These days I find myself getting home pretty late. And because I don’t feel liking prepping a full meal, I “graze”. Which literally means that I snack on whatever is available in the fridge or pantry. In an effort to stop this habit and have some semblance of a healthy snack, I started making hummus to have something to eat with veggies, crackers, or pretzels with. It’s extremely simple and very quick to make.
You will need:
1 can Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)
1/2 a small yellow onion
1/2 a bell pepper
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
First take the your veggies and cut them into pieces that can be processed easily by your food processor.
Next drain, and rinse your chickpeas and place it in the food processor. Followed by the veggies.
Add the olive oil and salt to taste. Blend.
Blend until the hummus has a smooth consistency. Voila! You now have hummus. Enjoy ;).
Awhile back I was going through a vegan phase, and wanted to experiment with ways to eat my veggies apart from stewing and steaming. I tried coconut cream of Spinach at a restaurant and had to give it a go. A traditional Cream of Spinach dish is dairy based. You start with heavy cream, add seasoning and them the spinach. It’s really the not the healthiest. Coconut Cream of Spinach has the same idea but instead the cream base is substituted with coconut milk. This gives the spinach a light sweet subtle coconut flavor which is absolutely delish. So let’s get started!
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ yellow onion, chopped
Pinch of salt
3 teaspoons Yellow Curry
1 can Coconut Milk
4 cups of Spinach
Take your pan and lightly oil. Then place on the burner for a minute or so until the oil warms up.
Add the onions. Mix so it’s lightly coated and let it cook until tender.
Take the can of coconut milk, shake vigorously to mix it. Now open and add to the pan. Allow it to cook for about 10 minutes.
Add the curry and Salt to the coconut milk, stir in. And wait for the combination to come to a low boil.
It’a now time to add the spinach. Add handfuls at a time to the pan and spoon the coconut milk over it. It initially seems like it’s too much spinach but it wilts so don’t worry.
Cover and let it cook for 5 minutes, and add more spinach if you wish. Voila! You’re done, a vegan tasty concoction that can go with pretty much anything from rice to meats. 😉
My co-worker introduced me to true greatness when she brought in some “adobe sauce” as dip for for pita chips. The mix of olive oil, parsley, cilantro, garlic, and jalapeno really pushed the snack over the edge and gave it the ultimate status. So I had to make it for myself.
After researching for a bit I discovered the”adobe sauce” that my co-worker had given me was actually called Chimichurri. An Argentinean condiment that is used to spruce up meats, and vegetable dishes. In a way it’s the ketchup of Latin America.
Because of the green nature of the sauce I decided to push it a bit further and add an unusual twist to the recipes I saw by adding spinach, for the cocktail of vitamins it offers, and cucumber, for vitamin K. The difference in the taste of the sauce is extremely subtle, so I managed to retain the taste while adding more nutritional content. Below is my take on this simple but awesome sauce. The sauce which I have been using to spruce up pretty much anything from rice to sushi.
What you need:
1/4 Yellow Onion
1 clove Garlic (if you like garlic add more)
1 jalapeno (or pepper of choice)
3 mini snacking cucumbers
2 cups Spinach
1/4 cup Parsley
1/4 cup Cilantro
1/3 cup Olive Oil
2 teaspoons salt
First gently wash your vegetables. Keeping the spinach and herbs in a separate container as they are more fragile.
Next place your spinach, salt and herbs in the food processor with the olive oil and blend.
Now chop up your vegetables and add them to the processor and blend.
Voila!!!! Your Chimichurri is ready. It was so quick and easy that it doesn’t even feel as if you were cooking. 😉
Green is really all I’m seeing at the moment. Except it’s not money :(. Lol! Oh Well it’s something better. Sauteed Kale and Spinach. Just how is it better you ask? Well Kale is high in vitamin K, iron, and antioxidants. While Spinach makes you as strong as Popeye the sailor. Seriously Spinach has vitamin B6, zinc and a whole slew of other things. But together the two greens make you beautiful both inside and out. And who doesn’t want to be beautiful?
What you need:
1 medium size pan
4 cups of Kale
4 cups of Spinach
2 tbspoons of Olive Oil
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of Dill Weed
1 teaspoon of Parsley
1 teaspoon of crushed Coriander Seeds
Sea Salt for taste
After placing my Kale and Spinach in a bowl to the side, the first thing I did was prep my
coriander seeds. I measured it out and placed it in a zip-lock bag, then crushed it with a cup. Easy.
I did the same with my garlic.
After completing this I then took my pan coated it with the olive oil and added my garlic, dill weed, parsley, and coriander. I put this over medium heat until my garlic started to become translucent. Do not allow the garlic to brown.
Next, I added my spinach and kale to the oil mixture in the pan. I made sure to coat the greens with the oil and spices. I also added salt to taste. To keep this on the healthy side, make sure you don’t add too much salt that promotes hypertension. (Just saying) Cook the greens for about 5 minutes max. Let them wilt slightly.
Voila! You’re done and have a healthy meal. This can go well with potatoes, salmon, rice. Pretty much anything. So give it a whirl.
One thing you notice quickly when dealing with West African Cuisine is that the basis of most sauces (stews going forward) are tomatoes. Making Cabbage Stew? Start with tomatoes. Agushi Stew? Start with tomatoes. Making Spinach Stew?…You get the idea 🙂 It’s pretty clear that once you’ve mastered how to create a tomato stew then you’re set for life.
Tomato stew isn’t just a base. It acts as a stand alone sauce and can be eaten with a variety of things such as yams, rice, plantain, gari, pasta, even bread! Only your imagination can limit its usage. So let’s get you started!!!
What you need:
1 medium size saute pan
1 tablespoon olive oil (any oil of your choice)
1 1/2 medium tomato
1 clove of garlic
1/2 yellow onion
Mrs. Dash Original Seasoning
First cut your vegetables and
set them aside. Take the saute pan and coat the bottom with oil. Now add the onions and garlic.Stir with a wooden spatula to cover them with oil. Turn on stove and cook at a medium heat.
Allow for the onions and garlic to wilt and start to approach translucency.
Add the tomatoes.
Stir everything together and allow it to cook for about 5 minutes.
Now add salt, pepper, and a dash of Mrs. Dash to the stew. (Seasoning is to taste so feel free to doctor.)
Mix well and allow the stew to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
As you’re cooking your stew will look very liquidy, don’t worry as it continues to cook the water will evaporate. After 10 minutes your stew should be done.
Voila! You’ve made West African tomato stew; you are now ready to conquer the world. Enjoy ;).