Sauerkraut Mushroom Soup (Щи) – vegan

Happy New Year!

Hope you all had a very lovely Christmas and were able to indulge in as many Christmas dishes as you could … but now many of us tend to gravitate towards lighter yet nourishing foods. In general, to tune in with the seasons, winter is more about dormancy and resting, giving our body a break especially after all the feasting and partying of Christmas.

Sauerkraut Mushroom soup is a hugely popular winter dish in Russia that will nourish your body and soul. It is special for the Russian Orthodox Christans because this is what they serve during the long fast from the end of November until January 7th. In accordance with the strict rules no meat, bacon, animal fat, butter, eggs or milk may be eaten during this time period. This tradition was particularly hard for the farmers who had to work outside and needed heavier foods to survive. The cooks had to be creative and came up with this delicious, hearty soup … that today would fit the vegan definition.

This is a lovely soup that has three simple main ingredients: sauerkraut, mushrooms and the barley. Mushrooms are a nice substitution for meat so use as much as you desire. In Eastern Europe, it is customary in the fall to go out in the woods and pick mushrooms. People then dry them to use during the cold months. If you don’t have access to wild mushrooms, buy stronger flavored mushrooms like morrel, oyster or even crimini mushrooms could work. The sauerkraut of course gives it the nice sour flavor and has immense health benefits. The crunchy barley adds the robust part to the soup.

PLEASE READ !!! I use cep mushrooms but if you don’t know how to find edible mushrooms in the wild, definitely go to the stores and purchase them there. Mushrooms are very valuable but there can be some poisonous ones. Stores sell some fine mushrooms that are dried and are worth using. Just soak them in water and then they are ready to be used.

The soup will need a good home-made stock. Both a meat based or a vegetable based stock would work great. You can use beef bones but the vegatarian version is great too. For the vegetarian stock I added onions, garlic, 2 bay leaf, 1 heaping Tbsp black peppercorn, handfull of mushrooms, 1 celery root, couple of carrots and parsley root. Honestly, we could not taste much difference. Don’t forget to put celery root in the stock it surely adds something special to the flavor.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 lb sourkraut
  • 80 gr (3oz) dried mushrooms or about 6 oz fresh mushrooms (Please see above for more info on safety).
  • 1 cup dry pearled barley
  • 1-2 qt of vegetable or beef stock (please see above)
  • bay leaves
  • caraway seeds
  • few thyme springs
  • vegetable oil
  • shallots or small onion
  • garlic
  • salt
  • black peppercorn

Method

  • If using dried mushrooms, soak in water for a couple hours or maybe even overnight if needed.
  • Make the stock. Please see above for more info.
  • Make the barley. Boil 3 cups of water and put barley in the boiling water. Turn down and let cook for 1 hour without cover.
  • In a medium saucepan, sautee the shallots in a little oil for a few minutes.
  • Add the garlic on low heat. Mix.
  • Add drained sauerkraut, thyme spring, caraway seeds, bay leaves. Cover with stock. Cook for 1 hour.
  • For the last 10 minutes, add the mushrooms slices.
  • Take out the larger thyme pieces and bay leaf.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with hardier bread.

enjoy!

Text and photo by twincitiesherbs.com.

Winter / Christmas dishes

Winter has finally arrived in the Midwest of the United State … and it looks like it is here to stay after all the crazyness of this year. We had snow in September and in October … and had 80 degree weather inbetween. I am definitely ready!

December brings forth Winter Wonderland and the Holidays. When I think of Christmas dishes, warming and festive winter foods come to my mind. For me Christmas is a lot about cooking and baking … and of course music. I’m already looking forward to all the baking and cooking I will be doing and singing along my favorite Christmas music…

Please read my previous blogs from last year on winter eating and tasty dishes and desserts.

Happy Holidays!

Eating with the Winter season (no recipe)

Christmas dishes

Vegetarian festive strudel with cabbage and mushrooms

Marinated pork with prunes

Traditional Hungarian stuffed cabbage

Christmas Desserts

Hungarian poppyseed, apple cake (gluten free, dairy free)

Hungarian poppyseed roll

Poached pears

enjoy!

Poppyseed cake with chocolate ganache

This is my husband’s favorite cake that his mom made for his birthday every year. The recipe comes from his family, even his grandmother made it and it is now my favorite cake, too. When I talked to my husband’s cousins, they all raved about this cake, the Poppy seed cake … it was so funny to hear. No surprise they all think it is the best cake on Earth … it is moist, crunchy and delicious …

This cake takes some time and patience to make but is not too difficult. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature, it should be around 70F. The recipe has three parts: the dough, the vanilla creme (creme patisserie) and the chocolate ganache. Please read the following notes on how to make the cake.

The dough requires sifted flour. Sifting flour is an easy process, cooks generally use a flour sifter. If you don’t have one no worries, you can use a strainer or a wire wisk. The idea is to get air into the flour. Then once sifted, measure out the 2 cups and return the extra flour into the flour bin.

You need a 9″ round cake form. For a long time I only had one cake form and I was fine. I just had to wait until the form cooled off after baking the first batch. I ended up buying a second one a few years ago. It is nice to have two but you can get by with only one.

The vanilla creme is pretty straight forward. I used a double boiler to cook the ingredients. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can use a metal bowl that fits on the top of the bottom pot securely but does not touch the bottom of the pot.

The chocolate ganacche is what brings all the ingredients, the cake together. It should be made a little softer than it is generally made for cakes … should stick to the surface but does not have to be hard. Also, the sweetness of the chocolate is a personal preference. I like the sweet chocolate personally but you can use whatever you prefer, of course.

RECIPE

Ingredients

Makes about 10 slices

Dough

  • 2/3 cup whole poppyseed
  • 1 cup milk, divided
  • 12 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 -1 cup of sugar (to taste)
  • 2 cups of SIFTED flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 egg whites (save 3 yolks for creme)

Creme Patissiere

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 egg yolk (saved from earlier step)
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Chocolate ganacche

  • 6 oz baking chocolate (I used sweet)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Preparation

Please check notes above for more info on how to make this cake.

Making the dough

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Have all ingredients at room tepmerature (70F).
  • Soak the poppy seed in 3/4 cup milk for 2 hours.
  • Cream butter with sugar. Set aside.
  • The amount of flour used is for sifted flour. Sift flour, baking powder, salt.
  • Add poppy seed mixture, butter/sugar mixture, vanilla and the remaining 1/4 cup of milk to the flour gradually. Do not overmix. Set aside.
  • Beat the four egg whites on high speed untill stiff.
  • Gently fold egg whites into the dough.
  • Seperate dough between two seperate greased and floured 9″ cake forms.
  • Try to make sure the top is flat.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until an inserted tooth pick comes out clean.

Making the vanilla patisserie

  • In a double boiler, bring milk to a boil over medium heat.
  • Meanwhile, wisk the three egg yolks, sugar together. Add flour, mix. Add warm milk gradually and mix.
  • Pour mixture back into the double boiler pot and cook over high heat. Wisk continuously for about 5 minutes or until mixture thickens.
  • Take off heat and add vanilla.
  • Let it cool.

Making the chocolate ganacche

You can use the clean double boiler here again. Melt the chocolate and add the heavy cream. Mix.

Assembling the cake

  • Place the vanilla creme in-between the two cake layers. (Use the ‘prettier’ cake for your top layer). Make sure vanilla creme is cooled off. Spread chocolate ganacche on the top.
  • Decorate the top to your liking.
  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

enjoy!

Photos and text by twincitiesherbs.com.

Festive strudel with cabbage, mushrooms and lentils (Vegetarian)

I like challenges … well ok sometimes it is a bit uncomfortable … but then I end up with something delicious like the dish I’m presenting here today.

The savory stuffing made with cabbage, mushrooms and lentils is wrapped in a flakey strudel dough and is seasoned with the warming spices of the season. To make it even more festive, serve it with port sauce and brussel sprouts with chestnuts.

