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Pianokeyboard

Mushroom Harmony

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.

blackriceThat’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:

Ingredients:

  • 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
  • olive oil

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!

minipeppers

Chicken Leg Soup

minipeppersWe were able to purchase cases of chicken parts and ground chuck at really good prices in Amish country this week. This is the first soup using some of the meat from that purchase.  As usual, I used lots of fresh ingredients for their nutritional values and chose spices for their anti-inflammatory and disease fighting properties, as well as their flavor. This is all part of our Golden Rule approach to serving. We always want to make food to serve the way we would want it to be made for us.

I wrote this recipe in a non-traditional way. The directions are mixed up with the ingredients. Olive oil is not listed separately. Sorry. No one has ever called me a traditionalist. Enjoy!

  • 2 quarts home made chicken broth. Start heating in 22 quart stock pot.
  • 16 whole chicken legs baked together in a roaster pan with water and turmeric. Once it reaches internal temp of 175°, remove from the oven and drain the liquid into the stock pot. Let the legs cool while you continue working on other things. When it is OK to handle, remove skin and tear up meat into bite sized pieces and add it to soup.
  • 4 large Spanish onions chopped and sauteed in olive oil, caramelized & add to the pot.
  • 2 pounds mini peppers (red, yellow, orange, sweet peppers) chopped & sauteed & add.
  • 2 leeks. Separate the tops. Dice the tops & add to pot. Dice & saute’ the bottom portion & add.
  • Chop up two pounds of fresh broccoli & add.
  • Chop up two big bunches of fresh kale & add.
  • Once all of the above ingredients are in the stockpot, transfer the pot to the double boiler, canner set up.
  • Add water up to two inches shy of the top.
  • Press 5 cloves of garlic into pot.
  • Grate about 1-1/2 cubic inches of fresh ginger in.
  • Add 1 Tablespoon ground coriander.
  • Add 2 Tablespoons ground sage.
  • Medium grind 30 twists black peppercorns into pot.
  • Stir occasionally. Let it stew until we need to transfer it to the Igloo cooler to take it to the street.
Organic_Avocado_Hass_Fuerte

California Style Beans & Rice

Organic_Avocado_Hass_FuerteOur vegetarian alternative last night was prepared by our daughter, April Smith.  It’s beans and rice, but it’s not your typical Phili-Rican mama’s beans and rice, that’s for sure! She didn’t know what to call it after she concocted it, so I named it, “California Style” since that’s where the Hass avocados come from , after all. One of the young men from Eastern University’s YACHT Club , who serve alongside us, requested the recipe. So here it is.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs black beans soaked in water overnight
  • 3 very large Spanish onions or 3lbs yellow onions – chopped
  • 6-7 sweet peppers – yellow, orange or red – chopped
  • 3 cups white rice
  • 5 ripe avocados – cubed
  • 1 lime, squeezed over the avocado
  • 5 or 6 ripe Ataulfo mangoes (a smaller yellow mango) or 4 regular mangoes, cubed
  • 1 bunch cilantro chopped
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder or 1 head garlic minced
  • 1 Tbsp coriander
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Start by draining the beans and cooking in fresh water until tender. When done, transfer to casserole pan. While beans are cooking chop all your peppers and onions. Saute’ onions with a little salt until soft. You may have to do this in 2 or more batches. Saute’ peppers with a little salt and garlic, coriander, cumin, oregano and cayenne. When semi-soft, transfer to casserole. Use the same pot, add 6 cups water and turmeric and bring to a boll. Add rice and cook until done (Cooking in the same pot makes use of the spices stuck on the pan.) Transfer rice to casserole pan along with cilantro and black pepper. Stir gently together and heat in oven. 20 minutes before serving add in the mango and avocado. Enjoy! Makes a large turkey roasting pan full.

The people loved it! We did not use much hot sauce at all, and came home with an empty pan.

Vegetable Delight Soup

yuchoy

Yu Choy

When I started to make tonight’s soup my back was hurting like crazy, so I was not sure how it was going to go. It hurt just to cut the yucca root. About then, Kevin showed up to help. He took over slicing and dicing. I commenced, supervising, story telling and documenting.

