Thursday, December 7, 2006

Swiss Chard Heaven

My favorite vegetables are the dark, leafy greens. Our farmer's market sells beautifully colorful bunches of swiss chard... red, yellow, purple ... My favorite way to make chard is to saute it in a little olive oil with garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. I often use them as an accompaniment for my vegetarian version of Brazil's national dish, feijoada (which I will post later). I don't use a recipe, but here's a try:

1 bunch swiss chard, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt to taste
red pepper flakes to taste

Heat olive oil in large saute pan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Do not let the garlic burn!! If tough, add the chopped stems of the chard first and cook for a couple of minutes. Add chopped greens, salt, and red pepper flakes and cook until wilted, stirring occasionally. That's it!
Swiss Chard

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Oatmeal for Breakfast

On cold mornings when you feel anxious or just not quite grounded, oatmeal can make you feel balanced again. It's easy and cheap and is also easy to modify depending on your mood. The following is a basic recipe from Eat, Taste, Heal. It's possible to change the fruit to cooked apples or pears by adding the apples or pears at the beginning to cook with the oatmeal. You can also change the raisins to any dried fruit, such as dried figs or currants. The nuts can be modified to include walnuts or pecans, and the spices can include cinnamon.

2 cups water
1 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons seedless raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
(1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, omit allspice and ginger)
1 banana, peeled and sliced (or 1 apple, peeled and cubed, or 1 pear, peeled and cubed)
1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup dairy or non-dairy milk, such as soy or almond
2 tablespoons maple syrup

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Pour in oats and add raisins and spices. Also add apple or pear, if using.

Reduce heat and simmer, 7 to 9 minutes. Stir in banana, milk and maple syrup. Serve hot.

Apple-Raisin Oatmeal

Mediterranean Couscous and Beans

This is a recipe I found in a quick and easy cookbook from Betty Crocker, and it's so easy to make, and very good!

3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups uncooked couscous
1/2 cup raisins or currants
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 small tomato, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 can (15 to 16 ounces) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Heat broth to boiling in 3-quart saucepan. Stir in remaining ingredients except cheese; remove from heat.
2. Cover and let stand about 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed; stir gently.
3 Sprinkle each serving with cheese.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Crepes Galore!

I finally found a simple recipe for crepes. They're done in no time, provided that you have a food processor and are able to make the batter ahead of time. Crepes allow you to be as creative as you want or to rid your fridge of leftovers. This morning, we made a sweet variety for breakfast and filled them with nutella and almonds, and other with yogurt and rasperries. Here is the basic sweet crepe recipe from the Joy of Cooking:

Combine the following in a food processor:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (be sure that it isn't too hot when you mix it into the batter so as not to cook the egg)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt

Place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight for breakfast the next morning or let stand for at least 30 minutes. This allows the gluten to relax, and the batter will hold together better when cooking.

Use a non-stick crepe or omelet pan over medium heat. You'll know the pan is hot enough when you drop droplets of water on the pan and they bubble and evaporate after a couple of seconds. Use a ladle with measurements to measure slightly under 1/8 cup per crepe. Before pouring the batter on the pan, lightly butter by rubbing with a stick of butter. Lift pan off heat, pour batter and swirl the pan to evenly distribute the batter. Allow to cook until edges begin to lift away from the pan. Use a spatula or fingers to flip the crepe and cook on the other side for a few seconds.

I piled all the crepes on a plate and let my husband choose his fillings. This recipe makes 8-12 crepes depending on size and thickness. The crepes refrigerate and freeze well.

Happy crepe making!

Nutella and Almond Crepe

Rasberry Crepe
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