I was looking for a vegetarian Christmas dish… seriously, traditionally would there be such a thing? … I have seen mushroom strudel served in the winter before but did not find it filling enough as a main dish. Then came the idea … maybe because I was craving cabbage strudel the whole fall … to make the strudel with half mushrooms and half cabbage … then added the lentils and the cheese in place of the meat and a few spices and … this festive dish was born. Cabbage is a staple vegetable for the winter and has been traditionally paired with mushrooms. My non-vegetarian guests really enjoyed a slice with their meat dish. Of course, the vegetarians were asking for seconds.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • oil
  • 4 sheets of filo dough
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 4-8 oz mushrooms (crimini) (chopped into small pieces)
  • 2-4 oz of savoy cabbage (I prefer savoy but green cabbage is fine)
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup uncooked lentils (1/2 cup of cooked lentils)
  • handful of chopped walnuts
  • handful of lightly chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 egg + 1 egg for egg wash
  • 8 oz (220gr) of feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of meat or vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp grainy mustard
  • few thyme springs
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • freshly graded nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt + more for the top
  • pepper

Port sauce Ingredients

  • 1 cup of port or white wine
  • 1/2 cup stock (meat or vegetable)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallotts
  • 1 Tbsp butter or oil
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2 springs of thyme
  • 1 spring rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup heavy creme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 garlic clove

Directions for the strudel

Preheat oven to 380F.

Take filo dough out of the freezer. Let it thaw slowly.

Clean and soak the lentils for a few hours. Cook lentils.

Chop up the shallots and the celery and sauté them in some oil for 5- 10 minutes. Set aside.

Chop up and sauté the mushrooms in some oil for 10 more minutes or until the mushrooms are tender. Add to previous mixture.

Start slicing the cabbage up and cut them up into small pieces. Discard the lager veins of the cabbage so you are left with the tender leaves only. Sautee the cabbage leaves for about 10 minutes. Add paprika and the garlic to activate for 1 minute, stir and add the cold stock. Add chopped thyme leaves, nutmeg and chopped rosemary leaves. Cook the mixture for about 10 minutes on low heat. Add to the onion mixture from earlier.

Chop up the nuts. I leave the hazelnuts chunkier. The walnuts are coarsely chopped. A small food processor can be used. Add to previous onion mixture.

In a medium sized bowl, add 1 lightly beaten egg, mustard, the nuts, the cooked lentils, mushroom/ cabbage mixture from above, cheese, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Let the stuffing cool, refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Take 7 sheets of filo dough and set it on a wooden board. I like to put a piece of parchment paper below the filo dough, it is helpful for rolling. Drizzle some oil and grade some nutmeg. Spread the filling evenly on the sheet leaving 1 inch on each side empty. Roll it up. Placed it in an oiled baking dish.

Lightly beat 1 egg, add some freshly graded nutmeg and salt. Spread it on top of the rolled strudel. Wait for 5-10 minutes until egg wash is absorbed. Apply the egg-wash again. The 1 egg should cover the strudel both times. You can sprinkle additional salt and nutmeg on the top. This will make the crust really tasty.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes or until top is nice and brown.

Put left-over filo dough if there is any left in the fridge gently wrapped up in plastic bags so the leaves don’t dry out.

Serve hot with the port sauce (see below) and brussel sprouts with chestnuts. I also like to add cranberry sauce (recipe).

Directions for the port sauce

In a small pot, sautee the shallots in some oil or butter. Add the flour for 1 min, stir. Add the garlic, stir for 30 seconds.

Add the wine and stock. Stir.

Add the thyme and rosemary springs. Cover the pot.

Cook for about 20 minutes.

Take out the bay leaves, thyme and rosemary springs.

Take off the heat, add the cream, salt and pepper.

Serve right away. Can be stored in the fridge for many days.

enjoy! Happy Holidays!

Recipe, photos and text by twincitiesherbs.com

Pickled garlic – the Chinese way

Here is an old time favorite of mine … It was getting colder here so I thought it would be time to prepare for the winter. I enjoy eating garlic during the colder months, it is very healthy but I can live without that harsh taste. Pickling the garlic keeps all its health benefits but the garlic loses its strong taste. So this week, I would like to post a recipe for pickling garlic, the Chinese way. It is so easy to make and it is so delicious … but yes it will take 12 weeks to make…

In the recipe, proportions are given. The amount will depend on how much garlic you use. I used 4 heads of garlic. You can figure out the liquids after you put the garlic in the jar. Add the peeled garlic, enough to fill about 3/4 of the jar. Mix the 2 liquids, about half the soy sauce and half the rice vinegar and pour over the garlic. Make sure the liquid covers the garlic.

You will also need a jar. I like to use a wide mouth jar so I can take the garlic out easily. Also, I sterilize the jar before putting anything in it.

RECIPE

Ingredients

Jar of garlic, peeled

1/2 part soy sauce

1/2 part rice vinegar

1/2 part honey

Directions

Please see above for directions.

