Showing posts with label corn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label corn. Show all posts

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Easy Taco Soup: Vegetarian for Cinco de Mayo and Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I was undecided about what soup to make this week and decided that since today is Cinco de Mayo, I would throw together an easy and vegetarian Taco Soup


To make this soup, basically a deconstructed taco, I happened to have a package of Lightlife Smart Ground Mexican Crumbles in my fridge, but if you don't do soy you could certainly use any ground meat or keep it veggie by chopping up and browning mushrooms.This soup can also be made vegan by switching to vegan cheese and sour cream in the toppings. Speaking of the toppings, they of course make the soup, so pick as many of your favorite taco fixins' as you want or can fit in the bowl, and be sure to fry up some corn tortillas cut into strips for the crunch.


Easy Taco Soup
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 6) 

1 tbsp olive oil
1 (12 oz) package soy crumbles of choice or ground meat or chopped mushrooms
4 green onions, white and green parts divided and chopped
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package taco seasoning mix of choice (I use this one by Simply Organic)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried chipotle pepper or pepper of choice, to taste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 can minced green chiles (I used mild)
4 cups low-sodium veggie broth + 2 cups water
1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes with juices
1 can creamed corn
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2 cans low-sodium pinto beans or beans of choice 
juice of 1 lime
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Toppings: corn tortillas cut into strips and fried, shredded lettuce, grated cheese, black olives, avocado, chopped green onions, cilantro leaves, lime wedges, Tabasco or hot sauce of choice, etc. 

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add soy crumbles, white part of green onions and diced sweet onion and saute, breaking apart the soy crumbles with a wooden spoon. Cook until onions are softened, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, taco seasoning, cumin, chipotle pepper, oregano and green chiles and saute for about 2 minutes. Add veggie broth and stir in tomatoes, creamed corn, nutritional yeast (if using), corn kernels and beans and bring soup to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer soup for about 15 minutes. Add lime juice, taste for seasoning and add sea salt and black pepper to taste. 

Ladle into bowls and top with your toppings of choice. Enjoy!

 
Notes/Results: Nothing fancy, nothing difficult, but a really good soup especially if you are a toppings fanatic like me. You can't see all of the toppings that well in the picture and I forgot the sour cream in the fridge but the lettuce, cheese (grated jack and cheddar mix), avocado, green onions, cilantro, black olives, extra lime juice and crispy tortilla chips was perfect. Next time I might add pickled jalapenos. I kept my soup fairly mild and added Tabasco upon serving but you can spice it up as much as you want. I added creamed corn to thicken it and the nutritional yeast to give it more depth and extra B-vitamins, but you could leave them out. The taco seasoning pack, spices in the ground crumbles and extra spices gave it plenty of flavor. Soup that satisfies my taco craving, I will happily make it again.


My pal Tina is hanging out with me in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week, let's take a look.

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor shared a tasty Tomato Rice Soup from her Soups & Stews Cookbook by Emily Brown saying, "This little cookbook has come in handy. Only 50 recipes but there was something in each category to interest me. The sections are divided by Creamy  Soups, Seafood Soups, Red Soups, Vegetable Soups, Meat Broth based Soups and Stews. ... The idea of mixing the rice and potatoes seemed weird but it turned out fine.  The fresh tomatoes were blitzed with my immersion blender. It's a good vegetarian soup."


At Kahakai Kitchen I shared a Tropical Fruit Salad with Lime-Honey Dressing & Toasted Coconut Chips that was inspired by a description of breakfast on the SS Lurline in my recent book tour review, The Lieutenant's Nurse by Sara Ackerman. (Don't forget to enter my Instagram giveaway for a copy of this great WWII historical novel.) The lime dressing added a tangy tropical punch to the salad, along with the crispy coconut chips.

 
Thanks to Tina for joining in this week!

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...
 

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter  
Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Jacques Pépin's Seafood Chowder with Salmon & Shrimp for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I wanted a simple chowder this week as I was craving fish and seafood. I found one in Jacques Pépin's Seafood Chowder from More Fast Food My Way. I like the mushroom and zucchini and also was interested in the mashed potato flakes as a thickener. 


I made a few changes--subbing in coconut milk for the half-and-half and adding frozen corn for the sweetness, and leaving my shrimp whole. I also added some smoked paprika at the end. 

