Monday, December 10, 2012

White Chili

One could ask why a "white" chili never occured to one before. Alas I'm afraid the answer is simply - "convention". Chili has simply never been "white". It's been beefy, beef-less, beany, bean-less, groundbeefed, cubed beefed, with or without chocolate, but always always with that dark tomato-ey base to set off the other ingredients.

Recently, perusing teh interwebs, I landed on this recipe, which opened my eyes to the possibility of something different, something unchartered (in my kitchen at least!) in the ways of chili. It had to be tried. And it was good! Really really good, in fact!

I did wing it a bit - for example I didn't use chicken broth, and I only had one can of green chillies, which didn't turn out to be a problem. Try this soon, you'll really enjoy it. Next time, I'll be using quorn instead, to make this vegetarian.

  • 500 g. boneless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 cups white beans, soaked overnight
  • veggie broth - however much you need to cover everything up. 
  • 1 can chopped green chilies
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup cream

  • In a large saucepan, saute the chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add the beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. I used a pressure cooker, because I hadn't had time to pre-soak the beans. It took a little longer, but I think it lifted the overall dish. The chicken seemed extra tender because of it. Or maybe I'm imagining things!
  • Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and cream. Serve with rice for an extra hearty meal. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Zesty Borscht with Sour Cream and Veggie "Bacon"

Looking back at my last post - this one is right on time. :)

This is a recipe I used to make about twice a month. For some reason, it fell out of rotation - time to make amends!

This traditionally Russian red beet soup is made for this very season. Not so much the holiday season, more like the season where long lasting root vegetables abound. The selleriac, carrots, and beets all lend such a welcome sweet flavour that's balanced out by the tartness of the vinegar and the subtle smokiness of the veggie "bacon" - that is, dehydrated kale with a sprinkling of salt and smoked paprika (or chipotle powder, whatevs). I made it a day ahead for some strange reason (I'm usually never that prepared), and the flavors were even better for it. We had an unexpected dinner guest yesterday, who love-love-loved this soup, so you don't just have my word for it.

Borscht with Sour Cream and Veggie "Bacon"

2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 selleriac, peeled and grated
5 medium-large carrots, grated
1 lb. beets, peeled and grated
3 bay leaves
1 tsp whole caraway ground
2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
pinch cayenne
2 tbsp veggie boullion powder
1+ liter water
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp wine vinegar
salt, pepper to taste

Sauter the onion and garlic until soft, add the grated veggies until they start to go soft. Add your spices, boullion, water, and sugar. Let bubble gently on the stove for about 45 minutes. Add the vinegar, and season more to taste (this is the part where I admit that it was a bit on the bland side, so I added a bit of say sauce, worcestershire sauce, miso, and a darker, thicker balsamico before I was ready to serve this puppy).

Veggie "Bacon"  

Wash and thoroughly dry a bunch of kale. Separate the thick stalks from the leaves and discard. Roughly chop the leaves, and massage them with a few tbsp of olive oil. Spread out on a baking tray, and sprinkle liberally with smoked paprika (or chipotle powder), and salt. Dry/bake anywhere from 15-30 minutes in a low-medium heat oven. The higher the temp, the more vigilant you must be. The kale is done when it's bright green, crisp, and crunchy. The sooner it's eaten the better, it gets a little tough after  a while.

Serve your delicious beet soup piping hot with a dollop of sour cream (to make this vegan, use a dollop of soy yogurt instead) and a liberal sprinkling of you smoky veggie bacon.

* This version of red beet soup is inspired by the Borsjtj in Geniale Gryderetter, with a few amends, not in the least my veggie "bacon".

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Soup and a Shake

Helloooooo people!
So by now you're not holding your breath waiting for me to update, I gather. Just taking what you get, right? My kind of people.

So, the summer in Denmark has been a bit like summer in Denmark. Everyone's bitching and moaning about it, but one is that it's often like this, and I think the globalized Dane is just starting to demand some southern European style sun or they're off to Crete as fast as you can say "airline bankruptcy", and two, at least the crops here aren't failing miserably like in the States right now because of global warming. So, yeah, count your blessings.

