FOOD fit for a Rockstar

Deena Kamm's recipe book and always evolving food philosophy
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Sweet Potato Chips

January8

SUPER easy side dish that’s fun, satisfying, and healthy…

This is another one of my “What the F am I going to make for dinner tonight” babies.  It’s as simple as it looks…

Preheat oven to somewhere around 375-425° depending on how much time you have, how crispy you like things, how thick you cut your potatoes, how fat your potatoes are, etc…  As always – don’t be scared.  It’s just food. You can always get it perfect the next time.  Cut however many Sweet Potatoes will fit on your cookie sheet into discs as shown above.  Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper (if you have and use this) place as many chips as you can flat on the sheet.  Baste the tops with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt or Herbamare (I frequently use this instead of sea salt. You can buy it at Whole Foods and other Health Food Stores.)  Bake for about 15 minutes then carefully flip over and baste the other side with olive oil, sprinkle with more salt (if you want) and put back in the oven to bake for another 15 minutes or until they are soft enough or crispy enough for you – however you think you will enjoy them best!

I served these with a big salad. We were stuffed. There was no mess to clean up either. Bonus!!
Let me know if you make them and what YOU did different or how you served them.

Husband Rating 5 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “ I can eat these all day long.”
Kid Rating 5 smiley faces “I want to eat all of them.  I don’t want to share ANY.”  (But he did)

Enjoy!
D-

My Mom’s (Cooking) Vegan(?) Eggplant Salad!

September20

My beautiful Mom is the wizard of all wizards in the kitchen!!  She has been whipping up amazing meals from scratch just about every night of the week since I was a kid.  I don’t ever remember a time when my mom had any trouble in the kitchen… with anything.  She’s a Culinary Savant.  She’s confident, fearless, and intuitive, and you can taste it in everything she makes.  She also taught me everything I know… that is until I went vegan and was forced to leave her in the meat & dairy farm dust with all that animal protein floating around everywhere.  Achoo.  Sorry Mom.

But LATELY Mom (AKA Diane) has taken to cooking with considerably less meat and animal products throughout the week.  Which is funny and strange because for the first time in my natural born life my mom is calling ME for quick answers and tips on how to prep and combine things instead of the usual other way around.  I know this won’t last long because she is now sending me her vegan recipes that worked out well so that I can try them.  Lucky you – here is one of her latest from the Diane Fonteboa No-Meat Test Kitchen straight out of the San Fernando Valley, California… totally vegan, totally satisfying, totally original and delicious!
Roasted Eggplant with Brown Rice and White Beans
1 large eggplant-peeled & cut into squares
2 cups cooked /chilled brown rice
1-Sm. roasted red pepper, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 can Cannelini Beans-washed & drained
Red onion, diced- you decide how much I used about 2 tbs
2 tbsp dice Italian parsley
Place eggplant on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, drizzle with olive oil. Salt and pepper.
Cook at 400 for about 20 min. or until golden brown.
While that is roasting, in a large bowl add all other ingredients and mix together with your favorite vinaigrette.  Toss the eggplant in just before serving.  It is so good when crispy.
Serve with my fabulous wheat bread…..oh wait I haven’t given you that recipe yet!!!
Enjoy!!!
I would only like to add that my mom grows her own (mostly organic!) veggies including Eggplant so hers will be better by default. Unless you are harvesting your private crops too, and I hope you are.  Organic organic organic!!  Makes everything a little bit better.

Mom and my Niece Scarlett... NOT cooking.

Thanks Mom – and I’ll be needing that bread recipe next.  I had it last time we were in California and I know it’s a five star rating all over the place with both boys and me.  Do I see a regular guest blogger in the future??  I hope so!!
D-

Two-Timing me with a Kabocha Squash.

September4

My husband is having some kind of crazy love affair with Kabocha Squash.  Every time we see it in Whole Foods he acts like it’s his long lost lover from college who performed private strip tease dances for him in his dorm and then did his laundry.  He practically cradles it romantically when he sees it – he gives it so much love from the bin to the cart to the bag to the house to the cutting board to the stove/oven to the plate, it’s embarrassing.  He LOVES Kabocha.  If I was the jealous type I would NEVER let that bitch back in my house.  But actually, I think she’s pretty nice myself.  So when she’s in season, we buy her any chance we can get.

We started eating Kabocha when we were eating a macrobiotic diet a few years back.  Our good friends and food mentors, J & A Taylor, had us over for dinner one night and the rest is history…  I have found that not only do most people not have a clue what Kabocha Squash is, but they are afraid to try it when they learn about it.  Silly.

Here are a few pictures I took of the Kabocha I used today – (I always forget to take pictures until after I have half eaten something or already chopped it up a bit – sorry.  Google Images is great for things like this if you need more detail)

So, Kabocha is a squash, or a pumpkin, or a potato… okay – it’s definitely not a potato I just like to type in threes.  Either way it is SO easy to make and SO good for you!!  You can cut it in quarters and roast it in the oven just like you would an acorn squash or spaghetti squash.  You can cut it into chunks and steam it.  That’s always a super healthy and easy way to eat just about any Veggie.  I sometimes pressure cook it and then mash it up with Earth Balance “Butter” (This is Zeke’s favorite way to eat it – he refers to this as “Squash Squash.”  He’s clever, and corny) Or you can cut it up and roast it with other delightful goodness like I did tonight.  As usual, I took a crappy picture AFTER we ate.  Blogging in my kitchen is usually an after-thought.  I’m working on this.  Here’s what I did – it was SERIOUSLY delicioso:

Let’s call this: Roasted Kabocha with Fresh Fig

-1/2 of a Kabocha Squash, gut the seeds and peel the green stuff off.  You CAN eat the green stuff but I don’t like it – my husband thinks Kabocha can do no wrong and he emphatically claims to like the green stuff.  But he is still in the honeymoon phase.  Trust me – peel it.
-1 produce basket of fresh RIPE figs (about 10-15??)
-2 to 3 yellow onions – cut in large chunks
-2 to 3 cloves of roughly chopped garlic
-1 to 2 tablespoons of dried Oregano (I never measure – but don’t overdo it – just add some flavor to enhance the Fig)
-1 tablespoons of dried rosemary ground up in your hands as much as possible (I think fresh rosemary would also be great, but I still wouldn’t use too much)
-Salt to taste
-3 to 4 tablespoons of Olive Oil
Mix all the ingredients together in a roasting dish or pan and bake in a preheated oven at 400° for about 45 min to an hour. Check after 30 minutes and stir everything up to coat it evenly.
I added chopped up tofu in the last 15 minutes and it was a hit with the boys. You might be able to add Tempeh into it in the beginning for an alternate healthy, high protein version. I will try that next time… Zeke is also having an unreasonable love affair with Tempeh these days, but that’s another post.

Side note: I recently learned from a local farmer that Kabocha and most hard shelled squash (butternut, acorn, pumpkin, etc…) need at least a month to properly cure once cut off the vine.  That means you can, and should, buy and store squash for two to three months from the time it was picked to get the best flavor and the most nutrients out of it.  If you know when it was cut then you can wait a few months to use it.  If you don’t know when it was cut then you can still let it sit (room temp) for at least a month before you have to worry.  We didn’t do that this time because I couldn’t bear to listen to Zeke romance the squash for another second.  But I did buy two small Red Curry Squash and I don’t plan on eating them anytime soon!!

Husband Rating 5 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “I missed my Kabocha so much. Next time we go to WF’s let’s buy every one they have.”  and   “I actually thought the figs were great in this. I love this dish so much!!”
Kid Rating 3 smiley faces “I don’t like that fig.  But I love these onions and squash squash!”

Orzo Salad

May4

This was a quick salad I made with random items in the fridge (where 50% of my ideas come from) when my mother in law was over and I hadn’t planned out any food because I too busy with the Whopping Cough.  Suddenly I realized it was the middle of the day and there was nothing to eat for lunch.  So I threw this big pasta salad together with fresh veggies and pantry stuff in about 15 minutes.  Super easy and it was so good I made it the following weekend for a BBQ we were invited to.  Here’s what I did:

Boil one package of Orzo Pasta, drain, rinse, throw in a big salad bowl.

While the pasta is boiling, put a steamer pot over the water and quickly steamed cut up carrots (2 or 3 medium), and broccoli (about 1 cup cut up small)… throw those in.  (or steam them separately – cut them small, thin, and evenly so they cook fast)

One cut-up yellow (red, green, whatever) bell pepper

3/4 cup chopped Kalamata Olives

Cheese of your choice – I used low fat string cheese because that’s what I had in the house – I just cut it into bite sized rounds.  about 1 cup or so.  Whatever ratio you like.  It’s a salad – who cares?

2-3 leaves of finely cut up Kale.  Health it up – you won’t even taste it and it looks great!!

mix together with some olive oil and red wine vinegar.  I also added sea salt, and Braggs 24 seasoning (love that stuff).

The longer it sits the better.  Overnight is great, but eat it cold or right after you make it when it’s still slightly warm. The thing is – put whatever you want or like in this, and do whatever you want with it.  It’s salad.  Be adventurous.  Great replacements are vegan cheese or Ume Plum vinegar, Sesame Oil, rice pasta… the list goes on.  I imagine every time I make it will be a slightly different dish.  But the above ingredients worked great the first time!!

Remember: ALWAYS USE ORGANIC EVERYTHING!!!  If you have the money to buy diet pills, fancy face creams, detox powders and $150 jogging shoes, you can buy organic food.  It’s more important for your health than anything else you will spend money on!!!

Husband Rating 5 star:  gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “Yum.”

REALLY good mushroom side dish

January10

I found this recipe online and tried it for Valentines Day dinner. Needless to say – I loved it. I think Zeke did too.
The leftovers were sampled by my good friend Christina two days later and she got the recipe from me immediately. Here it is…

Sliced Shallots sauteed in butter (I use Earth Balance butter or Olive Oil)

add one package of regular old mushrooms (I try to only use organic – of course) quartered and continue to saute until they look yummy.  You’ll know.  Salt away around now too.

When you think it’s done throw in some Vermouth, and cook it down a bit,  This is a good time to deg-laze the pan if you used a nonstick – I recommend NEVER using nonstick – but that’s a different post) add some lemon juice (I used one whole lemon) and some paprika (just throw some in – don’t overdo it – but don’t be afraid to season either.)

in another pan throw in some butter and chopped Hazelnuts (also called Filberts if you can’t find “Hazelnuts” at the store) and toast them until they are golden brown.

Mix everything together and serve it on a Crostini or bread.  SO good!  And pretty easy to make.

Here’s where I got the recipe from I didn’t change it really at all besides the butter…

http://www.foodnetwork.com/roasted-mushroom-crostini/video/index.html?nl=ROTD_021210_9

Husband Rating 4 ¾ stars:gold-stargold-stargold-star gold-star “Can I say “It’s Nuts how good this is!”?”