Saturday, November 28, 2009

Beets & Fennel with Wild Rice

I had both beets and fennel to contend with in my CSA box this week, so this recipe worked nicely. It's a beautiful color. Also, I threw in some leftover turkey the next day and made a whole meal out of it--de-lish!

1 large bunch of beets with greens
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 fennel bulbs, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup Basmati and Wild Rice mixture (1/2 cup of each), rinsed
2.25 cups vegetable stock, heated
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 400. Cut greens away from beets and set aside. Wash beets, wrap them in foil, and bake until tender to the core with a fork (about an hour depending on the size of the beet). Meanwhile, cut away stems from the beet greens. Chop into bite size pieces and place in water to soak.
Put the oil in a cold skillet with a tight fitting lid and sweat the onion, fennel, and garlic very gently until softened. Add the rice and coat it well with the oil. Then add the hot stock slowly. Mix well, cover with tight fitting lid, and let simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed. This usually takes 20-30 minutes.
Remove skin from cooked beets and cut into bite size pieces. Add to rice mixture along with salt and pepper to taste.
Place greens on top of rice, cover, and turn off the heat. Let stand 5-10 minutes until greens are tender, but still bright green. Stir to mix in greens.
Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle pecans on top.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving Revisited

Greenlight's Tips for Reducing Your Holiday Hangover

1. Stay hydrated. Add extra water into your daily diet- beginning first thing in the morning- before your feet hit the floor running! Drink a glass of water between alcoholic drinks at holiday parties. Keep "to go" water with you at all times....sipping on it all day long.

2. The holidays are a time to indulge a little more than you normally would but the idea is to keep from going completely off the edge. smart and stock your pantry with nourishing and nutrient dense foods to keep your body in balance. Eating well at home allows room for the eggnog, peppermint ice cream, pumpkin pie and all the treats that are your holiday favorites.

3. For big holiday meals try substituting classic recipes for a whole food version. Enhance traditional flavors with fresh local organic ingredients, fresh herbs & spices. Substitute whole grain flours and natural sweeteners for white flour & sugar. Here is a recipe sampling of our Greenlight Thanksgiving:

Sweet Potato Hazelnut Delight

This is an updated version of the traditional sweet potato casserole we all grew up eating....with the rich flavors of coconut, ginger and maple syrup you'll never miss the brown sugar and marshmallows!

3 lbs sweet potatoes (cooked, cooled slightly and mashed)
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 T fresh grated ginger (no need to peel it!)
1 1/2 T maple syrup
3/4 t sea salt
1/2 cup raw unsweetened grated coconut (use fresh if possible)
2 T melted butter
2 T turbinado sugar
1/2 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts

Add coconut milk to the sweet potatoes in a medium sized bowl. If the sweet potatoes are stringy or too fibrous blend them with a hand mixer for a couple of minutes or you can use a food processor. Stir in the ginger, maple syrup and salt and coconut. Taste and adjust seasonings. Spoon into individual ramekins (or use a medium sized baking dish), drizzle with melted butter, turbinado sugar and hazelnuts. Bake until warmed through (about 30 to 40 minutes) Add hazelnuts to top during the last 5 minutes of baking. Serves 6.

Cranberry & Orange Relish

Serve this dish wherever you would traditional cranberry sauce. You can't beat the flavor of fresh cranberries paired with oranges and ginger. Experiment with other flavors you like instead of ginger: cinnamon, allspice or cardamom would pair well too. This is delicious on a leftover turkey sandwich!

1 large orange
4 cups (about 1 pound) fresh cranberries, picked over & washed
1/3 cup evaporated cane juice (plus more to taste)
1 t grated fresh ginger (plus more to taste)

Remove the entire zest of the orange & set aside. Remove the thick white pith. Separate the orange into sections and remove the pithy white parts.
Combine the orange flesh, zest, cranberries and sugar in the container of a food processor. Process until chunky- don't over-process! Stir in ginger and additional sugar if necessary.
This recipe if it sits for at least 30 minutes before serving- can be stored for a few days in the refrigerator.

Makes plenty for now....and later!

