Make Something New Every Day

This blog is inspired by all those who love to cook, whether experienced or not, and who continue to experiment with new ideas & ingredients, and best of all, share their passion with others.

The first entries are recipes prepared by the students of Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy in Oakland, CA. Fifteen students with varying cooking experience participated in my weekly workshop (via Tutorpedia), and successfully prepared various meals, snacks, and baked goods as part of an after-school program.

Along with the recipes from that class, I will continue to add new seasonal items, spanning every genre of the culinary world, as well as a helpful list of links to recipes, instructional videos, and places to shop and volunteer in your area.

Feel free to ask me questions and share your recipes and ideas as well. I look forward to cooking with you.

December 2, 2014

Thai Coconut Braised Spinach with Chick Peas

Until today, if I were offered a choice of beef stew or vegan stew, I would have gone with beef. 
Now, unless Julia Child floats down from the sky with a bowl of her boeuf bourguignon, I'm sticking with this vegan bowl of heaven on earth. 

A friend shared the Treehugger recipe on Facebook the other day, and I, predictably, adapted it. There is nothing wrong with the original recipe, mind you. The ingredients are simple, and once combined, may fool you into thinking you're eating at a fine Thai restaurant. That said, I only changed two ingredients because I didn't have what was called for. Instead of sundried tomatoes, I roasted some cherry tomatoes, which I'm sure weren't as flavorful, but were ok. I also substituted chili-garlic paste for the chili flakes. This was a good decision, as the paste added depth of flavor quickly. The last thing I did was serve the stew over half a roasted acorn squash. I just wanted a little more "meat" to the dish, and the squash was a perfect choice. 

Shopping List (Serves 4)
2 acorn squash , split in half lengthwise & seeded 
1C cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1# baby spinach
1 small onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1T ginger, minced or grated 
1T chili-garlic paste
1 lemon, zested & juiced (I prefer Meyer lemon here)
1 14oz can light coconut milk
1 15oz can chick peas, drained & rinsed 
olive oil
ground ginger 

Preheat oven to 400'. Lay the squash halves hollow-side up on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, coating all sides with your hands. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, and roast for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until tender. On another sheet pan, spread out the tomatoes cut-size up. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes, until caramelized but not burnt. 

Heat a 4Qt. or larger heavy pot, add about 3T olive oil, then saute the onions until they begin to turn golden. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for another minute. Stir in the chili-garlic paste and lemon zest, then add the chick peas, cooking for a few minutes. 

Next add a handful of spinach at a time, stirring and allowing it to wilt. Continue until all of the spinach is incorporated into the mixture. Add the coconut milk and lemon juice, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with S&P and ground ginger. 

To serve, place a half acorn squash into a bowl, and ladle in some of the stew. Top with some of the roasted tomatoes. 
(Do not eat the squash skin. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon as you eat the stew.)