Native American black bean burger

Summer is here and burgers are great for grilling! The combination of black beans, wild rice and quinoa make a tasty American burger. Each one is native to the Americas and has a rich history. Usually I am not a big fan of food substitutes but I think this is very tasty. It seems like this burger even tricks my feisty, meat lover corgi too. Seriously, he just sits and stares at me, hoping to get a little.

I would like to add this recipe to my collection. The moist burgers are highly nutritious and easy to take on trips. Oh and those mushrooms are mouthwatering … Just remember, the beans and the quinoa need to be soaked ahead before you cook them. 

There is always a pot of beans soaking in traditional Latin American homes, a pot waiting to be cooked for the next meal. As soon as a meal is finished, the preparation for the next one starts. And they eat beans for almost every meal.

Why should the beans be soaked? Wouldn’t cooking them for a longer time be enough? Beans and quinoa are nutritious but also have particles that actually can cause problems if not removed.  These anti-nutrient particles such as phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors can be only removed by soaking. In addition to cost, this is also a good reason to make your own beans :). Remember to pour off the soaking liquid and add fresh cold water for cooking.

Black Bean Burger Recipe

  • Makes 8-10 burgers
  • The inspiration for this recipe came from Heid E. Erdrich’s Original Local cookbook.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of dried black beans (heirloom is the best if you can get it) or 1 can (14oz), rinsed and drained well.
  • ¾ cup of wild rice (preferably the hand harvested )
  • ¼ cup of quinoa (or replace with 1/4 cup of wild rice) 
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper or to taste
  • 1 Tbsp of oil (olive, sunflower)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup of bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp of dried hot pepper (optional)
  • oil for cooking the patties (sunflower, grape seed)

  • To garnish  (all ingredients are optional)
  • 1 onion thinly sliced and sautéed or raw
  • 5-8 heads of crimini or white button mushrooms thinly sliced and sautéed or see recipe foe mushroom gravy below
  • 1 head of portobello mushrooms grilled or cooked
  • lettuce, arugula
  • mustard
  • ketchup
  • buns
  • cheese
  • tomato slices
  • mayonnaise
  • pickles
  • sheeps’ milk cheese

Directions

  • Soak beans and quinoa (separate) overnight or at least for 8 hours. 
  • After 8 hours, rinse water off of the beans. Place them in a bigger pot, cover well with water, bring to a boil and turn down the heat. Cook for 2 hour covered on low heat or you can use a pressure cooker.
  • Rinse quinoa, sauté on medium heat in a little oil for a few minutes and add 1/2 cup of water. Again bring it to a boil, turn down and cook on low heat until the liquid is absorbed, 12-15 minutes.
  • Cook wild rice in 1 1/2 cups of water, 1/4 tsp of salt. Bring it to a boil and then turn the heat down and cook with cover half way covering the pot. Do not cover the pot completely.
  • In a large bowl, mash the 1 1/2 cups of cooked beans leaving it a bit chunky. This is a quick and easy process, I would not use a machine to do this step.
  • Add 1/4 cup of cooked quinoa, cooked 3/4 cup of wild rice and the rest of the ingredients. Mix thoroughly. 
  • Make 4 patties.
  • Heat a pan with some oil over medium heat.
  • Place patties in the pan and cook them 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Use a wide spatula for turning and taking the patties out. 
  • Take the 2 outer layers of the onion off and slice it thinly. Sauté the onions for about 10-15 minutes over high medium heat until brown. 
  • Slice the mushrooms thinly. Add them to the onions and continue sautéing for another 10 minutes or until mushrooms are soft or make Mushrooms sauce – see below.
  • Serve patties warm and garnish with condiments, vegetables of your choice.  

Mushroom Sage Gravy Recipe (optional)

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces of mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 3/4 tsp dried sage or 2 fresh leaves
  • 1/4 tsp of dried rosemary crushed or 1 fresh spring
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 cup of stock
  • 1/4 cup of creme

Directions

  • In a saucepan, warm oil over medium heat, add rosemary for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook until they release their liquid and mushrooms are well browned. Stir frequently. Add thyme, sage and let cook for one minute. Add stock, stir, and let simmer for 10 minutes and reduce heat to low.
  • Transfer half of gravy to a blender and puree until completely smooth. Add pureed mushrooms back into mushroom mixture and stir. See if you like the consistency. If not thick enough, puree a little more of the mixture.
  • Serve on the burger if you like.

enjoy!

Sources

Rhubarb cobbler

Enjoy this true American deliciousness! The juicy base is sweet and sour nicely complementing each other and is covered with the perfectly crumpling, soft topping … Oh and it is begging for a bit of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Cobbler is an American deep-dish fruit dessert. It became a favorite right after I took my first bite. Cobbler is simple yet it is bursting with rich flavor; there is something about it that surely grabs everyone’s attention.  You can make it with whatever fruit is available in the season. My mother-in-law made it with rhubarb and berries and that is how I keep making it. Foreigners often complain that Americans don’t have a cuisine of their own. Well this one is an American specialty for sure. 

I looked up the history of cobbler so I will try to summarize what I read.  Well, one is certain that it is a North American dessert. It seems like it was invented by the settlers from the Old World when they tried to make one of their stupendous pies but they did not have all the tools and ingredients that was available back at home.  As an immigrant, I can relate to this experience.  The word cobbler might come from the word ‘cobeler’ that meant wooden bowl.  They might have attempted to make a more simple version of a traditional pie recipe in a small wooden bowl by the fire.  Also, another meaning could come from the word cobbler, the person who mends shoes; kind of like how the dough is mended together like a patchwork. However, none of these speculations of the word’s origin is official.  

As I mentioned earlier, I like to make the cobbler with rhubarb, especially in the spring. It is the first fruit, oops I meant to say vegetable here. Yes people often think it is a fruit because of its fruity, sour taste but it is in fact a vegetable. I can’t believe I get excited about rhubarb but it is really the first new plant that shows up at the farmers market in the Midwest … and there is nothing else here for weeks. While it is not a fruit, it can be prepared with sugar to –kind of cheat- to pretend that like they are fruits.  I also like to add rhubarb because the sour flavor nicely offsets the sweetness of the berries.

Besides its fame in the culinary world, rhubarb has favorable health benefits too. Rhubarb is native to Siberia and has been around for thousands of years. It has been grown in Asia for its medicinal properties. With the big migration, it was adopted in Europe as well. The settlers brought it over to the United Staes in the 1700’s and was known as the pie plant. The whole plant except for the leaves are used. The stalks are used as food and the roots are used as medicine. The leaves contain oxalic acid and can be poisonous in larger quantities and are therefore not used. It is cooling and detoxifying to the liver which makes it an ideal spring vegetable. In addition, the plant contains high amounts of manganese, magnesium, calcium, potassium, polyphenolic flavonoids and Vitamines B complex, C, and K. It has a favorable effect on digestion, bone growth, skin health, metabolism, cardiovascular health and improves circulation.    

Berries are also healthy. Particularly, raspberries and blackberries have a sweet and sour flavor and neutral thermal nature. These qualities make the berries ideal for baking. They nourish the kidneys and the liver and also build and cleanse the blood of toxins.

This is a crowd pleaser! The only complaint I have ever heard was why I didn’t make more and I bring this dessert often to potlucks so I know a lot of people have eaten it. I really think cobbler is as good as pie is or even better. The trick is to get the best rhubarb and the sweetest berries you can find. You can grow them yourself or get them at the farmers’ market. This is really important as the main part of the cobbler is the fruits! Also, make sure you use the exact measurements! Remember it is still kind of a pie recipe. Can’t just say I take a little bit of this and and a little of that …

RECIPE

This recipe is straight out of the cookbook Joy of Cooking.

Serving size: 8 people

Ingredients

  • Have all the ingredients at room temperature exept for the butter
  • 1 lb of rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch pieces (in the store get the thinner stalks)
  • 1 lb of berries – I used blackberries and raspberries
  • ½ cup of sugar or more only if your fruits are not sweet enough. Only use more if your berries are not sweet. 1/2 cup is plenty otherwise, trust me!
  • salt
  • 2 Tbsp of  flour or 1 Tbsp of corn starch
  • 1 1/3  cup of all purpose white flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp of sugar
  • 5 Tbsp of cold unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup of cream or 1/2 cup of milk (honestly milk is fine too)
  • 1 lightly beaten egg for the top
  • extra sugar for the top
  • vanilla ice cream for serving

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 F. 
  • Have ready an oven proof baking dish that is about 2 quarts large in volume and 2 inches deep (ex 11 x 4 x 2 inch).  
  • Take fruits and the rhubarb out of the freezer if they are frozen, let them defrost. Wash rhubarb stalks and cut them into 1/2-1 inch long. If they are wide, you will have to cut them in half as well. Place the rhubarb and the berries in the dish. They need to be at room temperature before you can put the cobbler into the oven. 
  • Add pinch of salt, cornstarch and sugar and mix. Set aside and wait for at least 15 minutes or at least until rhubarb exudes some juice.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour with the baking powder, pinch of salt and sugar.
  • Add the butter and mix. This is such a satisfying experience for me to do by hand but if you prefer you can use your food processor for this step. 
  • Add the cream or milk stirring with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Gently need the dough in the bowl 5-10 times if needed, turning and pressing any loose pieces into the dough. Dust the top and the bottom of the dough.  
  • Now we will make a patchwork. Divide the dough into 8 parts and flatten each piece between your two hands about 1/4 inch thick. Place this piece on top of the fruit mix. Keep doing this until you have used up all the dough and the fruits are completely covered.  The dough should be workable but not sticky. If the dough becomes too sticky and hard to work with, put it into the fridge for about 10 minutes to become the proper consistency. This can happen in the summer when it is warm outside.
  • Lightly brush the top of the dough with the eggs and sprinkle with a little sugar. 
  • Put the cobbler in the oven and bake for about 40-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the berries are bubbling. 
  • Let stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving. 
  • You can serve the cobbler with vanilla ice cream if you wish.

enjoy!

Sources

  1. Irma S. Rombauer: Joy of Cooking
  2. Paul Pitchford: Healing with Whole Foods
  3. http://www.etymonline.com/word/cobbler
  4. https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/rhubarb/

Buckwheat pancakes with Rhubarb sauce

Surprise your mom for breakfast with these delicious, healthy pancakes for Mothers’ Day or just treat yourself any time.

This naturally gluten-free pancake recipe is the successful marriage of the traditional American buttermilk pancakes and the Russian buckwheat pancakes (blini). I wanted to replace the white flour with something healthy and then I remembered the Russian pancakes and started experimenting. Let’s face it, white flour is tasty but is not very nutritious or filling. Furthermore, many of the flour alternatives can be also lesser quality. So after using buckwheat over the years, I decided to experiment and see how it would do here. I have to say the result quickly became a family favorite. 

Buckwheat is an ancient plant but has been forgotten. It has recently become a popular food again in the West because it lacks gluten that causes gastrointestinal problems in so many people. It is a staple in Russia, in fact, the Russians have survived on it for centuries. Eating buckwheat might have been their secret. So why should we eat buckwheat on a regular basis? Even if there is no crisis, buckwheat can be included in our diet as it is incredibly healthy and nourishing. It is not a grain but it is the seed of the buckwheat plant and does not cause digestive problems like wheat does but it actually nourishes the digestive tract.

Let’s look at its energetics. Its neutral thermal nature and sweet flavor are an indication that it is a tonic food. It is rich in protein (13g). It has also intestine cleansing and strengthening and appetite improving ability.  Rutin, a bioflavonoid in the grain strengthens the capillaries and blood vessels, hinders hemorrhaging, decreases blood pressure, and promotes circulation in the hands and feet. Rutin also has the ability to protect against radiation. 

To improve the texture, I added tapioca pearls.  The trick is to grind both grains before you make the pancakes. It is worth it! The store-bought flours yield a lesser quality for sure. You can get the tapioca flour ready ground instead of grinding it yourself if your grinder isn’t strong enough but the store-bought buckwheat flour is too bitter.  Another trick/personal preference is when you grind the grains, leave the flour a little coarse. This gives the pancakes a bit of texture. Try not to grind too long though.

In the spring, I like to serve the pancakes with rhubarb sauce. The rhubarb stems are great in the spring.  It is the first fruit, oops I meant to say vegetable here. Yes people often think it is a fruit because of its fruity, sour taste but it is in fact a vegetable. I can’t believe I get excited about rhubarb but it is really the first new plant that shows up at the farmers market in the Midwest. While it is not a fruit, it can be prepared with sugar to –kind of cheat- make them be like they are fruits.  Rhubarb has favorable health effects as it is cooling and detoxifying to the liver.  (Just on the side, I will have a rhubarb cobbler recipe soon posted when the berries are ready. Please check back). 

