Monthly Archives: January 2010

Friday Favorites: Comfort Food

Good Morning and Happy Friday to all!!

This week’s Friday Favorites focus on comfort food that warms you inside and out, and highlights two bloggers that I would probably follow to the end of the Earth.
Nothing helps pass these cold winter months like comfort food. It’s been exceptionally cold here in North Carolina, supposedly the worst winter since 1994. Personally I don’t think it’s all that cold but, I was only nine years old in ’94, so I don’t really remember that winter. Maybe I don’t feel the cold because I’m hot blooded, or just don’t care. Most likely, it’s because nourishing comfort food dishes like these have been a staple in my home since late autumn.
Every morning I skim through fifteen to twenty blogs about food, home-making, conservation technology and special diets, etc. Liz and Ren are at the top of that list every morning, and I don’t skim their posts, I pour over them. Their overwhelming knowledge on most things food or home related is really most admirable. I recommend everyone follow/subscribe to their feeds.
Liz at Hoosier Homemade explains how the mountain of tasks we all wake up to on a daily basis can be conquered quite easily. By focusing my efforts on the completion of three tasks in a set time limit, I have enjoyed two wildly productive days. This week also kicks off the Real Food Face-Off hosted by Kitchen Stewardship. First in the lineup is Ren from Edible Aria, a veritable treasure trove of information on real, wholesome food.

These are my favorites from this week, I hope you enjoy!

Northern Beans and Cornbread
From HappyHousewife.com

Cream Of Tomato Soup
From VegWeb.com

Quick Mushroom Stock
From My Recipes.com

Gluten-Free Cranshew Bars, Bits and Bites
From Wheatless and Meatless.com

Real Food Face-Off: The Edible Aria VS Musings of a House Wife
From Kitchen Stewardship

The Power of Three
From Hoosier Homemade.com

Kitchen Essentials: Bean Paste

    This handy recipe can take many forms, and be altered in many ways. After playing with the amounts and ratios for weeks, I have settled on the following recipe for the perfect bean paste to make veggie burgers. The uses don’t stop there though; use it as a spread on a sandwich (such as The Veggie Royale Sandwich) for added depth of flavor and extra protein, up the amount of flour and you have something that closely resembles falafel. The idea behind the whole Kitchen Essentials series is to work from the basic recipe and modify it to suit the rest of the meal. You’ll note that I didn’t specify which savory vegetables, seasonings or spices to use. It all depends on how you plan to use the bean paste. On sandwiches, I use more vegetables and less flour, to make it more like a spread. For a veggie-burger, I would up the savory spices and herbs and keep the veggies to a minimum to keep it dry enough to bake up crisp, and with texture much like a real burger. Get reckless with these basic recipes, and make them your own. I would love to hear what additions and changes you make to suit your specific needs. Furthermore, if anyone can come up with a name that still explains what this is, but sounds a bit more appetizing, I’d love to hear from you! Enjoy!

(About three servings)

  • 16 oz cooked beans (Black, Kidney, Garbanzo etc. Any firm bean will do.)
  • 1/4 C. Sautéed savory vegetables
  • 1/2 C. Fresh mushroom, very finely minced to combine with dried ground herbs/spices and salt.
  • All purpose flour.

  • Mash the beans together with the sautéed savory veggies, working the mixture until smooth and fully combined into a wet paste.
  • Combine bean paste with mushrooms.
  • Add flour by the tablespoon and blend thoroughly for texture. Repeat until desired texture is achieved.

It’s important to pay attention to the amount of moisture in the paste. If you’re going for burgers or anything like falafel, the less moisture in the paste the better off your burgers will be. For a spread you want enough moisture to make it easily spreadable, but not so much that it makes whatever you’re spreading it on a soggy mess. The amount and kind of vegetables used is directly related to how much moisture you will end up with in the paste, so choose wisely.

Culinary Resolutions

I’ve never been one to make New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve always figured that I’ll change what I can when I have the time and patience. However, since starting my job at the Spa in October, it feels like I have less and less time and desire to contribute to my own culinary adventures. I take that back: I have the time, I just have less desire. My job description literally is “one man restaurant.” That is, I greet and seat you (host/Maitre’D), I take your order (waiter), I cook your food (chef), and then I wash your dishes (dish-pit) so the idea of coming home and slaving over more hot equipment and doing more dishes isn’t that appealing to me.

I’m not exactly comfortable with the notion of saying goodbye to my personal culinary fun, so I’ve decided to for the first time in longer than I can recall make New Years resolutions. I’ve laid out several things that I would like to do in and out of my kitchen that I pledge to carry out in the following year, in order to keep the recklessness in the Reckless Culinarian: 

  • Start Baking (of course, first I will have to learn how)
  • Take a few culinary arts classes
  • Plant a garden
  • Cook more ethnic food (Asian and South American)
  • Re-work my diet to consist of things grown only within 100 miles of my home (The 100 Mile Diet)
  • Make wine
  • Buy more cookbooks
  • Buy a toaster oven
  • Buy a deep freezer

Friday Favorites: Real Food

After a long hiatus from the blogosphere, I have returned with a renewed desire to write. One of the things I will be doing this year will be to concentrate on blogging more about my culinary experiences, and trying to revolutionize those experiences. No one was put out by my three month vacation from sharing what came out of my kitchen, so I’m not going to apologize, I will just leave my readers (whomever and how few you are) with a promise: my hiatus has ended.
Part of this revolution is finding a reason to write. And so we arrive at Friday Favorites. While I have not been writing I have never stopped reading, and these are a few of my favorite articles from the past week.
Friday Favorites is hosted by Liz at Hoosier Homemade, and Monica at Daily Dwelling, a couple of home-making divas that can make even the Bree VanDekamps of the world cringe and wallow in their own inadequacy. These ladies really have it together, and by that I mean ALL OF IT together. Speaking of apologies, I make none for the Desperate Housewives reference above, they really would put Bree to shame.
Lately, my concentration been on my own education of the way our food system works, and why it does not work for consumers. The Real Food movement is a very important consideration in how we eat and the way it has been affected by industry. The facts are plain, the food system in place in our world is serving one purpose: to make money at the expense of every human’s health.
Read these articles and blog posts to find out why.

Bringing the Movement Home: The 100-Mile Diet, Local Eating for Global Change
From Rosemont Farm.

Meat Wagon Ammonia Burger
From Grist.org.

The Facts About Food and Farming
 From the L.A. Times.

Kale, Mushroom and Quinoa Salad
From Amy’s Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

Broiled Grapefruit
From Amy’s Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.