Ingredients:

  • water
  • 3-1/2 pounds yellow split peas
  • 1 large yucca root, peeled & pureed
  • a bunch of fresh cilantro, pureed
  • a handful of tarragon, pureed
  • 3″ ginger root, peeled & pureed
  • 1-1/2 heads of celery, chopped
  • 1 pound of sweet baby orange, yellow & red peppers, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 pound of radishes, sliced
  • 1 fennel, diced (including fronds)
  • 8 ounces fresh spinach, cut up
  • a bunch of Yu Choy (Chinese mustard greens, looks like giant spinach)
  • 1 large carrot (It was lonely in the fridge.)
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • ~ 1 Tablespoon ground turmeric
  • ~ 2 Tablespoons dried basil
  • ~ 1 Tablespoon rubbed Albanian sage
  • 20 grinds black pepper

Directions:

Bring a few quarts of water to a boil in a 22 quart stock pot. Add the split peas and cook. Puree’ the yucca, cilantro, tarragon, and ginger in a food processor, and add it to the pot. Whisk the mixture together. Add water, if too thick. Keep chopping the other ingredients. Once the peas are liquefied, add the other ingredients to the pot. Reduce heat. Add more water, as necessary. The stockpot should be about 3 inches shy of full. It should still be fairly thick. Stir everything together. Transfer the stockpot into a canner on top of a couple of rags with a couple inches of water in it. Once you put the stockpot in, the water should come most of the way up the side. This is a giant double boiler, allowing you to stew the soup for hours, without scorching it. Stir it occasionally. Check the water level in the canner so it doesn’t boil dry.

Health Benefits:

Yucca root is used for osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, inflammation of the intestine (colitis), high cholesterol, stomach disorders, diabetes, poor circulation, and liver and gallbladder disorders. It helps cleanse the body of toxins.
Cilantro has strong antioxidant properties and helps cleanse the body of heavy metals. It has also been found to help in lowering blood sugar and preventing cardiovascular damage. It has also been shown to help lower anxiety. [1]
Ginger has been found useful as a powerful anti-inflammatory and migraine preventative, useful in the treatment of diabetes and dozens of other ailments. Turmeric is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, and it has been shown to lower cholesterol as effectively as Lipitor. I wrote about this here.
Peppers have more Vitamin C than oranges, plus they have valuable bioflavonoids as do the radishes.
Celery is a cardiovascular anti-inflammatory and is a good source of Vitamin K and fiber along with a number of minerals.
Yu Choy provides vitamins K, A, C, folic acid and antioxidants.
Garlic is a natural anti-viral and anti-biotic.

We try to provide a healthy meal. We made a vegetarian soup for tonight, because April is making ground beef and cabbage casserole. We always want to offer a vegetarian choice for those who do not eat meat. Thank you for your your support. God bless you.

Cooking Class

Last night was “men’s night in” at our house for the guys from “Haggerty’s Home for Wayward Boys”. It was a cooking demonstration for making a manly, low-carb meal. Ed and I gathered ingredients from from Assi Chinese market, Produce Junction, and Giant. Steve is a pescatarian (a vegetarian who eats eggs and fish) so I made two slightly different dishes, one with flounder, one with pork chops. The men were very impressed. After the meal there was some speculation about kidnapping me and shackling me in the kitchen of their commune, once they strike it big, so I could prepare all of their meals. Here goes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of radishes sliced and slices cut in half
  • 1 pound of baby sweet red, yellow & orange peppers diced
  • 1 fennel diced, including fronds
  • 8 ounces Shitake mushrooms cut into bite sized pieces
  • 4 Hass avocados, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 small, yellow mangoes, peeled & diced
  • bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ~ 1″ ginger root peeled and grated
  • Variations: Either about 9 or 10 pork chops or 12 to 14 flounder fillets, or some balance between to satisfy a mixed audience.
  • bacon drippings or olive oil

Directions:

enamelwareCut up the radishes and fennel and mix them in one bowl. Cut up the peppers and put them in another bowl. Do the same for the mushrooms. Cut & peel the avocados & chunk. Peel & dice the mangoes. Mix them in a small bowl with the avocados. Get all your skillets out and start them heating on high heat if you are making pork chops, medium heat if you are making flounder. Put about a tablespoon of reserved bacon drippings or lard into each skillet (preferably cast iron with sides) in which you are cooking pork chops and a generous amount of olive oil in each skillet in which you are preparing flounder. Throw the pork chops into the hot fat and keep rearranging until at least one side of every chop is browned. Throw radishes and fennel, then fennel into the fish pan(s), then the Shitakes, then the flounder. Add the radishes, fennel, shitakes to the pork chops. Grate the ginger over everything. Add the cilantro. Keep stirring and flipping. Cover skillets. Reduce heat to medium. Add avocados & mangoes as radishes soften. The flounder will get done quickly. Be vigilant. Do not overcook the pork. If the radishes are soft and the fennel is just slightly crunchy, and there is juice in the pan, it’s perfect.

This is enough to feed six manly men. I served it on proper, manly enamelware from Amish country, with matching enamelware tumblers. Of course, we spoke of manly things, like cooking and how to count carbs, and realistic ways to deal with heroin addicts.

