Monthly Archives: March 2013

Even more Kale

CoconutDSC_3218.1Vietnamese coconut soups are very popular in winter; La Sa Tom for example, the spicey curry coconut noodle soup comes with chicken or shrimps. I can do without the shrimps and as I found out, also without the noodles. This unusual pan-asian blend is a great way to get a big serving of kale in a very satisfying soup. I used dark Indian chickpeas for the first time, they have a stronger shell, similar to fava beans, and may require longer soaking and cooking, however the bigger light colored chickpeas may be smoother for the soup. See recipe 

Irish Spring

IrishDSC_3224It is Irish Parade time, Westchester will have it’s own St. Patrick’s Parade this weekend, which is last minute for me to cook Irish food. Of course Irish food must contain potatoes, or not? A typical Irish dish, Colcannon, can be made with plantains, a sacrilege, I know, as a relatively cheap item is replaced with a more exotic kind. However, if you are cutting back on nightshades, this recipe is worth a try and it will give you a load of kale with it. See recipe

Tasty Bites

DalDSC_3203.1Madras Lentils and other Indian Dishes are available as ready-to-eat pouches even at Costco. The popular Punjabi recipe is the Indian answer to Chili, a sure bet in the U.S.; The Indian original, called Dal Markhani, means ‘lentil rich sauce’, it can be prepared with little effort and money at home, with much healthier ingredients and dairy free. See recipe

Greetings from Guatemala

PlantainDSC_3195Plantains can be a dessert or vegetable. While green plantains are high in starch to be cooked and used like potatoes, the riper fruits with yellow or black peel have developed a nice sweetness, without becoming mushy like dessert bananas do. Often Latin American recipes deep fry plantains, such as the ‘Rellenitos de plantano’; Plantain rolls with a sweet bean filling. However when the plantains are cooked first, mashed and filled and then lightly cooked in a frying pan, they are not as greasy and taste great as dessert or snack. See recipe

The vegetable banana

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Looking for more vegetable variety in winter, I noticed plantains, the starchy cousins to our sweet dessert bananas. Originally from Asia and Oceania, plantains are now a food stable in Africa and South America. They contain less water, more starch and their peel needs to turn black until maximum sweetness is achieved. Green plantains are a great replacement for potatoes, if you need to avoid nightshades. Although most Southern recipes deep-fry plantains, you can cook them like potatoes and then lightly sauté them. Served as chips or patties, with garlic sauce, or with a sweet filling, plantains are a great snack or potato-like side dish.

New York Deli

ThunaDSC_3181New York Delis have fooled many city visitors. Expecting a real ‘Delicatessen’ store, which in Europe is a premium feast for the eye and the palate, visitors enter a Deli in New York, but calling it such is a joke at best. A NY Deli sells coffee and sandwiches in a quality found in gas stations all over the country. One staple in delis, sandwich chains and bagel cafes is the common tuna salad. An often soupy concoction with only two distinguishable ingredients: mayonnaise and celery, other ingredients, hopefully tuna, hidden in the mesh. As tuna taste is addictive and vegans commonly miss it, there is now relief: The very convincing and most healthy vegan un-tuna blend. Just what I had for lunch!

Indian Rice

CurryDSC_3171.1Wild Rice is native in North America and China. The long grain has a dark, chewy outer skin with a delicate inner core and a nutty vegetal taste. It is a cousin to white rice, but is higher in protein than other grains and has recently gained popularity as local gluten free speciality in the US.

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Adding crunch

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Using contrast in a dish, you can dress up a very smooth soup with a crunchy element. Crunch is traditionally added by either using naturally crunchy vegetables, such as carrot slices; or roasted ingredients that add flavor, such as bread crumbs or bacon, grains, such as popped amaranth, or fried vegetables, such as onions. When I made a variation of my butternut squash soup, I needed something interesting, and added crunch and flavor by dressing the soup with quickly roasted potato mini cubes. See recipe here.