Sadly enough Whole Foods does not sell green plantains (well at least the one by my clients house), so I had a to buy a green one and wait about two weeks for it to ripen. I was anticipating experimenting making this soup. It contains two of my favorite things, corn and PLANTAINS. "The Dad" (p.s .I live in a Jewish household) was eyeing my plantains and asking what I was going to do with them. The day finally came it was nice and ripe and I had some free time to experiment. He asked, "So are you going to fry them, I usually dont eat fried food, but Ill make an exception for a plantain." In the back of my head I'm thinking - "Look at you, what you know about plantains!" I told him that I was making a plantain and corn soup.
The soup was great, I gave Dad a taste and for him it was too spicy, but yet he kept eating it. If you don't like spice either omit the pepper or use half. Its a great dish if you need something warm that will stick to your ribs. Corn is not in season, so depending where you are you may have to use frozen, but fresh is always better.
Plantain and Corn Soup (adapated from The Soup Bible)
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, minced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 cups peeled and sliced yellow plantains
1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
1 cup whole corn kernels
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
3 3/4 cups vegetable broth
1 fresh chili (less if you don't like spice)
a pinch of nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and fry for a few mins until the onion is soft.
2. Add the plantains, tomato, and corn kernels and cook for 5 mins longer
3. Add the thyme, stock, green chili and ground pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes, or unitl the plantain is tender. Stir in nutmeg and serve at once.
Yikes, my last blog on my site was in August. A lot has happened between Jerk Tofu and Cucumber Sauce. I completed my course work at the Natural Gourmet Institute and also moved to Florida. A new venture as a private chef for a client that is recuperating from breast and lung cancer. Literally they packed up the Diva in a suitcase.
I made some chickpea burgers for dinner last week and it needed something, so I texted by Chef friend for some advice. He suggested a cucumber sauce. With the ingredients that I had on hand I concocted a cucumber sauce.
Tzatziki – Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce
Yield: 3 1/2 cups
3 cups Greek Yogurt (or regular plain yogurt, strained as described above)
juice of one lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 medium cucumbers, seeded and diced
about 1 tablespoon sea salt for salting cucumbers
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
A common question people ask me is "How long does it take to do your hair?" On average It takes about 3 hrs. every 6 weeks. During that time I get to catch up on Law and Order, news and of course the topic of food ALWAYS comes up between my loctican and I. This time around we started swapping tofu recipes.
Don't turn your nose up at the mention to tofu. I wouldn't share these recipes if it wasn't good. And for those who may be yelling at me "Don't you know soy is linked to cancer!?", for every bad thing that is said about soy there is another doctor saying to total opposite. For me, moderation.
To get rid of excess water 'press' your tofu - Place tofu on paper towles and putting a plate on top. Then place a heavy object or bowl on top. Let sit for 5 - 10 minutes.
Jerk Tofu (Serves 4)
1 Tbs of Jerk Seasoning
2 Tbs peanut or olive oil
1 lb FIRM tofu, cubed
1 onion quartered
2 cloves garlic, chopped,
Vegetables, 2 lbs of any mixture of carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, green cabbage, bok choy, sweet peppers and broccoli.
oil to fry
1. Mix jerk and oil add tofu and marinate for about 30 mins
2. Heat oil and fry tofu for 5 minutes and put aside
3. Saute onion and garlic and add vegetables tossing until just tender.
4. Add tofu and stir in gently and serve with brown rice or noodles
(Recipe courtesy of Natural Gourmet Institute)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup shoyu
1 cup cooked millet OR rice OR bread crumbs
1 lbs SOFT tofu
2 tablespoons arame (its a sea vegetable)
1 cup filtered water
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil or sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder OR other spice blend
1/4 cup carrot, finely minced
1 stalk celery, finely minced
1 1/2 tablespoon umeboshi paste
2 Tbs tahini
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Mix seeds and shoyu together. Roast on parchment paper until dried
2. Cook rice or millet
3. Press tofu to release excess water
4. Soak arame in water 10 - 15 minutes. Drain and chop finely
5. Grind sunflower seeds halfway. Mash tofu, add sauteed vegetables, grain, seeds, arame, umeboshi paste, tahini, and salt and pepper to taste. Adjust salt if needed. Mix well.
