Sunday, December 16, 2018

Vegan (or Vegetarian with the Toppings) Chili for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

I have been alternating soup with canned vegetarian chili the last couple of weeks for lunches, so this weekend I decided to make my own vegan chili for hearty lunches and dinners for the busy pre-holiday week.


I tried Lightlife Smart Ground Meatless Mexican Crumbles for the first time, liking that they had a Mexican spiced one. You could use any soy crumble, a ground meat of choice, or make and crumble your own tofu based on your preferences or what is available.There are no tomatoes in this chili because the can of fire-roasted tomatoes I thought I had in my pantry turned out to be peaches. I could have gone to the store or added tomato paste, but I was pretty happy with my combination of spices and felt like the tomatoes weren't necessary. Of course a can would be great in here--just reduce your broth a little if using.

 
Vegan Chili with Soy Crumbles
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 8 Servings)

2 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
2 small sweet onions, diced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp roasted garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
1 package soy crumbles, Mexican-spiced if possible
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I used mushroom stock)
2 (16 oz) cans low-sodium pinto beans, drained
1 (16 oz) can low-sodium black beans, drained
1 (16 oz) can low-sodium kidney beans, drained
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper 
To garnish: fresh cilantro, yogurt or sour cream, cheese of choice and hot sauce is desired

In a large heavy pan, heat oil over medium heat. When hot, add onion and cook about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent and begin to soften. Add the cumin, garlic powder, oregano, coriander, smoked paprika, ground cinnamon, and assorted chili powders and cook for another minute or two, or until spices are fragrant. Add the soy crumbles, breaking them apart with a wooden spoon and saute, stirring for 5 minutes. 

Add the broth and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, for about an hour, until liquid cooks down and mixture thickens. (If mixture gets too thick, add a bit more broth or water until it is the consistency you like.) Taste for seasoning and add hot sauce, sea salt and black pepper to taste. 

Serve chili hot in bowls, topped with grated cheese, yogurt or sour cream or other toppings of choice. Serve with Frito's and extra hot sauce if desired. 


Notes/Results: Three things about this chili: 1) YUM!  2) I did not miss the tomatoes and 3) The soy crumbles were great, giving flavor and the texture of ground meat. I think even meat lovers would have a hard time guessing it wasn't ground meat. I love the flavor in this one--a little smoky with a nice spicy kick. Of course the Fritos are optional but they do make chili more fun--as do the toppings. I have an avocado that wasn't quite ripe enough today, and some pickled jalapenos that I'll add in during the week and you can omit the cheese and yogurt or use vegan versions if you want to keep it vegan. I would happily make it again. 


Now let's take a look into the Souper Sundays kitchen:


A big Souper Sundays welcome to Liz of Spades, Spatulas & Spoons, joining us for the first time this week with Spiced Chickpea & Chicken Stew with Coconut & Turmeric. She says, "This recipe originally appeared in the NY Times without the chicken. I wanted something heartier for a visiting friend who had driven 3.5 hours to visit us up on the coast. This was the perfect dinner after a long drive on a cold and rainy autumn evening. The coconut sauce is amazing, you really need something to soak it up. Serve it with lavash or other flatbread for dunking if you have some. Not having those in the cupboard, I served it over brown rice. I consider this comfort food as well as (somewhat) health food. It is a soupy stew and could also be considered a thick soup.

 
Tina of Squirrel Head Manor made Braised Pork and Apple Stew from a new cookbook and said, "This pork and apple stew gets an A+ and I hope Doug makes it again soon. Unbelievably tender and so flavorful, the apples could be doubled next  time :-) It's a good winter stew, something to warm the bones when it's cold outside. This is brothy enough that you'll want some good quality bread, hopefully homemade, for dipping. The apples look like potatoes, don't they?"


My fellow Hawaii-based blogger Claudia of Honey From Rock shared Oxtail Soup--The Alley Restaurant Way from a popular Oahu Eatery that happens to be a bowling alley. She said, "... However, the Oxtail soup was TO DIE FOR. Thus today's post, wherein I attempt to duplicate their soup. Luckily, Chef Glen was interviewed on a local program, and shared his secrets (handed down from his mother). Nothing written out, but he demonstrated pretty clearly, and there were a few versions online that purported to be authentic."
 

Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog brought Low Carb Tomato "Cauliflower" Rice Soup and said, "Roasted tomatoes, sweet carrots, and hot pepper to taste, makes a delightful soup that is sure to warm you up on a damp chilly day. ... This delicious rich orange soup is easy to make and provides an excellent variety of health building nutrients, antioxidants and vital fiber! For the record it's vegan, parve, nut free, soy free and gluten free as well- perfectly allergy friendly!"

 
Thanks to everyone who joined me 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 her 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 (optional).




Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Christmas on the Island" by Jenny Colgan, Served with Shortbread Dipped in White Chocolate & Candy Cane Sprinkles

Happy Aloha Friday! We are on the downward slope to Christmas and it's the perfect time for a cozy holiday story and a visit to the Island of Mure in Christmas on the Island by Jenny Colgan. Accompanying my review of the third book in this charming series is an easy tea-time or cookie tray treat, Scottish shortbread, dipped in white chocolate and topped with a sprinkling of crushed candy canes. 


Publisher's Blurb:

On the remote Scottish island of Mure, the Christmas season is stark, windy, and icy—yet incredibly festive and beautiful…

It’s a time for getting cozy in front of whisky barrel wood fires, and enjoying a dram and a treacle pudding with the people you love—unless, of course, you’ve accidentally gotten pregnant by your ex-boss, and don’t know how to tell him. In the season for peace and good cheer, will Flora find the nerve to reveal the truth to her nearest and dearest? Will her erstwhile co-parent Joel think she’s the bearer of glad tidings—or is this Christmas going to be as bleak as the Highlands in midwinter?

Meanwhile Saif, a doctor and refugee from war-torn Syria is trying to enjoy his first western Christmas with his sons on this remote island where he’s been granted asylum. His wife, however, is still missing, and her absence hangs over what should be a joyful celebration. Can the family possibly find comfort and joy without her?

Travel to the beautiful northern edge of the world and join the welcoming community of Mure for a Highland Christmas you’ll never forget!

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (October 16, 2018)


My Review:

Jenny Colgan books are good for when the world overwhelms and you need a sweet and engaging escape. As this is the third book set on the Scottish island and quirky community of Mure, it is like visiting and catching up with old friends. (That's also why you really should read the first two books before this one--so you can come into Christmas on the Island knowing and appreciating all of the characters and storylines.) In this book, winter and the holidays are ramping up which is keeping Flora and her team at the Seaside Kitchen very busy. Flora finds out she's pregnant (not a spoiler, it's in the publisher's blurb) and is nervous about Joel's reaction with good reason of course as Joel is still recovering from his challenges in the last book while traveling for Colton, and his and Flora's relationship still tenuous. The supporting cast is back with continuations of their stories (I won't go into those as I don't want to give away anything) and although this one does wrap up without any real cliffhanger, it feels open enough to come back for more stories about the community (perhaps a Saif-centered plot line?) which I like.  

Jenny Colgan creates enjoyable, often quirky characters that you can't help but root for and fills her books with both humor and poignant moments. She also fills them with food and includes a few recipes at the end. If you are looking for something not too heavy and a holiday read that will tug at your heartstrings, this is a great book to snuggle up to with a cup of tea and a piece of shortbread or two.

-----

Author Notes: Jenny Colgan is the New York Times-bestselling author of numerous novels, including The Bookshop on the Corner, Little Beach Street Bakery, and Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery, all international bestsellers. Jenny is married with three children and lives in London and Scotland.

