Last night I made vegetarian split-pea soup with avocados in it, for the fat. So when I when to Giant to see what to make for a casserole, I was thinking I should make something with meat. I found good quality, skinless, boneless, chicken breasts for $1.99/pound. I picked up two trays for a total of just under nine pounds. Then I looked around for what would go with them. I will just write the recipe. It turned out fantastic!
~9 pounds skinless, boneless, chicken breasts
8 to 10 red plums, (~ 2 pounds)
2-1/4 cups black rice
3 cups quinoa
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
~ 6 teaspoons & 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
medium grind black pepper
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water
Put the quinoa, black rice, a Tablespoon of ginger and some oil in the rice cooker with a little extra water for brown rice and start. When done, dump into turkey roasting pan. Cut the plums in half and pit. Throw them in the blender with a Tablespoon of cinnamon and puree. Add it to the roasting pan. While this is going on, you can be browning batches of chicken breasts. Cut chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. In the largest skillet you own (preferably cast iron) heat up avocado oil and sprinkle a teaspoon of ginger and grate black pepper into it. Add a couple of breasts worth of meat and cook it long enough to sear it, not so long that it is toasted. Add it to the roasting pan and mix in. Keep doing this until all the meat is seasoned. Add the lemon juice and water. Cover and bake of an hour at 350º. After that hour, turn the oven down to 200 to hold until you are ready to go down to the street or your event.
Black rice has more flavanoids per ounce than blueberries and actually helps lower blood sugar. Quinoa is a super food because it is a slow carb and includes protein. Plums have important vitamins and fiber. Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory. I use fresh ground, Chinese Cinnamon, which helps control blood sugar. I use fresh ground, black pepper which is a natural germ fighter and anti-oxidant. These are all important considerations for people who live outdoors in the harsh urban environment.
This is a simple and delicious recipe that the people really loved. It is sweet with no added sugar. It looks elegant and smells wonderful! People keep asking me, “Where do you come up with these things!” All I can say is that I have scripts for four different psychoactive drugs, so it’s anybody’s guess. Here we go!
2 litres guava nectar
2- 2lb. packages long grain white rice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
13 ripe, yellow plantains, peeled and sliced thin like a banana
In my rice cooker, one bag of rice is equal to seven measures of rice, which is the maximum. Put that in with 1 litre of guava nectar and the cinnamon & cloves, and fill up to proper level for amount of rice and cook. Then empty it into a large roaster pan and add half the sliced plantains and stir together. prepare the second bag of rice the same way. Mix the two batches of rice together thoroughly. Save out enough plantain to cover the top with one complete layer. Then cover and bake at 200º for a few hours, until you are ready to go to your event or leave for the park.
I’m going crazy in the kitchen again. I just heard the voice of one of my daughters (or was that all of them?) in my head, saying “make that still.” At any rate, we have had such large crowds lately, that I thought I should make another dish. I had quinoa, but not enough time to go to Produce Junction. Inspiration combined with great sales on the “Ethnic Foods” aisle at Giant when I went to buy the iced tea. Here is the recipe.
6 cups organic quinoa
2 litres mango nectar
1 quart water
~ 1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger root
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon allspice
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
2 cans (40 ounce) yams in syrup
In a turkey roasting pan, over two burners, heat a generous amount of avocado oil and toast the six cups of quinoa. Be careful not to burn it. Have the Mango nectar and the water ready. Add the Mango nectar and the quart of water before the quinoa burns. Stir frequently. Bring the pot to a boil and stir frequently while it simmers for 5 or 6 minutes. This is when you add the ginger, allspice, and cinnamon. Then mix in the vanilla and cover. Turn off the heat and let sit for 15 minutes. Open the cans of yams. Using a sturdy wisk, mash the yams in the cans thoroughly, then spread them over the quinoa in the roaster pan and wisk them into the mixture. Place the roaster in the oven and bake at 200º until you are ready to leave for your event or to serve to the folks in the street.
