Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Soul Food

Forgive the picture; I still haven't figured out how to take a good picture of food at night.  If you click on it, you can get a better idea of the texture.  This is the sort of food I grew up on.  Fresh vegetables and grains that all run together on your plate and taste delicious that way!

Okay, so this isn't the most balanced meal.  Usually I'd have a bigger veggie-starch ratio.  But this is still a very healthy meal.

Southern food is NOT by definition unhealthy.  My mom, grandmother, and aunts are all southern woman who cooked their children nutritious, flavorful meals using fresh vegetables from their own gardens, or their neighbors' gardens.  Our dinner was never loaded down with butter or lard.  Usually, a little salt and pepper, and maybe some hot green pepper sauce, was all that was needed.

For the collard greens, I caramelize some onions with garlic, red pepper flakes, and black pepper, deglaze with basalmic vinegar, add the greens and saute those for a minute.  Then add broth to cover, and simmer covered for around an hour.  Serve with a splash of vinegar - you can use red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, umeboshi, hot pepper sauce, whatever - and some sesame seeds and that's it.

Here's the recipe for the cornbread I made.  I'm very happy with this recipe and will use it from now on.  The only difference is, I added a few tablespoons of creamed corn and some chopped fresh jalapeno peppers. You could also add green onions and/or bell pepper.  I also substituted the sugar for a little agave nectar.  Finally, I used all cornmeal and no flour. Because of this change, you may need to add more soy milk until the batter is just pourable. Make sure you use a cast iron skillet greased with melted Earth Balance butter for a crispy crust.

The quinoa with lentils is an alternative to beans and rice.  Simply soak the quinoa in warm water for about 30 minutes to wash away the bitter coating.  Simmer every cup of quinoa in two cups of water or broth for about 20 minutes, tossing in a handful of lentils the last ten minutes.  When the quinoa is done, stir in a little olive oil, sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar, olives, roasted pumpkin seeds, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh herbs, and crunchy chopped veggies like peppers and celery.

Put all this on your plate and use your fork to crumble the cornbread.  Let the juice from the greens run all over the plate.  Yummy, comforting, and so very good for your soul and your body!

As soon as tomatoes are in season, I would definitely add some tomato slices to this!

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