Tag Archives: parsnips

Inspiration & Perspiration

I’ve been so remiss about blogging!  I have about 10 backlogged topics I could easily expound upon– and hope to one day– such as

  • stories of teaching the Arboretum Cooking Camps to the nicest bunch of 8 – 12 year olds;
  • cooking for a family with Alkaline diet needs;
  • how the government shutdown affected nutrition of low-income women & children;
  • all the catering I’ve been doing, from board retreats to a large wedding dinner;
  • new cookbooks I just picked up, like “Viva Vegan”; etc.

But that is for another day. Today I’m announcing the next 6 week-cycle of Delivered Dish of the Week (DDoW), which takes us up through Thanksgiving.

Bonanza haul from Farmers' Market, Sept (my pic).

Bonanza haul from Farmers’ Market, Sept (my pic).

I find inspiration everywhere, from my own archive of dishes and cookbooks to newsletters and restaurants.

I’m always inspired by the Farmers Markets these days. I also like to peruse the aisles of grocery stores and see what catches my eye. If I like the name of a bottled salad dressing or a sauce, I take a picture of the ingredient list and try to incorporate its flavors into something.

I also look to organic food sources such as Azure Standard (Oregon), boutique producers like Purcell Mountain Farm (Idaho) and Sno Pac Foods (from southern MN). Purcell offers heirloom beans, so I tried some last cycle. This week I was able to order cases of frozen organic ‘sweet beans’ (fresh shelled edamame) from Sno Pac, so these will be featured in December.

Perspiration is what transpires between the photo above and the photos of dishes below. I don’t always love the process but often, I find chopping and stirring rather satisfying.  I let my hands take over, while my mind listens to MPR podcasts and wanders. And, I love the results.

DDOW OCT 21 – NOV 28

OCT 21 – 26

1) Pureed Celery Parsnip Parsley Soup. V, GF, Paleo, soy-free & no added sugars. Exactly what it says, with a bit of potato added to counter the sweetness of the parsnips. Fresh parsley and lemon juice brighten it up. Very mild and comforting.

2) Barley Mushroom Lentil Pilaf. V, soy-free & no added sugars; contains gluten. A very earthy, autumnal and toothsome dish. Wonderfully chewy, in contrast to the pureed soup.

OCT 28 – NOV 1

Beautiful Beet Soup (my photo)

Beautiful Beet Soup (my photo)1) Zombie Blood Soup, aka Gingery Beet & Cabbage Borscht. V, GF, Paleo, soy-free & no added sugars.  Several clients love this and always order extra. And, if a delicious nourishing soup doesn’t do it for you, throw in some hard-boiled eggs for floating eyeballs and scare the kids.

1) Zombie Blood Soup, aka Gingery Beet & Cabbage Borscht. V, GF, Paleo, soy-free & no added sugars.  Several clients love this and always order extra. And, if a delicious nourishing soup doesn’t do it for you, throw in some hard-boiled eggs for floating eyeballs and scare the kids.

2) Rat Hot Dish, aka, Polenta Ratatouille Casserole. GF,  soy-free & no added sugars.  Reprise of ratatouille layered with smooth polenta in a loaf or pie pan, with the addition of white beans. Polenta will have butter and parmesan/romano cheese unless you indicate the no-dairy version. Probably really good with Fritos on top.

NOV 4 – 8

Diff kinds of red beans: (clockwise from top) kidney, Spanish Tolosna, Giant Scarlet Runner Beans (my pic).

Diff kinds of red beans: (clockwise from top) kidney, Giant Scarlet Runner Beans and  Spanish Tolosna (my pic).

1) Creamy Kidney Bean, Carrot & Collard Mafe Stew. V, GF, soy-free & no added sugars; contains peanut butter. Option of almond butter if you have peanut sensitivities. West African Mafe is one of my top 10 comfort foods. It becomes more than the sum of its simple parts ( tomato sauce, peanut butter, some spices) and morphs into a rich creamy sauce. Excellent with any ingredients– in this case, hearty veg. Serve over a grain or with crusty bread.

