Borscht!

Revisiting an old post. After a fun time at the opening of Ed Hose's Tiny Illustration Studio last night, and finding this image of hers, I decided to resurrect an old post from 2011. Not sure how to do this without ruining the original but I'm taking a chance.



Have any of you ever read Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins? What does this have to do with Borscht you say??? Even more perplexing, I arrived at borscht via cabbage, so why now start on Jitterbug Perfume ? Well, here is something that popped into my little pooh bear brain whilst making the connection from cabbage to Borscht and finally BEET!!

"The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.
Slavic peoples get their physical characteristics from potatoes, their smoldering inquietude from radishes, their seriousness from beets.
The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can't squeeze blood out of a turnip...
The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.
The beet was Rasputin's favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes."
(Tom Robbins-Jitterbug Perfume)

 
I think Shannon has already used this quote in a blog entry, no doubt it has been used countless times and I'm using it again. For another great TR quote, read through the entire post! :-) There are so many other great lines from other Tom Robbins books but we'll leave them for now and go on back to the Beet, to the Borscht, to the soup.

Ingredients:
1 lg onion
3 - 4 cloves garlic - diced smaller than the rest of the veggies or put through a garlic press (my favorite)
1 head green cabbage 
3 - 4  whole, cooked with peels left in tact (roasted or boiled)
3 - 4 potatoes ( I used Yukon Gold with the skins still on)
3 - 4  carrots

2 or 3 celery stalks
1 28 oz can tomatoes ( I used whole plum, chopped with juice)
2T tomato paste
1 t. fennel Seed
1 t. chopped dill (additional fresh dill is great for garnish but alas I had none, if you have it, use it)
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1/4 t. smoked paprika
1/4 t. Bell Seasoning (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Bay leaves
6 -8 c. Veggie stock or water or any combo of both. Start with 6 cups and add more as needed.
Optional Garnishes: Chopped fresh Dill, Veggie Sausage Crumble, Vegan Sour Cream

Method:
NOTE: I used a "rustic" chop for all vegetables resulting in a country-style or chunky soup. Measurements need not be exact for this recipe so I used quantity of veggies instead. You will adjust the seasoning to your particular taste after the soup is finished, and actually, the "day after" is the best time to eat this hearty soup! Use a large stock pot as this is enough soup to feed all of the Ukraine !
1. Start by steam-sauteing the onions in a small quantity of stock or water until translucent. While onions saute, soak the chopped potatoes in cold water, this will help prevent discoloration from the beets, but eventually they will turn that beautiful magenta color, everything will so you can skip this step if you don't care! 
2.  Add the celery and carrots saute for another 5 min. Rinse and drain the potatoes.
3.  Add the cabbage, stock/water combo and seasonings along with the potatoes.
4. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and set to a boil on Med High heat untili veggies are just tender
5. Enjoy with any or all of the optional garnishes and some crusty bread.





"The highest function of love is that it makes the loved one a unique and irreplaceable being." TR

We're in California!

This weekend, David and I are attending the Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City, CA which leaves us with little time to do blog entries, tweets, and all that other high-tech stuff. We'll be busy watching all the great features and short film entries and keeping our fingers crossed that our entry takes a prize :-)


As there already exist many resourceful sites on the web for great recipes and information on Plant Based Nutrition I thought I'd use busier times to share some of these sites with you to save you the steps of stumbling upon them as I have. The Natural Kitchen Cooking School is one of these sites so today I'm posting the link to their most recent newsletter with Cabbage as the featured Vegetable. I recommend signing up for this newsletter for good content icluding recipes. Anther great site I found with awesome images from nature is Ian Alexander's Natural Patterns. Ian has given me permission to use some of his fantastic photos such as this cabbage spiral. Spirals are found all over the place in nature and I am a big fan!! I draw them in doodles and seek them out without realizing it.