Peel the garlic. When you peel the garlic, make sure you do it gently and not cut the garlic. If you do, not a big deal, just the cloves will be a little unappealing but still edible.

Fill the jar 3/4 full with the peeled garlic.

Pour the vinegar/soy sauce mixture over the garlic and let it macarate for 6 weeks. Make sure the garlic is well covered with the liquid.

Then after 6 weeks remove the vinegar/soy sauce mixture and discard half of it. Replace it with honey. Pour this liquid back in the jar. You can gently warm up the honey so it can be mixed with the macerate.

Wait for six more weeks and then the pickled garlic is ready.

enjoy!

Text and photos by twincitiesherbs.com

Sauerkraut dish with kielbasa

This delicious dish is very easy to make. I probably should have called it the bachelor/bachelorette sauerkraut dish … but it is not just for the bachelors/bachelorettes, it is the perfect dish whenever you want to make something quick but tasty and healthy. Of course, you can never go wrong with sauerkraut, it is so healthy.

It is a super easy recipe but I would like to note a few things. The onion has to be finally chopped and the dish needs to be cooked well otherwise it will have a raw taste. Don’t forget to rinse the sauerkraut well with cold water as its liquid it is kept in is very acidic.

There are two types of sauerkraut. One is preserved with vinegar and the other is processed with salt. I prefer the salted version as it is less acidic and is better for health. This version acts as a probiotic and supports gut health and digestive functions. Of course, the vinigar version would be fine to use, too.

RECIPE

Serves 6-8 people

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, finally chopped
  • oil (sunflower, lard)
  • 4 large slices of bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika powder
  • 1 cup of cold meat stock
  • 1 apple, cored, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 2 lbs of sauerkraut, well rinsed
  • red chili pepper (optional)
  • 1 lb of kielbasa or sausage
  • sour cream to serve
  • rice or potatoes to serve
  • bread
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Chop the onions making sure they are finally chopped. Also chop the bacon. Sauté onions and bacon in some oil for about 10 minutes on medium high heat. Sauté the apple pieces for a few minutes.
  • Add the paprika, stir for 1 minute to activate and add the cold stock, stir.
  • Rinse sauerkraut well with water.
  • Add the sauerkraut, stir. Continue adding, the mustard, red chili pepper (optional) and caraway seeds. You can add the meat too. If the meat is already cooked, you do not have to add it at this point. Although I personally like it if any meat is cooked in the dish regardless whether it is precooked or not. If you don’t include it at this step, just add it at the end.
  • Cook for 45-60 minutes until the sauerkraut is well cooked.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with sour cream and your choice of bread, potatoes or rice.

enjoy!

Soup with sauerkraut, potatoes and beans (Jota)

In the summer when we were hiking in the Julian Alps in Slovenia, we found a quaint little restaurant that served simple and very tasty dishes. When we went hiking, we treated ourselves to a delicious lunch every time. Here, I found this interesting soup with sauerkraut, potatoes and beans.

Jota, the Slovenian soup with sauerkraut, potatoes and beans is just a simple dish that can warm your body and soul on a cold winter night or a cool, rainy day in the mountains in the summer.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 strips of bacon
  • 8oz smoked pork products of your choice (ribs are great)
  • 2 cloves of garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp of sweet paprika powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds, 2 bay leaves, 1 Tbsp black peppercorns (optional)
  • 2 cups of uncooked kidney beans or 30 oz canned kidney beans
  • meat stock
  • 1 fresh tomatoes, diced or canned
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 pound potatoes (diced)
  • 1 pound sauerkraut (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 heaping Tbsp of flour
  • sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sausage or eggs, optional

Method

  • Clean and soak the beans overnight or for at least 8 hours. Rinse soaking water off. Add fresh cold filtered water, bayleaves and cook the beans for 1.5 hour or until soft but not mushy. Set aside.
  • In a large pot, sauté onion and bacon for 10 minutes. Add paprika, stir and add garlic, stir. Add a tomatoes, tomatoe paste, stir and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse sauerkraut. Add potatoes, sauerkraut, caraway seeds, bay leaves, pork and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for at least 30 minutes or until potatoes and sauerkraut are very tender and the mixture is thick.
  • At the end, in a small bowl put 1 Tbsp of flour, mix it with some cooking liquid until smooth. Add into soup and cook for 5-10 minutes.
  • If you like your soup to have a thicker consistency, you can take out the potatoes and put them in a blender with some of the cooking liquid.
  • Add the cooked beans with some of its liquid and warm up the pot so the beans are warm. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with bread, sour cream, sausage.
  • This can be served right away but will taste better the next day or even just a few hours later.
The menu

enjoy!

