Monday, December 26, 2011

ARMENIAN YALANCHI SARMA (STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES)




FIRST THINGS FIRST IS IT YALANCHI, DOLMA, OR SARMA?
MANY MIDDLE EASTERN CULTURES HAVE A VERSION OF THIS DISH. MOST COMMONLY DOLMA. IN ARMENIAN AND TURKISH CUISINE THE DOLMA IS MEAT FILLED. 
WIKIPEDIA STATES-
DOLMA IS A VERBAL NOUN OF THE TURKISH VERB DOLMAK, 'TO BE STUFFED', AND MEANS 'STUFFED THING'.
THIS IS WHY DOLMA CAN BE STUFFED CABBAGE LEAF, GRAPE LEAF, PEPPERS, TOMATOES, OR ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO STUFF WITH THE MEAT AND RICE FILLING.
SARMA SPECIFICALLY REFERS TO A LEAF WRAPPER SUCH AS GRAPE OR CABBAGE.
AGAIN, WIKIPEDIA-
DOLMA COOKED WITH OLIVE OIL WITHOUT MINCED MEAT IS SOMETIMES CALLED YALANCI WHICH MEANS 'LIAR' OR 'FAKE' IN TURKISH.[3] IT IS 'FAKE' BECAUSE IT DOES NOT CONTAIN MEAT.

ALL THAT BEING SAID I LIKE TO CALL IT YALANCHI SARMA. IF YOU ROLL EM YOU CAN CALL EM WHATEVER YOU LIKE. YOU EARNED IT!


I OWE MY SISTER KELLY FOR THIS RECIPE. SHE FAITHFULLY MAKES IT EVERY YEAR. IT IS BASED ON MY PATERNAL GRANDMOTHER JOSEPHINE ORPHAN'S RECIPE. OF COURSE MY CONTRIBUTION IS REMOVING THE OIL AND REPLACING THE WHITE RICE WITH BROWN RICE.  KELLY'S ADDITION IS  THE CURRANTS, MINT, AND ARMENIAN SPICE. HONESTLY THESE ADDITIONS MAKE A REALLY SUPERB YALANCHI.

THIS IS WITHOUT A DOUBT ONE OF MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY DISHES. ON CHRISTMAS EVE THIS YEAR MY SISTER AND I STAYED UP VERY LATE TO MAKE THESE. WE SAT AT THE KITCHEN TABLE WATCHING LOUIS CK WHILE WE ROLLED THESE BABIES UP. I FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO MAKE THESES A DAY AHEAD OF TIME. THEY ARE ALWAYS BETTER ON DAY TWO AFTER THEY HAVE HAD A CHANCE TO COMPLETELY CHILL DOWN. THE FLAVOR OF THE ONIONS, TOMATO, AND SPICES REALLY COME TOGETHER IN A UNIFIED WAY AFTER A NIGHT IN THE FRIDGE.

IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR
MAKING A BATCH OF YALANCHI IS ONE OF THOSE SOCIAL COOKING EXPERIENCES THAT YOU CAN REALLY GET THE WHOLE FAMILY TOGETHER TO MAKE. EVERYONE CAN SIT AROUND THE TABLE ROLLING THE GRAPE LEAVES AND TALKING ABOUT THEIR DAY, WHAT HAPPENED TO WHO, SPREAD SOME GOSSIP, LAUGH, CRY WHATEVER. MANY CULTURES HAVE DISHES LIKE THIS (POTSTICKERS, DOLMAS, STUFFED PEPPERS, EMPANADAS, TAMALES, SAMOSA ETC.) THEY CAN BE VERY LABOR INTENSIVE FOODS THAT EVERYONE LOVES. IF YOU ALL PITCH AND MAKE THEM TOGETHER IT CAN MAKE A VERY TEDIOUS PROCESS GO QUICKLY.

THIS YEAR KELLY TAUGHT MY 2 (ALMOST 3) YEAR OLD VERONIKA HOW TO ROLL THEM.