We tend to over look cabbage most of the year with the exception of Slaw in the summer and the occasional stir fry. In our house, red cabbage was always an accompaniment to pork so we basically stopped eating that many years ago when I stopped cooking meat and the plain green kind was replaced by the trendier baby Bok Choy or Napa. After reading the NCS newsletter I got all fired up about cabbage again and started thinking of good things I love to cook with cabbage. Last winter I made vegan Stuffed Cabbage which was a huge success and even when served to non-vegetarians. I remembered one of the BEST meals with cabbage is my sister Sally's Borscht.  I know what you're thinking, you think Borscht is all about the beets, but thats only one ingredient in the more rustic Ukranian style of this dish and that is the style Sally makes. Sally is a great, healthy cook but she still uses meat (sausage I think) in her Borscht! (just a little bit, right Sal?) The last time we had Sally's Borscht (a few years ago), David could not get enough which was a super shock because he HATES beetroot, but that is the beauty of this Borscht, the beets are not the major focus!! SO, after reading all about how incredible cabbage is, full of fiber, carotenoids, vitamins and even Omega 3 Fatty Acids, I searched for a vegan Borscht recipe because think of how good and nutritious it is. Not only does Borscht contain cabbage & beets, there are carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, the list goes on & on with yummy healthy ingredients. This search is what led me to another really cool site and you tube video by Hippy Gourmet, definitely worth watching! I will be tuning in to these guys more frequently and I can't wait to try their Borscht recipe. 

In the mean time, here is a SHOUT OUT to Sally for her to "vegan-ize" her Borscht and a challenge to make it as tasty without the pork sausage! I know she can do this!! 
Hey, does anyone remember Cabbage Patch Kids?

New Year's Resolution aka Quinoa Black Bean Burgers & Quinoa Pudding


If you follow this blog, one (of possibly many) thing you will learn about me is that I have a difficult time with recipes. I don’t follow them and I don’t write them! I have made a New Year’s resolution to change this. Change is good, right? The other night I was trying to create a quick and easy dinner along with trying out a dessert recipe which Carin sent. The recipe was for a Quinoa Pudding which had eggs but was otherwise Plant-based. It’s easy enough to modify a recipe like this to work just as well without the eggs. You can google “egg replacements” and come up with all sorts of substitutes. My favorite is to use what I have on hand (always, with everything). In this case, I had an old banana, PERFECT! I also had some flax-meal, also PERFECT for subbing for eggs if you soak it in a liquid first, which in this case turns out to be soy milk. So I knew I had no trouble here making the recipe work without eggs. What I did not realize was how much leftover Quinoa I would have! This actually worked in my favor as it was dinner time and I had no plan, just dessert (just dessert??) 


Well, being the queen of recycled food that I am, I combined the quinoa with some broccolini, acorn squash and carrots left over from dinners past, added a can of black beans (I actually only had adzuki beans but lets pretend because I know black beans were the right bean for this dish) and threw in some tomato paste (ketchup) and some other stuff and pattied up some honking good veggie burgers for the dinner! It was an All Quinoa Evening! We had them on a bed of spinach with salsa, YUM!


Back to my New Year’s resolution; recipes. Kerith, the burger recipe is for you and Carin, here is the pudding without the eggs! I might add that the pudding tasted way better for breakfast the next morning.


Vegan Quinoa Pudding 
Ingredients:
3c. Cooked Quinoa (follow package directions for cooking)
2c. Low Fat Soy, Almond or Oat Milk
2T. Ground Flax Meal
1t. Vanilla Extract
2c. Raspberries (I used frozen)
1/2c. Golden Raisins
1/3c. Maple Syrup or Agave Nectar
1 Mashed Ripe Banana
1t. Grated Lemon Zest
1/2c Chopped Pistachios
1/2t each Ground Cinnamon, Cardamom & Nutmeg
Method:
Mix together Soy Milk & Ground Flax Meal and let sit for 3 min.,
Add: Vanilla, Raspberries, Raisins, Maple Syrup, Banana, & Lemon Zest and cooked Quinoa. Stir until just combined and pour into baking dish sprayed with Canola Pan Spray.
Combine: Pistachios, Cinnamon, Cardamom & Nutmeg and sprinkle on top.
Bake: @ 350 for 40 min. or until liquid is absorbed. Serve warm or cold, seen here with a bit of Rice Whip on top, just a little bit.

