Shitake Collards

We have an awesome farmers market here in Athens, partially because of the variety, but mostly because they always have lots of fresh mushrooms and greens. Here is a recipe that went so well that I was reminded how much I love cooked greens.  I might eat this till I get back to the size I was before I ever got pregnant. Not only that, it is vegetarian, unless you consider that a mushroom is both plant and animal family.

shitake collards

  • Shitake mushrooms
  • Collard greens or kale
  • Soy sauce or aminos
  • Fresh diced garlic and ginger to taste…Strong flavor
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Peanut oil, sesame oil (drizzled)

 

Shitake

Shitake: rich in iron and B vitamins

While your collards are cooking, prepare your shitakes. Fresh chopped ginger and garlic in a pan with a blend of sesame and peanut oil (light oils for high heat). Brown the ginger and garlic before tossing the shitake in, add a few drizzles of soy sauce. Don’t over cook! The combination of these flavors..divine, both sweet and savory.

collards

collards: detox support and antioxidants

After tearing the leaves from the thick center stalks, I steamed my collards in a 1/2 inch of water, a tablespoon of peanut oil (or oil of choice flavor) and dash of salt. They cooked on low for 20-25 min. I did give it a stir or two. I personally think people over cook their greens…as long as they have a soft texture and are still green they are ready.

Sesame seeds: minerals and cholesterol lowering

Sesame seeds: minerals and cholesterol lowering

 

Put some of the greens in a dish, drizzle with soy sauce. Top with shitake mixture. A dash of toasted sesame seeds. Delicious!!!!

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pasta eggplant and greens with roasted peppers

pasta eggplant

I made a delicious pair of dishes both using roasted bell pepper.

Spinach dill linguini. Thin slices of eggplant broiled in the oven with olive oil and tons of garlic, some salt. I removed them from the oven and stacked fresh mozzarella cheese and roasted bell pepper on top and baked again till the cheese melted. Place those yummy nuggets on top of the pasta and drizzle some more olive oil. Pepper with oregano, basil and cracked pepper.

My salad

Butter lettuce – oh so mild and tender – cucumbers, marinated artichoke hearts, roasted bell peppers, raw pumpkin seeds, dash of cayenne, cracked rainbow pepper, sprinkle dried dill, whole flax seeds, lime juice, oil, salt, and a smear of goat cheese. peppery and refreshing.

I definitely relate to your pain with the winter, we had yet another snowstorm yesterday.xo

Winter in southeastern Ohio

Winter in southeastern Ohio

Sail Mix

sail mix

It’s snowing again today… what the heck, ENOUGH WITH THE SNOW ALREADY! It’s suppose to be Spring! The last of the cold weather feels like the remaining miles of a marathon. I deserve a T-shirt  that says “I SURVIVED 12 WINTERS ABOARD” or something like that, who knows.. I’ve lost count.

sail mix

I’m not sure how this will go over with your sugar-free detox but this is a snack mix I’ve been making for a while now. It’s basically a knock off of a ‘Ginger Zinger’ trail mix I like that goes for $6 a (1.25 cup) bag. If you do get a sweet tooth craving, dried fruit is a decent option. I found Aldi’s to be the cheapest supplier of nuts around. I get a bag of walnuts (or cashews), roasted almonds, mixed berries and raisins. From Trader Joes I get the specialty items: uncrystalized candied ginger and hazelnuts. Then I make a big batch and portion them into 1/4 cup snack bags, or else its way easy to over indulge. Makes for a good snack on the go to help keep from getting famished.

  • 1/2 cup of oven roasted unsalted Almonds
  • 1/2 cup of dry roasted unsalted Hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup of shelled Walnut halves
  • 1/2 cup of Mixed Dried Berries (cranberries, blueberries and cherries)
  • 1/4  cup of Raisins
  • 1/4 cup of chopped of Candied Ginger

Jumble it all up, makes 10 servings. With all the leftover bagged nuts and berries you can make it several times over again.

summer sailing

Sail On Silver!