It is tasty and sweet and nutritious, with protein and fibre and flavonoids and healthy spices.
This dish by Miss April, took some explaining to our men and women on the street. It is not the prettiest, with the black rice. Once a few tried it and the word spread of how tasty it was, we had no problem ‘selling’ the rest. This recipe does not use soy sauce, because we do not use soy personally, because it is impossible to get non-GMO and the nutritional effects are questionable. If we would not eat it ourselves, we do not serve it to others. The people truly appreciate this. Many had never heard of black rice. Black rice has more powerful natural antioxidant per spoonful than blueberries. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and helps prevent cancer, heart attacks and Alzheimer’s disease. Sometimes what you don’t know about can help you. It pays to try new things.
5 cups black rice or mahogany rice, cook in 10 cups water
4 Tablespoons coconut aminos (instead of soy sauce)
3 Tablespoons ginger fresh grated
salt & pepper
Saute’ carrots & celery slightly and transfer to large turkey roasting pan. Saute’ cabbage until wilted, adding coconut aminos and ginger. Transfer to roasting pan. Saute’ onions, garlic and mushrooms, adding salt & pepper, until soft. Stir into pan with other veggies and rice. Cover and keep warm in oven at 200º until ready to leave for the city.
The Thursday before last, April made this dish for our vegetarian alternative. She wasn’t sure how it would go over, since it is a bit exotic. It is an Afro-Puerto-Rican dish. Of course, she puts her own spin on everything she does. (Where would she get that from? Ahem.) I assured her that enough people had Puerto Rican friends or relatives that they had been exposed to some of this cuisine before. It was very well received. We came home with an empty pan.
12 large green plantains, peeled, sliced 1/3 inch thick and lightly fried on both sides
2 large root pieces yucca/cassava, peeled, cut in 1″ cubes and boiled until pretty soft
1-1/2 heads garlic, peeled
salt and pepper
Using a food processor, pulse plantain, yucca, garlic, cooking water, and seasonings in batches. Texture should be like chunk mashed potatoes. Spread in the bottom of a large roasting pan.
8 med-lg onions, sliced
2 lbs carrots, sliced
4 bunches Swiss chard, chopped
salt and pepper
1/4 cup turmeric
Working in batches, sauté the onions and carrots until barely tender, adding part of the turmeric toward the end of each batch. Stir together with the chard and salt and pepper to taste and spread on top of mofongo in pan. Cover and bake @ 350º for a couple hours.
You read the title right. It wasn’t a typo or a bad translation from Chinese. This isn’t a Chinese recipe at all. There is an old family farm not far from here. They grow vegetables and have a road side stand and they keep a lot of chickens, truly free range chickens. The master of the estate is in his 90s. He still works hard at it and gathers hundreds of eggs each day, not always in the henhouse. He carries them in the bucket back to the house. Sometimes he loses his grip, and some eggs get cracked. He was a child of the first Great Depression, so he doesn’t like to see anything going to waste. His daughter works the farm with him. Our daughter gets the eggs for her household there. She was looking for bargains to hard boil some for the folks on the street. One thing led to another.
They started giving us their strictly fresh, cracked eggs. The ones that are intact enough to hard boil, we do so, and chill for the guys on Thursday night. They were happy to get some free range chicken eggs! A number of the men we serve are old time country boys. About a dozen were still fine and fresh, but too cracked to hard boil. I just used them as another ingredient in the soup for last Thursday.
