Monday, January 17, 2011

Cooking without a recipe a la Chef at Home

Well, it is Monday. It is freezing out and snowing and I am getting over a nasty cold. I am trying to get back into meal planning and while making the meal plan is not so difficult, following it is my challenge. Today for dinner I wrote 'stew'.

Well, so many options here all of a sudden. I took stock of ingredients and I didn't have enough of traditional stew ingredients. I did, however, have two sweet potatoes and really wanted to use them.

Following the Michael Smith theme of cooking without a recipe... I decided to just to go free style. A little scary for me as I have screwed up many a recipes by trying to ad-lib herbs and spices. Here is what I came up with..

Stay outta the Snow Sweet Potato Stew
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • one onion, chopped
  • two cloves of garlic, chopped
  • One package of Seitan, chopped (about 500g)
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes (Or maybe a small hot chili, diced)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • two sweet potatoes, approx 1 1/2" dice
  • one can of diced tomatoes
  • approx 1 cup vegetable broth
  • one can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • one head of broccoli, chopped

Prep all the ingredients and in a large pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add in the seitan and  cook another 2-3 minutes. Add all the spices and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Add in all the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Once boiling, drop the heat to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are nice and soft. Taste and adjust the spices as necessary.

With mine, I steamed some dinosaur kale, rainbow chard to make sure I got some additional veggies and had a side of steamed brown rice.

When I started this, I was not intending on putting broccoli in it. While I am not sure it is the best vegetable in the stew, it definitely was non-offensive and really just took on the flavours of the stew.However, I really like to put at least one or two green veggies in these one pot meals. I find if I don't, I forget to eat my veggies. I also forgot that Broccoli does not really hold its colour well in things like stew, so it was not the prettiest thing to include.
I think maybe instead of having the chard or kale on the side. This might have been really yummy and pretty with the chard just right in the stew. Noted for next time.
Now, I have recently realized that a lot of people I know, have never tried Kale and I now feel obligated to include some information on this yummy veggie I often throw on the side of my dinners.
Kale is loaded in nutrients including vitamins A, C, K, calcium, fibre, magnesium, and many others. It packs a big punch for the little 36 calories per cup. It is in my opinion, a super food. Some think it has cancer fighting powers and an ability to lower cholesterol.
I compare Kale to a healthier substitute for Broccoli. It is in the same family and is considered part of the same family as Broc, Cauliflower, and wild cabbage. Its taste is pretty mild and it can be pared with almost any entree. I love to add kale to green smoothies, stir fries, soups, stews, pizza.. See? Kale is a magical veggie. You can even make kale chips with it! I have been told the best way to eat Kale is by steaming it first for about 4-5 minutes. I love to steam or saute kale and the throw a splash of balsamic vinegar on it. It brings the kale to life!
If you have not tried Kale, please do. I cannot believe I went 25 years without trying this vegetable. Next dinner, skip the usual, boring veggies and try something new!

1 comment:

  1. Great success!

    I really want to try kale in a green monster, but I am scared. Post your method?