Beet and Bean Cabbage Steaks

IMG_2604 Being that it was St. Patricks day this week and lots of folks buy up a good amount of cabbage, I figured that this is a good time to get people to try one of my most favorite of favorite meals…..Beet bean and cabbage steaks. I love to play around with food, how to pair textures and colors plus tastes while trying to make whatever I am making healthy and balanced. This is one of my fav creations. And sure,  this may seem like a somewhat weird combo, maybe a little like a extremely hippy dippy vegan fake meat thing, and you might be kind of right, but screw if it doesn't taste like A-mazing. First off, notice how freaking dang pretty this thing is. The roasted beets bring a earthy hearty flavor but also pack a huge punch of color, especially when blended together with the ever so sweet white bean, which  brings a nice mellow taste and a great serving of protein. (Beets and beans are meant for each other). Spread that  brightly colored, tasty mixture onto of a huge slab of one of my favorites, roasted cabbage with all its crunch and cabbagy flavor and you got yourself a hearty healthy meal of deliciousness.  

So maybe this might seem a little out of your normal food routine, but why not try it? Trust me….you will love it and everyone you make it for will think you are a number 1 badass too.

IMG_2504Cabbage, white beans, and beets. There is a lemon involved, but it didn't make it into the picture.

Notes.... I used white beans, but I have also done this with chick peas and lentils. All are fantastic. Also, I did not peel my beets because I never do.(I do not peel anything the skin is full of goodness and I love the taste) If you don't want to eat the skin, then peel them. IMG_2512Cabbage is cut into inch thick slabs… I like to us the inter most part of a cabbage head cause I like the core. But use any cut that you want.  2 beets are chopped into chunkers and both the cabbage and the beets are placed on a lightly oiled baking sheets, seasoned with salt and pepper,  and stuck into the oven for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees.

IMG_2581Once the beets are tender and the cabbage is cooked to a nice withered golden pretty, take out of the oven, but leave the oven on.  Leave the cabbage on the pan but throw the beets into a blender or a big bowl if using a hand blender  with the white beans

IMG_2585    IMG_2595Beans and beets get pureed together. Add the juice of 1/2 a lemon (or the whole lemon, depending on your taste) and a pinch of salt and pepper. With a big spoon or spatula, scoop equal amounts of the bean/beet mixture on top of the cabbage steaks and spread around. Sprinkle with cracked pepper and place back into oven for another 5-10 minutes. (You could totally skip the second bake, but I like my cabbage well done and crispy)

IMG_2623Oh ho boy… And with a good squirt of mustard to finish off… I could eat this all day, everyday 

And now I am #1

Happy Wednesday... Keep it good!

-C


Beet and Bean Cabbage Steaks 

Makes 2 Thick Cut Steaks

  • 1/2 head of cabbage (green or red)
  • 2 cups or 1 can of cooked white beans
  • 2 medium beets
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • Mustard (Optional)

Preheat Oven to 4oo degrees

Cut two 1 ish inch thick rounds of cabbage from the widest part of the head. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Chop beets into chunks and toss on same baking sheet.(Peel if you want) Sprinkle everything with salt and pepper. Stick into oven for 20-25 minutes or until the beets and cabbage  are tender. Remove veggies from oven and place roasted beets into a  blender (or bowl if using a hand blender) but leave the cabbage on the baking sheet. Add the white beans, the juice of half a lemon, and salt and pepper to the beets and puree until smooth. Scoop equal amounts of the mixture to each cabbage steak, sprinkle with pepper and place back into oven for another 5-10 minutes to give the beans and beets a nice crunchy crust (You can skip this step if you don't want to be crusty)

Remove from oven, stick on a plate and drizzle with mustard….Fork and knife are good ways to eat it, but eating it with you fingers makes less dirty dishes.

Irish Soda Bread

IMG_1945  There is irish soda bread in your future. I can see it. A nice hardy hunk slathered in butter and honey, crumbs all over the place.  So all you have to do know is make it. 

I remember reading somewhere (I wish I could remember where) that irish soda bread is just four ingredients, flour, sea salt, baking soda and buttermilk and adding  anything else would make  it a cake. So when I decided to make irish soda bread, thats all I used. ( I made it with some wheat flour) What you end up with is a highly dense, super fragrant, soft, chewy bread with a crunchy crust. Definitely not a cake.

Note….You can for sure add in a bit of sweetener or even little fat to make it richer and softer, but then it wouldn't be bread (or so that's what I read) There are tons of other recipes out there that have other stuff in them. This is just a really simple basic recipe. 

IMG_1828White whole wheat flour and all purpose flour mixed together. Salt baking soda and buttermilk. That's it.IMG_1840All the dry whisked together and in goes the buttermilk. Mix together until dough starts to form then dump onto a floured surface.  Handling dough as little as possible, knead into ball.