~1-1/2 gallon of home made chicken broth
10 pounds of ground chuck
1-1/2 dozen free range chicken eggs
1 head garlic, peeled
~2 cubic inches fresh ginger root
3 large Spanish onions
2 pounds broccoli crowns cut into bite sized pieces
1 pound carrots sliced
2 fennel, diced, fronds & all
2 each, red, yellow, orange, sweet peppers
2 pounds radishes, quartered
2 pounds fresh baby spinach
2 Tablespoons Albanian sage
3 Tablespoons turmeric
a generous dousing of hot sauce
35 twists of medium grind black pepper
Heat up the chicken broth in the 22 quart stockpot. In a large, cast iron skillet, fry the ground chuck in batches of about 1-1/2 pounds at a time with a diced half onion and a garlic clove pressed onto it. Grate some of the ginger over each batch. Once the meat is almost done, add some of the eggs and mix around with your spatula. Keep frying until cooked, breaking up the hamburger , mixing all the spices and eggs in. Add to the pot. That doesn’t require constant attention, so keep chopping.
Slice the carrots and quarter the radishes and add them to the pot. Cut the tops off the fennel, dice and add to the pot. Cut up the broccoli and add to the pot.
Once you are done cooking the ground chuck, clean the skillet. Saute’ diced fennel bulbs and pepper and any remaining onion in avocado oil, until they start to caramelize. This releases the umami. Add to the pot. You may need to add some water. At some point, you should transfer the stockpot into the double-boiler, canner set-up, to prevent scorching. Cut up the spinach and stir into the soup. Add hot water if necessary. Add the remaining spices. Add hot sauce to taste. Don’t overwhelm it. We always have a bottle on site for people to add it themselves. You can always add it. You can’t take it out.
Let it heat in the double boiler until you need to load it into the Igloo container to take it to the venue where you are going to serve it.
This soup took all day to make. It was well worth it! The people loved it! I saw something I have never seen before, in over 25 years serving food in the parks. The only cup of soup that someone tasted and abandoned, because it did not suit them, was claimed by someone else after we ran out! Talk about not letting things go to waste!
This was the soup that we served along with Cranford’s Cocoa Madness and Trooper’s Spaghetti and loads of sandwiches and iced tea and bananas and oranges and pastries and peanuts in the shell. Over 150 people showed up. No one went away hungry. We gave three men rides home in the TKJ-mobile, two others by way of SEPTA fare money. Two of the men we dropped off are faithful volunteers who were going to be helping a man move off of the street into permanent housing on Saturday. We sent an Operation: Clean Start bucket and a Kitchen Jumpstart bag along with them. We need to gather more household goods for him and for two other men who recently moved into new digs. Please check our Facebook page or call me to see what they can use.
I am going to state the obvious here.
All of this cooking and serving and gathering of things, and other ingredients, time, and car, etc., costs money. You could have a share in this ministry by donating on an automatic monthly basis. I am tired of people telling me how special I am for what I do. I really can’t help myself. I am not that special. I can only give away what other people give me. I am just asking you to feed my addiction. It is you who will be blessed. I pray that God will bless you mightily.
This started out as a quadruple batch of Quinoa Cocoa Cinnamon Avocado Mango. Tell me about it. That is a ridiculous name to explain to people in a serving line. As it turns out, I was in too much of a hurry at the Produce Junction. I did not properly examine the avocados and mangos. the first few I squeezed and sniffed were ripe. I was in a hurry, so I grabbed more that looked and felt roughly like those in rapid succession.
As they say, Teachable moment: Don’t rush while choosing your fruit. The Avocados turned out to be underripe and a bit hard. The mangos were more tart than sweet. The avocados were so hard that they took so long to peel that the quinoa was done expanding before two of us could finish cutting and peeling them.
I baked the whole dish to try to soften the avocados and sweeten the mangos; then chilled it overnight. I liked it, but I don’t eat refined sugar, so my palate is not average. I feared I would come home with 3/4 of it. April & the boys stopped by to drop off a Kitchen Jumpstart kit. I asked her to taste it. She said, “Daddy, we need to do an intervention.” So we went to work quickly and made something that the people thought was cookbook worthy. So here is a recipe you can use for tart Ataulfo mangos and hard Hass avocados.
