Talapia with Beets, Red Peppers, Swiss Chard and Bebere


This recipe makes good sized portions for two people.

2 talapia filets

1/2 red onion, coarsely chopped

1 red bell pepper chopped into bite sized pieces

1 medium sized beet, thinly sliced

2 handfuls Swiss chard–if large pieces, take a knife and separate the middle spine from the leaf part

Chop the spines and add to the onion

Olive oil

Cover the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil.  Add the onions, chopped Swiss chard spines, and beets–I cut the beet slices in half.  Saute until the onions are somewhat caramelized and the beets almost tender.  Add the peppers and 1-2 tablespoons bebere or to taste.  When the peppers are half done, add the filets.  Sprinkle extra bebere over the filets.  When they are almost tender, add the Swiss chard and sauté until the Swiss chard wilts.  Serve over rice.

Note:  I grow my own Swiss chard in a large pot in the house.  This enables be to have my own supply.  However, the leaves are tiny compared to the large leaves in the market, making it unnecessary to cut the green leafy part away from the center spine.  Bebere is an Ethiopian spice which is slightly hot; it has a wonderful, unique flavor. You can use whatever spices you prefer.

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Curried Vegetables with Quinoa


This recipe originated out of my desire to learn to like quinoa.  Except for some quinoa cakes at a local restaurant, I had never eaten quinoa that I thought delicious.  Actually, I found it a dreadfully boring food.  Nevertheless, I became determined to find a way to like it.  Why?  Nutrition.  It is good for you.  So let’s start with how I learned to cook quinoa so it is actually tasty.

Quinoa

Olive oil

1 cup quinoa

1 3/4 cups water

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic–I am lazy about garlic and buy it by the giant jarful, already chopped

1 heaping teaspoon vegetable or chicken base–I use Better Than Bouillon

Rinse quinoa thoroughly–it requires an extremely fine strainer.  Pour enough olive oil in a medium sauce pan to cover the bottom.  Place the chopped garlic in the olive oil and sauté a minute or so at medium high heat. Add the quinoa, stir quickly to mix with the garlic and oil mixture.  Add the water and base.  Stir thoroughly to combine the base with the other ingredients. Bring to a boil, turn heat down to low.  Cook approximate 20 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed the liquid and is fluffy.  Quinoa reheats well in a microwave so you can make extra for meals later.

Curried Vegetables

1/2 medium purple onion, chopped

1 large poblano pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

3-4 portabella mushrooms, sliced

1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 small beet, sliced and cut into smaller pieces

1/2 cup coarsely chopped butternut squash

Olive oil

1/2 tsp. curry powder–I used Malaysian Seven Seas Curry by Spice Appeal

1/2 tsp. masala–I used Chana Masala by Spice Appeal

Use whatever curry you prefer.  This curry is a mite hot.

Saute the onion, mushrooms, squash, and beets in olive oil until slightly tender.  Add spices and peppers and sauté until tender but still slightly crisp.  Serve over the quinoa or rice.

Regarding olive oil:  I use it to make nearly every kind of food from all over the world.  I use a lot because I really like it.  I have even made pie crust out of olive oil.  It is one of those few oils you can use and know it is good for you.

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Vegetables with Coriander, Cumin, and Tumeric


SAM_1010Vegetables are my favorite food.  Interspersed with the poems and essays I publish, I try to post unique recipes.  My recipes come from years of interaction and relationships with people from all over the world, husbands, exchange students who enhance my extended family, travels to Asia and Latin America, my international friends near where I live.  Recently, after a dinner party, I had left over vegetables that needed cooking so one evening home from work, I created this recipe.  It is vegan by accident not intention.  One could add fish, chicken, turkey leftovers (see recent post for turkey curry), shrimp…you get the idea.  The options are endless.  I used the vegetables I needed to use up, but take a look in your refrigerator and try what you have on hand.  Experiment.

1 medium sized beet, peeled and cut into half coins

1 poblano pepper seeded and chopped

1/2 purple onion, chopped

Several pieces of Swiss chard, stems removed and chopped, leaves cut into large, bite sized pieces

Garlic cloves, peeled and chopped–amount to your own taste

Olive oil

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground

1/2 teaspoon cumin–or extra to taste

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Saute the beets, chopped Swiss chard stems, garlic, and onions in olive oil until beets are cooked through.  Add spices and poblano pepper.  When  the pepper is nearly done, add the Swiss chard leaves and cook only until wilted.

Serve over rice.  I used equal amounts of black, red, and Jasmine rice.

How to cook rice:

1/3 cup black rice

1/3 cup red rice

1/3 cup brown or Jasmine rice–your preference

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 teaspoon concentrated broth/bouillon–I use Better Than Bouillon brand which is available Vegetarian as well as Chicken, etc.

Pour enough olive oil into a saucepan to cover the bottom.  Add the rice and chopped garlic.  Saute at high heat until rice starts to stick, stirring constantly.  Add two cups water and the bouillon.  Stir rapidly until bouillon dissolves.  Turn down heat to low, cover the top of the saucepan with four paper towels or a tea towel folded to make several layers.  Put sauce pan lid on the top and cook for approximately one hour.  Red, brown, and black rice take twice as long to cook as white rice.  Do  not peek while rice is cooking.  Lifting the lid to check causes the rice to be mushy.

Vegetarian Chorizo Casserole and Roasted Vegetables


Last night 12 people were at my house for dinner, including a friend who is Muslim so no pork.  I created this dish in order to feed both my Muslim and vegetarian friends. You could use regular chorizo, but after trying soyrizo, I quit using anything else and even my Mexican friends love it.  Tastes the same, but not so greasy so probably healthier.

I package soy chorizo, removed from casing

Enough small red potatoes to cover the bottom of a 13 X 9 casserole dish when thinly sliced

3 large poblano peppers, deseeded and sliced

1 medium purple onion, chopped

10 cherry tomatoes

2 cups half and half

4 TBS flour

1 TBS chili mild chili powder

Several TBS olive oil

Cover the bottom of the casserole with olive oil.  Layer the sliced potatoes so that they totally cover the bottom of the dish.  Remove the soy chorizo from its casing and crumble it over the potatoes.  Layer the sliced poblanos over the chorizo.  Sprinkle the chopped onions over the top of the peppers.  Scatter the cherry tomatoes on top of the onions.  In a blender, combine the half and half, the flour, and the chili powder.  Pour evenly over the casserole.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees until the potatoes are tender.  You may uncover the casserole and continue baking for the last ten to fifteen minutes if you would like the top a bit browned.

I served this with roasted vegetables seasoned with cumin and ground coriander and Egyptian basil:

Cover the bottom of a heavy casserole with olive oil. Place thinly sliced potatoes–I used purple ones–to cover the bottom of the pan.  Continue layering your choice of vegetables, spices, and olive oil.  Bake at 400 degrees until the potatoes on done, stirring occasionally.  About ten minutes before the casserole is done, add kale leaves. The potatoes take longer to cook than any other vegetables I have ever used.  Last night I used these vegetables:  purple potatoes, yams, baby carrots, brussel  sprouts,  chopped onions, beets, kale, red jalapeños (seeded and halved), and whole garlic cloves.  This is also good with garbanzo beans added just before the kale.

I was going to take photos but was too busy entertaining to take them.