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Realish Food on the Road – The Maine Event

First of all, need I say more? This is the lovely view from our hotel in York, Maine. All we had to do was step out the front door and take this in. It is the epitome of a quaint, New England seaside town. This particular day was a bit dreary and the tide was coming in, so it feels a bit smaller than it actually is. I don’t mind that at all. It feels very cozy and intimate. Never fear though, the next day it was 80 degrees and sunny and quite crowded.

We stayed at the Union Bluff Hotel in the Annex, which is slightly more motel than hotel, as the rooms open up to the outside. Don’t let that deter you because every room in the Annex faces the ocean and has this view. We were extremely lucky as we booked on a Monday for a stay starting on Tuesday. I advise you not to wait until the last minute though. You could easily miss out on the opportunity to stay at this beautiful place. Rooms book a year in advance, sometimes three years in advance. We booked for next summer as we were checking out.

I can’t say enough about this property. The staff is friendly, accommodating, and helpful.

Now let’s get to the food. Lobster, lobster, lobster… Yes. I ate lobster every day, but not your everyday steamed lobster with drawn butter and a baked potato – not that there’s anything wrong with that. I was really impressed with the innovative ways in which I enjoyed lobster. There was the lobster taco that I enjoyed at Gaskin’s Barbecue and Lobster. I don’t care for aioli or mayo in any way, shape, or form, so I skipped the coleslaw and chipotle aioli, and had them put avocado sauce and kimchi on mine. Yes kimchi. It was awesome and didn’t over power the lobster meat at all. My daughter enjoyed the pulled pork very much and my husband loved the brisket. They get extra points for having gluten free rolls and clearly labeling the gf items on the menu. They also had an array of bbq sauces to try, ranging from vinegar based to tomato based. All were delicious.

Here is my take on a lobster taco.

Lobster Tacos

Ingredients
Corn Tortillas – 8
Lobster Meat – 1 lb.
Avocado Spread (recipe follows)
Quick Kimchi Slaw (recipe follows)

Directions

  1. Heat corn tortillas in the oven, in a dry frying pan, or microwave.
  2. Spoon a thin layer of avocado spread on the tortilla.
  3. Pile with about 2 oz. of lobster meat and top with kimchi slaw.
  4. Enjoy. Serves 2-4 people depending on how much you like to eat.

Avocado Spread

Ingredients
Avocados – 1-2 (ripe – soft to touch but not mushy)
Cilantro – 2 tbs. (finely chopped)
Fresh Lime Juice – 1-2 tbs. (to taste)
Salt – at least 1 tsp. or more to taste
Hot Sauce – a few dashes or to taste

Directions

  1. Cut open avocados and scoop flesh into a bowl.
  2. Add in lime juice and salt.
  3. Mash together until you get a smooth paste.
  4. Add cilantro and hot sauce.
  5. At this point, you should taste and adjust seasonings.

Really Quick Kimchi Slaw

Ingredients
Cole Slaw Mix – 1 bags
Radishes – 8
Scallions – 4
Garlic – 3 cloves
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Soy Sauce – 1 tbs. + 2 tsp.
Chili Sauce or Chili Paste – 1-3 tbs.
Sugar – 1 tbs.
Rice Vinegar – 3 tbs.

Directions

  1. Thinly slice the radishes and scallions and toss them with the cole slaw mix in a large bowl.
  2. Grate the garlic and the ginger and whisk together with the soy sauce, chili sauce, sugar, and rice vinegar.
  3. Toss together the dressing and the veggies and hold at room temperature until ready to serve.
  4. Store in refrigerator for up to one week.

http://www.unionbluff.com/

https://www.gaskinsbarbecue.com/


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Tell Your Turkey to Hit the Road – To Mexico

Today’s International Idea is sure to become a leftover fiesta favorite. This is a new take on how to use up both turkey and cranberry sauce. In this case we are using the cranberry jelly that comes from a can, but any extra cranberry sauce will work.

