk)