Tag: vegetarian

Daikon, kale & Swiss Chard gratin

Having just arrived back home from, most of the week in Cleveland on-site at our client and a quick camping overnight from Friday to Saturday on the way back to Columbus, I was in the mood to cook something homey. Being gone for most of the week meant I had some greens to use from our previous and current Yellow Bird shipments. These included a bunch of purple kale, a beautiful batch of Swiss Chard, some Daikon Radishes and yellow onion. As usual, all locally grown here in Ohio.

It was Sunday morning so I spent some lazy time in bed with fresh coffee I had made Captain Underpants style. It’s Sunday. No schedules, so hey! I had my copy of The New American Heart Association Cookbook in hand and came across a gratin idea. I like this cook book as it has all sorts of creative ways to cook without the usual amounts of fat, salt, and sugar you normally see in traditional collections. Like using non-fat ricotta, fat-free milk, applesauce in place of sugar or fats (at times) and any number of seasonings to bump up the flavor since salt is a luxury. But you also have flavor punches allowed from things like low-fat cheddar and full fledged Parmesan cheese, in lesser amounts but just as powerful flavor wise, in the mix.

I came across a recipe for Collard Greens and Artichoke Gratin this morning. I used this as a template substituting the Collards for the Kale and Swiss Chard that I had, however. Also, using this recipe and it’s technique for precooking Daikon Radishes before making a totally decadent gratin out of them, I pre-boiled the sliced Daikons for 15 minutes then proceeded to layer as the Heart Association recipe called for.

I grabbed my copy of The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everybody then flipped to the section on gratins. They call these things “enduring, unpretentious dishes that are a boon for any cook.” Citing that they are versatile enough for both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike in that they can either play center stage or ride shotgun and serve as a side dish. They also state that presentation wise, they are well suited for shallow round cooking dishes with as much surface area as possible to give the diners a chance to enjoy the crisp of the breadcrumbs and cheese mixture on the top of an otherwise soft and savory center.

As a finishing touch, I layered some panko and Parmesan on the top and baked covered for 15 minutes then removed the cover to allow browning and crisping of the top for about 20 minutes.

In the end, it was a good way to get my greens for the day, make some lunches ahead for the week that is about to begin and enjoy learning more about how versatile gratins are in the meantime. Also, the flavor of the Daikons sort of shone in contrast to the hearty greens. The balance of flavors and textures was pretty great actually.

This week’s goals include ditching breakfast and trying out the whole 12 hour fast thing. Bringing my own coffee to work instead of going to Starbucks and packing a healthy lunch and set of snacks to munch on through the day. Who knows, maybe I’ll finally get on the overnight oats bandwagon finally. Diet and lifestyle are both a process. Things ebb and flow but it should always be fun and satisfying.

Maple Syrup Recovery Drinks and Courage to Change

This post is dedicated to my team at Grant Heart Health Center and the folks who have encouraged and inspired me to run… and of course Eddie. “Go Forth and Have no Fear”

I’ve been catching up on magazines  today. It’s one of my weekend things.

Granted nutrition is on my mind, and all over my social media feed; however this was the week I got some powerful news. All of the lifestyle changes I’ve been adopting in an effort to fight heart disease have begun to show some progress. This alone is proof that lifestyle can have significant effect on health. There is of course no cure. I’m choosing to look at health as a holistic set of variables.Thus providing the framework to take control of the few things we can actually own… and change if we are lucky. My tools include meditation, a focus on being present, time spent unplugged, low fat vegetarian diet, exercise and stress management techniques.

Time for the news. This was the week I was told that my cholesterol medication could be reduced by 50%. My head exploded, in a good way, when I heard that. It’s these moments of validation I have been working toward slowly. And like with running… I did this with the support of my health professionals, friends and family. Of course I have to embrace the possibility of future setbacks. That however falls under the category of the unknown. As such, it’s something I don’t have to acknowledge beyond today’s choices.

To be clear, I don’t believe medicine is bad. Medicine is a powerful tool which should be treated with deep respect. But for the lifesaving power it provides, there is often times a cost. As such I only want to take the minimum amount prescribed by medical professionals based on a thorough analysis of the current situation. My mission in life right now is to work with, not against, my team in order to keep CAD at bay for as long as I can.

I want to run marathons. Maybe a triathlon by the time I hit 49 if I’m lucky. But, as I wrote about in an earlier post, that’s looking too far ahead. That last phrase has become one of my most important life lessons from the past seven months.