We had a great time.

Brassy Pilaf

broccoli-cauliflowerFor our vegetarian side dish last night, April made what she called “Brassy Pilaf”. I asked her what made it brassy. She told me that broccoli and cauliflower are both brassicas. I looked it up, and to be more precise, they are actually both brassica oleracea, different cultivars of the same species, along with kale, collard greens, kohlrabi, savoy, and Chinese cabbage.
At any rate, it was very well received. People told us it was tasty. Almost no one asked for hot sauce on it, so it must have been good.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups uncooked white rice, cooked in water
  • 1 bag broccoli crowns (about 3 heads)
  • 2 small cauliflower, cut up bite sized
  • 5 large red onions, chopped
  • olive oil as needed
  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder
  • pepper & salt to taste
  • 3 teaspoons coriander
  • 3 Tablespoons oeregano

Saute’ chopped onions in oil. Add seasonings. Lightly steam broccoli & cauliflower. Add all to rice in a large roaster pan.

Left Coast Surprise!

butternut squashThey say when life gives you lemons to make lemonade. Well, someone gave us the biggest butternut squash I have ever seen. When I went to Produce Junction, avocados were on the best sale ever. I already had the quinoa and have been wanting to prepare it in the traditional Peruvian style, with cocoa powder, so another one of my famous mash-ups is born!

Ingredients:

  • 1 humongous Butternut Squash, so big, that when peeled and 1/2″ diced, it 3/4 fills the big turkey roaster pan.
  • 4 Sweet Red Peppers diced
  • 2 Fennel, fronds & all diced
  • 2 Spanish Onions chopped
  • 2″ Ginger Root
  • 10 Hass Avocados, peeled & cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups Quinoa
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 generous Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 16 twists Black Pepper
  • 1 large bunch of Cilantro chopped
  • Water

Directions:

Dump the diced Butternut Squash, Red Peppers, an Hass Avocados into the roasting pan. Saute’ the chopped Onions and Fennel in Olive Oil, then dump into the roasting pan. If the skillet is deep enough, toast the Quinoa in Olive Oil until slightly darkened, then add Cocoa Powder and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer, cover and let sit for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off burner and let stand for another 15 minutes. Then and it to the pan. Grate the Ginger Root on top. Grind the Pepper. Add the Cilantro. Toss it all together. Cover and and either bake it at 350º for an hour or slow bake for several hours at 200°. There’s no salt in it. Each person can add salt, if they wish, when they eat it.

This recipe includes two of the super foods. Avocados have healthy fats and quinoa provides a little protein. Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Cilantro helps to cleanse the body from toxins. All the bright colors indicate beneficial bioflavonoids. Fennel helps lower blood pressure and aids digestion. Sweet red peppers provide Vitamins A and C.

At first, the people were not sure about it. A few said they didn’t like squash. I told them it had cocoa in it and asked them if I had ever made anything they didn’t like. They said No, and tried it. They loved it and persuaded others to try it. I came home with an empty pan.

Pumpkin Soup for a Family

pumpkinAll of the recipes I have published here have been for serving on the street to hundreds of people. Well, I made some pumpkin soup to add to the mix for coffee hour after church, today, and I thought I would share the recipe with you all just in case it’s any good. Here goes!

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cups Quinoa
  • 6 cups cooked, pureed Pumpkin
  • 1 Spanish Onion, chopped
  • 5 mini Sweet Peppers (red, yellow, orange), chopped
  • ~ 5 sticks of celery with the leaves, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground Ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cloves
  • Olive Oil
  • Water
  • 20 twists Black Pepper

Directions:

Saute’ the Quinoa in your soup pot in Olive Oil to toast it. Add 1-1/3 cups water and the Turmeric. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, covered. Turn off heat and leave it be for 10 minutes. In a skillet saute’ the Onion, Sweet Peppers and Celery in Olive Oil. Add the Pumpkin and the sauteed veggies to the soup pot. Turn on the burner again. Add about 5 cups of water and the rest of the spices. Cook until all of the veggies are tender. I do not add salt. I put it on the table along with the hot sauce. People can add it to their own. This is gluten free, sodium free, and vegan.

Poof de buna!

Not Your Mother’s Vegetable Soup!

yucca20root

Yucca Root

When I go into Produce Junction, I go just a little bit crazy. OK, to be fair, those who know me are saying, “Short trip.” Tonight’s soup is a vegetable soup that is not your traditional fare. My sisters’ 8th grade Home Ec. teacher, and friend of the family, Mrs. Newton, would always stress that the quickest way to test to see if a meal was balanced was to see if it had a variety of colors.  This soup meets Mrs. Newton’s test, even though I’ve seen that theory debunked with one ear of Indian corn. It’s fun to remember her just the same. Here we go!