Turkey Enchiladas

Ingredients

Turkey Meat (white or dark) – 2 cups
Chili Powder – 1 tsp.
Cumin – 1 tsp.
Salt – to taste
Lime Juice – ½ – 1 lime – to taste
Olive Oil – 1-2 tsp.
Corn Tortillas -12
Monterey or Pepper Jack Cheese – 4-8 oz. shredded (optional)
Cranberry Tomatillo Salsa – 2 cups or as needed (recipe follows)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Toss together turkey, chili powder, cumin, salt, lime juice and olive oil.
  3. Heat corn tortillas until they are pliable.
  4. Spread about 2 tbs. of turkey on the bottom half of the tortilla. If using cheese sprinkle about 1 tsp. over the turkey mixture.
  5. Roll up the tortilla and place fold side down in baking dish. Continue until all tortillas are filled and rolled.
  6. Spoon salsa over the top to lightly cover the enchiladas.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes until heated through.
  8. Serve with remaining salsa.

Note: If you love cheese, feel free to sprinkle some extra over the whole thing before you bake the enchiladas.

Cranberry Tomatillo Salsa

Ingredients

Tomatillos – 1½ pounds
Red Onion – ½ of small onion
Garlic Cloves – 2
Serrano or Jalapenos – 2
Jellied Cranberry Sauce – ½ – 15 oz. can (or more to taste)
Lime Juice – 1 lime or to taste
Cilantro – 1 handful
Salt – to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a sheet tray with cooking spray.
  2. Remove husks from tomatillos, rinse and cut in half. Peel and cut onion in half.
  3. On sheet tray place tomatillos, onion, garlic cloves, and serranos or jalapenos. Spray lightly with cooking spray or drizzle with oil.
  4. Roast until tomatillos are softened.
  5. Peel garlic gloves and remove stem and seeds from chiles.
  6. In a food processor, puree roasted veggies with cranberry sauce, lime juice, cilantro, and salt until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings.


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Tell Your Turkey to Hit the Road!

It’s that time of year again. We all know what to do for Thanksgiving Day. Okay, let’s pretend we all know what to do. We will make a turkey. That’s pretty standard unless we are vegetarian. We will likely also have mashed potatoes, veggies, some kind of sweet potato, and stuffing (or dressing depending on where you live). My family has stuffing, in case you were wondering.

That’s all fine and good, but then there are the leftovers. Chances are that even if you don’t host the big event, you are likely to have leftovers. Either some well meaning relative will bestow you with some, in a thinly veiled attempt to reduce the amount that they have to deal with the next day. Maybe you will bring a side, or an appetizer, or dessert to said relative’s house and you will have bought too many of something. You might have extra sweet potatoes or canned pumpkin, or more veggies than you can ever imagine using up.

Over the next several days I will provide you with some International Ideas to transform your leftovers into fun new favorites. Who knows? You might not even wait for leftovers. You might want to use some of these recipes to rejuvenate your traditional favorites. Just don’t tell my brother-in-law. He could not understand why we would consider changing anything up. I’ll guess we’ll just have to surprise him with the sweet potato gnocchi.   Sssshhhh…

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Ingredients

Sweet Potato – 1 large

Egg – 1 large or 1 flax seed egg

Olive Oil – 1 tbs.

Salt – 1 tsp.

Flour – ½ to 1 cup (any kind: regular, corn, rice, gluten-free mix) plus extra for rolling

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  1. Roast sweet potato until completely cooked through and soft. Remove from oven and cool.
  1. Peel and mash with egg or egg substitute, olive oil, salt, and flour as needed. Knead into a dough.
  1. Wrap in plastic wrap and rest in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until ready to use.
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt to boiling water.
  1. Cut dough into quarters. Roll into long cylindrical pieces. Cut into ½ inch pieces and roll on a fork to get lines.
  1. When all pieces have been cut and rolled, drop into boiling water.
  1. When they float to the top, drain and toss with flavored butter. Serve while still hot.

 

Note: The final product can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

To make flax seed egg, mix 1 tbs. ground flax seed with 3 tbs. water and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Orange Sage Butter

Ingredients

Butter – 1 stick

Orange Zest and Juice – 1 orange

Sage Leaves – 5 (or as needed)

Salt – to taste

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan or frying pan combine butter, orange zest, 2-3 tbs. orange juice, and sage leaves.
  1. Melt butter and simmer for a couple of minutes to allow flavors to blend.
  1. Drizzle over gnocchi. Garnish with more zest or sage leaves, if desired.