Detox juice and fiber fritters

That’s it, I am done. I have been eating way too much sugar. I woke up this morning with a resolution…to cut out sugar for a month, or at least till I am not craving it so badly. This momma needs a detox juice. The timing is right, the air is feeling warm and my mood as well. No need to wallow in bad TV and Belgium chocolate bars the size of my head (thank you Trader Joes). I will be posting my juices and salads from this point on, hoping that someone out there in the eathers will appreciate and feel inspired by the food that is not only gorgeous to look at, but will increase energy, and kill some bad parasites along the way.

Black plum, Walnuts, cucumber, spinach, blueberries, almond milk with cinnamon

Black plum, Walnuts, celery, organic coconut oil, cucumber, spinach, blueberries, almond milk with cinnamon

Basically, I dove into the fridge, freezer, and pantry to mix together some food that would not only compliment each other, but give me some protein. I always keep almond milk in the fridge and it has a ton of protein, including the walnuts and coconut oil. I also have issues with blood sugar levels, and nuts are great for that. They sustain you and maintain your glucose levels. Blueberries are full of antioxidants, and I keep a massive bag of them in the freezer that has survived me all winter. The cinnamon (also natural insulin) helped blend these flavors together and I can assure you with the help of this versatile spice, I did not miss any sugar.

juice blend

Here is my lovely. The cool thing is, it replaced my afternoon snacking and lunch and I did not feel hungry. There is a lot of fiber in this drink, but the texture did not bother me.

black eyedI made a juice again later in the day with some fresh collard greens, spinach, honey crisp apple, frozen raspberries, carrot, cucumber, celery, blueberry juice, walnuts, almond milk and cinnamon. Yes, quite a combination, but it was good. What made it even better was straining the juice prior to adding nuts and raspberries and putting the fiber mixture aside for later. For dinner, I mashed up some left over black eyed peas from my squash recipe, added some toasted sesame seeds and made fritters.

left over mixI saw a program the other day about food waste. One of the things that was mentioned in this program was the amount of fruits and vegetable throw away that restaurants produce from prepping. We compost our left over non-meat items, but sometimes have thrown away scraps of veggies and fruits that may not be appealing in a salad. If you have a solid blender (which I do), these parts can be pureed. Here, I have added non-glutinous rice flour, toasted sesame seeds, a shake of cayenne for metabolism and a couple of pinches of cumin.

fried mashThe mixture is separated into small ( and I mean soup spoon sized) patties, and fried in a combination of vegetable and sesame seed oils. done mash

The cooked left over fritters are garnished with a cucumber and marinated artichoke salad and yogurt blended with some fresh lemon juice.

majestic cowThis majestic white cow watched me drive past on my way into town. Lots of little black calves spotting the hills.

Black eyed peas and butternut squash with ginger

Just when spring began to peek through I caught a virus…luckily it is not a terrible one, but the sore throat and running nose motivated me to make a ginger packed dish. “What to make” I wondered scanning my cupboard, oh look, a bag o’ black eyed peas. Internet shows many dish variations for black eyed peas. Finally I decided, go hippy on this, throw in that butternut squash I bought last week, some onions and brown rice – carrots and celery. Leave out the butter and cheese and trust in the power of beans and veggies with the right combination of spices for flavor.

Ingredients:

  • One butternut squash
  • One onion chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Fresh grated ginger root
  • Three stalks of celery
  • Three or four large carrots
  • One cup of brown rice
  • One teaspoon cinnamon
  • One teaspoon cumin
  • One teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • One cup of broth (veggie or chicken)
My dear friend the butternut squash. Always keep one around - they store forever and a day.

My dear friend the butternut squash. Always keep one around – they store forever and a day.

After peeling and cutting my butternut squash I spread the pieces in dishes and drizzled them with oil and a dash or two of salt to draw out the flavor. These broiled on low with a stir here and there for about 30 min (until tender). What a gorgeous smell. For great directions for peeling and slicing a butternut squash: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_peel_and_cut_a_butternut_squash/

Soak those babies!

Soak those babies!

These black eyed peas are a southern favorite, and are my favorite flavored bean. I knew I couldn’t go wrong whatever recipe direction I chose. Boil the beans in plenty of water (the water should come at least couple inches above) for two minutes.  Then, let them sit off the heat for an hour. Rinse them with cool water and then cook them in water and a some broth for about an hour and a half (or until tender).