EDIT: I have been trying to figure out how to balance the sourness of the rhubarb. As I mentioned before I got the recipe straight out of the cookbook Joy of Cooking but there is something missing. I can’t believe I didn’t come up with this earlier. So I added a little fresh chopped ginger root, orange peel and sprinkled it with a little cinnamon powder and salt. It did the trick so I will add these ingredients to the recipe now.

The PANCAKE RECIPE

What you need

  • 2 cups of freshly grounded buckwheat groats
  • 1 cup of freshly ground tapioca pearls
  • 2 cups of fresh buttermilk or powder would work too
  • 2 cups of milk (use only 1 cup of milk if using already ground tapioca flour)
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 whole eggs.- lightly beaten (at room temperature)
  • 3 Tbsp of melted butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • sugar (optional)
  • oil for the pan (I like to use ghee but sunflower or grapeseed oils are fine too)

ground tapoica

Ground buckwheat

Directions

  • Grind buckwheat and tapioca. Put them in a large bowl. 
  • Add the buttermilk and let the mixture sit overnight but at least for 4 hours.
  • Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, corn starch.  I like to add these right before I make the pancakes.
  • Have a bowl ready.
  • Melt butter in a heavy bottom pot and add to the bowl.
  • Wisk eggs. You can beat egg whites separate if you want to make pancakes fluffier.  Add to the bowl.
  • Add milk to the bowl.
  • Mix together and when ready add this mixture to the grains from earlier.
  • Blend batter using a wooden spoon. Stir only until it’s just blended. Do not over stir!
  • Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium heat. You can flicker water across the surface and if it beads up and sizzles, it’s ready!
  • Poor or scoop the batter onto the baking pan, using approximately 1/3 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
  • Serve with your choice of yoghurt, rhubarb sauce, maple syrup, nuts, fruits, jam etc. 

The RHUBARB RECIPE

What you need

  • 4 cups of rhubarb stalks (Choose firm stalks that are not wilted).  
  • ¼ – ½ cup of sugar (can omit if sugar is an issue)
  • little salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger root (finally chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp orange peel
  • cinnamon powder + freshly graded nutmeg – (I use apple spice from penzeys.com)

Preparation

  • Wash and trim the top greens off.
  • Cut into 1 inch pieces lengthwise. If the stalks are wide (more than 1 ½ inches), slice them lengthwise in half.
  • Put rhubarb and sugar in a smaller pot for about 15 minutes or until the rhubarb exudes some juice.  No need to add water! Add also the ginger and orange peel.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
  • Reduce the heat to low.
  • Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until the rhubarb is tender and the liquid thickened. (10-15 minutes).
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Let it cool for 15 minutes, the sauce will thicken as it cools.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Keeps in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  • (This recipe is straight out of the cookbook Joy of Cooking).

enjoy!

Sources

Written by twincitiesherbs.com

Sorrel and nettle stew (Sóska és csalán fözelék)

Every year, I look forward to spring just so I can make this dish. The main ingredients are sorrel and nettle. The sorrel gives a really nice, pleasant lemony flavor and the nettles add the substance, texture and protein to the dish. It is a simple recipe to make, the hardest part is really to find the sorrel and the nettles. Our ancestors regularly ate them in the spring but today unfortunatelly they are seldom available in stores. My recipe is based on the Hungarian sorrel stew recipe (sóska fözelék) with the addition of the nettles. Years ago, I could not find any recipes that had nettles so I decided to experiment. In my opinion, the results are fantastic.

Before I post the recipe, I would like to talk about nettles and sorrel. Nettle is like the super food of the US and Europe. When I think of Nettles, two things come to my mind: nutritive tonic and the kidneys. It is very high in protein, vitamins, and minerals and makes a nutritious food for sure. Just to demonstrate its high protein content, Nettles have 40-45 grams of protein compared to beef that has 20 grams. It is rich in iron, silica and potassium. It also supplies vital energy to the kidneys that can be helpful for everybody but especially during pregnancy, menopausal years and old age. In general, it is safe to include in the diet and should be consumed during the spring months. Just make sure you get the leaves before the plants start flowering.

