Baked Polenta Fries

In honor of the Super Bowl this weekend, I thought I’d share an easy recipe for a game day snack – Baked Polenta “Fries” – a nice alternative to less healthy munchies.

I was introduced to these on New Year’s Eve – a couple of co-workers co-hosted a party and had a vast array of homemade goodies to nosh (at least half of which were gluten-free), including polenta fries. After asking how they were made, I thought they would make for a great demo for this week.

There are a huge amount of recipes on the web for polenta fries, and after looking at a few I realized that you hardly need a recipe to make these – you are only limited by your imagination and time constraints.

You have a couple of options before you start – either make polenta from the dry grain (it only takes 10-15 minutes for this recipe, although the longer you cook it over low heat the more tender it becomes) or you can use the tubes of pre-made organic polenta that we sell at the Co-op – it comes in great flavors like chili cilantro, basil garlic, and their new quinoa polenta. Once your polenta choice is made, it’s simply a matter of slicing it into fry-like shapes, brushing them with oil, and baking for 20-40 minutes (depending on how thick you cut them). They stay crispy at room temperature, and taste great with a little marinara sauce.If you make the polenta from scratch, then you can make a healthy snack for a crowd for under $5.

I chose to make the polenta from scratch, and used the organic grain we carry in our bulk department. The recipe calls for using half milk and half water to make the polenta, but you can use all water if you want to make them dairy free (you could also use some vegetable or chicken broth for a richer flavor instead of the milk). I mixed in about a 1/2 cup of bulk Parmesan cheese once it was done cooking, spread it in a rimmed baking sheet, and let it sit overnight in the fridge to set, although they can set in as little as an hour. The next morning was simply a matter of preheating the oven, brushing the “fries” with oil and baking them for a satisfying snack.

Baked Polenta Fries © Sassy Sampler 2012

Baked Polenta Fries

makes about 100 – 120 “fries”

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 c polenta grain
  • 2 c milk
  • 2 c water
  • 1/2 c Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 t Spices/Seasonings, like Italian seasoning, garlic, chili powder, etc. or Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Marinara sauce or sour cream for dipping

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Bring 2 c milk and 2 c water just to a boil in a large saucepan over med-high heat.
  2. Slowly pour in 1 1/2 c polenta while stirring constantly.
  3. Stir in 1 t of salt (turn down the heat at this point if you feel the polenta is in danger of scorching).
  4. Continue stirring until the polenta thickens—this could happen very quickly or take a few minutes, depending on the heat level you are using.
  5. Stir in 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese (if desired).
  6. Remove from heat and spread about a 1/2” thick in a rimmed baking sheet. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or overnight.
  7. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  8. Cut polenta into fry-like shapes.
  9. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  10. Arrange the “fries” on your prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Turn them gently to coat (or brush the oil on).
  11. Bake for about 15 minutes. Turn them gently and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  12. Drain/cool on a paper towel lined plate.
  13. Toss with any seasonings you wish while they are warm, but be sure to put a little salt and pepper on them before serving.
  14. Serve warm or at room temperature, with warm marinara sauce or sour cream.

You can make these vegan by using all water instead of half water, half milk. You can also substitute half broth (chicken or vegetable) for the milk for a richer flavor.; If you make the polenta from scratch, then you can add any flavorings you like before you cool it – try garlic (either pan or oven roasted), sun-dried tomatoes, basil, cilantro, etc.

You can also make this using Food Merchant’s organic pre-made polenta in a tube.

  1. Remove from the tube and cut polenta in half shortways. Place cut side down on cutting board, and cut into 6 equal wedges. Repeat for other half.
  2. Proceed to step 7. Note—you will need to adjust cooking time depending on their thickness.

Baked Polenta Fries PDF

Roasty-Toasty Black Beans

Black beans (or turtle beans) are tasty and healthy – they are packed with protein and dietary fiber, and are loaded with antioxidants.  They are a great choice for diabetics, and could help lower anyone’s risk for cancer and heart attacks.  All in all, a lot of goodness is packed into that small package!

