celery root, turnip & black bean salad over kale


Some know it as celeriac, others call it celery root, and some have no idea what it is or what to do with it. Whether it’s seen as funny looking, ugly, or intimidating, it’s a delicious vitamin packed tuber. Some claim it was cultivated in Italy during the 1600’s, and it’s common in Europe today if not in all parts of the USA. It’s high in fiber and vitamins B, C, and K. It’s also a good source of phosphorus and potassium. Best of all, it’s a crunchy and tasty winter vegetable available in the Pacific Northwest that can be paired with many yummy companion flavors.

I wanted to make a winter salad with lightly steamed winter white celery root and turnip paired with black beans and black Forbidden Rice to serve over fresh Italian kale. My celery root was good sized so I made quite a bit– and it disappeared fast! so I’ll make it again before the season for it passes.

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In case you’re uncertain about how to best cut into a large celery root: chop off the bottom and then the top to make flat edges. Then with the celery root placed securely on its flat base, using a sharp knife cut/pare away the rough and knoty outer surface working at an angle from the top, cutting downwards several inches each time as you work your way around and down the root. When you get about half way to the bottom, flip it so the bottom becomes the top, and keep cutting downwards several inches each time as you work your way around and down. It cuts easily. Once you’ve cut away the outer surface, slice it into 1/4 inch or so rounds, then chop to your desired shape and size.

ingredients:

  • 1 medium celery root, chopped
  • 1 medium turnip, chopped
  • 4 or so good sized shallots, diced
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 t sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c dry Forbidden Black rice
  • 1 can organic black beans, well rinsed
  • 1 bunch Italian kale

instructions:

Bring scant 1 cup water to a boil with a pinch of salt, add well-rinsed black rice, then simmer covered for 25-30 minutes until water absorbed and rice has nice texture. Remove from heat, fluff with fork, set aside.

Saute diced shallots in 1 T olive oil until translucent and just beginning to turn brown. Set aside in large casserole dish with airtight lid. Using same skillet and a little more olive oil if necessary, saute chopped celery root and turnip over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, then add 1/8 c fresh water, cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes until celery root and turnip are fragrant and softened a bit, but not mushy. Drain off any residual water, then add shallots and well rinsed black beans, stir all together well. Transfer to your large casserole dish with airtight lid, and dress with 1 T fresh lemon juice. When ready to serve, rip kale into bite sized pieces (discard the thick center spine), then place some cooked black rice and celery root mixture on top. This microwaves nicely for leftovers, or for the first serving if you like the texture of lightly cooked kale, as I do.

 

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black-eyed peas with kale, dijon mustard & thoughts on traditions


My mother was raised in Texas, and her parents were from Oklahoma and Louisiana, so  in keeping Southern traditions every New Years dinner my mother served black-eyed peas and ham. Black-eyed peas in the South are traditionally eaten at the start of the year to bring good luck in wealth; adding greens doubles down on wealth (and nutrients too.) I’ve adapted this recipe to include fresh kale (collard greens are the classic Southern side), and also some heat from the lemon drop pepper and texture from the fresh celery.

Throughout my childhood each holiday included food traditions– some which I enjoyed (especially the boxes of Van Duyn’s dark chocolates each December when we put up the Christmas tree!) and some not so much (the gamey lamb with sugary green mint jelly at Easter.)  Beneath this New Year’s tradition though the messaging I remember learning from my young mother includes “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” and “There’s never enough.” She was widowed at a very young age which fairly shook her confidence when she had two small children and no career plans other than being a wife and at-home mother. Yet we certainly never went hungry or lacked for anything we needed.

As an adult I’ve reflected on what I learned from my mother’s actions and words, incuding how food traditions are “baked in” to most of our lives, how we celebrate with food and alcohol, and soothe ourselves and others with food and alcohol “treats”. I think about how our core values are messaged through our choices of what and how we eat, both intentionally through holiday rituals and unintentionally in our daily routines.

I want to keep what’s good from my life experiences, and discard what is not supportive of my living mindfully, well, and feeling good in the years to come. So I’ve retained my mother’s black-eyed peas New Years good luck in wealth tradition– I’ve taken her recipe, and made it mine by deleting the ham, deleting the fear of loss and not having enough. I’ve added kale and hot pepper, self-reliance with a career to support myself and my daughter, also study of nutrition and exercise for physical well being, and thus confidence. Here’s to a healthy and wealthy, purposeful and productive, and happy New Year for all!

ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas, well rinsed
  • 1 T plus 1 t whole-grain or Dijon mustard
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 hot pepper, diced (I used hot lemon drop)
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped into thin ribbons
  • scant 1/4 c olive oil
  • scant 1/8 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed juice with pulp
  • scant 1/2 t sea salt
  • fresh ground green or black pepper to taste

instructions:
Carefully inspect dried black eyed peas, discard any stones or misfits, then rinse well. Place dried peas in a large pot, cover with water and let soak to soften for 4-8  hours or overnight. Rinse well. Cover generously with fresh water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until soft but not mushy, about 30 min-1 hour. Drain. Rinse to cool and drain again.

Place the chopped kale in a large bowl, drizzle with a little of the olive oil and salt, then massage until just softened. Add in the diced vegetables. Stir together well, then add the drained cooked black-eyed peas and mix those in gently. Whisk together the remaining olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.  This can be made a day or even two ahead– refrigerated in a covered casserole dish, the flavors will meld. Serve hot over rice as Hoppin’ John, a traditional black-eyed pea dish, enhanced with veggies.

yam & black bean enchiladas with cilantro & sunflower seed pesto


Making my grocery list I was thinking about my adult daughter coming home soon for Christmas– Hallelujah! Her favorite childhood meal was always my tofu enchiladas, and long past her graduation from college “tofu enchiladas” was still her answer when I’d ask what she’d like me to make for her first meal at home. She’s had her own kitchen now for many years, and she texts or calls me sometimes when that’s what she’s cooking.

So that’s how I came to be thinking about making enchiladas. I was also thinking I craved a good pesto, but not a basil pesto, not on classic Italian pasta. I wanted cilantro, and black beans, maybe salmon? Then the thoughts blended together and I contemplated making a New Enchilada recipe. Would she think that sacrilege? I considered new growth…  Having “tested” it, I can say I think they’re tasty! When my daughter arrives home in time for dinner tonight I have New Enchilada left overs for us.  (And, while grocery shopping I also bought beer, tofu and Ezekiel tortillas, so if she answers “tofu enchiladas”  I will smile knowing “mom’s enchiladas are best”. I’ll hand her a cold beer and enjoy her updates while I easily put those together, knowing the recipe by heart.

 

enchilada ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jewel yam, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1/4 t sea salt, fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2-2 c cooked black beans, or 1 can, well rinsed
  • 1-2 T fresh lime juice
  • 6 organic corn tortillas, softened

enchilada instructions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Saute chopped yam in 1-2 T olive oil  in large skillet, adding cumin after a minute or two. Continue stirring until yam is just starting to brown, then add a couple T fresh water, reduce heat and simmer covered for 3-4 minutes, until yam just beginning to soften. Add chopped red pepper and continue to steam for 2 minutes. Test for doneness, cooking until yam and red pepper are just soft but still bright, not mushy. Add black beans, salt and black pepper to taste, and mix all together well. Prepare 9×9 baking dish with a little olive oil. Soften corn tortillas (in fry pan or pre-heating oven), spoon yam and bean mixture into tortillas, roll and place into baking pan. Top with pesto (recipe follows.) Pour lime juice over top, then bake covered for about 20 minutes. Serve garnished with reserved toasted sunflower seeds.

pesto ingredients:

  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, about 2 cups
  • 3 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon drop hot pepper
  • 1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 c pecorino or parmesan grated cheese
  • 1/8 – 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 -1/2 t sea salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 T fresh lime juice

pesto instructions:

Using dry cast iron or ceramic skillet, toast raw sunflower seeds over medium heat stirring constantly. Set aside. Place garlic in food processor, mince finely, then add hot pepper to running food processor. Add 1/4 cup of toasted sunflower seeds, the cilantro, grated cheese, salt and pepper, process until all chopped finely and well mixed. With food processor running, add lime juice then olive oil slowly– until mixture reaches your desired consistency. Store in a glass jar with tight lid in refrigerator for 3-5 days, or place large “dollops” into center of squares cut of plastic wrap, twist wrap tightly around each dollop of pesto, then place dollops into tightly sealed plastic bag in freezer. Will store in freezer for several months.