So - where was I? We're all going to die. Oh, that wasn't it, sorry. Yes! So, the other day, when it was miserably grey and wet (and by the way, I thank the weather gods for coordinating with the thesis writing gods, because staring at a blank Word document just isn't as fun when it's glaring outside), I thought soup would be nice. In July, yes. I'd also just found an Irish Country House Cooking cookbook on the freecycling shelf by my building's dumpsters. With a soup recipe that sounded really good. Not in the least Irish, but still really good. I decided to give it a whirl. Very pleased, very pleased indeed. Creamy, healthy even, and with a nice subtle flavor that made it a great starter on the day it was made, but also a great main course with some buttered bread for leftovers day. Enjoy.

Broad bean and coriander soup

2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, sliced
250 g. shelled broad beans aka fava beans (I used dried lima beans, soaked overnight)
600 ml vegetable stock
2 tbsp dry sherry (didn't have this, so I used a nice sweet balsamico)
4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
salt and pepper

Melt the butter and sauté the onions gently.
Add beans and stock, simmer until beans are soft.
Remove from heat, allow to cool a bit.
Purée in a blender or with a hand held blender, in the pot.
Add sherry, yoghurt, coriander, salt and pepper.
Blend again until completely smooth.
Reheat gently, and serve with bread if that's your thing.

Next up, and slightly more summery than soup - the date shake. Anyone who's been to southern California has surely had one at Hadley's, yes? It's a rich tasting concoction, a small is more than enough, but make it at home, and you can tweak it to be a little less...cloying. Here's my take on it, with a twist. Pardon the photo fuzzies, it's been awhile, mkay?

Date Shake

1 banana
4-5 dates, pitted
milk to cover
5 fresh basil leaves
a few tsp flaxseed oil - need those omega 3s!
1 tbsp crushed chia seeds
(those last two are optional btw, I just like to disguise the yuckiest of the healthy stuff in yummy stuff for the kids)
Optional - ice cubes, for those extra hot summer days, this might be a good idea.

It doesn't taste like basil really, the basil just helps cut through the extreme richness of the dates. I added an extra splash of milk at the end too, when I saw it was really thick. Super delicious flavor, really.

See y'all later - around Christmas? ;)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gluten Free Pizza

Hi! Now, let's completely ignore the fact that I haven't updated since November, shall we? Thank you. Ahem.

So, my mom's here for a visit. For the past few years, she's been on a gluten free diet, owing to some health issues. I'm not sure she suffers from coeliac disease proper, but under this new diet regime, with a bunch of intense exercises, she's feeling much healthier in general. She comes around for a few weeks every six months or so, and while I don't go overboard to accommodate her diet (she doesn't mind splurging on traditional Danish fare while she's here, gluten or not), I do prepare a few dishes I know fall into a yummy, healthy, gluten free category, with no extra wear or tear on the chef of the day. This one's a particular favorite that I fell over, and tried out the last time around. Mom loved it, and has since given the recipe on to several friends.

So - how exactly does one make a gluten free pizza? And at that, one that doesn't require going out to acquire a special gluten free flour?

C a u l i f l o w e r

I know, right?

It's really too easy. All you'll need for the "crust" is -
1 cauliflower
2 eggs
1 handful shredded mozzarella

And toppings for your pizza of course, which may or may not include -
tomato sauce, mozzarella, olives, zucchini, chorizo, etc. etc.

You'll need to "rice" the cauliflower first, which basically means breaking the florets off, throwing them in your blender/food preocessor, and giving them a whirl until they're minced, not too big, not too small. Throw in the eggs and cheese and whirl around some more until well integrated. Now all you have to do is press it firmly on a sheet of baking paper until it has the shape you want, and isn't too thick or thin. Juuuust right. Right. Like this!

Now pre-bake. Kind of important, since if you just throw everything on, the "crust" will still be raw while the toppings will be toast. Depending on the heat, 10-15 minutes. Looks like this.

Now the toppings - and admittedly, I made a mistake here as well. I should've put the sauce on the "crust" during the pre-bake. But, it slipped and everything got put on together for the final bake.

As you can see, it turned out fine, albeit a little runny. If you just remember to slather the sauce on for the pre-bake it'll be perfect.

The "crust" isn't crusty, and this pizza needs a knife and fork to eat, but it's really delicious, nobody will ever guess it's cauliflower of all things, and that much healthier! Win.