Broccoli Bean Soup

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In the interest of honesty, I have to admit that I usually feel a bit deceptive whenever I record one of my own recipes on this blog (so about 95% of the time).  Recipes are ontologically systematic, and if anything, the way I cook is the opposite of systematic.  I rarely use measurements and I am usually taste-testing everything throughout the whole process and adding spices or throwing in onions according to what my taste buds deem necessary.  The only problem with this is that I am now accountable to a blog, and I cannot just give out a nebulous recipe comprised of “a little bit of this and a little bit of that and a little bit of love all thrown together in a pot.”  I am slowly getting better at self-discipline and training myself to pay attention to the amounts I am using, but I am far from perfect in this regard.  I feel I owe it to people to offer this as both a disclaimer and an encouragement to think a little outside the box and adjust your ingredients to match your gustatory preferences.

That said, this wonderful soup was made in a haphazard fashion, and while I think the measurements of the ingredients provided will yield a most satisfactory result, I cannot be too sure.  So exercise your freedom and edit as you see fit should you decide to stir up this delicious soup in your own pots.

Ingredients

1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 medium yellow onion
1/2 cup milk or almond milk
2/3 cup carrot juice (simply puree 3 large steamed carrots with a bit of water)
1/2 cup brown rice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 1/4 cup cooked kidney beans
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper

Use a food processor to blend together the broccoli with the milk, onion, garlic and parmesan cheese. Pulse until well blended. Transfer the mixture to a medium size pot over low heat. Add the carrot juice, beans, rice, salt and pepper. Cook for an hour and serve hot. Enjoy! Tastes great with a side of tortilla chips.

Serves about 4
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Lola’s Chicken Adobo and Brown Rice

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(^^One of those times where I was too busy stuffing my face to worry about silly things like good photos^^)

I have lived in 7 different houses throughout the course of my childhood, and it just so happens that I have had the same set of neighbors in pretty much all of these locations. We haven’t tried to figure out the chicken-or-egg of who was following who around, but it does seem rather fishy how my family always ended up around the block or down the road or across the street from this family. Anyway, they also happen to be my godparents and I happen to be good friends with their kids, so its a win-win situation. They are half Filipino.

The other night I ate in their home for dinner, as I tend to do, and we ate a prince of a meal called chicken adobo. I was sitting there in awe of what was entering my mouth (and it wasn’t even the first time I had partaken of this delicate masterpiece), when Lola, the little grandmother chef-of-the-night came in. I asked her for her recipe and the gist of the whole thing is simply: Buy a chicken and cut it up and then stick it in a pot with equal parts soy sauce and vinegar. Throw in an onion and some garlic, bring it to a boil and then let it simmer away until the meat is falling off the bones and the chicken has had time to sit in the savory juices and absorb it all up unto itself. Then it’s your turn to absorb the chicken into your lucky little stomach. And in my case, as it was made by Lola, I know there was a lot of love thrown into the pot as well. Lola is quite an amazing woman with an unmistakable laugh that escapes her with (no joke) every sentence she speaks. She’s this steady, faithful and strong woman with a generous heart of gold. You’re lucky to have her recipe.

It is with utmost reverence to Lola and her years of cooking up delicious things that I present to you this Chicken Adobo.

Ingredients:

1 free range organic chicken, cut into parts
2/3 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup vinegar
1 yellow onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic

2 cups basmati rice

Put everything in a pot (except the rice), bring to a boil and then let it simmer for about an hour. In a separate pot, cook the rice with 4 cups of water on low until moisture is fully absorbed.

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When you can’t find the garlic cloves, look behind Marcus’s fishbowl. He’s sneaky like that and loves to hide the garlic. When everything is finished, the chicken will be extremely tender and well-marinated, and there will be lots of extra sauce in the pot. Serve the chicken over the rice and spoon extra juices on top.

Snow and Brown Rice Pudding

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If you happen to go to the grocery store and encounter rows of empty shelves, it could mean one of two things.  A) The apocalypse is at hand or B) there’s snow on the way.  Last night exhibited all the tell-tale signs of the oncoming snowstorm.  The grocery stores, gas-stations and liquor stores all had to accommodate about five times the amount of customers they would regularly receive on a quiet Thursday night.  Hurricane Sandy is still fresh in people’s minds as well, so all the more reason to stock up on the necessities.
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The snow is coming down and the roads are slowly receiving their first blanketing layer.  When you get home, there’s no better way to enjoy it than to fill the house with the warm rice pudding aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove spices.  This rice pudding was made with the last of a bag of brown jasmine rice.  It is filling and mildly sweet with a wonderful cloying texture and slightly nutty flavor from the almond milk.  If you prefer a more traditional rice pudding, simply use milk and arborio rice.

Brown Rice Puddin’

Ingredients

1 cup brown rice
5 1/2 cups almond milk
1/4 agave nectar
2 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger spice
4 cloves

In a medium size pot, stir the rice into 4 cups of almond milk. Bring to a low boil. Add the spices, agave nectar, and the rest of the almond milk. Let it simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally for about an hour and a half, or until the moisture has absorbed. Serve warm or chilled. Enjoy!

Serves 4
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Lentil Patties with Sesame Seared Eggplant and Cauliflower Pesto

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This hearty meal with a glorious nutritional profile is best reserved for a day when you have a voracious appetite.  There is something about those days.  It’s the feeling of hunger, the tantalizing smells wafting from the oven, the ticking of the clock as everything is preparing itself for your plate…and finally the moment when you can sit down and eat till you are satiated and content.  Hmm…sounds familiar.  I will be heading to the kitchen right now!

Ingredients

*If you wish to make this a vegan recipe, simply use the substitutes I posted and omit the parmesan cheese.  You will probably need to add some salt if you leave out the cheese.

Sesame Seared Eggplant

1 large eggplant, sliced
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 eggs/egg subsitutes
2 tbsp butter/coconut oil

Preheat oven to 425°  Combine parmesan cheese and sesame seeds in a small bowl.  Whisk eggs together in a separate bowl.  Melt butter in frying pan.  Submerge eggplant slices in egg and then in sesame parmesan mixture.  Fry on both sides until seeds are crusted onto the eggplant.  Lay the slices on a cooking tray and roast for 10 minutes.

Cauliflower Pesto

1 head cauliflower
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 large handful thyme sprigs
1 cup whole milk/ almond milk
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425° Cut the cauliflower, rub with olive oil, and lay on a cooking tray to roast in the oven for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and transfer to food processor.  Add the thyme, garlic, milk and cheese.  Blend until smooth.

Lentil Patties

1 cup lentils
1 cup brown rice
4 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp butter/ coconut oil
2 eggs/ egg substitutes

Cook the lentils and rice together with the broth in a pot on low for about an hour or until the moisture has absorbed.  Add the eggs and stir until everything has thickened.  Form into patties and brown with butter in a frying pan on both sides.

Place each patty on a slice of sesame seared eggplant and top with cauliflower pesto and some spinach leaves if desired. Top with a second slice of eggplant.  The roasted cauliflower pesto also makes a delicious dip or sandwich spread.  Just be sure not to leave out the thyme because in my opinion, it’s the key to the whole dish. Enjoy!

Serves 6 generously

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