Pasta with Kale and Portabello Mushrooms


Earlier I took a hike across my little canyon and up the hill where I plan to build a fence so people will not drive where they are not supposed to drive.  Driving there causes rather bad erosion.  Walked back to the barn, fed the horses, and returned to the house, then noticed hunger.  This afternoon I bought some Tuscan kale and wanted to try it out.  Here’s my creation:

Extra virgin olive oil

1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped

3-4 medium size portabello mushrooms, sliced

3 large Tuscan kale leaves, center stem removed and chopped

Pasta–your choice.  I used rigatoni but my favorite is conchiglie from Montebello Monastery in Italy which has been doing this since 1388 or so they claim

Greek oregano

Ricotta cheese

Cover bottom of a skillet with the olive oil.  Add the onions, mushrooms, and chopped kale stems.  Saute until the onions are translucent and the kale stems are cooked but still crunchy.  While this is cooking, tear the kale leaves into bite sized pieces.  Take two dried oregano stems and lightly remove and crumble the leaves and florets into the skillet.  Discard the stems.  Add the kale leaves to the onion mixture and saute.  When done, kale leaves will be tender but still a bright green.  Pour over the pasta and place a dollop of ricotta cheese on top.

Note:  I grow my own Greek oregano and dried a bunch on my counter top this week–I live in a dry climate so this works.  I took two stems with the dried leaves and flowers still attached and stripped off the leaves and flowers and crushed them with my hands directly into the skillet.  Greek oregano is very mild.  You might want to use less of other oregano.  Without the ricotta, this recipe is vegan.  I used whole milk ricotta; I never buy low fat anything.  I tried to learn to like whole wheat pasta but gave up.  Quinoa and corn mixed pasta is ok, but give me the real thing from Italy.

 

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This photo illustrates the dried Greek oregano.  I will have to decide whether to store like this or take it all off the stems and crush it.

Summer Salad: Garbanzo Beans and Corn


The first Sunday is potluck Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Amarillo, Texas, about 14 miles from where I live.  Usually, for years, I have made a certain pie that many like.  This morning I neither felt the inclination nor the had the time because I went out to feed horses and work on my steep drive.  Plus, the forecast predicted a quite hot day, 98 degrees Fahrenheit, making me disinclined to heat up the oven.  I opened my pantry door, viewed the canned goods and created this recipe.  Several asked how I made it; apparently my experiment met with success.

2 15 oz. cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz. can whole kernel corn, drained

1/4 medium size purple onion, finely chopped

1 medium size red bell pepper, chopped

1/3 cup medium size black olives, sliced

1/4 cup (or amount to suit your own personal taste) red wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. coriander seeds, ground

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Mix all the above.  Chill and serve.  Personally, I think this might have been even better if allowed to marinate to blend all the flavors.  This is easy,  nutritious, and vegan.

Red Snapper with Chorizo and Mixed Rice


Last Sunday evening I invited three friends over for dinner.  They come to my house all the time so I decided to try something different.  Red snapper was on sale at the market so I bought one big fillet and one smaller one, thinking they would fit perfectly in the heavy cast iron fish pan I have.  I use this particular cast iron pot because I can put it on the grill in the summer and avoid  heat in the house.  In my refrigerator I also found some soyrizo–chorizo made from soy instead of pork.  Since one of the friends is Muslim, I make sure never to feed him pork–he does not want me to go to hell, he says.  Since the fish and the chorizo made for rather sizable servings, I did not expect all of it to totally disappear.  Wrong.  They ate all of it and asked for the recipe.

Approximately 1 1/2 pounds red snapper or similar firm fleshed fish

Enough soyrizo (or chorizo) to cover the fish in a thin layer sprinkled over the fish

1 onion finely chopped

1 large poblano pepper, seeded and chopped

Olive oil

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 small can tomato sauce

Pour enough olive oil into a heavy pan to cover the bottom

Lay the fish in the bottom of the pan and cover with chorizo

Saute the onions and poblano pepper in olive oil until onions are translucent

Spread the onion/pepper mixture over the top of the chorizo

Stir the cinnamon into the tomato sauce

Pour the cinnamon/tomato sauce mixture over the top

Place a lid on pan and bake on the grill at medium heat.

It takes the cast iron a long time to heat up so once it was heated, I baked the dish for approximately 20 minutes or until the fish was done and everything was bubbling.