6 cups quinoa
olive or avocado oil
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
7 or 8 medium to small, Hass avocados
7 or 8 Ataulfo mangos
3 Spanish onions, diced
2 large green peppers, diced
2 large red peppers, diced
1/4 cup cumin
2 Tablespoons granulated garlic
3 Tablespoons oregano
~1 teaspoon hot sauce
~3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
~1 pound fresh baby spinach
Cut and peel the avocados & dice. Peel & dice the mangos. HaveIn a large stock pot, toast the quinoa in oil. Stir constantly. Do not let it burn. This brings out flavor. Have 3-1/2 quarts hot water ready to add. Add the water, cocoa & cinnamon as soon as some of the quinoa appears a darker shade of brown. Stir vigorously. Bring to a boil. Let it boil for 6 minutes, stirring often. Turn off the heat. Add the diced avocados & mangos. Cover.
In a large skillet, preferably cast iron, never Teflon, saute’ in oil the diced onions, red & green peppers, cumin, oregano, hot sauce & vinegar, until onions begin to caramelize.
Combine all ingredients from the stockpot and the skillet, plus the fresh spinach into a large turkey roasting pan.
Bake at 350º for an hour or so.
The flavonoids in cocoa have been shown to aid in arterial wall strengthening, stress relief, relaxation, pain relief, and reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Quinoa, avocados, and spinach are all considered “super foods”. So to have three in one vegetarian alternative is quite a coup. A number of the people have grown to truly appreciate the care we take in the preparation of our offerings. We try to do our best and to consider interesting food that we can afford to make, that will be excellent and healthy. It’s not even a Golden Rule thing for me. I am having fun. It is only natural. It is fun! It is right. It is the task God made me for. The Golden Rule only came to mind since I’m trying to write something to get others to get on board.
Quite frankly, I don’t understand why it’s like pulling teeth to get support and why we are always going under. We need more monthly support or we will have to do another house rescue in short order. Pray that my SSDI hearing will come up soon and it will be decided in my favor. That will rescue us. It may be too late, though. You all may have to come out and serve me on the street. I just hope you know how to cook!
Oh yea, the guys loved this dish! While April and I were in the kitchen , it felt like one of those reality shows on HGTV or DIY. It was a successful intervention! Several of the people said I should write a cookbook. I told them I had already started.
Someone gave us a fully cooked ham that had not been frozen, so I decided to make split pea and ham soup for last week. We always have a large turkey roasting pan with a vegetarian alternative and a pot of spaghetti with meat sauce, so there would be options for those who do not eat pork. The soup I made was not their grandma’s split pea & ham. Ask my wife. I never do any thing the simple way. I’ll write the recipe, then I will get back to the rest of the story.
4 quarts home made chicken broth
2 pounds dried black eyed peas
5-20 ounce bags green split peas
2 pounds yellow split peas
1 head garlic, peeled
~ 5 or 6 medium sized, sweet onions, diced
2 pounds carrots
1/2 head of celery
2 Tablespoons ground turmeric
2 Tablespoons powdered sage
3 quarts water
~ 2 cubic inches grated, fresh ginger root
~ 8 pounds of fully cooked, reduced sodium ham
35 twists of medium grind fresh black pepper
Rinse the black eyed peas. Dump into a large sauce pan with 3 quarts of boiling water and boil for a few minutes. Then turn off the heat, cover and let sit for an hour. Heat up the chicken broth in a 22 quart stock pot. Rinse the split peas in a colander and add to the stock pot. Press the garlic into the pot. Stir frequently. Add water. Grate ginger into the pot. Whisk the peas vigorously. Add the turmeric and sage and whisk in. As soon as the peas are cooked, mushy and thoroughly blended, transfer the stock pot into the double boiler, canner set up. Wash and cut up the carrots and throw them into a food processor on chop. They should be finely chopped. Add to the pot. Do the same for the celery. Rinse the black eyed peas in a colander and add them to the pot, stirring them in. Cut the ham into bite sized pieces and add to the pot. Grind the pepper into the pot. Stir everything together. It should by just about 1″ shy of the top of the stock pot and very thick. Make sure the canner does not run out of water. Keep it bubbling for hours until you are ready to transfer it to the Igloo cooler or Cambro to take it to the street or fellowship hall.