2) Millet & Sweet Potato Pilaf. V, GF, soy-free & no added sugars. Fluffy millet with roast sweet pots and caramelized onions. A staple in Africa, millet is a high-protein gluten-free grain. People ask me why mine is fluffy while theirs comes out gloppy. I use the same amount of water as with brown rice, no more, and, after taking it off the heat, I let it steam in the pot. However, millet tends to dry out quickly, so when you reheat this dish, you must sprinkle a bit of water on top beforehand.

NOV 11 – 15

Firecracker Slaw  (my pic).

Firecracker Slaw (my pic).

1) Pureed Pumpkin & White Bean SoupV, GF, soy-free & no added sugars.  Ordered a case of organic pumpkin puree for this fiber-licious thick soup. White beans add protein, mire poix adds depth, and a little lime juice & cayenne adds kick. For a treat, add a dollop of sour cream that has been mixed with lime juice.  Perfect with a tart salad…like a slaw.

2) Firecracker Slaw in Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette.  V, GF, Paleo, soy-free & no added sugars. My standby all-star dish for demonstrations and holidays. Its bright colors, lively tang and considerable crunch will wake you up. Eat all you want, it’s zero points.

NOV 18 – 22

1) Caribbean Butter Bean Stew w/ Steamed Plantains. V, GF, soy-free & no added sugars. This was a big hit when I first served it in May. A light coconut sauce binds it all together. And hey, plantains are good carbs! From the terrific, must-buy “Appetite for Reduction” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

2) Jamaican Jerk Quinoa Pilaf w/ Corn.  V, GF, soy-free & no added sugars.  Instead of the stew being spicy, this time it’s the grain. Just for fun. If you want to cool it down, add yogurt.

NOV 25 – 29 THANKSGIVING WEEK
Bring these dishes to a holiday meal and be prepared for profuse compliments!

Braised Collards, Bell Peppers & Raisins (my photo).

Braised Collards, Bell Peppers & Raisins (my photo).

1) Braised Collards w/ Red Bell Peppers & Raisins.  V, GF, Paleo, soy-free & no added sugars.  Another holiday favorite! There are many nice variations of this dish– Soul Food has one with orange juice — but my friend Carol is the source for this particular knock-out, for which I am forever thankful.

2) Roasted Tempeh & Potatoes in Chermoula SauceV, GF, no added sugars; contains soy. Savory Moroccan Chermoula herb paste does wonders for meats, beans, roots and grains. Here, it perfectly enhances nutty soy tempeh. This was a hearty vegan entree I served at a fall wedding.

Note: Please be aware that this week’s dishes will be priced slightly higher than usual.  Processing fresh collards take forever and organic tempeh is pricier than beans.

TO ORDER:  fill out & submit the online Order Form on this blog. You can order a bunch of dishes in advance or return to the form once a week, as you wish. Deadlines are Saturdays for deliveries the following week. See general info on Delivered Dish of the Week service.

PS: The Online Form lists the week, the name of each dish and its ingredients. These fuller Dish descriptions above are archived on the DDoW Menu Archive page in case you want to find them again. Or, search this blog for “DDoW”. 

Decisions, Decisions!

I’m working on March’s menus for Delivered Dish of the Week and having a hard time choosing only eight dishes! I guess I’ll move some into April, then.

My process is the same as how you might plan meals at home.

First, I look at what bulk items I have in stock and want to use up: garbanzo beans, fava beans, oat groats & barley, brown rice, quinoa, tofu and TVP; left-over beets, frozen organic green beans and butternut squash. I note that I haven’t featured collards or carrots in a while.

Second, I come up with a list of dishes that include those. Here I take care to choose a wide variety of flavors, balance the carbs between whole grains, beans and root veg, and balance cold dishes with hotThirdI make sure vegetables are in all dishes. Some dishes are heavy on protein (beans), some are heavy on carbs, and some are mostly vegetable (therefore, paleo-friendly). 

