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Cool, flavorful, a bit of crunch, loads of protein and vitamins should be enough to convince you to add this salad to your summer pot luck repertoire. (Unless you’re really into eating hamburgers for the sake of hospitality.)

Make the dressing first to infuse the garlic.

I’ve adapted this from The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker. Place lentils in the crock, cover with 2 inches of water and cook on low for 2 hours.  Otherwise, use a stove top method for a meal in less than 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Green Lentil Salad

2 cups dried green lentils

water to cover

3 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

1 garlic clove, crushed

1/2 onion, finely chopped (make them the same size or smaller than your lentils)

1/2 cup parsley, minced

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and crushed garlic clove, mix thoroughly.

Step 3. Cook lentils al dente- DO NOT OVERCOOK.  Drain and stir in salad dressing.  Strain the garlic out of the dressing unless you like garlicky leftovers.

Step 4. Mix the lentils, onion, parsley, and dressing thoroughly.  Serve at room temperature.

Greetings all.  Continuing our kool kitchen* trend, today’s recipe is for the crock pot.  Don’t leave the crock on the counter keeping the kitchen warm all day.  Instead, think creatively; put the crock in the garage, a seldom used room, the patio, or any other outdoor spot (safe from animals).  I put mine in the sun room.

If, like me, you struggle with a strong “no food in a non food place” problem and you can’t eat breakfast in bed, eat lunch in the office, etc.  this will be tough.  But, if you’re Orthodox then you have undoubtedly eaten antidoron off the floor of many churches without hesitation.  Harvest that power of will and move your slow cooker.

This recipes comes from The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker, by Lynn Alley.  The book features both vegetarian and vegan recipes.  I recommend it.

Precook the rice and add to the pot 20 minutes before serving.  White rice will not hold up for 6 hours in the slow cooker.  Brown might hold up but, I haven’t tried.  If you ignore this warning prepare to clean a starchy burned mess.

If a big plate of beans and rice is too boring, start with Hot and Sour Soup.

*You like that cool with a “k”?  Classy right?  Makes this blog seem hip.

Korean-Style Black Beans

2 cups dried black beans

6 cups water

1/2 cup soy sauce (a certified gluten free brand if needed)

1 Tbsp sugar or honey (I think 2 would be better)

2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Wash the beans thoroughly, then place them in the slow cooker insert with the water.

Step 3. Mix together the soy sauce, sugar, and seame oil and pour over the beans stirring thoroughly.

Step 4. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the beans are tender.

Step 5. Twenty minutes before serving, stir in 3-4 cups cooked rice.  Garnish with sliced green onion.

The beautiful gold color comes from turmeric.

The fast is underway.  How are you feeling?  The Peter and Paul fast is tough because it starts with no buildup.  Hang in there.  You can do it!

Today’s recipe is all about new flavors.  Admittedly, I prefer onion, garlic, and tomato flavors and many recipes are in the same flavor palette (or palate :-).  I hope you enjoy something different.

Garbanzos with Couscous takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and just two pans.  As we are not using our air conditioner I don’t want to heat up the kitchen- this recipe didn’t.

I am experimenting with a gluten free diet so if you want to try this recipe gluten free, use brown rice, or quinoa instead of couscous.  Quinoa is closer to couscous texture wise and cooks quickly, but, brown rice on the dry side of done wouldn’t be too bad.

1/2 cup of cooked quinoa has 7 grams of protein

1 cup of cooked brown rice has 5 grams of protein

1/3 cup dry whole wheat couscous (about 2/3 cooked) has 8 grams of protein

Rice and couscous are incomplete proteins, paired with the chickpeas in this recipe, they are complete.

2 cups of cooked chick peas has about 24 grams plus plenty of soluble fiber for your blood sugar to help you feel full

Enjoy!

Garbanzos and Couscous or Quinoa

1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

3 carrots, chopped

1 14 ounce can of diced tomatos

1 15 ounce can of garbanzos, or two cups precooked beans (if they’re frozen, no need to thaw)

1 cup broth

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 cups cooked grain

Lettuce salad (just lettuce or add vegetables to suit your taste)

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Gently saute onion and garlic in a bit of oil, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Step 3. Add all other ingredients except grain, bring to a boil, then simmer until carrots are juuuuust tender, about 10 minutes.

Step 4. Stir in grain and serve over cool, crip lettuce.  I prefer to leave the carrots raw and serve with the lettuce because they add a nice crunch.  I love crunchy stuff, that’s why I love my Mom in Law so much.  However, carrots are best used by the body cooked.

Dear Readers,

Christ is Risen, has Ascended, and now the Comforter is here!

Since Pascha our diocese has been fast free. Has yours?  If you haven’t turned your calendar to June- consider this your warning.  HOLY PINK DAYS BATMAN! That’s right, all of June is a fast.  I could be wrong, but, I think this is the longest the fast can be on the new calendar.  Yikes.

Don’t worry.  Stick with me kid,  you’ll be alright.  I’m already preparing for the fast.  Last week I bought 200 pounds of dried beans.  Today, I began soaking 4 pounds of them to boil and put in the freezer.   Friday, I will place an order with Country Life Natural foods for several essential fasting items including coconut milk, tahini, natural peanut butter, and bulk spices.  Country Life provides free shipping on orders over $500, and their prices are half of my local health food store prices.  Normally, I  support local business, but, in this case the prices at the local store are double the prices at Country Life, and therefore far outside my budget.   Country Life may be an option for those  in very rural areas.  Check out their catalogue and delivery schedule here.

