Greens and Mushrooms with Fermented Tea Leaf

tea salad kit

Inspired by my Korean cooking course, I went seeking more fermented products, and came across something especially tasty from Burma: fermented tea leaf (laphet.) The beloved San Francisco restaurant Burma Superstar has started selling it in jars, as part of a salad kit with a nut mix. It tastes a little bit like pesto, except much more subtle and layered. I got just the jar and used it in this easy steamed vegetable recipe, which I served atop a baked potato.

Greens from three beets (about 4 cups)
2 cups various mushrooms
3 cloves garlic
splash of water
1 heaping tbsp fermented tea leaf

Chop up beet greens and mushrooms.
Heat up a pan. Add garlic cloves and heat them up for 30 seconds. Then, add mushrooms and beet greens. Splash some water in to prevent sticking.
Cook until beet greens wilt and the volume of the dish considerably decreases. Then, turn off the heat and mix in fermented tea leaf.

Serve on top of a baked potato or with rice.

Miso Soup with Kale, Lentils, and Mushrooms

After a few days in which Río was miserable over his teething process and we all got precious little sleep, I craved eating something medicinal and restorative. Enter this wonderful soup, which packs a punch in protein, minerals (especialy iron and calcium) and satisfies without being too heavy.

I happened to have black garlic and dried porcini mushrooms at home, but if you don’t, regular garlic and fresh mushrooms will do just fine!

2 shallots, finely minced
3 cloves black or white garlic, finely minced
4 stalks green onions, both green and white parts, finely minced
1 cup cooked lentils
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced, or dehydrated mushrooms soaked in warm water for a short while
3 cups vegetable broth
3 tbsp miso
3-4 cups raw, chopped kale

Heat up a dry pot until, when you drop a bit of water in it, it moves around like mercury. At that point, add the shallots, garlic, and green onions. Stir around until translucent and a bit golden, then use a bit of the broth to deglaze the pan.

Add lentils, mushrooms, and the rest of the broth, lower the heat, and cook for 5 minutes.

Add miso and cook for 5 minutes more.

Add kale and cook just until wilted.

Green Goddess Bowl

Across the street from the baby store and community center Natural Resources, where Río and I go for classes and activities and to meet other new parents and babies, is a wonderful little gem of a cafe called Beloved. That place is magical. It’s as if someone came over and asked me, “Hadar, what do you like to eat?” wrote down everything I said, and made that the menu. Everything on offer is plant-based, whole-foods based, and as delicious as it is beautiful. Their juices and smoothies are a marvel, and they even have four versions of what is quickly turning into my favorite breakfast: The smoothie bowl (yes, I’ve enthusiastically joined the fad.)

The principle is rather simple–a thick smoothie, in a bowl, with exciting toppings. I think I’ve managed to recreate one of my favorite Beloved recipes, which I offer here for your enjoyment.

For the smoothie

1 pear
3/4 small avocado, or 1/2 a big one
2 cups raw spinach
1/2 small lemon or lime (with the peel!)
1 tsp spirulina
2 medjool dates, pitted
small chunk of ginger
1 cup coconut water

For the toppings
fruit, berries
dried berries and fruit (goji berries look pretty against the green, as do goldenberries)
seeds: hemp, flax, chia
granola or muesli
fancy nuts

Preparation is very easy: throw all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth (the lemon can be blended with the peel!). Then, pour into a bowl, leaving some room at the top. Then, get creative with the toppings! You can do rows, circles, whatever you like. Then EAT!

Squash-Kasha Patties

Still living off the soaked kasha from two days ago! Today, I mixed about a cup of it with a cup of pureed butternut squash, added some herbs and flavorings and grilled patties made of the mixture. It was very tasty, especially served atop mixed sautéed leafy greens, but didn’t have as  much of a cohesive structure as I’d hoped. I’ll had to add some chia in water next time I make patties.

What with this, the flax crackers, and the lovely vegetable broth slowly brewing in the slow-cooker (from all the stems and ends of the vegetables I used today), I think I’m good, foodwise, for a few days.

Spring Greens Stir Fry

I know I’ve posted numerous stir-fry recipes here and quite a few recipes for greens. But this particular combination was such a success that I really wanted to share it.

One of the advantages of shopping at the farmers’ market is that there’s always kind people to tell you what to do with the wonderful vegetables you buy. In Tel Aviv, the Chubeza farm used to email us a lovely newsletter with recipes. Here in Noe, I simply start a conversation, just like I did yesterday at the market, when I saw a bundle of greens that seemed familiar. They were curly and springy and happy. “What are these?” I asked the farmer.

“Oh”, he said, “these are pea shoots“.

“And what do you do with them?” I asked, perplexed.

“Stir fry”, he said. “They’re very yummy”.

They were also a dollar a bunch. I bought the happy curly green shoots and made up the following recipe:

7-8 long pea shoots
10 leaves of rainbow chard
1 tbsp combination of soy oil and sesame oil (some stores sell them mixed in a bottle; if not, mix your own. Here‘s some info on how they interact when used for cooking)
4 garlic cloves
5-6 sundried tomatoes
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
a drizzle of soy sauce (optional)

It’s kind of self-explanatory, but nevertheless: warm the mix of soy and sesame oil, slice garlic thinly and sautee. When aroma is released, chop up rainbow chard, pea shoots and sundried tomatoes and add them to the mix. After a couple of minutes, add pepper and/or soy sauce. Simmer for about five minutes total, until the tender greens begin to wilt (the volume will decrease significantly). Eat over brown rice or any other grain, or, in my case, be so excited about the veg and eat them before your grains are done!