OK. I started the black eyed peas about 7:30am. About 9:30am, Kevin Paige arrived to help chop for the soup. About 3:30, April and the grandsons arrived with the Vegetarian Mofongo to put in the oven. About 4:30pm, I went to Giant to get iced tea, including some unsweetened for the diabetics. Then I made sure the TKJ-mobile was stocked and ready. About 6pm, we had dinner. About 6:30pm, I recorded the temperature of the soup at 168º & transferred it into the Igloo cooler. We made sure I had a serving spoon and ladle and put those in the vehicle. About 6:45pm Brian Simpson arrived and another car with sandwiches arrived. We finished loading the TKJ-mobile; did a final check: “two sets of keys, Alex’s mail, any phones for Alex, ladle, spoon, hot sauce, hand washing station, brain: optional.” “We’re good.”
By 7pm, we headed off to Philadelphia with 22 quarts of soup, a huge roaster pan of mofongo, a couple hundred meat and cheese sandwiches, 9-1/2 gallons of iced tea, hot sauce, salt, pepper, assorted clothes, etc. Folks from Holy Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Elkins Park, PA, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Wilmington, DE, Holy Ascension Antiochian Orthodox Church, Downingtown, PA, St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church, Souderton, PA, and Tindley Temple United Methodist Church, Phila., PA, were there set up, ready to serve with spaghetti with meat sauce, more sandwiches, oranges, bananas, apples, hard boiled eggs, pastries, toiletries, Greek Easter cookies, candy bars, bags, etc.
We finished setting up. Everyone who needed to washed their hands and got their gloves on. People were in their positions. Fr. Chris gave the blessing and we started serving.
I loaded up a bag with a bunch of oranges to go to the back of the line to give them away from the back to the front. I didn’t get very far before I saw Morris. It was like seeing a ghost! I still have his number on my cellphone, but I have several dead people’s names and numbers on my cellphone. Soon they will outnumber the living I was just telling myself on Tuesday of last week. We used to talk regularly. I would check in with Morris on a regular basis. Then there was no answer. Then the phone was cut off. I did search the obituaries, but that is not always foolproof. I have kept praying for Morris regardless. We keep praying for our loved ones whether in this world or the next. Death does not stop love. Morris is a survivor of Desert Storm and has some serious cancers from the chemical warfare that the US used there that the VA doesn’t want to admit to or deal with. The last time we spoke in person we talked about that and he was really down.
On Thursday, I told him I was so glad to see him and that I thought he was dead. He shouldn’t disappear like that. He told me that he finally got help for his PTSD and was hospitalized for depression and finally got the right meds and got things straightened out. He said, “Do you see me? I’m smiling!” I said, “Yes! You look beautiful!” This isn’t the kind of response this macho veteran would usually tolerate. From me, though … he gave me a big sheepish grin, with a tear in his eye.
Morris asked me how I was doing. (He knew all about my health problems. We’re friends.) I told him that I was finally getting treatment for my PTSD. It was a step in the right direction. Two other men were listening and they joined in. They, too, had PTSD. One was a veteran and one was not. The one who was not was a bit apologetic about it and the two veterans were quick to say, “You don’t have to be a veteran to have PTSD!” We ended up having a little support group right there in the line until we got up to the bench where the food was being served. Then I went back and gave away the rest of the oranges.
I then took up my usual position as a bollard, informing the folks of what was in the food. We ran out of spaghetti. Then we ran out of mofongo. Then we were almost out of soup. One man came back, raving over the soup. He wanted more. Sean told him it was all gone. The man asked who made it. I confessed. He said, “You sure put some love into it!” I told him to give me his spoon and hold his cup under the corner of the Igloo container as we prop it up. I scraped and scraped the last little bits of it into his cup. He said that he would lick the bottom of that cooler if he could! It was that good.