I ran across an article in last month’s Real Simple magazine about the top foods you should eat, and of course black beans were on the list.  They suggested roasting them in the oven for a crunchy and healthy snack, and I was intrigued – I’ve worked in the natural foods industry for almost 15 years, and I had never heard of anyone preparing beans this way before – I had to try it!

The method is simple – rinse and dry cooked black beans, toss them with some olive oil (a fantastic healthy fat) and your favorite spices, and bake them until they are crispy and dry.  Through a little research, I found that they are a popular snack in Korea – you can buy them pre-packaged and seasoned and are popular because they are mild-tasting.  If you are looking for big, bold flavors, then this isn’t the snack for you, but if you are looking for a tasty snack that is packed with protein and fiber and is allergen-free (unless you can’t eat legumes!) then look no further.

Photo © 2011 Sassy Sampler

I found that you can make this recipe using any bean, you just may have to adjust the cooking time.  I also found that they soak up a ton of spices – I wanted to make a Cajun version, but that didn’t work out quite like I had planned.  I added spice to it before cooking, during cooking, and after cooking, and they never exceeded the “mild” rating from tasters, with the exception of the few “surprise” beans that were eye-watering!  If you like spicy snacks, then I would recommend blooming the spice in the oil first to try to amp up the heat.  To bloom a spice, you would heat the oil and the spice in a pan over medium heat for just a couple of minutes (until it is fragrant).  Let the oil cool before adding them to your beans.  I will note that I put about a Tablespoon of granulated garlic (I do love the garlic!) over a couple of cans worth of beans, and they were delicious!

Everyone who tried them liked them, and quite a few tasters went home with cans of beans (it helps that the Westbrae beans are on sale this month!).  You can also use dry beans, just be sure to cook them first!  These are also great on salads and in burritos.

photo roasted black beans

They may not be pretty – but they are pretty tasty! Photo © 2011 Sassy Sampler

Roasty-Toasty Black Beans

INGREDIENTS

  • Black beans (or your favorite bean) – either a 15 oz can, drained and rinsed OR any amount of soaked and cooked black beans
  • Olive Oil for coating beans (about 2 t per can of beans)
  • ~ 1-2 t Spices of choice — Garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, Cajun seasoning, chili powder,   sea salt, cumin, etc.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Dry cooked beans with a paper towel.
  3. Place them in a bowl and drizzle olive oil over them.
  4. Add desired spices to taste.
  5. Toss beans with oil and spice(s).
  6. Spread in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Take out baking sheet and toss beans.  Bake for another 15-20 minutes, until beans are crispy.
  8. Store in an air-tight container for a few days.

This mild-flavored snack is a favorite in Korea, and you can also use it to top salads, etc.  Use your imagination!

You can use almost any bean in this recipe — they don’t have to be black beans!  Garbanzos, or chickpeas, are the only ones that could be a little too hard (because of their size) to turn into a crunchy snack, but some enjoy that aspect.  Cook for closer to an hour if you give them a try.

You will need to use a lot of spices if you want a bolder flavor — be prepared to use more than you think will be necessary!  Blooming the hotter spices in oil first will help achieve a stronger flavor.  To bloom the spices, add them to the oil and cook over low heat for a couple of minutes.  Let oil cool before mixing it with the beans.

Roasty-Toasty Black Beans PDF

Uncle Bill’s Microwave Potato Chips

I was surfing around the web for a recipe for this week and came across this one on www.food.com.  I have never heard of making potato chips this way, and I figured it was worth a try.  I was intrigued because it called for such a nominal amount of oil, and I couldn’t work out in my head how you could make anything resembling a potato chip in the microwave – the recipe got rave reviews on the website so they couldn’t be that bad, right?

Right!  They turned out crispy and light and delicious – it’s a total science experiment where you get to eat the delicious results.  Whoever Uncle Bill is, he is a genius!

I got to work – I bought a few organic red potatoes (new crop!) as well as a Japanese sweet potato.  I didn’t notice that anyone had tried using sweet potatoes in the comments about the recipe, but the chips are so easy to make I thought it wouldn’t hurt to give it a go.  Although they didn’t turn out as crispy as the potatoes, they were sweet and crunchy and I thought they were delicious.  They didn’t take “as long” to cook either (only about 2 minutes and 40 seconds vs. around 4 minutes for the potatoes).

