Red Chard, Couscous with Dried Cranberries and Feta

Red Chard Couscous

This was a fast and easy supper dish that is incredibly flavorful, filling and delicious with just minutes of cooking. Of course, anything with couscous is pretty quick and easy to make.

  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, dice
  • 3/4 cup couscous
  • 10 0z can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 sm can chickpeas, drained
  • 6 red chard, stems and leaves chopped separately
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • salt and pepper
  • feta cheese

So, first I heated a tbsp of olive oil in a small kettle with a lid while I chopped 1/2 of a yellow onion and diced 1 clove of garlic. I added the onion and garlic to the oil with some salt and pepper, sautéed for a minute then added 3/4 cup of uncooked couscous and salt and pepper. I used the three-color couscous that has been colored with spinach and tomato. I toasted to couscous for about three minutes. Remember to add salt and pepper at each stage of cooking. Adding small amounts incrementally will use less in the long run and develop deeper flavors.

While the couscous was toasting, I heated 1 TBSP of olive oil  while I chopped up another clove of garlic and the stems of 6 red chard. I added the stems and garlic and salt and pepper and let them sauté while I opened and drained a small can of chick peas (garbanzo beans). After a minute or two, I added the beans. It’s now time to go back to the kettle of couscous.

Then I opened a 10 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chiles and added it to couscous along with 1/2 cup of water. I turned the heat up and as soon as the liquid began to simmer, I put the lid on and removed from the heat. I left the lid on for a few minutes until the liquid absorbed (3 minutes or so). By then the chard was done, but if you’re cooking a bit more slowly, just remove the lid and fork the couscous a bit to lift it so it doesn’t get soggy.

Turning back the the sauce pan with the stems and garbanzo beans. I chopped the red chard leaves very fine and added them to the stems. I added 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and let everything cook until tender. As soon as the chard stems and leaves were tender, I added the couscous and stirred it all together. This made four large servings or eight small ones. The nice thing is that this is delicious hot or cold.

When I served it, I sprinkled feta on top to add a bit of richness, but it is delicious without the feta, too. Without the feta, it is a nice vegan main dish. The chard gives it an earthy depth that is offset by the heat of the diced tomatoes and chiles and the sweet cranberries. The couscous is light and airy while the chickpeas add substance. The feta adds a nice bit of salt and fat that make it more filling and satisfying.

Breakfast Grilled Cheese

Breakfast Grilled Cheese

I made a delicious breakfast grilled cheese this morning using black rye bread. I heated my griddle to medium and buttered one side of two slices of black rye. I put them on the griddle. I added thinly sliced cheese on one piece of the bread and thinly sliced ham on the other.

Meanwhile in a separate pan, I cooked two eggs over easy. Ideally, I would not have broken the yolk on either egg, but I did. Oh well, it makes it less pretty, but no less tasty.

I love black rye because it has a rich flavor that is never happier than when paired with eggs. Egg salad on rye is amazing! And of course ham on rye and cheese on rye are also perfect. Eggs, ham and cheese on rye are the trifecta.

Breakfast Grilled Cheese

Kale & Grapefruit Salad

kale and grapefruit salad

I used a small bunch of lacinato kale, washed, removed the stems and chopped the leaves. This made about 8 cups of chopped kale. I added 1 TBSP of olive oil, 1 tsp of kosher salt and 1 inch of fresh ginger, grated. With my hand, I massaged the oil into the kale, softening the leaves.

With a knife, I supremed a grapefruit, cutting off the ends and the peel and pith. Then I used the knife to cut the flesh off in segments between the skin. I tossed the grapefruit into the salad.

I then added 2 TBSP of mango nectar and 2 TBSP of 100% cranberry juice (unsweetened). I put a lid on the container and shook it to distribute everything evenly and let it set in the fridge for an hour.

When serving, I added a bit of pepper on top. It’s a delicious tart and sweet salad with a hearty kale foundation. The ginger adds heat to balance the sweet mango.

Eggs and Asparagus

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This is so easy and as good tasting as it is easy. It is important, though, that you make it with young asparagus, picked when the stalks are thin like a pencil and not as big as your fingers in circumference.

I heated 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet while I cleaned and trimmed the ends off the asparagus. I used 10 pieces of asparagus because I was very hungry. I put the asparagus in the oil to cook for about 3-4 minutes and then turned them spears. I cracked 3 eggs on top, added a few small pieces of cheese, some salt and pepper and covered so the eggs would cook with some steam. After a couple minutes, I took off the lid and served it all up on a plate.

