Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hot Kale Mess

There's nothing that nourishes like greens - a sweet & savory Japanese-inspired sauce makes this dish stand out to my friends (one friend always requests it as "that hot kale mess.")  usually, it just means going out the garden to pull a bunch of kale & arugula, and adding it to the other ingredients in the house, I give you:

Pan-Seared Greens with Ginger & Mushrooms

  • 1 Tb rice wine vinegar or sake (if you want more sweet, instead of sour)
  • 1 Tb sucanat
  • 3 Tb soy sauce
  • 3 Tb olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced or coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tb minced fresh ginger
  • 1 vidalia or red onion, cut into thin crescents
  • 1 c sliced mushrooms - chanterelles, morels, oyster, shitake - whatever is fresh & local
  • 1 small hot chili - sliced  or 1 Tb cayenne flakes
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded & julienned
  • 6 cups coarsely chopped winter greens - chard, kale and arugula are my favorites (use scissors to cut out the coarse bits which may be finely chopped and added to the pan with the onions)
  • Herbs - 20 basil leaves, or equivalent in other herbs that are fresh & local
  • 1/2 c raw cashews

  1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the first 3 ingredients. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil over high eat in a large cast iron skillet or wok.  
  3. Quickly stir in the cashews and toast in the pan - remove and set aside.
  4. Stir-fry the garlic, ginger, onion & mushrooms (and any reserved chopped chard stems) for about 1 minute
  5. Add chile and red bell pepper, cook for 1 minute
  6. Stir in greens - add a splash of sake if needed to deglaze
  7. Cook greens until they are bright in color and just tender, about 2 minutes or to taste (do you like crisper or softer greens?)
  8. Add herbs, cashews and sauce - toss gently to coat and cook for another minute or 2 - the sauce will thicken up a bit (this shouldn't be soupy).
Serve immediately - as a side or over steamed quinoa, rice or couscous.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Pumpkin-Chipotle Hummus

I love hummus - despite my own allergy to legumes, I occasionally indulge in various flavors of hummus with roasted red pepper or garlic - but rarely make it at home to avoid making too big a batch that I end up eating it all and make myself sick.  I can't help it - garbanzos are delicious - in everything from chana masala to stews and gravys.  I even named my first cat "Ci-Ci" because I liked the little beans so much.  When Julia from Mariquita recently included a suggestion for pumpkin hummus in a newsletter, and the idea inspired me to do my own version of the recipe. 

Like pestos and pad thai and many other good things, this is the type of recipe that is open to interpretation by the chef.  Feel free to improvise and make your own variation - I already have plans for a gingery-hot 5-spice version, a chai spice version, and might even do a peanutty version with peanut butter in addition to tahini and roasted red peppers (yum, right?).

  • 2-3 pounds peeled and seeded pumpkin cut in 2-3" chunks
  • 3/4 c tahini paste (or more to make it more hummus like)
  • 1/4 c mellow red/barley miso
  • 1 Tb garlic powder or 2-3 TB minced garlic (to taste)
  • 3/4 c fresh lemon juice
  • 1 whole dried chipotle pepper or your own smoked red jalapenos in oil
  • 1/4 c sesame oil
  • 2 Tb dried lemon zest or fresh zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste 
  • 1/2 Tb cumin
  • Optional: sweet paprika, freshly ground black pepper, nutritional yeast
  1. Roast the pumpkin, tossed with a tiny splash of sesame or olive oil to keep it from sticking to your dutch oven.  It's done when it's tender.
  2. Soak the dried chipotle in warm water to soften it - unless you have smoked peppers stored in olive oil in the fridge like me (I know, I'm weird).
  3. Pulverize the heck out of the pumpkin and the other ingredients - if it doesn't taste hummus-y enough, add more tahini (this also helps if you made it too spicy and are out of pumpkin!).
 I plan to enjoy this with some carrot-flaxseed-sprouted almond crackers that are going in the dehydrator right now.  Come on over if you want to try some!