Friday, July 1, 2011

Quick Curried Swiss Chard and Coconut Rice!

We just got back last night from a glorious vacation at Yosemite where we watched my sister-in-law marry the love-of-her-life in the absolute most beautiful of settings. I was not prepared for the splendor of that place. Wow. And what a wedding! I'm still riding high from that trip. :)

We followed Yosemite up with a quick trip to the San Fransisco-ish area, visiting my aunt, uncle, and cousin in Stockton, and traipsing around to different locales, enjoying the perfect weather. You could have a garden year-round there! I was a mite jealous ...

I've been itching to get back to blogging, though, to share some recipes I tried before we left for vacation. Two are here and I may share a couple more on the next entry. They're all from a cookbook I'm trying out, which has proven to be a winner. (As I did in this case, I usually test-drive cookbooks from the library and then buy them if I am impressed by the results. I'm definitely purchasing this one!) This particular cookbook is called Color Me Vegan by my favorite veg-person Colleen Patrick Goudreau, whom I talked about in an earlier post. I cooked both of these up and Ryan was very happy. (He's a little picky -- sorry Ry -- so he's kind of my litmus test.) I'm also going to include a black bean recipe that my brother-in-law made up one night last week when we went to their house. It goes very nicely with these two recipes ...

Quick Curried Swiss Chard
2 servings (I doubled the recipe so we'd have leftovers)

1 Tb coconut oil *
1 large red onion, sliced
1 large bunch Swiss chard, chopped  (you can eat the stems as well...just chop them up like celery)
1 teaspoon or more (to taste) curry paste (red or green)
1 C nondairy milk divided (almond, coconut, soy, rice, hazelnut, hemp, or oat)
salt, to taste

Heat the coconut oil in a large saute pan or wok over medium heat. Add the red onion, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Add the chard and stir into the onion until they both begin to cook down and shrink in size.

Meanwhile, in a small bowls, stir the curry paste into a small amount of the 1 cup milk so that it becomes fully incorporated. Add it and the rest of the milk to the pan.

Stir the chard/onion mixture to combine it with the curry and milk  and cook for 5 or 10 minutes, uncovered, to fully tenderize the chard and deepen the flavor of the curry. You don't want to cook it so long that the milk totally evaporates. It makes a delicious sauce over rice.

Add salt to taste and serve over brown rice or coconut rice. It is also delicious served at room temperature.

* If you don't have coconut oil, you may use olive; the coconut oil just increases the flavor of the dish.

I'll add here that Swiss chard is simple to grow and is breathtakingly beautiful, especially if you grow rainbow chard! The leaves are art, I swear. It's so lovely, you could plant it with your flower gardens and just pick it as needed. And it would do very nicely in a container garden.  I planted some by seed this year and also bought small plants at the nursery to get a head-start.

Coconut Rice
4 servings

1 can (15 ounces) light coconut milk
1 1/4 C water
1 1/2 C uncooked brown or jasmine rice
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3 Tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes

In a saucepan, combine the coconut milk, water, rice, and coconut extract. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 40 minutes or until the rice is tender. (Check halfway through the cooking time and close to the end of cooking time in case the liquid has evaporated and extra needs to be added.)

Turn off the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Season with salt to taste and add the coconut flakes, if using. Stir to combine and serve.

Eric's Black Beans
serves 2? (I doubled these amounts, and YUM.)

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well
some water
lots of garlic (4-5 cloves?)
olive oil
salt and pepper

So I watched my brother-in-law make this and saw that he cut his garlic up into pieces instead of putting it through the garlic press. He said it made the taste much more intense, so I tried it and he was right. Honestly, if you love garlic, I don't think you can put too much in here.

So you fry up the garlic in olive oil in a saute pan. Then throw the black beans in and add some water (maybe a half a cup or so?) and let it cook. He kept adding water to it and cooking it until the beans started to fall apart -- about 25 or so minutes. Towards the end, you can -- if you choose -- mash up some of the beans with a potato masher/meat tenderizer/fork until they reach a consistency you like. (I mashed up maybe half of the beans.) Cook until most of the water is gone, but not so much that the beans dry out. Add salt and pepper to taste. You could add chopped cilantro/parsley to this or hot sauce. Or add some chopped jalapeno when you cook the garlic at the beginning. It's all good.

I loved these because they were simply delicious and it was very minimal preparation. I'm guessing you could substitute the black beans with other kind of beans and it would be equally delicious!

Enjoy and let me know how it goes if you try any of these!  I guarantee your taste buds will have a wide grin.

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