Seafood Chowder
Slightly Adapted from More Fast Food My Way by Jacques Pépin 
(Serves 4)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups trimmed, split, washed & sliced leeks
1 Tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
2 1/2 cups bottled clam juice
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup coarsely chopped white mushrooms
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups diced (about 1/2-inch) zucchini
1 cup instant mashed potato flakes
3/4 cup (1-inch) pieces peeled uncooked shrimp
1 cup (1-inch) pieces boneless fish fillet
2/3 cup half-and-half (I used coconut milk)  

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over high heat. When hot, add the leek and garlic and saute for about 1 minute . Add the clam juice, water. mushroom, and salt, bring to a boil, and boil for about 2 minutes. Stir in the zucchini and sprinkle the potato flakes on top, mixing them in with a whisk to prevent lumping. Bring to a boil and boil for about 1 minute. (The soup can be prepared several hours ahead to this point.)

At serving time, bring the soup back to a boil, add the shrimp, fish, and half-and-half and bring back just to a boil. The fish and shrimp will be cooked through. Divide among four bowls and garnish with crab meat or chives, and smoked paprika if desired. Serve immediately. 


Notes/Results: A good solid chowder, with a thick and creamy broth and lots of texture from the ingredients. I did add some smoked paprika to the mix and also squeezed a little lemon on my bowl to give it more of a pop of flavor. I would keep the sweet corn and next time I might add a bit of thyme to the mix, or dill would be another good option. It's hearty without being heavy and pairs well with bread to mop up the broth--I used leftover marbled rye. For the speed and ease, I would make it again.


Linking up with I Heart Cooking Clubs where it is Potluck week--any recipe from any of our featured IHCC chefs.

The lovely Debra is hanging out with me in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week, let's take a look.


Debra of Eliot's Eats shared these Chef Grant's Best Burgers with Sauce Gribiche and Green Apple. She says, "These are great burgers for a weeknight meal. We enjoyed the combination of the creamy sauce gribiche with the slight crunch of the fried apple and the bacon-burger. (And, I am so stealing the onion and caraway mix for future recipes.)

 
Thanks to Debra for joining in!

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

 
To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Beyond the Point" by Claire Gibson, Served with Hawaiian Ahi Poke and a Recipe for Avocado Salsa

Happy Wednesday! I am very excited to be today's TLC Book Tour stop for the debut novel, Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson. My review of this story of three friends brought together by their time at West Point is accompanied by a dinner inspired by one in the book of Hawaiian Ahi Poke with Avocado Salsa and Corn Tortillas and Mango.


Publisher's Blurb:

Three women are brought together in an enthralling story of friendship, heartbreak, and resilience. Set at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, this is an amazing debut novel.
 
Duty. Honor. Country. That’s West Point’s motto, and every cadet who passes through its stone gates vows to live it. But on the eve of 9/11, as Dani, Hannah and Avery face four grueling years ahead, they realize they’ll only survive if they do it together.

Everyone knows Dani is going places. With athletic talent and a brilliant mind, she navigates West Point’s predominantly male environment with wit and confidence, breaking stereotypes and embracing new friends.

Hannah’s grandfather, a legendary Army general, offers a stark warning about the dangers that lie ahead, but she moves forward anyway, letting faith guide her path. When she meets her soul mate at West Point, the future looks perfect, just as planned.
 
Wild child Avery moves fast and doesn’t mind breaking a few rules (and hearts) along the way. But she can’t outpace her self-doubt, and the harder she tries, the further it leads her down a treacherous path.

The world—of business, of love, and of war—awaits Dani, Hannah, and Avery beyond the gates of West Point. These three women know that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But soon, that adage no longer rings true—for their future, or their friendship. As they’re pulled in different directions, will their hard-forged bond prevail or shatter?

Beyond the Point is a heartfelt look at how our closest friends can become our fiercest battle buddies. After all, the greatest battles we fight rarely require a uniform.

Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (April 2, 2019)

My Review:

I jumped on this tour because having spent time at a local university and community college, I am always intrigued by books with more revered university settings, and then when you add that the three women, Dani, Avery, and Hannah, meet as plebes at the West Point just added to the appeal. My dad was in the Navy well before I was born and my nephew is in the Navy now, but military life is a world I know little about. Although Beyond the Point covers those subjects well, it is friendship that is at the heart of this novel. Dani, Avery and Hannah all play basketball, but otherwise don't seem to have much in common and each has her own reason for attending West Point and joining the Army. The book is told from their alternating perspectives and covers their final year in high school as they apply to the Point in 2000, through their four years there as their friendship forms and strengthens, then through 2007 as their lives take different paths. 

