Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Jumpin' John (Hoppin' John Update): A Great Way to Start the New Year

I have heard that traditionally in the south, people eat black-eyed peas, rice and greens for good luck in the New Year. Many years ago, I started making my version of Hoppin' John called Jumpin' John because the traditional dish is made with a ham hock for flavor, and I obviously leave it out.

I have made this in the pressure cooker and the peas take only about 3 minutes at pressure, if they are presoaked. Since I use brown rice, it takes quite a bit longer to cook than that so I cook the rice first separately. As I really like brown rice, having leftovers is just fine with me. And the whole thing tastes great stuffed into a whole grain tortilla. You can even mix the leftovers together and form them into burgers.

To pressure cook the brown rice:

1 cup brown rice
1 1/2 cups water
salt, to taste, after cooking

Put rice and water into the pressure cooker. Bring to pressure. Cook at high pressure for 22 minutes. Remove from heat and let the pressure come down naturally. Remove lid and add salt to taste.

If making more than 1 cup, reduce liquid by 1/4 cup for each additional cup.

To pressure cook the black-eyed peas:

1 1/2 cups black eyed peas, picked over
1 tablespoon oil (optional)
1 medium onion, diced to equal at least 1 cup
1 clove minced garlic
1 to 2 teaspoons smoked paprika1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (optional, if you like it spicier)1 1/4 cups vegetable broth

Soak black-eyed peas overnight or quick-soak by putting 3 inches of water over the peas, and bringing to a boil. Let sit for 1 hour. Drain water. Or alternately you can soak overnight.

Add the oil, if using, to the pressure cooker over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 2 mintues. Add the garlic, smoked paprika and chipotle powder, if using. Saute 1 more minute and add the broth. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure. Lower the heat to maintain high pressure for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and quick release pressure.

Remove the lid, tilting it away from you. Add salt, and stir. Let peas sit without the lid for at least 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Serve hot over rice, along with greens.

Cook your greens.

I like to use collards or kale and cook them with a bit of olive oil and garlic, salt and pepper.

Mix it all together, add a splash of hot sauce (homemade for me) and eat. Enjoy. And Happy New Year.

The Veggie Queen Shares Vegetable Advice for You

Generally, I don't do a lot of linking to other blogs because I so enjoy writing. Sometimes, though, someone else has written something as well or better than I can. So why reinvent the wheel?

This post was written by Jessica Porter on a blog titled A Grain a Day. You already know that I am into grains but Jessica wrote about vegetables, relating to macrobiotics. I have very strong macro leanings but I am not a full-fledged any-particular-thing. What I choose to eat is my best distillation of the wisdom I possess along with what's in season where I am, and more likely what's in the pantry and refrigerator.

I've run across The Vegan Coach blog more than once. I like the descriptions and how Sassy changes a meal by changing the sauce. It's a concept that I've shared for years, Sassy spells it out so nicely that I wanted to share it with you.

I have resolved that 2009 will be the year that I work smarter and not harder, so I am going to be sharing more of what others do so that I can focus more on what I do -- provide new and interesting information and videos (check me out on You Tube at TheVQ and feel free to rate my videos) related to vegetarian, vegan and pressure cooking, as well as live teaching and speaking.

I have a number of new classes coming up this year that aren't yet posted to my website but include alternative baking, live foods including fermentation, sprouting and salads and a market to table class. I may blog about them before they ever get posted to my website http://www.theveggiequeen.com/.

I always wish you a healthy and happy day but now it's time to wish you a Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Never Too Much Cinnamon for Me

When I eat my special morning cereal, made in the pressure cooker in 3 minutes at pressure, I always add a cinnamon stick during cooking. When it's done, I and then top the bowl with powdered cinnamon; using the word sprinkle hardly describes it. It helps with my blood sugar and I adore the taste.

My son used to chew on cinnamon sticks when he was younger and I let him. I guess that he inherited the cinnamon gene. My husband doesn't comment on it and rarely eats it. To each their own.