We finished serving. Everyone had plenty. We had more conversations with people. I ribbed Fr. Chris as usual. (I mean, it’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.) You have to love Fr. Christos and Presvy. Joanna! We packed up the TKJ-mobile, including three full grown men and their gear into the back seat to drop them off at their homes. We headed up N. Broad St. to drop off Mark, Anthony & Gregory. Then Brian deposited me and the TKJ-mobile at home a little after 10pm. Then he proceeded home to Perkasie.
I should also mention that we experienced a record number of crazy drivers on the road: people who were texting who were trying to swerve into our lane; a lady who pulled out and immediately tried to cross two lanes into the side of our car; a truck who drove like a sportscar; people not stopping for emergency vehicles, etc. Pray for us as we travel.
The men say when I serve I really bumpin’ soup, “You really put your foot in it tonight, Rev!” Well, since tonight is Holy Thursday, I am going for that response. I will let you know. I am writing down the recipe as I am making it. The people loved it!
4 quarts salt free home-made chicken broth
10 pounds 80/20 ground chuck
5 medium size yellow onions
1 head garlic
5 large, red, sweet peppers
2 pounds broccoli florets
3 big bunches of collard greens
~ 5 quarts water
~ 1-1/2 cubic inches fresh grated ginger
2 heaping Tablespoons ground turmeric
1 Tablespoon crushed Turkish oregano buds
35 twists, medium grind, black pepper
Fry up the ground chuck in 10-1# batches in a large cast iron skillet with a diced half onion and a pressed garlic clove in each batch & add to the 22 quart stock pot with the chicken broth heating in it on low heat. Cut up the peppers into bite sized pieces and add to pot. Cut the florets to soup sized pieces and add to the pot. Add some of the water. Turn up the heat to cook the added ingredients. Cut the fronds off the fennel, chop and add them to the soup. Now take the white bottoms of the fennel, dice them, and saute’ them in the skillet. (If you need additional fat, you may skim some from the top of the pot.) Don’t skip this step. It unlocks the umami in the fennel. Slice and chop the collard greens and add them. Remember to stir the pot regularly. Dice the eggplants to ~1/2″ cubes, leaving the skin on for the valuable bioflavonoids. Peel and grate the ginger into the pot. Add the remaining spices and remaining water. Transfer the pot into the double boiler canner setup to stew for hours until you are ready to load it into an Igloo container to take it to the city to serve.
April made a curried cauliflower with chickpea recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook for our vegetarian alternative tonight.
I have been publishing a lot of recipes. All of this food costs money. So does the kitchen and the stove and the gas. For that matter, so does the web access and hosting. I forgot to mention the car expenses. We receive less in monthly donations than what we spend for these things. Please consider using the friendly Donate button to set up a monthly automatic Paypal donation. Even if it’s just $20 or $10, it will help. God bless you.
No. We are not talking about funny mushrooms here. We are actually talking about integration. Black and white blending in perfect harmony. A great many people of my generation are now thinking of Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder and their hit: Ebony and Ivory.
That’s OK, but it has nothing to do with cooking, now does it? Although, I guess this could serve as a similar metaphor. only this one involves rice and mushrooms. This is our vegetarian alternative for tonight by our daughter, April Smith. Here’s the recipe:
2 cups white rice
2 cups black rice
10 medium – small yellow onions
4 pounds button white mushrooms
4 bunches Swiss chard
2 Tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
3 teaspoons cumin
4 Tablespoons oregano
salt & pepper
Cook white rice and black rice separately. Dump into roaster pan.
Saute’ onions and spices until translucent. Add to rice in roaster pan.
Saute’ mushrooms in batches until tender. Add to pan.
Saute’ chard until just barely tender. Stir it together with all of the other ingredients. Slow bake until ready to serve. Enjoy with dozens of old friends, new friends, soon to be friends. Live together in Perfect Harmony!