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: 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: 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!!!!


Zen Zucchini Boats

zucchini boats

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Trim some of the skin off the bottom so they sit flat in a baking dish if needed. Scoop out the center seeds with a spoon. Brush the surface with olive oil and minced garlic. Salt & Pepper. Provision your little boats for the oven with halved grape tomatoes. Top with Panko bread crumbs and bake at 375 until tender – aboat 25 minutes. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, top with shredded cheese and bake or broil till golden on top.

Now for a moment of Zen to go with your green tea chocolates, a little meditation video I made of water lapping the edge of an ice continent that is the creek.

Long Haired Larry’s Caesar Salad Dressing

Utila sunset

Speaking of pirate recipes, Arrrr!!! Here be one I picked up from a Canadian expat I met in my travels – Long Haired Larry A.K.A. ‘Cowboy’ to the inhabitants of the small island of Utila off the coast of Honduras. An interesting and kind character, always accompanied by his sidekick dog ‘Pirate’, he’d often graciously invite me and other transients to dinner at his tropical hut on stilts surrounded by his jungle garden.

Long Haired Larry

Don’t Worry, Be Larry

His kitchen was small and utilitarian like a ship-shape galley. The open cut out window by the sink was a direct deposit to the compost pile below, eliminating the task of emptying completely! The water supply, a 5 gallon jug – spout side up with a hand pump on the top. He loved to BBQ and dinners were cooked on a round marine charcoal grill hung off his porch deck. I’d sit atop one of his homemade bar stools made of twisted vines and take note of his cooking which was slow, genial and social. At one time he owned a popular restaurant bar and grill on the island strip called ‘Skid Row’, where I first met him bantering with locals one night. His food was always the best tasting anything you ever had, but we’d sometimes joke that it might just be attributed to how long it took. Ever bake a potato on a charcoal grill? Even if you weren’t hungry when it started, by the time it was ready you were stAARRRving!

dogs at Tranquilla Bar

Pirate (brown) and Charger hanging at the bar

There were two staples at every meal I shared with him: a whole baked potato with ‘crema’, a Central American sour cream and a romaine lettuce and parmesan cheese Caesar Salad with his homemade dressing.

Caesar dressing ingredients

Here in my journal is the recipe for his Caesar Salad Dressing:

  • Garlic
  • Dijon mustard
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Lime juice
  • Salt & pepper

Nondescript, I know, but I made some the other night that was spot on.

I threw in the Magic Bullet blender 3 cloves of garlic, about a Tbsp of Dijon horseradish mustard (or whatever kind you have), 3 Tbsp of vinegar, a small chunk of parmesan, 1/2 the juice of a lime, and the left over seasoned oil from a small jar of marinated artichokes and a few grinds of S&P.  Reuse the artichoke jar as a container for the dressing.

Cauliflower & Parsnip Gratin

cauliflower gratin

Hey Yo! I wanted to make a low carb version of “Mac & Cheese” made with vegetables instead of macaroni. All the ingredients I thought of using for this were white, so I embraced the monochromatic theme and thought of it as a white cheddar mac, even though there wasn’t any cheddar in it, if that makes sense.


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 (or more) parsnips
  • 1 can of butter beans
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 3 Tbsp of butter
  • 3 Tbsp of flour
  • 2 cups of whole milk (warmed)
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp of horseradish
  • Salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes to taste

Cut the cauliflower into bite sized florets.  Peel and cut the parsnips into pale rounds. Spread out the veggies on a large baking tray, coat with some olive oil, salt, pepper and nutmeg and roast in the oven on high (375-400) till tender about 20 minutes. For faster cooking time, steam the veggies in a covered pot of 1-2″ of water for about 8 -10 min. and drain.


While the veggies are roasting, prepare the sauce, a basic ‘roux’ of roughly equal parts flour and fat. Melt 3 Tbsp of butter in a sauce pan on low. Add minced garlic and sauté for 2-3 min. Sprinkle in 1 Tbsp of flour at a time, stir thoroughly into melted butter. Slowly add warmed milk, stirring frequently. Turn off heat and add 3/4 cup of shredded cheese and 1 Tbsp of Horseradish. I used the last of the Italian 5 cheese blend I had, a mix of Mozzarella, Provolone, Romano, Asiago and Parmesan.

Lightly grease the bottom of a baking dish with butter. Pile up your roasted (or steamed) cauliflower and parsnips into the baking pan. Mix in 1 can of drained butter beans. I pureed 1/2 the can of beans and added it to the sauce, but this is optional, whole beans add a nice texture. Butter beans are a great starchy substitute for pasta, and add protein. Pour sauce over veggie and bean mixture. Stir in 2 handfuls of Panko bread crumbs.

Sprinkle the remainder of cheese (1/4 cup) and another handful of Panko on top. Brighten with a dash of cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and nutmeg. Bake for 10-15 minutes till golden and bubbly on top.

plated cauliflower gratin

Served with a simple salad of spinach, tomato, avocado, black olives and marinated artichoke hearts.

Some variations that I think would work well next time I make this, would be to add either imitation crab meat, mushrooms, carrots or sweet potatoes (not all together). Put your own spin on it! It was as comforting as Mac and Cheese but with healthier carbs and loaded with hardy vegetables.

sewing dog bed

In other news, Jazzy dog is enjoying the new custom bed cover I sewed for her.

Sesame Noodles with Shrimp

Arlo taking a nap while I get my ingredients in order

Arlo taking a nap while I get my ingredients in order

Heya Katt,

I received a text from Duane yesterday asking “any ideas for dinner?” It has been difficult to cook every night so I thought about something that I could make a lot of and might last a few days. Sesame noodles. I looked at many recipes, warm, cool, taste variations. From all of these I created the best of my own, which can be prepared as a warm or chilled dish. Keep in mind that the combination of these ingredients are to taste – you should decide how spicy, verses sweet, versed tangy you want your sauce. Also decide how saucy you want this dish to be. The sesame oil is pretty strong in flavor, as well as the soy, so you may want to start with smaller portions in the beginning.


  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 package of linguini or noodle of choice
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 bunch of scallions/green onions (6ish)
  • 6 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 2 bunches of broccoli
  • Fresh ginger (to taste) peeled and finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds (or more!)
  • 1 tsp of chili sauce
  • 1/4 soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 canola oil
  • 1/4 sesame oil
  • 3 packed tablespoons of brown sugar

Start with some noodle – Linguini is a great choice for me, but you can use any noodles of your choice.

On the right: Bell pepper, scallions, cilantro, toasted sesame seeds

On the right: Bell pepper, scallions, cilantro, toasted sesame seeds

In a medium bowl chop up 1 bell pepper, cilantro to taste (bunch) 6 scallions, and pour in some toasted sesame seeds.

heated mixtures

heated mixtures

In a warm skillet combine sesame oil, canola oil, chili sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Add chopped garlic and grated fresh ginger. Cook for a few minutes then add the well chopped broccoli. Cover and cook for 5-7 min. Don’t over cook the broccoli, it should be somewhat crunchy.

add cocktail shrimp

add cocktail shrimp

Pour the mixture over the pasta, and add cooked peeled shrimp. mix very well. I added more toasted sesame seeds and chopped cilantro at the end. Place in the fridge for one hour, or serve warm.


Here it is all served up. Gotta go stoke the fire…

La La, Frittata

photo-25Arlo with hand knit sweater from friend – may be another month or two before it fits at the rate he is growing! A view of our fields outside the living room window, makes me want to eat some protein.

Hey Katt, I have to say I very much enjoyed your roast post, and it will definitely spawn a rich stew in the coming days. My mom also made something similar which my sister and I un-appreciate-tively called ‘sewer soup’. But we ate it anyway and I am certain it benefited us greatly. I find it amazing that you can make such a thing on a boat – and I can imagine it helped to fortify you two admist the hauling and shoveling (scrubbing, screwing and unscrewing etc.) (;


Not that I am trying to advertise in this blog, but I find that seeing ingredients is a nice visual guide – plus I like certain products quite a lot and living in a small town in southeastern Ohio makes it difficult to get access to certain things. At the same time we are fortunate to have some great local/regional products. Fisher is presenting the Snowville Creamery Whole Milk that we practically live on. Only the good stuff in the ingredients – and their yogurt is awesome too. These cheeses on the right added a nice touch to the frittata, ricotta is something I have been cooking with a lot lately.


Ingredients: all into a 9″ ceramic pie pan

  • 5 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup ricotta mixed with one egg and 1/2 cup grated Romano/Parmesan cheese
  • Large fresh  mozzarella ball
  • finely chopped Asparagus (5-6 branches)
  • 1 large clove chopped
  • Scoop or two of basil or tomato pesto
  • red pepper flakes, salt and pepper

Yup, basically I mixed five eggs together with 3/4 cup of milk and finely chopped asparagus, chopped garlic, and basil pesto. I tore up the fresh mozzarella and mixed together half of the ricotta with an egg. I added some freshly and finely grated Romano Parmesan into the ricotta mixture. The cheeses are placed into the egg and asparagus mixture in lumps. Sprinkle top with dill, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper.


It is a light and fluffy, yet creamy/cheesy savory pie. Also low carb, Duane calls it a crust-less quiche. It was cooked on 350 for about 35-40 min – it will smell ready and fluff up and get a little toasty around the edges.


This one is from last week – the same process but the mixture involves 3 cups of finely chopped fresh spinach, garlic, red pepper flakes and some thinly sliced tomatoes on top for zest. I may have also thrown in a few sun dried tomatoes. Enjoy!

Best Brussels Sprouts

Hey Lori – I had the best brussels sprouts tonight. They were starting to look a little peeked sitting at the bottom of the fridge, even though they hold up well for a long time. I knew it was time to eat em. Don’t know why I resisted, after making this recipe I could eat nothing but big bowlfuls of this cancer fighting cruciferous vegetable. It’s a new favorite.

Finely slice up brussels sprouts and rinse with water in colander. Mince 1 clove of garlic. Heat pan with Tbsp olive oil, throw the garlic in the pan. Add brussels sprouts, saute for 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and 1-2 Tbsp brown sugar and a handful of chopped walnuts, stir to coat. Voila!