OIL-FREE ARMENIAN YALANCHI (STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES)

2 C.  LONG-GRAIN BROWN RICE
6 LRG. RED ONIONS, CHOPPED FINELY
1 BUNCH PARSLEY
1/2 BUNCH MINT, LEAVES PULLED OFF, FINELY CHOPPED
3/4 C. NO CHICKEN VEGGIE BROTH  
2 JARS OF PICKLED GRAPE LEAVES
1 1/2 TSP. ARMENIAN SPICE (RECIPE FOLLOWS)
SMALL HANDFUL OF PINE NUTS & CURRANTS
1-7OZ SMALL CAN TOMATO PASTE
1/2 CUP LEMON JUICE

HEAT SAUCEPAN OR SKILLET OVER MEDIUM HEAT
DRY SAUTÉ ONIONS UNTIL STARTING TO BROWN AND STICK
USE WATER/BROTH A ¼ C. AT A TIME TO LOOSEN ONIONS FORM PAN.
CONTINUE TO COOK UNTIL ONIONS ARE TRANSPARENT ADDING WATER/BROTH AS NEEDED.
ADD CHOPPED PARSLEY & MINT
ADD RICE AND 1 TSP. SALT (OR NO SALT IF USING VEGGIE BROTH)
ADD 3 C. VEGGIE BROTH

BRING TO A BOIL AND THEN LOWER HEAT TO SIMMER AND COVER TIGHTLY WITH LID.
COOK FOR 30 MINUTES 
REMOVE FROM HEAT AND LET SIT WITH THE LID ON FOR 10 MINUTES
REMOVE LID AND LET MIXTURE COOL COMPLETELY.

PUT COOKED, COOLED RICE MIXTURE INTO A LARGE MIXING BOWL. AT THIS STAGE THE RICE SHOULD BE ABOUT 3/4 OF THE WAY COOKED. THE RICE FINISHES COOKING IN THE LEAF ONCE ROLLED.

ADD: 
TOMATO PASTE, LEMON JUICE, AND ARMENIAN SPICE.
TASTE TO CHECK FOR SALT. IF NECESSARY AND SOME SALT TO TASTE.

PREPARING GRAPE LEAVES
FIRST REMOVE GRAPES LEAVES FROM JAR AND RINSE EACH ONE INDIVIDUALLY UNDER RUNNING WATER TO REMOVE AS MUCH SALT AS POSSIBLE FROM EACH LEAF.THIS IS A TEDIOUS BUT VERY IMPORTANT STEP. AS SHOWN BELOW IN THE VIDEO.



video


SET ASIDE ANY BROKEN LEAVES.
NEXT, LAYER A LARGE STOCK POT (OR EVEN BETTER A DUTCH OVEN) WITH ALL OF THE BROKEN GRAPE LEAVES. YOU DO THIS SO THAT NOTHING GETS BURNED IF FOR SOME REASON THE WATER EVAPORATES QUICKLY. SOME OTHER RECIPES I HAVE READ USE SLICED ONIONS IN THE BOTTOM OR A COMBINATION OF POTATO SLICES AND GRAPE LEAVES. 
WE TRIED THE POTATOES THIS YEAR. THE COOKED POTATOES BASICALLY TASTE LIKE GRAPE LEAVES. NOT THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD BUT AND INTERESTING AND CHEAP WAY TO INSURE YOUR YALANCHI DON'T BURN.



A LAYER OF GRAPE LEAVES, A LAYER OF RUSSET POTATO SLICES, AND ANOTHER LAYER OF GRAPE LEAVES
IF YOUR GRAPE LEAVES STILL HAVE THE SMALL STEM ATTACHED YOU MUST USE A PARING KNIFE AND CUT IT OFF.