The characters are well written, not perfect, but easy to root for and the depiction of their friendship and how they come together feels realistic, as does their friendship after graduation as their lives separate and that closeness is put to the test. I found myself caught up in their stories and that the 500+ pages went by quickly, in fact I wanted more time with Hannah, Avery and Dani. There is heartache and heartbreak in their stories, but there is also humor and hope. 

This is the author's debut novel and she paints a vivid portrait of military life and the sacrifices it requires of soldiers and their families. The afterword tells of Gibson's inspiration--she grew up at West Point with her father, a lieutenant colonel, on the faculty. Her passion for the subject and appreciation for the cadets, particularly the women, shine through and there are excerpts and photos of her interviews with three Women of West Point. I found myself as engaged by the afterward as I was with the book. If you like novels with strong female characters, stories about friendship, and books with a military setting, add Beyond the Point to your reading list.  

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Author Notes: Claire Gibson is a writer and journalist based in Nashville, Tennessee. Born and raised at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, she grew up captivated by cadets and always dreamed of writing a story that honored her childhood home and the women that inspired her there. Her stories have been featured in The Washington PostThe Christian Science MonitorThe Tennessean and Entrepreneur Magazine, among many other publications.

Find out more about Claire at her website, and connect with her Twitter and Instagram.

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Food Inspiration:

There was plenty of food in Beyond the Point, mostly meals eaten at West Point or shared with family and friends. Food mentions included pie (like strawberry-rhubarb, pumpkin and chicken pot pie), barbecued ribs, a salad of spinach and chard with lemon-garlic dressing, crusty homemade baguettes with soft salted butter, cake, three kinds of cheese on a platter, homemade cinnamon rolls, pierogies, lemon-pepper chicken, pancakes and eggs, homemade chili, brownies and ice cream, vegetable lasagna, roast chicken with tabbouleh, grilled salmon with mango slaw, and cookie dough ice cream, pizza, Cheez-Its, spaghetti, French toast and coffee, gin and tonic, oatmeal, green juice, lemonade, cereal, Ben & Jerry's Phish Food Ice Cream, filets mignons in butter, roasted broccoli, salmon, Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, sweet potatoes, roasted corn, fresh broccoli, creamed spinach, and acorn squash stuffed with mushrooms and rice, a Middle Eastern dinner of lamb with sauces, tandori bread, yogurt sauce, chopped mint and preserved lemon, falafel, rice and steamed greens, meatloaf with red sauce, fish and chips, an undressed Caesar salad with chicken, a Nutella crepe, fettuccine noodles with butter, fried chicken, apple fritters, eggs over easy, a smoothie and Subway sandwiches. 


For my book-inspired dish, I ended up recreating an island meal shared by Dani, Hannah, and Avery and put together some local Hawaii favorites. I liked the fact that the three women were together and when poke comes up in a book, you know I am going to feed my addiction.

"Dinner's ready."

"Avery came to the patio holding a bowl of ahi tuna poke that she'd purchased from a shop on the way home from the beach. She placed it at the center of the patio table. Dani emerged from the kitchen, her hair back to a large, natural Afro. She added a bowl of mango, corn tortillas, and her famous avocado salsa to the assortment. With her strange restrictive diet, Dani had become quite the chef. Avery put a pitcher of margaritas on the table, and suddenly, a memory came to Hannah's mind."


I left out the margaritas--I rarely drink on "school" nights, and I grabbed poke from the grocery store and frozen mango (none of the fresh ones were ripe). All I needed to do was chop the ingredients for the salsa, open a bag of cabbage mix and toast some tortillas on my gas stove, and dinner was served. 


Avocado Salsa
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 2 to 4)

1/2 red onion, diced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 ripe avocado, chopped
the juice of two limes
a generous glug of olive oil
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss until well mixed. Serve and enjoy.


