“Deconstructed hummus” and greens — a zesty lemon, tahini, miso sauce

The fact that I haven’t posted anything in a few weeks has been nagging at me.  One of my goals for this summer was to try and post something at least once a week, whether it be a recipe, tip, or even just some insight into my organization techniques for my hectic life.  But, life happens sometimes, and I can’t complain because my summer has been great so far.  Don’t mistake this hiatus from blog posts to mean that I haven’t been creating in the kitchen.  While I have been eating out occasionally, most of what I eat is still homemade by yours truly! But, because of my go, go, go days and nights, I’ve been sticking to a lot of my old trusty recipes. I haven’t made anything that made my eyebrows pop up like, wow this is goooood, I need to share this recipe… until last night’s dinner.

As you may know from reading my blog, I joined an organic CSA this year.  The beauty of this is that I end up having to buy very few, if any, veggies for the week.  The challenging part of this though, is coming up with ideas for meals based on what I’m given, as opposed to getting to pick out my produce for the week.  Braising greens are something that I have gotten in my share for more than a few weeks in a row.  I’ve cooked them up with tomatoes and balsamic vinegar to bring to a picnic, they were a big hit.  I’ve also sautéed them with sweet onions, and served with sunny side eggs for breakfast, another yummy meal.  But frankly, they’re not the prettiest thing to take pictures of (a wilted mixture of green looks sloppy no matter how much fuss you put into the plating), and subsequently I never became excited enough about the dishes to try and write up a mouthwatering description.

BUT, of course, since I am writing this, clearly I am excited enough about this dish to disregard the visually unappealing nature and try to get across this dish’s worth based on the flavor!

Deconstructed hummus and greens_a zesty lemon tahini miso dressing

I’ve been describing this dish as a sort of deconstructed hummus.  It has the same creamy, Mediterranean taste as hummus, and most of the basic ingredients one would use to make the dip.  The deconstructed part is based on leaving the chickpeas whole instead of blending them with the other ingredients in the dish.   Leaving them whole added another texture which was important in breaking the one note texture of the greens mixture.

The secret in this sauce though is the miso.  If you’ve ever had miso soup at a Japanese restaurant you may know the flavor, but it’s far from the only use for this delicious ingredient.  Miso is a fermented paste made most commonly from soy but there are also other varieties you can buy.  I prefer white miso, it has a more mild, salty/sweet flavor.  Miso is a complete protein, a good source of b-12, high in antioxidants, and because it is fermented it is an enzyme rich food.  It has also been shown to reduce risk for breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers.  Adding a little bit of miso not only bumps up the nutritional value but it also enhances the flavors of the sauce.

Here’s how I made it:

I receive a mixture of all different varieties of greens from my CSA.  Everything from kale, to collards, to swiss chard, so feel free to experiment with whatever you can find.  I prep them by cutting off the thick stems, rinsing and spinning them dry, and simply throwing them in a big pot of heated coconut or olive oil to wilt down stirring occasionally to make sure every leaf gets its chance!  If you’re making a lot, try adding the greens in batches so it doesn’t overwhelm your pot.

Once the greens were mostly cooked, I added one box (because they come in boxes instead of cans now!!) of organic garbonzo beans (aka chickpeas) and heated through.

For the sauce:  (these measurements are guestimates, because I didn’t realize how tasty it would be to remember to measure!!)

  • The zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 TBS organic tahini
  • 1 TBS organic white miso paste
  • A good dash of red pepper flakes (for a little heat!)

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl until it forms a thick paste.  Then slowly add water, whisking to combine, until you get your desired consistency.  It’s really that simple!

Poured over the dish, this sauce coats the greens and chickpea mixture with just the right amount flavor, brightening the bitterness of the greens and pulling the whole dish together.  I served mine with a simple pan seared chicken breast, but I’d be interested to try out it in other ways too; maybe on soba noodles or in a stir fry? Lots of possibilities!!

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Spicy white bean, sweet potato and kale soup

“Well the weather outside is frightful”….ok ok I won’t start singing winter wonderland songs but it’s really quite true lately.  It’s been chilly and rainy for days with the exception of one nice day…where is the nice weather?!! So I decided to give in and cook myself something warm and comforting to cozy up on my couch with and embrace this crappy weather….and what’s better than soup?!! I wasn’t planning on posting this recipe on the blog, because for me, soup is EXTRA hard to pay attention to what I’m putting in it.  It gets a little of this and a little of that, and oh, no wait, a little more of that…soup is about tasting as you go and tweaking it to perfection by building the flavors.  But this was so simply delicious, I will do my best to explain it all 😉 and please, tweak as you go too! Start with little dashes and add more if you like the way it’s going, it’s a great way to introduce new flavors to your palate.

