Friday, June 18, 2010

Collards and Portobello Mushrooms

Vegetarian collard greens could easily turn out dull and uninteresting, but a little garlic and orange juice do the trick nicely to punch these up. The mushrooms stand in for meat and fill out this totally gluten-free, lactose-free, vegan dish, which goes exceptionally well with pasta or as a side dish vegetable.


2 large bunches of collard greens (see below for preparation instructions)
1 Portobello mushroom sliced thin
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 crushed cloves of garlic
2 tbsp. grated orange peel (fresh-grated is best)
juice from one fresh-squeezed large orange (do not substitute orange juice—if you don’t have an orange handy, use a lemon, preferably a sweet one like a Meyer)
salt to taste


Fill a large pot with enough water to amply cover the collards once they are chopped, add a teaspoon of salt and bring the water to a boil.

Slice the Portobello mushroom into thin pieces. First slice up the mushroom and then cut each slice in half again the long way so that you have long thin mushroom pieces. Set the mushroom aside. Squeeze the juice from one orange and set that aside too.

Remove the central stem from the collards. Place 4-6 leaves on top of each other and roll them up width-wise into a tight tube, then slice them into thin strips. Follow this pattern with all the collards until they are all cut into thin shreds. When the water comes to a boil, simmer the collards, uncovered, for 8 minutes. While the collards are cooking, fill a large bowl with ice water. After the collards have cooked for 8 minutes, drain them in a colander and place them into the ice water, which will help them retain their bright green color.

Put the oil into a deep dish frying pan and bring it to a high heat, then turn it back to medium and place the garlic and mushrooms in the pan. Sauté the garlic and mushrooms, turning gently, for 2-3 minutes (until the mushrooms are cooked but not slimy). Add the collards (and ½ teaspoon of salt if you are a salt eater) and the grated orange peel. Continue to sauté for another 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the orange juice and cook for another 30 seconds to warm up the juice. This dish is best if served immediately.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Red Lentils and Butternut Squash with Garam Masala

This East Indian dish is a perfect companion for any curry dinner. Try it with the Curried Potato and Vegetables dish, a cucumber/yogurt raita, and a mango chutney. Heaven. It’s vegan and gluten-free. You’d be surprised how many children like it. It also goes well with a pan-fried tofu.


1½ cups red lentils
2 cups butternut squash peeled and chopped (see directions)
3 cups water
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. cumin seed
1 tbsp. Garam Masala


Scrape the skin off the butternut squash, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds. Chop the butternut into sections about 1/8 inch wide and no more than 2 inches across. Whatever squash you don’t use in this recipe, you can freeze for later use or cook up separately. For this recipe, use about 2 cups of chopped butternut.

Bring the water to a boil. Add the red lentils, 1 tbsp. olive oil, and the butternut squash. Simmer on low heat, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning to the bottom of the pot. When lentils and squash are thoroughly cooked, mash them together so that they are blended well (it is not necessary to put this through the blender unless the slightly chunky texture bothers you).

While the lentils and squash are cooking, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a small frying pan. When the oil is hot, toss in the cumin seeds and fry them gently, turning frequently, for 5 minutes.

Add the cumin seed and Garam Masala to the cooked squash and lentils. If you don’t have a good source for Garam Masala, you can make your own by combining the following spices: coriander, cinnamon, ginger, cloves. Go lightly on the cloves and heavy on the coriander.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!