ROLLING THE YALANCHI
TAKE ABOUT 2 TBLS OF MIX AND SET IT AT THE BASE OF EACH LEAF (WHERE THE STEM WAS)
TUCK THE SIDES IN AND ROLL THE LEAF TIGHTLY AROUND THE FILLING. MUCH LIKE ROLLING A BURRITO OR A CIGAR OR SOME OTHER ROLLED THING...






video





WHEN READY TO COOK ....ADD 2-3 CUPS WATER WITH 2 TBLS. LEMON JUICE ADDED TO IT. THE LIQUID SHOULD COVER ABOUT A 1/3 OF THE YALANCHI. YOU ARE BASICALLY STEAMING THESE UNTIL COMPLETELY COOKED. 

BRING TO A BOIL.
COOK FOR 20 MINUTES AT MEDIUM HEAT AND THEN 10 MIN. AT LOW HEAT.

REMOVE THE YALANCHI FROM THE POT AND SET IN THE DISH YOU WANT TO SERVE THEM IN.GARNISH WITH FRESH PARSLEY, MINT AND LEMON.

WRAP DISH WITH PLASTIC AND REFRIGERATE UNTIL COMPLETELY COOLED. PREFERABLY OVERNIGHT.
EAT CHILLED AND ENJOY!


ARMENIAN SPICE (BAHARAD)
1 TBLS. GROUND ALLSPICE
1 TBS. GROUND CINNAMON
1 TBLS. GROUND CLOVES
1 TBLS. GROUND BLACK PEPPER

-BLEND TOGETHER AND STORE IN AIRTIGHT CONTAINER




Saturday, December 17, 2011

THE TEST OF A REAL CHEF- COOKING WITHOUT FAT guest entry from Chef Matteo of 4 COURSE VEGAN, BROOKLYN NY



I have had the privilege of being friends with one of the most talented and creative chefs in the industry. Chef Matteo and I grew up in San Jose, Ca and became friends in high school. We both went to school (I suspect he went to class more than I did but I digress) in Humboldt in 1994-1995. At that time of my life I was working as a baker. We even started a brief whole grain bagel business that unfortunately never really got off the ground.


BENJAMIN Working at Ramone's Bakery in Wildberries Marketplace  Arcata, Ca 


Fast forward a decade or two and Matteo is an incredibly accomplished Vegan chef running 4 course Vegan from his loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for the last  8 years. His menu's are ambitious, creative, colorful, and screaming with flavor.


Here are some examples of some of his original dishes:
Watermelon radish ravioli with thyme-scented cashew cheeze and aged-balsamic


Spicy Avocado Timbale with Radish Slaw and Cilantro Jalapeno Puree




Raw Kinpira Salad with Ginger and Shiso




and it just goes on and on like this....these flavor rich, ethnically-diverse dishes are what Matteo does.


Here's a taste...



So as you can imagine I was excited to hear that he was stuck in northern Calfornia at Thanskgiving with no plans.


Being the gracious friend that I am I jumped at the opportunity to have him cook for me...er, contribute some dishes to our already exciting and healthful feast that we had planned! :)


he knew about my personal journey to health and was ready for the challenge. The challenge for a gourmet chef to cook without fat.

Let's let Matteo explain it in his own words.


Everyone has heard that fats add flavor to food adding richness and unctuousness.  I don’t even think twice about and certainly love pouring extra virgin olive oil over my food to add a punch of extra flavor.   My pie crusts are flaky with the buttery richness of coconut oil and I consume avocados like they are going out of style.  But what if I can’t use these ingredients in my daily cooking?  Where will the flavor come from?  Well that scenario played out just this past Thanksgiving.  And it was a challenge that tested my imagination and made me rethink my approach to cooking.

Me and my girlfriend, Carly, were invited to Benjaimin’s for Thanksgiving this year.  (We should have been in Hawaii celebrating with my family, but that is a whole other story…).  Benjamin has recently adopted a plant-based diet and is eschewing fats in all forms including nuts, seeds, avocados, oils, etc…..So our challenge was to add to the menu and prepare a couple dishes for the Thanksgiving feast.