Must-buy "Mediterranean Fresh" by Joyce Goldstein

Must-buy “Mediterranean Fresh” by Joyce Goldstein

Right now I find scads of inspiration from the drool-worthy and incredibly useful cookbook Mediterranean Fresh: A Compendium of One-Plate Salad Meals and Mix-and-Match Dressings, by Joyce Goldstein. I want to eat every single thing in it!  In fact, the mix-and-match method is exactly how I cook and eat. And, I adore her repertoire of Italian, Spanish, Tunisian, Moroccan, Turkish and French dishes. They are intense and authentic. Her Moroccan Chermoula Dressing has become a staple, and is reprinted on my Recipe page.

My cooking lesson students learn this mix-and-match method hands-on. For instance, with just brown rice, a pantry of spices & herbs, plus a few vegetables and/or beans, you could make a different hearty rice dish every night of the week (and still not have exhausted the possibilities).  See Nov 2012 post “Spice is the Variety of Life” for details.

How else would I be able to come up with 24 different vegan dishes for a 3-month seasonal menu?

OK, so back to March menu options list. It includes some of my tried-and-true, and recipes from Goldstein.

Blanched Carrot & Kale Salad in Orange Ginger Vinaigrette. Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free.

Blanched Carrot & Kale Salad in Orange Ginger Vinaigrette (my recipe). Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free.

  • Garbanzo, Peppers & Capers salad w/ spicy Harissa dressing  GF, V
  • Fava bean Zahlouk Salad (cauliflower, chermoula, moroccan olives) — a rice version was FAB. GF, V
  • Potato, Cauliflower & Artichoke Salad w/ Harissa dressing  P, GF, V
  • Potato & Green Bean Salad w/ Lemony Horseradish Vinaigrette  P, GF, V
  • Curried Barley/Oat Groat & Veg Salad w/ craisins (very popular)  V
  • Quinoa, Carrot & Kale Salad w/ Citrus Ginger dressing (see Recipe pageGF, V
  • Hearty Kale Salad (avocados + Tahini dressing) — Superfood Kitchen by Julie Morris  P, GF, V
  • Jambalaya w/ spiced TVP, Garbanzo and peppers  GF, V
  • Butternut Fava Bean Thai Curry  GF, V  
  • West African Mafe Stew w/ beans, turnip greens (tomato & peanut butter sauce)   P,GF, V

    Chicken Mafe Stew w/ Spinach. Sub beans for meat.

    Chicken & Sweet Potato Mafe Stew w/ Spinach. Sub beans for meat.

  • Braised Collards w/ Raisins & Butternut Squash  P,GF, V
  • Beets w/ either Harissa or Tarator dressing (tahini + nuts)   P, GF, V
  • Cauliflower Squash Red Lentil Soup — thanks Denise!   P, GF, V
  • Green Parsnip Soup  — b/c I love it   P, GF, V 

    And then there’s the Paleo list featuring animal protein: 

  • Corned Beef and Roasted Cabbage P, GF, V
  • Cauliflower, Collards & Bacon (pasture-fed)  P, GF, V
  • Sweet Potato Frittata  P, GF, V
  • Salad Nicoise w/ tuna mayo dressing P, GF, V   (first ate ‘tonnato” sauce on cold beef in Florence, sigh….)


P = Paleo-friendly, ie no grains or beans
GF = Gluten-free
V = Vegan

See what I mean?!  Decisions, decisions….!

Soup’s On!

When it’s damp & cold like today all I want is a big bowl of hot soup. The great thing about soup is you can throw all the ingredients in a crockpot overnight or while you’re at work. Here are 3 of my faves, all vegan, low-fat and high-fiber. 

Kale & Yam Soup, above, and Parsnip-Celery Soup, below (my photo).

The Parsnip Celery Soup will be featured in my upcoming community education classes, “Healthful Holiday Dishes”, being offered at both Inver Grove Heights Community Center and Robbinsdale Middle School, Sat Nov 3 11.30am and Wed Nov 7 6.30pm, respectively. Register now! (I’ll post links and lesson plan later today.)

