May Menu

May 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

The latest menu is inspired by bits of my past and the desire to lean towards plant-based meals.  With this intention, it was natural that I dusted off my copy of the Moosewood Cookbook, which was my mother’s favorite recipe book growing up.  As I flipped through the hand illustrated book, it brought back images of my tall Norwegian mother bent over the sink rinsing a bowl full of soy nuts, wearing a long batik dress with her blonde hair tied up in a gentle twist.  My dad grew a sprawling vegetable garden, which provided my mother with the raw ingredients for our mostly vegetarian lifestyle.  It was a beautiful jungle of creeping zucchini squash, towering indian corn, and raised beds of strawberries, cabbage, carrots and green peppers.  For the current menu I chose five vegetable laden soups, four cheese lasagna and spinach calzones, which were lovingly inspired by my mother’s cooking, my father’s lush garden, and the Moosewood Cookbook which brought the two together.

For one dinner, I chose to make koobideh kabob, one of Iran’s most famous dishes, where it is universally loved.  Ten years ago, I was lucky enough to spend several months in Iran, which has a spectacularly delicious and healthy cuisine.  Koobideh kabob relies on lots of grated garlic and onion, as well as saffron, celery powder and sumac.  I used local organic grass-fed beef, and marinated it overnight in the garlic, onion, and spices.  I chose dill chelou (rice) as a side.  This subtle dish achieves its unique flavor and light fluffy texture through a series of rinses, a boil, and finally a bake.  The organic Thai jasmine base is augmented with copious amounts of finely chopped calcium rich dill.  Not only does dill taste great, but it also has antibacterial properties and protects against free radicals and carcinogens.

While finishing up my last year in grad school, I lived on 124th St. and Madison Avenue-right in the heart of Harlem.  I’d never been particularly fond of Southern food, until I discovered a modest little restaurant called Sister’s, which was right around the corner.  The establishment served a combination of West Indian and southern fare, and soon became my favorite place to pick up dinner on my way home from class.  A plate of food from Sister’s was guaranteed to be sweet, spicy and rich.  This awesome trifecta of tastes was the inspiration for the dinner featuring mild jerk chicken, collard greens, scallion cornbread and yams.  Instead of boiling the collard greens for hours with ham (which destroys nutrients), I sautéed them for a few minutes with a touch of olive oil and sea salt, hence retaining the collard greens true flavor and nutritional profile.  I made the cornbread with a cup of low-fat organic yogurt, and organic pepper jack cheese, for extra calcium and protein.  I also used whole wheat to make this somewhat decadent recipe just a little healthier, and cooked it in a cast iron skillet, which adds trace bits of iron.

Monday:

Lunch:

Minestrone Soup

Scallion Corn Bread

Dinner:

Koobideh Kabob

Vegetable Kebab  (orange pepper, onion, celery)

Dill Chelou (Iranian rice)

Tuesday:

Lunch:

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Corn bread

Dinner:

Spinach, Ricotta and Mozzarella Calzone with Whole-wheat Crust

Steamed Carrots and Cauliflower

Whole-wheat Chocolate Chip Walnut Kale Cookie

Wednesday:

Lunch:

Cauliflower Cheddar Soup

Celery Sticks with Nut Butter and Raisons

Whole Wheat Animal crackers

Dinner:

Mild Jerk Chicken Thighs

Corn Bread

Collard Greens

Sweet Potatoes with Jamaican Allspice

Thursday:

Lunch:

Chicken Soup With Rice and Vegetables

Cornbread

Dinner:

Four Cheese Lasagna

Steamed Carrots and Broccoli

Whole-Wheat Chocolate Chip Walnut Kale Cookie

Friday:

Lunch:

White Bean and Black Olive Soup

Cornbread

Dinner:

Tilapia with Dill Butter Sauce

Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

Sautéed Zucchini and Carrots

Whole-wheat Chocolate Chip Walnut Kale Cookie

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