Spicy white bean, sweet potato, and kale soup

The basic ingredients:

2 TBS EVOO

½ white onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 can of organic cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

About 2 cups of organic kale

1 medium sweet potato, diced into small cubes (I like to leave the skins on)

Organic vegetable broth, low sodium (I used about 3/4 of a quart container)

Seasonings:

Salt and pepper

Cardamom

Cinnamon

Ground cayenne red pepper

 

Instructions:

  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium and cook the onion until translucent
  • Add the garlic and cook another minute, then add the kale and sautee until wilted
  • Add the beans and sweet potato and stir to combine
  • Pour the vegetable broth over everything until you have a little more broth than you would want if you want it soupy, or a little less if you want it thicker.  The broth will cook down and thicken up some so keep that in mind.
  •  Now I add my seasonings.  Like I said, dash and taste and figure out what works for you.  With the cayenne I started out with just a little bit and built it up to make sure it wasn’t too hot.  The cardamom and cinnamon, I did a couple dashes of each since I love those flavors together, especially with sweet potatoes! And as always, season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring up to a boil, cover and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  • Once the sweet potatoes are fork tender, check your seasonings again.  You want a balance between the sweetness of the potatoes and cinnamon and the heat from the cayenne.  Adjust as needed and ENJOY!!

Coconut banana chocolate protein pancakes

Part of what I love about cooking is how much flexibility I have with my food.  I can open my fridge and just create dishes from what I have on hand, throwing a little of this, and a little of that to build flavorful meals.  So when it comes to baking, or anything where ratios and measurements are concerned, I tend to shy away.  I like getting the occasional inspiration from recipes, but not following them.

This is something I’m trying to change my mind set about.  Measuring shouldn’t be my enemy, and I can still make recipes “my own” while following someone else’s direction.  So I wanted to try out something I hadn’t made before, protein pancakes.  My view of pancakes was always that the batter was a difficult thing to perfect.   You were either using a box mix (no thank you), or measuring out ingredients exactly (yikes), or you were ending up with a disaster.  I’m actually not a huge fan of regular pancakes, they leave me feeling too full and weighed down, but this healthier version piqued my interest and I decided to start researching it.

In looking around the internet at recipes I realized that most of them all had similar base ingredients and similar ratios.  Happily, I decided to compile a general outline to follow and then decided to put my own twist on them.

The result: Coconut banana chocolate protein pancakes, drizzled with honey, natural peanut butter and dark chocolate dreams peanut butter.  A-MAZ-ING.

Coconut banana chocolate protein pancakes

I’ve decided to count this as a positive step and compromise in my fear towards recipes and a hopeful move in the direction of easing my fear of baking.  😉 There will be more experiments to come I’m sure!

Here’s what I used:

1 scoop protein powder (I use Garden of Life Organic Raw Cocoa Protein)

½ cup egg whites

½ organic banana

¼ cup organic oats

1 TBS organic coconut flour

1/8 cup (Silk) coconut milk

1/8 TBS baking soda

2 dashes of cinnamon (optional)

Dash of nutmeg (optional)

Blend it all together.  You can use a regular blender or I used my smoothie blender cup (kind of like a magic bullet but cheaper haha)

Cook over medium low heat in a skillet sprayed with coconut oil.  You know they’re ready to flip when bubbles start to form and pop!  This made 3 decent sized pancakes for me, and yes, I ate them all. 

I finished them off with a drizzle of honey, and then melted in the microwave a healthy tablespoon of Whole Foods fresh ground natural peanut butter and Peanut Butter & Co Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter.  Simply delicious!!

Soy and ginger marinated salmon with toasted quinoa and organic mixed baby greens

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Since this is a meal from my pre-blog days, I don’t have any measurements.  But this seems to be the most asked about recipe from my instagram so I figured it would be an appropriate first blog post!

To make the salmon: In a ziplock bag, I add some low sodium soy sauce (enough for the salmon to lay in it and absorb some) and grate about 1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger**into the bag and mix it together.  Add the salmon to the bag, gently mix the sauce around the fish and let sit for 20 minutes in the fridge.  Then bake at 375 for about 15 minutes.  The time depends on how thick your fish is so keep an eye on it, you want it to be opaque and flaky.

**I buy fresh ginger and keep it in the freezer so it lasts longer.  Also, when you keep it in the freezer it grates up nicely and you don’t even have to peel it, just grate the whole thing!!

To make the toasted quinoa and greens: Again, I don’t have any measurements, but quinoa multiplies in size when you cook it, so a 1/4 cup dry is usually good for 2 servings cooked for me.  To toast the quinoa, before you cook it, add it to a large dry skillet and heat it over medium heat swirling the pan around frequently, (the same way you might toast sesame seeds or almonds).  This gives the quinoa a nice nutty flavor since it’s pretty bland until you season it.  You can then prepare the quinoa according to the directions, and I like to use a little vegetable stock or chicken stock to replace some of the water also, which gives it more flavor.  Meanwhile, cut up some white onion and garlic and get that sauteing in a pan on medium low heat with some coconut oil or EVOO.  Add your favorite mixed green, this happens to be a mix of organic baby greens of spinach, kale, chicory, chard. collards and mustard greens.  Cook until the greens are wilted, then add your cooked quinoa and toss together.

Top the quinoa and greens mixture with the salmon, grate some fresh lemon zest over the whole dish and voila!!