IMG_1857Place on a baking sheet and dust with flour. Take a sharp knife and cut  an X through the top about 1/2 inch deep.

Stick in into the oven for 50 ish minutes, or unit la tester stuck into the middle comes out clean and there is kind of a hollow thunk when tapped on. IMG_1956

And now you have a very pretty, dense hunk of irish soda bread. 

Cut and serve with butter and honey (thats how the mister likes it) or whatever you want to eat it with.

-C


Irish Soda Bread

  • 1 cup all purpose flour 
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (or you can use all purpose) 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or your choice if milk plus a tablespoon lemon juice) 

Preheat oven to 375

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda and salt. Mix in buttermilk until the dough starts to come together. If the dough seems to dry, add another splash or two of milk. Dump out dough onto a floured surface and shape into a ball. transfer onto a baking sheet, dust with flour and cut a x about 1/2 inch into the top. Stick into oven for 50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and the bread makes a hollow sound when tapped.

Let cool enough to handle.

Cut into and serve with a smear of whatever you want

Best eaten within a day or two

Bloody Mary Tomato Soup

IMG_1345You ever have one of those days where its  9 am and your ready to call it a day? . Yesterday was one of those day for me. Its spring vacation around here (more like an  arctic vacation) and I had volunteered my day to babysitting/ hanging out with 2 of my nephews, ages 11 and 13. (I know, I am the greatest sister). I had all of these great ideas and plans of things to do, but when it came down to it, they wanted to do nothing but play video games and not really listen to anything I said. I basically had to drag them outside to go for a walk we me and that's all I could get them to do  My great little nephews, I love them so much, but yesterday they had their minds set on being little monsters.

I needed a drink. And I needed lunch. And so I was inspired to make this bloody mary tomato soup. Its got all the essentials to a great drink, the tomato, the spice, the zingy flavors, but warm and thick to eat as soup which was a perfect lift for a freezing cold dragging day. And no, I didn't add the vodka to it because that would be irresponsible of me.  I am not about to serve up lunch soup to a couple  young boys with alcohol in it. I am not a dumb ass…Save the vodka for when the kids go home!

IMG_1308 What we have going here…... Chopped up onion, celery, and carrot in a pot. Stick that pot on the stove for a few minutes on medium heat to start the cooking process.  While that happening get the other stuff ready.  A big can of diced tomatoes, hot sauce, worcestershire sauce*,  prepared horseradish*, celery salt, garlic powder, salt and pepper And last but not least a good squirt of yellow mustard. Now add it all to the pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to low and stick a lid on it.

*I used  the horseradish that is made with only horseradish and vinegar…..You can use the other stuff that contains sugars and milk, but I don't know how tastes. And the worcestershire sauce I used did not contain fish but be aware that a lot of the popular brands do, so if you care, check labels!

IMG_1323After about 20 minutes the veggies should be soft and the flavors should all have melded together. Taste  soup as it is cooking and add any more spice that you want.

Now in goes the emulsifying stick of fun! (Or dump in a blender) Blend blend blend!  

IMG_1366I stopped when I got to a smooth consistency with the littlest bit of texture.

And now the soup is now ready for the bowls!

IMG_1361And there it is…served with a stock of celery and a wedge of lemon (I forgot to add them to the pictures!)  A bloody Mary to take the edge off any drag of a cold weather day. And best part..   left over soup is great served chilled with a shot of vodka to loosen this Mary up!

Have a Happy Day!

-C


Bloody Mary Tomato Soup

The Stuff

Side note…The spicier ingredients...hot sauce, horseradish, and worcestershire sauce are pretty flexible. My advice is to start with the lesser amounts of the ingredient and work your way up until you get to your happy soup place.

  • 32 oz can of crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 stalks or celery plus more for garnish
  • 1-2 teaspoons horseradish
  • 1-2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 teaspoons hot sauce or  ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard 
  • A lemon cut into wedges (To squeeze on as a garnish)
  • 2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and cracked pepper to taste

Dice up carrots, onion and celery and place in a large pot and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Once the  veggies are slightly soft, add in the rest of the ingredients plus one tomato can  worth of water. Bring to boil, cover and turn heat down to low. Cook for another 15-20 minutes or until all the veggies are super soft and the flavor have all developed.  Add salt and pepper, taste and add any additional spicier spices that you want.

When happy with taste, either  in a blender or with a hand emulsifier, blend soup until smooth (or to your desired constancy) Soup is now ready to serve.

Ladle or pour into bowls  and serve with a stalk of celery and maybe a wedge of lemon. Crackers or croutons are welcome too.

Eat with a Spoon

Soup left overs are great refrigerated and served cold. Add a splash of vodka to make it fun.

