Jamaican vibes and arroz con leche

We’ve been in our new house for about 6 months now and I finally feel like my kitchen groove is coming back.  You know when you move and there’s a period where you don’t have your bearings about you — which drawer is your favourite ladle in?  Where is your 1/2 cup dry measure?  AGH.  But I’m comin’ back, baby.  Today we went out to get some groceries today we ended up at our favourite international shop.  They have EVERYTHING.  And among that everything was callaloo!  We had callaloo in Jamaica and really liked it.  Well, I like any greens, really…but I found the preparation of callaloo in Ital style to be super delicious.  So of course we had to get it and make it, and we made curried TVP to go with it because it’s such a staple at all the Ital/Rasta places we’ve eaten at.  And brown rice.

Vegan Caribbean Food

I made the callaloo per the instructions here and here’s what we did for the TVP:

  • 3 cups dried TVP chunks
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 scotch bonnet pepper, deseeded and finely diced (or leave out if you’re heat averse!)
  • 2 stalks green onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • 1 tsp gravy browning
  • 2 tbsp Jamaican curry powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put some water to a boil, get your TVP in a large bowl and pour boiling water over the TVP until well covered.  Let sit for 10 minutes, or until TVP is softened.  Drain and set aside.

Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add your garlic first, get it to a nice blonde colour (30 seconds), then add your onions and carrots.  Stir to coat in the oil, and cook for 5 minutes (add a splash of water as necessary to deglaze if things are sticking).  Add in your soaked TVP, green onion, water, coconut milk, scotch bonnet, browning, thyme, curry powder and salt.  Stir everything up, pop the lid on, and let it cook down to a nice thick sauce, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Season to taste and serve with brown rice and callaloo on the side.

I also had a hankering for some arroz con leche which is just a Mexican rice pudding with cinnamon.  I made it in my rice cooker using this recipe and replaced the milk with soy milk.

Vegan Arroz con Leche

Now I’m stuffed, sleepy, and happy I’m getting my culinary groove back.

Watch this space.

Curried Butternut Kale Stew

This is one of my favourite types of meals this time of year.  I love kale, as do many foodies, because it’s really delicious and kind of amazing for you.  I feel like a responsible adult when I’m chowing down on kale, you know?

It’s warming, creamy, a bit smoky from the fire roasted tomatoes, and excellent with a dash of hot sauce on top (I say that about everything, though) and served over some brown rice.

1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups diced butternut squash
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp curry
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 19 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can light coconut milk
couple huge handfuls washed and torn kale, or a small bunch
salt and pepper
In a large soup pot, heat olive oil on medium heat and sautée the onion until translucent.  Add the garlic and sautée for 1 minute longer.  Add the diced butternut squash, stirring to coat in the oil, and cook for 5 minutes until slightly softened.  Add all the spices and a pinch of salt, plus the broth, tomatoes and chickpeas, cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the butternut squash is soft.  Lower heat and add the coconut milk and the kale.  Cover again and let the kale wilt for about 10 minutes, or until it has reduced in size and is bright green but not mushy.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  

Ethiopian Cabbage & Carrots

This weekend we found ourselves at the end of a grocery cycle, with plenty of carrots and cabbage, and very little of anything else. We thought “What better way to use up a surplus of farmer’s market cabbage and carrots than to make a spicy Ethiopian dish!?”

I sent Crystal off downtown to find us some injera (Ethiopian fermented flat bread with a sort of spongy texture…it’s so good) while I prepared this. Its a simple recipe which takes about 40 minutes to prepare, and most of that time you’ll just be reading or hovering by the stove while the cabbage and potatoes cook.

It turned out amazing and we ended up with enough leftovers for a full meal the next day. 

