Vegan Scene

mushroom and bean stew with kale slaw
August 13, 2010, 6:27 pm
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England is much farther north than anywhere I have lived on the East coast of the US. This means the days get longer in the summer and shorter in the winter. The weather is described as moderate. It is often chilly here. The summer does get warm sometimes, but it rarely ever gets hot.

Stew, kale, and beet root are all pretty hearty foods, and they are all perfectly in season right now. Yes, in England we are eating stew in mid August to revive ourselves after a soaking wet hike with the pooch. Lately it has been raining buckets and soups and stews have been timely and warming.

I made this stew by sauteing onion, mushroom, and carrots with cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cayenne pepper, thyme, oregano, and garlic. Once the onion browned, I added kidney beans, aduki beans, water, and more crushed garlic. I simmered the stew and after a bit, I added potatoes. Fifteen minutes later, some cauliflower. I added barley miso before serving and garnished with coriander/cilantro.

For the slaw, I just shredded kale and beet root, mixed it with a bit of crushed garlic, tamari, hemp seeds, pumkin seeds, and lemon juice.


August 1, 2010, 8:15 pm
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We’re still on potato and kale this weekend. The cropping is heavy, and with only two busy little sometimes-farmers living here, we will need to eat these crops until we explode. I shouldn’t complain- there could be worse things than having piles of vegan-organic food around! We’ve still got two beds full of potatoes, having gone through our first two. I estimate that each plant produced about five medium sized potatoes. We fit about 12 plants in each of our beds, and I reckon one whole bed has produced about 4 kilos of potatoes. It’s possible that we over watered our potatoes, and thus reduced our yield. I read in a gardening book that potatoes only need water once every two weeks in drier times, and we were watering nearly every day! I guess it’s just another one I will have to experiment with next year.

Anyway, no longer are we eating chowder, but instead 2 separate dinners of sauteed kale and olive oil-baked potatoes.

We also got to sample our green beans for the first time ever, last night! They’re just coming into season, so we don’t have a bean glut yet. Right now, there’s only a precious few to steam.

fresh climbing beans

As for the kale, tonight I cooked it with the remains of some store-bought green curry paste in my fridge. It consisted of garlic, green chilli, onion, lemon grass, salt, galangal, kaffir lime peel, fennel seed, coriander, and pepper. I added it with some water several minutes after starting the kale stalks and onion. I also added thinly sliced carrots and soaked apricots (soaked in boiling water for 5+ minutes). Last night I had a basic onion and kale saute with mustard seeds, and I added tahini dressing at the end.

Both nights, the potatoes were sliced, brought to a boil for a few minutes, quickly added to a sizzling pan coated in olive oil, and transferred to the hot oven, where they baked for 15 minutes.

last night's kale, bean, and potato dinner

tonight's apricot kale and potato dinner

ragged jack
July 25, 2010, 12:07 pm
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We are growing a patch of 13 monstrous kale plants. We’ve been harvesting about two weeks now and these puppies are massive. They are so happy to be alive! We could eat kale every night with dinner and still have an abundance of the stuff  and it will keep coming til the end of winter. Hallelujah!

Ragged Jack kales with their neighbors The Broccolis

The variety we have is called Ragged Jack. It is very stalky. Jack is also very leafy, but the stalks are undeniable…the gardener/cook must have these stalks in mind when working with old Ragged Jack or s/he will be overwhelmed.

Here’s what I have devised: I get the cast iron medium hot with olive oil, separate all of Jack’s leafy bits from his stalk, and slice the stalk up sliver thin. Then I slice up a red onion equally thin, and saute for a solid 15 minutes with salt, pepper, and paprika. I let this stuff really sweat it out. THEN I add the chopped up, rinsed off kale leaves, pop a cover on for 3 or four minutes, and there we have it: a tender side of kale!

Feel free to add pre-soaked raisins in with the stalks and onion. You’ll also want some sort of dressing- try tahini or the cashew pesto paste I blogged about here.

homegrown goodness