Archive for Salads and Sides

Ethiopian-Inspired Collard Greens

I feel like I’ve just had my first real day at home in a long time. Of course, that’s not really true, but it is pretty much my first day at home alone in quite a while and I feel blessed to have the clarity that comes for me when I’m home on my own, listening to my own music, hearing my own silence, cooking a leisurely meal for myself. A perfect time to use up CSA veggies* that were gifted to me by my neighbor last night. What I love about CSA shares is that, at least for the first few years, you always get something you normally don’t buy yourself, which almost always serves as the perfect reminder about diversity! Normally, I am a kale-eater. It’s my favorite all year long. But, last night I got collards which I like, but, I think deep down, associate with fatback and often overlook at the store. Today I decided that I should create a new association with collard greens, an Ethiopian dish called Ye’abesha Gomen. Since the cafe has, over time, inherited much of the contents of my home kitchen in various pinches for ingredients, I was a little light on some of the ingredients I might have used, but it turned out to be perfectly delicious!

This recipe is for one portion, but absolutely multiply it and share the wealth that collard greens offer! It takes about 20 minutes or so total, but only about 5 minutes of your time. To make a whole meal of it, add some cooked lentils and serve over a grain or plan ahead and go all out with homemade injera.

  • olive oil for cooking
  • 1 small onion, cut into thin rings (it will cook down a lot)
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger, or more if you love ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • minced chile pepper, to taste (sorry to be vague, but this really does vary – I’m a wimp and I used a few pinches of a dried New Mexico chile
  • 1/2 bunch collard greens, destemmed and washed and cut into thin ribbons.
  • 1 medium tomato, diced (can use 1 tablespoon tomato paste and 1/4 or so cup water when tomatoes aren’t in season)

Heat a medium-sized skillet to medium heat. Add the sliced onion, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook for 7 minutes or so, or until it softens and starts to brown. Make a little space, add a bit more oil and the minced garlic and grated ginger and cook for about a minute, or until the garlic is fragrant but not brown. Add the collards and tomato, sprinkle with a bit more salt, turn the heat back up to medium or a little higher, and cook until the collards are still green but tender. Keep an eye on it to be sure there is some liquid at the bottom; when the liquid is dry, they will probably be ready. If you’d like them to be a bit softer, turn the heat back down to medium. Enjoy!

*In case you don’t know what CSA veggies are, they are vegetables from a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share. Find a local farm and ask about whether they offer shares of their produce , picked fresh and available weekly – you pay a fee in advance and get a box of amazing produce picked at the perfect stage of yumminess and nutritional availability every week through the season. In exchange the farm gets guaranteed sales, a wonderful community to feed, and the support they need to keep their farm running when they actually need it – at planting time.

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Kaniwa and avocado salad with orange balsamic vinaigrette

I don’t have the proper keyboard to spell this ingredient correctly (missing the squiggle over the n), but it’s a new one on the supergrain scene here in America. Like most “superfoods”, it’s actually been keeping people in other parts of the world healthy for quite a long time. It’s a lot like quinoa; they are apparently cousins. It’s smaller, though very similar to red quinoa in appearance. Nutritionally, it packs the same punch as quinoa in terms of protein content and vitamins and minerals. I also read today that it’s a good source of quercetin, which might explain why I finally decided to try his new food that’s been in my pantry for quite a while. I do happen to have a little sniffle and quercetin is a natural antihistamine. So, this just might come in handy as we move I to allergy season.

Anyway, we are doing a hot kaniwa cereal at the cafe this weekend, enjoying the unique texture which I’m told is similar to grits. On the savory side, mixed with creamy avocado and the crunch of shredded carrots and cabbage, plus a little bite of red onion and topped with an orange vinaigrette, it’s really a lovely and nutritious spring salad.

I like to soak all of my grains, so I had to strain my kaniwa with a very fine mesh strainer. This recipe is written for soaked grains. However, if you choose to cook without soaking, the benefit of this over quinoa is that it does not contain the bitter saponins and therefore does not elrequire rinsing from a taste perspective.

1 cup kaniwa, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 avocado, diced
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1 small red onion, finely minced (another good source of quercetin, btw)

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon coconut sugar, optional
Pinch salt

Boil the water and add salt. Add the kaniwa, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 7 minutes, stir, then remove from heat and leave covered for another 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, prepare the Avocado, vegetables, and dressing. Add cabbage, carrots, avocado, and red onion and stir to combine. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Enjoy!

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Roasted Parsnip and Carrot Chips

I have always liked parsnips, but I don’t think I’ve ever gone out of my way for them until now.  Maybe it’s their earthy sweetness, or the fact that they are still feeding my local produce appetite, but I am in love with them right now.  And, like most things I love, they require only the simplest preparation to be perfectly delicious.

They are a nice addition to any roasted vegetable platter, as a side with a sandwich or dip, or of course they are a great snack.

  • 5-6 medium parsnips
  • 5-6 medium carrots
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • a handful of parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Wash and dry the parsnips and carrots.  Slice both the parsnips and carrots about 1/4 inch thick on a diagonal; do this by lying them on the cutting board and holding them firmly (with fingertips rolled back toward you, of course), then angling your knife at a 45-60 degree angle so you are cutting oblong slices.  This provides a greater surface area to brown.  Drizzle the cut vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt, then spread them in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet (the rim will keep any excess olive oil from dripping off).  Place the sheet in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.  They will be browned and slightly caramelized when they are done.  Sprinkle them with parsley and a little more salt, if you wish.  Enjoy!

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Savory Millet Risotto Cakes

There are so many bits of good news with this post!  First of all, yum.  Secondly, it’s really not risotto, but just accidentally overcooked millet, that is the basis of this recipe.  Third, since it’s just overcooked millet, it really couldn’t be any easier.  And, of course, finally, you could spice up this very, very, very basic recipe in many, many ways – with herbs and spices, with vegetables, with delicious sauces, and I’m even thinking of a sweet version with coconut butter, palm sugar, and cinnamon.

Of course, it started as an accident.  I soaked millet, then added way more water than usual, and it turned out as mush.  But, mush that was easily formed into cakes without the addition of eggs or cheese or any other binder.  Somehow this brought risotto cakes to mind.  I’ve only had risotto cakes when eating out, because of course they are just a delicious way to use leftovers and I don’t typically make risotto.  These days, since I don’t really eat dairy or eggs, I would have thought risotto cakes, which I do really like, were a thing of the past.  But, just when I was least expecting it, like leg warmers and skinny jeans, they came back upon me!  So, I decided to fry up my little millet mush patties and see what happened and was very pleasantly surprised by their crunchy outsides and creamy insides that would be so amenable to a variety of additional flavors.

While I normally cook millet by adding the grain to boiling water, in this case I’m putting the millet in cold water, then bringing it to a boil before simmering  This will make the millet even that much stickier, because it will develop the starch a bit more.

  • 1 cup millet, soaked overnight
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 teaspoons ghee or olive oil, plus additional oil for pan-frying.
  • Ideas for optional additions:  caramelized onions, steamed spinach or other finely chopped greens, garlic, chopped tomatoes, fresh or dried herbs, etc.

Drain soaked millet and rinse well.  Put the millet in a small-medium saucepan with the water and salt.  Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.  Turn off the heat and let the millet sit for about 10 minutes covered, then remove the cover and stir in ghee or oil, and salt to taste, as well as any additional ingredients.  Season to taste.  Allow it to cool until you are able to handle it.  Once it’s cooled down a bit, take large spoonfuls and press the into balls with your hands, then flatten the into patties.  You can cook them right away or refrigerate the patties until you are ready to eat them.  Heat a skillet over medium heat, add oil, then place the patties on the hot oil and cook 3-4 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.  Eat immediately.  Enjoy!

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Aunt Ellie Beans

So, my family is no exception when it comes to the ubiquitous green bean casserole served at Thanksgiving dinners throughout the Midwest.  We call it “Aunt Ellie Beans”, because, of course, this was always Aunt Ellie’s contribution.  I have to be honest, I never ate it.  Love Aunt Ellie, but not those French Fried Onions.  Or the Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup.  Ok, I actually liked those salty canned green beans.  I’ll be spending this Thanksgiving with my family and I can promise you that, though Aunt Ellie’s time on this Earth has passed, Aunt Ellie beans will be on the table.

I can’t say I’ve missed this particular dish since eschewing all of the components that make it up, but now that I think of it, and knowing that some form of it will be at our table, I’m thinking there may be some elements worth saving.  Green beans and mushrooms certainly go nicely together.  A little creaminess is a comforting aspect of any dish.  And, of course, something crunchy thrown on top never hurts!  Here’s what I’m thinking…and, by the way, feel free to add a whole array of vegetables and you’ll having something more like a pot pie.  Yum.

For the cruncy topping:

  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • sea salt
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup bread crumbs or small croutons

For the green bean mixture:

  • 2 cups chopped fresh cremini and portobello mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups trimmed green beans, cut into 3 inch pieces.  I actually sliced them in half lengthwise first and, though it’s time consuming, it’s the zen kind of time-consuming and much more authentic
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, preferably soaked 4-6 hours, then rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-3 teaspoons tamari
  • salt and pepper, to taste

 