So it’s time to get back to magazine reading for a minute. I came across an info-graphic style page from the Nov/Dec issue of Bicycling which caught my eye. It spoke about maple syrup as a sports drink. Like an energy gel equivalent. Benefits cited include a whole string of phytonutrients, electrolytes, minerals, trace vitamins and sucrose in a water soluble form. While I only use the absolute minimum salt and fat these days, I will probably keep the pinch of salt, on the conservative side, prescribed below for the workouts that last 1 to 2 hours or more.

Mix the following and pour into 2 16 oz PCB free bottles for the running or bike trail.

  • 3 1/2 cups cold filtered water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (fresh if you can)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Pinch of salt

Maple Syrup

Go Forth and Have No Fear

Mee Goreng with Tofu and Bok Choy

Upon moving back to the Mid West 2 years ago Eddie & I began to enjoy what we used to call “Wor Su Gai Friday.” We were both acclimating to Ohio during one of the harshest Winter’s we could imagine. Sub zero temperatures with wind-chills near -30. It was a little different from our Dallas Winters.

The flavors we’d bring home from The Happy Dragon in German Village were things we could not find in Texas. This style of food reminds us both of a particularly snowy Christmas where we drove to my home town of Marion for brunch with my parents. On the way back to Columbus we stopped for take out near our home in Victorian Village. It’s that box of take out I think of when I have a craving for Americanized Asian food to this day.

Tonight was my first attempt to recapture some of those flavors, aromas and memories with a little less of the bad for you combinations found in this type cuisine. As usual these days; I used canola oil, and less of it, than the recipe cited in addition to lite soy sauce. The end product was really delicious and, while not fat free, pretty darn close to the less bad for you coordinates.

I felt like I reclaimed a little of my flavor real estate with this recipe.

And there it is. While it’s good to be strict in order to achieve your goals, survival or not, it’s also good to remember a Christmas Day from a couple decades ago. Making new memories over dinner and another movie replay with Eddie in the middle of the work week… in the middle of Fall… as everything continues to evolve and move around us like a big lovely blur of light, sound, thought, action and dreams.

The write up below is from Oh My Veggies who documented the recipe from my new favorite “The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook” by America’s Test Kitchen.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh Chinese noodles
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 4 large shallots, 2 minced and 2 sliced thin
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sambal oelek
  • 14 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound bok choy, stalks and greens separated and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 4 scallions, sliced thin on bias
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add noodles and cook, stirring often, until tender. Drain noodles and set aside.
  2. Whisk sugar, molasses, and soy sauce together in bowl. In separate bowl, combine minced shallots, garlic, and sambal oelek.
  3. Spread tofu over paper towel-lined baking sheet and let drain for 20 minutes. Gently pat tofu dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper, then toss with cornstarch in bowl. Transfer coated tofu to strainer and shake gently over bowls to remove excess cornstarch. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-heat heat until just smoking. Add tofu and cook, turning as needed, until crisp and browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes; transfer to bowl.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon oil to now-empty skillet and heat until shimmering. Add sliced shallots and cook until golden, about 5 minutes; transfer to paper towel-lined plate.
  5. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to now-empty skillet and heat until shimmering. Add bok choy stalks and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Clear center of skillet, add garlic mixture, and cook, mashing mixture into skillet until fragrant, about 30 seconds; stir into vegetables.
  6. Stir in noodles, tofu, bok choy leaves, and scallions. Whisk sauce to recombine, add to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.

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Vegetarian Tex-Mex Enchiladas

There are more than a couple Tex Mex restaurants I remember fondly from the years I lived in Dallas. Great little family spots with the sound of clanking plates and laughter interwoven with the scent of gravy and peppers in the air. The following recipe is definitely a splurge for those of us on a low fat diet. It can be made less so by using canola oil (and less of it), vegetable broth, and lower fat chesse options.

The first time I had this I immediately thought of Mia’s resturant and many nights Eddie & I would go out after a hard week at work for beers and brisket tacos and enchiladas like these.

Recipe from our copy of the vegetarian cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen.

Why this recipe works:

Unlike their Mexican kin, Tex-Mex enchiladas have no meat and no tomatoey sauce. Instead, a smoky chile gravy provides the bulk of flavor in the dish. Dried ancho chiles, along with cumin, garlic, and oregano, are the perfect backbone for our roux-based sauce, and a splash of vinegar brightens… read more
Serves 6

Dried chiles vary in size and weight. You’ll get a more accurate measure if you seed and tear them first; you need about 1/2 cup of prepped chiles. You’ll lose some flavor, but you can substitute 2 tablespoons of ancho chile powder and 1 tablespoon of ground cumin for the whole ancho chiles and cumin seeds, decreasing the toasting time to 1 minute.
Ingredients

GRAVY
2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and torn into 1/2-inch pieces (1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
ENCHILADAS
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (2 cups)
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
1 onion, chopped fine

Instructions

1. FOR THE GRAVY: Toast chiles and cumin in 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to spice grinder and let cool for 5 minutes. Add garlic powder and oregano and grind to fine powder.