I sliced the outer bark off and shred it super fine. I remove the threads and use the pulp that comes out the other side of the grater,

I slice the outer bark off and shred it super fine. I remove the threads and use the pulp that comes out the other side of the grater,

Carrots and celery cooked in fresh ginger and garlic. Add a bit of broth for flavor, they will absorb the fluid and then brown a little bit.

Carrots and celery cooked in fresh ginger and garlic. Add a bit of broth for flavor, they will absorb the fluid and then brown a little bit.

I steamed these carrots and celery in some broth and then lifted the lid and browned them with fresh ground ginger. At this point I added a couple dashes of cinnamon and cayenne pepper, a dash of salt and pepper. Oh, and a little cumin.

I toasted the brown rice and spiced with the squash.

I toasted the brown rice and spiced with the squash.

Let me explain why I broiled and then pan fried the quash with the fully cooked brown rice: flavor and more flavor. By browning the two ingredients and adding my spices, even more of the flavor is drawn out. The ingredients mesh together even better.

All ingredients except the peas get combined - brown rice, carrots, celery, onions ginger, garlic and my spices, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.

All ingredients except the peas get combined – brown rice, carrots, celery, onions ginger, garlic and my spices, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.

I am adding and stirring in ingredients in increments, I have not added the peas yet. I do that last, after the mixture if spiced and seasoned to my liking. Plenty of garlic and ginger, accents of cumin, cinnamon and cayenne. Perfect to compliment the subtle sweetness of the carrot and squash.

Here is the full combination ready to eat - including black eyed peas. After giving it a good mix with my wooden spatula, I served it up with some plain yogurt.

Here is the full combination ready to eat – including black eyed peas. After giving it a good mix with my wooden spatula, I served it up with some plain yogurt.

After draining the excess water from the peas and salting them a bit I add them to the rest of the mixture in parts. Stir well so the spices can integrate with all of the ingredients. I will be eating this for a few days, which is perfect because I want to work on some other projects and make eating simple. This kind of food makes me feel really healthy and satisfied.

I often pass this guy on my way home.

I often pass this guy on my way home.

The rolling hills viewed from the ridge.

The rolling hills viewed from the ridge.

Salmon Cakes with Yogurt Mustard Dill Sauce

salmon cake platter

I’m gonna go on a limb here and guess that canned salmon is probably not most peoples first choice of ingredients, but when it comes to cooking aboard making meals from shelf stable canned foods is unavoidable at times and when done well, is an admirable quality of a good galley-slave. This is one of my time-tested goto canned meal recipes.

  • Can of Salmon
  • Onion
  • Red pepper
  • Garlic
  • 8-9 Saltine crackers or bread crumbs
  • 1 Egg
  • Tbsp of Chef Paul’s Magic Salmon Seasoning or seasoning of your choice
    (“sugar, salt, spices, granulated onion & garlic, mustard seed, paprika”)
  • 1 tsp dill

Open and drain well the liquid from can of salmon and place in a mixing bowl. As you gently flake apart the meat into large chunks, remove any bones and fatty skin you find.

salmon cake mixture

Finely mince 1/4 of a large onion, 1/4 of a large pepper, 2 cloves of garlic and add to salmon. Crack an egg into the mixture. Crumble a few crackers at a time in your hand over the bowl till they break into fine bread like crumbs and add your seasoning.

salmon-cake-patties

Roll up your sleeves and gently mix together with you hands being careful not to over mix the salmon chunks. You’ll want the mixture moist enough to hold together into patties without crumbling apart. Add more breadcrumbs or egg if necessary. Shape into palm size patties and refrigerate till ready to cook. I found from making crab cakes that cakes tend to hold together better when allowed to refrigerate before cooking.

fried salmon cakes

Add enough olive oil to your frying pan to partially submerge the cakes, I used a small frying pan so it took a bit less oil to coat the pan and a smaller pan heats quicker. You’ll want the pan and oil nice and hot when you drop the patties in, be careful of oil splatter. Watch for the bottoms to brown before flipping, a good 5 minutes or more per side. When fully browned on both sides, place on a plate with some paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Add more oil to pan as needed to finish browning all your patties.

yogurt, mustard, lime and dill sauce

I made a cool dill yogurt dipping sauce that really complimented the flavors and crispy texture of the salmon cakes nicely.

