Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Feeding the Hungry Ghost:Dishing Up Soon

Dear Reader, 

I've missed you.   Yes, I've been posting Meatless Mondays every week on Huffington Post's Green page, but it's not the same as the quirky posts I do here.  I've also been writing a book (see above).  Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner comes out next month through fabulous New World Library and you can preorder RIGHT NOW. 

Here's the recipe for hopping john, straight from my heart (and from the book), the best way to start the new year. 

May 2013 be abundant and spectacular, may you begin it sans hangover and with a pot of hopping john ready to greet you New Year’s Day.
Hopping John

Make it on New Year’s Eve or even the day before. Flavor improves over time and hopping john reheats like a dream.  Serve with hot sauce for a happy, lucky, abundant New Year.

1 cup black eyed peas
3 cups of water
6 cloves garlic
1 dried hot pepper 
1 bay leaf
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup brown rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 big bunch collard greens, sliced into thin ribbons
juice of 1 lemon
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Soak beans in a bowl of cold water for 4 hours or up to overnight.  Drain peas.

In a large pot, bring 3 cups of water to boil over high heat.  Add black-eyed peas, 2 cloves of garlic (whole), pepper and bay leaf.  Skim off any floating beans.

Reduce heat to low.  Simmer beans uncovered for an hour and a half until beans are tender, not mushy. 

Add brown rice and the vegetable broth.  Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.  Turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the burner.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion, jalapeno, celery and the remaining 4 garlic cloves, chopped.  Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring, until the vegetables soften.

Reduce heat to medium. Add greens by the handful, and cook until wilted, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  

Fluff rice and beans, remove whole garlic, dried pepper and bay leaf.  Fold in collard mixture.  Squeeze in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.  

Serves 6.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Reader, I Blush

I am abject. I am not the kind to up and disappear. So where the hell have I been? Finishing the manuscript of Feeding the Hungry Ghost, my book due out in January. It has required a fair amount of care and feeding, itself. But it has introduced me to so many wonderful people (and you know who you are).

Then there's all that life stuff. So I'm just writing this sort of postcard to say howdy, please stick with me and eat beautiful food and take good care of yourself. More soon. Love now.

Farmers Market Escarole With Cranberry Beans

This dish is a delight but it's barely a recipe, just a handful of inspiring ingredients fresh from my local farmer. Feel free to substitute kale or other leafy greens for escarole. You can use canned beans, adding them at the end as I've indicated, but fresh ones are terrific, firm but with a creamier texture than canned. I fell in love with these fresh cranberry beans -- they're pretty, organic, local and free of genetic modification.

You can make this recipe a bigger deal by tossing it with pasta or any whole grain or dollop it on slices of crusty bread for a gusty bruschetta. Top with grated Parmesan or vegan mozzarella.

1 pound fresh cranberry beans or 1 15-ounce can white beans of your choice, such as cannellini
6 cloves garlic, divided use
1 dried red pepper, crumbled, or a pinch of red pepper flakes
handful of fresh sage leaves
1 head escarole, sliced into thin ribbons
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 2 lemons
sea salt and pepper to taste

To cook fresh beans, bring a medium pot of water to boil. Shell fresh beans (take them out of their lovely pink and white pods). Add them to the water, along with 3 of the garlic cloves, the dried pepper and sage leaves. Do not salt water, this toughens the beans. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer beans for 45 minutes or until tender.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Mince remaining 3 garlic cloves and add to skillet. Give them a stir and cook until they soften and sizzle, about 5 minutes. Add ribbons of escarole. Cook, stirring, for another five minutes, until escarole wilts but is still jade green. Squeeze in lemon juice.

Drain beans, whether fresh or canned, and tip them in. Toss the beans and greens together and season with sea salt and pepper.

Serves 4 to 6.