Supper Tonight at Mami’s

Welcome to Mami’s Good Food Kitchen! Pull up a chair, bring along  your adventurous taste buds and try a dish with a flavor profile that pops you out of your same old, same old meal prep and transports you to a place you may not have expected in your own kitchen.

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Based on Koshari

This recipe is based loosely on a Egyptian recipe called Koshari. I came across it as I was checking out Mommy Tang’s YouTube channel, where she does mukbangs and vegan recipes. She had, as her guest, a young lady named Marion, who shared with everyone her version of Koshari, as taught to her by her father, I believe.

The recipe caught my attention right away, as the spices were different than other spices and flavors I had used, and also seemed perfect to serve as a vegan meal because it looks nourishing and filling and oddly familiar. Even though there seemed to be a lot of prep, it looked as though it would go together easily, once all the components were assembled.  It looked easy to make into a whole foods meal and looked forgiving enough to stand up to omissions or changes one might wish to make. For example, I used a mix of three lentils, whole wheat pasta and brown rice. Came out very delicious!

So the main idea is to use pasta, rice, and lentils. Which are all cooked separately and then served in a dish with a tomato sauce on top to be mixed in before eating, as I’ve pictured above. Although, as I researched on-line for recipes, I noted some directions instructed  to cook the lentils and rice together. I am always concerned  if my rice and lentils will be done at the same time, so I prefer to cook them separately just to be sure.

I cooked the rice and lentils separately, but used the same spices for both. and I used a dry roasting method – or dry frying- toasting the spices in the dry pan before adding the rice or lentils and the cooking water. I used garlic, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground cardamon, salt and pepper.In the rice I also put a stick of cinnamon, which would come out after the rice was cooked. For the rice, I used 1 cup rice to 2 cups water and for cooking the lentils I used the same measurement. The rice cooked for 35 minutes at low, and covered, after coming to a boil. The lentils I cooked uncovered and they took about 25 minutes to cook, but I kept checking the lentils to make sure they were not overcooking. At the same time, I cooked the pasta. I used whole wheat pasta shaped as  corkscrews, and followed the package directions. When all three were done, I lined them up on hot plate trivets on my counter in covered pots. Oh Yes, the lentils and the pasta were drained of  their cooking water so they wouldn’t get soggy, as they waited for me to pull  all the components  together.

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Plated and ready for dinner! just add a salad!

As I was cooking the rice, pasta and lentils, I also made the tomato sauce to top the dish. It too, was simple and went together really fast.

I used one 12 0z can of crushed tomatoes and put it in a saucepan. to that I added 1/2 can of water, 3 crushed garlic cloves, salt and pepper and one tbsp of vinegar. Brought to a boil, covered and let simmer for at least 25 minutes, while everything else was cooking.

To serve the dish, layer all ingredients on a plate beginning with the whole wheat pasta, then the aromatic rice, and finally a layer of lentils. Top  with tomato sauce,using however much you like. Finally serve the dish with a side of salad to complete the meal.  I chose a green salad with romaine lettuce, tomato, red onion and cucumber. Very simple, but a good and pleasing side dish.

Even though there were a lot of steps to pulling this meal together, it was very tasty and simple. Filled me up fast- one serving was quite enough and it kept me feeling full for quite a while.

Thank you for visiting Mami’s  Good Food Kitchen and may all your meals be nourishing and delicious and full of love!20160705_204205

Sunday Breakfast with Mami

Happy Sunday morning to everyone! Hopefully you can ease into the day and share time with loved ones and on projects or adventures you find fulfilling and joyful. If you do not have the day to yourself (if you have to work), I still wish you a happy Sunday, and I thank you for providing a valuable service on this day, and hope you find fulfilment and joy in your day as well.

Today, at Mami’s household, we are having a slow start; sipping on coffee and waking up slowly. The weather of the day is lending an even slower-motion feeling. Not sunny, a little chilly, and somehow a  quiet theme is playing itself out .

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It’s What for Breakfast!

So, here’s breakfast because not quite feeling like oatmeal or other cereals, not quite in the mood for toast or fruits, and definitely not in the mood for pancakes. But definitely hungry. So I made tofu scramble with the usual scramble veggies, which are mushrooms, onions, red peppers, and seasoned this mixture with tumeric, Berbere Seasoning from Frontier Natural Products.

