I rarely measure, I often experiment, try new flavor combinations. To create this dish I sautéed several cloves garlic, coarsely chopped, in oil–I use olive for just about everything. I peeled and cubed 1/2 sweet potato and finely chopped approximately two tablespoons fresh ginger. I added these to the olive oil. When the garlic and sweet potatoes were tender, I added 1/2 coarsely chopped red bell pepper and several handfuls of baby bok choy which I had sliced into large pieces. When the bok choy was tender, I added peanuts and Thai sweet chili sauce. I served this over Jasmine rice.
Purple Cabbage with Poblano Peppers, and Garbanzo Beans
I had some left over cabbage and decided to create a new dish. Once again I coarsely chopped several cloves garlic and sautéed them in olive oil. When they were tender and slightly browned, I added coarsely chopped purple cabbage and poblano peppers, sautéing only until they were barely tender. To this mixture I added basil essential oil. Then I added the garbanzo beans. Do not add them too soon because it makes them mushy. I served this over conchiglie pasta from Italy.
Note: I use several essential oils in cooking–basil, fennel, lemon, cumin, thyme, rosemary, cardamon. However, they are intense so if using essential oils, use only a little, taste, then add more if necessary. It is easy to over do it.
For more recipes like this, see my most recent book, “You’re Gonna Eat That?!” It is filled with many simple pescatarian and vegetarian recipes.
Although I did know what paneer is–a white cheese originally from India, I had no idea what to do with it. At the last trip to the grocery, I saw it there with all the other specialty cheeses and said to myself, “Why not try this?” I’ve made India dishes of various kinds off and on for decades but never used paneer.
My first experiment resulted in this:
Here is the recipe: sauté 5 to 6 coarsely chopped cloves of garlic in olive oil (I know you should use ghee but I did not have any). Finely chop fresh ginger to equal 2 – 3 Tablespoons. Add to the garlic. Stir in garam masala or curry powder–I used some of both which I had on hand. Add paneer which has been cut into cubes. After the above were adequately cooked, I added coarsely chopped arugula and when it was wilted, I added frozen peas and continued cooking only until they were warm. I served it over basmati rice which I cooked while making the paneer recipe.
I made this a couple of days ago. Today I am experimenting with another paneer recipe I created. This time I will mix what I have on hand, chopped onions, carrot coins, chopped beets, paneer, and chopped poblano peppers. I will use the same spices as before.
My travels have not only enlightened me personally, but also enabled me to create recipes from my food adventures around the world. Due to the recommendations of friends and family worldwide, I created a cookbook/memoir with stories and recipes. Len Leatherwood, new President of the Story Circle Network, says, “This is a cookbook after my own heart, filled with a wide range of healthy recipes from several cultures that will add flavor, color, and variety to any table.” Jennifer Archer, award winning writer and editor elaborated further, “A feast for the senses…combines colorful stories, poems, and mouth-watering recipes that inspire readers to experience new places, new tastes…from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Scandinavia, and America.”
This would make a great Christmas present for foodies and people who want worldwide food adventures. It can be ordered online from: http://www.dreamcatcherbooks.com and go to Angel Books.
Recipes for the food in the photos above are included in the book. More food photos follow:
Lemon pasta with mixed salad topped with grated asiago cheese.
Many of the recipes feature berbere, a spice used in Ethiopian cooking. The book also includes four different recipes for salmon and many vegetarian and vegan recipes using spices from around the world.
Cool and cloudy reigned today. Now tornado warnings west of here glide across the TV screen I’ve turned on mute. About now, the severe thunderstorms are supposed to start. A repeat of yesterday when I took these photos from my patio.
Fed Rosie earlier to beat the predicted storm, swept the dirt and little rocks from yesterday’s storm off the drive, and strolled around to get some exercise. After several hectic days of no cooking, decided to cook something vegetarian.
1 medium sized purple onion coarsely chopped
6 medium brussels sprouts cut in half
1/2 large red bell pepper coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon chana masala (East Indian spice)
1 teaspoon berbere (Ethiopian spice)
Pour enough olive oil in 8-10 inch skillet to cover the bottom. Saute the onions in the oil until translucent. Add the brussels sprouts and spices. Stir and cook until the brussels sprouts are cooked but still crisp. Add the red pepper and sauté. Do not over cook. Serve over Jasmine rice.
Not quite ready but almost.
Berbere on left sent from Ethiopia by my friend’s mother.
Jasmine rice ready to serve. Here is how I cook the rice:
Pour enough olive oil in the bottom of the saucepan to barely cover it. Add 1 heaping tsp. finely chopped garlic and briefly sauté. Add one cup rice (here I used white but sometimes I mix red, black and white evenly) and sauté a little bit more. Add two cups water and 1 tsp. vegetarian bouillon (I prefer Better Than Bouillon). Stir and cover with several paper towels or one thick tea towel. Place lid on top and turn down to low. Cook 1/2 hour if using only white rice. Other rice requires double the time.
The finished product ready to eat.
Now I am going back to reading while awaiting the lightning and thunder. About 1/3 way through a light but entertaining read: “Coyote Cowgirl” by Kim Antieau.
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
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.
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.
Recent cold nights brought childhood memories of Mom’s cooking, particularly the one and only soup I recall her ever making, potato soup. Then memories of Dad and how much he loved Mom and her cooking rushed in. Long after Mom’s death on one of my visits home, Dad asked me to cook all the ingredients for Mom’s potato soup except for the milk. He wanted enough to last a while so he could add the milk bit by bit on occasions when he wanted soup. On a cold night this past week, I duplicated Mom’s soup like on that visit home long ago. I even made extra.
Barbara Lightle’s Potato Soup
1 onion, chopped finely
Several stalks celery, chopped finely
Potatoes, chopped finely–enough so that the ratio of potatoes to onion and celery is 2:1
Enough melted butter to saute all the above until done
Finally, add milk and salt to taste, depending on how salty and thick you like your soup.
Mom made it plain like this. I used olive oil instead of butter and also added a few chopped portabella mushrooms. It later occurred to me that adding green chilies or poblano peppers with some cumin would make a nice soup. Or use coconut milk and curry for Asia style.
This recipe is dedicated to my grandson, D’mitri, who recently became a very serious vegetarian.
1 lb. soy “hamburger” (I used Gimme Lean Ground Beef Style Veggie Protein)
1 15 oz. can salt free chopped tomatoes
I medium onion, chopped
1 can tomato paste
1/2 -1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
1 heaping Tbls. each of basil, oregano, and marjoram
Saute the onion in large skillet or sauce pan in 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil. Place sautéed onion in blender with the chopped tomatoes and spices. Blend.
In the meantime, in the same saucepan or skillet, place broken pieces of the hamburger in heated olive oil. Use a wooden spoon to break up the “hamburger” into small pieces and brown. Pour the onion/tomato/spices mixture over the browned “hamburger”. Cook on medium low heat for 5-10 min. Add one can tomato paste and the red wine. Stir thoroughly. Cook on low heat for a minimum of one hour. Serve over organic, Italian pasta of your choice. Serves four.
This is very delicious. It is almost impossible to tell the difference between this and spaghetti sauce made from meat and it is considerably cheaper. It is yummy leftover because the spices blend. I use Egyptian basil because I prefer it. Any type of basil will work.