Lemony Garlic Lentils

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Yay Tuesday! Which means its lentil day in my house. Ok not really, because everyday is lentil day in my house. Why? Because they are pretty much the best.  And with the addition of lots of garlic and lemon…..whoa nelly!!! Eat your heart out.But for serious, not only are these little bits of happy legumes oh so tasty, they also are a nutritional whomper.  So much protein, iron and zinc, magnesium and a bunch of other good stuff. Low in calorie and fat. Shelf stable, cheap, and fast and easy to cook. They are fantastic in soups, sauces, casseroles and salads. Eat them warm, cold, plain or covered in mustard. There possibilities with these little guys are endless. If you do not have lentils in your pantry right now, you are crazy. Make it  priority to get some. Do it today, and make these fantastically yummy lentils for dinner. Trust, you won't be sorry.

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Lentils, water (not shown but I think you know what it looks like) lemon, garlic, and some salt and pepper. Cabbage and kale to make it that much better.

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Add a cup of lentils to a pot with minced or pressed garlic, the zest of the lemon and the juice of half the lemon. (save the other half to squeeze on top later) Add in 2 1/4 cups water , a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Place a lid on pot and turn heat down to low. Let cook for about 15 - 20 minutes or until lentils are just about done.

Now top the almost done lentils with  the cabbage and the kale. Add a splash of water and a pinch of salt  and replace lid. Keep pot on simmer for another 5-8 minutes until the veggies are wilted.  This gives you a slightly cooked, but still nice and crisp veggie. If you like you veggies a bit more soft, just add them into the lentils a little earlier or don't even cook them at all. It's whatever you want.

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After a few minutes take the lid off and…aahh. Smells like cozy lemony garlicy happiness. 

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 A big steaming bowl of everything that is good. Serve with an extra wedge of lemon to squeeze on top!

Tuesday Ah HA!

Make your day AWESOME!!!


Lemony Garlic Lentils 

  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon (juice and zest)
  • Salt and pepper
  • some shredded cabbage
  • a few kale leaves

Add water, lentils, the zest and juice of 1 lemon and about a teaspoon of salt and pepper to a pot. Mince garlic and add that in too.  Bring to a boil then place a lid on it and turn down to simmer. After about 15 minutes, give lentils a stir. At this point the lentils should be a al denta, but just about done.( If you notice the lentils seem dry, just add a bit more water) Layer on the cabbage and kale, adding in a splashof water. Replace lid and let simmer of another 5-8 , or until lentils are cooked and the veggies are you cooked to your liking. 

 

Cajun Black Beans and Rice

    IMG_0596 WOO WHOA!! MARDI GRAS! I wish I was down in New Orleans today celebrating… and soaking up some warmth and sunshine, catching beads, maybe even  taking my shirt off(?!!?) 

No, I keep my shirt on today because I am not like that, and also, I would die of hypothermia. Today I wear a shirt, underneath 5 other shirts ad sweaters.  Because today is just another day of -20 below here in Vermont. 

To keep me from going completely crazy, I am thinking of warm weather and I am thinking of New Orleans (love that place!) and the humongo celebration that's been going on there for the past week. Everyone partying out in the streets. Big floats and beads all around. I might be feeling a little jealous, (more of the weather then the partying) but thats ok, I have TV to watch and a warm comforter to wrap myself up in. And maybe I should have done a post of fried donuts or of some type of alcohol party drink to celebrate the day, but I really just wanted to make something warm and spicy, so I went with some dank cajun beans. And also I wanted to sing…. "Beans Beans the musical fruit, the more you eat the more you toot!!" hehe

But for real, these beans  are sooooo f-ing tasty and super versatile. You can serve the spicy beans with the rice or just eat just the beans. You could do the beans and  add to a bed of kale (me) or add cheese, guacamole and a few  corn tortillas to the mix (the mister).  Simple to make, super tasty and full of flavor!  And pretty freaking heathy to boot! This dish gets an A+!

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This dish is so full of flavor but so simple to make. We start with presoaked black beans drained and rinsed. Cajun seasoning (which is basically 1 part onion powder, thyme, oregano,  and 2 parts paprika, garlic powder, cayenne power, and salt and pepper) Sliced onion and jalapeno, and a few tablespoons of tomato paste. Oh, and the rice.

 IMG_0511    IMG_0567Beans are in a pot filled with water unit beans are completely sumerged. Add in the onion, jalapeño, tomato paste and cajun seasoning. Bring to a boil then cover with a lid and simmer for about 45 minutes…..  After about a half hour, start up the rice. Water in pot with rice, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. 

IMG_0656The rice is done and fluffed with at fork. The beans are cooked with just the tiniest bit of bite, bathing in a thick spicy tomatoey sauce. The chunks of onion and jalapeño have broken down and are hiding in every bite…. Oh so good!