Quinoa & Black Bean Burgers
Ingredients:
1 c. Cooked quinoa
1c cooked vegetables (small dice) I used leftover broccoli, carrots & acorn squash that I had already cooked for another meal!
1T minced Onion
2Tbl chopped Cilantro
1/2 c. Bread crumbs (I used brown rice bread crumbs)
tomato paste or ketchup to bind
Herbemare or salt & pepper to taste
Method:
Combine all ingredients and make into "burgers" You can then bake or cook in a hot skillet. I use a cast iron skillet which is the original NON STICK pan! Its the greatest, but that's another blog entry.



Brown is the New Green!

Thursday, December 30, 2010
Going Green!
This morning I decided to “go green” for breakfast, Green Smoothie that is!
I can’t think of smoothie without thinking of Lynn Rogers. While we were filming The Bearwalker documentary , we lived with biologist, Dr. Lynn Rogers. Lynn loves green smoothies and drinks them everyday. Disgusting concoctions usually made from purple grape juice and bags upon bags of out-of-date Caesar salad kits or spinach which the local grocer was throwing away. Usually he tossed the cheese, crouton, dressing packs which came with the kits before he started blending but we have witnessed them going into the drink as well!


Ok, enough about that, how about MY smoothie!! I’m all fired up to use the blender David gave me for Christmas, every vegetarian’s dream, a VITAMIX!!  Isn’t it gorgeous??!! I can't wait to make so many things in the Vitamix, I hear you can even make soup in it! It whirls around so fast that it heats up the contents.
 I have a new bag of baby spinach and so that’s a good start, what else? Frozen banana, some frozen blueberries?? I’m all about using what I have on hand and what needs to be used so recipes often do not work for me. Oh Wait, I have some frozen spinach, the bag has been opened so it needs to be used! Great, that will leave the fresh spinach for another meal. There is some almond milk too, needs to be used, and here’s some pomegranate juice! Into the blender it goes. After a bit of a struggle due to the fact that all of the frozen stuff was stopping up the blender (I had to add more almond milk) WA LA, a smoothie! Except, it’s not GREEN!! It looks more like chocolate!! How does it taste??  OMG it tastes a lot better than it looks, which isn’t really too bad, is it??
SO, for the smoothie recipe:
Take whatever you have that’s green and needs to be used up, combine it with some other stuff in the blender and process! For those of you who would like a bit more structure:
Brown is Green Smoothie
Ingredients:
1c. frozen spinach or ½ bag fresh baby spinach
1c. berries  fresh or frozen
½   banana, fresh or frozen
2c. almond or other non-dairy milk OR juice of your choice OR mix of juice & milk
Method:
Process on low variable speed increasing to high speed, process for 60 sec. You should have smoothie enough to feed a baseball team! (or at least 3 people)
 Today’s Affirmations: Green is Healthy Green is Yummy Green is Healing… Brown is the new Green???
For more about Green Smoothies, a lot more: http://www.greensmoothie.com/blend/green.html


About Me and This Blog

Hi Everyone and Welcome to the Leafy Café! This blog is about sharing, caring and sustainability with a healthy dose of delicious. Delicious, healthy plant-based food that is! You will find this in the form of recipes, cool kitchen tips and gadgets, places to shop and people who inspire along with the latest news here on the Ridge.
My name is MiMi McGee and this is my space to wonder aimlessly and write about all things I find encouraging.  I live on Appleton Ridge with my husband, film maker David Wright and our dog “Rosie”.  Among my many interests (including but not limited to people, places, and things) I love to exercise (swim, hike, ski, bike, run, lift weights…..) I love textiles (knitting, weaving, clothing lots of “ings”.…) and I LOVE to cook and FEED people!!!  (and I love parentheses). Oh yeah, someone just reminded me, I love to make interesting and beautiful jewelry.


Following a Plant based diet and preparing yummy, healthy low fat food has become my passion.  Most of my cooking is based on the teachings of Dr. John McDougall and The McDougall Program The China Study; Dr. T.Colin Campbell, and Dr. Neal Barnard of PCRM and I stay mostly within those guidelines for the recipes you will see posted on this blog however I can’t help myself and occasionally I will post a recipe which might fall just outside of the lines and have a little of something sugary or less low-fat, I’ll let you know when I do this. J Thanks for visiting!