I served this with my favorite rice:  1/3 Jasmine red rice, 1/3 Jasmine white rice, combined with 1/3 black rice.  I used one half cup each, sauteed with 1 TBS. finely chopped garlic in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large sauce pan.  Saute until the rice appears to be sticking slightly, then pour water double the total amount of rice.  Stir in 1 tsp. bouillon, cover with six paper towels and then the lid, turn down to low, and cook approximately one hour.  The red and black rice take at least twice as long to cook as white rice.

This easily serves four.  I served it with a salad:  romaine, red cabbage, dried cherries, yellow pepper, diced radishes, and feta cheese.  Bon appetit!!

Turkey Curry


The holidays left me with all this left over turkey, cleaned off the bones, and frozen.  Then I kept wondering what to do with it besides the old standbys.  Recently, a longtime friend from Ohio posted a recipe for curry on Facebook.  Suddenly, it hit me:  modify this recipe and use some of this left over turkey.  I made it tonight for dinner and in all the rushing around after work, failed to take a photo. I am posting it anyway.

Coat the bottom of a skillet with oil

Add 1/2 onion, chopped

1 cup chopped mushrooms

1 cup peeled and diced butternut squash.

Saute until the onions are translucent.

Add approximately ten cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 large pepper chopped–to increase the heat, use a hotter type of pepper

Add 1 Tablespoon curry powder (I have about three to four types of curry; use the one you like)

1-2 teaspoons ground tumeric

1-2 teaspoons ground ginger, to taste

Stir in 1/2 cup cream to make a sauce.

Finally, add the left over turkey cut into bite sized pieces.

Heat through and serve over rice.

My friend’s recipe called for sour cream instead of heavy cream.  I did not have sour cream so used regular cream instead.  Her recipe used eggplant.  I did not have any so used the squash.

The combination of the squash and tomatoes and the red pepper I used made a very colorful, pretty dish.  My dog was so excited by the smell of the turkey that she got a few bites of it as I cooked.

It was a success all around.  Enjoy!!

Vegetarian Chorizo with Potatoes and Black Beans


    This is a quick, simple recipe.  I served it with a very basic green salad of red lettuce, orange and red bell peppers, and a goat feta cheese.  Rice would make a nice addition as would fried ripe plantains.

6 small (petite) potatoes, diced

6 oz. (1 large link) soy chorizo (I used Soyrizo which is also vegan)

1/2 medium red onion, chopped

1 can black beans

Olive oil

Saute the onion and potatoes in the olive oil until tender.  Remove the chorizo from the package and crumble into the skillet with the onion and potatoes.  Stir into the onion and potato mixture.  Rinse the canned black beans and drain.  Add to the mixture and stir.  When black beans are heated, serve.

The portions in this recipe are easy to multiply to serve more people.

Teriyaki Salmon with Red Chard and Cassia Cinnamon (for two)


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The red chard leaves, chopped.

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Just after adding the salmon.

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The finished product.

 

2  6 oz. servings of wild salmon

1/2 medium red (purple) onion, chopped

1/2 large poblano pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

2 large red chard leaves and stems

1/2 to 1 tsp. cassia cinnamon

1/8 cup teriyaki sauce mixed with 1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce

Olive oil

Marinate the salmon in the teriyaki/Worcestershire sauce while you prepare the rest.  Using a sharp knife, destem and devein the red chard.  Coarsely chop the stems and veins.  Chop the leaves into pieces as indicated in the photo above.  Cover the bottom of a medium sized skillet with olive oil.  I love extra virgin olive oil and use a lot of it, but not absolutely necessary.  Saute chopped onions in the olive oil until translucent.  Add the poblano pepper and red stems of the chard.  When the peppers and chard stems are slightly cooked, add the salmon and marinade and sauté for about 2 minutes.  Turn the salmon and place the chard leaves on top.  Scatter the cinnamon on top of the chard leaves.  Saute until the chard leaves are wilted.

Serve with mixed grain rice (khao-pa-som in Thai) which can be found at Asian markets.  It is a mixture of brown, black, and red rice with various grains including what appears to be barley.  I cook it exactly like rice: sauté in olive oil with finely chopped garlic for a minute or so, add water, and stir in 1 tsp. concentrated bouillon. Turn heat to low, cover pan with several layers of paper towels, and put on lid.  This, like red and brown rice, takes about twice as long to cook as white rice.  It is more nutritious than white rice. If you want the health benefits of cinnamon, it is necessary to use cassia cinnamon, not Ceylon cinnamon.