Find out more about Jenny at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


-----


Food Inspiration: 

Jenny Colgan books usually have plenty of food and with the baked goods and foods that flora creates in the bakery, Fintan's cheeses and food-filled town events in Mure, Christmas on the Island is no exception. Food mentions include cakes, pies, pastries and slices of fruitcake, roast chicken, fish, toast with butter, mincemeat tarts, cheese scones, sandwiches, turnips, sausage rolls, a Cumbrae pinwheel (stuffed pork loin)  and bacon roll with a cranberry jelly, tea, Shepherd pie, gin & tonic, hot soup and a toasted sandwich, mince pies, hot dogs, spice cookies, pancakes with maple syrup and bacon, dusted cinnamon rolls, millionaire shortbread, fish and chips ("haddock and chips with extra crispy bits and plenty of vinegar and a large bottle of Irn Bru"), haggis, a saveloy (type of sausage), mulled wine, orange juice, a plain biscuit, vol-au-vents (puff pastry), porridge, Heinz tomato soup, vegetarian stuffing, chipolatas (sausages), shortbread Drambuie, turkey, red cabbage, bread sauce, venison, fresh vegetable soup, French toast, and shortbread.


I'll be honest here, I was going to make fish cakes or pancakes for my book-inspired dish so I could also work it into I Heart Cooking Clubs monthly dish/ingredient challenge but I taught several leadership classes this week and was tired and behind on everything. The recipes for Lanark Blue Scones and Shortbread in the back of the book caught my eye but I just couldn't bring myself to try to bake. I decided to cheat and buy some Walkers shortbread instead and jazz it up for the holidays with white chocolate and crushed candy canes. 


There isn't much of a recipe here. I just line a small pan with parchment paper, crush 3-4 small candy canes, heat the about 1 cup of good white chocolate chips carefully in the microwave, stirring until melted. I then brush any excess crumbs off of the shortbread pieces, dunk one end in the melted white chocolate and sprinkle the tops with the crushed candy canes. When finished, set the pan in the fridge for 10 minutes or so to harden and enjoy.



Notes/Results: Yes, I am a bit guilty about not actually cooking something to go with the book, but these little cookie treats are so tasty and fun and take such minimum effort that I was over that guilt pretty quickly. The shortbread is so buttery, but the cool flavor of the candy cane sprinkles keep it from being too rich or sweet. They took just minutes to make and set up quickly--ready to enjoy with a cup of tea (it's Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride by Celestial Seasonings in the pictures). I think they would be a fun gift or look cute tucked into a cookie platter. I will happily make them 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.


Christmas on the Island is my twelfth 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.    


Note: A review copy of "Christmas on the Island" 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.
 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Ruth Reichl's Creamy Mushroom Soup, Kitchen Therapy for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

This simple soup is from Ruth Reichl's memoir Comfort Me With Apples and she mentions in the book that she made it daily to get her through hard times as it was the most soothing soup she could make. I find most soups to be a good form of therapy--both making them and eating them, and a pot of mushroom soup is the perfect comfort on a cool day.


I made a few changes to the recipe, swapping the half and half for coconut milk because I have several cans on hand and it's better than dairy on my breathing. I also swapped the beef broth for mushroom bouillon cubes and water. Because I bought some huge white mushrooms and wasn't sure how flavorful they would be. Finally, I used smoked paprika instead of nutmeg because I am just not a nutmeg fan. My changes are in red below. 


Creamy Mushroom Soup
Slightly Adapted from Comfort Me with Apples by Ruth Reichl
(Serves 4)

1/2 lb mushrooms
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 small onion, diced
4 Tbsp flour
1 cup broth (I used 2 mushroom broth bouillon cubes)
2 cups half & half (I used coconut milk)
salt & pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg (I used 1/2 tsp smoked paprika)
1 bay leaf

Thinly slice the mushrooms. Melt the butter in a heavy pan. When the foam subsides, add the onion and saute until golden. Add the mushrooms and saute until brown and softened. Stir in the flour, then slowly add the broth, stirring constantly.

Heat the half & half (or coconut milk) in a saucepan or in the microwave. Add it to the mushrooms along with salt, pepper, nutmeg and a bay leaf. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes; do not boil. Remove the bay leaf and serve. 


Notes/Results: Simple in ingredients and process, but a very tasty soup that is the perfect comfort food on a cool day. I imagine it would be perfect for a cold day too but we don't get those very often here so a windy cool day will have to do. I loved all of the flavor from the mushrooms, the extra mushroom bouillon cube, and the smoked paprika. The coconut milk is as creamy as half and half and with the butter, make this soup rich and satisfying. I topped my soup with crisp garlic and pepper fried onions. Yum. Although I won't make it every day, I will happily eat this soup for lunches this week and would make it again. 


