Monday, December 5, 2011

Vegan Hoppin' John with Tatsoi

This weekend we had our first pickup of the Winter session for our CSA. I got to meet Beverly, the woman who grows it all and check out all the lovely fruits and veggies. And they were lovely. She picked out five things for us: Tatsoi (I think), burdock, mirlitons (also called chayote), cilantro and a gorgeous, ginormous lettuce. Then we picked five things, too: Purple carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, green onions and a purple cabbage.

Could be tatsoi, right? Let's just say that's what it is.

I saw this stuff that looked sort of like ginger root, but I already have some ginger, so I passed that by. Turns out it was actually turmeric. I had no idea that's what it looked like. Will have to get some of that next time. Also missed some chioggia beets. Definitely going to try and get some of those next time if there are any left. I have to tell you, it's pretty fun to see all this stuff and think of the possibilities. It's also fun looking at something and later finding out what it is and realizing that's the first time ever in all my 40 years of living that I've ever seen that thing in its natural form. Turmeric.

Kind of sad, too, really. I should be seeing these things. People should be seeing these things. I know what a Cheez It or a Twinkie is but I've never seen turmeric? I cook with the stuff all the time in its powdered form. How did I think it got that way? Magic? I just didn't think about it at all before, really.

Another part of this that I'm liking is that there's a bit of pressure. I've got to cook this stuff. Something about all this food just calls to me. I can't let a bit of it go to waste or go bad just because I'm busy or feeling lazy. I've got to have a plan. I have actually met the woman who grows this food and shook her hand and I feel like it would be an affront not to get every morsel in my belly in a timely manner. I mean, it's not like I don't cook. I do. I send boyfriend to work with his leftovers every day and people look at him like he's crazy. Someone at work told him that his food smelled so good and said, "Nobody cooks like that any more." But we do. I'm no stranger to cooking, it's just that I cook the same damn things all the time and I need to branch out.

Anyway, I used what I think is the tatsoi in Hoppin' John tonight. I made it in the pressure cooker, though next time I think I will just saute it on the side with some garlic and butter. I really like throwing greens into beans and soup, though. It's such an easy way to get some extra nutrition and flavor. It seems like you're throwing a ton in there, but then when it cooks down, you wonder where it all went.

Vegan Hoppin' John with Tatsoi (pressure cooker version)

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dried blackeyed peas, rinsed / sorted
  • 1/2 cup Basmati rice
  • 5-6 bunches tatsoi, chopped or ripped up
  • Salt to taste
  • Hot Sauce if desired
  1. Saute onion until translucent, then add garlic and saute 1 minute more.
  2. Add spices and stir for just a few turns and add water or vegetable broth and blackeyed peas. Bring to high pressure and hold there for 5 minutes.
  3. Quick release the pressure and add the rice and tatsoi. Bring back up to high pressure and hold there for 5 more minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally from there.
  4. Season with salt to your liking and add hot sauce if desired.
More cooking with CSA goodies to come...

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