Garlicky Greens

Greenlight believes that every meal should include something from the "greens" family. It's easy to find fresh collards, kale and swiss chard this time of year. Look for a variety of choices at farmer's markets or local food co-ops. This preparation is quick, easy and delicious. Keep the parmesan on the side for any diners who choose to go "dairy free."

1 large bunch of kale, collards or swiss chard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
fresh squeezed lemon juice
grated Parmesan cheese (opt)

Cut or tear the leaves from the stems then tear or chop into bite size pieces. Slicing them thin like ribbons is an option also. Wash the greens in a big bowl full of clean water, rinsing and swishing to rinse away any stubborn grit and dirt. Drain and rinse again if necessary- a salad spinner is a great tool for this task!
Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add greens and stir to coat with oil. Cook until crisp tender and still bright green (about 3 to 4 minutes) Add sea salt to taste and a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Garnish with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese if desired. Serve immediately. Serves 2- 3.

Wild Rice With Shitake Mushroom Pilaf
Choose this delicous whole grain dish instead of dressing or stuffing. The flavors are deep and earthy and provide a nice base for the rest of the meal. Look for fresh shitakes from a local farmer- they're on their way out but you can still find them! Always choose fresh garlic instead of what you find in a jar. Use ingredients (and amounts) loosely here...adding or subtracting based on your personal preferences.

2 cups raw wild rice- rinsed (look for 100 % rice- no seasoning packets)
2 T butter, ghee or extra virgin olive oil
2 T chopped fresh thyme or sage or rosemary (choose your favorite)
6 cloves chopped garlic (add more for extra zing)
1 large onion chopped (or more if you'd like)
1 cup chopped carrots (no need to peel them!)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup shitake mushrooms- sliced or chopped (your choice)
4 cups chicken stock (can use veggie or beef)- plus more if needed
1/2 t sea salt and 1/2 t fresh ground pepper- plus more to taste
1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1/2 cup toasted pecans (optional)

Heat the butter or oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the garlic & onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook for about another 3 to 4 minutes- just until beginning to soften. Throw in the herbs and mushrooms and cook until soft but not browned. Add the rice & stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed- about 45 to 50 minutes. When liquid is absorbed, stir in the cranberries, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve topped with toasted pecans and garnished with fresh herbs and cranberries. Serves 6.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Simple Breakfast Porridge

We love a good whole grain for breakfast--especially on cold mornings. The nice thing about this breakfast is that you can use leftover grains (variation 1) or cook it the night before and leave it on the stove to warm in the morning (variation 2). Easy, breezy--that's what I like for breakfast!

Variation 1
1-2 cups leftover cooked brown rice (or any leftover grain)
~2 T rolled oats (optional)
~2 T water
Toppings of choice*

Put everything in a pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes or so until oats are cooked. Add toppings.*

Variation 2
1 cup whole grain (quinoa, oats, brown rice)
~2 cups water (add a little more if you like it creamy)

Put grain and water in pot with tight fitting lid and bring to a boil. Turn heat off and leave pot on stove overnight. Warm in the morning and add toppings.*

*Topping suggestions--experiment and find your favorite combination:
  • Sweeteners--local honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, dried fruit,  fresh fruit (especially berries), crystallized ginger
  • Crunchy--nuts & seeds & nut butters (peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower)
  • Spices--cinnamon, ginger
  • Other--flax meal, wheat germ, miso
  • Unusual combo--just to spice things up, try steamed veggies and greens drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with gomasio

Thursday, November 5, 2009

1, 2, 3, Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 T olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 (2 inch_) piece fresh ginger root- sliced thin
1 T red curry paste
1 (15 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
3 cups veggie broth
3 1/2 T lemon juice
1 t sea salt
1 T toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 400 and cook sweet potatoes until tender when poked with a fork (about 45 minutes). Remove from oven and allow to cool
2. Heat oil in large saucepan or soup pot. Add the onion & ginger and cook for approx 5 minutes. Stir in curry paste and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the coconut milk and veggie stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer about 5 minutes.
3. Remove the skins from the sweet potatoes and cut into bite sized chunks. Add to the soup and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt. Blend with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender or food processor- process until smooth. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a drizzle of sesame oil 7 a bit of cilantro.