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Cold Comfort Cooking

Baby its cold outside! We will be laying low this weekend and cozying up with Scout, our new kitten. This weather simply requires comfort food and I am craving greens again so I decided to make a bunch of kale and my new favorite vegan sausage from Field Roast. I’m not typically a huge fan of “fake” sausage, but this brand is head and shoulders above the rest.

The two recipes below are perfect for a big batch of kale – similar ingredients yet with enough variety that I won’t mind eating kale and sausage tonight and tomorrow night. I may be jumping the gun here because there was a rumor that my husband was going to cook tonight. Don’t get me wrong – he can try, but he will need to make one of these two recipes under my supervision. Or if he really wants to surprise me he can pick up some dessert on his way home tonight (hopefully he reads this blog on occassion).

                

Kale, Sausage and Mushroom Stew – by Mark Bittman/Bitten Blog – New York Times

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 links of Field Roast vegan sausage, Italian variety or 3/4 to 1 pound Italian sausage, sweet or hot, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound kale, leaves stripped from stems, stems reserved
  • 3/4 pound trimmed and sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon hot paprika or dried red chili flakes, or to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water

Directions

Put olive oil in large deep skillet or casserole, and turn heat to medium-high; a minute later, add sausage and cook without stirring until well browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop kale stems into 1/2-inch lengths and shred leaves. Stir sausage and let it brown a bit more. Remove it with a slotted spoon (don’t worry if it isn’t cooked through). Cook mushrooms in remaining fat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Add kale stems and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown, in 3 or 4 minutes. Turn heat to medium and add garlic, paprika or chili flakes, kale leaves, salt and pepper; stir and cook about 1 minute. Return sausage to pan and add stock or water. Raise heat to high and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste, ladle stew into bowls and top with reserved mushrooms.

Shell Pasta with Sausage and Greens Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. shell or ear-shaped pasta
  • 3-4 links of Field Roast vegan sausage, Italian variety or 3/4 lb. Italian sausage – half hot, half sweet or plain
  • 12 oz. bunch of kale, broccoli rabe, or other green, chopped (if using kale, or leafy green, remove and discard center stem)
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Directions 

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil, add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a Tbsp of olive oil. Add the pasta and cook as directed on the package, until al dente. While pasta is being prepared, cook kale or rabe in chicken stock for about 8 minutes. While greens are cooking, sauté Italian sausage until brown – about 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove sausage from pan. Add green onions to pan, sauté until soft. Add garlic and cook for a minute more.  When pasta is done, drain and return to pan. Toss together with the greens, sausage, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. Add chile pepper flakes to taste. Serves four to six.

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My New Cooking Mascot

“Not My Mother’s Kitchen” has a new mascot – our new, 12-week old tabby kitty. As you can see, he is extremely cute. He also happens to be very rambunctious and curious. I’m not a pet person. In fact, with the exception of a brief stint with a hamster, I’ve never owned a pet. When I was about 9 or 10, my brother and I BEGGED hamsters from Santa. On Christmas Eve, I laid in my bed and said a prayer that went something like this: “Dear God, I decided I do NOT want hamsters since I am afraid of them.” Sure enough, Santa brought us two hamsters. My hamster tried to kill my brother’s hamster and the whole family lived in fear for months on end.

 

The new sous chef

 Fast forward nearly 30 years, I’m now a pet owner with my husband, an animal lover with a lot of kitty cat experience.  To celebrate, I whipped up one of my favorite meals – jerk seitan over corn and diced sweet potatoes with paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Kitty (name still TBD) sat by my feet while I made the meal. And I wasn’t afraid… 

  

Cooking with Quinoa

What the heck is quinoa anyway? As one of those “really good for you” whole grains, quinoa packs a quite a punch. With the most complete nutrition and highest protein content of any grain, quinoa is an ideal food for vegetarians and vegans, a good source of vitamins and minerals – iron, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, amino acids, and fiber.

In writing this post, I tried to remember one instance of my childhood where a “whole grain” actually crossed my lips and….well I could not. But today, it is all about brown rice pasta, millet, barley, and quinoa and I feel horribly guilty when I eat WHITE pasta or WHITE potatoes.

The first time I heard of millet – my whole grain of choice – was in the beautiful form of a muffin – not a bad way to get to know a new grain. My husband (then boyfriend) bought a couple of millet muffins from Metropolitan bakery for us and it was one of the best muffins I’ve ever had. Everything is new and exciting during that get to know each other phase, but this muffin was truly one-of-a-kind and still is.

Ryan rarely requests any specific food or meals and is typically happy with whatever I make. But he is gearing up for a half marathon this Sunday so he asked me if I could make some quinoa. So quinoa it was. Note: when I make quinoa or any grain I typically make a lot of it and need to find alternative uses for it throughout the week so be sure to scroll down to the Breakfast Quinoa recipe below as well. If you don’t like quinoa, you can swap this out for brown rice, millet or barley as well.

How to Cook Quinoa

When I make quinoa, I make a lot if it so I can use it for a variety of dishes throughout the week. The Savvy Vegetarian website (www.savvyvegetarian.com) offers some great tips and recipes for cooking quinoa, but you certainly don’t need to be a vegetarian to introduce a new grain into your cooking.

This recipe makes 4-6 servings of quinoa. You’ll need a two-quart pot with a lid and a fine mesh strainer.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups cold water
  • ½ tsp salt

Directions

Soak the quinoa for 15 minutes. This will help it cook evenly. Drain with a strainer and transfer to the cooking pot with water and salt. Bring to a boil, cover with a firm lid and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.

Tempeh Veggie Stir Fry Over Quinoa

On Tuesday, I made the first of several quinoa-based meals for the week. Last night I used the leftover quinoa to make a salad of grains, avocado, tomatoes, shallots, cilantro and mango with a little olive oil and red wine vinegar. Great side dish.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 Tb ginger
  • 3 Tb reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tb Asian garlic chili sauce
  • 3 Tb orange juice
  • 1 Tb sesame oil
  • 8 oz. tempeh, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced
  • 2 cups broccoli
  • 1 red pepper
  • 3-4 medium sized mushrooms
  • Almonds or cashews (if you like)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add the broth, orange juice, soy sauce, garlic-chili sauce and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in an extra-large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. (Reduce the heat if the oil begins to smoke.)
  3. Stir-fry the tempeh and onion for 5 minutes or until the tempeh is lightly browned.
  4. Add the rest of the vegetables and stir-fry for 2 minutes. 
  5. Add the broth mixture and continue to stir-fry for 1 minute, or until vegetables are tender-crisp.
  6. Serve over steamed quinoa.

Breakfast Quinoa

This simple quinoa breakfast cereal takes about 15 minutes to prepare. You can make a hearty cereal by adding almonds, walnuts or pumpkins to one cup of cooked quinoa along with the following: raisins, dried apricots, dried cranberries, blueberries, or figs; ¼ tsp salt, ½ tsp cinnamon; 1 cup soy milk; and/or 1 tb maple syrup or agave nectar. Simply combine all ingredients in saucepan, heat on medium low until the quinoa has soaked up the liquid and the dried fruit has plumped up. You may want to add more milk if you like this a bit creamier.

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