Yogurt Dill Sauce

  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of plain yogurt
  • 1-2 Tbsp of stone ground horseradish mustard
  • 1-2 tsp of dill
  • Juice of a lime wedge

Salmon burgers

To offset the heaviness of the frying, it was lighted up with a fresh green salad of baby spinach, mini heirloom tomatoes, chopped basil and fresh mozzarella cubes.

Soy Turkey Stuffed Peppers

I needed something with protein, something filling, something with a zing of flavor…of course, stuffed peppers. I love soy turkey…my mom often used in in her famous vegetarian chili. If I were to cook it again, maybe I would do a slight variation of flavors in the different peppers. With this combination of flavors, I promise you will not miss the meat.

  • 1 lb of soy turkey
  • 4 poblano peppers
  • 4 red bell peppers
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 3-6 cloves of garlic
  • a few scoops of tomato paste
  • 1 can of stewed tomatos
  • Green or Black olives
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 2-3 cups of sharp cheddar cheese
Cayenne pepper, the same color as my Calder print. Keeps the blood thin, anti viral.

Cayenne pepper, the same color as my Calder print. Keeps the blood thin, anti viral.

I love food, especially the spices that have been used for centuries – and for good reason. This Cayenne pepper combined with paprika gave my turkey a smokey rich flavor.

What can I say, I love my extra sharp white cheddar cheese.

What can I say, I love my extra sharp white cheddar cheese.

You can’t go wrong with cheese in this dish. I strongly suggest using some sharp or extra sharp cheddar. The cheese gets absorbed into the soy turkey, adding a fattiness that makes it taste just like real turkey meat.

Duane brought these beauties home and it was like getting a bouquet of flowers...that you can eat.

Duane brought these beauties home and it was like getting a bouquet of flowers…that you can eat.

These peppers differ in the nicest way – the poblanos are spicier and smokier, the red peppers are sweeter and tangy. I soaked them in a bowl of water before ‘gutting’ them. Take out the seeds and cut the top off.

some of the goods, most notable, the tomato paste. It gives the turkey a kick of flavor.

some of the goods, most notable, the tomato paste. It gives the turkey a kick of flavor.

To begin, cook in a large skillet pan some olive oil, one chopped onion and three-six cloves of garlic. Add tomato paste, and chopped canned tomato. Add your spices, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt and pepper.

yes, a lot of meat, but some rice, onion, and garlic is also in there. Oh yeah, and thanks to Katt's suggestion, Olives.

yes, a lot of soy turkey. Oh yeah, and thanks to Katt’s suggestion, Olives.

Add in small amounts gradually, soy turkey, when this is fully cooked, add the fully cooked ice of your choice (about one cup). Add olives or any other things like pickled garlic cloves or capers. Combine these ingredients with your cheese.

stuffed peppers

Here they are ready to go into the oven at 350 for about 35-40 min. Really, you could cook them longer or shorter but I like the peppers pretty well done. You want everything to congeal…you will need a fork and knife to eat these.

I don't think this pic does it justice, we were extremely happy with the results. A tomato-y ground turkey with rice and cheese baked inside of a pepper.

I don’t think this pic does it justice, we were extremely happy with the results. A tomato-y turkey flavor with rice and cheese baked inside of a pepper.

Here we are with the final result. So yummy. Let me know how you like this one. For a non vegetarian variation, try a rice and chicken combo with cinnamon, cumin and raisins.

Caprese Salad

caprese saladLight lunch, snack, sophisticated appetizer, side dish, I love this classic combination of flavors.

Stacked in layers:

  • Tomato slices with S&P
  • Fresh Basil leaf
  • Fresh Mozzarella
  • Balsamic Vinegar Reduction Glaze

I used a store-bought Balsamic glaze, but I’d like to try making my own reduction one of these days. You simply slowly simmer a bottle of Balsamic vinegar till it reduces to about a quarter of the liquid you started with, it becomes a thick rich glaze. Some add a Tbsp of brown sugar to the vinegar as it reduces to heighten the sweetness. Yum!

