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

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.

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.

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.

Curried Sweet Potato Soup

Garnished with goat cheese, chopped Italian Parsley, and my crunch roasted cinnamon chick peas.

Garnished with goat cheese, chopped Italian Parsley, and my crunchy roasted cinnamon chick peas.

Hey Katt, I am finally getting to posting this soup. Things have been busier than usual, but I might mention that my uncle Joe died yesterday at 71 years of age. He was who I referred to as the most compassionate of my father’s side of the family. He was also the last person to spent significant time with Renee before she passed a couple of years ago. This post is dedicated to him, even though he may not have even liked a soup like this. Regardless, it was a soup made with time, dedication and love.

I looked at several sweet potato soups and found this combination of ingredients to be the most appealing:

  • 2 cups (or a can) of coconut milk
  • 1 can of chick peas
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 large, or 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 4 or 5 small red potatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • Fresh ginger root – shred to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill

photo-6

First thing I thought about while making this dish was how cooking is like a sacred act. Each ingredient is precious, harvested, collected and distributed by human energy for my consumption. Not only the visual beauty, but the texture, color and fragrance of these ingredients make them sacred. Handling, preparing and eating this soup is a treat to the senses and a celebration of life. In the long winter that this has been, so much reflection has happened on a daily basis, consideration of the great losses in my life, as well as the great blessings.

the potatoes cooked in separate pans - red potato with onion, garlic, ginger. Sweet potato cooked in butter with curry, turmeric, cracked pepper, and coriander. I also swirled some honey on top.

the potatoes cooked in separate pans – red potato with onion, garlic, ginger. Sweet potato cooked in butter with curry, turmeric, cracked pepper, and coriander. I also swirled some honey on top.

Cook everything but the coconut milk and chick peas and cinnamon in sauce pans. Let cool so they can be pureed later in a food processor with veg broth and coconut milk.

Red onion and red potato look so lovely together, Could color add a different sort of nutrition?

Red onion and red potato look so lovely together, Could color add a different sort of nutrition?

Make sure you wash your veggies well. And when it comes to cutting, I take pleasure in the selection of knife and process as the moist fragrance bursts into the air with each chop or slice. I like to smell my finger tips, particularly after slicing garlic and ginger.

photo-2

I added fresh lime to the coconut milk: find some gorillas singing ‘put the lime in the coconut’…

photo-11

Did you ever notice how ethereal garlic skins are? So translucent and soft. Kind of like my sweet Arlo. How patient he was while I made this concoction.

photo-14

This is an amazing touch. Rinse a can of chick peas and spread them out on a pan with some butter and cinnamon. Roast them by putting the over on broil and giving them an occasional stir till they are crunchy. They will serve as a perfect garnish for the soup.

photo-1

The mixture was not quite smooth enough the first time. Then I pureed it again and it tasted even better. Strange how much texture can really improve the experience of a soup.

I know you made a sweet potato soup (prompted coincidentally by a dream) so please share if you like!

Green Tea Chocolate (Organic)

final green

Since I have been on a roll with the ‘healthy’ desserts, I decided to try to make something I have never attempted before…chocolate. Not just any chocolate, but what they call green tea chocolate. I came across this recipe when researching mochi, which you will find in a later post (still working it out, my first batch failed, sadly). It is a simple list of ingredients, so remember, the better the ingredients the better the results. My white chocolate, Matcha tea (powdered green tea) and whipping cream came organic and from the local health food grocery. If you are not already aware, green tea is anti-cancer!

Ingredients:  

  • 400 g white chocolate (four bars)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp matcha powder
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 8″x8″ pan

pan2trio

I lined my pan with parchment paper-so cut it to fit. Here are some of the items I purchased…not exactly cost effective, but occasional extravagance in sweets is sometimes necessary.

ch wh

Finely chop up your favorite white chocolate. It is so soft, this began to melt in my hand almost immediately. I do not love the taste of white chocolate, but I promise you, it tastes like a buttery green tea candy at the end, and no one will ever guess this is in the ingredients.

white

Heat 1/2 cup of cream without boiling. Slowly add the white chocolate. Stir for a few minutes. Then add the green tea. Keep stirring and keep that stove on medium low.

mix

Add the butter and keep mixing for another few minutes. The ingredients need to blend into a smooth dark green mixture.

pouring

The color of the matcha should be bright sap green, otherwise it has gone past it’s prime. Pour the mixture into the lined pan. Place the pan in the fridge for 5 hours or overnight before cutting. After cutting the pieces with a very sharp and cool knife, use a wire mesh to sift additional green tea powder on the chocolates.

green in box

I used a left over truffle box from valentines day to gift the green morsels to some friends. How cute, and UNBELIEVABLY delicious. There is a sweet, yet complex bitter taste and melt in the mouth creamy texture.

mr_miyagi-sticks

I may have first learned of ceremonial green tea when I saw the Karate Kid as a child. If you are an American thirty something, you can’t forget the romantic scene with the the green tea ceremony and beautiful Japanese girl. Three cheers Mr. Miyagi – a man after my own heart.

Drunken Pirate Cake

photo-8

This is a cake that I made at the spur of the moment. I saw the bananas starting to go brown and nobody was eating them. I thought it would be nice to make a sweet-ish bread and a sweeter sauce that could be added for a pirate effect. I literally threw these ingredients together with the hope of producing a dense cake that would soak up a rum sauce nicely. This is a homage to my dear friend Katt – and the rest of the pirates who soaked bread in rum so it would store for those long trips out at sea. Here is what I used:

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dark rum of choice
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

photo-1

blend and puree two bananas, rum, almond milk, vanilla together. Pour into dry mixture of flour, meal, sugar, nuts, salt, baking soda. Add one egg and mix well with a wooden or large spoon. Add almond milk to liquify mixture if needed. Pour into 9″ pan (buttered). Sprinkle nuts and add some slices of butter to the top. Bake at 350 for 35-40 min.

photo-3

Combine a shot of rum, one cup of water, one cup of brown sugar, 1/4 cup honey, tablespoon of vanilla and a cinnamon stick. Sauce simmers for about an hour. Chill the sauce and drizzle on cake and sliced banana.

These birds have been eating the cat food! These fly away with one morsel at a time.

These birds have been eating the cat food! They fly away with one morsel at a time.