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I heard this recipe on The Splendid Table podcast. The episode was from last fall and it does have a bit of a cold weather vibe but it’s good (and good for you) on a rainy spring day as well. Many variations are possible.

Sweat two or three sliced yellow onions in a large pot in a tablespoon of oil and a pinch of salt, covered for at least an hour and a half so they will retain moisture and not caramelize too quickly. Then, uncover and bring them down to a deep golden color. The result should look like an onion jam.

Add your favorite combination of chopped greens. I like combinations of three, so I chose kale, collard and spinach. Chard is also an excellent choice when available. Remove any large stems and use only the leafy portions. Greens really cook down, so use a couple bunches of each.

As they begin to cook down, add vegetable stock and water. The greens themselves will produce some stock from the water. For extra flavor, cubes of sweet potato or butternut squash can also be added at this time. Cover and cook on low for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the greens are tender. Collard and kale take a while to cook.

When it is all cooked down, add the zest and juice of one lemon to brighten it up and season to taste. I used sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, along with a bit of cayenne pepper. Then, use an immersion blender to blend to a desired consistency.

Serve hot in a bowl and drizzle with a good quality extra virgin olive oil. Adding the room temperature oil to the hot soup really brings out the flavor of the oil and adds a lot of depth to the dish. Enjoy with crusty bread or serve with brown rice.

 

 

And the gumbo was excellent!

And it was very good this year!

Tough day at work so cooking and a glass of wine were in order for this evening. Fresh tilapia with dijon mustard, panko bread crumbs and lemon; farro cooked with achiote seasoning and steamed broccoli; roasted butternut squash tossed in olive oil and salt and pepper (not pictured here). A couple of fresh mozzarella slices and a few olives later, in retrospect the day did not look so bad. Cheers.

Cheers!

So, two things on my mind. First, the extremely warm spring in Houston has yielded zucchini on April 20. I cooked it into a pasta sauce – early stages shown below. Fresh basil from the garden was added as well. A nice glass of dry Italian red wine, some good music and the Astros game (muted) on the screen made for a superb evening.

Second, I stopped by the Green Building Resource Center of Houston today and checked out the various building materials and systems for LEED certified housing. Now my current flight of fancy involves building a LEED Silver certified house in Central Texas sometime in the next five years. Lots of research obviously needs to be done and more than a few road trips as well. I’m in the very early stages of this fantasy come reality so the optimism meter is off the chart. (FYI, my Meyers-Briggs is INTP so I am easily enchanted with big, fat ideas brimming with possibility). Nevertheless, there you have it. One has to start somewhere and my general philosophy is that if you throw enough stuff against the wall, sooner or later, something is going to stick.

The mesquite flooring sample at the resource center (mesquite is indigenous to central Texas) was beautiful.

OK, if anyone is out there, please chime in. I’m looking for thoughts and ideas on environmentally sound residential construction in central Texas.

Early stages of tonight's pasta sauce

Vegan stacker for breakfast

Sorry for the lack of posts but you see, I’ve been making sandwiches. Vegan sandwiches. That is indeed vegan cheese that you see peeking from beneath the top bread slice. Home made olive and rosemary bread to boot.

Yoga continues on as well. Now entering the fourth month. Combining ashtanga practice at the studio with meditation practice at home. No plans, no expectations. Just see where it goes.

Is very good.

That was Carolyn’s work last Sunday evening. Tonight I am cooking Kale, a vegetable curry and a vegan mac and cheese cassarole to carry us through the weekend.

So I romp through the summer months with a beer in one hand and barbeque utensils in the other, not a care in the world. I step on a scale in early October and..um…well… (que the music from Psycho here) the results confirm that the SkepticalWalrus is beginning to live up to the latter part of his blog name.

Always fond of vegetables anyway, I decided to make a run at the vegan way and see if I could gain a bit of wisdom from a world that is widely viewed as crunchy, earnest, humorless and in many varied ways, off-putting. Three weeks on now and I happily report that though I have not lost much weight, I feel very good with a noticable increase in energy level.

Much can be done with this way of gnoshing that is not widely reported on recipe website. The trick is not to approach this path as a form of asceticism. Fresh produce and whole grains make for some darned good eats, especially when approached with creativity and imagination.

Combine it all with a renewed yoga practice and it’s enough to get yer woo going.

Tried out a new recipe for barbeque chicken yesterday and I’m pleased to report that it was one of the best results I have ever had. I started by stuffing two brined whole roasting chickens with fennel, green onion, jalapeno, garlic and dried ancho pepper, all which had been tossed together with a rub consisting of ancho chili powder, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, fresh thyme and rosemary. Then, with a bit of minced garlic and butter spread beneath the skin, a sprinkling of the rub over the top, the birds were trussed and put onto the back of the smoker for about three and half hours until the thickest part of the thigh was 165 degrees. This recipe was in the most recent Food and Wine magazine and I highly recommend it.

The grilled jalapenos stuffed with cheese and corn were a tasty appetizer, especially with cold beer in the 90 degree heat. When the ribs and chicken were done, covered and resting, I added two beef tri-tips, four links of Chappell Hill sausage and 16 ears of corn to the grill. It all came together with Carolyn’s expertly prepared potato salad, coleslaw and pinto beans. And although the new ice cream maker presented everyone with an engineering challenge that was never overcome on this day, a quick trip to the corner market produced a fine alternative in the form of a half-gallon of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream.