Survival Stew

me and mom 1951

Me and Mom in 1951

My mother, may she rest in peace, was like most folk who grew up poor and hungry in Appalachia in the 1930′s always very frugal. To the day she died (in 2012) she was embarrassed by her childhood and worried about whether her cooking, housekeeping and personal appearance were good enough. As a consequence, she was a great cook, a beautiful woman and meticulous housekeeper. But more importantly, she always took care that every meal she prepared and served was delicious, wholesome, and made with love. And she never, ever, let on that in the early years of my life we were very nearly as poor as she had been. I remember one meal in particular — fried potatoes and brown cream gravy on toast. We thought it as a feast, never knowing that she when we ate it four nights a week it was because Dad’s foreign duty military paychecks were late in arriving (again) and that she had bought the potatoes and bread on credit at the local market. She was that good. I finally figured that out when I was a young mom and shopping had to wait until the next payday. In my case, the meal was called “Survival Stew” and I made it from whatever left-overs, fresh vegetables and cans of tomatoes I had in the pantry. My sons loved it, and my eldest still makes it and shares the “recipe” with his friends. Now a days when I am blessed to have more than I need, I still make the soup when I am feeling especially stressed out, frustrated by life or just plain sad. Today I am a bit of all three and making it in memory of Mom. Just smelling it on the stove is a reminder of the continuity of human experience, the goodness of life, and all the folks in every age who have stand over a soup pot, cooking whatever they have with love and gratitude. ~ Glyn

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Today’s Version
2 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 cups diced potatoes
2 cups chopped butternut squash
1 cup sliced carrots
1 can kidney beans
1 can (15 oz) can chopped tomatoes 1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen chopped kale
2 cups water
4 herb-ox vegetable bouillon cube
basil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup savory sauce (soy, tamari, etc)
1/4 cup dried pasta (optional)

Procedure
1 Saute the onion, garlic and celery in the vegetable oil.
2 Add the remaining ingredients, stir well and bring to a boil,
3 Reduce the heat, and simmer for one hour.
4 Adjust seasoning and serve with muffins of biscuits or crackers.
Servings: 8
Degree of Difficulty: Very easy
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/8 of a recipe (16.8 ounces).
Recipe Type
Gluten-Free, Soups, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

survival stew

Black Bean and Polenta Stuffed Peppers

DSCN3476

The grandsons have (variously) settled into their new house in Tennessee, finished the Little League Baseball Tournament, gone to Theater Camp in NYC. and returned home to prepare for Middle School in Mississippi. “Da and Dhedah”, alias Glyn and Will, are back home and cooking once more. We are also distressingly aware of how completely most of American Cooking relies on meat. After several disappointing meals on vacation at “vegan friendly” Mexican Restaurants, we decided to “do it ourselves.” It really shouldn’t be all that difficult to produce a first-rate vegan dish with from all the incredible elements of Southwestern and Central American cooking. After all, that cuisine has given us some of the most satisfying and exciting of recipes (remember the recipes in “Like Water for Chocolate”??) So here we go! This hearty and savory one dish meal is meltingly tender while bursting with the flavors of the Southwest. The chocolate chips add an unexpected note of sweetness to balance the tartness of the cranberries, and the heat of the chipotle chili powder is a great foil for the potatoes and black beans. And the whole dish is held together by cornmeal. What more could a gourmand desire? Serve with a green salad and sit back to receive the applause of your dinner guests. ~ Glyn and Will

DSCN3467            DSCN3460

1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cup `water
1 herb-ox vegetable bouillon cube
2 green bell peppers, halved and blanched
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cup baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/4″ cubes
1 1/2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained 1/4 cup cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 tbsp. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup salsa
1/8 tsp Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cup tomato sauce

DSCN3468            DSCN3471

Procedure
1 blanche the peppers in boiling water
2 cook the cornmeal in the water with the bouillon cube until thickened
3 combine the diced potatoes, beans, onion, garlic, cranberries, chocolate, nuts, spices and salsa with the cooked cornmeal
4 place the pepper halves in a non-stick covered casserole
5 divide the stuffing among the four pepper halves
6 pour the tomato sauce around the peppers drizzling some over each pepper as well
7 cover and bake at 350 for 45 minutes
8 remove the cover and cook an additional 15 minutes