Once I mistakenly grabbed cinnamon instead of pizza spice when making pizza and the cinnamon sugar pizza was born in my house. Like cinnamon toast but even better, on the crunchy thin crust. It became one of my son's favorite meals, although I didn't make it often.

This post by Talli sums up cinnamon and its health benefits. I think that the best reason to eat it is because it tastes so good.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Veggie Queen Asks: Two Dollar Avocados: Yes or No Way?

There was just a report in the LA Times about a shortfall of avocados this spring due to a heat wave last June. It's supposed to be the smallest crop since 1990, and possibly even 1980. So, the big question, is would you pay $2 for an avocado?

One farmer said that due to the economy, people might balk at that. I am very curious about this. So, what do you say? Yes to $2 avocados? Or no way?

I will buy them but not often at that price. I wonder what will happen to people who eat raw which often includes lots of avocados. Perhaps, they all have loot these days and the price of an avocado doesn't matter.

What do you think?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Veggie Queen's Last Minute Great Gifts To Buy and Give

If you've waited too long to go shopping, or got stuck somewhere in a snow storm, then I have some wonderful gift recommendations.

Check out the Da Vero website and look at their Club Nuovo. It's best for those who live in Sonoma County because they have events at the farm, but maybe it will give you a good reason to come visit my scenic part of the world. I would love for someone to buy this gift for me. You get 5 shipments of the artisan Da Vero products for $175. It's a deal. And Colleen and Ridgely are really nice people. It makes me happy to support my local peeps.

Notet: McDougall followers, please ignore the one that follows.

Another great Sonoma County product that just entered the marketplace is Smoked Olive Oil. It has to be one of the most unique products that I've seen in a long time. I am not suggesting that you just dump olive oil on your food, and it's unlikely that you could afford to with this product, but if you want to flavor your food in a very different way, this does it. Use it sparingly, for cost and waistline savings.

Finally, although it is too late to order my book, The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment, or DVD, Pressure Cooking: A Fresh Look, Delicious Dishes in Minutes, you can still place an order and I will send an email card to your recipient, and get your book and/or DVD in the mail right away. I also still have some Garlic Twists available.

Or just sign your friends and family up for my free email newsletter. No cost to you and plenty of benefit for them -- better health, more recipes and good information (or at least that's what I've been told).

Happy winter solstice and other holidays.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stevia Approved for use In Soda

You will see the new Coke soon with stevia. I am not sure how this will affect the soda drinking public but we shall see, likely a few years from now. This blog post chronicles the history of sweeteners. It's very interesting.

I say, drink water, drink tea, drink juice and stay away from soda, unless you've fermented it yourself. To find out more about that, check out how to make your own root beer.

Learning to eat and drink real foods is vitally important to your health. Choose whole foods most often, especially during this chaotic season.

A good dose of garlic, hot chilies, shiitake mushrooms and miso in some combination will likely do you good.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Millet on My Mind, Gluten-Free and Yummy, Too

Just recently I posted about millet on my pressure cooking blog. My colleague Robin Asbell wrote an article for Mother Earth News about millet.

Read these 2 pieces and then get some millet onto your plates or in your bowls. While quinoa is one of my gluten-free favorite grains, the price now hovers around $4 a pound. Millet is still in the $1 per pound range and you can't beat that.

Millet is wonderful served savory or sweet and goes well with many herbs and spices. I would, of course, veganize Robin's wonderful recipes, except for the Sunshine Millet Porridge with Apricots and Carrots which sounds wonderful as is.

When you want to eat healthy, hearty, highly digestible whole grains, put millet on your list.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Getting and Staying Hydrated in the Winter with Tea

I cooked myself a delicious lunch today of onions, blue potatoes, red pepper, garlic, spicy tempeh and greens. I ate quite a bit and felt satisfied but it was a late lunch, around 2 p.m. After I ate, I realized that I hadn't even finished my morning cup of tea.

A couple of hours after eating, I thought that I was hungry and was tempted to eat the rest of my delicious tempeh lunch dish when I realized that I had only had 1 cup of tea (it's a giant 24 ounce cup) all day. I thought that maybe if I had another cup of tea, my hunger would subside.