PARSNIP & CELERY SOUP. Vegan, Gluten-free, Paleo-friendly. Made this last spring for St Patrick’s Day and it’s a winner. Incredibly comforting and kid-friendly. I didn’t find a recipe that was perfect (ie dairy-free) after looking online for 5 minutes, so I combined two similar recipes for Parsnip Soup w/ Leeks & Parsley and Celery & Parsnip Soup with Green Onion & Dill Matzo Balls. I wanted to combine celery & parsnip b/c one has starch and the other has fiber, and parsnips have more complex carbs than potatoes. They’re also naturally very sweet.  I also wanted to stretch parsnips which shrink when cooked.

These recipes follow a basic formula for making pureed soup: saute, boil, puree. That’s why I know I can combine them. To customize, I’m skipping the leeks and matzo balls — so it’s a gluten-free soup — and retaining the parsley coulis. I substitute olive oil for butter and skip the cream. You don’t miss the cream at all.

KALE & YAM SOUP. Vegan, Gluten-free, Paleo-friendly. A thick green pureed soup with, count ‘em, 2 Super Foods in a bowl. A nice hot immune-system booster (vs cold smoothies). Flavored with sage & caramelized onions, this is from the “Love Soup” cookbook. I certainly Love that book. The author recommends Japanese yams which are particularly sweet & fragrant, but regular are fine, too. The extreme green-ness may put off some picky people but some clients adore this. It makes you feel healthy and fills you up.

Posole soup with plenty of crunchy garnishes is a hearty Meal in a Bowl (photo from a website).

MEXICAN POSOLE WITH HOMINY & BEANS. Vegan, Gluten-free, fairly Paleo-friendly. Posole is a terrific pepper-based soup/stew with hominy, to which I’m adding beans for protein. Medium spicy. Absolutely life-giving on a wet day. Unlike the 2 pureed soups above, it’s full of texture and bright spices. It’s traditionally made with pork (so good!) but this vegan version is great IMO. Ground guajillo pepper is the main flavoring agent. You can find this in cellophane pkgs along with other spices, herbs & whole dried peppers in a Hispanic grocery/deli, or the Hispanic aisle of a big inner-city regular grocery or Asian grocery. Little Hispanic grocery stores are found in a lot of Mpls & St Paul neighborhoods and are fun to explore. For example, you’ll find cheap RIPE avocadoes that you can actually eat right away!

About pureeing soup: you’ll need a blender or a food processor. I love my immersion blender cuz it’s one less thing to wash, and having to keep depressing the button strengthens my grip. Ha ha.

Harvesting Justice: Farmworkers, Food and You

Craft scissors are perfect for kids in the kitchen. These sous chefs are making fancy roast beet & beet greens salad.

Come eat a tasty organic dinner & discuss food justice at an Earth Day Dinner & Film Nite next Wed eve, Apr 25th, at First Universalist Church @ 3400 Dupont Ave So, Mpls.  It’s family-friendly w/ kid activities and child care. Kids will see film about Cesar Chavez while adults watch “The Harvest”.  Starts 5.30pm, Dinner at 6pm, Films follow. 

I’m making dinner w/ volunteers, plus, I’m doing my Aunty Oxidant interactive cooking demo@ 5.30pm.  The full show, “Little Locavores”, was developed for the Mpls Farmers Market in 2009. The kids help me make salads and act in skits about Antioxidants and Locavores, and if there’s time, we play games like “Hot Kohlrabi”, “Name That Vegetable” or “Farmer Obstacle Course”.

As usual, my menu is gluten-free & vegan.  Is this hard to plan? No. Will it be wholesome, toothsome yet gobsmackingly good? Yes.

ALL ORGANIC MENU:  Beet Slaw, Quinoa Salad*, Tossed Greens, Pureed Parsnip, White Bean & Celery Soup w/ Parsley Coulis, local bread & Hope butter, gluten-free beet chocolate cake, vegan chocolate pudding, navel oranges. Bean quesadillas available for picky kidlets.

