Recipes: Sides

Recipe: Who needs potatoes when you have Parsnip Apple Mash?

Recipe: Who needs potatoes when you have Parsnip Apple Mash?

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I haven't eaten potatoes in almost 4 years. Although I undeniably enjoy the starchy goodness of a potato and the multiplicity of ways to enjoy them, consuming them just isn't worth the allergy-induced joint swelling and digestive discomfort that inevitably results. 

Instead of mourning over the loss of potatoes, I found solace in other starchy vegetables. Sweet potatoes have always reigned supreme over any other true potato in my book, and I enjoyed a reason to romance their sweet, orange flesh. I adopted my mother's love for parsnips and beets at a young age, and explored their versatility further, quickly becoming obsessed with their different yet equally sweet flavors and hearty textures. I explored the glory of the celeriac, the gnarly vegetable that is also known as celery root, and took a liking to its unique, strong flavor. I tried every squash I could get my hands on, and prepared it almost every way I could think of. I mashed cauliflower to use as a topping for shepherd's pie, made creamy pureed soups from turnips, and made french fries out of rutabagas and carrots. 

Truly, I haven't missed potatoes a bit. 

Recipe: Paprika Rice (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)

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If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring two spices with you, what would they be?

For me, this answer is simple: smoked Spanish paprika and cumin. The rich color, intense flavor, and incredible fragrance of smoked paprika makes my heart swoon, and the complex acrid flavor of cumin makes me weak in the knees. Without these two spices, my kitchen would seriously suffer. So would my taste buds!  They make everything taste good, working wonders on roasted vegetables, meats and poultry, and grain dishes. 

My most recent spiced rice dish exhibits my adoration of smoked Spanish paprika and cumin. It also displays my love for the coriander plant, combining both the dry ground seeds and the fresh leaves (a.k.a. cilantro). These herbs and spices enliven simple ingredients and create a wonderfully flavored dish that accentuates any meal. 

Spiced grain dishes like this one are a great staple for your weekly meal rotation. They are easy to prepare, affordable, nutritious, and wonderfully satisfying. If you have a rice cooker, making grain dishes is even easier, as you can simply flip the switch, walk away, and return to find perfectly cooked rice. I hardly ever cook rice on the stovetop anymore!

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Paprika Rice

yield: 6 servings

The rich, alluring flavor of smoked Spanish paprika flavors this dish. It is easy to prepare and very delicious, making it the perfect side dish for just about anything. The flavors are especially good with Mexican or Spanish inspired meals, grilled chicken or tilapia flavored with lime juice and chile powder, or Mexican chorizo. For a quick meal, top hot paprika rice with a fried egg - keep the yolk soft for an extra delicious twist - and serve with sauerkraut. 

  • 1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 6 small garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 3 cups water, broth, or mix (I did half and half)
  • 3/4 tsp unrefined salt
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2-3 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro, or more to taste
  • unrefined salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • optional garnishes: extra virgin olive oil, chopped cilantro, smoked Spanish paprika

Soak rice in 6 cups of water for 6-12 hours. Drain rice in a fine colander, and discard water. Rinse rice very well. Place rice in a rice cooker with vegetables, broth/water, olive oil, salt, smoked paprika, cumin, and coriander.  Stir together, then place cover on rice cooker and cook per manufacturer's recommendation.

If you don't have a rice cooker, do the same thing but place in a pot on the stovetop. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Let cook about 45 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

Remove cover and toss rice with a fork. Add fresh cilantro to hot rice and stir, seasoning with salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl, and if desired, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with additional chopped fresh cilantro and a dusting of smoked paprika. Serve.

Store leftovers in a well-sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 


*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

*Heads up! This post may contain some affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links you won't pay a single cent more, but I'll get a small commission that helps keep the content flowing. P.S. I only recommend products I use in my own daily life!

Recipe: Braised Greens with Black Olives (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)

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The other night when I opened my refrigerator, I was greeted by an eccentric mix of edibles. I had jars of rhubarb pickles, pickled beets, sauerkraut, preserved lemons, diluted coconut milk, and two massive bags of rhubarb crowding the lower shelf. Homemade mayonnaise and mustards, flax oil, hemp oil, cod liver oil, curry pastes, anchovies, and miso crowded the compartments on the door. I had beet kvass, kefir grains, a tiny amount of yogurt, a gnarly nob of fresh horseradish, lots of eggs, two kinds of hummus from the food swap, three (three!!!) varieties of homemade rhubarb sauces, and one package of elk pork sausage on other shelves. In my crisper drawer, I found a stray bulb of kohlrabi, lots of spinach, 1 bunch of kale, 2 stalks green garlic, and the requisite carrots and celery.

Gah!

My generally spastic lack of meal and ingredient planning seemed to be exhibiting itself in full form. Goodness gracious. I looked at that colorful assortment and wondered what in the world I would make for dinner. I had a ton of food, but it was all unusual. A woman can't live on rhubarb or fermented vegetables alone (although the last few weeks, I've been awfully close).