I used a mandolin slicer and made quick work of the potatoes and got to microwaving (I just used a couple sheets of parchment paper to cook them).  I made some plain ones with a little sea salt, and some with Cajun seasoning.  I loved the look on customers faces when I told them that I had made them in the microwave!  They were as surprised as I was that they were so good.  It kind of makes me wish that I owned a microwave (maybe we’ll have to get one when we buy a new house next year – our kitchen is way too small for any more appliances right now!)…

As long as an adult does the slicing, this is a perfect recipe to cook with kids – they can choose what flavors to make the chips and will love getting involved making “junk food”.  They don’t have to know that because there is next to no oil in them that they are healthier than they may think!

Uncle Bill's Microwave Potato Chips Photo © 2010 Sassy Sampler

Uncle Bill’s Microwave Potato Chips

INGREDIENTS

Potatoes—Russet, Yukon, White or Red, or you can use sweet potatoes

Your choice of spices—granulated garlic powder, seasoning salt, cayenne pepper, dried dill, dried parsley, cracked black pepper, parmesan, Cajun seasoning, etc.

Vegetable oil, to oil dish/parchment paper

Instructions

1. If the potatoes are old, peel and slice paper-thin with a mandolin slicer (or as thin as you can get them with a knife).  If you are using new potatoes, then don’t bother peeling them, just clean them well and slice thinly.

2. Place potato slices in a bowl and sprinkle with salt (if desired).  Cover with cold water and let sit for 10 minutes.

3. Remove potato slices in batches and pat dry with a (paper) towel.

4. Choose a microwave safe dish—either a microwave bacon tray, casserole dish or you can use parchment paper.  Coat dish/paper with oil.  Lay potato slices on dish/paper in a single layer.

5. Sprinkle with your choice of seasoning, or just leave them plain.

6. Cover potato slices with a lid or another piece of parchment paper.

7. Microwave on HIGH for 3 –5 1/2 minutes, until they start to curl at the edges and are a very light brown color.  Cooking time may vary due to the wattage of your microwave and the thickness of the potato slices. Err on the side of caution.  You do not have to turn the slices over.

8. Continue to cook the rest of the slices as described in steps 4-7.  Note that you shouldn’t need to add any more oil to your dish/paper after the first batch.

Note—if using a bacon tray, you should be able to decrease the cooking time of each successive batch.

If using cheese, try sprinkling it on the chips right after they come out of the microwave.  Pop them back in for a few seconds to melt the cheese.

September Meal of the Month – Low-fat Lentil and Rice Soup

A new month means a new Meal of the Month recipe from our Member Affairs Committee (MAC)!  This month the recipe was contributed by Co-op member Nancy Steele – a tasty, naturally low-fat soup with fresh shiitakes, onions, lentils, and long-grain brown rice.

Tis the season – I was able to use local shiitakes, local criminis, local basil, WA yellow onions, and local garlic in my soup.  This recipe also has some pasta sauce in it, which I thought was an inventive use.  Nancy recommends using Classico Tomato and Pesto sauce, but I think if you already have some in your fridge, whatever you have will work.  I used Rising Moon Tomato/Basil pasta sauce (because we don’t carry the Classico brand at our stores anymore) and it turned out real nice, and was vegan to boot!

Soups are great because you can always add to them over the week (especially with a recipe this large).  Everyone who tried the soup really liked it, and some additions were suggested by customers, including adding lamb meatballs, sausage, vegetarian sausage, tofu, and  hot peppers.  Any of these would be great, and would change the flavor profile enough so you wouldn’t get tired of the leftovers!

Enjoy!