2. Heat oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Whisk in flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and spice mixture and cook until fragrant and slightly deepened in color, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, whisking frequently, until gravy has thickened and reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 5 minutes. Whisk in vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm. (Sauce can be made up to 24 hours in advance. To reheat, add 2 tablespoons water and microwave until loose, 1 to 2 minutes, stirring halfway through microwaving.)

3. FOR THE ENCHILADAS: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Stack tortillas, then wrap in damp dish towel. Place tortillas on plate and microwave until warm and pliable, about 1 minute.

4. Spread 1/2 cup gravy in bottom of 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Combine cheeses in bowl; set aside 1/2 cup cheese mixture for topping enchiladas. Place 1/4 cup cheese mixture across center of each tortilla, then sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon onion. Tightly roll tortillas around filling and lay them seam side down in dish (2 columns of 6 tortillas will fit neatly across width of dish). Pour remaining 1 cup gravy over enchiladas, then sprinkle with reserved cheese mixture.

5. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Let enchiladas cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with remaining onion. Serve.

TEST KITCHEN TIP: Enchilada Orientation

The arrangement matters: After you have spread 1/2 cup of chile gravy in the 13 by 9-inch baking dish, fit the 12 enchiladas by creating two snug rows of six.
What Is Chile Gravy?

Chile gravy is considered by many experts—and Texans—to be the defining food of Tex-Mex cuisine. Like beef or poultry gravy, it’s based on broth thickened with a roux (usually vegetable oil or lard plus flour). Unlike those gravies, chile gravy gets its signature flavor not from meat drippings or fond but from spices plus ground ancho chiles (which are dried poblano peppers). Shortcut recipes often call for chili powder, but that shortcuts the flavor, too. Instead, we make our own chile powder by toasting the anchos and grinding them with cumin seeds, garlic powder, and dried oregano. Chile gravy should be dark, thick, and very flavorful; it’s not that spicy, though.

 

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Pumpkin & Vegan Protein Shakes

As I’ve been moving to a more plant based and low fat diet I’ve been sampling various vegan protein powers to help both with the transition and workout recovery. So far I’ve tried two by Vega and one called “Phood” thanks to a colleague’s generosity.

The fat content is spot on coming in at less than a gram each with zero cholesterol. The protein content sits right around the 20 gram mark which is close to my old whey powders. They all tend to mix well with water without clumping and have very palatable flavors. That said the two I tried from Vega have a slightly vegetal note on the palate and a little more gritty texture. Phood was smoother with less vegetal tones.

Of course it’s only when I am pressed for time that I’ll mix a drink with water but it’s nice to know that it’s decent. Following is my preferred method of preparation for my morning and mid-morning servings to give myself a 40 gram boost for the day. I recently started using canned pumpkin with no additives this week and it’s been amazing. I used to use Jif white label peanut butter for texture (lowest sodium content of all that I’ve seen) but the fats made me hesitate. Pumpkin seems to do an even better job than peanut butter and adds a whole array of health benefits. It’s less pumpkin flavored than I expected and it makes the texture totally amazing while completely balancing out the grit and vegetal tones of the powder.

It seems that necessity is truly the mother of tasty inventions every now and again.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond or flax milk – or purified water
  • 2 scoops of vegan protein powder
  • ½ can pureed pumpkin
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 banana

Process

  1. Blend until smooth and creamy in a blender.

Pumpkin protein shake

2015 Cookbook Reading List

Since April I’ve been re-calibrating nearly every aspect of my life. A big part of this has been centered in the kitchen. This post documents my recent stack of increasingly annotated, and stained, books. All five are in frequent rotation now that I’m enjoying a low fat plant based diet.

“Vegetable Literacy” was a gift from my buddy in Portland. It’s beautifully illustrated and has a wealth of wonderfully fine recipes. I use this one a lot when I’m either experimenting with a great haul from the farmers market or when throwing a dinner party. The one by America’s Test Kitchen is, however, my new “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” It’s like a cheaters guide to great vegetarian food. Another one that lines up perfectly with all that I’ve learned has been Chef Del’s book. It’s beautifully documented and an excellent guide on how to make delicious low fat vegan fare at home.