The asparagus was tender and the eggs were a perfect complement. The bits of cheese added just a bit of rich creaminess to a bite. It was a delicious meal for an early lunch.

Pickled Brussels Sprouts

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These were tasty when warm, but cold the next day they were so much, much better. They are very flavorful so just a couple satisfies your taste buds and make a good snack between meals.

First clean about a pound of brussels sprouts and cut off the stems. Put in a cooking pot with a liquid that is 1/2 white wine vinegar and 1/2 water – just enough to cover the sprouts. Add 1 thumb of ginger roots sliced into small toothpick size sticks, 1 jalapeño cut into strips about thumb length, add 1/2 of a yellow onion. I diced them, but next time I will cut into sections so they can be picked up with your finger or a toothpick. I cut a lemon into 1/4s and tossed it in. I added about 1/4 cup of sugar and salt and pepper and brought it to a boil. I let it continue to simmer until he sprouts were tender.  After it cooled, I poured into a storage container and let chill.

It’s spicy with great heat and flavor but not the least bit uncomfortably hot. The lemon and vinegar make is nice and tart for a fabulous sweet, sour and hot blend.

Mushrooms and Brussels Sprouts

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This was a quick dish I threw together for lunch. I chopped up about 2 TBSP of yellow onions and sautéed them in 1 TBSP of olive oil. I added some salt and pepper. While the sautéed, I slice 4 mushrooms and added them and let them cook while I cleaned and sliced 8 brussels sprouts. I then added them to the pan, tossed in a little more salt and pepper and one diced clove of garlic and continued to cook, tossing lightly. When the veggies were tender, I squeezed the juice of 1/3 of a fresh lemon on top, tossed again before turning them into a bowl for lunch.

The mushrooms add a bit of earthiness and is there anything tastier than some lemon and garlic in oil on delicious fresh vegetables?

Ginormous Rutabaga Lentil Soup

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I love a good lentil soup and make it frequently. I usually use a ham shank to add some depth to the flavor of the broth, but vegans can leave the ham shank out and make it vegan. It will still taste good. This batch, though, was the best ever thanks to the idea of adding a couple rutabaga.

So here’s the recipe.

Heat 1.5 TBSP of olive oil in your stew pot. Add some pepper and cumin to heat and infuse the oil.

Add 1 large yellow onion, chopped and let soften.

Then add 3 chopped carrots and 3 chopped celery and 4 diced garlic and saute.

Peel and chop two rutabaga and add, let all of this cook a bit.

This is when us carnivores can add the ham shank. Add a couple quarts of water and let simmer until veggies are tender.

Add one pound of lentils and cook until tender.

This is a rich and hearty soup and the rutabaga adds a tartness that is just incredible. It makes a huge pot of soup – about 8 to 10 bowls similar to the one in the picture.

Turnip and Pineapple Salad

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This is a simple, but tasty, salad that only gets better the next day.

Peel one turnip and dice into small rectangles or squares. Chop 1/4 of a Spanish onion. Chop up 1 cup of pineapple chunks and chop about 3 TBS of fresh parsley. Mix together with a bit of salt and 1 tsp of cayenne and let settle so the pineapple juice marry the ingredients together.

The cayenne blends perfectly with the sweetness of the pineapple and its acid is a good counterpoint to the earthy turnip. The onion brightens the flavor and the parsley adds color and freshness.

This makes 2 servings or 4 small servings the size of the one in the picture.

Spicy Simmered Cabbage and Tomatoes

Cabbage and Tomatoes

This is a simple, but hearty dish that takes just minutes to prepare and cook.

First I put 1 TBSP of olive oil in a pan and heated it with a tsp of anise seed, bring out the aroma. While it heated, I cut up one onion in thin slices and diced two garlic cloves and tossed them in the oil to soften. I added salt and pepper.

While the onions cooked, I cut up 1/4 of a head of cabbage, cutting wedges about 1/2 inch thick or so and then slicing the wedges in half. I broke them up with my fingers as I dropped them into the pan of onions and garlic and added a bit of salt and pepper. I let them sauté for a few minutes before adding one 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chiles. I just use the Safeway® store brand which is only $0.69 a can. I added some water to the can (about half full) and swished it around before pouring it into the pan to add a bit more liquid. Then I let everything simmer until the cabbage was tender, but toothsome, removing it before the cabbage lost all of its green color.

You can serve this on top of mashed potatoes, rice, pasta or cooked sausage or, just serve it on its own. It’s got a lot of heat from the chiles, but the touch of anise softens that flavor and adds complexity. This is not a single serving recipe by any means, but it reheats into 4 different single servings.