Notes/Results: I topped the grilled tortillas with the cabbage mix, the avocado salsa and the poke for poke tostadas which were delicious. I am not that big on fruit and fish combined, so I ate the mango on the side. Everything was fresh and vibrant and it was a very low effort meal--perfect for a busy week. My leftovers came together in a salad for lunch today as both the poke and the avocado in the salsa are best as fresh as possible.


I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.


Note: A review copy of "Beyond the Point" was provided to me by the author and the publisher, Harper Collins, via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  
 
You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.

 

Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Pretty in Punxsutawney" by Laurie Boyle Crompton, Served with Sweet and Salty Whoppers Popcorn

Happy Last Day of January! Where did the month go? Time flies so fast that I often wish I could slow it down, but I wouldn't want to relive the same day over and over again, like Andie in the new YA novel, Pretty in Punxsutawney by Laurie Boyle Crompton. A mashup of the movies Groundhog Day and Pretty in Pink, with a nod to rom-coms and the movies of the eighties, I'm happy to be today's TLC Book Tour stop and to pair my review with some tasty Whoppers Popcorn, a sweet and salty mashup of two concession stand staples.


Publisher's Blurb:

Groundhog Day meets Pretty in Pink mashup from author Laurie Boyle Crompton, Pretty in Punxsutawney tells the tale of a girl willing to look beneath the surface to see people for who they really are.

Andie is the type of girl who always comes up with the perfect thing to say…after it’s too late to say it. She’s addicted to romance movies—okay, all movies—but has yet to experience her first kiss.  After a move to Punxsutawney, PA, for her senior year, she gets caught in an endless loop of her first day at her new school, reliving those 24 hours again and again.

Convinced the curse will be broken when she meets her true love, Andie embarks on a mission: infiltrating the various cliques to find the one boy who can break the spell. What she discovers along the way is that people who seem completely different can often share the very same hopes, dreams, and hang-ups. And that even a day that has been lived over and over can be filled with unexpected connections and plenty of happy endings.

Hardcover: 304 Pages
Publisher: Blink (January 15, 2019)

My Review:

I am not the demographic for YA fiction (by a few years...cough...) but I like to dabble in it occasionally, especially when it ties in to movies I love. I have expressed before my fondness for John Hughes teen films and rom-coms and Pretty in Punxsutawny makes the most of them. Andie's mom is a Hughes fanatic, leaning to the movies as part of her parenting, pulling them out to bond with Andie, and make a life point when necessary. Andie's name even comes from her mom's favorite, Pretty in Pink, although like me, Andie prefers The Breakfast Club and doesn't like the way Pretty in Pink ended.

Anyway, Andie's parents have moved the family to the busier Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania so her psychologist dad can have more patients. Forced to start over at a new high school in her senior year, Andie spends the summer hanging out at the local movie theater crushing on handsome Colton and plotting how their "meet-cute" can turn into a romance and her first kiss. Unfortunately the first day of school has Colton falling for the resident mean girl and Andie happy the day is over with...but then it isn't. Punxsutawney's magic seems to have left the movie screen when Andie must relive her first day at school again and again, with no end in sight. Andie hopes that a kiss with her true love will start the time clock moving and starts trying different things to make it happen. 

I enjoyed the fun, humor, and sweetness of the story, even though I identify more with Andie's parents than Andie. Still, it's not hard to be taken back to the days of teenage angst and remember it all--the high points and the horrors of high school. Andie is a great character and I loved the balance of her awkwardness and snarky humor. It's not just the eighties and John Hughes movies that show up, there are classic movie mentions as well as other popular movie mentions. One of my favorite moments is Andie calling on Drew Barrymore's short-term memory plot points from Fifty First Dates (2004) as an excuse for her awkward behavior with some new friends. This book works well today for a YA reader, but is also great for the movie buff and those of us that were in high school in the eighties. It definitely put me in the mood for a classic rom-com movie binge and I'd recommend it if you want a light, enjoyable escape.
 
-----
 
Author Notes: Laurie Boyle Crompton is the author of several YA books, including Adrenaline Crush and Love and Vandalism. Laurie graduated first in her class from St. John’s University with a BA in English and Journalism. She has written for national magazines like Allure, survived a teaching stint at an all-boy high school, and appeared onGood Day New York several times as a toy expert. And yes, “toy expert” is an actual profession. She grew up in a small town in western PA and now lives near NYC with her family and one enormous and very fuzzy “dog toy expert” named Baxter Bear.