DSCN3473            DSCN3475

Servings: 4
Degree of Difficulty: Moderately difficult
Oven Temperature: 350°F
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/4 of a recipe (12.4 ounces).

black bean polenta stuffed peppers
Recipe Type
Gluten-Free, Main Dish, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Mama Lorraine’s Amaretto Biscotti

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A reader on All Good Gifts once asked Glyn, “Are you sure you’re not Italian? You cook just like my Nana.” Well, so far as she knows, Glyn is not Italian, but Will is, so the inspiration must come from him! These biscotti are made with almond meal, sliced almonds and dried cranberries and are laced with Amaretto and a dash of cardamom. Try them in the morning with a latté or with a cup of espresso as an after dinner treat. ~ Glyn (AKA Mama Lorraine)

IMAG0414             IMAG0415

2 cups all purpose-flour
3/4 cup ground almond meal
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
2 tbsp corn starch
1/2 cup soy milk
5 tbsp butter or earth Balance Vegan Margarine (melted)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract (or 3 tbsp. Disaronno Amaretto)
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries

IMAG0417_1

Procedure
1 Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2 Thoroughly sift together the flour, almond meal, salt, baking powder, corn starch and sugar.
3 Stir in the amonds and cranberries
4 Combine the butter, milk, vanilla and Disaronna and add to the dry ingredients to make a firm dough
5 Divide the dough in half and shape into two logs about 12 inches long and 3 inches wide.

IMAG0419             IMAG0421
6 Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned.
7 Remove from the oven, cool 30 minutes (but leave the oven on)
8 Slice diagonally into 1″ strips, and place cut side down on baking sheet

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9 Return to the oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
10 Cool thoroughly. Store, tightly sealed at room temperature.

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Servings: 36
Degree of Difficulty: Moderately difficult
Oven Temperature: 350°F
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Inactive Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/36 of a recipe (1.1 ounces).

almond biscotti
Recipe Type
Bread, Breakfast, Breakfast Foods, Brunch

Kale, Potato and Chickpea Soup

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Try making this soup on a chilly Saturday when you have time to let it simmer and fill the house with it’s earthy aroma. If you are in a hurry, it can be ready in about an hour, but you will miss out on the soul-satisfying experience of a pot of soup on the stove on an autumn afternoon. Featuring kale, the addition of potatoes and chickpeas tempers the bitterness of the greens. This is hearty enough for a one dish meal and is perfect with freshly made whole grain bread. ~ Glyn

IMAG0407                IMAG0408
3 cups diced potato
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 cups chopped onion (1 large)
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cups water
6 cubes herb-ox vegetable bouillon cube 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
16 oz kale, trimmed and sliced
2 cups cooked chickpeas
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

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Procedure
1 In a large, heavy soup pot or casserole, lightly saute the potatoes, onion, celery, carrot, and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat.
2 Add the salt, pepper, basil, oregano and poultry seasoning and stirring occasionally continue cooking until the vegetables are translucent and starting to brown. (about 10 minutes)
3 Add the chickpeas, water and bouillon cubes and bring to a boil.
4 Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
5 Add the kale and simmer for 5 minutes
6 Keep warm or at the lowest simmer possible until ready to serve.
7 Stir in the vinegar, adjust seasoning and serve hot with fresh bread.

IMAG0413
Servings: 8
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Inactive Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 4 hours and 15 minutes
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/8 of a recipe (14.8 ounces).

Kale, potato and chickpea soup
Recipe Type
Main Dish, Soups, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Slow Cooked Greek Eggplant

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We’ve been away from the kitchen for two months now…first with vacationing and then with the “challenges” of beginning the transition into retirement next summer.  Who knew that it is virtually impossible to buy a retirement home while still working???  Anyway, there finally appears to be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel and this time its not a Mortgage Regulation Freight Train!  But more on that as the tale develops.

And if anyone’s interested in purchasing our current home — a 250 year old Pennsylvania Farm House — here is a link to the site:  http://historicravenoak.com/

AND NOW, BACK TO COOKING!!!