I wasn't terribly hungry, so I defaulted to sauteed greens, dotted with onions, those green garlic stalks, and oily, rich black Moroccan olives. Those olives absolutely win me over, day or night, and I thought they would add a wonderful richness to light spring greens. I added a little broth, a little splash of balsamic vinegar, and - voila - a beautiful dinner was made!

And, as a side note, while the greens cooked, I managed to eat a buckwheat muffin, snack on some cashews, and finished up two of the waning rhubarb sauces. I served them over leftover yogurt on different sides of the bowl. Geez. So much for not feeling "hungry". I felt like a fancy compost pile, absorbing whatever tasty foods needed to be cleaned out of the fridge! Finally settling down with a big bowl of these greens was a delightful end to my rather, uh, scattered dinner. 

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Braised Greens with Black Olives

Yield: 2-4 servings

You could easily substitute either the spinach or kale with equivalent amounts of another dark leafy green, such as Swiss chard, collards, dandelion greens, or mustard greens. I would recommend getting oil-cured Moroccan black olives, as the recipe calls for, if making this recipe. They have a very rich rich, oily, figgy, salty flavor that sets them apart from their conventional brine-packed black olive cousins. Find them at co-ops, natural foods stores, gourmet markets, or middle Eastern markets. They will not be packed in brine, and are considered a "dry" olive. Sometimes you can find these dry olives packed with thyme, Herbes de Provence, garlic, or red pepper flakes - any of those flavors would also work very well. If you cannot find Moroccan oil-cured olives, you could always substitute kalamata olives, which will have a very different flavor but will be better for this recipe than canned black or green olives.

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 stalks green garlic or 2 small leeks
  • 1/3 cup pitted oil-cured Moroccan black olives
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth, divided
  • 3 cups packed fresh spinach
  • 3 cups packed fresh kale, ribs removed and leaves chopped
  • pinch aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice)

Slice onion. Trim the long, darker green leaves off the garlic stalk, and finely slice the head and light green portions of the stalk. Finely chop the pitted black olives.

Heat oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add onion and green garlic (or leeks) and saute for 5 minutes. Then add olives and 1/2 cup broth, stir, cover, and braise for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and replacing cover. Onions should be quite tender at this point. Add greens on top of onions, add remaining broth, and cover. Braise for about 8 minutes, stirring often, until greens are tender. Then remove cover and let cool for 3-5 more minutes, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate. Remove from heat and sprinkle with aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes and balsamic or lemon, if using. Serve warm.


*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

*Heads up! This post may contain some affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links you won't pay a single cent more, but I'll get a small commission that helps keep the content flowing. P.S. I only recommend products I use in my own daily life!

Quick Roasted Kabocha Squash (gluten-free, ACD, vegan option)

Quick Roasted Kabocha Squash (gluten-free, ACD, vegan option)

Quick Roasted Kabocha Squash

Kabocha squash is my favorite squash. Also referred to as the Japanese pumpkin, kabocha squash look like a cross between a pumpkin and an acorn squash. The dark green skin becomes very soft when cooked and is very much edible (no peeling needed!), and the flesh inside is sweet, dense, creamy, and richly flavored. Kabocha is one of the first foods I turned to when I changed my diet over three years ago, and we have been in a true romance ever since.

Very similar to the nutritional make up of other winter squashes, kabocha is an excellent choice. Winter squashes are full of complex carbohydrates and digestion-stimulating fiber. This means that they have a relatively low glycemic index, so your blood won't sugar spike and your metabolism will remain more level. It is jam-packed with loads of nutrition, boasting admirable amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and even some protein. From an energetic standpoint, kabocha squash is extremely warming and grounding, and helps to nourish and support the spleen and pancreas. Therefore, it is often suggested in Chinese medicine or macrobiotic diet plans as a way to strengthen digestion and support overall health.  

 

My Favorite Way to Eat Asparagus

My Favorite Way to Eat Asparagus

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I want to share my favorite way of eating asparagus with you. I didn't get my act together to post this recipe as part of last month's SOS Kitchen Challenge, which featured none other than our green spindly friend. But that's okay, better late than never!

Asparagus is one of my favorite seasonal foods. And while I love it every which way, roasting it in the oven is my favorite easy way to prepare it. If you're curious, grilled asparagus runs a very close second, notched down only due to the fact that my often changing living situation sometimes makes reliable grilling a challenge.

Preparing oven-roasted asparagus it is nothing earth-shatteringly unique or complicated - the asparagus are tossed with olive oil and seasonings and quickly roasted in the oven at a high temperature. It gets a little brown and crunchy at  the spindly top and the stalks become tender and richly flavored. It almost tastes sweet, if you can imagine it. Plus, it looks pretty.  It is my experience that even people who "don't like asparagus" actually like love this asparagus, and I have never had leftovers.