As a chef, I love my decadent ingredients like coconut, cold-pressed olive oil, cocoa butter and hazelnuts.  The trick here is that we need to add flavor to our dishes without any added fat, none at all. So we needed to use techniques and tweak them to suit a new way of cooking.  As you may know, roasting vegetables and garlic add hearty and earthy sweetness to many savory dishes.  While citrus and vinegars can brighten salads and soups.  And fresh herbs always add something memorable.  Wrapping whole peeled garlic in foil or parchment roasts them golden brown without any oil. These are some techniques we used in preparing our dishes.  Two of them are below for you to try.  Enjoy….
                                                                                              -Chef Matteo



SHAVED BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD



Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced thin in food processor or mandoline
¼ cup vegetable stock
¼ tsp sea salt

>over medium-heat ,in large non-stick sauté pan, wilt Brussels sprouts with vegetable stock and sea salt.  Cook down, stirring occasionally until sprouts are tender and bright green, about 10-12 minutes.  Place in a  medium bowl and set aside to cool.

1 red onion, sliced thin
pinch of sea salt
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

>in medium non-stick sauté pan, cook onions over medium heat.  Add pinch of sea salt and cook until onions are cooked down and beginning to brown, about 7 minutes.  Deglaze the pan with cider vinegar, cooking until the vinegar has evaporated.  Add the cooked onions to the Brussels sprouts

¼ lb dried figs, sliced into thin rounds
2 tbsp dried currants
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin on bias, white and light green parts only
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 tbsp minced thyme
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp red chile flakes
juice and zest of 1 lemon

>add figs, currants, scallions, parsley, thyme, sea salt, pepper, red chile, lemon zest and juice to the Brussels sprouts.  Toss together to combine.  Adjust seasoning  as necessary.  This salad may be served warm or at room temperature.


RYE STUFFING WITH FIELD ROAST

Rye Stuffing with Chanterelles, Oyster Mushrooms, and Dried Bing Cherries

1 loaf Acme NY Rye, cut into large cubes about 1½”-square

>heat oven to 175˚F.  spread cubed rye bread on cookie sheet and bake for one hour, turning once or twice, to evenly dry the bread.  You can do this one or two days in advance and just leave out uncovered on a table or counter top.

½ lb chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned well, and chopped
½ lb oyster mushrooms, diced
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper

>over medium-high flame, heat large non-stick sauté pan for 1 minute.  Add chopped chanterelles and sea salt.  Cook chanterelles 5-7  minutes, until the water released by chanterelles has almost dissipated.  Add oyster mushrooms and black pepper to the chanterelles and continue cooking until the oyster mushrooms have released all their liquid.  Cook an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until fragrant and slightly browned.  Remove mushrooms from heat and set aside.

1 large onion, medium dice
2 stalks celery, medium dice
1 large carrot, medium dice
1 sprig of sage
1 3” piece of rosemary
sea salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup vegetable stock
-----
1 bulb of roasted garlic, peeled
1/3 cup dried bing cherries              
Optional: 6 oz chestnuts, roasted, peeled, and chopped

>place onion, celery, carrot, sage, rosemary, sea salt, pepper, and vegetable stock in 3-quart saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Partially cover and reduce to a simmer.  Cook until vegetables are fork tender, about 5-7 minutes.   Add roasted garlic, dried cherries and chestnuts (if using).  Cook 1 minute longer to allow cherries to rehydrate.  Add cooked mushrooms.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

¼ cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp minced thyme
2-3 cups vegetable stock

>preheat oven to 350˚F. line a 9”x13” baking dish with parchment paper. Place dried rye bread on the bottom of the dish.  Pour the mushroom-vegetable mixture over the bread. sprinkle with parsley and thyme.  Gently mix these ingredients together, so everything is evenly dispersed.   Slowly drizzle 2 cups vegetable broth over the stuffing and cover with aluminum foil.   Bake 25 minutes and check the moisture of the stuffing.  If necessary , pour1 more cup vegetable stock over stuffing and bake an additional 25 minutes.  Remove foil and bake stuffing uncovered 10 more minutes.  The top of the stuffing should be crusty and the layers underneath moist.  To reheat just sprinkle a little more water or stock over the top of stuffing and bake 10-15 minutes until heated through.

