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

African Peanut Stew

Piping hot with a good dose of extra Sriracha hot sauce on top.

Okay, so this isn’t authentically African, but I like to call it that because when I think of luscious, spicy, peanutty stew I think of what little I know of Pan-African cuisine.

This recipe came to me from a PPK member.  I can’t remember who and I’m pretty sure it’s long gone anyway.  So, if it’s yours, good work!  And let me know so I can give you credit, since this is your piece and your instructions.  This one is too good not to share.

Infact, it’s more of a method than a recipe.  It’s pretty hard to screw up, though, so even if you’re a novice cook, give it a go.  You’ll have yummy, filling leftovers for days!  We’ve made this so many times with great success each time.

Peanut Stew

Olive oil (~2 tbsp)
1 small onion
Any or all of the following: carrot, potato, sweet potato
A few cloves of garlic (3-5 work well)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 28oz can stewed tomatoes (any kind – even with basil works!)
A few large handfuls of chopped greens (spinach, kale, collard greens, beet greens – whatever you’ve got!)
Red pepper flakes or hot sauce
A splash of soy sauce
A splash of vinegar (apple cider, sherry, or red wine work the best)
A big spoonful of something sweet (some sugar, stevia, maple syrup – I’ve even used apricot jam)
A big heaping 1/4 cup or so of peanut butter

Start by sautéeing the onion and garlic in some oil at the bottom of a large pot.  Once they onion has softened and the garlic has become nice and aromatic, add in the chopped root vegetables.  Sautée them for a few minutes until they get a nice little bit of crispiness.  Then add in both the vegetable broth and the canned tomatoes.  Let simmer, covered, until the vegetables are soft (I think it ends up being about 10-20 minutes, depending on how small the chop of the veggies is.)  Once the vegetables are soft, and the soup has thickened a little, throw in your big bunches of greens and stir.  Then add your splashes of soy sauce and vinegar, your hot element, your sweet element and your peanut butter.  Taste and adjust flavorings until it’s completely delicious to you!

It ends up being nice and thick, almost like a curry.  It’s great, filling and nutritious on it’s own, but could also be served over rice, or with bread.  It’s great with some more seasonings, too – cumin, coriander, chili powder, cayenne.  And you can literally add almost any veggies to this – I’ve thrown in frozen peas (at the end), green beans, cauliflower.  This is just such an easy, and intuitive recipe – and it lasts forever, and is a complete meal in a bowl!

—-

And look!  A new patch on my apron!  Chicks do dig vegans.

– Crystal

Tempeh and Ale Pie

I’ve never actually had steak and ale pie, but wandering through one of the many festivals that happen in downtown London, I saw a vendor selling an assortment of British meat pies and thought I really wanted to make one.  The recipe still needs some tweaks before I’m ready to share it, but just imagine this – succulent cubes of marinated tempeh, potatoes, carrots and peas smothered in a savoury ale-and-Marmite gravy, topped with a fluffy, flaky, buttery crust.  Sound good?  Damn right.

Perhaps the most disgusting photo posted on NVL yet.  It really was delicious, though.

I’m trying to get back into the good habit of making fruit smoothies.  This one had banana, vanilla soy protein powder, soy milk, orange juice and some giant handfuls of wild blackberries my dad picked for us, hence the brilliant colour.

– Crystal

Chickpea Piccata

Every recipe I try from Appetite For Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz just blows me away in how easy, healthy and amazingly tasty it is.  This recipe is just totally wow.  I love the fact that it comes together so easily and tastes amazing.  Isa recommends pairing it with the Caulipots (Cauliflower/Potato mash) recipe from the same cookbook, and you can see some of that peaking out from underneath the heap of piccata in the photo.  It is so good!  I totally didn’t feel like buying arugula to serve the piccata over as the recipe suggests (I had no plans to make anything else with arugula on my weekly shopping list), so I just served it over baby spinach.

The recipe can be found online here.

– Crystal

Indian Feast

Lentil dahl with hot sauce, aloo matar

We tag-teamed dinner on Sunday night.  Trevor tackled the lentil dahl, and I worked on my bastardized version of aloo matar (Indian potatoes and peas).  I added cauliflower and made it kind of an aloo matar / aloo gobi hybrid.  Served with white basmati rice, this warmed our bellies – which we need because it’s still really freakin’ cold in Southwestern Ontario.

I really wish I could give you an idea of how I made the aloo matar, but it was really just a bunch of throwing stuff in the pot.  A good Indian curry (in my opinion) has lots of onion, fresh garlic and ginger, tomatoes, cumin, coriander, garam masala, turmeric and of course curry powder which contains all of the above spices and more.

Once you get your onions cooking in a bit of oil, throw in the garlic and ginger.  After that, get your spices in there and mixed up with your onion mixture – the essence of Indian cooking is all in this yummy pile of onions at the bottom of your pot!  Let your onions and spices cook for about a minute.  Get your tomatoes in there, and some water or broth, and your veggies.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until your vegetables are soft and the flavours have combined.  Maybe I’m not doing it right, but that’s how I do it and it’s always delicious.

Now the lentil dahl, we do have a proper recipe for that!  This is one of the most delicious dahls I’ve ever eaten.

Lentil Dahl

3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds (or powder)
1 tbsp coriander
2 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 large onion, diced
10 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp chile powder (reduce if you are using a very hot variety)
1 lb red lentils
4-6 cups vegetable stock
juice of 1-2 limes
Siracha hot sauce to taste
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat add the coconut oil, mustard seeds and spices. When the seeds pop add the ginger, onion, garlic and chilie along with a pinch of salt/pepper. Saute for several minutes or until the onions are transcluscent. Next, add the lentils and stock. Bring to a boil for several minutes, turn heat down to med-low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Take off heat, stir in lime juice and sesame oil. Add some soy sauce, some salt and black pepper to taste.  Serve with hot basmati rice, a vegetable curry and maybe some naan bread!

– Crystal