Here’s a little secret. I don’t always cook from scratch. Really! Sometimes I use a few carefully selected products — mostly from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or Costco. For example, here’s how I made the Turkey Chorizo Chili we had for dinner the other night.
Start with some Turkey Chili with White Beans from Whole Foods.
Pour some Kirkland Organic Chicken Stock into the mix — just enough to get the consistency you want.
Mix in some sautéed peppers, like these slightly hot peppers I bought at the farmers market. Sorry, I don’t know the name for these peppers, but you can use any slightly hot peppers, including poblanos which are easy to find.
Stir the mixture and heat to serving temperature in the microwave.
On top of each serving, add some chopped avocado.
Garnish with chopped cilantro.
BTW, to keep chopped cilantro fresh longer, I store it in a plastic container in the veggie drawer of my refrigerator. Notice the paper towel lining the container. The purpose of the towel is to collect moisture. And there are a few slits in the lid of the container (as you can see below) to allow the chopped leaves to respire. These two tricks help keep the cilantro fresh longer. And having chopped cilantro on hand encourages me to use more of it. 🙂
And that’s all it takes to make a fantastic Turkey Chorizo Chili! Less time and effort than getting in the car and eating out. And healthier too!
Recently I went exploring — to the Fresh World International Supermarket just down the road in Herndon, Virginia. There I discovered what they call chive flower! A day or two later we were having dinner at our new favorite Chinese Restaurant, China Wok in Tysons Corner, and on the menu was Fish Fillet with Chive Flower. So I asked them if they could give me a side dish of just chive flower (to go with the Peking duck I ordered). Soon they set a plate of sautéed chive flower in front of me. It was fabulous! To me, tasted slightly crunchy and sweet and a bit garlicky — not strong like chives.
Here’s how to make Sautéed Chive Flower (basic recipe is courtesy of the chef at China Wok).
SAUTÉED CHIVE FLOWER
1 bunch chive flower
1 tablespoon avocado oil (mild flavor and good for high heat cooking)
2 – 3 garlic cloves, chopped (or chopped and frozen — see Food Prep Tip below)
Sea salt, to taste
Cut off 1-2 inches from the stem end and discard (or use in stock). Cut the remainder into 1 – 1 1/2 inch pieces.
Heat a wok (or a large sauté pan), and when wok/pan is warm, add the oil.
When oil is hot, add the chive flower (all except for the flowering tips which you will add later) and toss.
Add the chopped garlic to the chive flower in the pan and toss.
Note: If the garlic is frozen (as suggested in Food Prep Tip below), it will defrost as you toss it with the chive flower. Or, you can let the small amount of garlic you plan to use defrost before you use it. (I would not defrost the entire package of chopped garlic.)
Sauté the chive flower and garlic (keep tossing) for about 2 minutes.
Add the reserved chive flower tips (the pieces with the flowers) and continue to sauté (toss) for another 30 seconds.
Add salt to taste.
Now you have the delicious dish I was served at the restaurant!
Or if you want to do something a bit different, try mixing the sautéed chive flower with some preserved lemon purée. Yum!
FOOD PREP TIP: Garlic
At China Wok, they thinly slice the garlic and then add it to the oil and then add the chive flower, but I don’t do it that way.
I use chopped garlic which i always have on hand. I take a bag of peeled organic garlic (such as you see in photo) and chop the entire continents of the bag in the food processor (fitted with metal blade). Then I put the chopped garlic back into the ziplock bag it came in, pressing the garlic into a thin layer. Then I put the bag that’s now full of chopped garlic into my freezer. Later when I need chopped garlic, I just grab the bag with chopped garlic out of the freezer and break off the amount I need! 🙂
And one more thing. It’s important! Wait 15 minutes after chopping garlic before freezing or cooking with it. Why? To allow the chopped garlic itself to create an anti-cancer compound! If you cook with garlic before you have given it time to create that compound, you won’t get the anti-cancer benefits of garlic! So just wait before you put the chopped garlic into the freezer. And because you already waited these 15 minutes, when you cook with your frozen chopped garlic, you will get the anti-cancer benefits!
LEARN MORE about Chive Flower aka Garlic Chives Basic facts (not sure if nutrition facts come from reputable source, but until I find a better reference, this will have to do.) Recipe with pork
Chana dal is a also great source of various fibers — many of which are important because our healthy gut bacteria thrive on these fibers. And to be healthy, we have to keep our gut bacteria healthy! That’s what the latest science is telling us!
I just made the chana dal purée pictured in the photo. How?
I took 3 cups of chana dal. Rinsed it several times. Then when the rinsing water was clear, I added lots of fresh water for soaking. I soaked the chana dal for 24 hours. Soaking removes some of the phytates and also makes the dal cook more quickly. Then I drained and rinsed the soaked dal and put it into a large tall pot to which I added 6 cups of filtered water, 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. After abut 1 hour and 20 minutes at a low boil, the chana dal was tender. Using a stick/hand blender, I puréed the dal right in the pot. There was enough purée to fill six, 1.5-cup canning jars.
You only see four jars in the photo above because I took the rest of the purée and put it into silicone muffin pans for freezing. As soon as it freezes, I’ll pop the “muffins” out and put them into a freezer-safe bag — so I can grab some chana dal purée anytime!
Special invitation to all Reston-area readers of this blog:
The offer: If you’d to experiment with the chana dal shown in the photo, I will give you up to 1 1/2 cups of this chana dal purée — while supplies last!
The ask:As you use this chana dal purée in your cooking, please take some photos of the dishes that you create and jot down a brief summary of the ingredients in your dish. Did you add this purée to soup? Mix it with your favorite dip? Use it as part of a layered dip? Or what? I’m not looking for fancy recipes — just quick and easy ways that you incorporated the chana dal purée into your everyday meals. Then please email me your photos and recipe notes. If you could do this by Thursday, 8 May, that would be great!
The follow up: I will review your photos and notes to see if your recipe ideas are suitable for this blog. If yes, you may find your recipes, or some version of them, on this blog, with attribution, of course!
So…if you want some chana dal to experiment with, please email at email@example.com so we can set up a time for you to stop by!