Low-fat Lentil and Rice Soup Photo © 2010 Sassy Sampler

September Meal of the Month

Low-Fat Lentil & Rice Soup


INGREDIENTS

1 –2 T Extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

Salt and pepper

3 –4 large garlic cloves, minced or chopped

1/2 lb shiitake (or crimini) mushrooms, sliced

Large handful of fresh basil, chopped

1 t dried oregano

1/4 t hot red chili flakes (or more to taste)

1 T ground cumin

2 t curry powder

1 1/2 c organic lentils

1 c long grain brown rice, rinsed

10 c water

1/2—1 c Pasta Sauce (Tomato Pesto/Basil)

1/3 c red wine

2 t sugar

2 T brown rice syrup

1 T brown rice vinegar

1 bay leaf

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In large stockpot, sauté chopped onion in olive oil over medium-low heat until the onion becomes opaque.

2. Add  garlic, shiitakes, and basil.

3. Sauté for several minutes, then add oregano, salt/pepper (to taste), chili flakes, cumin, and curry powder.  Stir well.

4. Turn heat up to medium and stir in lentils.  Continue stirring for 5 minutes, making sure lentils are well coated with the oil/herb/spice mixture.

5. Carefully add (uncooked) brown rice and stir until combined.

6. Stir in water, pasta sauce, red wine, sugar, brown rice syrup, rice vinegar and the bay leaf.

7. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cover, simmering for at least 40 minutes, or until rice and lentils are tender.

8. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Note:  The longer this soup cooks, the better it will taste!

LF Lentil and Rice Soup PDF

Soups that have spices in them will be even further enhanced if made the day before and reheated, although you may need to add more water if the rice and lentils have absorbed  most of the water.

Serve with Rosemary bread, naan bread, or the Swan Bakery’s GF Herb Rolls

Nancy Steele © 1996

One note – this may be our last Meal of the Month recipe.  The program has run for a year now, and is currently being reassessed by the MAC.  It may return in November as a slightly different, or possibly a completely different program.  If you have feedback you would like the MAC to have on the program, please forward it to Jean Rogers, the Co-op’s Board Administrator at jeanr@communityfood.coop.  She can tell you when the next meeting is, or forward your comments/suggestion to the MAC!

August Meal of the Month – BBQ Fajitas with Corn Salsa

This month’s Meal of the Month (meal for 4 for about $10) is brought to us by Jen McBeath.  Her husband Matt is on our Board of Directors, and he’s the first to chime in about how brilliant his wife is in the kitchen, so I was looking forward to receiving her recipe.  She did not disappoint!

This is our first meat-based Meal of the Month, and what a perfect season for an easy BBQ recipe that everyone will love (well, all the omnivores out there at least)!  A little prep needs to be done in the kitchen, but after that head outside and enjoy the weather.

BBQ Fajitas with Corn Salsa

INGREDIENTS

1/2 # Fajita meat

1 red pepper, cut into long, even strips

1 yellow zucchini, cut into long, even strips

1 small Walla Walla sweet onion, cut into long, even strips

2 ears of corn, silk removed

1 lime

1 package Corn Tortillas

1 T Mexican Seasoning

1 Avocado, diced

1/4 c oil (canola or olive)

Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Place veggies, meat, oil, and Mexican seasoning in zip-top bag—massage spices into ingredients and refrigerate for 1-4 hours.

2. Heat up grill or coals.  Once it is hot, place corn on the grill, turning every 5 minutes for a total cooking time of 15—20 minutes.

3. Allow corn to cool then cut the kernels off the cob into a bowl.

4. Put diced avocado in with the corn and squeeze half the lime on the mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Mix gently.

5. Grill meat and veggies 3-5 minutes on each side.  Heat the tortillas directly on the grill for about 30 seconds on each side.

6. Build your fajita: tortilla, meat and veggies, and corn/avocado salsa.  Squeeze on a little extra lime juice from unused half.

7. Serve with a deli salad or green garden salad with lime vinaigrette.

BBQ Fajita with Corn Salsa PDF

July Meal of the Month – Rice-crusted Pizza (and shortcake!)

This month’s Meal of the Month was submitted Zoe Plakias, a former member of the Member Affairs Committee (she has since moved to Davis, CA to attend school – good luck Zoe!).

I was intrigued by the recipe – because I am gluten-sensitive, and because I love short grain brown rice!  Again, it was a very easy recipe to put together, and cost under $10 (I spent $9.93 and bought the Organic short grain brown rice, the organic GF falafel mix, and the pre-shredded mozzarella cheese in the Cordata Deli).  I didn’t think it would weather well for customer sampling, so I made a batch and had staff sample and got a lot of positive feedback.