With its sharp, tangy taste, sorrel adds zest to dishes. However, it is not just added for its flavor but it is also a nutritious goodness. Sorrel is a green leafy vegetable with calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, vitamin C and a fair amount of fiber. Polyphenolic acid, flavonoids, anthocyanins are the beneficial organic compounds in sorrel. No wonder our ancestors frequently included it in their diet. It aids digestion, improves energy and circulation, boosts immunity, heart and vascular health, improves kidney health, builds strong bones, improves eye sight, and one’s overall functional health.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of washed sorrel or you can use spinach too but the dish will taste differently.
  • 1/4-1/2 lb of washed nettles (the nettles should be fresh and stingy but they will not hurt your mouth after you cook them).
  • vegetable oil (I like sunflower)
  • 2 strips of longer bacon (optional)
  • 1 onion finally chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp of sweet Hungarian paprika (powder)
  • about 1/2 cup of water, vegetable or meat stock (preferably home-made)
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • freshly ground pepper

PREPARATION

  • Saute the onions in some oil until translucent and can smell the wonderful aroma of the onion.
  • If desired add bacon and fry until crisp.
  • Keeping the oil warm add the paprika and the garlic, mix for 30 seconds and add cold water or stock.
  • Add sorrel and nettles.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Turn the heat down and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes.
  • When done, take off heat and let the dish cool off.
  • Chop the vegetables in a food processor. Here you are trying to create a sauce with a little texture.
  • Add salt and sour cream, black pepper.
  • Serve on mashed potatoes along with fried eggs or hard boiled eggs.

enjoy! Jó étvágyat!

Sources

Spinach quiche

This is a lovely dish that can be made for any occasion. I like to take it to parties because it is tasty and transports easily.  It is great for the spring and Easter of course but can be served any time. 

So let’s see what it is. Quiche is a custard like mixture of cream, eggs, cheese along with vegetables and meat in a shell of savory pastry dough.  I could not find where it originated from – France? Germany? or England? and folks, no fighting over this :), however, people today most likely consider it French.  I can easily see people in villages coming up with this dish. Just throw a little bit of eggs and some cream into a pie shell along some vegetables and meat and there is a fabulous dish that makes a meal. Originally, it didn’t have cheese, so perhaps – it is my hypothesis- a French contribution was the addition of the cheese.  Speaking of cheese, make sure you get the best quality cheese you can find or afford. Your dish will surely benefit from it. I use French or Midwestern cheeses from Farmer John’s farm in Dodgeville, WI.

This is not just any old quiche recipe. After experimenting with numerous pie recipes, I believe I finally found the right one. Honestly there are many boring ones out there … it is just a pleasure to have embarked on this one. As I share all my favorite, time honored recipes on my blog, you can`t go wrong with this one, it is a tasty one. The pie shell is from Martha Stewart. It is her pie shell recipe that she uses for her fall pies but it works great here as well. The result is a mouth watering dish.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS FOR THE DOUGH

  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick of cold butter
  • 7 Tbsp of icy water or more if needed

INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING

  • 1 lb vegetables  I used spinach but you can use many others like asparagus, nettle, chard, broccoli etc. Just make sure you you cut it into small pieces otherwise it doesn’t look very appetizing
  • 4-8 oz mushrooms (thinly sliced)
  • 3 slices of bacon (omit if prepared for vegetarians)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 200 gram of feta cheese (crumpled into small pieces)
  • ½ cup of milk
  • ½ of cream
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp tarragon (crumpled between the fingers)
  • 3 whole eggs (lighly beaten)
  • 200 gram of another graded cheese like gruyere, parmesan

PREPARATION

  • Chill water in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • I’m using Martha Stewarts lovely pie shell recipe. Psst it also works for your Thanksgiving pies. Add the salt to the flour and mix it with the butter quickly in a food processor or use 2 knives.
  • Add the water and mix quickly until there is a nice ball.
  • Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and put it into the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
  • Take it out of the fridge. Using a rolling pin quickly roll it out into a circular shape so it fits the dish you use to bake the dough in.  Set it into the dish. You can press down into the dish so it fits snuggly. 
  • Put it into the fridge for another 1hour.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the filling.  
  • Sauté the spinach. You can add a little water. Chop it.
  • Sauté the mushrooms in a separate dish.   
  • Fry up the bacon so it is nice and crispy without burning it. 
  • Mix all these ingredients in a bowl and add the crumbled feta, whisked eggs. the milk and cream, black pepper, nutmeg, tarragon and mix.
  • Put the mixture in the pastry shell. 
  • Grade some cheese on the top.
  • Ready to be put into the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until done. When the blade of a knife comes out clean, it is ready.
  • Let cool. Serve warm.

enjoy!