A couple others include Brendan Brazier & Matt Frazier’s books, “Thrive Energy Cookbook” and “No Meat Athlete” respectively. These are a little more sports and health centric versus culinary focused. I’ve found both are great go to’s for the moments when you find yourself caught up in the “I’m so busy” syndrome. They are both great time savers while “The No Meat Athlete” is additionally very informational regarding running.

So in good health, 2016 marathon goals and the production/consumption of delicious food in mind; I leave you with my Summer/Fall 2015 cookbook reading list.

Cookbooks 2015

Carrot ginger soup

It’ll be time for Jack-O-Lanterns soon. While Fall eventually gives way to the long quiet spaces of Winter, our spider colony is still thriving outside our 3rd avenue window… and we have carrot ginger soup with warm crusty bread to look forward to tomorrow.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoon canola oil (a better fat option with only 1g saturated fat per serving)
  • 2 onions, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups carrot juice
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • Chopped chives
  • Sour cream (fat free)

Instructions

  1. Add onions and oil, crystallized ginger, fresh ginger, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and sugar; cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened but not browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Increase heat to high; add carrots, water, 3/4 cup carrot juice, thyme sprigs, and baking soda and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until carrots are very tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Discard thyme sprigs. Working in batches, process soup in blender until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Return soup to clean pot and stir in vinegar and remaining 3/4 cup carrot juice. (Soup can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.) Return to simmer over medium heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with sprinkle of chives and dollop of sour cream.

carrot-soup-making carrot-soup-finished Spider Colony

Eggplant Involtini

Eddie made Eggplant Involtini from “The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook” tonight.  I threw in a rainbow chard, arugula, currant and French radish salad with red wine vinaigrette. I think we both discovered a whole new reason to love eggplant.

The recipe below is the original with instructions. Contrary to what they outline you can make this with the fat free ricotta and much less oil if your diet requires it. We also dramatically reduced the amount of Romano in the dish for similar health reasons. The result was, however, amazing.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplants (1 1/2 pounds each), peeled
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained with juice reserved, chopped coarse
  • 1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) whole-milk ricotta cheese – used part skim
  • 1 1/2 ounces grated Pecorino Romano cheese (3/4 cup) – used only a small amount of Parmesan for an accent
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Slice each eggplant lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick planks (you should have 12 planks). Trim rounded surface from each end piece so it lies flat.
  2. Adjust 1 oven rack to lower-middle position and second rack 8 inches from broiler element. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and spray generously with vegetable oil spray. Arrange eggplant slices in single layer on prepared sheets. Brush 1 side of eggplant slices with 2 1/2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Flip eggplant slices and brush with 2 1/2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake until tender and lightly browned, 30 to 35 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cool for 5 minutes. Using thin spatula, flip each slice over. Heat broiler.
  3. While eggplant cooks, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch broiler-safe skillet over medium-low heat until just shimmering. Add garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and their juice. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Cover and set aside.
  4. Pulse bread in food processor until finely ground, 10 to 15 pulses. Combine bread crumbs, ricotta, 1/2 cup Pecorino, 1/4 cup basil, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl.
  5. With widest ends of eggplant slices facing you, evenly distribute ricotta mixture on bottom third of each slice. Gently roll up each eggplant slice and place seam side down in tomato sauce.
  6. Bring sauce to simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and broil until eggplant is well browned and cheese is heated through, 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Pecorino and let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon basil and serve.

Technique

  • Bake, Don’t Fry
  • We trade the salting, breading, and frying steps that classic recipes employ for a lighter, no-fuss approach.
  • SLICE: Lay each peeled eggplant on its side and slice it lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick planks (you should have 12 planks).
  • BAKE: Brush both sides of slices with oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake until tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
  • STUFF AND ROLL: With widest end facing you, place portion of ricotta mixture on bottom third of slice. Roll into cylinder.
  • Technique
  • Bread Crumbs: Outside to Inside

In most involtini recipes bread crumbs are used to coat the eggplant, but in our version we put them in the cheese. The bread crumbs keep the filling creamy by preventing the Pecorino Romano proteins from linking tightly.

Eggplant Involtini... another reason to love eggplants. Cooking Eggplant Involtini

Pumpkin & Mushroom Lasagna

With Fall settling down around us like so many orange leaves on the ground I’ve been in the mood to cook with pumpkin. The Moosewood cookbooks bring back memories of some of my first dates with Eddie in the early 1990‘s. He had copies of “The Enchanted Broccoli Forest” and “The Moosewood Cookbook.” We’d have dinner by candle light and incense with a good bottle of wine, his cat Samson, the Pixies or the Smiths in the background and his amazing renditions of eggplant parmesan. We were both very young, in love and sporting healthy appetites.

