Succotash

So, I was a pretty awesome kid. I ate everything! My mother asked me recently how it is I ended up being such an adventurous eater when my family is not known for venturing far from the standard American diet, and honestly, I don’t know, but she shouldn’t be that surprised because I have always liked to eat and always liked what I ate, with one exception: lima beans. I hated lima beans as a kid. I know my parents urged me to eat them whenever we had them, although I don’t think they pressured me too much, because come on, I liked BRUSSELS SPROUTS. Who is going to give the kid who likes brussels sprouts a hard time?? Anyway, the only thing I hated more than lima beans was succotash, which my mom makes every Thanksgiving, because it pissed me off she’d mix perfectly innocent corn with horrible, nasty lima beans. At least when she made plain lima beans, no delicious corn was being befouled by contact with limas.

In the last couple of years, though, I’ve discovered I do actually like lima beans: just not frozen ones. I’ve therefore been snapping them up whenever I see them at the farmer’s market. I was trying to find a new way to cook them up tonight when I found this recipe for a fresh lima bean succotash with tomatoes and onions. I had two ears of corn I needed to eat tonight, and we’ve had corn on the cob twice already this week, so it seemed perfect. I’ve lightly adapted the recipe to what I had on hand. I’m sure my mom never thought all those years ago that one day I’d be publishing succotash recipes for the world to see. But believe me, even if you think you hate lima beans, you’ve got to try them fresh.

Fresh Succotash with Tomatoes and Leeks
adapted from http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Succotash-of-Fresh-Corn-Lima-Beans-Tomatoes-and-Onions-350129.

1 leek (mine was huge), minced (I’d have used a regular onion as the recipe called for if I didn’t have this leek I needed to use, so use a small onion of you don’t have a leek problem)
3 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
coarse or flaked salt to taste
2 ears corn, shucked and kernels removed
1 pint fresh lima beans
1/2 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
several leaves of basil, chiffonaded
freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a heavy sauce pot, heat some oil, then add the leek or onions and cook until soft, then add the garlic and salt and cook another minute or two. Add the corn, lima beans, and tomatoes and bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until limas are soft, about 30-45 minutes. Add the basil and pepper.

Tastes like the end of summer! I served it with some baked Italian herb tofu (you know, when I found that URL to link, I got to thinking I should totally take one of Twin Oaks’ Saturday tours one week; I’m only a couple of hours away), dressed with a light lemon-caper sauce.

Mark has been continuing to make Sunday dinners, somewhat to my surprise. Last Sunday’s pesto, which he made up:

I’m really proud of him; he’s becoming quite the chef!

And I’ll leave you with my parents’ silly dog Sophie wearing some silly socks and playing with a silly egg.

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Smoky “Cheese” Sauce and a perfect baked potato

This recipe is more for myself to refer to the next time I want to make something like it than a hard and fast recipe. I was planning to have a baked potato for dinner and wanted a “cheese” sauce to serve over it with steamed veggies, but I also wanted to clear a few things out of the fridge. I’ve just estimated the amounts below as it was a real throw-a-bunch-of-things-in type of deal. Here’s approximately what I came up with:

Smoky “Cheese” Sauce

1/2 cup silken tofu
1 cup nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp tahini-based salad dressing (this was something I wanted to use up, in the future I’d just use 2 Tbsp plain tahini)
3/4 cup water (this I poured into the bottle I had the dressing in and shook it, in order to get the last of the dressing out)
1 small jar (4 oz) pimientos
1 Tbsp soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp tumeric (optional, for color)
juice of 1/2 lemon

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a small sauce pot and heat over medium heat, stirring often, until bubbly.

For the baked potato, I scrubbed and dried a russet potato, poked it several times with a fork, then poured a little bit of olive oil in my palm and then rubbed my palms together, then rubbed my palms all over the potato to get a thin film all over it. Then I sprinkled some smoked Maldon salt on all sides and put it in the toaster oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour.

A perfect baked potato.

When it was done, I made a rough seam across it with a fork, then pushed the ends together to make it pop open into a wide boat to receive the veggies and “cheese”.

I steamed broccoli and asparagus together for just a couple of minutes, then topped the potato with the veggies, some “cheese” sauce …

… and some fried onions I found in the cupboard. OK, the fried onions kinda negate the innate healthiness of the meal, but I’ve had a really bad week and damn it, fried onions cheer me up.

Mark and I both had off on Monday for President’s Day, and Mark surprised me immensely by announcing early that day that he was going to Wegman’s to buy stuff for dinner. “Are you making dinner?!” I gasped in surprise. Turns out, yes, yes he was making dinner. He made gumbo and it was darn good! I’ve been eating it for lunch all week. I tried to get him to do a post, but I think that would have overwhelmed him. I did snag a photo, though. I didn’t help at all!

