Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dinner a Few Nights Ago

Buckwheat with Portobello Mushrooms, Onions and Miso
Drop 1 1/2 cups buckwheat into about 4 cups of boiling salted water and cook at a brisk simmer for 15 minutes. Drain in a colander set over a large bowl to catch the liquid (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). Put the buckwheat in a separate bowl and cover to keep warm.
     Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil in a large pot and add 1 large onion, cut in 1/2-inch dice. Stir a couple minutes until it starts getting just a little color. Add 4 medium Portobellos, cut into 1/2-inch dice, and stir often until the liquid they release is absorbed. Stir in about 1/4 teaspoon Celtic salt and then add the saved buckwheat cooking liquid. Cook until reduced to a few tablespoons. Turn off the heat and cover to keep it warm.
     While it’s cooking, mix together 1/2 cup chick pea miso (or mellow white miso), 1/4 cup Simple Garlic Udo’s Oil, 2 tablespoons mirin and 1 tablespoon tamari in a little bowl. Then slice 1 bunch of scallions thinly on a slight bias {for looks, but also to keep them from rolling off the cutting board} and put them on a small plate.
     When the parsnips (below) are ready, add the buckwheat to the pot with the mushrooms and reheat it all, stirring gently to keep from making a mush of it. When it’s hot, take it off the heat and add the miso mixture {you don’t want to kill the miso or hurt the omega-3s in the oil} and the scallions, tossing it all together.

Roasted Parsnips
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Scrub 1 pound of parsnips well. {I find that it works best if instead of using a normal back-and-forth scrubbing motion, you strike the vegetables with the brush in a slightly glancing motion. This jabs at the imbedded dirt, dislodging it and then scrubbing it off.}
     Cut into sticks about 1/2-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long and uniform as possible. {This is easiest to do if you’ve got big fat parsnips, because you’ll end up with a lot more nice rectangular pieces instead of a bunch of quarter-rounds.}
     Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil in a large pot and add the parsnips. Stir often as they cook, until they begin to show a little color. Combine 2 tablespoons tamari and 2 tablespoons mirin, and add to the pot, stirring furiously to coat the parsnips before it all bubbles away.
     When the liquid has been absorbed and the parsnips are quite dry, scrape them into a clay pot (preferably!) or other ovenproof dish. Return the cooking pot to the heat and throw in 1/4 cup sake {I use Gekkeikan because it’s good and it’s inexpensive}, shaking and swirling to deglaze briefly. Add the bubbling sake to the parsnips and stir.
     Place the clay pot into the oven and bake about 45 minutes, or until tender, stirring every 10 minutes or so, to prevent burning. Near the end, when they get a little dry, add 1/4 teaspoon Celtic salt and 1 tablespoon tamari, stirring well. Cover for the last 10 minutes to keep them moist.

Blanched Spinach
Drop 2 pounds baby spinach into a large pot of boiling salted water and stir well for about 15 seconds, just until all the leaves wilt and turn bright green. Immediately drain in a colander and refresh under cold running water. {I know, this is a big waste of precious nutrients, but it also rids the spinach of that awful turnoff tannin taste that ruins the fun of eating spinach, so there you have it. Drink the water if you’re that worried about it.} Drain well, squeezing as needed to get nearly every last bit of water out.
    When everything else is ready, put the spinach in a sauté pan and reheat quickly, so as not to cook it any further. Crack some Javanese comet’s tail black peppercorns in a mortar and add to the spinach, along with some Celtic salt to taste. {Yum. These peppercorns are pretty exotic, so don’t worry if you don’t have any—just grind some regular black pepper, no big deal.} When the spinach is hot, pull from the heat and add about 1/4 cups Simple Garlic Udo’s Oil and stir it in.

These recipes make enough for about four people, depending on how voracious they are. I had this with a mixed green salad on the side; your call.

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