*This recipe has no added fats with out the chestnuts.


ABOUT MATTEO

CHEF MATTEO OF 4 COURSE VEGAN
Chef Matteo Silverman, 34, originally from San Jose/San Francisco, has  lived in New York City for 10 years.  A long time-vegetarian and vegan for over 15 years, Matteo strives to elevate plant-based cuisine to the respect it deserves. He seeks fresh, seasonal ingredients that are  sourced locally and organically or bio-dynamically grown. Wetting his feet in the San Francisco restaurant scene, he worked at the infamous  Green’s, Millennium, and Paul K. before moving to NYC in March 2001. He graduated from the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health & Culinary  Arts that July. Upon graduation he worked at various bakeries and  restaurants honing his skills and learning the trade.  Along the way he has worked privately for families and high-profile clients in entertainment and finance, most notably Montel Williams. In January 2003, Matteo launched 4 Course Vegan, a weekly supper club in Williamsburg, born out of pure passion for food, people, and wine.  January 2011 marked the 8th anniversary of 4 Course Vegan.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cooking Healthy Food Takes Way Too Much Time, Right?

Feeling good after the scale told me I have lost 70 pounds since March! 
One of the most frequent questions I get from people when I tell them about my healthy eating lifestyle that I have adopted is, "doesn't it take a lot of time to cook all that good food?"


 My answer? No. 


Not in perspective to other things I used to spend my time on. 
You know what takes a lot of time to do? 
Checking your blood sugars 5-6 times a day. 
Going to the lab to draw blood every 3 months. 
Good to the doctor for your diabetes check up every 3 months. 
Trying to find ANY cool looking clothes that you can afford in a size XXXL/XXXXL. 
Going to the drug store for over the counter medicine to stop persistent heartburn, constipation, or diarrhea.  Going to the endocrinologist. 
Going to the pharmacy every month to buy your expensive prescription drugs.
Organizing all your pills in a way that you don't for get to take one of them.


I don't do any of these things anymore. 


Some other things I don't do anymore which were sucking my time and perhaps more importantly my energy physically as well as psychically-
being anxious
worrying, or stressing about my health.  
Being in pain. Back pain, stomach pain, foot pain, knee pain, ankle pain. There are all kinds of pain associated with my obesity  and inactivity. 
Not to mention mental pain. Low self esteem, low self confidence, feeling like an outsider, a wallflower you name it. 


Cooking healthy food and making it a priority in your life is not effortless. It takes some work, planning, commitment, and dedication. I wake up early and sometimes stay up late to do it right. My wife and I spend  part of our Sunday cooking for the week ahead. We make large batches of soup or roast veggies. We make a large batch of rice that will last at least until Thursday. 


I like to look at cooking for health as an investment. A time investment. I am investing a little time away every day so that I will have the quality of life that I deserve. Barring getting hit by a bus I will hopefully live a long life and get to experience all the trappings of old age with disease and debilitation. I will make that investment now because I don't want to WASTE my time listening to a doctor tell me that I need to take this drug or that drug or subject myself to some invasive procedure that I have weigh all of the side affects against the possible outcome.


I am making this investment not just for me. But for my wife, my son, and my daughter. 


Besides... growing old gracefully looks like a lot of fun to me. 


I can't wait to be the cranky old vegan complaining about the lack of fat free vegan dressings at the salad bar of my local grocery store. You know I will.....I do it today, and I ain't getting any younger.


To your health.


-benjamin

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Potato Hash Extravaganza!!!



As clearly documented in my SUPER EASY OIL-FREE HASHBROWNS post, I hella love potatoes. The thing is that I get bored easily. So after a week or two on my new all plant no oil diet I had to start mixing things up a bit. Just so you get the full picture. I was eating the entire 16oz bag of hash browns every morning. When we went shopping for the week we would buy 6-7 bags of hash browns! At any rate I decided to start adding other things to the browns that I love to eat and inadvertently extended the 1 lb. bag of shredded deliciousness into a 2-3 day quantity. 