I encourage you to think about the fast in advance.  Ask yourself:

What would you like to cook?

What would you like to eat?

Will you be travelling?

Are there baseball games, etc. that will take up a lot of your time?

How will your menu work around those events?

This month many recipes will be my own as I am incorporating produce from the garden.  We’re in zone 7b, so gardens up north may be a bit behind (keep these recipes for the Dormition fast).  Are you part of a CSA?  Great!  Hopefully, you’ll be able to use your produce where appropriate. For those who don’t know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  Essentially, interested parties buy a “share” in a farm, your share is a prepayment to the farmer for a season’s produce.  Usually, you pick up your share of vegetables and fruits weekly.  For more information on CSA’s  click here. Local Harvest.org provides a list for CSA’s in your area.

I know of two CSA farms run by Orthodox families (dear friends of ours)

Round Rock Farm in Ohio

Philaret Farm in Indiana near LaFayette

If you know of others please leave a comment and I will be happy to add a link to their sites.

See you next week!

Dear Readers, if you’re still  there, I apologize for my absence.  As you know, the days near Pascha are full of traps and scores of unexpected inconveniences.  The last week was not exception.  I haven’t posted in a week because I haven’t cooked a meal in an entire week.  We’ve had sandwiches, burritos, and hummus, but nothing worth noting.  Today doesn’t show much promise either.  As is our annual tradition, tonight we are butchering a lamb for spit roasting.  With help from our dear friends, and a bit of experience we managed to do it in 2 hours last year.  This year we will get it done in some time.  God willing, safely.

In the mean time I offer you quick, cheap, and tasty coleslaw.  This recipe always gets compliments.  It is better if you give it a chance to rest.  Aren’t we all?

Sweet and Sour Fasting Coleslaw

1/2 medium head cabbage, finely shredded (4 cups)

2 large carrots, grated (1 cup)

1 medium bell pepper, chopped (optional)

4 medium green onions, sliced thinly (1/4 cup)

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil

2 tsp yellow mustard

1/2 tsp celery seed and 1/2 tsp salt OR 1 tsp celery salt

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, vinegar, oil, mustard, and celery salt.

Step 3. Add all vegetables to the bowl and toss thoroughly to coat.  Rest three hours for best flavor.

This is a quick soup with good flavor, loads of veggies, and a good reason to eat tortilla chips.

Chips and beans complement eachother!

Mexican Vegetable Soup with Tortilla Chips

2 Tbsp oil (or water for sauteeing onions)

1 onion, chopped finely (about 1 cup)

4 garlic cloves, chopped finely

1/2 tsp ground cumin

2/-3 tsp chili powder

1 carrot, sliced

1-2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed.

1 waxy potato, diced (if you use a russet or other type it will fall apart in the soup- I used a red skin with good results)

1 1/2 cups diced fresh or 1 can tomatoes

1 zuchinni, diced (or skip this and add more green beans for protein)

1/4 small cabbage shredded (no more than 2 cups)

4 cups vegetable broth or water

1 corn cob, kernels cut off, or 1 cup frozen corn

about 10 green beans, trimmed and cut into bites

salt and pepper

4-6 Tbsp cilantro chopped

tortilla chips

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes until softened, then sprinkle in the cumin and chili powders.  Stir in the carrot, potato, tomatoes, zucchini, and cabbage and cook for 2 minutes, stirring teh mixture occasionally.

Step 3. Pour in the bouillon.  Cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until the vegetable are tender.

Step 4. Add extra water if necessary, then stir in the corn, canned beans, and green beans and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the green beans are tender.  Sason with salt and pepper to taste, bearing in mind that the tortilla chips may be salty.

Step 5. Sprinkle each portion with cilantro, salsa, and a handful of chips.

My goal for lent was to post a new recipe each day.  Between travel and beloved house guests I haven’t been faithful.  To make up for it, today, I will post two recipes that we enjoyed over the last two days.  I apologize.  I didn’t take pictures.  They were beautiful dishes, and tasty, which is why I don’t have leftovers to show you.

This soup has a nice flavor, the herbs are the primary flavor so don’t skimp on them.

Beans and Greens Soup (about 4 quarts)

1 cup of dried beans (or half a bag) soaked at least 6 hours

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 small onions, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

4 garlic cloves, chopped finely

1 celery stalk, sliced thinly

2 carrots, sliced thinly

5 cups water

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried marjoram

1 bay leaf

4 1/2 ounces leafy greens (kale, chard, spinach, mustard or a mix) depending on the variety this would be a few packed cups

salt and pepper (you’ll need a lot to taste)

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Drain the beans and put in the pot, add enouch cold water to bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.  Drain and rinse.

Step 3. Heat oil in the pot, then add onion and cook, covered, for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just softened.  Add the garlic, celery, and carrots, and cook for 2 minutes.

Step 4. add the water, beans, thyme, marjoram, and bay leaf.  When the mixture bubbles, reduce the heat.   Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/4 horus, or until the beans are tender.  Season to taste.

Step 5. Let the soup cool slightly, then transfer 2 cups to the blender, blend until smooth and combine with the soup.

Step 6. Cut the grens crosswise into thin ribbons, a handful at a time.  Spinach needs less time to cook than kale or mustard, so cook them for a shorter time.  Cook greens uncovered for a maximum of 10 minutes or until all greens are tender.

Step 7. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.  The beans will soak up most of the flavor so you may need to add more salt or herbs.  Serve.