 

 

cauliflower & turnip soup with caraway & black mustard seeds


I don’t much like Facebook engagement gimmick challenges and games, but when I saw the “Seven days, seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation.” challenge, I knew one of my family or friends would tag me. And I didn’t dread it, as I enjoy taking my camera out several times a day, most days. There are so many interesting and beautiful things to really look at and engage with through a lens. Naturally one of the first photos I took as a black and white composition had to do with cooking. I was thinking about the cauliflower soup I wanted to make that day…

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ingredients:

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red potato, chopped
  • 1 turnip, chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, including stems, chopped into small flowerettes
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 t black mustard seeds
  • 1 t caraway seeds
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 t sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 cups fresh water

instructions:

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Meanwhile, using large soup pot heat a couple tablespoons olive oil over medium heat then add black mustard seeds. Stir until seeds start to pop, then add caraway seeds and chopped onions and continue to stir for 2 minutes. Add red potato and minced garlic and continue to stir for about 2 minutes, until onions and red potatoes have started to brown. Add chopped turnip, cauliflower, celery, and carrot, then about 6 cups of water just prior or post boiling. Add salt and reduce heat to simmer covered for about 10 minutes; simmer until all veggies are soft, then remove from heat to cool. After cooled, puree soup in batches carefully in a half-full blender, then return to soup pot. Add fresh ground black pepper, and salt to taste. Serve hot.

This soup is both savory with a hint of natural sweetness, the caraway a pleasing and comforting following flavor. I thought initially I’d serve this garnished with pomegranate seeds, but decided against that. I chose to garnish my soup with fresh cranberries and my partner had his “straight up”– delicious with a salad of romaine and radicchio, daikon radish, roasted pumpkin seeds and feta.

 

yellow squash and kale salad with figs, pumpkin seeds, ginger & lime


Indian Summer hot days and quickly cooling evenings, plentiful summer squash and ripe figs were my inspiration for this turn of season main dish salad. Bright yellow and deep green, the sweet figs and tart lime, the crunch of the seeds– yum! This is a full and satisfying healthy meal, with good protein from the tempeh and pumpkin seeds, lots of vitamin C, A, and K from the yellow peppers and kale, minerals potassium and calcium from the figs, magnesium and zinc from the seeds.

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ingredients:

  • 12 oz tempeh, cubed
  • 1-2 medium yellow crooked neck squash, coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • about 6 black mission figs, thinly sliced and halved
  • 1/2 cup raw or dry roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 t black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 inch fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 lime, juice and pulp
  • black pepper to taste

instructions:

Pour 2 T olive oil into skillet and heat over medium flame. Stir black mustard seeds until they begin to pop, then add cubed tempeh and saute until lightly browned. Set the tempeh aside in a casserole dish with lid. Add a tablespoon of butter to the skillet and saute the coarsely chopped yellow squash and minced ginger root for 3 minutes or so, then add the chopped yellow pepper, a splash of white wine or water, reduce the heat and simmer covered for 2 minutes until squash and yellow peppers are bright and softened, but not mushy. Add this to the tempeh.

Cut the thick stems from the kale, then cut the leaves lengthwise in half, roll and slice into thin ribbons. Place kale in large bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a scant 1/8 t salt, then massage the kale with your hands for about 3 minutes to soften it.

Mix the tempeh with squash and yellow peppers into the softened kale, adding in your chopped red onion and pumpkin seeds. Lastly gently add the sliced figs. Dress with juice and pulp of lime. Refrigerate in covered casserole dish. Serve chilled or warmed.

yellow split pea dal with garden hot peppers and rainbow chard


An Indian Summer cool morning then bright sunny hot day with a breeze, ahhhh. “Another trip around the sun”. The changing season and the ripe peppers and chard in my garden told me it was time to revisit making spicy yellow split pea dal– I started in my garden and moved to my kitchen sink.

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Then I looked for a prior recipe post with this as a lead in:

“One of the many great things about yellow split pea dal is that dried split peas don’t require soaking before cooking, and they cook in 30 minutes, a much shorter time required than for dried beans. They’re high in protein and dietary fiber, satisfying and healthy; I did the math and calculated this recipe has 310 calories per cup served over a cup of rainbow chard. I made a large pot of the dal, and served it on a bed of rainbow chard leaves cut into ribbons topped with 1/4 cup of Bhutanese Red Rice for an easy “one bowl” meal. Leftovers taste great, and it freezes well.”

