Tag Archives: tomatoes

To Market, To Market

Fresh peppers, eggplant, tomatoes & zucchini ready for making Ratatouille (my photo).

Fresh peppers, eggplant, tomatoes & zucchini ready for making Ratatouille (my photo).

Finally, the Farmers Markets in the Twin Cities are chock-full and bursting!  Yay!  Enough for me to base Delivered Dish of the Week (DDoW) menus on nearly all locally grown produce. Everything looks gorgeous. Due to the late start, though, there aren’t enough weeks now left in summer to feature all the veg that is available, such as okra. Yeah, you’re making a face, but have you tried it crunchy and spicy, flash stir-fried with garam masala?!  

Anyway, here are the menus for the next 6 weeks of DDoW. To order, go to 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 below are included on the DDoW Menu Archive page in case you want to find them again. Or, search this blog for “DDoW”. 

DDOW MENUS FOR SEPTEMBER 2013

SEPT 2 – 7

Roast Beets & Cabbage Salad

Roast Beets & Cabbage Salad  (my photo).

Quinoa Kale Salad in Horseradish Vinaigrette (V, GF, soy-free, no added sugar)  Finely chopped kale and a crunchy market veg add color, substance and fiber to quinoa, and lemon and horseradish adds a kick.

Roast Beet & Cabbage Salad with Sesame Dressing (V, Paleo, GF, soy-free, no added sugar) Tender ruby cubes and crunchy green strips, this time bound by a tahini dressing. My favorite summertime cookbook, Mediterranean Fresh by Joyce Goldstein, matches beets with sesame dressing (among many others). I adore everything in this cookbook so I’m sure this combination will delight. 

SEPT 9 – 14

A bowl of whole kernel hominy (web pic).

A bowl of whole kernel hominy (web pic).

Spicy Chile Verde with Beans (V, GF, soy-free, no added sugar)  An opportunity to see why chef Crescent Dragonwagon in her book Bean for Bean insists there is no substitute for Santa Fe Green Chilies from New Mexico. With green bell peppers. 

Cuke, Corn & Hominy Salad in Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette (V, GF, soy-free, no added sugar) As well as being the basis of Posole stew, chewy hominy (rehydrated treated white corn kernels) is surprisingly nice in salads. I’ll use raw sweet corn for added crunch and because it’s frankly easier than par-boiling. The local sweet corn has been great this season.

SEPT 16 – 21

Zucchini Linguine with Raw Tomato Sauce

Zucchini Linguine with Raw Tomato Sauce (my photo).

Zucchini Linguine with Raw Tomato Sauce (V, Paleo, GF, soy-free, no added sugar)  Carb-free pasta! Fresh sage and oregano flavor the simple sauce. Super low-cal.

Heirloom Bean & Veg Cassoulet with Rosemary  (V, GF, soy-free, no added sugar)  A lightly braised stew of market veg and giant heirloom scarlet runner beans (and regular red beans). Good with crusty bread, a glass of wine and thou; or all by itself. Cool beans!

SEPT 23 – 28

Romesco Beans 'n Rice. Romesco is a nut and red pepper-based sauce from Catalan, Spain. (my photo)

Romesco Beans ‘n Rice. Romesco is a nut and red pepper-based sauce from Catalan, Spain. (my photo)

Garbanzo Bean & Veg Za’atar Salad  (V, GF, soy-free, no added sugar)  Za’atar, a spice mixture popular throughout the Middle East, comprises ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, toasted sesame seeds and salt, and also often ground sumac, which has a lemony tang. You might encounter it sprinkled on hummus at restaurants. Confession: I bought a large bag at Holy Land Deli on Central Ave, a local mecca of affordable spices. Run, don’t walk.

Rice Romesco  (V, GF, soy-free, no added sugar; contains almonds)  Romesco sauce is a classic Catalonian simmered sauce of mostly red bell peppers mixed with ground nuts. The carrier here is organic brown rice. You can eat this dish cold or hot. By this week, inexpensive pecks of peppers should be all over the Farmers Markets (a peck is approx 8 dry quarts, with 4 pecks to a bushel). Take advantage of the harvest bounty and make a couple quarts at home to slather on everything (can freeze). 

SEPT 29 – OCT 4

Thai Coconut Veggie Chowder -- simple & quick.

Thai Coconut Veggie Chowder — comforting, simple & quick (my photo).