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All You Need is Love II

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All You Need is Love II

In my most recent post, I suggested a list of ingredients that I recommend you keep on hand on a regular basis. My reasons for choosing these ingredients are that they are easy to find, healthy, and inexpensive – and can provide a long list of versatile and delicious meals.

I gave you a list of ingredients and a list of 8 dishes you can make with them. I have previously provided 4 recipes and now I will provide the final 4. In my next post I will provide a game plan for keeping an abundance of prepared food on hand with minimal planning and work. If you are willing to do a little extra labor for a couple of nights, you can probably save yourself 2 or 3 nights of cooking later on.

I previously provided recipes for Black Beans and Rice, Lentil Soup, Vegetable Soup, and Stuffed Peppers. The remaining recipes follow.

Vegetarian Chili
Veggie Stir Fry
Fried Rice
Quick Refrigerator Pickles

Vegetarian Chili

1 medium onion – chopped
1 medium to large bell pepper – chopped
1-3 cloves of garlic – minced
1 (or more) chile of choice – minced (I like serranos and jalapenos for this)
3 cups of canned tomatoes (pureed, strained, sauce)
1 cup of water
3-4 cups of cooked beans of choice (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
Cilantro (optional)
Oil, Salt, Pepper (as needed)

Heat up some oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan or pot you are using). Saute onions and peppers for a few minutes. Add garlic and chile and saute for another minute or two. Add tomatoes and water and simmer for 5 or 10 minutes to combine flavors. Add salt and pepper as needed. Add in cooked beans.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes. Adjust seasonings as you go. Finish with chopped cilantro to taste. For a more filling meal, serve over rice.

Note: Try to use at least 2 kinds of beans for this dish. It’s nice to have variety. My favorite beans for chili are black, pink, kidney, and garbanzo. Feel free to use any kind you like.

Veggie Stir Fry

Chopped Veggies of your choice (2-4 cups)
1-3 Garlic Cloves – minced
Chile – minced (optional)
Oil (one that can stand a high heat such as canola or coconut)
Water – approx. ¼ cup
Tamari – to taste
Cilantro (optional)
Cooked Rice – 2 cups

I like to use big chunks of veggies for this. Just make sure they are similar in size so they cook at the same rate. The veggies we have on hand from the shopping list are carrots, celery, onions, and bell peppers. Heat up some oil in a sauté pan. Add all the chopped veggies and sauté for a few minutes. When veggies are cooked about halfway through, add the garlic and chiles. Small pieces of garlic burn quickly and can ruin a dish so we add them later in the cooking process. Cook for about 2 minutes and add some water. We add the water for 2 reasons. One, it will create steam and speed up the cooking process. Two, it will keep the garlic from burning. Add tamari to taste. Finish with cilantro and serve over cooked rice.

Fried Rice

Chopped Veggies of your choice (2-4 cups)
Garlic – minced
Chile – minced (optional)
Oil (one that can stand a high heat such as canola or coconut)
Water – approx. ¼ cup
Tamari
Cilantro (optional)
Cooked Rice – 2 cups

I like to use smaller chunks of veggies for this. Just make sure they are similar in size so they cook at the same rate. The veggies we have on hand from the shopping list are carrots, celery, onions, and bell peppers. Heat up some oil in a sauté pan. Add all the chopped veggies and sauté for a few minutes. When veggies are cooked about halfway through add the garlic and chiles. Small pieces of garlic burn quickly and can ruin a dish so we add them later in the cooking process. Cook for about 2 minutes and add some water. We add the water for 2 reasons. One, it will create steam and speed up the cooking process. Two, it will keep the garlic from burning. Add tamari to taste. Stir in the fried rice and cook until everything is mixed together and heated through.

Note: This recipe is very similar to the Veggie Stir Fry. The difference is that you chop the veggies into smaller pieces and you add the cooked rice into the pan instead of serving the veggies over the rice.  Also, this is a great time to use the leftover rice from the fridge.  No need to make fresh rice.  The old stuff actually works better.

