This evening I needed to make something quick, easy and healthy with ingredients I had in the house. I covered the bottom of a skillet with olive oil, added some chopped onions and sweet potato. When they were tender, I added chopped red bell peppers, poblano peppers, and arugula. When the arugula was wilted, I added walnuts and great northern beans and basil essential oil. I served this over farro.
I never cook farro like the directions on the package. I find the result boring. Here is my method. Cover the bottom of a saucepan with avocado oil. Saute one cup of farro in the oil for a couple of minutes at high heat. Add three cups of water and some roasted garlic bouillon. Turn down to a lower heat so that it is boiling slowly. Cook for about 1/2 hour. Add more water if needed. I always cook it down so I do not have to pour off any of the broth.
Experimentation and creativity while cooking become really important when you are home and going out and about does not seem a very safe option. Here are some photos of two recent dishes I created for dinner.
Many people do not like certain vegetables, two of which are my favorites, beets and Brussels spouts. I remain convinced that people do not like them because no one has ever cooked them in a way they find palatable. These two vegetables keep well in the refrigerator so they are good for buying in this time when many do not want to go to the grocery often.
To create the above dish, I sautéed several chopped garlic cloves in olive oil with the chopped beets. Cook these until nearly done, then add the sliced Brussels sprouts. It takes longer to cook the beets and garlic than the Brussels sprouts. You want the Brussels spouts to be tender but do not over cook. This particular day I added basil essential oil to taste and served the dish over pasta from Italy. When I want something more spicy, I sprinkle berbere (Ethiopian spice) over the vegetables instead of using basil or other Italian spices. Sometimes I serve this over rice instead of pasta, e.g. when I use berbere. This provides a delicious vegan meal and is easy to prepare.
One of my favorite dishes includes cod loins. I create many different versions by changing the vegetables used and the spices. For this one, I first sautéed garlic in olive oil until golden, added chopped beets and sautéed until they were tender. Then I added the cod loin and chopped red bell pepper and chopped poblano pepper. At the last minute I added a handful of frozen green peas and sautéed only until they were hot. Once again I used basil and added lemon essential oil. The pasta is bucatini from Italy. If you like cheese, grate fresh parmesan or asiago over the dish.
Winter squash, butternut and acorn, are two vegetables I like and think are under used. Because I became tired of peeling butternut, I decided to invent something for acorn squash. Much to my surprise, it is now one of Martina’s favorite foods. She has even sent photos to her mother in Italy to see if the squash is sold there so her family can try it. The following recipe is for two. Obviously, just buy more squash and fill if you want to make it for more people. This is a perfect recipe for vegetarians because no meat or fish is used.
1 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 to 1 teaspoon honey for each half
Pepitas or any chopped nut of your choice
Saute the finely chopped onion in olive oil until translucent. Stir in approximately one handful of seeds or nuts. Rub olive oil in the bottom of a small baking dish or pan and cover the flesh of the squash with a thin layer of olive oil. Place squash in the pan, fill deseeded center with the onion mixture. Place honey on top of this mixture. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the squash halves.
For a totally vegetarian meal, serve with salad.
If you want to add more protein to the meal, add black or garbanzo beans to the salad. Sometimes we also add chopped hard boiled eggs and feta cheese.