Pureed Parsnip Parsley Soup

Event: Harvesting Justice: Farmworkers, Food and You
Venue: First Universalist Church @ 3400 Dupont Ave So, Mpls
Time: 5.30pm – 8pm.
Childcare: Free.
Cost: Nada (donations accepted)
Cool Quotient: High.

RSVP online at http://firstuniv.org/EarthDay2012

 

* Variants of Beet Slaw and Quinoa Salad are on my Recipe Page.

Spontaneous Combinations

About this Parsnip & Celery Soup I’m making. I didn’t find a recipe that was perfect (ie dairy-free) after looking online for 5 minutes, so I am combining two similar soup recipes. I wanted to combine these two veggies b/c they seem compatible and seasonal. Like other root veg, parsnips shrink when cooked, so I also needed to stretch them. Another good reason is b/c one has starch and the other has fiber.

One recipe is Parsnip Soup w/ Leeks & Parsley. The other is Celery & Parsnip Soup with Green Onion & Dill Matzo Balls.

These recipes follow a basic formula for making soup: saute, boil, puree. That’s why I know I can combine them. To customize, I’m skipping the leeks and matzo balls — so it’s a gluten-free soup — and retaining the parsley coulis. I’m substituting olive oil for butter, and not using cream.

Let me know what you think!

Once you know a basic formula, try combining two ingredients you have on hand but don’t usually use in that dish together. The more you try this, the more confident you’ll feel. And you may discover a new favorite.

Lean & Green

Lots of lean & green dishes on offer this coming month!  The Green Tamale casserole this week was very green due to tomatillos, collards & spinach mixed into the black beans. You see how you can put collards into everything? It is a super food, remember, so half a cup is more nutrient-dense than other veggies. More of these greens coming this week and throughout winter.

Oh and btw, I put diced choy sum, a type of Chinese green related to Chinese broccoli (gai lan) in the Lentil Stew (2 weeks ago). Choy sum has thinner stalks and yellow flowers. Like many green leafy veg, it’s a cool weather plant and is plentiful at the market right now. Steam or stir-fry it and drizzle with sesame oil & soy sauce.

NEXT WEEK’S MENU

Succulent roast beets and sweet potatoes. Try them w/ a simple squeeze of lime juice or orange juice.

OCT 22 – 28

1) Roast Beets & Parsnips in Orange-Balsamic Vinaigrette. Vegan and gluten-free. Rutabagas too if they’re at market. Did you know that beets have 6 times more iron than carrots?
2) Super Green Split Pea Soup. Vegan and gluten-free. Chopped kale & collards add mega vitamins to this comfort soup, while smoked paprika adds a meaty flavor. This thickens as it sits. Add a little water when you heat it up.

OCT 30 – Nov 6

1) Sauteed Cabbage & Edamame w/ Fennel Seed & Cranberries. Vegan and gluten-free. Yummy side dish that is both pretty to look at and easy to make. Kids should like this mild, sweet & sour dish.

2) Barley Pilaf w/ Leeks, Mushrooms and Thyme. Vegan; contains gluten.  When it’s autumn I think “Barley”. Another comfort food.

Nov  7 – 13

1) Pumpkin & White Bean Soup. Vegan and gluten-free. You knew pumpkin was coming. Cumin & coriander will dominate seasoning of this pureed soup. Sprinkle with roast pepitas. I don’t usually puree soups, but I got a new immersion blender!  :^) Btw, this is a very low-fat high fiber dish.

2)
Spicy Cactus & Rice Salad w/ Lime & Cilantro Dressing. Vegan and gluten-free. Spicy pickled nopalitos come in jars or cans in the Hispanic aisle. Think pickled peppers. Celery & purple cabbage will add crunch.

Considering for the holidays:  Sauteed Collards w/ Cranberries & Red Peppers is a gorgeous dish that will convert those who’ve had negative experiences with collards, and Israeli Sweet Potato “Rainbow” Salad.

If you’re curious about past menus, click on the Dish of the Week Menu Archive page! It lists all DDoW menus from the entire year.