Author Topic: Comfort food  (Read 45616 times)

Antonia

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Re: Comfort food
« Reply #315 on: November 12, 2012, 03:49:50 PM »
FROM TODAY'S NYT (I would sub dandelions or rapini for the spinach, but that's just me.)


The New York Times

November 12, 2012
Vegetarian Thanksgiving: Why Not Go Greek?
By MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN

The recent feature  in The New York Times Magazine about Ikaria, the island in Greece renowned for the longevity of its population, brought back wonderful memories of a two-week stay on that island, where I studied its cuisine and the cuisines of many of the other regions of Greece with the prolific Greek-American food writer Diane Kochilas. Diane’s family comes from Ikaria. She was born and raised in Queens, but during one of her many summer stays on the familial island, she fell in love with an Ikarian artist and photographer, Vassilis Stenos (you can see his amazing photography in her latest book, “The Country Cooking of Greece”), and eventually she moved to Greece. She and her family divide their time between Athens and Ikaria, and Diane spends a lot of time in New York, where she is the consulting chef at the Greek restaurants Boukies and Pylos.

I’ve written before about Greek vegetarian main dishes. The culture is rich with them, both vegan dishes and dishes with cheese and eggs. I know that Greek food is not exactly what comes to mind when you hear the word “Thanksgiving,” yet why not consider this cuisine if you’re searching for a meatless main dish that will please a crowd? It’s certainly a better idea, in my mind, than Tofurky and all of the other overprocessed attempts at making a vegan turkey. If you want to serve something that will be somewhat reminiscent of a turkey, make the stuffed acorn squashes in this week’s selection, and once they’re out of the oven, stick some feathers in the “rump,” as I did for the first vegetarian Thanksgiving I ever cooked: I stuffed and baked a huge crookneck squash, then decorated it with turkey feathers. The filling wasn’t nearly as good as the one you’ll get this week, but the creation was fun.

Giant Beans With Spinach, Tomatoes and Feta

This delicious, dill-infused dish is inspired by a northern Greek recipe from Diane Kochilas’s wonderful new cookbook, “The Country Cooking of Greece.” The traditional way to wilt spinach in that part of Greece is to salt it lightly, put it in a colander and knead it against the sides of the colander for about 10 minutes. I find blanching or steaming the spinach more efficient, and a better method for those who need to watch their salt intake.

1/2 pound (about 1 1/8 cups) dried Greek giant beans, giant lima beans or Christmas limas, washed and picked over

1 1/2 quarts water

1 bay leaf

1 onion, cut in half

Salt to taste

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 large bunches spinach, (1 1/2 to 2 pounds), stemmed and washed

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 leek, white and light green part only, chopped

1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped

1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice, pulsed to a coarse purée in a food processor

Freshly ground pepper

4 ounces Greek feta cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)

1. Combine the beans, water, bay leaf, halved onion, and crushed garlic in a large saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 30 minutes. Add salt to taste and simmer another 30 minutes. The beans should be al dente: not yet soft but not hard either.  Remove from the heat. Using tongs, remove and discard the onion, garlic and bay leaf. Place a strainer over a bowl and drain the beans. Taste the broth and adjust seasonings. Set aside.

2. While the beans are simmering, blanch the spinach in a large pot of salted boiling water for 20 seconds, or steam just until it wilts, abut 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl of cold water, then drain and squeeze out excess water. Chop coarsely.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add the leek and the scallions. Add a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until the mixture is tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to an ovenproof casserole or baking dish, preferably earthenware. Stir in the spinach, parsley, dill, beans, half the tomato purée, 2 cups of the bean broth and half the feta. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in another tablespoon of olive oil. Place the remaining tomatoes over the top and sprinkle on the remaining feta. Drizzle on the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Cover and place in the oven.

5. Bake 1 to 2 hours, checking the liquid every 20 minutes to make sure that the beans are submerged; add more bean broth if necessary. When they’re done, the beans will be creamy but intact.

Variation: If you don’t want to cook the spinach so long, so that it is brighter, add it when the beans are tender. Stir it in and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. If you want a vegan dish, leave out the cheese.