Rice-crusted pizza after step 4

I let the rice cool after cooking for about a half hour, and then put it in a bowl with the falafel mix, egg, and cheese.  I wore gloves and just mixed it by hand (the rice was still pretty warm), but you could use a mixing spoon as well, but it is pretty sticky so keep that in mind!

I added the sauce to the large pizza (I am allergic to tomatoes so I made a small one for me to sample!), and then more mozzarella and Parmesan.  You could add more toppings as well, but I wanted to try it in it’s “pure” form!

Yummy - out of the oven!

It smelled even better when it came out of the oven the second time, and it was no problem finding staff to sample it for me!  It was crispy on the bottom, and cheesy gooey on top…a great combination if you ask me!

Since I wasn’t going to sample the pizza for customers, I also got to work making some berry shortcake – Zoe supplied a recipe from the Joy of Cooking (it is included in the Meal of the Month recipe as a bonus), but I love the Swan Bakery’s goodies as well, so I cut up a loaf of the Buttery Shortcake that we sell pre-made by the Bakery, and I also prepared a batch of the Bakery’s GF Pound Cake mix.  Both were excellent, and I have to say that I am very impressed with the GF Pound cake mix – it was light and fluffy and had none of the aftertaste that is unfortunately so common in gluten-free items.  The Bakery really knows what they are doing!

Berry Shortcake sample

I used both the local organic raspberries (grown by Hopewell Farm – our favorite carrot farmer is branching out, hee hee) as well as local strawberries for the sauce.  All I did was mix them in a bowl and sprinkle a little sugar on them – I then let it sit while I was preparing the pound cake mix.  If you do this the night before, then you have a great berry sauce all ready the next morning (keep it in the fridge).  I took half the berries and threw them in the blender and put them in a squeeze bottle so I could get a nice concentrated berry “shot” on each sample.

I put together the samples at the demo table, with a little whipped cream.  By the way, if you haven’t been able to find me on Fridays, it’s because Aaron, our maintenance guru, built me a great new demo table that is now between Produce and Bulk at the Cordata Co-op.  It’s a great location because it’s right by a lot of the ingredients in the recipes (this is also where the copies of recipes now live if you like to pick them up in the store).

Enjoy!

Rice-Crusted Pizza Photo © 2010 Sassy Sampler

Rice Crusted Pizza (with Berry Shortcake recipe)

INGREDIENTS—Pizza Crust

2 cups cooked brown rice

2 beaten eggs

2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

¼ cup falafel mix (Fantastic is NOT GF, but the Organic Mary Jane’s Farm is, although it might raise the cost of the recipe)

2 cups pizza sauce

½ tsp. oregano

½ tsp. basil

½ tsp. minced garlic

¼ cup grated parmesan

INSTRUCTIONS—Pizza Crust

1. Preheat oven to 450º F

2. In a large bowl, mix together cooked rice, eggs, 1 cup mozzarella, and falafel mix.

3. Press rice mixture evenly into the bottom of an edged, generously greased baking sheet.

4. Bake crust for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

5. Combine pizza sauce and spices and spread over crust.

6. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and any desired toppings.

7. Bake 10 minutes.

To cook brown rice

1. Measure 2 c rice and rinse well in a large bowl.

2. Place rice in heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and cover with 4 c water and a pinch of salt.

3. Bring to a boil over high heat; cover pot and reduce heat to low (just enough to keep it boiling).

4. Cook one hour.

5. Let cool, with lid on off the heat for a few minutes before removing the lid.  Fluff rice with fork.

INGREDIENTS—Shortcake

Biscuits – adapted from the Joy of Cooking

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ Tbsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