Hot and sour burdock soup

When I go to Asian restaurants, I always wish I could make their foods. Well, here is one that can be easily made!

Spring is here! In the Midwest, one of the first edible foods in nature is Burdock root. A great way to include burdock in your diet is to make a soup with the roots. Asian cooks rave about their burdock soups that they make in the spring. I’m presenting a burdock root soup here that is inspired by Rosalee de la Foret’s blog. Well, here is one dish that can be easily made! There is really nothing exotic about this soup, all the ingredients can be found here in the US.

The website to the original recipe: https://learningherbs.com/remedies-recipes/hot-and-sour-soup-recipe/

As we transition from the winter into spring, it is important to pay attention to our digestion. Heavy foods in the winter might be clogging our livers that can lead to some dreaded health problems in the spring like fevers and tiredness. We tend to eat heavier foods during the winter months but now as our livers are waking up, our body is ready to embark on something lighter and easier to digest. The spring season is the time to attend to the liver and the gallbladder. Our body tends to cleanse itself naturally as we eat less. In addition, it is nice to add some bitter plants that aid the liver to accomplish this process. Our ancestors ate a lot of bitters in the spring. One of these spring bitters is burdock.

Burdock is a lovely plant. It has a distinct flavor. It is earthy, slightly sweet, and bitter. The bitter flavor is lacking in our diet today and is what our liver needs at this time. It cools and clears the stagnation that was caused by the heavier winter foods. Oh and one more … it is also aphrodisiac! So yes! … you can make it for your date dinner, too!

This soup works great in the spring. The burdock’s earthy, heavier flavor pairs nicely with the carrot’s sweet and light flavor. In addition to bitter flavor, the liver also needs the sour flavor that it gets from this sour dish as well. This soup is a big favorite in our family, yes even the kids like it. Perhaps it is because of its interesting, well balanced flavors. In fact, it has all five flavors: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and pungent!

Ingredients

  • 1 qt (or more to well cover the vegetables) of home-made stock (vegetable or pork, beef, chicken, fish). For the meat stock recipe, please refer to my Stuffed Cabbage recipe.
  • 1 cup of shredded burdock root (peeled and shredded through the largest holes of your grader) – if you don’t have it in your backyard, it is available at farmers’ markets, co-ops or also from Harmony Valley in Veroqua, WI.
  • 2 cup of shredded carrot (peeled and shredded)
  • 2 clove of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp of minced ginger
  • 2 handfuls of mushrooms (like morelle, shitake)
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 4 Tbsp of water
  • 4 Tbsp of rice or white vinegar
  • 2 lightly beaten egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • scallions
  • soy sauce
  • hard boiled eggs
  • hot red pepper or sriracha sauce (optional)

Recipe

  1. Bring stock to a boil.
  2. Add carrots, Burdock roots, mushrooms, the crushed garlic and ginger. After it boils, turn it down to low medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add vinegar and the cornstarch mixture. Keep stirring it becomes thick for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and stir egg yolk in gently. Add salt and hot red pepper (optional).
  5. Serve in a deep bowl. Garnish with scallions and add soy sauce to taste.
  6. You can add hard boiled eggs too. Bring some water in a pot to a boil and add the eggs at room temperature. Boil them for 7 and a half minutes. Take them out and put them into cold water. Peel and serv. If the eggs are cold, straight out of the fridge then the cooking time is 8 minutes.

Enjoy!

Sources:

Kitchari recipe

Kitchari! A nourishing vegetarian dish to make in the winter or the summer … whenever you are looking for something easy to digest.