3 tbsp olive oil
4 carrots, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon berbere
1/2 head cabbage, shredded
2 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
+ A few pieces of Injera (we buy ours at a local Ethio restaurant, but you could make your own)

All you need to do is heat your oil in a pot over medium heat, and then toss in the onion and carrot. Once that has cooked for a few minutes you can add the cabbage, garlic, ginger, and spices. Stir it up well and let the cabbage cook down for about 10 minutes. If you want you can add a bit of water to keep the spices from burning at the bottom while the cabbage cooks. Next you’ll want to add in the potatoes and sweet potatoes, cover the pot and let it cook on low heat until the potatoes are done.

Next, lay a piece of injera flat on a bit plate, and scoop a shareable sized portion on top.  Have a stack of more injera handy, as it will be your “utensils” – you’ll scoop up the stew with pieces of it.  Once you’re all done, eat your plate injera, it’s good.

Have fun and stay in school.

-Trevor

Chana Masala and Tamarind Quinoa

Sometimes the only thing that will do is a plate of chana masala (Indian chickpeas with tomato).  Today was a relatively cool and rainy day, which is a nice break from how insanely hot it’s been in our neck of the woods.  We jumped on the opportunity to use the kitchen to its fullest capacity, which is a total chore on hot days.  I worked on the tamarind quinoa while Trevor made the chana masala.  We had onions, ginger, garlic, spices, cans of coconut milk and tomatoes everywhere!  It was worth it, though; this flavourful curry over creamy coconut milk laced quinoa was so nice this evening.  Not pictured, but I gave myself a good dose of Indian lime pickle, which is eaten along side and gives a wonderful zippy bite that I just can’t do without.

I always use this recipe for chana masala, and the tamarind quinoa (featuring peas and raisins, who are quite the dynamic duo) is from the cookbook Appetite for Reduction.
– Crystal

Cranberry-Cashew Biryani and 2nd Avenue Vegetable Korma

Appetite for Reduction by Isa Moskowitz is my bible.  I refer to it several times a week; everything is just so easy, flavourful and full of nutrition.  This pair is no exception and is worth the price of the cookbook alone.  I swear I’m not paid for these endorsements, I just really love all the titles that Isa puts out.

The korma is full of zucchini, cauliflower, carrot, peas, cilantro, garlic and ginger smothered in rich-tasting, succulent, spiced coconut sauce.  And the biryani!  Little sweet cranberries, carrots (mine are heirloom yellow ones which look oddly like pineapple in this picture), lots of spices, and the nuttiness of brown basmati rice.

You can find the cranberry-cashew biryani recipe in the google books preview over here.

– Crystal

Caribbean Curry Black Eyed Peas

A delicious curry of black eyed peas and red peppers over brown rice with a side of steamed plantains. Sound good? Of course it does.

Check out the recipe over at the Post Punk Kitchen

– Trevor

Curry Coconut Carrot (C³) Soup

During the late fall/early winter, there are always these giant bags of carrots on sale for $1.49.  I always get sucked into buying them because a) I love carrots and b) I love deals.  I’ve discovered that carrot soup is a great way to get through those huge bags of carrots that I keep buying.

Soup doesn’t have to be complicated in ingredients to taste good.  This one looks simple, and it is, but the warming ginger and garlic, the creamy coconut milk and the earthiness of the carrots make for something pretty special.

Curry Coconut Carrot Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp curry powder
3 tsp pureed ginger
5 cups chopped carrots
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup coconut milk (light if you’d like to trim the fat a bit)
Salt and pepper to taste

Get the onion cooking on medium-high heat in the olive oil.  Once translucent, add the garlic, ginger and sautee a minute longer.  Add the curry powder and coat the mixture.  Let the mixture fry for another 30 seconds or so before adding the carrots, broth, and some salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low heat and cover, cooking for 25-30 minutes or until carrots are tender.  Grab an immersion blender and blend until creamy, or work in batches (CAREFULLY!) with a blender, taking care not to let steam accumulate and cause your blender to blow hot soup all over you.  Stir in the coconut milk and add salt and pepper to taste.

Ridiculously simple and full of vitamins and minerals, which we should all be mindful to get in abundance this time of year.

– Crystal