Jamaican Four Bean Kale Soup


This is another soup I was looking forward to making while on my fast, and I must say, I outdid myself.  The flavors of this soup is so delicious.  It reminds me of the chicken noodle soup my Mom would make with the Jamaican Cock Soup mix when I was younger.  All that’s missing are the dumplings.  Sometimes I feel a little left out when I see my family eating this soup I grew up on.  Now I don’t need to, as I have the satisfaction from this soup… except it’s far more nutritious, filled with all this yummy kale, or whatever greens you choose to use.

I took this recipe from the Jamaican Callaloo and Bean Soup recipe from Caribbean Pot.  I, of course, made a few tweaks to it… nothing major.  I would have used callaloo, except this is not quite the season for it and we’ve long finished our last bag that we froze for the Winter months.  Considering kale is far more widely available and I actually keep this on stock frozen and also purchase fresh regularly, this seemed like the perfect substitute.  Even without the callaloo, this is still a Jamaican soup with the combination of the flavors.  I hope you enjoy!!

Jamaican Four Bean Kale Soup

Jamaican Four Bean Kale Soup

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup Kidney beans
  • 1/4 cup Lima beans
  • 1/4 cup Garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 4 cups water (for soaking)
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 vegan Not-Chick’n bouillon cubes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, leaves with stems, chopped
  • 2 tbsps coconut oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper
  • 8 cups chopped kale (or other greens)
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 2 scallions, chopped (green onions)
  • 1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
Preparation
  1. Soak the beans overnight in 4 cups of water for 12 hours.
  2. After soaking, drain the water from the beans.
  3. In a large pot, add beans, 6 cups of water, and bouillon cubes.
  4. Bring pot to a boil and then simmer, covered on low heat.  Allow for a total cooking time of 1 hour to cook beans.
  5. Dice onion and chop parsley.  In about 25 minutes of the beans cooking add coconut oil in a heated pan.  When oil is heated, add onion and parsley.
  6. Add pressed (or minced) garlic and thyme to the onion / parsley mixture.  Fresh thyme can also be used in place of dried.  Cook for 3-5 minutes until onions are soft.
  7. Add onion mixture to the pot of broth and beans.  Add scotch bonnet pepper, kale, and potatoes.  Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, until potatoes and beans are done, about 20-25 minutes.
  8. Add scallions during last few minutes of cooking, and sea salt to taste.
  9. Prior to serving, remove the scotch bonnet pepper.  Soup will not be spicy.  For spicier soup, burst open pepper prior to removing.

Serves 6

Oh, Sugar Honey Iced Tea!


Today I could be posting about so many other things.  In fact, I prepared one of my favorite dishes that I’ve always previously purchased in a restaurant.  Today was my first time ever making it, or attempting anything similar.  The dish was a close disaster, but with my doctoring skills I was able to save it to the point where it was edible.  However, I have far more tweaking to do with the recipe before I am able to share it.  Disappointed that I would have nothing to share today, I decided to share my iced tea recipe.  I know, this is far too simple, but with the knowledge that a vast number of the population thinks iced tea is made from adding sugary powder to water, I’ve decided to save the world by sharing the information that iced tea is actually made from tea.  And that we don’t need to purchase $2 bottles to enjoy good iced tea.

Sugar Honey Iced Tea

Sugar Honey Iced Tea

Ingredients
  • 4 cups boiling hot water
  • 8 black tea bags
  • 1/4 to 3/8 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
  • 2 tbsps raw honey
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup cane sugar
  • cold water and/or ice
Preparation

Pour boiling hot water into glass container.  Add tea bags and steep for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes remove tea bags.  Add strained lemon juice, raw honey, and sugar.  1/2 cup is sufficient for slightly sweet tea, and 3/4 is for those who likes it sweeter.  Stir tea until honey and sugar has dissolved.  Add enough water and/or ice cubes to fill a 2 quart container.  Cold water may be added if beverage will not be served immediately, otherwise add ice.

Serves 6

Fried Green Plantains (Tostones)


Today’s recipe is a very simple one, and one that you will remember after just viewing the instructions once.  This dish is one that I grew up with living in a Jamaican household, and is known through many West Indian and Latino cultures.  The plantain, pronounced [plan-teen] in Jamaica, or platanos among Latinos, is a cousin to the banana.  It looks like a very large banana.  It can be eaten green or ripened, and is usually cooked either way.  The plantain can be cooked in what we call “food”, which is a boiled pot of starchy roots, and dumplings and is usually served with meats and breakfast foods such as ackee or callaloo.  It is also made in soups and stews, or many other dishes throughout the Caribbean.  Today I am giving you a simple fried green plantain recipe, which is also known as tostones.

I decided to make some tostones (so much easier to say and type) when I remembered I had some leftover Tofu Scramble with Spinach and Hash Browns.  I couldn’t eat it all from the day before.  And I remembered thinking how juicy the scramble was and how sweet, yet savory, the hash browns were from cooking them in coconut oil.  I wanted to add another dynamic to all that deliciousness, and decided on making some tostones to complement the flavors.