My Favorite Wrap

My favorite wrap, these days – one that does not require any sophisticated cooking and relies on store-bought stuff – consists of the following delicious combination:

Sprouted Corn Tortillas!

Vegenaise!

Any kind of stone-ground mustard!

Tons and tons of fresh salad greens from the market!

And –

Baked Tofu, thinly sliced!

A good substitute for a sandwich, this is something you could not only eat at home, but wrap and take with you. And, given how busy I am (and the lack of time to cook to my heart’s content), it’ll have to do for a while.

Kidney Support Meal

How do you deal with exhaustion, nutrition-wise? We discussed this at home a few days ago, because we were both feeling tired from the holiday cooking/hosting/working/playing frenzy. We decided to resort to traditional Chinese nutrition principles, and eat a dish of azuki and mung beans with season greens.

As I explained somewhere else, Chinese medicine analyzes food according to its different properties (cold/warm, dry/moist, yin/yang, expansion/contraction). As with other conditions, exhaustion is a manifestation of an imbalance between the five elements – often, as a weakness in kidney energy. The kidneys, associated with the Chinese element of water, are not only responsible for reproductive functions and related to the bladder, but also govern our storage of life energy. When the kidneys are depleted, we have to build them.

Some types of beans are closely associated with the kidneys: remarkably, azuki or aduki beans and mung or mash beans. The fun thing about these small beans is their remarkable resemblance to each other in everything except color: mung beans are green, and azuki beans are deep rich burgundy, but both are small, egg-shaped, and have a little white spot.

There are many great ways to eat azuki and mung beans. This dish takes them down the spicy Middle Eastern route and mixes them with leafy greens. We ate this for dinner, and felt quite heavy later, so you may want to consider eating this for lunch.

Beans and Greens

1 cup azuki beans
1 cup mung beans
2 cups water or vegetable broth, or mix
1 tbsp olive oil
3 heaping tablespoons cumin
1 tbsp nutmeg
3 tablespoons good quality tomato paste
3 garlic cloves
1 large onion
2 dried small chilis
10 large leaves of red or white beet (in Israel, the easiest is manguld).

Place azukis and mungs in a bowl of water for a few hours. If you have no time, place them in boiling water for twenty minutes. Discard the water.

In a large wok, heat up some olive oil. Chop thinly garlic and onion and add to wok. As you fry up, add the cumin and nutmeg and mix. Make an incision in each of the chilis and add them, too. When everything is mixed and the room becomes fragrant, add the strained beans and fry for a few minutes. Then, add the water or broth and the tomato sauce, lower the heat and let cook for about 30 minutes.

Try eating the beans. Have they gone softer? If they are soft, chop up the greens and layer them on top of the beans; cover again. Cook until the beans are soft. You may have to add water as you go.

You’ll have to take my word that this comes out very pretty because of the contrast in color between the azuki and the mung. We have just a little leftover, but the camera has disappeared. I hope to find it by the next time we cook, which will probably be in the not-so-distant-future!

Seder Preparation: Episode 3

This quiche is brilliant. I was looking for something that would enable me not to use flour, and in this dish, the grated potatoes do a great job. It’s full of wonderful seasonal spring greens, and you’re welcome to substitute them for whatever greens you like – except bok choy. I have a feeling bok choy won’t work so well in this dish.

Green Quiche

3 large or 5 smallish potatoes
150 gr feta cheese
150 gr spicy yellow cheese (it’s possible to substitute for feta, though two kinds of cheese make it really nice and interesting)
3 large cups of chopped greens: white beet leaves, kohlrabi leaves, broccoli leaves and stems, kale, collard, anything you have at home
2 white parts of leek, chopped in rings
2 eggs
2 garlic cloves

This recipe is much easier to do in a food processor, but is doable by hand, as well.

Heat up oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Grate the potatoes (I don’t bother skinning them), and mix them with the cheeses, eggs and garlic.

Some separate the thicker stems from greens when cooking them; I think this can easily be avoided by simply chopping the stems smaller, since the quiche will be cooking for a long time anyway. Chop up greens, and add, with leeks, to the mix. Mix well. If it’s still too liquid, add some more greens or another small potato. If too dry, add a little bit of cheese. You’ll feel if it’s the right consistency if it doesn’t move too much and seems packed with solids.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a fork sunk in the middle comes out dry. It’ll be a little airy when right out of the oven, but it becomes more solid as it rests outside after it’s baked.

Quinoa and Greens in Soy Sauce

Simple and fun, and make use of all those amazing spring greens out there. Potential filling for Passover tomatoes (we’re of the grain-eating persuasion).

2 cups quinoa
2 carrots, grated
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 kg leafy greens, like mustard greens, leaves from red or white beets, kale, collards, etc, chopped up into ribbons
1 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp vegetable broth
1/2 tbsp crushed chilis
a teeny bit of squeezed lemon juice
(optional) 1/2 tbsp honey

Cook quinoa in 3 cups of water until all water is absorbed. In the meantime, in a wok, heat up garlic cloves, chili and onion in canola oil. After a minute, add grated carrots, chopped greens, veg broth, soy sauce, lemon juice and optional honey. Then, add the quinoa and stir-fry for three minutes or so. Ready.