It seemed only fitting to adapt the following Moosewood recipe tonight. Of course, as usual, using things I had on hand with a nod at heart health. On the later note however I kind of splurged with the fats. While I used part skim ricotta and a bit of olive oil to sautee the mushrooms and onions … I skipped the ricotta salata and only used a couple tablespoons of Parmigiano reggiano instead of pecorino romano. And of course… only half of the salt outlined by the recipe.

We still have those now tattered copies of the Moosewood cookbooks which, every now and again, we pull out for something that tastes like Hunter Avenue. I find that these come in handy particularly in the Fall as the days get cooler and shorter… in those moments where memories linger in the air like spirits.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cups chopped portabellos or other mushrooms
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup marsala, vegetable stock or a combination
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3½ cups canned pumpkin (29-ounce can)*
  • 3 cups ricotta cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¾ pound uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 1½ cups crumbled ricotta salata
  • ½ cup grated pecorino romano cheese
  • Or use puréed cooked or frozen butternut squash. Two butternut squash will yield about 3½ cups puréed squash.

Process

  1. In a large pot, sauté the onions in the oil for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and sauté for another 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are somewhat wilted.
  3. Add the sage, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and the Marsala or stock and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, pumpkin, ricotta cheese, pepper, nutmeg, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly oil a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  6. Dip out about ½ cup of the liquid from the sautéed mushrooms and pour it into the prepared baking dish.
  7. Cover the bottom with a layer of lasagna noodles arranged close together.
  8. Evenly spread on half of the pumpkin mixture.
  9. Spoon on about a third of the sautéed mushrooms and sprinkle with ½ cup of ricotta salata.
  10. Add a second layer of noodles followed by the remaining pumpkin mixture, another third of the sautéed mushrooms, and ½ cup of ricotta salata.
  11. Finish with a layer of noodles thoroughly moistened by the last third of the sautéed mushrooms.
  12. Evenly sprinkle on ½ cup of ricotta salata and top with the grated Pecorino.
  13. Cover and bake for 50 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until the lasagna is bubbly, the noodles are tender, and the top is browned.
  14. Remove from the oven and let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

20151005_201252 Suteed mushrooms and pumkin ricotta blend

Green Soup with a Southern Flair

I’ve been going to the Clintonville Farmers Market for about a month now. Every week seeing something new as Spring eases into the beginnings of Summer in Ohio. Starting of course with a bumper crop of asparagus now giving way to turnips, beets, greens of all sorts, mushrooms, strawberries and such. With a gift of home grown Swiss Chard from a colleague in the fridge in mind I picked up turnips, yellow beets and kale this morning with a friend who made the trek on a cool Saturday morning.

I cropped the tops off the beets and the turnips, washed and stemmed those with half the fresh kale and all the chard then proceeded to make a recipe titled “Eat Your Greens” from  the book “Better than Vegan” by Del Sroufe. Mid way through of course I made some course changes based on what I had on hand and seeming shifts in the wind direction. What I ended up with was a green soup that reminded me of the Julia Child Pottage au Florentine with the rice to thicken it and the egg yolk at the end. The flavor is all Southern greens though and pretty amazing. I’m picturing it with ricotta toasts and fresh garden tomatoes already.

If you are a fan of the hearty flavors found within a pot of Southern style greens and enjoy a smooth textured French style soup without the artery clogging fats this is your dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 large diced onion
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large bunch fresh Swiss Chard
  • 1 large bunch of beet tops
  • 1 large bunch of turnip tops
  • 1 large bunch of kale
  • 1 leek chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery sliced
  • 6 cups fresh vegetable stock
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • Fresh sprigs of thyme, basil and a couple bay leaves
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Bragqs Liquid Aminos (using this as a salt substitute in lieu of white miso from the original recipe)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

Process

  1. Stem and wash the greens then air dry for 20 minutes.
  2. Saute the onion in olive oil in a large pot over medium heat for 15 minutes to browning.
  3. De-glaze the pan with the wine scraping up the onion and browning.
  4. Add the garlic, leeks, pepper, herbs and cook for an additional4 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat and add the stock then layer the greens.
  6. Sprinkle the Braggs over the mix.
  7. Cover and cook for 45 minutes.
  8. Stir greens and add the brown rice.
  9. Move in batches to a powerful blender and puree.
  10. Serve with crostini or good toasted bread with a little Ricotta and freshly sliced tomatoes with a little olive oil drizzle.

Fresh-Greens Green-Soup