1 ½ Tbsp. granulated sugar

3 Tbsp. chilled butter or shortening

1/3 cup milk

2 cups berries of your choice

8 oz. heavy whipping cream

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. powdered sugar

INSTRUCTIONS—Shortcake

1. Sift together dry ingredients (excluding nutmeg) in a large bowl.

2. Cut in butter/shortening with a pastry cutter or two knives until pea-sized.

3. Make a well in the center and add milk.

4. Stir until dough comes away from the side of the bowl.

5. On a lightly floured board, knead lightly 8-10 times.

6. Roll until ½ inch thick.

7. Cut out circles of about 2” diameter using a biscuit cutter or an upside down Mason jar.

8. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 450º F for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

9. Toss berries with a little sugar, depending on their sweetness.

10. Whip cream. Place on top of biscuits and berries.

11. Eat slowly for full effect of summer’s goodness.

You can also purchase a pre-made shortcake from the Swan Bakery, or a bag of GF Pound cake mix!

July MoM rice crusted pizza PDF

June Meal of the Month – Summertime Pasta

Our June Meal of the Month, Summer-time Pasta, was submitted by Member Affairs Committee member Liz Evans.  It is a very simple dish that has a lot of options depending on your family’s preferences.  I won’t be demoing the recipe this month because I will be at our Board of Director’s Spring Retreat tomorrow, but I wanted to be sure to share the recipe!  It will also be available in both stores next week.

You can prepare this recipe gluten-free for almost the same price as regular pasta.

Enjoy!

Summer-Time Pasta

1lb of your favorite pasta like angel hair or fettuccine

4 Roma tomatoes

handful of fresh basil

Olive oil to taste

1 ounce pine nuts, toasted

2 cloves minced garlic

3 ounces grated Parmesan

Instructions:

Boil enough water in a large pot to cook pasta.  While waiting for the water to boil, chop tomatoes to a half-inch, dice and mince garlic.

Cook pasta al dente.  Drain.  Return pasta to same pot and add chopped tomatoes, garlic and chopped basil.  Toss with olive oil and top with pine nuts and cheese.  Make sure to chop basil at the very last so that it will not turn black.

Optional Items (may bring cost over $10):

Italian sausage or turkey sausage

Garlic bread

Salad w/fresh seasonal greens

Fresh mozzarella as a Parmesan substitute

May Meal of the Month – Punjab Spinach Sauce with Tofu and Rice

A new month means a new Meal of the Month recipe from the Co-op’s Member Affairs Committee – this month it was submitted by Jean Rogers, with advice from local chef Robert Fong.

This was a very easy dish to prepare, as it is a “semi-homemade” recipe – you use one of the Ethnic Gourmet brand sauces*, but you add flair to it.  It only takes about fifteen minutes to toss together, and you are good to go.  Well…it does take an hour to cook the rice, but that is easy to wash up and toss in a pot!  If you are opposed to jarred sauces, or just want to try it from scratch, check out this recipe for Saag Spinach Sauce – you could then prepare the rest of the dish as instructed.  I haven’t tried this recipe myself, but it has very similar ingredients to the jarred variety.

Customers thought the dish was very tasty and my samples were gone before I knew it.  Note to self – make a much larger batch next time!

*11/2014 – We no longer sell Ethnic Gourmet Sauces, so use Jyoti Delhi Saag sauce as a replacement. It is made with spinach and mustard greens and adds a nice kick.

Enjoy!

Sassy Sampler ©2010

Sassy Sampler ©2010

Punjab Spinach Sauce with Tofu and Rice

Recipe courtesy Jean Rogers

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 c short grain brown rice
  • 4-6 T safflower or canola oil
  • 1 block tofu
  • 3 med garlic cloves, freshly sliced
  • 1 jar Ethnic Gourmet Punjab Saag Spinach Sauce (2014 – 1 can Jyoti Delhi Saag Sauce)
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/4 –1/3 # bulk spinach (or approx 1/2 bunch spinach)
  • 1-2 large pinches of sea salt
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/2 t curry powder
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into four slices

Optional:

  • 1/2—1 t chili powder or red chili flakes
  • Fresh cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse and drain rice.  Combine rice and 3 c water (salt is optional) in a pot with a tight-fitting lid.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 60 minutes (until all the water is absorbed).  Turn off heat, fluff rice, and let it sit covered until you are ready to serve.
  2. Wait about 1/2 an hour, and then rinse spinach and break up larger leaves.  Cut tofu into 1/4” cubes and let it drain on a paper towel for several minutes.
  3. Put 1-2 T oil into a hot, medium-sized heavy-duty skillet.  Add the sliced garlic and a pinch of sea salt and cook for about 15 seconds.
  4. Stir in and lightly wilt spinach (about 30 seconds).  Add 2-3 T water.
  5. Remove spinach.  You can either reserve it in a bowl or  you can spread to desired shape on a warm plate.
  6. Remove water from skillet and add 3 T oil at medium heat.
  7. Stir in 1 t hot chili powder or red chili flakes (optional), 1/2 t cumin, 1/2 t curry.
  8. Stir in tofu and mix with spices for about a minute.
  9. Stir in full jar of Punjab/Delhi (or homemade) sauce and 1-4 T water.  Lightly simmer for a minute.
  10. Turn off heat, and let sauce sit for 1 minute.  Stir spinach back into sauce, or ladle sauce and tofu on top of cooked spinach.
  11. Serve with rice on the side or in a ring and a slice of lemon (highly recommended!).  Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro (optional).  For stronger flavor, increase salt and all spices.

Delhi Saag Sauce with Tofu and Rice PDF

April Meal of the Month – Carrot Ginger Soup

This month’s Meal of the Month recipe was submitted by our own Jean Rogers,Co-op  Board Administrator (although she wears many hats!).  The recipe is for a Carrot Ginger Soup that she makes all the time at home, and is an excellent recipe.  The recipe even includes a loaf of the Avenue Bread Rosemary Loavette – all for about $10!

This is truly a carrot ginger soup!  It is very spicy and a beautiful color.  It was easy to make, and smelled divine as it was cooking.  I used the Imagine Vegetable Broth when I prepared the recipe for my demo, and used about a half cup of cooking sherry (because that is what the Cafe had on hand!).  I also used about one tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice (the recipe calls for up to two).  This would be fabulous if you make your own stock, or if you have some bouillon at home, you could always use that in place of the pre-packaged stock.

This was my shortest demo yet!  The soup only lasted an hour –  it was a mob scene a few times around the demo table, and before I knew it the soup was gone (I did manage to save a sample for Jean, who was upstairs tallying all the ballots from our Board of Directors election).

Carrot Ginger Soup

April Meal of the Month – Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup

Recipe courtesy Jean Rogers.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 –4 T butter/margarine
  • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 c finely chopped fresh ginger root
  • 3 –4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 16 oz chicken or veggie broth
  • 4 c water (or substitute 5-7 c of homemade stock and omit store bought broth)
  • 1 c dry white wine or hard cider (optional)
  • 5 –7 carrots (1 1/2 –2 lbs), peeled and cut into 1/2” chunks
  • ~2 T fresh lemon or lime juice (1 small lemon)
  • Pinch curry powder (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 Avenue Bread Rosemary Loavette
  • Optional Garnish —chopped Italian Parsley or Coriander (cilantro), and/or a dollop of yogurt in each bowl.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Melt butter/margarine over medium heat in stock pot.
  2. Sauté onion, ginger and garlic for 15-20 minutes (try not to brown the mix) in stockpot.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add stock, water, wine/cider (if using) and carrots.  Heat to boiling and then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for about 45 minutes, until carrots are tender.  (If you simmer without a lid, check from time to time in case you need to add more water).
  4. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.  Purée in blender or food processor (see note) or with immersion blender, and season to taste with the lemon or lime juice, salt, pepper and (optional) curry powder.
  5. Serve with or without the optional garnishes, and with the bread.

Notes:

  • Never fill a blender or food processor with boiling hot liquid —it will explode out the top and burn you!  Always let it cool slightly and never fill more than half full.  Put the lid on (but not tightly), and cover the lid with a dry towel.  Be sure to “burp” the lid.  Use the slowest speed possible.  Puree in batches.
  • This recipe can easily be doubled for a crowd.
  • Optional ingredients may bring the cost over $10.
  • To peel ginger, use the edge of a spoon.
  • You can also add a bouillon cube for more intense flavor.