Aubergine (eggplant) Salad

Lemon, cucumber, pickled cherry pepper, butter lettuce, avocado, Bulgarian feta, olives, red wine vinegar and fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Lemon, cucumber, pickled cherry pepper, butter lettuce, avocado, Bulgarian feta, olives, red wine vinegar, olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice for dressing.

I have made this dish for many friends who confessed that they never really enjoyed eggplant fully until now. So, if you are skeptical, try it, and you might just be surprised.

Duane and I were traveling in Berlin for a performance a couple of years ago and fell in love with a Turkish restaurant in Wedding. We ate there several times before returning home primarily because of the aubergine that had been sliced thin, pan fried in olive oil and lots of garlic, then chilled. Along with some savory yogurt and lamb, it was divine. But when I got home I realized that the already beloved eggplant would become even more beloved as a chilled salad topping. Since then, I have probably eaten it a hundred times. It takes a little effort to make, but if you make a large batch you can keep it in the fridge and throw it on pastas, sandwiches, and salads alike.

Here is what you do:

eggplant1

Pour ample, but not a lake, of good olive oil in a large skillet. Put the heat on medium. Slice the eggplant as thin as possible long-way (from end to end). Chop fresh garlic fine. This recipe uses lots of Olive oil and garlic – I use one clove and about a cup of oil for one large eggplant. Cook the eggplant till brown in each side. Shake of salt, squeeze of lime (optional, but makes it very yummy). Don’t worry about the oil, it keeps you regular and has DHA.

eggplant 3

Lay them in a pile as you go. When you are done, put some plastic wrap over it and store it in the fridge to chill. I had them on couscous yesterday with a dollop of plain yogurt and hummus.

Brunchy break: Corn meal crepes and garlic stars

Garlic Stars with good sharp cheddar.

Garlic Stars with good sharp cheddar.

It is Spring Break! Brunch is easily my favorite meal of the day. It combines breakfast with many of the foods that I would eat any time of the day, especially if I am just looking for variety and lightness.

I made these potatoes yesterday inspired by a smashed potato recipe. I microwaved them for 3 minutes (depending on the size of the spud). Don’t forget to stab with fork or it will explode. I cut them in fours and loaded them up with butter, fresh chopped garlic, cheddar cheese, red pepper flakes and dried dill.

I baked them on 375 till the cheese and garlic turned brown. You’ll know by the smell. What you get – a crispy crunchy cheesey delight to accompany your eggs.

Satisfying but not too filling

Satisfying but not too filling

Next brunchy delight is the corn meal crepes. I have never made crepes before, and this was really easy. I used the corn meal to add that nice flavor of corn bread which – coming from a girl with a southern mother – goes with anything. Why crepes? Because you can’t wrap ingredients in pancakes unless you want to eat a ton of carb.

Crepe ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for brushing skillet
bater

Mix these ingredients together and let them sit for 30 min. The batter will seem very thin at first and thicken over time. Add a bit of milk as you work with the batter to keep those crepes thin.

Baby has a complexion like butter...and strangely resembles a cupie doll.

Baby has a complexion like butter…and strangely resembles a kewpie doll.

The Kewpie was invented by the poet and artist Rose O’Neill, first featuring in magazine illustrations in 1909, and later patented in 1913. The name ‘Kewpie’ comes from the resemblance to the naked babies known as cupids, after Cupid the Roman God of Love. – See more at: http://www.museumofchildhood.org.uk/collections/dolls/kewpie-doll/#sthash.Uby2uPPL.dpuf

crepe3

Every crepe should be premised by an even brushing of butter on the pan. Pour 1/3 cup of batter per crepe. Don’t let the crepe get brown, it cooks super fast and you can flip it in under a minute.

spinach

I chose a filling of spinach, onion, garlic and Bulgarian Feta (a little more tangy and less pungent than Greek).

dish1

Garnish with anything, I used another blood orange and a pickled garlic and olive salad.This recipe makes about 10 crepes. We did not eat them all, which made them great to use for lunch later on with some left over Persian rice and chicken. If there were still more left, I might stuff them with berries and bananas, and drizzle my own berry infused syrup on top.