Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tiz The Season To Be Busy; So Dinner Must Be Easy

I don't know about you, but at my house it always seems that Christmas falls on the woman in the family. Perhaps I'm wrong. But around here it was me who made the cookies and cakes, shopped for all the gifts, wrapped every package, planned Christmas dinner, shopped for all the food, then cooked all the food, decorated the tree (all but the lights, hubby put those on) and then got out a step stool to get all the good dishes down from the top cupboard where they resided most of the year.

I was the one who hollered for help to put all the leaves in the dining table, then by myself, I set the table with the good dishes I'd drug out and washed and the good silverware I'd dug out and polished and the crystal glasses I'd taken down from a top shelf and scrubbed till they sparkled. Hubby's job consisted of putting up outdoor lights and heading out on December 24th to find me a present. Oh, and putting the star on top the tree, simply because he could reach it and I couldn't.

Now I don't know how you do things, but Christmas at my house was exhausting. Even now that I'm alone, what with kids married and hubby graduated to heaven, this time of year is still busy. And while my daughter has taken over my duties and is having dinner at her house, there is still a lot for an old lady to accomplish. Gifts still need to be conjured up, purchased, and wrapped and, in some instances, mailed off to other places. Considering that I'm not a young chick any longer, the things I have to do are enough for me.

Busy as I was, I cheated on my cooking this week and will likely be cheating till after the first of the year. I can't seem to find time to create another vegan recipe and accomplish everything else I have to do. Having a few vegan cookbooks on my shelves comes in handy. Tonight I began with an offering from Everyday Happy Herbivore by Lindsay Nixon.  I love black-eyed peas, and once I saw the recipe, I looked no further. I made a couple of changes in the original recipe and next time, I'll make a few more. But just as it is, it has lots of flavor, fills the tummy, and is quick to make. I labeled it just right for those times of the year when dinner has to be fast or none at all.


2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch green onions
2 celery stalks, minced
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
4 fresh thyme twigs (1/4 tsp. dried)
1 1/2 tsp. green Tabasco sauce
2 tsp. jerk seasoning
1 cup brown rice (I used white rice as it's faster cooking.)
2 Tbs. ketchup
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 bunch kale, chopped small
1 15 oz. can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

In a large saucepan, pour a layer of vegetable broth and saute the onions, celery, garlic, ginger, thyme, hot sauce, and 1 tsp. of the jerk seasoning. Cook over high heat until the celery is soft. About 3 minutes. 

Add the remaining jerk seasoning and stir to coat. Stir in the black-eyed peas. Cover and move the pot to a back burner to simmer and let the spices meld. Do not let the pan go dry. Add more broth or water as needed to retain moisture but not to drown. In all, you'll likely use about 1/2 cup of the broth.

In a small saucepan put:

2 cups of vegetable broth, the ketchup, and turmeric. Stir to combine.
Add the rice. Bring to a boil and cover. Turn heat down to very low and ignore it for 20 minutes. (If you use brown rice, cook for 45 min.)

About 10 minutes before serving, add the kale to the black-eyed pea mixture. Cover and cook till the kale is wilted.

To serve, place big serving of rice on a plate and top with the black-eyed pea/kale mixture. Sprinkle with some green onion tops if desired.

I used Swiss chard instead of kale because the chard looked fresher. Any green would work. Your preference.

The fresh ginger was too strong for my palette. Next time I'll cut it by half.

Jerk seasoning is available in the grocery store's spice aisle. Buy it and make your life easy. Otherwise you'll be mixing this and that and twelve other spices together to get what someone has already bottled up.

Dinner was on the table in about 30 minutes. Can't beat that for a busy day.

This Christmas season, share your table with someone less fortunate than you. I don't remember a holiday as a child growing up when there were not strangers at our table. Sometimes it was a teacher who was alone or a couple from our church who had no one and once we moved to CA, there were always two or three marines who were far from home who ate with us and thanked my parents over and over for allowing them to be part of a family on Christmas Day.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so lucky in that my husband takes on all the holiday cooking. He's a much better chef than I am and we all know it! This looks like a delicious recipe but I always giggle when I see ketchup added to anything other than fries or burgers.