 Now get ready for the bowl!!! IMG_0610Bringing a little spice and  nice to this crazy cold winter day or any fun festivities you may have planned.  

Have a Fantastic Day.. Stay Warm or if you already are.. lucky you!

-C


Cajun Black Beans and Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups dried black beans* soaked for at least 4 hours or overnight..Rinse and strained
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Jalapeño
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 tomato (I used a large roma)
  • 1 1/2 cup of dried rice plus 3 cups water

*If you want to use canned beans, go for it…Just sub in 2 cans rinsed and strained black beans and only add a cup of water to the beans. Pre sauté the onion and the jalapeño before adding to the beans and only simmer the beans for about 15 minutes. 

Place you soaked beans into a pot and fill with water until the beans are completely summered.  Slice the jalapeño and onion and add to the pot along with the  tomato paste and the cajun seasoning.  Bring to a boil then place a lid on it and turn heat down to low. Let simmer for about 45 minutes or until the beans are completely cooked.

When the beans are about half way done, add rice to water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, place a lid on pot and turn heat down to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or  until all water is absorbed and rice is tender. Fluff with a fork.

To sever. place a scoop of two of rice to a bowl and top with a scoop of two of beans.… Top with diced tomatoes and scallions… (The mister added shredded pepper jack to his and thought it was excellent)

Eat with a fork or spoon.

Pimped Out Rice Cakes

IMG_7127 I need a good snack.. Something healthy, hardy, fast, and of course, something tasty.

Rice cakes……..basically a flat somewhat crispy disk of puffed rice. Kind of boring, kind of dull, kind of blah. But Add a little somethin somethin….say like this here rice cake that I smeared with peanut stock, topped with banana, sprinkled with coconut flakes and cinnamon and a few raisins…well thats just freaking fantastic!

And because they are pretty much nothing but air.. there is no need to feel guilty about eating a few. Have a rice cake snack party… spreads of nut butters, bean dips, smashed fruit, avocado, mashed sweet potato, heck…just some mustard or hot sauce would be nice. The list of topping goes on and on. And shelf stable for a long time to boot. I mean, you can keep a bag hanging around for quite a bit of time, just as long as you keep them air tight.

What I am trying to say is…rice cakes are awesome little vessels for all things nice.

HaPPY Snacking!

-C

Citrus Avocado Salad

 IMG_6040 Whenever me and the mister get invited / show up for dinner at someone's house, I like to bring at least one thing to contribute to the meal. First, because I am nice like that. Secondly, because I get to make food for other people besides Nick and get new feedback on recipes. (Sometimes I think he tells me things taste amazing when they might not) And thirdly, its nice to mess up someone else's kitchen besides my own. So last night we went to my sisters and  I made a salad.  A very easy and virtually mess free salad…….I still made a mess (I cleaned it up myself!)

 The salad I made was a light, crisp, and citrusy thing of beauty. Not exactly what one would think to eat on a freezing my face off cold day, but hey, you can't help what the body craves. Plus, if you  make it for. lets say, a sister that is making french fries and hamburgers for dinner..then a light and citusy salad is just what you need. Feedback from the mouths that ate it….Fanstastic combo! Best Salad ever! Never going to eat anything else! Ok, not so dramatic, but this was a winner. And for real, this salad takes about five seconds to compile and all the ingredients are really accessible right now so really, why not? 

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 Nice crisp  kale. Thinly slices red onion for a nice bite. Orange for that sweet citrusy and juicy smack and avocado to add a perfect creamy finish. Lime to make it perfect. IMG_6026 Start with the  base layer of kale… then first goes the sliced onion. (Make sure it's thinly sliced or else it will be to overpowering)IMG_6034  Add thinly sliced oranges…oh boy, your half way there!!!

IMG_6039Top with thinly sliced avocado, a sprinkle of salt and drizzle with lime juice. I also served with an extra wedge of lime, there is never too much lime.

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Now you can stand back, take a picture, send to all your friends and make them jealous of you fantastically pretty and oh so delicious salad. They will ask, "What is that amazing looking dish you are eating?" Your response will be.."Check out the blog..the lovely crazy…and make it yourself! " (yes, I am shamelessly plugging myself here) 

Anyway, enjoy the day and try to keep warm!

-C

Citrus Avocado Salad (Makes 2)

Ingredients

  • A few good handfuls of kale leaves
  • 1 orange
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 a red onion

Remove tough stems from kale and chop leaves into small month sized pieces. Thinly slice  onion, peel and thinly slice orange and cut avocado into…yup you got it, thin slices. 

Kale into bowls, top with  onion, orange and avocado. Top with the juice of half a lime…Add a sprinkle of salt.