Tuesday, March 14, 2017

One Part Plant

Za'atar Sweet Potatoes and Garlicky Kale

One of the great things about having a food blog is that occasionally, I get to review cookbooks.   The good people of TLC books sent me a copy of the book One Part Plant to review.    This cookbook was written by Jessica Murname, and she advocates eating one meal per day that is plant based.    She had success with her endometriosis by modifying her diet to exclude  what she calls "inflammatory foods".  A quick Google search tells me that there are no hard and fast rules regarding what is and isn't "inflammatory".....in fact, there is a lot of pseudoscience out there in this space.   I did find a source I could trust in Andrew Weil.   So I approached this cookbook with some trepidation.   I just cooked a meal for 70 people yesterday at church and was overwhelmed at the special requests.  It seems everyone is looking for a magic bullet these days.   

However, if this mode of eating helped the author with her health issue, I'm fine with that.   I think the book would have been better if it just focused on the concept of eating one plant based meal per day (and skipped the gluten free) message because eating more fruits and vegetables is good for everyone, not just women with endometriosis or people that want to dabble in the gluten free space.

That being said, once I got into the recipes, I was really pleased with the book!  It came to me just in time for Lent, as I don't eat meat on Fridays during this time.    I tried out her recipe for Za'atar Sweet Potatoes and Garlicky Kale (see picture shown above) and it came out delicious.    I loved the combination of sweet potato and kale - never thought to put them together.   Her recipe for za'atar isn't my preference, but I included it here in case you can't get your hands on the good stuff.   The author is from Charleston, SC, so my guess is she doesn't have access to the great Arabic food I have in the Dearborn area.      Also, I streamlined her recipe to make it quicker by precooking the sweet potatoes in the microwave instead of boiling them and improved the recipe by adding the garlic after cooking the kale to insure better flavor.

Za'atar Sweet Potatoes and Garlicky Kale
makes 4 servings

2 c. peeled and chopped sweet potatoes
1 T. za'atar (or use her recipe below)
6 c. kale, destemmed and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
Olive Oil
kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 F. Put sweet potatoes in a microwave safe dish and cover loosely and cook on high for about 5 minutes until tender.   Coat potatoes with oil and spread out on a cookie sheet.   Roast them for 10 minutes or until slightly browned. Sprinkle with za'atar.

Meanwhile, add some more olive oil to a skillet and saute kale until soft, about 5 minutes.   Add garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant.  Mix potatoes and kale together and add salt and pepper if needed.  


mix together
1 T. toasted sesame seeds
1 T Sumac
2 t. dried thyme
1/4 t. sea salt (I used kosher)

If you want to check out this cookbook, you can at do so at HarperCollins.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Road Food

I've always loved Road Food, the media shared by Jane and Michael Stern.  The Sterns, who had no formal training in cuisine or journalism, met at Yale University in 1968, married in 1970, and graduated in 1971, after which they left academia to explore the USA. At first, their focus was on popular culture in general, but after traveling around the country for a few years, they realized they had been keeping an informal diary of unknown and unique places to eat: inconspicuous restaurants that were, at the time, of no interest to the food-writing establishment. After three years of travel in a beat-up Volkswagen Beetle, staying at seedy motels, and occasionally sleeping in the back seat of the car, they drafted the manuscript of Roadfood, a guide to restaurants that were neither fast food nor gourmet dining, but were an expression of local foodways.  And I've enjoyed what they have shared ever since.   So when the good people of of Blogging for Books asked me to review their latest venture of Roadfood, their 10th edition.    I am looking forward to trying their recommendations in Kentucky and Georgia, where I spend most of my time when I am not in Michigan.   I'll let you know what I find out!

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Cudighi an Upper Peninsula delicacy

Frequent readers of my blog know that I love the UP and the food served here.   Lately, I've been on a mission to master cudighi which is a spicy Italian sausage that can be bought in links or served as a sandwich on a long, hard roll, often with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce. Although it originated in Italy, it is now primarily served in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.   I like it in marinara sauce served with pasta.

But how to make it?   Whenever I'm in the Keweenaw, I get some at  Pat's IGA in Hancock or Calumet.   This is all I had to come by:

That's not a lot to go on, so I searched the internet.   I found a recipe in the fb group"Yooper Pasty", and then I found another from a generous woman nicknamed the "Venison Vixon" and then I found a kind soul that posted his recipe from the Gwinn cookbook called "Pete's Cudighi".   After much iteration, I think I found out the spice blend that tastes the best.

Cudighi Spice Blend

3 T.table salt
1 T. ground black pepper
1 T. nutmeg
1/2 t. ground cloves
1 t, mace
1/2 t. dried oregano
1 t. paprika
1/2 t ground ginger
1 T. garlic powder
1/2 t. ground allspice
1/2 t. cinnamon

Mix these seasonings together in a canning jar with a lid.   Add  1 1/2 T per 2 lb of ground pork (or 1 lb ground pork and 1 lb ground turkey)  and 1/2 c. red wine and mix thoroughly.   Refrigerate for a day, and then use it to make a cudighi sandwich or as meat for marinara sauce or meatballs.    To make the sandwich, brown a patty of cudighi, and top with grilled mushrooms, onions and marinara sauce.   Put on some Italian bread and melt some mozzarella on top.   Delicious!