Tag Archives: vegetables

COMFORT IN A PAN

Surprise, I’m posting again! I apologize for my hiatus; 2018 turned into the most difficult year of my life.  Thankfully, we survived and are better for it.  We treasure each day and are moving forward with renewed purpose and gratitude.  So far  winter has given us daily  options to grapple with, from freezing rain and ice, to wind, and drifting feet of snow.  This has not been a  problem, as it gives us ample reasons to stay home and do what we enjoy:  cooking, reading, writing and playing games (we love cribbage and dominoes); not to mention working steadily on soap production for the next market season.  The good news is I’m making significant headway on my next cookbook: Twisted Basics: Rethinking Food.

While during some research I came across a staggering statistic: 70% of Americans don’t cook.  That’s right.  Most Americans eat out at least 4 times a week.  We heat up, microwave or assemble food; but cooking from scratch is becoming something of a novelty.  I asked myself, “are we really that busy?”  I couldn’t imagine not cooking regularly.  For me, it’s my most sincere expression of love.  I also started wondering if people understood what they were missing.  The kitchen has always been the heart of the home; a place where intimacy takes place, both in the preparation of food and the sharing of it around our table.  As I was contemplating this, I felt as though we’ve been sold a collective bill of goods.  As we scramble to meet our financial needs, we are forgetting some of the fundamental, simple pleasures of life:  cooking fresh food, with love, for our friends and family.  Isn’t it time we break bread together?

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Vegetable Lasagna:

  • 1 quart pasta sauce (Full disclosure:  During tomato time on the farm, I can dozens of quarts of roasted tomato sauce.  I have never tasted a deeper, more intense sauce that literally screams of summer.  The method for this will be in the new cookbook, and it’s way easier than it sounds!)
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and shredded on coarse setting of box grater
  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded on coarse setting of box grater
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen spinach, (if fresh, wilt in large skillet with 1/4 cup water) either way, make sure you place it in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out all excess moisture
  • 1 container (16 ounces) whole milk ricotta
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 cup Parmesan or pecorino, finely shredded
  • 1 farm-fresh egg
  • 1 12 ounce package sliced provolone
  • 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 box of no-boil lasagna noodles

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DIRECTIONS:

  1.  In medium bowl, combine the ricotta, pecorino, thyme and egg.
  2.  Place 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of a 13 x 9 deep-dish lasagna pan; position 3 no-bake lasagna sheets evenly spaced.  Spread ricotta mixture on top on each section.  Then top each ricotta  section with zucchini and carrot mixture; followed with one slice of provolone, cut in half for each section.
  3. Next, top each section with a no-bake lasagna sheet, 1/4  cup of sauce per sheet and repeat with ricotta mixture.  Then top with chopped and drained spinach on each section, two 1/2 slices of provolone, and continue with lasagna sheets for each section.  Sauce again, ricotta, zucchini and carrot mixture, provolone cheese and lasagna sheets.
  4. Sauce again, then sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on top.  Cover with foil.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake for 30 minutes covered; 30 minutes uncovered.  Let rest for 15 minutes before cutting into six servings.

Serves 6

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“Italian food is all about ingredients, it’s not fussy and it’s not fancy.”

                                  —- Wolfgang Puck

 

The Beet Goes On

Until I moved to our vegetable farm I absolutely hated beets and avoided them at all costs.  Yet here I am staring out at the drifted snow and frozen lake with a bowl of borscht in my hand.  The smell alone is enough to make you swoon.  I feel a sense of gratitude for learning to love the darn things.  Our farm is committed to growing vegetables without chemicals (which can significantly alter their flavor) so when I tried them again I was surprised by their inherent sweetness.  What was I thinking?  They are one the best things you can eat; full of essential vitamins and minerals.  They are low in calories and sodium along with assisting in the reduction of inflammation in the body.  They also support heart, digestion and brain function.  So what’s not to like?  There’s nothing like a bowl of warm goodness to set you straight.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium leek, cleaned and sliced thinly (make sure you use the light green part as well)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4-6 carrots, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
  • 6 small or 3 large beets, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
  • 3 cups of thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
  • 8 cups organic vegetable stock (or homemade of course)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Greek yogurt to serve (optional)

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INSTRUCTIONS:

  1.  Heat the olive oil in a soup kettle or Dutch oven on medium high heat.
  2. Add leek, garlic and red onion.  Saute until soft and translucent.
  3. Add sweet potato, beets and grated carrot.  Cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently.
  4. Add red cabbage, dill and vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium.  Simmer for 30 minutes or until beets are soft when a paring knife is inserted.
  5. Add red wine vinegar off heat.  Serve in bowls topped with a dollop of yogurt if using and sprinkle additional fresh chopped dill on top.

Serves 6-8

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“Soup fills us, nurtures and comforts us.  Soup is the song of the heart and the home.”

Change Happens

I initially started my blog Twisted Basics in response to a health crisis I experienced in 2014.  I thought I was a healthy person; after all, we run a 5.5 acre organic vegetable farm.  Yet I was facing serious gastro-intestinal issues resulting in a blood transfusion, upper GI, colonoscopy and small bowel endoscopy. All these tests proved negative. I also began dextrose iron infusions for chronic anemia.  Since then, I’ve continued to experience fatigue so extreme that I couldn’t live my normal life.  I chose to become gluten-free even though it was determined I was not celiac or wheat sensitive. This choice improved my mental fog, but did nothing for my energy level.

My iron infusions were lasting 60-90 days, where normally they were expected to last 6 months.  Clearly I was still bleeding somewhere.  Several weeks ago I had another upper GI where it was discovered that I had Cameron Lesions on my hiatal hernia.  These lesions are ulcerated tissue and linked to anemia and bleeding.  I was placed on Prilosec and referred to a surgeon.  I could not tolerate the Prilosec due to several side effects.  I became concerned whether or not I would ever get my quality of life back.

After meeting with the surgeon, I have decided to have my hiatal hernia surgically corrected.  There are many approaches for handling gut-health and anemia. With my continued blood loss, diet alone was not enough. Using a combination of traditional and alternative approaches, seems to be the right course for me at this time.  So continues my journey of healing;  which was never simply my physical being, but also my emotional and spiritual self.  Although I have always believed we are what we eat, it is equally important to feed all things that make Kim, Kim.  After surgery I will be on a liquid diet, phasing into a soft diet.  Some dietary changes will be permanent, like portion size and small mouthfuls.  I also realized it was time to face the fear that I can make permanent dietary changes and still be creative and satisfied.  I feel fortunate to love all things fruit and vegetable.  I’m the sort of personality that hates hearing the word: “No!”  I can certainly live with this if I can get my energy and the quality my life back.

We have purchased a juicer and already have a Vita-mix.  That’s when Val and I decided there was no time like the present and have started to juice, smooth and soup our way to health.  Hang in there with me, this particular change is temporary.  Having said that, you will be seeing recipes for all things liquid or smooth.  I did ask the surgeon if Irish whiskey was a viable liquid!

So let’s start this journey with a delicious smoothie shall we?  What I can’t stand is boring food!!  So to that end I will do my best to create interest in all things healthy.  Wish me luck!!

Delicious anytime!

Delicious anytime!

My Go To Smoothie:

  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water, coconut water or almond milk
  • 1 handful spinach or romaine
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 10-12 fresh mint leaves
  • 3 Medjool dates

Blend all ingredients in order listed in a high-speed blender.  Yield: Approximately 12 ounces

“Life is change.  Growth is optional.”