Sunday, November 25, 2012

20-minutes sauteed greens with beans & bacon

As befitting the very quick lunch I had to ad-lib yesterday, this is a very quick post. Yesterday I was ravenous around noon for some reason (despite having had more than my fair share of cookies earlier in the day), and I decided that I would prepare something involving beans, since I know them to be so filling. But what? I remembered a cooking class I attended at Williams Sonoma once, when the instructor whipped up some chard in a pot and made it taste incredible, just with some spices and bacon. Before that, I hadn't known that cooked leafy greens like chard, kale or collard greens can be so palatable! I had only had them raw, in salads instead of lettuce or blended in smoothies, as I often still do. Yes, I know - I didn't know much about food back then (although to this day I find cooked spinach to be slimy and unappealing, and I don't foresee this ever changing). So that cooking class was pretty memorable.

Little did I know that, months later, I would be standing in the kitchen holding up a bunch of kale, famished and conflicted, and suddenly remembering this episode. So I quickly rounded up a couple cartons of beans, an onion, garlic, bacon and kale, and got to work. I got so excited I moved at triple the usual speed! I proceeded to remove the stems from the kale leaves, cut them in half, roll them up, slice them and spice them, and... Best meal of the week, on word of honor! You'll get four fair servings out of this, and whether you eat it as a side or a main dish it'll be very satisfying.

By the way - if you're wondering why I'm talking about "cartons" of beans, it's because nowadays I try not to buy canned foods anymore, given the poisonous BPA lining in cans. I used to soak and cook beans myself (which is awfully high-maintenance for me), but recently I found beans in little cartons at Whole Foods, and have been buying them like that. They're just plain, unsalted, unspiced, cooked beans, just like you would find them in a can - only in a BPA-free carton. And organic, to boot!

20-minutes sauteed greens with beans & bacon 
~ makes 4 servings

1 bunch kale leaves, stems removed, rolled up and sliced thin (see here how)
2 14-oz cartons of beans, kidney and white (or another duo of your choice)
3 strips turkey bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed chilies
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Heat up coconut oil in a large pot and sautee the onion on medium high heat for about 5 minutes or until translucent. 

In the meantime, toss the kale in a large bowl with the olive oil, crushed chilies, garlic and salt. Add the kale to the pot, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, until the greens soften, stirring occasionally. 

In the meantime, cook the bacon with a small amount of coconut oil in a non-stick pan, just enough to give it an amber color. Add the bacon and beans to the pot and cook for about 3 more minutes (or more, depending on how wilted you like your greens). Remove from heat, add salt if needed and stir in the apple cider vinegar. 


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Post-Thanksgiving comforting sweet potato soup

Swamped with projects of all sorts, I've been remiss in sharing reports of my cookings. Shame on me. The cookings, however, have happened nevertheless. And lots of them! I am halfway through a cleaning diet that I plan to dedicate an entire post to, soon. It's worth it. 

Lately I have been doing my best to eat more meat (at least once a week) because I've been feeling my strength diminishing at the gym, and I thought a lack of protein might be the cause. Well that isn't it. It may be a lack of Vitamin D!

So with a view to Thanksgiving, when I'll undoubtedly get my weekly value of protein in one sitting alone, I tried to go totally vegetarian for a few days before the great feast. This cauliflower-sweet potato soup is very tasty, and garam masala plays an important role in its deliciousness, so if you don't have it in your pantry I suggest you acquire it right away. It's a wonderful spice that goes well with sweet vegetables (pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes), and it's also inexpensive. Let this soup be your own post-Thanksgiving cleansing meal.

Post-Thanksgiving comforting sweet potato soup
~ serves 6 hungry ones

1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 large sweet potatoes (or American yams), cubed
1 sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
olive oil
garam masala, about 1/2 tsp
1 tsp Celtic salt
6 cups water

In a bowl, toss cauliflower with some olive oil until well coated. Place on a tray and sprinkle with garam masala. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes until it looks like this:

In the meantime, get a large pot, set it on medium heat and throw the sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, salt and water in there. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes or so. 

Add the roasted cauliflower. Then, remove from the heat and blend it until smooth with a hand blender. If you like chunks in your soup, transfer only half the soup into another pot and blend it, then return it to the pot and stir well. Reheat the soup if necessary.

Eat and be merry!

Recipe adapted from Manifest Vegan.