Thai Coconut Farmers Market Soup (V, Paleo, GF, soy-free, no added sugar)  Like a vegetable chowder but with Thai flavors and coconut milk. Simmering it with corn cobs add extra sweetness. Expect some chopped collards or kale.

Black Beluga Lentil Salad in Sesame Ginger Dressing  (V, GF, no added sugar; will contain a little soy)  These beautiful organic lentils were another fun special-order from Purcell Mountain Farms (Idaho). I’m hoping they don’t lose their jet black color when cooked.

OCT 7 – 12

Roast Ratatouille with Beans  (V, GF, soy-free, no added sugar)  My all-time favorite late summer/ early autumn dish. Remember the animated movie, where the mean food critic finds his humanity and compassion after eating Ratatouille the rat chef’s ratatouille? It’s delicious cold or hot, by itself or mixed with grain pilaf, on pasta, in omelets, whatever. Freezes very well.

Polenta with Chopped Greens  (GF, soy-free, no added sugar; vegan option available)  Polenta is basically a creamy corn pudding flavored with butter and parmesan/romano cheese. It’s the only DDoW dish I make with dairy; you can request a dairy-free version, too. Fairly bland, polenta is a perfect foil for any dish with sauce. I’m swirling in finely chopped sauteed leafy greens. Best hot or warmed. Polenta also freezes just fine! 

Note: V = vegan, GF = gluten-free. Paleo refers to a type of diet that recommends no carbs and no sugars.

GO TO ONLINE ORDER FORM NOW

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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….!

Hearts & Stomachs

As they say, the way to a person’s heart is thru the stomach.  Forget flowers. Nothing says “I love you” like fragrant, beautiful nutritious food!  [Besides, flowers are overpriced at this time of the year — wait til summer Farmers’ Markets for the best bouquets in town.]

Order freshly made vegan food delivered to your door, online at this website! Boom.

Random Cooking Tips

I post daily on One Dish’s Facebook page about dishes and little tips from my teaching and cooking activities. Here are some recent ones.

RANDOM COOKING TIPS 

Teens mix a simple salad dressing into cabbage & apple slaw. (photo Nicky Patnaude)

1) At my class at Boys & Girls Club (early Nov), we made a quick salad dressing of mayo + bottled Italian vinaigrette. I decided that my usual straight vinaigrette might be too different for these teens, and besides, those two condiments were in the Boys & Girls Club refrigerator. It was fine and, at least it wasn’t sweet like typical coleslaw dressing. One could scaffold  down the fat / dairy by reducing the ratio of mayo gradually so they don’t notice so much. One could blend vinaigrette with buttermilk which has less fat than mayo (and no egg). I usually skip dairy altogether and blend vinaigrette with silken tofu for a lovely creamy VEGAN dressing or dip. People don’t even notice it has no dairy. See recipe page and scroll to the bottom for Vegan Dill /Cilantro Dressing.

Chicken Mafe Stew with sweet potatoes and spinach (photo Nicky Patnaude).

2) Two great ways to make stews thick & creamy is to add nut butter and/or a little mashed potato or squash. This is especially nice with vegan gluten-free stews, in place of dairy and flour, since the nut butters add a rich creaminess. That’s what the teens and I did with the Chicken Mafë Stew and Lentil Mafë Stew. Mafë is a simple West African sauce of tomato sauce mixed with peanut butter. We added boiled cubed sweet potatoes and frozen chopped greens (spinach or collards) to both versions.

Lentil Sweet Potato Mafe Soup (my photo).

The next day, I added water to the Lentil stew and enjoyed it as comforting hearty soup along with a big bowl of slaw, for a filling, low-carb meal. This soup will inevitably appear on Delivered Dish of the Week menus quite soon.

If you’re sensitive to peanuts, you could use almond, cashew or soy nut butter. I was given samples of soy nut butter at the Food Allergy Resource Fair last Sat, which I’m eager to try.

3) When you make a long-simmered soup, throw in frozen corn cobs to enhance and sweeten the broth. Works great for both meat and vegetarian soups. My grandma used to make a very simple consomme of pork & corn cobs (all Chinese savory soups are consommes). All she did was simmer a cheap lean cut of pork shoulder with 2 frozen corn cobs. I don’t even remember any onions in it. Hours later, we enjoyed a clear low-fat broth with wonderful flavor. Per Chinese custom, we took out the pork and corn and served that separately from the broth. White rice and a green vegetable or two rounded out this meal. We dipped small pieces of tender pork in soy sauce and ate with rice. She liked to eat the niblets off the cob, but I disdained because I found the niblets had no flavor. All the corn essence and most of the pork flavor was in the broth.

