It's good to see you across the imaginary table this morning, as we serve up good recipes for each other.
Abbie Cassidy has two requests, stirred up over lunch at the Mean Mug Coffee House. "I am looking for a recipe for a peanut stew or soup from Africa, made with kale and garlic and tomatoes, among other things. I have been told this could be a vegan recipe or not. I would also like some recipes for power bowls, like the beautiful one served at Mean Mug."
Power bowls, if you're not in the know, are typically made with a grain, green and protein, and served not in a plate but a bowl. Many diners contend the concave shape makes everything taste better. Rather than pushing everything to the middle as you would if eating from a plate, the bowl readily brings the ingredients together.
Michele Brown learned cooking from her mother, and learned to do it without careful measurements. Her mother was the real measure in this tribute: "My cooking is all hers."
She continued about the kale dish that made her husband a kale believer, "As you can see, this recipe is straight out of my head and with a 'that looks about right' type of eyeing it. I don't cook veggies with recipes because I cook like my Mom did. I just watched her very carefully because she used no recipes either."
Michele's Cooked Kale Greens
Any amount of kale greens, at least 2 to 3 large handfuls
Salt to taste
Really crisp cooked bacon, drained and crumbled
1/2 cup diced Vidalia onion or sweet yellow onion (no big chunks)
2 to 3 tablespoons good olive oil
Try to buy your kale from loose stack in the store or a vendor. I buy organic from Earth Fare, Fresh Market or farmers market. That way you can pick over them. Take them home and soak in salted water for a few minutes to kill any tiny critters that may still be on them. Then pick over each leaf and rinse with cold water. Cut the big stems off if you buy ones that are very large (I don't).
Place kale in a pot big enough to hold them (don't pack them down), and fill the pot a little over half full of cold water NEVER warm. You can pack them down when kale begins to wilt as the water warms up. They, like other greens, do wilt. Too much water leaves you with a lot of water and a small amount of greens.
Add salt, to your liking.
As water starts to come to a roiling boil, cut the heat to simmer to the point where you can see small bubbles after covering. (Cooking slowly makes them taste tender and sweet.)
Add the crumbled bacon, onion and olive oil. Simmer until the onion is cooked soft and kale is soft but holds together well when picked up with tongs. Some people like their greens with a little pot "likker," as we in the South call it (the liquid left in the pot after you cook something). I like mine drained a bit. Some like it with a little vinegar.
Along with a selection of strawberry recipes printed last week, Ginny Gaines sent a favorite with sugar snap peas. She said, "This recipe screams spring. It takes just a few minutes and is delicious. It works for a quick evening meal."
Seared Sugar Snap Peas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sugar snap peas, strings removed
Salt (to your taste)
3 to 4 scallions or green onions, sliced on the diagonal
Pinch of sugar (to your taste)
Zest of one lemon
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (once again to your taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
Heat large sauté pan on high for 1 minute. Add the olive oil to hot pan, and heat until it shimmers. Add sugar snap peas, and toss to coat with the oil. Sprinkle salt over them, and toss again. Allow to cook, undisturbed, 1 minute.
Add green onions, and sprinkle with sugar. Toss to combine. Let cook for 1 minute. Toss and cook untouched again, this time leaving everything undisturbed for 2 minutes.
Turn off heat, mix in the lemon zest and mint, then sprinkle with pepper.
Thanks to L.R.F. for this instant-pot version of hummus, said by its originator to be far better than store-bought hummus. She found this recipe on an Instant Pot Facebook page.
Instant Pot Garlic Hummus
1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas
6 cups water
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons salt
Juice from 1 large lemon
1/3 cup tahini paste
1/2 cup reserved chickpea water, post-steaming
Place the dried chickpeas, water, minced garlic and salt in your instant pot.
Cover with lid, lock and make sure steam valve is sealed. Cook on high for 45 minutes.
Once chickpeas are done let them sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
Strain chickpeas in a fine strainer and reserve about 1/2 cup or more of the water from the instant pot for later use.
Add cooked chickpeas, tahini paste, lemon juice and reserved water in a blender, magic bullet or food processor to blend. Feel free to add the water gradually to get the texture and thickness you like your hummus. You can also add more minced garlic, salt and lemon juice to taste at this point and continue to blend until you get the flavor the way you like it.
Tip: Parsley, paprika and a drizzle of olive oil can all be garnishes added to your final dish if you like.
Lindell Love sent an easy cookie recipe, and that reminded me of a man I mightily loved — my father — who would ask his bride hopefully after many a meal, "Is there any hereafter?" He was speaking not of eternal things, but of dessert.
Graham Cracker Cookies
24 squares of graham crackers
1/2 pound butter (2 sticks)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Arrange the crackers on a buttered oblong pan that has edges. Bring butter and sugar to a boil, and boil for 2 minutes. Add nuts, and spread over all the crackers. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool slightly, cut between each square, and remove. Do not use a flat cookie sheet as some of the sugar mixture may slide into your oven.
With that grand finale — or shall I say graham finale — we say farewell, until next week.
* Peanut soup or stew
* Power bowl combos
TO REACH US
Fare Exchange is a longtime meeting place for people who love to cook and love to eat. We welcome both your recipes and your requests. Be sure to include precise instructions for every recipe you send.
Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750