Main Courses, Sides

BBQ Pinto Beans

We have had a busy couple of months, the details of which I will share later. For now, we are in need of easy comforting food in our house. Very few things are as easy and comforting as a pot of beans.

BBQ Pinto Beans

1 pound dry pinto beans

4 cups water

2 tablespoons chicken base

2 tablespoons Rudy’s dry rub

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce

1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)

2 onions, chopped

Combine all of the ingredients in a pressure cooker and cook on high for thirty minutes. (If you have an Instant Pot, use the bean setting.)

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Salad, Sides

Winter Slaw

It is the middle of bitter February, and work is crazy busy. We’re implementing a new server at work. We’re adding a new service. And to top it all off, my boss has decided to re-work how we do billing. So, in addition to this disruption to my work-life, it is tax season, which means I’m a grass widow. If we’re looking for the silver lining in all of this crazy, it just means that I can add as much citrus and mint to whatever I want. My husband tends to shy from both of those ingredients. I’m sure that it has nothing to do with the time I experimented with grapefruit and beet ice cream… Boom. Slaw with citrus and plenty of mint.

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Winter Slaw

1 head napa cabbage, thinly sliced

1 cup thinly sliced celery

1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon mint, chopped

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup almonds, chopped

1/2 cup mixed citrus segments

4 tablespoons light olive oil

3 tablespoons lime juice

3 tablespoons coconut vinegar

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon coconut aminos

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

Assemble your dressing. Vigorously shake the oils, lime juice, vinegar, syrup, aminos and chili flakes in a jar. Arrange the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Toss the salad with the dressing and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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Main Courses, Sides

Cauliflower Gratin

We attach a stigma to certain foods. For example, only a vegetarian would eat tofu. This is such a silly premise. If you haven’t tried tofu, I urge you, please try tofu. Try it in sticks and eat like french fries with a curried ketchup dipping sauce – divine. Here’s another – only a vegan would eat nutritional yeast. Egad. I am not a vegan; I love nutritional yeast. It is not strange. It is delicious. (My office just recently realized that the vegetables that I eat for lunch almost every day are covered in a nutritional yeast sauce.) Don’t hesitate, make this recipe. This makes a great lunch with a little salad, or a side to a main course.

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Cauliflower Gratin

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup masa flour

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 cloves garlic, minced

13.5 oz full fat coconut milk

1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon mustard powder

1 head cauliflower

Optional – two onions, sliced and caramelized

To make the sauce, pour the oil and the masa into a sauce pan and whisk to combine over low heat. When the masa is fully incorporated into the oil, add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the nutritional yeast and whisk to combine. Now what you have in the pan is a pretty thick paste! Gradually add the stock a dribble at a time, whisking to combine each time. When all of the stock is added, stir in the coconut milk. Add the spices, and salt and pepper to taste.

Clean your cauliflower and remove any leaves that remain on the cauliflower head. Remove as much stem as you can while keeping the head intact. Sliced the cauliflower into slices that are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. You are going to have some slices that are bigger, and some that are smaller. At the end, you are going to have lots of mismatched and odd pieces. That’s fine. Arrange your cauliflower slices into layers in a small baking dish. A gratin dish is perfect – but if you don’t have that try and find something about as deep as a pie plate, but a little wider.

Pour the nutritional yeast sauce over the cauliflower, and top with the onions if using. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

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Appetizers, Sides, Snacks

Brazilian Cheese Bread

Sometimes you need to sit down with a plate of cheese bread and contemplate the universe. Or, you know, if you were so inclined, sit down with a plate of cheese bread and just contemplate the wonders of cheese bread while watching Outlander. This is easy, you blend these babies and bake. Open the oven just a few minutes later, and you have gooey, chewy, cheese, delicious cheese bread. As a word of warning, you absolutely must eat these hot. Enjoy.

cheese bread

Brazilian Cheese Bread

1 egg

1/4 cup olive oil

2/3 cup milk (whole milk, don’t skimp on me here)

1 1/2 cup tapioca flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup packed shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat your over to 400 degrees. Grease a mini-muffin tin with oil.

In a blender, blend the egg, olive oil, milk, flour and salt until well combined. Add the cheese and blend for fifteen seconds, only until the cheese is in small bits all through the batter.

Fill the wells in the muffin tin about two-thirds full.

Bake the cheese bread for fifteen to twenty minutes, until golden brown.

Remove from the tins and let cool for a few minutes before devouring.

Eat quickly, then make the next batch that you know that you were going to make anyway.

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Salad, Sides

Green Beans in Green Sauce

The name of this light and bright sauce has a Dr. Seuss sort of style, reminiscent of “Green Eggs and Ham.” Well, I don’t think that it will take Sam-I-Am too much pestering to get you and yours to try these – yum!

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Green beans in green sauce

1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves

4 green onions, cleaned and roughly chopped

1/4 cup packed fresh parsley

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon capers (drained)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon anchovy paste

2 garlic cloves

2 pounds fresh green beans, stem end trimmed

Approximately 1 cup water

Steam you green beans in whatever steamer you use. My steamer usually likes to be supplied with about a cup of water, but you know your steamer better! (And if you’re really industrious and a forward-thinker, you could microwave a couple of bags of frozen green beans … way too easy!) Remove steamed green beans to a large bowl.

Blitz the remaining ingredients in your blender and pour over the green beans and toss to combine.