Quick Refrigerator Pickles

2 Cups of Water
1 cup of Vinegar (I like white or apple cider)
1 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar (or agave or honey)
3 cups of Veggies of your choice (carrots are my favorite but celery works too)

Bring water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil and let simmer for a few minutes until salt and sugar dissolve. Clean, peel, and slice veggies into bite-size pieces. Place in clean glass jars. Pour in pickling liquid. Let this cool before you cover with lids. Place in refrigerator.  These will be ready in a few hours and keep for about 2 weeks, if refrigerated.   They only get better with time. Serve as a snack, side dish, on a sandwich, any way you like. These pickles will be very mild. Feel free to adjust salt and sugar ratios or add garlic or chiles to spice things up a bit. If using garlic or chiles, add them to the cooking liquid and simmer along with the other ingredients.

Note: You can save old jars from store-bought pickles, or salsa for this use. No need to buy new ones. You can also use plastic containers, but I prefer glass for this.  


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Veganomics – Hummus – Recipe

realishhummus

Okay, let’s just say that I LOVE hummus. It’s delicious, affordable, versatile, and crowd-pleasing. My husband and I have often made a meal of it with sliced veggies and pita bread or crackers.   I personally use dried beans almost exclusively, but in this case I often make an exception. The recipe below is very straightforward and easy to remember so that’s the one I’m providing. It’s basically one of everything: 1 can of beans, 1 clove of garlic, 1 tsp. tahini, 1 lemon. Olive oil and salt as needed. It’s extremely easy to double the recipe.   I wouldn’t make more than 2 cans worth (or ½ lb. dried) at a time as the food processor might not be able to accommodate more ingredients. You can also use this recipe if you have a mini-food-processor. The one of everything version is perfect. The only issue is that you can’t drizzle the olive oil while the processor is going. You have to add a little olive oil at a time and start and stop until you get the consistency you like.

Hummus

1 can of garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
or ¼ lb. of dried garbanzo beans (soaked, and cooked)
1 clove of garlic (or more to taste)
1 tsp. tahini
1-2 lemons – juice and zest (optional)
Olive oil as needed
Salt to taste

Wash and dry lemons and zest them. Crush and peel garlic clove. Add drained beans, tahini, salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice (to taste) to the food processor. I like lemony hummus so I use a lot of lemon. Start processor and drizzle in olive oil until you get the consistency you like. Adjust seasonings.  Serve with veggies, pita bread, crackers, chips. Hummus also makes a great sandwich or wrap. Spread bread with hummus and pile on whatever veggies you like.

Note: Tahini can have a seemingly high price tag when compared with the other ingredients. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way. It keeps in the fridge indefinitely, and even if you made hummus once a week, your supply would last from 6 months to 1 year. Also, you can skip it. It’s not mandatory but I think it adds a nice flavor. That being said, if I didn’t have tahini on hand, I would still make hummus.


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Veganomics – Greens and Beans – Recipe

 realishcabbage realishdrywhitebeans

Greens and beans are an Italian classic, especially escarole and white beans with lots of garlic. If you are not familiar with escarole, it resembles a thicker head of green leaf lettuce. It’s delicious and stands up to cooking, but can also be used in salads if it’s allowed a little time to marinate in it’s dressing. I love escarole but I also love cabbage, and I find it to be less expensive and more versatile. Since this is part of my Veganomics series, I’m going with the cabbage for this recipe. You can use any cabbage you like, green cabbage, savoy cabbage, or napa cabbage. These are the three most popular ones that I find readily available. I love savoy cabbage. I call it “medium” cabbage. Regular cabbage can be a little heavy and napa tends to be very light. While the savoy can be a little pricier than the green, I don’t mind spending a little extra and it still stretches a buck.

Even though we are basing this Veganomics series on the versatility and delicious nature of beans, I’d like to give you some ideas for using the leftover greens from the recipe below.

  • Slice it up for a lighter version of cole slaw
  • Chop or slice it and use it as a base for salad in place of your favorite lettuce
  • Add to soups, stews, or stir-fries to bump up the vitamins and fiber in your meal
  • Use it as a wrap in place of bread or tortillas
  • Use whole leaves as serving containers for dips at parties

As I’m writing this, I’m thinking that cabbage might play a big role in my next Veganomics series. More to come on that…

Here is my favorite recipe for greens and beans. Mangia!

Greens and Beans

½ lb. of dried white beans (or 2 – 15 oz. cans drained and rinsed)
½ head of savoy cabbage – thinly sliced
1-3 cloves of garlic
Salt and Pepper
Oil of choice for sautéing
Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
Fresh lemon juice to taste (optional)

Cooking the beans

Rinse and then soak dried beans for at least a couple of hours or overnight, if possible. If you don’t have time to soak the beans, you can skip this step. Just keep in mind that it could extend your cooking time. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour until they are cooked through. Add about one teaspoon of salt to the beans about halfway through cooking. If using canned beans, skip this step.

Coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with oil. Over low heat, cook whole cloves of garlic until they are very soft. Remove them from the oil. Mash the garlic with a little salt to make a paste. At this point you can raise the cooking heat to about medium. Add the cabbage and cook until wilted. If the pan seems a little dry add some water. This will create some steam and quicken the cooking time without having to add extra oil. Remove cabbage from the pan. Add a little extra oil if needed and then sauté the white beans to heat through and soften up. Add in the mashed garlic and stir to incorporate with the beans. Add cabbage back in and cook until everything is heated through and cooked to your liking.   Along the way add salt and pepper to taste.   Pile on a serving platter. Just before serving you can drizzle lightly with a good quality olive oil and some lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. Use the red pepper flakes at any point during the cooking process or serve at the table for a finishing touch. Enjoy. Serves 4 as a generous main course portion or as a side dish for 6 – 8 people.

Leftover Tips

While this is delicious reheated, as is, for lunch or dinner, here are some other tasty options.

Turn it into a soup, by adding stock and veggies of your choice (i.e., diced potatoes, carrots, tomatoes) and simmering until the veggies are cooked through. Adjust seasonings and enjoy.

Toss it with pasta and sun-dried tomatoes and dress with some pasta water and olive oil.


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Veganomics – Beans

realishrealfood.com

realishrealfood.com

I came across an article today about making a vegan diet more affordable. At first, it seemed odd because I think of vegan diets as being very affordable. Rice and beans are the poster children for veganism. Right? After much consideration, it occurred to me that the sudden popularity of “green juices” and some of the prices that I see at the farmer’s market, can make it difficult to eat well on a budget. Let’s face it, most of us can’t afford micro-greens at $5 per ¼ lb. You’re not fooling anyone. That’s $20 per pound – for lettuce.

This has inspired me to share my first Veganomics series. This week, I will provide you with one recipe every day highlighting beans. Beans are versatile and affordable and delicious.

I will also share some thoughts and tips on beans to help you plan and executive these recipes. Here are a few to get you started.

  • I like to use dried beans. I find that you get more value, but they do take considerably more time and planning. Of course, you are welcome to use canned. They are still very affordable and easy and nutritious.
  • A one-pound bag of beans works out to roughly four cans of beans. If you are buying in bulk, one cup of beans is roughly ½ pound or the equivalent of two cans.
  • You should always sort through dried beans and rinse them thoroughly before soaking or cooking.
  • You don’t have to soak your beans but it will shorten the cooking time dramatically.
  • You can soak your beans overnight to shorten cooking time. If you are going to soak them for longer than 12 hours, I would swap out the water at least once. Just drain and rinse and cover with fresh water. You can soak them at room temperature for up to 24 hours. You can also soak them in the fridge for up to 2 days if you think you might not get to cook them right away. Just swap out the water about every 12 hours or so.
  • You can cook an entire bag of beans and then freeze any that you are not using immediately. A good plan is to cook them all and then divide and store in four parts. Consider each part the equivalent of one can of beans.

Normally I wouldn’t share 5 recipes in 1 week, but I want you to see that you can make these recipes all in a week and have delicious, nutritious options for lunch and dinner and never get bored. And if you are cooking for one or two people, you can even freeze portions for the future, which will save you time and money in the long run. I’ll provide leftover tips along the way. At the end of the week, I will provide a shopping list to show you how, by having minimal and affordable ingredients on hand, you can eat really well.

You can Relish Real Food!