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Gleaning the Cupboards & Evicting Tenants April 29, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Life Balance, Vegetarian Recipes.
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IMGP3594bSometimes when cooking, we choose an appealing destination (e.g., a rustic veggie lasagna) and  figure out how to get THERE from HERE.

We purchase necessary ingredients, prep them, assemble them, and toss them in the oven to wait for enticing aromas to fill the house.

Other times, we start by assessing  which ingredients have been loitering about the kitchen long enough, then choose how best to combine them to get from HERE to THERE.

That’s what I did yesterday.

I gleaned the shelves of fridge and pantry, gathering ingredients to “evict” via evocative creations/concoctions.

My impromptu ingredient safari yielded:  5 onions (ready to bolt), 2 green bell peppers (starting to blush red), 1 small head of cabbage (that winked  when I opened the crisper), 1 cup of uncooked Quinoi  (humming “one is the loneliest number”), 1 cup green beans almondine (leftover from the previous evening), and 2 cups of oats (singing “mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy . . . diddle-dee di-dee doo . . . wouldn’t you?”).

Not exactly enticing, eh?  And none of these “America’s Got Talent” hopefuls seemed a bit concerned with their fast-approaching expiration dates.

Undeterred, I combined these “lost & found” ingredients with a few staples to create four delicious and nutritious dishes ~ 2 sides and 2 entrees:

1.  I simmered the Quinoi in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes, seasoned it with salt, pepper, and a splash of extra virgin olive oil, and stirred in the cooked green beans almondine . . . almost instant Quinoi Pilaf!

2.  I chopped the cabbage, added grated carrots, and tossed with dressing (1/2 c. Miracle Whip, 3 Tbsp. sugar, and a splash of champagne vinegar) . . . cool and creamy Cole Slaw.

IMGP40963.  I chopped the onions and peppers and sautéed them in olive oil, using 2/3 of the mix to make a spicy Vegetarian Lecsó (with fire roasted tomatoes and spicy cayenne pepper).

4.  I used the rest of the peppers and onions to make Kidney Bean Burgers and a dozen meatless “meatballs.”

Kidney Bean Burgers

2 cups oats (rolled or quick), uncooked
16 oz. can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 Tbsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. salt (or garlic salt)
1/8 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 c. water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. sautéed onions and peppers

Mix thoroughly and blend in food processor or Ninja.  (If mixture is too wet to shape into patties, add a bit more oats, 1 Tbsp. at a time.  If too dry, add a bit more water, 1 Tbsp. at a time.)  Chill.

Shape into 6-7 patties or 24-30 meatballs ~ or mix & match, making a few of each.   Burger patties and “meatballs” can be wrapped and frozen at this point.  Just thaw, before cooking.

To serve, sauté in a nonstick pan to heat and brown on all sides.

Note:  The original recipe called for 4 oz. black beans, 4 oz. chickpeas, and 4 oz. white beans.  Rather than opening 3 cans and using only 1/3 of each, I substituted one 16 oz. can of kidney beans.  I made a second batch using a 16 oz. can of black beans.

In a subsequent, highly untouted, non-scientific taste test, all test subjects prefered the kidney bean burgers to the black bean burgers.  The control group fled the scene when they learned we were having pommes frites (instead of French fries) with dinner.

Fooled ’em!   ;)

I also eliminated half of the suggested seasonings and ingredients from the original recipe because 21 ingredients is, at least, ten too many (except when I have house guests and want to hide in the kitchen for hours on end).

If you enjoy creating tedious and convoluted concoctions (or have house guests), consider adding:  1 tsp. jalapeno (mince it . . . mince it good) * 1 Tbsp. finely diced garlic * 1 Tbsp. chopped artichoke (seriously? who has 1 Tbsp. of artichoke sitting around?) * 2 Tbsp. chopped black olives * 1 tsp. dried oregano * 1/2 tsp. paprika * 1 Tbsp. fresh minced parsley * 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes * 1/4 tsp. ground sage * 2 Tbsp. seasoned bread crumbs * 1 egg (or egg substitute).

Hmm . . . maybe the original recipe evolved from gleaning cupboards, evicting tenants, and/or avoiding house guests?  ;)

Aah . . . that’s better!

More ideas:  Get Your Grains On (AgriGirl) * Tammy’s Top Ten Tips For Less Food Waste (AgriGirl) * Lazy Sunday ~ Leftover Edition (Rufus’ Food & Spirits Guide) * A Month of Meatless Meals * Six Word Saturday (Show My Face)

From Bonsai to Banyan April 29, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Home & Garden, Nature.
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The Selby Gardens has trees ranging from tabletop Bonsai . . .

Barely tall enough to provide shade to Swift’s diminutive Lilliputians . . .

Leaving Gulliver (of gigantic proportions & portions) to fend for himself . . .

Perhaps Gulliver used a towering Banyan as his sun-shade and parasol?  

He might well have.  

Rumor has it that Alexander the Great housed his army of 7,000 men under a single Banyan tree.

Wow!  That’s hard to believe.

But begins to be plausible when we consider that the Great Banyan, a 250-year-old Banyan Tree in Kolkata, India, currently covers 4 acres.

Who knows what the Selby Banyan will accomplish in its lifetime . . . it’s only been growing since the 1930’s.

Related posts:  Aah . . . That’s Better! * Orchids, Bromeliads, and Epiphytes