Carrot Ginger Soup PDF

Meal of the Month – Vegan Red Beans and Rice

Once again it is the first Friday of the month, so I whipped up a batch of the Meal of the Month recipe – Vegan Red Beans and Rice.  The recipe was contributed by member Glen Denkler, and I adapted it to a four portion size (the original recipe would feed an army!).  Gabriella, one of our volunteers, tested the recipe, and submitted her own recipe for Spicy Slaw that she thought went real well with it.  I didn’t make the slaw to demo, but the recipe sounds really great (I love toasted pumpkin seeds, and they are a great addition to lots of dishes!).

I had never made red beans and rice before, so this was pretty new to me.  Boy, was it easy!  I even remembered to soak the beans first.  I made it on the mild side, as is my usual m.o., to appeal to a broad selection of palettes.  Most adults thought it needed a little more kick, but the kids that tried it liked it the way it was.  If you have children, you could always make it on the mild side and add more Tabasco sauce after you serve the kids.

This recipe is SO easy, and is hard to mess up.  Don’t worry if you don’t  have the exact amount of ingredients, the beauty is that you can add more or less of your favorites (including bacon or sausage if you are not vegetarian).  This recipe is wheat-free, but not gluten-free because of the Cajun Seasoning from bulk – if you are GF, it is best to assume that spice blends are not GF because they could be blended in a facility that also processes wheat products, so it is better to be safe than sorry.  I have included a homemade Cajun seasoning recipe from Glen as an alternative – it makes much more than you need, but you can always use it over the next six months if you keep it in an airtight container away from light.  I also used the Rapunzel Vegan Bouillon cubes – they are my favorite – although they are also wheat-free but not necessarily gluten-free.  I will contact them to see if it is really GF or not for my personal use in recipes.

Vegan Red Beans and Rice

Vegan Red Beans and Rice

INGREDIENTS

1/2 # Dried Kidney Beans, soaked overnight

6 T Vegetable Broth Powder or 1 1/2 bouillon cubes

1 1/2 c Diced Celery

1 1/2 c Diced Onion

1 c Diced Green (or Red, or both) Peppers

1 large Bay Leaf

1 T Tabasco

1 t (plus more to taste) Cajun Seasoning

Sea Salt

Cooked Long Grain Rice (1 1/2 c uncooked)

1/2 c Chopped Parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

1.     Soak beans overnight covered in water .

2.     Drain beans, discard water.

3. In a large stockpot place soaked beans, 3 cups water, celery, onion, peppers, bay leaf, Tabasco/hot sauce and 2 T Cajun Seasoning.

4. Bring to a boil over high heat and add vegetable broth powder or bouillon cubes.  Reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer. Simmer until beans are tender, about one hour.

5.  Adjust seasoning with salt and more Cajun Seasoning to taste (I added about another teaspoon)

6. Remove bay leaf.

7. Serve over prepared rice. Top with parsley.

To cook rice :

1. Measure 1 1/2 c of chosen long grain rice.

2. Rinse rice in bowl or saucepan multiple times (until rinse water is mostly clear).

3. Put rinsed rice in a saucepan (with a lid) and add 3 c water and about 1/2 t salt.

4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and put on lid.  Cook over low heat for 30-45 minutes until all the water is absorbed.  Try not to remove the lid for at least a half hour—it will keep more nutrients inside!

Optional* Side Dish: Spicy Slaw

INGREDIENTS

4 T flaxseed oil

2 T balsamic vinegar

1/4 head of green cabbage, shredded

3 carrots, coarsely grated

1/4 c pumpkin seeds, toasted

Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Toast pumpkin seeds in skillet on stove over med-low heat.  Stir often and remove when seeds start to inflate and are slightly browned.

2. In a large bowl, whisk oil and vinegar.

3. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

*Optional additions may bring the cost over $10.

Homemade Cajun Seasoning

Ingredients:

2 T  Sea Salt

2 T  Cayenne Pepper

1 T  White Pepper

1 T  Black Pepper

1 T  Paprika

1 t  Dry Whole Thyme

Mix all together.  Store in airtight container in a dark place for up to six months.