Sunday, March 2

Dark Days Local / Shoestring Healthy Eating Recipe

Well, somehow I muddled through without asparagus--I think I got distracted reading the internet and gorged on butterscotch chips. (Whoops.)

I'd like to post a recipe that 1) could qualify for winter local eating if I'd prepared and 2) nudges into BFP's "healthy eating while in poverty" blog initiative. (It's not quite there as prices and labor inputs go, but I think it's close.)

Lentil, Onion, & Collard Mush

Lentil, Onion, & Collard MushServes 1 for 3 meals if put over a grain like rice.
"Ingredients out" to "food on the table" time: 45-60+ minutes, depending on your speed, but it makes leftovers, and scaling up the recipe for a large family, still with leftovers, wouldn't take much more time at all (just some extra produce chopping & pressing).

  • Less than 1 medium onion
  • Frozen, pre-overcooked/reduced onions
  • Oil
    (I used olive)
  • Spices, salt, & pepper
    (I think I used ginger, cayenne, Hungarian-style paprika, and cumin seeds)
  • Greens
    (I don't think they'd have to be fresh, though I treated myself to wilting some fresh ones)
  • Dried lentils
    (see if you can get these at a farmer's market instead of imported & in the bulk foods section)
  • Garlic
  • Grains
  • Medium pot
  • Small pot
  • Colander or strainer
  1. Water:Lentils = 3:1. Wash lentils first. In a medium pot, boil water w/ lentils in, then reduce to a simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until lentils are done.
    (Yes, lentils go from dry to done w/o soaking!)
  2. Start thawing a small amount--maybe 1/4 to 1/2 a cup?--of frozen onion glop in a small pot.
    (that's onions cooked until they turned brown and mostly water--I saved some from when I made my last onion-based stew)

    Turn off the heat when it's thawed.
  3. Start cutting ribs out of your greens, ripping them up, and throwing them in a colander/strainer.
    If you're using canned greens, skip this step. If you're using frozen greens, thaw them in a 3rd pot or in the microwave.
  4. Check your onions and turn the heat off if necessary.
  5. Rinse your greens well.
  6. Chop any fresh onion if you're using it.
    (For locavores, this might not be an option if onions are out of season.)
  7. Eyeball how much fresh onion to throw into your glop. Keep in mind you'll have as many chunks in your final meal as you throw into this, so don't be afraid not to use all the onion. You can put it in a small tupperware and store it in the fridge for salads, another dish, etc.
  8. Throw chopped onion into the small pot, add a bit of oil, and add a lot of spices/pressed garlic/pressed ginger.
    (Yes, you can sort of press ginger in a garlic press!).
    And yes, ginger's never in season here and garlic is out of season this time of year, but I bought the garlic locally in October and just cut out the massive sprouts that're coming out of it.
  9. Stir & turn the heat back on if you're a slow chopper like me and had to turn it off.
    Blanche your onions (that is, make them transparent.)
  10. Check your lentils.
    Mine were falling apart soft in the pot, yet there was extra water left. So I turned the heat up high and stirred them almost without stopping (since high heat can make grains/beans stick to the bottom of the pot if left unattended).
    I evaporated water out of the mix until I had only as much water as I wanted in my final mush.
  11. Turn the heat back down under your medium pot.
    Use a scraper to get every last delicious bit of spiced onion glop out of the small pan and into the medium pot.
  12. Add your greens to the medium pot.
    If they're fresh, don't forget that they can reduce a lot in size--they made my pot go from 20% full to 90% full, but as they cooked in the steam, they dropped to a mixable 70% full...and by the time I'd finished cooking and stirring the whole mix, it was about 30-40% full.
  13. Microwave (or heat in your small pot, washed out) a pre-cooked grain that you ate for dinner another night and put the extra of in a tupperware.
    (Or cook up some grains while you're making my recipe.)
  14. Serve the "mush" over the grain. Bon appetit, and perhaps more relevantly, bon santé!
  15. (P.S. Sponge & rinse the goop off both pots and anything made of wood before you eat. It's easy to get off now; nearly impossible once it dries.)


Anonymous said...

Hi Katie,
You have an interesting blog and I love the quote on your header!

Katie said...


Recent headlines from the blog "Black and Missing but Not Forgotten:"