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Berbere Seasoning

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After the tofu scramble was cooked and seasoned,  I arranged the scramble and polenta in a bowl and decorated with leftover elements from last night’s supper of veggie tacos. A spoon ful of blackbeans, few chunks of chopped tomato, approximately 1/8th of an avacado, and then sprinkled the food in the bowl with chopped cilantro, scallions and nutritional yeast…oh yes, and my favorite,  non-calorie condiment, lime juice. Very good, very filling and looks pretty nutritious!

And now, onto the rest of the day!

Thank you for sharing your time with me.

Take good care of yourself and your loved ones and remember to cook and serve good food!

 

 

Green Smoothy… Just Plants

So, my husband had fallen off the healthy eating track during the holidays and was beginning to feel bloated and heavy; losing the vitality and energy he had found while eating a lighter, cleaner and plant-based diet. He wanted to get back on track, and he usually does that by juicing for about a week, but he was feeling too lazy to drag out the juicer. I didn’t want to buy all kinds of juicing veggies only to have them wilt away and go bad in the refrigerator. And though I think juicing is fine for some, I like the idea of making a smoothy and enjoying the nutrition of the veggies/fruits as well as keeping the benefits of the fiber, which our bodies also need. So we comprised.

I washed and cut up an assortment of fruits and veggies, to blend in my Vitamix, and made him a smoothy drink he could consume  at lunch time and any other time of the day he wanted a veggie pick-me-up.20160104_073323 Baby bok choy, carrots, celery, spinach, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, oranges, pineapple and hemp seed hearts. I added about 2 cups Exeter spring water and then blended until all ingredients were liquified. My work station looked like this: 2016-01-07 12.45.50

Once all ingredients were liquified, I poured them into glass containers, plus a special tasting glass for the chef!20160104_081314All in all, the smoothy tasted pretty good. It did admittedly taste green, but once you become familar with the “green”taste,  I think it was pretty good. Next time I would definitely add some ginger and lime or lemon, for a little kick.

After tasting his smoothy, my husband thought it was a bit sour…or needed sweetness. His tastebuds had quickly reverted back to his desire for sugar during his holiday feasting. So, I had to add two more oranges, a carrot and 4 pitted dates to the mix; reblended and let him taste again. This time it tasted better for him, and he was set to begin his day with getting back to healthier eating.

I took a bottle of smoothy  to work with me for lunch, just in case I didn’t get to stop and eat my packed lunch, and I was surprised at how full and satisfied I felt, and it kept me going until supper. I would definitely suggest anyone else do the same, but tailor it to veggies and fruits that are personal favorites and be mindful to add a variety of colors…not just greens and even taste as you go along. I have at times added a handful of dry old-fashioned oats and a tablespoon of hemp seed hearts  or almonds to add some heartiness and protein. Besides the obvious nutritional benefits, the thing I like best about this smoothy is no added chemicals or thickeners or preservatives…just plain  good food!!

Mushroom Spinach Stew over Baked Potato

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Mushroom Spinach Stew over Baked Potato

 

Yesterday, when I punched out for the day from work, I knew I wanted to make my husband and I something hot and filling for supper. We needed a change from the rice and beans we have been having lately, even though the recipes we’ve been coming up with have been so, so, so, GOOD!  Spinach and mushrooms kept popping up in my mind, and naturally a warm,fluffy, perfectly baked russet potato kept inserting itself  into the equation.

So, I stopped into the grocery store to buy fresh baby spinach, white button mushrooms, and two of the biggest, handsomest russet potatoes I had ever seen in my life…maybe they just looked sooo good because I was truly hungry! How I escaped the grocery store without buying half of the store is still a mystery to me, because everyone knows you should never shop while hungry. And I know better from experience. Hahaha.

Once home, I preheated oven to 350 F, and placed my well scrubbed russet beauties in the oven on top of my pizza stone, and let them roast lazily as I prepared the stew.2016-01-03 14.08.16I prepped veggies next. Chopping 1/2 large white onion, 2 large cloves garlic,12 oz. White button mushrooms and 8 oz washed spinach. I measured out 1 cup frozen green peas.

Next I sautéed the onions and garlic in a couple teaspoons of water (to keep the fat low), in my favorite soup pot. Then added the sliced mushrooms to the pot and let them saute until they released their delicious mushroom juice. At that point I added2016-01-03 14.15.15.jpg2 cups of unsweetened almond milk, 1 cup of low salt mushroom stock, 1 tsp thyme, a pinch of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. I let it all come to a boil, then turned the pot down to low and let it simmer covered, for 25 minutes. Then I added the spinach and peas to the pot, and bought the stew back up to a boil.2016-01-03 14.10.59.jpgThen I tasted the stew for seasoning, adding more of anything I might think it would need…it tasted perfect…well…maybe it needed just a touch more salt.