Now that the holidays are over, our bodies want to have a little break from all the rich, heavy foods. However, spring isn’t here yet so we can’t eat all the lovely liver cleansing vegetables. In fact, spring is nowhere in site, just the past week it was -50F here in the Midwest. Even if the prediction of the groundhog is correct, spring won’t start until April here. Many people start dieting, removing nourishing foods from their diet but most fail because it is just too early.  So what can we do?  

I like to turn to the ancient Ayurveda cooking, in other words Indian cuisine! Most people associate Indian foods with something exotic. Yes, some of their dishes can be foreign to us, but their nourishing dish, the Kitchari can be made any time, anywhere and surely by anybody.  Really, Indians make it on a regular basis, serve it during holidays with the rich foods to help digestion and even give it to sick people to recover from an illness. It is an inexpensive dish that millions eat on a daily basis. I asked my Ayurveda teacher if we could eat it during the cold season. She said yes even when it is -50F – just add the warming spices like ginger, cumin, and hot pepper. You can serve local vegetables like carrots, spinach, kale, potatoes, cauliflower, onions etc. Of course, it would go nicely with some Indian rice and roti. 

This is a very healthy dish. Usually, Ayurveda practitioners advice their clients to eat kitchari if they have any acute or chronic issues. It just does amazing things… The three spices turmeric, cumin, coriander are used along with the moong beans. The kitchari diet should last for 1 week when one is only allowed to eat kitchari, rice, grains and vegetables. Of course all the fried foods, fried vegetables, paneer have to be left out. Moong beans are used but if you can get the yellow split moong beans, they are even better as they are easier to digest.

Recipe

Kitchari ingredients

  • 2 tsp of ghee (I use home-made)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp of coriander powder
  • 1 cup of split moong dal (yellow) – soak for at least 4 hours
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp of whole cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp rock salt
  • about 4 cups of water or chicken stock
  • 1 inch of fresh minced ginger root
  • black pepper
  • cilantro to taste
  • yoghurt
  • lemon

Preparation

Indian rice ingredients

  • 1 cups of white Basmati rice
  • 2 cups of water or meat stock
  • 2 tsp ghee (homemade the best)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • little piece of cinnamon
  • pinch of  saffron (8-10 strings)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • raisins
  • ¼ tsp little turmeric

Preperation

  • Clean and soak mung beans overnight but at least for 2 hours. Pour off water and use fresh cold water to cook the beans for 1-1.5 hour.
  • Making the gravy. Saute the onions on medium high heat.
  • When you smell the nice aroma add the ginger, cumin seeds stir and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the powders (turmeric, cumin, coriander), stir. Add garlic, stir.
  • Add cold stock, stir.
  • Add 1 chopped tomato and cook for about 5-10 minutes until it becomes saucy.
  • Add chopped carrots. Indians add the rice here.
  • Bring to a boil, turn down and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Add in the cooked moong beans and cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Prepare the rice.
  • Serve with rice, cilantro and lemon.

Indians cook the dish with the rice. I personally like to serve the rice on the side and prepare separate.

Enjoy!

Traditional Hungarian stuffed cabbage (töltött káposzta)

I don’t think it is an accident that stuffed cabbage is a Christmas dish.  You can surely serve it any time but it is the perfect dish for the holidays.

I smile every time I remember how my three year old daughter reacted when she saw stuffed cabbage on the Christmas table and screamed ‘YUCKY’.  However, after she tried it she realized how delicious it was. Ever since then she makes sure that it is on the Christmas menu every year.

Stuffed cabbage is a popular winter dish in Hungary even though our ancestors didn’t make it. It is a dish that was inspired by the Turks and we started making it only after the Turkish invasion, in the 1600’s. They called it szárma from the Turkish word sarmak.  However, many of us today can’t imagine Christmas without it. My mom made it every year. 

I don’t think it is an accident that stuffed cabbage is a Christmas dish.  You can surely serve it any time of the year but it is the perfect dish for the holidays.  In the old days, families butchered their pigs and the meat was ready to be used by around this time.  Also, there weren’t too many vegetables available except for a few like cabbage and onions. Not to mention that the dish can be kept in the cold for a couple of days. In fact, it tastes the best after a few days. This was an important consideration because Christmas went on for days back in the old times and according to traditional customs, women were not allowed to work during the celebrations.

The recipe is not too difficult, though it is a bit time-consuming. Just remember you won’t have to cook for 3 days afterwards! There are many variations of this recipe but this is how I make it. Please feel free to experiment with it.