No one has been complaining that this has been an unseasonably cool summer. September has been cooler than usual too, and now that it’s just a couple of days from the fall equinox, the temperatures have been dipping into the upper forties at night. This week we’ve had to harvest the last of the basil, and don’t want any of it to go to waste. Fortunately, because we were away over much of the summer a great friend has been keeping us in tomatoes, and we have several pounds of a gorgeous Juliet variety on hand. Last week we made an oven roasted marinara sauce, so this week we are trying something with a Greek flavor. This is a one-dish meal and cooks itself without any real effort once it goes into the oven. Prep time is only about 15 minutes so you’ll have time to do something else while dinner cooks and the aroma fills your home. ~ Glyn

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4 cups eggplant, diced (1/2 medium)
1 cup diced onions
3 tbsp. minced garlic
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 cup frozen peas
1.25 lbs small fresh tomatoes 1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp dried oregano

 

IMAG0398               IMAG0400

Procedure
1 place 2 tbsp oil in bottom of heavy, lidded casserole
2 add the quartered tomatoes
3 top evenly with the onion, garlic and 1/2 the mushroom slices
4 add 1/2 the basil leaves
5 season with 1/2 the salt and 1/2 the crushed red pepper flakes
6 add the eggplant, peas, and remaining mushrooms and basil
7 season with the oregano, dill, and remaining salt and crushed red pepper flakes
8 drizzle the remaining olive oil evenly over the top
9 cover and bake for two hours, stirring occasionally if desired
10 serve with rice or over polenta

 

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Servings: 4
Oven Temperature: 325°F
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours
Inactive Time:
Total Time: 4 hours and 15 minutes
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/4 of a recipe (13.5 ounces).

slow cooked greek eggplant
Recipe Type
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetables

Black Bean and Polenta Stuffed Peppers

DSCN3476
The grandsons have (variously) settled into their new house in Tennessee, finished the Little League Baseball Tournament, gone to Theater Camp in NYC. and returned home to prepare for Middle School in Mississippi. “Da and Dhedah”, alias Glyn and Will, are back home and cooking once more. We are also distressingly aware of how completely most of American Cooking relies on meat. After several disappointing meals on vacation at “vegan friendly” Mexican Restaurants, we decided to “do it ourselves.”

It really shouldn’t be all that difficult to produce a first-rate vegan dish with from all the incredible elements of Southwestern and Central American cooking. After all, that cuisine has given us some of the most satisfying and exciting of recipes (remember the recipes in “Like Water for Chocolate”??) So here we go! This hearty and savory one dish meal is meltingly tender while bursting with the flavors of the Southwest. The chocolate chips add an unexpected note of sweetness to balance the tartness of the cranberries, and the heat of the chipotle chili powder is a great foil for the potatoes and black beans. And the whole dish is held together by cornmeal. What more could a gourmand desire?

Serve with a green salad and sit back to receive the applause of your dinner guests. ~ Glyn and Will

1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cup `water
1 herb-ox vegetable bouillon cube
2 green bell peppers, halved and blanched
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cup baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/4″ cubes
1 1/2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained 1/4 cup cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 tbsp. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup salsa
1/8 tsp Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cup tomato sauce

 

DSCN3467            DSCN3468

Procedure
1 blanche the peppers in boiling water
2 cook the cornmeal in the water with the bouillon cube until thickened
3 combine the diced potatoes, beans, onion, garlic, cranberries, chocolate, nuts, spices and salsa with the cooked cornmeal
4 place the pepper halves in a non-stick covered casserole
5 divide the stuffing among the four pepper halves
6 pour the tomato sauce around the peppers drizzling some over each pepper as well
7 cover and bake at 350 for 45 minutes
8 remove the cover and cook an additional 15 minutes

DSCN3471            DSCN3473
Servings: 4
Degree of Difficulty: Moderately difficult
Oven Temperature: 350°F
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/4 of a recipe (12.4 ounces).

black bean polenta stuffed peppers
Recipe Type
Gluten-Free, Main Dish, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

We Haven’t Disappeared!

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We haven’t disappeared! We’re just offline for a bit while the grandchildren visit! We’ll be posting again in the second week of August after the tykes take off for home! ~ Glyn and Will

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