Often, instead of drinking and getting hydrated, we reach for food. So, following my own best advice, I am now drinking a cup of Rooibos (red bush) and lemongrass tea. And it is very satisfying.

I drink a lot of tea in the winter, and my tea choices change according to my mood and health. I consume a lot more medicinal teas in the winter than any other time of year. I also think that it's easy to not notice when you are thirsty in the winter, although indoor heat is drying.

Having just turned on our heat for the first time just days ago, I had forgotten about the drying effect of heat, and now remember how easy it is to get dehydrated when it's cooler out. Hot tea can also be warming, especially if your fingers are cold and you hold the cup.

Discover your favorite teas or hot drinks, such as Teecino, and make yourself many cups all winter. If you'd like to know my absolute favorite winter time drinks, leave me a comment.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Trip to Cafe Gratitude and Thumbprint Cellars Tasting Lounge: Healdsburg, California

Last week I met my friend and Colleague, Kathy Nichols of http://healthyhabitscoach.com/, for lunch at Cafe Gratitude. Those of you who aren't all cheery and upbeat all the time might find the place a bit too much. For instance, your server will ask you to think about the question for the day. Ours, I believe, was, "what are you most grateful for today?" While I certainly didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it, I did notice that our server didn't check back to find out our answers. (Be aware that sometimes they do, so you might want to ponder a bit and have a snappy retort.)

When you order your food, you ask for dishes with names such as I am Cheerful, I am Celebrating or I am Elated. I got the latter which was the enchilada del dia. Kathy ordered the I am Whole macro bowl but she got a half so I'm not sure if that made her I am Half or was she Half Whole?

And when you order the server often repeats, You are Elated or whatever the upbeat name of your item is. When your item comes from the kitchen, they call out, You are Elated. After hearing a few minutes of this, it was too much for me. And if you happen to have someone celebrating a birthday in your vicinity, you will hear the Beatles song, They Say It's Your Birthday and lots of clapping.

Kathy said that she ate at the Berkeley location once and there were many birthdays, which bordered on annoying or even obnoxious (those are my words, not exactly what Kathy said).

I truly enjoyed eating I am Elated. The enchilada wrapper is dehydrated spinach and the filling was sunflower seeds spiced with chipotle and jalapeno, along with kale and olives. It was savory and smooth and mouth-tingling, in a good way. It came with large mound of perfectly cooked quinoa and less-than-interesting cabbage which might have been slaw but not the kind that I like.

Kathy enjoyed her half whole. And we split dessert, which was somewhat unnecessary but delicious. It was raw tiramisu, the name of which is forgotten. It may be Bliss. And if it was, that is a good description (except for the $8 price tag).

As I said to Kathy, you have to be able to afford to eat at Cafe Gratitude and get all that upbeat goodness. It's a novelty and something very Californian that you ought to check out at least once, if you get a chance.

You can buy Cafe Gratitude cookbooks, either the regular or strictly desserts, and make your own raw gratitudinous food. It will still take a couple of days to not-cook most items but you'll save a lot of green (as in money) by doing so. (I am mostly of the notion that eating salad as raw food is about all the non-cooking that I care to do.)

Last time I ate at Cafe Gratitude, I met my friends Erica and Scott Lindstrom-Dake for lunch. I actually was meeting Erica but she invited Scott which was just fine. I like both of them. They are wonderful people and have the most marvelous (and maybe only) tasting lounge in Healdsburg. You can check it out http://www.thumbprintcellars.com/lounge/ online or in person if you find yourself in Healdsburg.

Did I tell you that they sell my book The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment at the lounge? I feel honored as they sell only a small assortment of items other than their own cute as can be Thumbprint items. Oh, and did I mention that their wines are wonderful? Their viognier won a Gold Medal at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair. And I must admit that I've had my fair share of their dry rose. But I am a bit of a rose nut. (That is not rose but I can't figure out how to get that accent mark in there.)

If you want to take a trip to Healdsburg, feel free to email me at jill@theveggiequeen.com and I will give you some other great tips for where to go. I hope that you have as much fun there as I did and do.