Connect with Laurie on her website, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

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Food Inspiration:

Since much of the book is about Andie living the same day over and over at high school there is not a lot of food presence in the book and not too much that inspires. Cafeteria pizza keeps giving Andie stomachaches and the switch to "brown goo" didn't tempt. Andie's dad makes pancakes on her loop of days and their were mentions of midnight cookies, Puffs 'o Oats cereal, lemon squares, pudding, cheesy puffs, the mall food court with Szechwan chicken and rice and Cheddar, Bacon and Broccoli Spudz from Spudz World. There's beer at a party, canned bean soup, pineapple and passion fruit mentions and when Andie starts altering her days she heads to the city for a hamburger, learns pancake art and teaches herself to make elaborate fondant art of cakes inspired by John Hughes eighties movies. 


Ultimately for my book inspired dish, I went to a couple of movie concession staples Whoppers and popcorn since Andie's self-proclaimed "meet cute" with the boy she is crushing on involves her smuggling a big box of Whoppers into the theater and getting caught out and made to buy popcorn. Rather than hand in her favorite treat, she stuffs a good portion of the box into her mouth. I decided to combine them with buttered popcorn for a sweet and salty (& malty) combination.


Whoppers Popcorn: This is not a recipe--you just need a box of Whoppers or any malted milk ball candy and an appropriate amount of popped popcorn and blend them together. If you like your chocolate on the melty-er side, make sure the popcorn is hot. For a less messy version, let the popcorn cool a bit before stirring it with the malted milk balls. Either way, it is pretty addicting (she says as she stuffs handfuls in her mouth ala Andie!) ;-)


Notes/Results: I won't lie to you. This mix was my dinner after a long day at work and I really enjoyed it. I have mixed my favorite movie concession stand candy, Rasinets, with popcorn before and that combo slightly edges out this one for me, but I certainly would not mind making this one again. The sweet and malted chocolate pairs well with the salty, buttery popcorn. A fun way to mix up your popcorn. I usually use my air popper when I want popcorn as it's healthier, but for this I bought the full octane "Movie Theater Butter" microwave popcorn. Sure, I might have ingested my quota of chemicals with this mix but it was sure fun going down. ;-)


I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "Pretty in Punxsutawney" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.

 

Friday, November 30, 2018

Pan-Fried Grit Cakes with Caramelized Onions, Garlic, & Thyme and Spicy Smothered Green Cabbage for Cook the Books: "The Cooking Gene" by Michael W. Twitty

I'm doing my usual trick of coming in at the last minute for our Cook the Books October/November pick, The Cooking Gene, A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty, hosted by Simona of Briciole. Although it took me several weeks and library renewals to make my way through the book, I very much enjoyed it and the vegan take on African-American cooking that was inspired by my reading. 


The Cooking Gene is Twitty's homage to the culinary history of his ancestors originating in Africa and Europe and journeying through the Old South and the origins of Southern cooking, and it manages to be both entertaining and thought-provoking. At moments he made hungry, next making me squirm uncomfortably at the uglier moments of our not-so-distant history, then teaching me something new about food before getting me chuckling over his family moments--that while completely different from my own cultural upbringing, often ring with complete familiarity. I love books that give me information--especially when it is related to the history and origins of food and Twitty does it in such an engaging way that had me completely caught up in his journey, and even though I dipped into the book in bits and pieces over the past several weeks, he made the 400+ pages easy to digest (pun intended).  

From The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty:

"The real history is not in the food, it's in the people. We are working against the loss of our cultural memory; against the consequences of institutional oppression; against indiscriminate and flagrant appropriation; and against the courts of public opinion that question our authenticity, maturity, and motives in the revolutionary act of clarifying and owning our past. It is my belief that the very reason we are hear in space and time is deliberately connected to our journey with food. The only question I've ever wanted to answer for myself was, How was my destiny shaped by the history of Southern food?" 


For my book-inspired dish,  I really wanted a lighter version of African-American cuisine as with it being in the thick of the holiday season, I have been indulging far too much already. I turned to Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen, a favorite vegan cookbook of mine that I don't cook nearly enough from. I had been meaning to make the Pan-Fried Grit Cakes with Caramelized Spring Onions, Garlic & Thyme, so I picked them (although I ended up using a Maui sweet onion instead of green onions only because I left them out of my shopping basket) as my main dish. I wanted something to accompany my grit and ended up choosing cabbage over collards (cabbages looked better/fresher at my local grocery store) for Spicy Smothered Green Cabbage. My changes are noted in red below and I've included Bryant Terry's "soundtrack" suggestions for music to cook and eat by.