In making this dish I began with first cutting the plantain (details below), and then soaking them in salted water.  For this step I chose to use the Celtic Light Grey Sea Salt as opposed to fine ground for two reasons.  The coarser light grey salt has gone through far less processing and therefore holds more of the nutrients, and it’s also far less costly than the fine ground version.  I like to reserve the fine ground for instances where the coarser salt will not have a chance to dissolve and I need more than a dash of it.   Because I use this nutritious salt I have no problems in adding as much to my taste is satisfied.  I have no problems with blood pressure because I am using natural salts, and not those that have been processed, depleted of nutrients, with added chemicals and isolated minerals.  Sea salt should have color and moisture.  If it is white and dry, then it’s just processed salt with a sea salt name… but I digress.

Soaking Plantains

After soaking, I fried the plantains in coconut oil on all sides and then removed them from the pan and smashed them between wax paper using a can.

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Then I sprinkled with the fine ground sea salt and continued to fry until done.  This simple dish can be eaten with a large variety of foods throughout the day or as a snack, but is very much favored as a breakfast food.  I hope you enjoy!!

Fried Green Plantains (Tostones)

Fried Green Plantains

Ingredients
  • 1 green unripened plantain
  • Water to soak
  • 1 tsp sea salt (preferably coarse)
  • 3-5 tbsps coconut oil, or oil of choice
  • Sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Using a paring knife, cut both ends of the plantain and discard ends.
  2. Cut the skin of the plantain lengthwise and remove the skin and discard.  The skin on the unripened plantain will be very firm.
  3. Chop the plantain into 1″ to 1-1/2″ pieces, about 8 pieces depending on the length.
  4. Put enough water in a bowl to cover plantains; add about 1 tsp of sea salt.  If using coarse sea salt, thoroughly mix until dissolved.  Add plantains and soak for about 5 minutes.  (Note:  If increasing the number of plantains, the amount of sea salt does not need to be doubled or tripled to equal the number of plantains.  Just add enough to salt the water.)
  5. Heat pan on medium high heat; add oil.  (Note:  If using an oil other than Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (EVCO), less may be used as EVCO tends to soak into whatever it is you are cooking.  However, more may be used to cover plantains, if desired, which would decrease frying time.  The amount given is to fry in shallow oil.)
  6. Remove plantains from water, and drain.  You may pat dry with a towel to prevent popping in the oil, if desired.
  7. When oil is hot, add the plantains to the pan.  Cook for 2 minutes on both sides.  If plantains are a bit large in shallow oil, you may cook the sides as well for a minute each.
  8. Remove plantains from pan.  Put plantain between wax paper, and crush with a can until flattened.
  9. Add plantains back to pan, sprinkle with sea salt to taste, one or both sides.  Fry on each side for 1 minute.
  10. Remove from pan and serve immediately.  If using EVCO, there is no need to remove any excess oil.

Serves 2

Lima Okra Soup with Dumplings


I’ve always thought I cooked and baked fairly well. Generally, my meals are very well accepted by those who try them. However, after preparing this particular dish, I am convinced there is a gourmet chef living inside me. Oh, and I can’t wait to taste what else she has to offer!! Since doing the Master Cleanse detox I’ve decided to incorporate more soups into my diet, hoping this would allow me to not eat as much. I’ll be honest. Ever since I went vegan and stopped eating the soups my Mom used to make, I’ve always eaten soups out of a can. Except there was this one soup that I made when I tasted a fabulous soup when I traveled to Austin, TX. It was so delicious and I had to attempt to recreate it, using a non-vegan recipe and my intuitive taste buds as guidance. I did, and I did well. I hope to share that one with you soon.

This is the second soup I’ve ever made. And it’s perhaps the best tasting soup I’ve ever had. I just finished eating the last bowl. The first bowl fresh off the stove was really, really good, but as leftovers, it is to die for. I know I said in my last blog entry that cooking is an art, and to never feel restricted by a recipe, yadda, yadda, yadda. But trust me on this one. You may want to try this particular recipe just as it is, at least once, just to see what I am talking about. And when you do, please come back and tell me how right I am. Lol…

In making this recipe, I used this one for inspiration and decided to make multiple changes to it for my own tastes and preferences.  And boy (or girl) is this a good one!!

Lima Okra Soup with Dumplings

Lima Okra Soup with Dumplings

Soaking Time:  12 hours
Preparation Time:  25 minutes
Cooking Time:  1 hour

Lima Okra Soup

Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry Lima beans
  • 4 cups water (for soaking beans)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cubes vegan bullion w/ sea salt and herbs (I used Rapunzel)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 tbsps tomato paste
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 3 cups chopped tomato (about 2 large)
  • 2 1/2 cups okra, sliced (fresh or frozen, thawed)
  • 1/2 cup corn (fresh or frozen, thawed)
  •  1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)