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Then I considered, how would I like to make this today? I tweaked the spices and used coconut milk given how hot and dry the weather has been– following is my revised recipe today.

ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup yellow split peas
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  •  large jewel yam, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium red Nardello pepper, diced (these are sweeter savory)
  • 1 small Lemon Drop hot pepper, diced with seeds
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 in fresh ginger root, minced
  • 3/4 t cardamom
  • 3/4 t coriander
  • 1 1/2 t cumin
  • 1 t turmeric
  • 1/4 t salt, black pepper to taste
  • 1 6oz can Thai coconut milk
  • 1 lemon, juice and pulp
  • 1 bunch rainbow chard

instructions:

Cull through then rinse split peas well, cover with 4 cups fresh water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer covered for about 25 minutes, until quite soft. Drain then set aside.

Cut thick stems out of rainbow chard. Chop the stems and set aside. Cut the chard leaves into thin ribbons and set aside.

In a large soup pot with 1-2 T olive oil over medium heat, add the mustard seeds and allow them to heat up til they just start to pop. Add onions, garlic, and all spices, and stir until onions just begin to turn translucent. Add the chopped yam, stir to coat well with spices, add severak tablespoons of water, reduce heat and cover to simmer until softened, about 4 minutes. Add coconut milk, yellow pepper, celery, and chopped chard stems, cover and simmer another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. When split peas are soft, drain their water into a measuring cup to use later. Add split peas to large pot of spiced vegetables, stir to mix all together well, then add the cooking fluid from the split peas to obtain your desired consistency of dal. Serve over rainbow chard ribbons, dress with fresh squeezed lemon. Serve in a bowl with Bhutanese red rice for a more substantial meal.

chilled garden gazpacho soup with spicy lemon drop peppers


Well I’ve got bowls of fresh picked tomatoes, zucchini, and now also several new-to-my-garden varieties of hot peppers ripe and ready to harvest. And it’s still too hot to cook. Well then, I haven’t had a wonderful bowl of gazpacho since I took a trip to Tulum, Mexico many years ago. Looking at my favorite old cookbooks from my young adulthood and early vegetarian cooking years– Moosewood cookbooks by Molly Katzen, The Good Herb by Judith Hurley, The Greens Cook Book– also a quick look online, I found unappealing gazpacho recipes that rely on V-8 or tomato juice. Not for me. I wanted most of my gazpacho ingredients to be fresh from my own vegetable and herb gardens.

I decided to get out the blender, begin coarse chopping and dicing, creating my own recipe as I chopped. The result was delicious, every bite as wonderful as my happy memories of a meal shared in a Mexican ecological paradise. What follows is all the ingredients and an approximation of their quantities– I didn’t measure much as I worked. This made 4-6 satisfying dinner sized servings.

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ingredients:

  • about 6-8 cups mixed variety of ripe red tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 medium red onion, minced
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 zucchini (about 1 1/2 cups), 2/3 coarsely chopped and 1/3 diced
  • 1 cucumber (about 1 1/2 cups), 1/2 coarsely chopped and 1/2 diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 medium yellow Lemon Drop pepper, including seeds, diced
  • 4-6 leaves fresh basil, diced
  • about 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 2 T rice wine vinegar
  • about 3/4 c water, from carafe with mint kept chilled in the fridge
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1/4 t sea salt, black pepper to taste
  • cilantro, chopped, for garnish

instructions:

Using a large cutting board and a blender, coarsely chop tomatoes and place in blender until it’s about half full, and puree til smooth with a half cup of the mint infused water. Transfer to large soup pot. Again fill blender with coarsely chopped tomatoes, the minced garlic, diced basil, diced hot pepper, the olive oil and rice wine vinegar. Pulse until you achieve your desired consistency: some like gazpacho silky smooth, but I like mine with some texture. Transfer to soup pot. Again fill blender with coarsely chopped tomatoes, about 2/3 of your coarsely chopped zucchini and about 1/3 of your coarsely chopped cucumbers, and the lime juice, and pulse to your desired consistency. If necessary, add either some of your previously pureed soup or a little more mint water to have enough fluid initially to allow you to achieve your desired texture. Add to soup pot. Also add to soup pot your minced red onion and celery, the reserved diced zucchini and cucumber, a little sea salt and black pepper, also more lime juice if desired. Chill for at least half a day before tasting and fine tuning the seasonings. Serve chilled with plenty of cilantro garnish.