The last post was crazy kitten-heavy and I’m sure I do have readers that aren’t interested in kittens, and I don’t wish to alienate them, so this is a kitten-free* post. I’m sure they’ll have done something ridiculously cute that warrants a picture next time, though.

* It’s not technically kitten-free. If you look carefully at the last picture of the baked potato there is a vaguely kitten-shaped, black blob in the background that is, in fact, Gomez. It’s near impossible to take a kitten-free photo around here.

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Guest Post! Fortinbras’ Quick and Easy Spinach Sauté

Ole Fortinbras surprised me by sending me a guest post! First I’ll let you hear from him in his own words, then I’ll tell you how to veganize it (which is very easy, he just added some parmesan cheese at the end that I’ll be swapping out). So without further ado, heeeere’s Fort:

Hello all you fantastic I Eat Food folks. Since I’ve moved to California and returned to school, I have zero time to cook and zero money, so fast, cheap and filling is the name of the game. This recipe is something I eat a few times a week because it fits the bill, and it is just so delicious. Also, the aromatics are gonna make your home smell great.

When putting this together I throttle way back on the salt because the Parmesan cheese has a pretty high salt content.

Quick and Easy Spinach Sauté

Ingredients:

Baby Spinach uncooked – 3 big hand fulls (about 6 cups)
1/4 of large onion chopped
Garlic – 6 cloves chopped
10 Cherry Tomatoes – chopped
1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese

Seasoning:
2 tsp of dried basil
1 tsp of dried oregano
1 tsp of dried rosemary
salt
pepper
olive oil

Chop up your garlic, onions and cherry tomatoes. (Keep these separate because you will be adding them individually).

Heat a sauté pan with 4 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat (you want your cooking surface to be hot enough to cook the onions and the garlic down but not so hot that it might fry the garlic).

When pan is hot toss in the onions and the garlic with a little bit of salt and pepper. As soon as the onions begin to become translucent reduce the heat to medium low (you want your onions to still have a bit of firmness).

Add in the basil, oregano, rosemary toss that around a few times and then add in the tomatoes.

After adding in the tomatoes and after mixing it all up real good, toss in your spinach and continue to incorporate the ingredients and reduce the spinach.

Toss it all about until the spinach wilts a bit (not overly reduced in volume) and then turn off the heat. Let the heat of the pan continue to reduce the spinach.

Now toss in the Parmesan cheese and stir it all about.

Now put it all into a bowl and eat it up because it tastes and smells so dang good and you are hungry.

Greetings and happy eatings from Sunny California!

Okay, Renae back at the helm. I made this tonight and it was really good. I followed Fort’s instructions exactly, other than the cheese, and using less oil (‘Bras – did you REALLY use 1/4 cup?!).

Here are my ingredients:

Sauteing the onions and garlic:

Adding the herbs and tomatoes:

And the spinach:

Okay, about that parmesan cheese. There are a number of ways you can handle this:

  1. You can just omit it – really, this is good enough that the cheese is superfluous.
  2. You can buy commercial vegan parmesan (although I never do this).
  3. You can just add a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.
  4. You can add some Dragonfly’s Bulk, Dry Uncheese Mix
  5. You can omit Fort’s seasonings and sprinkle some dukkah on it – I intend to try this next time.
  6. You can make a vegan parmesan. The simplest version is just equal parts nutritional yeast and sesame seeds or nuts, plus a little salt. But what I did this time was:

Vegan Parm
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 Tbsp white miso
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Place all ingredients in a blender or spice grinder and blend for several seconds.

I just used a tablespoon or so. This will keep in the fridge for a while.

I served this with some sprouted quinoa that I made using sun-dried tomato soaking water that I saved a few days ago, with a touch of bouillon. Wow, that was inspired – the quinoa was fantastic and went very well with the spinach.

So, thanks to Fortinbras for taking time from his very, very, very, very busy life to share this recipe! Here is Fort’s current favorite picture of us.

If I try to make a post without kittens, I get comments demanding kitten action. Fort was in fact here the weekend we got the kittens but he isn’t in any of the pictures I took, and then he went and abandoned me for L.A., so you will have to settle for the only picture I can find of Fort and Tigger. It’s about a gazillion years old, but I remember taking it. Tigger was being unruly and Fortinbras was trying to tell him a thing or two. Tigger wasn’t listening. There were a bunch of people in my apartment at the time, which just goes to show you that Tigger always had to be right in the middle of things. Boy, do I miss him. And I miss Fort, too.

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