Dumplings

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup flour (preferably gluten-free)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • pinch of sea salt
Preparation
  1. Prior to cooking soak Lima beans in 4 cups of water overnight for 12 hours.
  2. Drain water from Lima beans.
  3. In a medium to large pot, add the Lima beans 4 cups of fresh water, and vegan bullion.  In place of a vegan bullion, a vegan vegetable broth may be used.
  4. Bring pot of Lima beans and broth (water and bullion) to a boil, and then simmer on a medium low temperature with pot covered.  The total time for the beans to cook will be about an hour so the remaining preparations and additions should be within this time.
  5. Clean and chop onion and green pepper, making sure to remove the outer skin of the onion, and stem and seeds of the green pepper prior to chopping.
  6. Put pan on medium heat, add olive oil.
  7. Add onions, peppers, garlic, tomato paste, cloves, allspice and thyme to the olive oil in the pan, once the oil has heated.  Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
  8. Remove cloves.  If they are difficult to find, they may later be fished out of the soup after the onion and green pepper mixture has been added.  The cloves will float to the top making them easier to find.
  9. Begin preparation of dumplings:  Add flour, enough water to create dough (about 1/4 cup), and sea salt to a bowl.  Mix flour, water, and sea salt mix and knead dough softly with hands.
  10. Split dough into two and spin with both hands into long thin ropes (spinners).
  11. Cut spinners with knife into bite sized pieces, about 20.  Set aside.
  12. Chop tomatoes.  Slice okra into 1/2″ to 3/4″ slices, throwing away the ends.
  13. After Lima beans have been simmering for 40 minutes, add all ingredients – the onion and pepper mixture, the tomatoes, okra, corn, sea salt, pepper and dumplings (one at a time).  Remove cloves now if there are any remaining in the soup.
  14. Bring pot of soup to a boil, and then simmer on medium low temperature with pot covered for another 20 minutes.
  15. When soup is finished the Lima beans should be tender and the dumplings should be well done.  Stick a toothpick through one of the dumplings to test for doneness.  The toothpick should be clean.
  16. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

Tofu Scramble with Spinach and Hash Browns


Today is day one of what I call Food Day (I know it doesn’t make much sense, but roll with me).  For the past 13 days all I’ve been doing is thinking and DREAMING of food.  I did the Master Cleanse for ten days straight, then went through a three day transitioning period of just orange juice for the first two days, and then orange juice then fruit on day three.  During those 13 days I’ve collected enough recipes to last me a year, but in almost every one I saw things that I would change if I would cook it.  So I had an idea… why not start a blog of my own?  I’ve been posting food porn on my Facebook for the past several years, but the recipes weren’t really organized, and I have people ask me for my recipes all the time.  Why not just post them here?!

I woke up this morning and announced on Facebook that today is Food Day.  Then I jumped up, made myself a glass of lemon water with 99.9% organic sulfur, drank it down, then commenced cooking.  I had already gone out in a snow storm yesterday morning to buy all of my needed ingredients for the next few days.  I thought of serving it with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, but after doing the Master Cleanse, I really have a very low tolerance for anything citrus at this time… except for my lemon sulfur water.  I begin every day with a glass of sulfur water.

This morning for breakfast I decided to make a simple, but very loved dish among the vegan / vegetarian community… Tofu Scramble with Spinach and Hash browns.  This was my very first time making it, and I must say I didn’t do half bad.  As usual, I started out deciding already what I was going to include in the dish, then at the last moment I added something that I feel is going to wake up the dish or bring all the flavors together.  Cooking is an art.  Please never feel restricted by a recipe.  There are only very few recipes that I find to be so perfect that they can stay just as they are, or require minor adjustments.  And sometimes I make changes just because.

On to the recipe…

Tofu Scramble with Spinach and Hash Browns

Tofu Scramble and Hash Browns

Tofu Scramble with Spinach

Ingredients
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced onions
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 container of firm tofu, crumbled (with potato masher)
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 – 1/2  tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp paprika (or to taste)
  • 8 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
Preparation

In large pan on medium heat add the olive oil, onion, and garlic.  Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes until the onions have begun to soften.  Add the crumbled tofu, tomatoes, turmeric, sea salt, cayenne pepper, and paprika.  Cook for about 5 minutes, then add spinach and cook for another 2 minutes until spinach is wilted.

Serves 4

Hash Browns

Ingredients
  • 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 2 tbsps coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 cup minced onions
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
Preparation

Using a food processor, insert peeled and halved potatoes into the shredder until all of the potatoes are completely shredded.  Spoon shredded potatoes into a mesh nut milk bag, or kitchen towel to be able to squeeze all excess liquid out of the potatoes.  Wring nut milk bag or towel with shredded potatoes until all, or most, liquid has been removed.  Add olive oil to large frying pan, or griddle, on medium heat.  When pan and oil are both heated, add all other ingredients and toss until well mixed.  Spread shredded potato mixture evenly into pan so that there are no spaces and potatoes are about 1/4 inch thick.  Cook until the underside of the potatoes are brown then flip with a spatula and brown the opposite side.  Each side should take about 5 minutes to brown.  When both sides are brown, remove from pan, or griddle, with spatula and serve immediately.  It may be easier to cut hash browns in halves or quarters to aide in flipping and serving.

Serves 4