What you need

Meat stock:
  • 1 lb of ox tail
  • 1 lb of beef bone
  • 2-3 Tbsp of black pepper corn. I like to add a lot of peppercorns because they give a really nice flavor to the dish. I used to add them to the pot with the stuffed cabbage.  This is a minor correction to the original recipe because people were complaining that they were biting on the peppercorns regularly when they were eating the cabbages. This way, people can enjoy the the nice flavor but they don’t have to bite on the pepper corns. Of course, you can grind fresh peppercorn on the dish when serving too.   
  • 4 bay leaves
  • carrots
  • turnips, rutabaga (optional)
  • garlic
  • 1 large onion
  • few cloves of garlic
  • 1 celery stalk or the root
For the cabbage rolls:
  • high quality oil (lard, sunflower seed oil)
  • 2 lbs of ground pork (can be half beef)
  • 1 larger onion
  • 1 heaping tsp Hungarian powdered paprika
  • 2 slices of bacon (optional)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 lb of saurkraut, drained and washed
  • 1 tsp of salt or more
  • 1/2 cup of canned tomatoes
  • 4 slices thin cut Pork chops (you can prepare separate or in the soup)
  • smoked meat like kielbasa, sausages (optional)
  • few strings of fresh thyme (optional)
  • 1/2-1  cup of uncooked  rice
  • 1/2- 1 cup of water to cook the rice in
  • 1-2 heads of large Savoy cabbage or green cabbage or sour cabbage leaves
  • oil,
  • 4 garlic cloves,
  • ground black pepper
  • marjoram
  • 2 tsp of Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 2 eggs
  • hot pepper to taste
  • To serve: Sour cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Hot paprika or Erös Pista to taste
  • Salt to taste
Preparation

Meat stuffing

 

  • The day before you make the dish, prepare the meat stock. You just put all the ingredients together, bring to a boil, turn down and slowly cook for 8 hours. 
  • Fill a larger pot with cold water and start boiling it. This will be used to soften the leaves. Omit if you  have sour cabbage leaves. 
  • Cook the rice in the water. Just add enough water so it can cook but will not get soft. You are pre-cooking the rice here, it will continue cooking in the stuffing. 
  • While the rice is cooking, start preparing the base of the dish. Sauté some onion in some oil, add bacon if you desire and cook for 5-10 minute or until the onion looks nicely transulant and the bacon is crisp. Add paprika, stir and add a little cold liquid  (have it ready) and stir. Add 1 lb of the sour kraut and mix. I also like to add some meat, sausages to the dish. It is especially nice to add some smoked meat. 
  • Prepare the stuffing. Mix all ingredients  (the half cooked rice, sautéed onion, paprika, black pepper, garlic cloves,  salt, marjoram, eggs and the meat) together. 
  • Take the leaves off the cabbage gently one by one. Put the leaves in the boiling water (from step 2) for 1 minute or until they are soft.
  • Fill the cabbage leaves in the middle with about 1 heaping tablespoon of stuffing or more if leaf is bigger and fold them on all four sides so the stuffing is tucked inside the leaves nicely. Be careful you don’t fold them too tight because the mixture will expand a little. You can close the leaves with a toothpick if you want but it is really not necessary.  This may sound like a difficult task but really what you do here is you tuck the filling inside the leaves and fold each side onto the stuffing so it is nested inside the leaves. 
  • You can just lay the stuffed leaves on the bottom of the pot one by one next to each other pot, place the rest of the sour-kraut on top of the stuffed cabbage. 
  • Pour the meat  stock that you made the day before  into the pot. Bring the whole dish to a boil and turn down and cook on very low heat slowly for 1 ½  hours. 
  • Meanwhile you can prepare the pork chops. I like to serve some meat on the side so people who like a lot of meat or prefer not to have the stuffed cabbage can have some meat. Brown pork chops on both sides and a little white wine, bay leaves, and spices. Cook for 1 hour. 
  • When done, take cabbages out one by one and place them on a serving plate.  Then place the sour kraut mixture on the top and pour liquid over the dish. Serve the sour cream on top. Grind some fresh black pepper and add hot paprika to taste.

Merry Christmas! Enjoy!  Jó étvágyat!

Text, photos, recipe by twincitiesherbs.com