This simple soup is perfect for a crockpot. If making a vegetarian soup, use veggie broth/bouillon and add onions, carrots etc. Ten minutes before you’re ready to eat, remove the cobs and throw in frozen corn niblets and frozen or fresh spinach.

I particularly like to use sweet corn broth as stock for thick White Bean Soup with Dill.



Field Trip to Strauss Farm

Unistar campers on a tour of hoop-house led by Anton Strauss. They’re looking at eggplants; tomato vines are behind and peppers on the sides.

My cooking lesson week at Camp Unistar were wholly based on which seasonal veggies were being supplied by the camp’s local source, a Mennonite farmer, Ivan Strauss. He had a good selection; it was interesting to note differences between what grows well in northern MN and in south-central Twin Cities. All week long, we were utterly spoiled by the quality of his super-fresh beauties. Seriously terrific veggies, including the best tomatoes some of us had ever tasted.

We were fortunate to be able to visit the source. Mary Ellen, the camp’s Food Service Director, organized a field trip to the Strauss farm west of Bemidji. Mary Ellen has been cultivating a relationship with Ivan for several years and now orders most of the camp’s vegetables from him.

Bountiful vines, clipped to vertical & horizontal wires with pulleys so you can let down each vine to harvest, then pull it back up. No ladders!

This family is old-order Mennonite, so they’re off the electrical grid and don’t drive motor vehicles. All farm operations are done by horse, gasoline, solar and lots of human power supplied by Ivan, his wife and the older of their 5 sons and 4 daughters, who range from age 21 to 3. A few of the boys were our tour guides around the fields and hoop-houses. They were harvesting tomatoes in the hoop-houses, wearing the Mennonites’ signature hats and woolen britches.

Everything is harvested by hand. We learned it takes 3 draft horses to pull the potato harvester, with a person or two behind to pick up the potatoes. Mary Ellen raved about their Yukon Golds.

Besides their rapidly expanding vegetable business, the Strauss family also raises hogs, Siberian Husky pups and makes hand-made wooden patio furniture.

Following this field trip, I was hoping to squeeze in a discussion about supporting local food economies and sustainable farming methods, but it didn’t happen. Next time!

Cooking Camp in Northern Paradise

Sunset over Cass Lake, from Star Island.

I have a lot of blog-catch up to do!  First of all, I was very fortunate to have spent the last week of Aug leading healthful cooking sessions at Camp Unistar, located on Cass Lake’s Star Island.

The focus for the week was very concrete — make food & bread. Participants did exactly that, every day for 2 hours. The baker, Dee, and I alternated days.  I had 12 – 8 participants who made 4 vegan dishes or so per session, which we then served for lunch & dinner, as part of the meals the kitchen staff had prepared.

The participants were terrific!  They enjoyed themselves under my tutelage. Lots of laughing and smiles! All campers much enjoyed the results of our efforts. I’m gathering feedback and will share soon.

I had a wonderful time myself, as a teacher and as a camper. It’s impossible not to love this camp, tucked away on a small quiet island with no roads, and with clear waters and virgin pine forests beckoning you. And hammocks, too.

Also, Camp Unistar’s gleaming professional kitchen is excellent, as are the staff. When I liaised with the Food Service Director and found out she kept stores of quinoa and barley on hand, I just knew we’d get along! Then she told me about their local farm source and I became even more excited. More about this farm in the next post.

As with all my lesson plans, I focused on versatility of vegetarian ingredients, ease of preparation, and basic skills. Brought along my cute Grains & Beans Tool-Kit to show some of the many kinds of whole grains and legumes that are widely available now. This serendipitously turned out to complement the lectures on grains by baker Dee.

The game plan in a nutshell was:

This is how I would have served the left-over Ratatouille from Day 1, if there had been any left-overs: topped with fried egg, black olives & feta.

Day 1: Veg Raw and Roasted
Raw Beet Salad, Firecracker Slaw, Roast Beets & Lentil Salad, Roast Ratatouille w fresh basil, 2 vinaigrettes.

Day 2: Herb Pestos, Vinaigrettes & Dips; Marinated Salads
Cilantro paste and creamy vegan herb dip; Curried Barley Salad (Curry Vinaigrette); Blanched Carrots & Kale in Orange Ginger Vinaigrette; Minted Asian Cukes & Radish Salad (Mint vinaigrette); Red Quinoa & Porcini Mushroom Pilaf. (Total 4 vinaigrettes & a dip.)