Linking this soup up with I Heart Cooking Clubs where the theme is Kitchen Therapy--Ruth Reichl dishes that are therapeutic to make or eat. 

 
I'm also 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.


Now let's take a look into the Souper Sundays kitchen:


Tina of Squirrel Head Manor made Potato Soup with Carrots, Onions & Garlic and said, "Two weeks ago I posted a Potato Soup that was hearty and delicious, but not homemade. I haven't been able to duplicate that recipe exactly but I did whip up a pot of homemade soup for the cold work week. Not sure why we can't get heat at work but I can combat the chill with a hot bowl of comfort food."



Kim of Stirring the Pot made Ruth Reichl's Lentil, Sausage and Brown Rice Stew, saying "This stew lends itself perfectly to kitchen therapy as I sliced, chopped, stirred, and smelled my way to happiness. Not to mention, I was even more satisfied at the chance to use up an abundance of brown rice and lentils I found languishing about in my pantry. I always feel quite accomplished when I use up all the bits and bobs laying about. This is a soul-soothing wintry stew that comes together with humble ingredients and love. I'm convinced it holds the power to heal whatever ails you."


Thanks to Tina and Kim for joining me 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 her 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 (optional).



Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Simple Tortelloni-Tomato Soup with Spinach and Pesto for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

There are Sundays when soup making is a long, relaxed, meditative process and I enjoy all of the chopping and simmering while listening to an audio book. Then there are times like this week where I just want a minimum amount of effort and time in the kitchen. 


I first used jarred pasta sauce as a soup base when I made Nigella Lawson's Tomato Rice Soup and since pasta sauce, tortelloni, boxed baby spinach and pesto were all on sale at my local grocery store, I combined them in this easy and tasty Tortelloni-Tomato Soup with Spinach and Pesto.


Tortelloni-Tomato Soup with Spinach and Pesto
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 4-6)

1 jar good tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 cups water, veggie broth or a mixture
4 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 (20 oz) family pack of tortelloni (I used this one)
pesto & pecorino-romano cheese to garnish

Pour the tomato sauce into a large heavy-bottom pan and heat ove medium. Stir in the garlic, basil, celery seed, red pepper flakes and water. Let cook on medium-low for 10-15 minutes for flavors to meld.  

Turn up heat to medium high and when soup is starting to boil, add the tortelloni and spinach and cook for 5 minutes, until tortelloni is done. 

Serve hot with pesto drizzled on top and cheese shavings, Enjoy!


Notes Results: The simplest of soups to make (unless you drop a jar of pasta sauce straight down to the floor in the kitchen where it promptly shatters, sprays pasta sauce everywhere, cuts your leg with the flying shards of glass and it doesn't stop bleeding for 20 minutes. But I'm sure you won't do that and so I repeat--it's very quick and simple) and really good for the scant amount of effort required. I used mock-chicken stock and a few extra spices to give more dept of flavor and enjoyed the fat cheesy pasta bites in the tomato sauce. tasty and satisfying, I would make it again.
 

 Now let's take a look into the Souper Sundays kitchen:


Tina of Squirrel Head Manor made Soupy Jambalaya and said, "When it gets chilly I like a bowl of comfort food. This is a hearty soupy version of Jambalaya. It's loaded with protein, tomatoes, onions and bell peppers. ... The longer it simmers the better it is.  As a matter of fact, I may start making this the day before and then saving it until the next day so all the flavors mingle overnight. This time I used vegetable broth as there was enough of the chicken and sausage fats to thicken things up. You can add rice as it cooks or serve separately and spoon the mixture over the rice.  That way you can control the amount of rice you want."



From her Weekend Cooking event, Beth Fish Reads shared a recipe for a healthy Quinoa Salad Bento from a cookbook she recently reviewed and said, "Here's the Quinoa Salad Bento from Simply Bento. In the photo (from the book), you'll see that the authors added rotisserie chicken to the bento box, but I think this would be good without the meat. The authors note that this salad will keep for a few days, so you could make it on Sunday for the work or school week to come." 


Thanks 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 her 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 (optional).
 



Have a happy, healthy week!
 

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.

-----

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.