The way I did this was simple. I kept with the same base recipe and just added more veggies. You have to increase the cooking time and the propensity for sticking and some extra crispy bits goes up but this ain't haute cuisine and I've always like the crispy bits anyway.

You'll notice a lot of it is frozen. We have two small kids. I make them a healthy filling breakfast of potatoes and oatmeal or cold cereal every morning before school/work. This means we use the convenience of frozen veggies in our house. AND THAT'S OK!!! In fact frozen veggies are blanched and flash frozen so quickly after harvest that they do not lose nutritional value. Some say they may have EVEN MORE nutritional value than their fresh versions.

My wife and I alternate going to the gym before they get up as well. As a parent you have to squeeze exercise in where you can and since we have both worked as bakers and baristas we are used to the early shift.

It looks like this:
4:30am wake up and read email get dressed
5:00-6:00 go to the gym
6:15 kids wake up
6:30-7:00 shower, get dressed cook
7:00 eat breakfast
8:00 leave for school/work

At any rate...back to the hash.

Some of the things I would add to the mix are:
onions and peppers (there is a 365 brand frozen version called southwest blend or fresh is have time to chop)
garlic (granules, minced, or fresh)
onion powder
cayenne powder
chili powder
frozen okra
frozen or fresh greens (kale, collards, blend)
frozen corn
any type of cooked beans
leftover veggie burger
tempeh
mushrooms sliced
broccoli (fresh or frozen)
chiles (jalapeno, chipotle, mild green, whatever you like)

Basically you follow the original recipe but mix all your veggies together in a mixing bowl before adding to the pan. I increase the cooking  time a bit more as well. To keep it simple here is the entire recipe based on a version we have regularly.

1 BAG OF 365 FROZEN HASHBROWNS (NO OIL OR SALT ADDED)
3 TBLS 365 VALLE  DEL SOL CHILI POWDER
1 tsp BLACK PEPPER
1 C. COOKED SCARLET RUNNER BEANS
1 C. FROZEN KALE
1 C. FROZEN CORN
1/2 C. CHOPPED ONIONS
1/2 C. CHOPPED PEPPERS
1 ROASTED JALAPENO DICED

  • Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. 


  • PUT POTATOES INTO A NON-STICK skillet.


  • WITHOUT STIRRING WHATSOEVER-COOK COVERED OVER HIGH HEAT FOR 10 MINUTES. CHECK SEE IF THE POTATOES ARE BROWNING ON THE EDGES. IF SO PROCEED! IF NOT COOK SOME MORE.


  • USING A RUBBER SPATULA PULL THE POTATOES TO THE CENTER OF THE PLATE ENSURING THAT NOTHING IS STICKING TO THE OUTER RIM OF THE FRYING PAN.
  • LAY A DINNER PLATE OVER THE POTATOES. PLACE YOUR HAND ON THE PLATE AND QUICKLY FLIP THE PAN OVER. YOUR POTATOES SHOULD BE SAFELY ON THE PLATE WITH THE COOKED SIDE UP. IF THEY ARE ON THE FLOOR OR THE CEILING OR YOUR CAT...YOU DID IT WRONG. START OVER.
  • NOW SLIDE THE POTATOES OFF THE PLATE AND BACK INTO THE PAN. YOU JUST FLIPPED YOUR TATERS!!! GOOD JOB!
  • COVER AGAIN, LOWER HEAT TO MEDIUM, AND COOK FOR AN ADDITIONAL 7 MINUTES. USE THE SAME DINNER PLATE METHOD TO GET THE POTATOES OUT OF THE PAN. 


need a visual? and yes that is my almost 3 year old screaming at the end.



That is it. Enjoy with your favorite condiments. Plant strong, heart healthy, fat free, hecka tasty, get your starch and your greens in one bowl! 