Heat a large skillet to medium and add the thinly sliced onions for the topping.  Sprinkle with salt.  Turn heat down to medium-low and drizzle the onions with olive oil.  Leave the on the heat, stirring occasionally, until you make the rest of the dish.  Heat a large ovenproof pan over medium heat, add the mushrooms and sprinkle with sea salt.  Let cooked undisturbed until they have released their juices and then started to brown; depending on the moisture level of the mushrooms, this could take 5-10 minutes or more.  Once they start to stick to the pan, give them a stir and cook for a few minutes.  Move the mushrooms to the side of the pan, add olive oil and onions and cook until they soften and begin to brown.  Stir in the shallot and cook 3-4 minutes more.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, maybe a minute or less.  Stir in the green beans, cover, and cook on low while you make the cashew cream.  Meanwhile, turn on your broiler.  In a blender, blend the cashews, water, and tamari until very smooth.  Pour the cashew cream over the vegetable mixture and stir to combine.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Remove the caramelized onions for the topping and layer them over the green bean mixture.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs and place under the broiler until the bread crumbs are crisp.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Massaged Kale and Shaved Beet Salad

Raw kale isn’t at the top of everyone’s list of fav foods, but maybe this recipe will change your mind and at least get it on the list!  Massaging the kale with olive oil and salt will start to break it down, resulting in a more tender texture and a milder flavor.  The beauty of this is that you get a delicious salad with all of its precious vitamins, minerals, and enzymes intact.  And, you don’t have to turn your stove on at all.  The beets add a sweet flavor and a beautiful contrast in colors.  Feel free to add additional vegetables like carrots, cucumber, fennel, sugar snap peas, etc.  For this recipe, we’ll keep it simple and just garnish with some chopped almonds.

  • 1 small bunch kale, preferably a flatter variety like Tuscan kale
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 medium red beet
  • 1 medium golden beet
  • 2-3 Tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small lemon
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon coconut sugar, optional
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds

Wash and dry the kale.  Pile it up, one leaf on top of another and roll it up, then cut into ribbons.  Put into a large bowl with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and salt and begin to massage it with your hands.  Continue massaging for 2-3 minutes, or until the kale begins to wilt, then set aside.  Cut the ends off the beets and peel the skin off with a vegetable peeler and put the ends and skin in your compost.  With a very sharp knife, or mandolin if you have one, slice the beets as thinly as possible.  Add them to the massaged kale.  Wash your lemon and carefully peel the yellow outer skin off with paring knife.  Cut into thin strips and Add to the kale/beet mixture.  Juice the lemon and combine it with the olive oil and coconut sugar, then drizzle over the salad and toss thoroughly.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Sprinkle the chopped almonds over the salad.  Enjoy!

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Greek Lemon Potatoes

Many, many, many years ago, my now-husband and I went to Greece.  I have a lot of wonderful memories from that trip and, of course, some of them revolve around the simple, healthy, amazingly delicious meals we had.  We discovered gigantes, stuffed tomatoes…of course we ate a lot of Greek salad and almost every meal included these lemony, garlicky, absolutely delicious potatoes.

That trip to Greece actually inspires much of my cooking to this day.  Fresh, local produce was the center of every meal.  It was simple, well-prepared, and nourishing in every way.  The ambiance didn’t hurt either.

Since I just got a big bag of fresh, local potatoes at the Farmers’ Market, I was inspired to give this recipe a try for a 4th of July gathering.  I enjoyed the leftovers so much that I thought I should share it with you.  These potatoes do require cooking, of course, but I like to make a big batch and then eat leftovers cold with bean salads and the like.  In Greece, I imagine these are slow-cooked in Earthenware pots in the oven, but I am going to suggest using a crock pot because I know you are all out working and/or playing all day.  Plus I don’t think it heats the kitchen nearly as much.

  • 2 lbs potatoes, washed and cut into wedges or bite-sized pieces (no need to peel!)
  • enough olive oil to generously coat the potatoes, maybe about 1/4 up
  • 3 garlic scapes, sliced (or the equivalent in green garlic or garlic cloves)
  • sea salt
  • 1 whole organic lemon, washed
  • 1 bunch of parsley

Put the potatoes in the crock pot and stir the olive oil in with them so they are well-coated.  Stir in the garlic scapes and sprinkle liberally with salt.  With a paring knife, peel the yellow part of the lemon rind off.  It’s fine to get a bit of the white part with it, but not too much or it will taste bitter.  Julienne (cut in thin strips) the lemon peel and stir about 1/2 into the potatoes.  Reserve the other half in a sealed jar for adding at the end.  Juice the lemon and stir the juice into the potatoes.  Trim a few inches of the parsley stems, then start chopping them from the stem side until you reach the part that’s mostly leafy.  Reserve this part for later and add the stemmy-leaves to the potatoes.  Cover and cook on low for several hours until the potatoes are very soft and have started to brown.  Chop the remaining parsley leaves and stir them into the potatoes, along with the remaining lemon rind.  Season to taste.

You can also add some cooked beans toward the end of cooking, throw in some chopped spinach or beet greens, serve with hard boiled eggs for breakfast, add some chopped red onion for a more traditional potato salad, etc, etc.  Enjoy!

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