6. Form 1/2" thick burgers with about 1/2 cup mixture
I watch Rachel Ray, but most of her meals are not "30 minutes'. I wish I had a prep person, so when I come into the kitchen all I had to do was cook. I read in my twitter feed (feel free to follow @thegourmetdiva) that majority of folks dont use recipes when cooking dinner. Do you?
I had all the ingredients on hand, instead of kale I used spinach. This recipe is great because you don't have to worry about measuring and being perfect, its also great to feed a big family. I cut this in 1/2 and had enough for 2 and some leftovers for lunch. Now its time to make dessert.
Pasta with Kale and White Beans (Whole Foods Market)
6 strips of turkey bacon (optional)
1 bag 365 Organic Value Whole Wheat pasta
1 container of shallots or 1 yellow onion
1 15 oz 365 Everyday value Cannellini beans
1 Bunch Kale
1) Cut the bacon into pieces and saute them seperately from the main dish.
2) Cook the pasta according to the package directions. (Remember you want you pasta al dente - firm to the bite)
3) Meanwhile, finely chop the shallots or onion.
4) Drain the beans and saute them with the shallots or onion, and season with a little crushed rosemary or oregano.
5) Chop the kale and put on top of the bean mixture, then turn off the heat and let it steam while youwait for the pasta to cook.
6) Mix all together with a dab of butter and serve with a generos sprinkling of grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese. (I prefer 4C cheese homestyle)
Ginger was very gracious to share her Banana Chocolate Chip bread recipe, now who has some ripe bananas I can use. Tip: To ripen bananas fastr but them in a brown paper bag and put them somewhere dark.
Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
1/3 cup of Earth Balance butter
1/2 cup sugar (I leave this out)
2 cups flour
2 tsps. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
2 medium ripe bananas (I often put in 2-1/2 or 3 bananas)
1/2 cup soy or rice milk
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup of finely shredded coconut (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease loaf pan with butter or oil (I use little muffin tins).
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar (or just the butter if you aren’t using sugar). Mix in with a spoon, flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add mashed bananas, soy or rice milk and vanilla. Mix until batter is moist and sticky. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into loaf pan (or muffin tins) and bake for 15-18 minutes or until top is golden brown and knife comes out clean. (I make little tiny (2 bite) muffins and they are great to take with you for a snack.)
As I always say my inspiration for the things I cook come from my friends. I have had store brought almond milk before, I enjoyed it, but the $4 for a little carton was starting to hurt my pockets.
The solution to this problem came from my Raw Food expert, Sharon, she gave me some of her homemade almond milk, I fell in love!
It was a creamy delight. Overall almond milk is a great alternative for cows milk for those who are lactose intolerent, and can be used in vegan and raw food diets. If this was a Bobby Flay throwdown, Sharon's Almond Milk won, but don't worry I'll get you next time.
Sharons Almond Milk Recipe
1/2 C almonds (or more for a more nuttier taste)
1 1/2 C distilled water
3 tbsp Raw Agave
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
Now I was in a hurry to make this and didn't have most of the ingredients that she used so I made do with
what I had already in the kitchen.
Gourmet Diva Almond Milk Recipe
Yield: Between 2-3 cups
Total cooking time: 15 minutes
Bowl for soaking
Cheesecloth, sprout bag (http://www.rawglow.com/sproutbag.htm), or strainer
Bowl for catching milk
Container for milk
1 cup of almonds
3 cups of distilled water
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract (or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean)
Sugar, syrup, 3 - 5 soft pitted dates, honey, or stevia to sweeten (optional)
4) Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth into a bowl. Save the almond pulp in a container and put in the fridge for later use
5) Put the almond milk back into the blender and blend in the vanilla and optional sweetner until smooth.