Yield: 6 servings

Advance preparation: This tastes best if made a day ahead. Reheat in a medium oven until it begins to bubble.

Nutritional information per serving: 293 calories; 12 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 6 grams monounsaturated fat; 17 milligrams cholesterol; 36 grams carbohydrates; 13 grams dietary fiber; 532 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 15 grams protein

Martha Rose Shulman is the author of “The Very Best of Recipes for Health



It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity. It is when we all play safe that fatality will lead us to our doom. It is in the "dark shade of courage" alone that the spell can be broken.
-- Dag Hammarskjöld

lagatta

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Re: Comfort food
« Reply #316 on: November 12, 2012, 07:07:21 PM »
That sounds lovely and I'm definitely saving it. For it to be local and seasonal here, I'd be using either Swiss Chard or kale. We still had local spinach a couple of weeks ago, but I fear it is all gone, and of course the dandelions (whether self-gathered or grown) haven't been around and edible for quite a while.

I love those gigantes beans and find them relatively easy to digest.

If I were doing a "Thanksgiving" (harvest festival) in northeastern North America, it would still have to involve the Three Sisters: corn, beans and squash. There are such beautiful winter squash right now that it is easy to find one to be a more traditional centrepiece from these parts.

But of course everything else can be Mediterranean...

Has anyone eaten a "Tofurkey"? Only recently have I seen them in shops here. Very strange. That company also makes a quite decent version of vegetarian "sausages". Sure, that is highly-processed food and not a good option for a steady diet, but I know vegetarians who enjoy having a sausage in a bun, and that kind are rather tasty.

I'm still trying to perfect my sort-of-Indonesian Nasi Goering (no, not the old war criminal; it simply means fried rice). But mine is admittedly westernised with a relatively small proportion of rice. I love rice, but want to consume even basmati (the lowest GI rice) in moderation. I added (pre-poached) chicken leg meat, but when I get to Marché Hawaï in Ville St-Laurent (and NOT near one of the métro stations over there), I'll buy some plain Indonesian tempeh and make it veg.

I think I've spent two hours chopping vegetables and herbs... Absurd just for myself, but I've made a good bit and it is definitely guest-worthy.

And drat, I've almost used up the sambal sauces I brought back from Amsterdam. Some are found here, but they are many times as expensive.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

Boom Boom

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Re: Comfort food
« Reply #317 on: November 12, 2012, 07:21:53 PM »
Just finished leftovers that I made last week and had frozen: pizza, beef stew, and hambone soup. After all that heavy food, this week I'm going on a fish diet. Haddock  and cod, caught by locals :drool

lagatta

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Re: Comfort food
« Reply #318 on: December 01, 2012, 12:56:18 PM »
This vegetarian cooking blog from London (ON) looks interesting - I'd been planning to make some more chickpea flour crêpes and bought a supposedly innocuous nonstick crêpe pan - I can make wheat or wheat/buckwheat crêpes in well-seasoned cast iron, but the chickpea flour just absorbs any oil so I was making them too oily and fattening that way, and gave up on the idea. http://foodandspice.blogspot.ca/2012/05/chickpea-flour-crepes.html


If you don't like or can't digest hot spices, you can stick to fresh ginger and perhaps some aromatic, but not hot, spices such as cumin, coriander and cardamom.


I let chickpea (garbanzo, besam, gram) flour sit for longer than 1/2 hour.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

lagatta

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Re: Comfort food
« Reply #319 on: February 05, 2013, 09:40:59 PM »
I saw a selection of savoury oatmeal dishes at a link to the "Shape" magazine website. Usually overly "fitness" oriented recipes interest me as little as junk food ones - yes of course food must be nutritious, but it is also a great pleasure in life.

That said, these recipes at least provide good ideas using the two major "healthy" kinds of porridge oats - pinhead and rolled old-fashioned. And one could use other whole grains as well. I like these more as inspiration than hard-and-fast recipe ideas.

Not all of these are vegetarian; if you are, I see most of them could be very easily adapted to vegetable protein.

I strongly dislike the original slideshow presentation at the Shape site, and discovered that clicking on "print" provides a simple list of the recipes with the appropriate pictures.

http://www.shape.com/print/19496
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

 

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