Sunday, February 27, 2011

Manzana Chili Verde

1 lb baby Yukon golds or other thick skinned potato, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used four medium/small potatoes)
2 T vegetable oil
1 lg yellow onion, cut into small dice
3 jalapeños, seeded and sliced thinly
2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped into 1-inch pieces (I used bell peppers)
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano - I used regular and have no idea what makes the Mexican kind so special)
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup dry white wine (I used white wine vinegar)
1 lb tomatillos (about 10 small to medium ones, I used 8 lg ones)
2 Granny Smith apples, cored, quartered, and sliced thinly
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped scallions, plus extra for garnish (I used green onions)
1 (15-ounce) can small white beans, such as navy or cannellini, drained and rinsed (1 1/2 c)
Juice of 1 lime
Avocado slices for garnish

Place the chopped pototoes in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Let boil, covered, for a little less than 20 minutes, until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside. Of course, you should be preparing everything else while it is boiling.

Preheat a soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté for 1 more minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the white wine and tomatillos, raise the heat a bit to let the wine reduce and tomatillos release their juices, about 5 minutes. Add the apples, vegetable broth, scallions, and 1/2 cup of cilantro. lower the heat to simmer (medium-low), cover, and cook for 20 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to partially puree everything. If you don't have one, then let the mixture cool slightly and transfer to a blender or food processor; pulse until just slightly chunky. Don't forget that if you are using a blender you need to be careful not to have a steam explosion, so pulse quickly and then lift the lid to let steam escape, then pulse again and repeat.

Taste for sweetness/tartness. Tomatillos are sometimes bitter; if that is the case, add a teaspoon or two of sugar and that should level things out. Add the cooked potatoes and the beans, and simmer for a few more minutes, until everything is heated through. Add the remaining cilantro and the lime juice. Ladle into bowls, garnish with avocado and scallions, and serve.

My tomatillos were sweet, so I didn't need to add the sugar and my fingers are burning because of the jalapeño seeds I scooped out (I saw some jalapeño gloves at the Panhandler last time I was there....maybe a worthwhile investment....). I made cornbread to accompany it. It's a really tasty Sunday Chili!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sometimes you just need pizza...

Actually, my family likes to eat pizza at least once a week.  Since we have this "need," I decided I'd better figure out how to make a healthy pizza, and today I finally nailed it.  It was nutritious and completely delicious.  The recipe is copied from this blog.

Makes about 4 small 8" or two to three larger size pizza.

500 gm (1.1 lb) [about 4 cups] whole wheat, spelt or unbleached white flour
Kefir-sourdough starter
1 tsp. sea salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup warm water

Mix well with a strong wooden spoon, ladle or clean bare hands. If the dough is too thick (firm and not sticky), add a small amount of warm water and mix for 2 minutes until the dough is moist and sticky with elasticity. The dough should stick to the fingers when touched and should stretch quite easily (it should be wetter than conventional dough).

For the next step, to stop the dough from sticking to your hands. Wet fingers and palm of hands with olive oil. Pinch off 1/4 of the dough. Make a round ball by rolling the dough in your hands. Place dough in a pre-greased cast iron skillet or pizza pan (OR what I used... big cookie sheet). Press the dough with fingers and stretch an even layer over the bottom of the pan right up to the edges. Form a thickness of no more than about 3/4" thickness. Do this with the rest of the dough in other pans.

(NOTE: I used the whole dough for my pizza in a big cookie sheet. Worked great!)

You can add your toppings on the crust and then let it rise OR you can let it rise than put your toppings on. I put my toppings on after I let it rise, but I don't think one way is better than the other. After you put your toppings on make sure you drizzle olive oil (about 2 Tbsp) over everything, then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

Place in a warm spot and leave to rise for about 2 to 6 hours (8 hours is best) until the base almost doubles in height. Bake in a hot oven set to 450 F and bake for 15-20 minutes. To determine if the pizza is ready, lift an edge of the pizza to reveal the base. It should be golden brown.

Our family (except for Bardo) enjoyed sweet onions, red peppers, sliced roma tomatoes, fresh cilantro, and fresh basil.  I sprinkled soy cheese on 3/4 of it and just a little feta on the other 1/4.  The crust turned out amazing using the kefir start I started growing last week.  I'm now a believer in kefir, especially since I can make it with soy milk.  Next time I will put the crust on parchment paper for easier clean-up.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thick and Hearty Split Pea Soup

this is an amazing soup I found on Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, diced
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 cups dried split peas, checked carefully for debris and rinsed
6-8 cups water
2 medium potatoes, coarsely chopped
1 large bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1-2 teaspoons liquid smoke
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Lightly spray the bottom of a pressure cooker or Dutch oven with canola oil. Sauté the onions for about 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan often, until they begin to caramelize. Add the garlic, carrots, and celery and cook for 2 more minutes.
Add the peas to the pot. If you’re using a pressure cooker, add 6 cups of water; forregular cooking, add 8 cups water. Stir in the potatoes, bay leaf, celery seed, basil, and thyme.
For pressure cooking: Seal the cooker and bring to high pressure. Lower heat and cook at high pressure for 6 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally. If beans are not completely cooked, cover loosely and cook (without pressure) until they reach the desired tenderness.
For regular cooking: Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over very low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until peas are soft and disintegrate when stirred.
Add the liquid smoke, salt, and pepper. Check the seasoning and add more herbs if necessary. Cook several minutes uncovered to thicken (or add water to thin). Serve with warm whole-grain bread.
Makes about 8 servings, and tastes even better the next day!

Makes about 8 servings, and tastes even better the next day!
Per serving: 216 Calories (kcal); 1g Total Fat; (2% calories from fat); 13g Protein; 41g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 565mg Sodium; 15g Fiber.