To your health!
-benjamin

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Veggie Burgers with Onion and Chile

double-decker veggie burger

We make these burgers at our house every Wednesday night. They are really quick to throw together and cook. They are based on a recipe I learned from Jeff Novick. The main difference is my addition of the onion flavoring and the chilies.My kids eat them on a bun with lettuce and ketchup and or mustard. I like to make what I call my veggie burger orgy. It basically a bed of greens, two veggie burgers patties, topped with sauteed corn, onions, and peppers. Top that with some pickle slices and sauerkraut. Our favorite kraut is the Farmhouse Culture Garlic Dill Pickle Kraut. Add some sriracha, and mustard or ketchup and you have a hell of a meal.


Veggie Burgers with Onion  and Chile
Preparation Time:  20 minutes
Cooking Time:  12-15 minutes
Servings:  6-8

2 cans  salt-free kidney beans
2 cups  rolled oats
1 small can  mild green chiles diced
1 pkg  onion soup mix
1 TBLS  ketchup
1 TBLS  yellow mustard
1 TBLS  Valle del Sol chili powder
1 tsp black pepper
2 TBLS corn starch or whole wheat flour

Drain kidney beans. Mash with potato masher. Add all other ingredients and mix. Burger mix should be tacky sticky but not really wet. If it seems to wet add a bit more flour or starch.
Form into patties and set in a Tupperware or a dinner plate. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to a day.
I like to cut small squares of parchment to keep the patties separate before cooking
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook patties for 7 minutes covered. Carefully flip. Cook for an additional 5 minutes covered. If they are sufficiently browned on both sides you are done. If not continue to cook 3 minutes at a time until browned to your liking.


If you are curious about the original recipe. This is how Jeff Novick makes them:



2 cans  salt-free kidney beans
2 cups  rolled oats
2 TBLS  salsa
1 TBLS  of spices (your choice)


Follow the same directions as above.


Cheers,


benjamin

Friday, December 2, 2011

SUPER EASY OIL-FREE HASHBROWNS

NUTRIFACTS OF A POTATO
AS YOU MAY HAVE GUESSED BY NOW I LOVE POTATOES. ITS FAIR TO SAY THAT THE FEELING IS MUTUAL AS MY INDULGENCE IN THE TUBER HAS HELPED ME TO GET MY HEALTH BACK.

POTATOES HAVE BEEN GETTING A REALLY BAD WRAP THESE DAYS.

ANY DISCUSSION ABOUT OBESITY AND FOOD AT SOME POINT BRINGS UP POTATO CHIPS OR FRENCH FRIES.

THOSE ARE POTATOES RIGHT?

WELL YES BUT LIKE MANY THINGS THAT ARE PURE NATURAL AND HEALTHFUL WE HAVE MANAGED TO FRY ALMOST ANY NUTRITION BENEFIT OUT OF THEM.

BUT LETS TALK STRAIGHT. IT AIN'T THE TATER ITS THE OIL.

IT AIN'T THE SPUD ITS THE LARD.

IT AIN'T THE RUSSET ITS THE BUTTER, CHILI, SOUR CREAM, CHEESE, EXCESSIVE SALT AND RANCH DRESSING THAT ARE AT FAULT.

AS YOU CAN SEE IN THE NUTRIFACTS THERE IS NO FAT IN POTATOES. POTATOES DON'T MAKE YOU FAT. YOU MAKE YOU FAT WHEN YOU FRY THEM IN OIL. ANY OIL. DID YOU KNOW THAT LARD AND OLIVE OIL HAVE THE SAME AMOUNT OF CALORIES PER POUND? THAT WOULD BE 4000 CALORIES PER POUND. SO STOP BLAMING MY GOOD FRIENDS FROM IDAHO/PERU AND THINK ABOUT HOW YOU COOK YOUR POTATOES.

IF YOU WANT A QUICK PRIMER ON OLIVE OIL CHECK OUT THIS SHORT VIDEO FROM REGISTERED DIETITIAN AND ALL AROUND FUNNY GUY JEFF NOVICK.