Photos and text by twincitiesherbs.com.

Beet salad with caraway seeds

This is a simple tasty salad that is great for the winter. I just cook the beets and then use vinegar, oil, caraway seeds and salt to prepare the salad. I like to make a big jar full and keep it in refrigerator. You can serve it as a side dish.

For me, beets are the perfect plant to transition from the the winter into spring. Yes! Spring will come sooner or later, OK most likely later in the Midwest …

Beets are grounding, nourishing and detoxifying making it to be the perfect vegetable for this time of the year for the winter and the spring. They are sweet and rich in nutrients for healthy body with important vitamins and minerals. They nourish and detoxify the liver getting the body ready for the spring.

I used only one spice, caraway seeds. The bitter and aromatic caraway seeds have been around for a long time and used in many European countries to make food taste good. It is one of the herbs that the ancient Greek doctors first started using in cooking because of its health benefits especially for digestion. I often take caraway seeds for granted but it is such a neat little herb that needs a little more attention. Please check this website for more info on caraway seeds .

Ingredients

  • 4 smaller beets (about 1 lb)
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1/8-1/4 cup vinegar + 7/8 -3/4 water
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • pinch of sugar
  • black pepper, to taste

Preparation

  • Cook beets for 1 hour until soft but not mushy. I like to put them on a steamer.
  • When done take the peel off with a sharper small knife. Slice or shread the beets thin. You can do this with a knife or a slicer.
  • Make the dressing. Put 1/8 cup of vinegar in 1 cup cup. Add enough water so the cup is full. So you are adding 7/8th of a cup of water. Pour it in a medium sized bowl.
  • Add sliced cooked beets, caraway seeds, salt, oil and a pinch of sugar. Mix.
  • Grind some black pepper on the salad if you wish. Mix.
  • Serve at room temperature on the side of any dish.

enjoy!

Source

Photos, recipe and text by twincitiesherbs.

White black bean chili soup

-can be vegetarian

This tasty soup is a fun twist to the regular chili soup. The difference is that the beef is replaced with turkey or chicken and the chili beans are replaced with black beans but otherwise it is very similar to the well known beef chili soup … just even better in our opinions. Of course, you can add all your favorite foods that you would otherwise add to a chili soup.

The biggest change in the recipe is the meat. Many people prefer the lighter turkey or chicken meat. The chicken or turkey is very nice here, the thigh gives more flavor and is cheaper but the breast would work well too.

Maybe it would be more accurate to call this soup black and white chili soup. The white makes sense with the white meat but I used black beans instead of white beans because I think it has more flavor. Of course, you can use either.

EDIT: I decided to make a minor change to the title to better reflect what this soup is all about so I added black bean in the title. I have been calling it the white chili soup for years so I did not even give it much thought when I posted the recipe. I apologize but this will be more accurate otherwise it is still the same tasty soup recipe.

I decided to post this recipe now because beans especially black beans are great in the winter. The warming black beans have a sweet flavor and nourish the kidneys. They are antibacterial, anti-parasitic, detoxifying and have high levels of disease fighting antioxidants, numerous vitamins and minerals, protein and fiber. In addition, it has heart, skin protecting and anti-cancer properties. It also improves digestion and is great for overall health. It is native to the Americas and have been used for thousands of years. No wonder the natives ate it with almost every meal.

I like to make up my own chili spice, please follow the recipe below or you can use whatever you have on hand or buy it in a store already made. It is cheaper if you buy it in bulk vs buying in a jar and has no additives either.

You can experiment with the vegetables of course, I added corn, carrots and green beans. In the summer, I like to add zucchini too. But please feel free to add whatever you would like.

Vegetarian readers might be wondering if this soup could be made vegetarian. The answer is yes! – you can take out the meat and just use vegetarian stock and I also added eggs. I have made it without meat, it is tasty.