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Salad, Sides

Tarragon Potato Salad

Tarragon is a liquorice-like tasting herb that makes for a unique potato salad that is perfect for a summer barbecue or picnic.20150802_194112_Richtone(HDR)

Tarragon potato salad

3 pounds small, waxy potatoes

6 green onions, roots removed and coarsely chopped

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup loosely packed parsley

3 tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons coarsely ground mustard

4 hard boiled eggs

Boil the potatoes for about 25 minutes or until a fork slides into the potato easily. Remove from the water and chop in halves.

Blend the onions, olive oil, parsley, tarragon, vinegar and mustard. Mix this vinaigrette into the warm potatoes. Top with the hard boiled eggs on top of the potatoes.

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Salad, Sides

Dilly Bean Salad

When I was in the seventh grade my mother had a ginormous dill plant growing in the backyard, and the monarch butterflies knew it. That spring the whole plant was covered in monarch caterpillar, their yellow, black and white bodies inching up and down the stalks. My brother and I absconded with one into the house and kept it in a mesh tent for a few days before releasing it into the wild of our backyard again. If you walked past that caterpillar you were enveloped in a cloud of slightly-sweet and spicy dill aroma. That little guy really likes to chew on dill. If you like dill as much as that little caterpillar, this is the salad for you.

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Dilly bean salad

2 15oz cans northern white beans, drained and rinsed.

12 oz grape tomatoes, halved

One half of a large red onion (this will be about 3/4 cup red onion), diced

1/4 cup dill

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice (You can get this amount from one juicy lemon)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 garlic cloves

Mix the beans, the tomatoes and the red onion in a large bowl.

Blitz the dill, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar in a blender until combined. Mix the dressing with the bean mixture.

You can eat this right away, of course, but it is really much better after spending a day in the refrigerator.

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Salad, Sides, Snacks

Raw Corn Slaw

Corn is such a fascinating food. If you think about how it became the food that we eat today, it takes you back to when our ancestors self-selected bigger and bigger grains of the grass-like teosinte from the fields until it became the giant ears that we shuck on the back porch before dinner. We have used it in ceremonies. We use it to make spirits. We distill it into an alcohol to power our cars. We most likely ate it at the first Thanksgiving. We are a corn people.

I wanted to have a fresh corn salad to enjoy on these hot summer days. We ate this salad spooned into avocados, but I suspect that this would be great on a taco or spooned on top of grilled chicken or steak.

Raw corn salad.

Raw corn slaw.

Raw corn slaw

Six ears corn

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

two limes, juiced

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

salt and pepper

Remove the corn kernels from the cobs. As previously described in this ice cream recipe, I have found that chopping the corn cobs in half first makes the whole process easier. Put the corn kernels in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the mayonnaise mixture over the corn and fold to combine.

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Salad, Sides, Snacks

B-Sprouts with umami sauce

The husband and I were super busy today running around and somewhere in between moving the hostas in the front yard and buying get-well-soon gifts for a friend we forgot to eat lunch. And breakfast. And it was suddenly two in the afternoon and we didn’t want to ruin dinner. Enter brussels sprouts with a nutritional yeast sauce – its fast, its full of fiber and nutrients and scores high on the comfort food quotient.

The b-sprouts.

The b-sprouts.

B-sprouts with umami sauce

1 package microwaveable frozen brussels sprouts

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Microwave the brussels sprouts according to the package directions. While the sprouts are in the microwave, mix the remaining ingredients in a medium size bowl. When the sprouts are done, add to the sauce mixture and toss. Eat and enjoy.

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Main Courses, Sides

Lazy Day Chicken and Gravy with “Cheesy” Mash

The days that you just do not have time to do the dinner routine often out number the days that you do. If it isn’t one thing, its another, amiright? And while I’m no advocate of the culture of busy (although I’m human, and I fall victim), I do acknowledge that some days there are too many things to do and no time to whisk a sauce slowly over a burner. Those days are crock-pot days. And this is one of those easier than easy crock-out recipes.

Lazy day chicken and gravy.

Lazy day chicken and gravy.

Lazy day chicken and gravy with “cheesy” mash

1 chicken, approximately 4 lbs

2 leeks

4 cloves garlic

1 can chicken broth (14 oz)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

6 tablespoons ghee

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

3 lbs little red potatoes

salt and pepper

Clean and slice the leeks. If you haven’t worked with leeks before, know that they are dirty. If you slice off the bottom, and slice off the tops, being the bits that look more like leaves than stalk. Okay, so slice that stalk down the middle and separate the layers in a colander and rinse under water until there is no more dirt. Throw the sliced leeks and the four whole cloves of garlic, the tomato paste with one tablespoon of ghee in the crock-pot for one hour on the low setting. At this point you can walk away. Go ahead, leave it alone while you walk the dogs or fold the laundry.

One hour later, your leeks and garlic should be soft. Now you can add the chicken. So throw the whole chicken in the crock-pot. Please check first you have removed any neck or gizzards that may be in the cavity. Anyway, yes, throw the whole thing in, sprinkle with salt and pepper and any other herb that you fancy. Add half of the can of chicken stock. Cover and let it go for seven hours on low. When the chicken is done, remove from the crock-pot and blitz the vegetables and liquid that remains in a blender – that’s the gravy!

To make the mash clean and quarter the potatoes. Throw the potatoes in a pot and cover with water and boil for thirty minutes or until fork tender. When fully cooked, drain and put them back in the pot off the heat. Mash by hand with the remaining broth, ghee, and nutritional yeast. Serve the chicken and potatoes with the gravy.

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