Bryant Terry says, "Because the grits need to set for a few hours before you can cut them, this dish should be prepared in advance. The time invested is well worth it. I enjoy these tasty cakes as a savory dinner side or as a light meal with a green salad. You can omit the spring onions, cayenne, garlic and thyme and reduce the salt then eat these with pure maple syrup as a breakfast treat. Or you can eat them as is with maple syrup like my mom does. 

For a low-fat version, they can be baked on a lightly-greased baking sheet at 325 degrees F. until crisp, about 15 minutes each side. they can also be lightly brushed with olive oil and grilled for 10 minutes on each side."

Pan-Fried Grit Cakes with Caramelized Onions, Garlic & Thyme
Slightly Adapted from Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry
(Serves 4-6 Servings)
Sound Track: "Green Onions" by Booker T. & the MGs from Green Onions

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large bunch spring onions, trimmed & thinly sliced (I used 1 thinly sliced sweet Maui onion)
1/8 tsp cayenne
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups unflavored rice milk (I used coconut milk)
1 cup vegetable stock 
1 cup stone-ground corn grits
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh thyme (I used about 1 1/2 tsps total)

In a medium-size nonstick saute pan, combine 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil, the spring onion, and the cayenne. Turn the heat to medium-low and saute gently until well caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a medium-size saucepan, combine the milk with the stock, cover, bring to a boil, and boil for about 3 minutes. Uncover and whisk the grits into the liquid until no lumps remain.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes with a wooden spoon to prevent the grits from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Add the spring onion mixture, salt and thyme and stir well. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Pour the grits into a 2-quart rectangular baking dish or a comparable mold and spread them out with a rubber spatula (the grits should be about 1/2-inch thick). Refrigerate and allow the grits to rest until firm, about 3 hours or overnight. 

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Slice the grits into 2-inch squares. Line a couple of large plates with paper towels. In a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is hot, panfry the cakes for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside (do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan). Transfer cooked cakes to the plates to drain and then hold them in the oven until all the cakes are cooked. Serve immediately.

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Bryant Terry says, "Rather than frying this cabbage in bacon fat, I add mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, and sugar to the olive oil to add flavor."

Spicy Smothered Green Cabbage
Slightly Adapted from Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry
(Serves 4 to 6)
Sound Track" "Chicken Grease" by D'Angelo from Voodo

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red paper flakes
1 tsp organic coarse cane sugar
coarse sea salt
1 small green cabbage (about 2 lbs), quartered, cored, and sliced thinly
5 Tbsp water
freshly ground white pepper

In a wide heavy saute pan over medium heat, combine the olive oil, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, sugar and 1/2 tsp sea salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mustard seeds start to pop, about 4 minutes.

Immediately add the cabbage and saute, stirring occasionally, until it wilts, about 4 minutes. 

Add the water, stir to combine, cover and cook until most of the water has evaporated, about 4 minutes.

Season with white pepper to taste.


Notes/Results: The grit cakes were delicious--crisp on the outside, and creamy within and lots of flavor. I did find them a bit dangerous as they popped and shot bits of grit out randomly as they cooked. I tried patting them dry (after leaving them for two nights before I could cook them--I'm not sure if that was the reason they popped so much or not) but I almost got sizzling grits in my eye, so beware! ;-) I just cooked part of my pan and plan on trying baking the rest of them tomorrow to see what happens. I will declare that are worth a bit of physical pain and they were set off perfectly by the spicy, slightly sweet cabbage. It made a tasty dinner and I will happily cook both these recipes again.


I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

The Cooking Gene is my eleventh foodie book entry for the Foodies Read 2018 event. You can check out the December 2018 Foodies Read linkup, hosted by Heather at Based on a True Story, to see what everyone is reading this month.
   

 
The deadline for this round of CTB is TODAY and Simona will be rounding up the entries on the Cook the Books site soon after. If you missed this round and like food, books, and foodie books, join us for December/January when we'll be reading the Hawai'i set Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers by Sara Ackerman, hosted by yours truly, here at Kahakai Kitchen.