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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Garlic and Kale Soup

This Garlic and Kale Soup is fantastic! It's perfectly spiced, obnoxiously healthy, and super easy to make. Although this recipe isn't one of our own, we thought we'd share it with all of you. Most of the ingredients are moderately in season ~ meaning that most were either already in our fridge, freezer, or pantry.

According to Vegetarian Times, "Kale and garlic are good for the cardiovascular system; wheat berries are high in fiber; and shitake mushrooms contain eritadenine, and amino acid that speeds up processing of cholesterol in the liver."  Yay for healthy soups!

Garlic and Kale Soup
1/2 cup wheat berries
2 Tbs. olive oil
3.5 oz. shitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced (we bought these dry and rehydrated them)
10 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced (we used 2 whole heads!)
1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
4 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped.

1. Either soak wheat berries in a large bowl of water overnight, or cook in a pressure cooker if you're pressed for time.
2. Heat oil in 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, and season with salt, if desired. Saute mushrooms 10 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Add garlic, and saute 2 minutes more. Stir in vinegar; simmer until vinegar is almost evaporated,  stirring to scrape up browned bits from pan.

3. Drain wheat berries, and add to mushroom mixture with vegetable broth and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes. Add kale, and cook 10 to 20 minutes more, or until kale is tender. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Per 1-cup servings: 138 CAL; 4 G PROT; 5 G TOTAL FAT; 20 G CARB; 0 MG CHOL; 103 MG SOD; 3 G FIBER; 4 G SUGARS

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Sunday Morning Favorite: Pancakes

We've always been huge fans of Sunday morning pancakes and coffee. It's become somewhat routine in our household. For years, we've bought Bob's Red Mill's Pancake Mix. We've always had good intentions about creating our own "from scratch" pancake mix, but haven't ever gotten around to it. Last Sunday, we came closer than ever because of a recipe we found in our new cookbook, The Blue Plate Diner.

Using this recipe, you could make huge amounts of dry mix and store it. We made chocolate chip pancakes (because we felt indulgent, and that's what this recipe called for), but obviously you could make them with fruit or plain too!

3 large eggs
1 quart buttermilk (we used yogurt and hemp milk because we didn't have buttermilk in the fridge)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 oz melted butter
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
3 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup oats
1 tbs. butter
2 oz. miniature chocolate chips

Mix the eggs, buttermilk (or whatever you use), vanilla, melted butter until well blended. Separately, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, baking  powder, and oats. Combine the dry and wet ingredients until they form a smooth batter. In a heated and buttered non-stick pan make 3-inch pancakes. Brown on both sides. Decorate with chocolate chips.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mexican Lasagna, Freezer Style!

Over Winter Break, we took a day to freeze several meals for our undulating Wisconsin winter, including Mexican Lasagna from The Blue Plate Diner Cookbook (aka The Monty's Blue Plate Cookbook, for you Madisonians). 

We used corn from our freezer, onions and garlic from our cellar, and tomatoes and peppers from our pantry of canned goods. Our CSA is still providing us with plenty of cheese and carrots. We were fortunate enough to receive a Willy Street Co-op gift card to supply the rest of our ingredients for the double batch of this dish.

We froze both pans! Not eating it took every bit of willpower we had.

This recipe is for one batch:
2 tbs. olive oil
2 carrots, sliced thin
3 stalks celery, diced (you could use celeriac for a more seasonal approach)
1 tbs. crushed garlic
1 medium onion, diced
14 ounces corn (fresh, frozen, or canned)
14 ounces of black beans (prepared or canned)
14 ounces of diced tomatoes
2 or more jalapenos, finely diced (fresh or canned)
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more!)
2 tbs. cumin
1 tbs. chili powder
12 6-inch flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese

1. In a large frying pan, in olive oil, saute the carrots, celery, garlic and onion for 10 minutes over medium heat until tender.

2. Add the other vegetables and all seasonings.
3. Stir and cook on high heat for 30 minutes.
4. While the vegetables are cooking, line a 11X7 X 1.5 inch dish with a single layer of tortillas, each cut in half. Cover each with a layer of the vegetable filling, then a layer of cheese.
5. Continue making such layers - tortillas, vegetables, cheese - until the dish is filed or the ingredients are all used up.
6. Top with shredded cheese.
7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.

Note: We put our unbaked lasagnas in smaller, aluminum pans. They were placed in freezer bags. We plan on using these smaller trays for quick dinners on busy work nights.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Venture to the Urban Market

You know you're getting old when one of your most anticipated and wished-for present is a gift card to your favorite grocery store. In our case, that would be for the Willy Street Co-op in Madison. Two years ago, we included a Willy Street Co-op gift card on our Christmas lists, and for the last two years, Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause have provided us with a nice, hefty amount!

This is so great for a number of reasons.
#1: We never feel like we can walk around the store and afford to pick up all the necessary basics for a pantry. With the annual gift card, we do.
#2: Between our yearlong preservation efforts and the bulk items purchased with this gift card, we are fully stocked for the winter. All we really need to visit the store for now is milk.
#3: I get so, so, so excited to wander around the bulk bin aisles with my Mason jars and tupperware. It's really one of the best days of my year. I feel like a video game junkie in an arcade.
#4: This shopping venture gives us an excuse and the means to do some winter preservation ~ this trip resulted in freezer food: Mexican lasagna, spinach lasagna, and homemade veggie burgers! 
#5: Food is a fantastic gift ~ it fills a basic human need, farmers are supported, little waste is created, and it will be used.

Here are some photos of our prizes from our shopping adventure in the "urban market":

The spread of it all!

grains, legumes, honey, etc.

Lovely, fabulous TEA (mouth is watering)!

local dairy products ~ Happier cows come from Wisco!