For the finish of the stew, I dissolved 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder with 4 tablespoons cold water and stirred it into the stew, until the stew thickened. If I had wanted a thicker sauce-like stew, I could have added more arrowroot slurry; but I was happy with the way it was.

I sliced open the baked potatoes and layed them in a shallow bowl and then ladled the stew over them. So sublime! So warm and filling! So very delicious!

Once again, I find my food philosophy to be so true. The simplest and most basic preparations can be the most satisfying and most delicious! And it’s a bonus that it happened to be nutritious too!

A Warm Comfort Soup for a Cold, Story Day

As the year is coming to a close and the christmas season is over, we, in New England got our first storm of the winter season. Snow began to fall overnight, and then began to turn to freezing rain, making the commute to and from work, cold, slippery and not very pleasant. I didn’t want to stop at the grocery store to shop for supper, and my husband, Poppi and I didn’t feel like choosing a restaurant to eat at or to get take-home from; but we both knew we just wanted to get home and cocoon for the night.

So, the best thing for me to do, was cook whatever I could find on hand. Supper had to be nutritious, warming and delicious and I wanted it to be simple and easy to eat. What came to mind was an asian comfort food called rice porridge, or congee. This soup is often eaten for breakfast, or when one is sick or weak, or when one needs food-supplied comfort. Traditionally its made with meats and meat broths, but my mission was to make it vegan and low fat, which I was confident I could accomplish both. So, as soon as we arrived home, and were safely inside, I began gathering ingredients and chopping and preparing for our simple supper. As the storm raged on there was a certain comfort in knowing we had a delicious and nutritious stew simmering away on the stove.

This is the kind of cooking that doesn’t need exact measurements, or a complete listing of ingredients to be successful.  It mostly depends on what you have on hand, personal preferences  and technique, and how you combine all those elements.

First thing I did was choose a pot to cook in. My first mistake was choosing a too little pot.After cooking the rice, I realized I need a lot more room then I was allowing for in my 3 quart pot. A 5 quart to 6 quart pot should have been my first choice. Then I measured out one cup of medium grain rice, which I rinsed in the sink until clean. I put the rice and about 8 cups water in the pot and turned the burner on high. I added mushroom and veggie bouillon powder (low salt) to the water and tasted it to make sure I added enough seasoning.

As the rice began to cook, I began to chop my vegetables. I minced all the veggies very fine, almost the size of a grain of rice, and separated them into two containers. One container held the veggies that would take longer to cook, 1 small potato, 1 cup butternut squash, 1/2 large white onion, 1 large carrot,3 cloves garlic and about 3/4 cup white bok choy stems. The second container held the bok choy greens, minced finely, about 1  cup. I definitely would like to have put any other leafy green in the mix if I had some available, but I was going with what I had on hand at the time. I set the two containers aside to wait until the rice was ready.

After cooking the rice about 40 minutes, I was ready to assemble the rest of the stew. The rice was very cooked and the grains were beginning to break apart, which is exactly what I was going for. I added more water to the pot, as some had cooked away and some had absorbed into the rice, and then I adjusted the seasonings again, adding more mushroom bouillon, to my taste. All together I probably put in about 1 tablespoon of the mushroom veggie bouillon. Then I dumped in all the slow cooking vegetables and let them cook until they were soft, about 25 minutes longer. I tested the carrots for doneness, as I’ve discovered carrots take longer to cook than  potatoes and are a better indicator of doneness when cooking a combined dish. Then I poured in the minced bok choy greens, gave a good stir, cooked 5 minutes longer, then the vegetable congee was ready to serve.

If I had scallions, I would have garnished the congee with the scallions, but instead, I used a few grain of toasted sesame seeds, and crumbled toasted seaweed sheets. The congee hit the mark! It was comforting, hot, delicious and very healthy! We rounded out the meal with a side salad and my husband added a slice of his favorite rye bread!

Very easy and very repeatable. And as I am finding out for myself, more and more, the simplest foods are most often the most delicious and satisfying. Next time a storm is threatening, be it emotional or weather…cook up a pot of comforting congee and see if it does the trick for you!