Red Bell Peppers & raisins sweeten sauteed fresh collards or kale, and make a beautiful dish.

Day 3: Beans and Greens
This day we made the entire lunch: Red Lentil & Squash Soup w/ Cardamom & Coco Milk; Braised Kale with Red Peppers & Raisins; Kale & Black-eyed Peas “Masala”; Sauteed Cabbage with Fennel Seeds; Cuke Radish Cilantro Raita (yogurt condiment). Plus, Moroccan Chermoula Marinade for that night’s grilled chicken supper.

As you can see, we cooked all sorts of dishes each day, some planned and some not. “Cross-fertilization” is the point. The Orange Ginger Vinaigrette was in their recipe packet but I had’t planned to necessarily use it. However, since we had extra, fat garden carrots and all that kale on hand, we quickly pulled together a brightly flavored, brilliantly colored Blanched Carrots & Kale Salad. This turned out to be one of the campers’ favorites.

By the way, everything we made was vegan (dairy-free) and gluten-free with the exception of the barley salad. I’ll post more soon about these camp sessions, with photos and recipes.

One-Bowl Meals for Too Fast Lives

The Hearty Mexican Posole Soup with Radish Cabbage Arugula Salad Garnish (choice of vegan bean or pork version) that is featured for this week’s Delivered Dishes of the Week is an excellent one-bowl meal. See pithy descriptions for the next 2 weeks’ menus on the Menu Archive.

One-bowl meals are a way of life for many of us. They’re quick to eat, easy to make and more portable. When made of whole foods,  they’re also more ‘nutrient-dense’. A cup of nutrient-dense food like beans & greens gives you more nutrition than a comparable serving of something starchy and/or processed.  Looking at it another way, if you’re going to eat a 600-calorie meal, you could eat a 3-4 course meal of nutrient-dense foods instead of one bowl of mac ‘n cheese.

[Of course, there are times when that mac ‘n cheese or ice cream is completely appropriate. For instance, driving past Izzy’s Ice Cream on a 76 F evening last week.]

Anybody who’s followed a weight-loss program knows this. So the challenge is to surround ourselves with more nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods, which is hard when nutrient-poor processed foods are everywhere and simply more convenient.

I’ll be teaching to this question on Thu to residents at Next Step Housing, an independent living facility run by Ascension Place, a transitional housing program for women based in North Mpls.  I’ll assess their cooking skills, teach basic knife techniques, and focus on easy, cheap, healthful dishes that you can ‘build’ on for an endless variety of meals.

Tuscan white beans, swiss chard and broccoli.

We’re going to make a couple variations of Beans & Greens (see prior posts). Next Step’s apartment building is near the Cub Grocery on Broadway Ave & Lyndale Ave North, so these women can easily get dried/canned beans and frozen/ fresh greens such as kale, collards, turnip greens and spinach, all year round. On summer weekends, they can go to a satellite Farmers’ Market run by Mpls Farmers’ Market and West Broadway Business & Area Coalition. These women may have never visited a farmers’ market before, so I’m looking forward to introducing them come summer.

We’ll cook large batches as usual. In the end it’s cheaper and more efficient to cook a large batch than a small batch of most dishes. If you’re going to chop 1 onion and 3 carrots, you may as well chop twice as many while you’re at it.

Furthermore, I’m going to suggest that, since they live in the same apartment building, they do a couple things that will make cooking more fun and save money, too:

1) Monthly Soup Swap. Say you have a group of 6 people. Each participant brings a 6-quart pot of home-made soup and 5 quart-size ziploc bags or tupperware. Divide all the soups. Everybody gets 6 quarts of different soups! If you freeze the ziplocs flat, they can be stacked vertically or horizontally in the freezer and will take up less room.

Gorgeous local veg!

2) Buy favorite veggies in bulk at the Farmers’ Market and divide. You can buy 5-10 lb tubs of green beans, tomatoes, et al at a cheaper rate than the little 1-lb trays. The farmers often have blemished ‘seconds’ in large tubs for even lower prices. And, if you go near closing time, they will practically give stuff away rather than pack it up in their trucks.

3) Cook together occasionally. It makes a solitary chore more of a social event, especially for singles, and besides, two cooks are faster than one.

Of course, these are excellent time- & money-savers for everybody, whether you live next door or not!