I EAT POTATOES JUST ABOUT EVERY DAY. DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE GUY THAT ATE NOTHING BUT POTATOES? HE GOT HEALTHY EATING 20 POTATOES A DAY JUST TO PROVE TO SKEPTICS THAT IT WON'T MAKE YOU FAT OR SPIKE YOUR BLOOD SUGAR. YOU CAN READ JEFF'S ARTICLE ABOUT IT HERE. IF YOU REALLY WANT TO GET GEEKY WITH THE FACTS READ JEFF'S ARTICLE ABOUT POTATOES AND DIABETES.


OK, ENOUGH SOAP BOXING ABOUT POTATOES. LET'S GET ON WITH THE RECIPE!

SUPER EASY OIL-FREE HASHBROWNS
I EAT THESE HASHBROWNS OR SOME VARIATION ALMOST EVERY DAY. THEY ARE QUICK AND EASY. THE TECHNIQUE IS REALLY SIMPLE. EXPLAINING IT WITH NO VIDEO IS NOT. SO DON'T GET DISCOURAGED IF IT LOOKS TOO HARD. I SWEAR IT'S NOT!!!

1 BAG OF 365 FROZEN HASHBROWNS (NO OIL OR SALT ADDED, MANY BRANDS TO CHOOSE FROM)
365 VALLE  DEL SOL CHILI POWDER (SALT-FREE, MILD HEAT, THIS STUFF RULES!)
BLACK PEPPER

PUT POTATOES INTO A NON-STICK PAN
SPRINKLE CHILI POWDER AND BLACK PEPPER ALL OVER. USE AS MUCH OR AS LITTLE AS YOU LIKE.
WITHOUT STIRRING WHATSOEVER-COOK COVERED OVER HIGH HEAT FOR 8-10 MINUTES. CHECK SEE IF THE POTATOES ARE BROWNING ON THE EDGES. IF SO PROCEED! IF NOT COOK SOME MORE.

THEY WILL LOOK SOMETHING LIKE THIS.

 USING A RUBBBER SPATULA PULL THE POTATOES TO THE CENTER OF THE PLATE ENSURING THAT NOTHING IS STICKING TO THE OUTER RIM OF THE FRYING PAN.

LAY A DINNER PLATE OVER THE POTATOES. PLACE YOUR HAND ON THE PLATE AND QUICKLY FLIP THE PAN OVER. YOUR POTATOES SHOULD BE SAFELY ON THE PLATE WITH THE COOKED SIDE UP. IF THEY ARE ON THE FLOOR OR THE CEILING OR YOUR CAT...YOU DID IT WRONG. START OVER.
SEE MY ARM UNDER THERE?
WE ARE HALF WAY THERE!!!
NOW SLIDE THE POTATOES OFF THE PLATE AND BACK INTO THE PAN. YOU JUST FLIPPED YOUR TATERS!!! GOOD JOB!
SLIDING BACK INTO THE PAN
BACK IN THE PAN!
COVER AGAIN, LOWER HEAT TO MEDIUM, AND COOK FOR AN ADDITIONAL 4-5 MINUTES. USE THE SAME DINNER PLATE METHOD TO GET THE POTATOES OUT OF THE PAN.

THAT'S IT! THE TECHNIQUE MAY LOOK HARD BUT I ASSURE YOU IT IS SUPER EASY. JUST HAVE SOME CONFIDENCE FLIPPING OVER THE PLATE AND YOU WILL BE FINE.
UPDATE: HERE IS THE VIDEO



NOW TOP WITH YOUR FAVORITE SALSA, HOT SAUCE, KETCHUP OR SRIRACHA.
I HOPE YOU ENJOY THESE HEALTHY POTATOES AND MUCH AS MY FAMILY AND I DO.
TO YOUR HEALTH!
-BENJAMIN
VERONIKA ENJOYING HER PEETO'S (HOW SHE SAYS POTATOES)WITH KETCHUP 

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