Pura Vida: 2, Comida (Costa Rican food)


Costa Ricans appear to be very, very healthy.  Their food mainly consists of rice, black beans, salad, cooked vegetables, chicken or fish, fruit (usually pineapple, papaya, mangoes) and sometimes fried plantain.  In fact fried plantain was the only fried food, except occasionally cheese.  The food is plain with few spices, even though hot sauce, especially their version of tobasco,  is often available if you want it.  The national dish is gallo pinto:  left over white rice mixed nearly equally with black beans and sometimes a little chopped onion and bell peppers sautéed in oil.  This is a breakfast staple, but frequently served three times a day.  Sometimes, although black beans and rice are usually served at lunch and dinner, they are not mixed together then.  Often salad is their version of cole slaw, but tastes nothing like cole slaw here.  Usually both cabbage and carrots are very finely shredded and mixed together.  I never did quite figure out the dressing, in part because it varied greatly.  When the salad was with lettuce, it was also more finely chopped than we usually do here in the US and served with various dressings including olive oil.  The freshness of the salads stood out–no little bits of brown edges in Costa Rica.

The coffee, well, just lets say, I miss it.  Pitchers of steaming, strong, mountain grown coffee served with pitchers of steaming, rich milk.  In the mountains everywhere Jersey, Guernsey, and Holstein cows roamed up to their tummies in grass.  Happy cows for sure, producing rich milk for coffee and rich white cheese, which is served for breakfast.  Yes, breakfast, sometimes plain and sometimes fried.  Oh, and I cannot forget the ice cream.  Beyond creamy and smooth and rich.

There are sweets, usually made as snacks with coconut especially.  This was my favorite.

Obesity appeared to be non-existent.  I did see a few chubby people but no one really excessively over weight.  Perhaps diet is one reason, but they walk a lot even though most have cars.  They appear to drive them only if going some distance.  In the mountains I saw a lot of people riding horses.

The biggest food adventure for me occurred while waiting around near a little family owned restaurant at the top of a mountain.  All but four of us and the bus driver had gone river rafting.  We disembarked from the bus and walked around to kill time, chit chatting about this and that in Spanish.  Suddenly the restaurant owner came out with his grandson, unlocked the fence gate, and invited us in.  While sitting at the bar conversing with him and Hector, the bus driver, I noticed the menu posted on the wall.  It included huevo de tortuga.  Previous information given to us indicated that Costa Rican law protected turtles (tortugas).  I asked how he could serve this.  He told me it depended on the species of turtle and that he could acquire only a limited amount of them.  Suddenly, in front of me, Lisa, the other woman who did not go rafting and is pregnant, and Hector appeared three glasses that looked like giant, triple sized, shot glasses.  Each one contained a raw turtle egg immersed in red hot sauce the consistency of tobasco sauce.  Instructions and gestures indicated this was to be downed like a shot of tequila.  Lisa stuck her tongue in the sauce and said it was ok.  She downed hers first and said, “This is not all that bad.”  The restaurant owner told her it held great nutrition for her unborn baby.  I translated.  It became very clear to me that I had no choice but to down mine as well.  Hector downed his; then I mine.  Lisa’s assessment was correct; it was ok inspite of the turtle egg feeling like a rather solid but squishy mass as it slid down my throat.  The hot sauce made it possible.  Lisa downed a second one; Hector and I declined.  This experience remains one of the highlights of my trip:  relaxing in the middle of nowhere with a local family in their little restaurant.  Pura vida!!!!

Easy Thai Shrimp for Two


1/2 purple onion, chopped

1-2 red Mexican peppers, deseeded and cut crosswise into circles

1 large poblano pepper, deseeded and coarsely chopped

5 baby portabello mushrooms, sliced

20 medium cooked shirmp

garlic (optional), coarsely chopped

Olive oil

Thai sweet chili sauce

Pour enough olive oil in a skillet to cover the bottom.  Saute the onions and garlic until translucent.  Add mushrooms and sauté.  Add the shrimp and peppers.  Saute until peppers are cooked, but do not overcook.  Add sufficient Thai sweet chili sauce to make a thick sauce.  Serve over rice.  I combine red and Jasmine rice.  You may also use other types of peppers.  However, the dish is prettier if you combine the green of the poblanos with some type of red peppers.

The last time I made this for my Thai exchange student, I planned to take a good photo but somehow we became too distracted and had eaten most of our dinner before I remembered that I had not taken a photo so here it is fork and all.