Ingredients:

  • Water
  • 1 large Celeriac
  • 1 large Yucca Root
  • 1 lb. Carrots
  • 2 Fennel
  • 2 Leeks
  • 3 Yellow Onions
  • 5 sweet, long Red Peppers
  • 4 sweet, Orange Peppers
  • 4 sweet, Yellow Peppers
  • 2 lbs. Radishes
  • 2 Eggplants
  • 3 cups Quinoa
  • handful Turmeric
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • handful Greek Oregano
  • 25 twists fresh ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1 generous Tablespoon ground Ginger
  • 1 generous Tablespoon ground Coriander
  • Olive Oil

Directions:

Fill a 22 quart soup kettle almost half full with water and start to heat. Chop up, then chop fairly fine the Celeriac in the food processor and add it to the kettle to cook. Slice and peel the Yucca Root. The Yucca’s peel is toxic and contains latex. The root needs to be thoroughly cooked. Cut the raw root into pieces and puree it in the food processor. then add it in to boil in the kettle. Slice or dice the carrots and add them to the pot. Do the same for the Leeks and the Onions. About this time, I transferred the kettle into the canner with rags under it and water in the canner, to form a giant double boiler to finish the cooking without scorching the yucca. You can stew a soup all day this way as long as you maintain a decent water level in the canner. Dice up the Fennel. The fronds throw directly into the soup. The rest, saute’ in a skillet first to release the umami, then throw it into the pot. Cut up all the Peppers into bite sized pieces and throw them into the pot. Quarter the Radishes and add them. Dice the Eggplants, leaving the skin on. (Remember Mrs. Newton. Actually there are valuable bioflavonoids there. She wasn’t all wrong.) Throw them in. In a large, deep skillet, heat up some Olive Oil and dump in the Quinoa to toast it. You may need to add more olive oil. Keep stirring it. Don’t let it burn. Now add 6 cups of hot tap water. and a handful of Turmeric. Keep stirring while it boils for about five minutes. Then turn off the heat, cover and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the Quinoa to the kettle and stir in. Press the Garlic into the pot. Add the other spices. It should be full to the top of the kettle and smelling and tasting fine!

Some of my choices for spices and ingredients are for flavor. Some are for health benefits. Turmeric, for example, has been shown to improve liver function, improve cholesterol, combat diabetes, fight inflammation, among other things. Coriander helps eliminate toxins like heavy metals from the system. Yucca helps cleanse the colon and is a good source of Vitamins A, B, C and potassium. It also helps treat or prevent rheumatoid arthritis. It helps thicken the soup. You may know it as tapioca.

April prepared for tonight: Black Eyed Peas, Ham & Greens Casserole and Mashed Sweet Potatoes. Jerry and Esther are each bringing spaghetti. Serge & Alex are bringing a small pot of chicken soup. Serge & Alex are bringing sandwiches. (different Serge & Alex) Others are bringing sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, peanuts, oranges, and pastries. I will pick up the iced tea. April already brought the hot sauce.

Quinoa Autumn Medley

We work with what we have on hand to provide the most nutritious and tasty meals we can. We were given a bushel of sweet potatoes. They are seconds, but that just means they aren’t as pretty or as big as some you may buy in the store, but they are just as tasty and nutritious. We used some in the soup. We used some in this dish. We are giving some to a local, private shelter. This is one of two vegetarian, side dishes we are serving tonight. We don’t follow recipes most weeks. We write them.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head Cauliflower finely chopped
  • 1 Butternut Squash finely chopped
  • ~20 Turnips cubed
  • ~8 normal sized Sweet Potatoes (We used ~16 small, seconds.)
  • 2 cups Quinoa
  • 1 bunch fresh Cilantro
  • 2″ fresh Ginger
  • 20 twists fresh ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon ground Cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon Nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon Turmeric
  • Olive Oil

Directions:

Dump the Cauliflower, Squash and Turnips into the turkey roasting pan. In a large sauce pan, toast the Quinoa in the Olive Oil, stirring often, until golden brown, then add 4 cups of water and the Turmeric. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Then cover and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Peel and cube the Sweet Potatoes. Chop up the Cilantro. Peel the Ginger and grate it into the roaster pan. Stir the Cloves and Nutmeg into the Quinoa. Then dump everything into the roaster pan. Twist the Pepper on top. Mix thoroughly. Then put it in the oven to slow bake at 200° for a few hours, until you are ready to leave for the street or go to your potluck.

Poof de buna!