Surprise your guests at a party or just treat yourself. Honestly, we believe that this version is even tastier than the original soup.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 strips of bacon
  • 1 lb ground chicken or turkey thigh or breast
  • 28 oz canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp of tomato paste
  • 5 tsp of chili seasoning (please see recipe below)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • chicken stock
  • 3 medium sized carrots, sliced
  • 8 oz corn (frozen)
  • 8 oz vegetables. I used green beans. Also zucchini would be fine
  • 2 cups of uncooked black beans or 28 oz of canned beans
  • salt and pepper
  • yellow cheddar cheese
  • chips
  • sour cream
  • cilantro

Chili seasoning ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp (3 tsp) chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Preparation

  • Wash and soak beans in cold water for 8 hours or overnight. Pour off the liquid and wash well. Add cold filtered water and cook for 2 hours or until soft but not falling apart. Omit if using canned beans. The home-made beans are well worth the extra effort though, they taste so much better.
  • Make the stock. Omit if using ready made stock.
  • Heat oil in a large pot with a large surface area. Add the chopped onion, celery and the chopped up bacon, sauté for 10 minutes or until onions are translucent and render the bacon.
  • Add 5 tsp of the chili seasoning, mix. Add the crushed garlic cloves, mix.
  • Quickly add the tomatoes, stir. Add the tomato pure and stir. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes make a nice sauce.
  • Add the carrots and enough stock so the liquid covers the soup well. Cook for 1 hour or until the carrots are soft.
  • Add the corn and the vegetables at the end so they can be cooked for 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the beans with its liquid and more stock if needed to cover everything.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve hot with sour cream, chips, cilantro.

enjoy!

Roasted potatoes with rosemary

My recipe today is potatoes with rosemary … yes that is it, just the two main ingredients plus the garlic, oregano and the salt. They should complement many winter meat or vegetarian dishes easily. I like using them in cooking because they both taste great and are good for digestion. I get very excited about rosemary in general as it has such rich and colorful history steeped in the culinary world, legends and folklore.

Rosemary is such a culinary delight, a popular plant in the kitchen especially during the colder months. Chefs use it in a wide variety of dishes from soups, bean dishes to meats particularly for lamb and chicken. It is not just used for enhancing the flavor of a dish but it also helps digestion. Also, it can preserve food, an important consideration in the old days before refrigerators were invented so I can imagine that rosemary was essential in a Medieval kitchen…

The aromatic rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) has been around for thousands of years. It is native to the Mediterranean region. Its Latin name is derived from the words ‘ros’ which means dew, and ‘marinus’ that means sea and as its name suggest it can in fact survive on the spray of the sea air. Persian doctors valued it as one of their best remedies. It has also been recognized as a powerful medicine in the Mediterranean countries. Rosemary along with the other digestive remedies of the region like thyme, oregano, fennel have been used in the culinary world for their medicinal values. Earlier, the ancient doctors started using them in dishes so people could get their benefits on a daily basis. So yes we can thank these wise doctors for all these fabulous dishes.

Ancient cultures thought of rosemary as a protective plant that could ward off evil. If we look at all the benefits that rosemary has, this statement would become more clear and less mysterious. Its health benefits come from its anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-cancer abilities. It is also a restoring remedy as it can improve heart, liver, gallbladder, brain and kidney functions, circulation, digestion and the nervous system. It brings warmth to a cold, debilitated body. In the 13th century, Queen Elizabeth of Hungary claimed that rosemary wine was the secret to her long life and cured her paralyzed legs.

I’m now sitting here at my desk with a bunch of rosemary and sniffing its aromatic oils…

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of red potatoes
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • leaves of 4 stalks of fresh rosemary or 2 tsp of dried rosemary
  • 1/4 cup of oil

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 475 F.
  • Soak the potatoes in cold water so the dirt can come off easily. I like to leave the peel on but if you prefer you can peel the potatoes without soaking. If using fresh, take the rosemary springs and pull the rosemary leaves back on the vine to get the leaves off. Cut the potatoes into cubes (halves and quarters) and put them in a larger bowl with the oil, crushed garlic, oregano, salt and the rosemary. Toss until the potatoes are well coated.
  • Oil a baking sheet and spread the potatoes on it.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are golden and tender. Flip the potatoes twice during baking to ensure even browning.
  • Serve warm, preferably the same day.
  • enjoy!

Sources

Matthew Wood: Earthwise

Photo, recipe, text by twincities.herbs.com