Recipe Rebellion, or My Birthright

“It came out like out like it was a mix,” is the highest form of praise my family can offer. Nothing any of us makes turns out like it’s from a mix. Because none of us are capable of following a recipe.

My sister tried make latkes with her roommates. They removed her from frying-pan duty when she refused to put in the cup of oil they insisted was necessary for frying the potato pancakes to a crisp. She wasn’t capable of using that much oil – regardless of its hydrogenation. I wouldn’t have been able to do it either – which is why Special Correspondent Ellen was always in charge of making latkes while I took care of eating them.

My inability to follow cooking directions – my wanton disregard for using the mandated ingredients, my inability to use copious amounts of sugar – is well documented. Such as here, here, and here.

All of this came from some where. Rather, someone. My mom. Mom is a firm believer that recipes are meant as suggestions rather than instructions. This means that we’re asked, on a regular basis, why something mom made came out differently than it did when someone else made it. Such as the time she made Ellen’s Chicken Oreganata – chicken breaded with an oregano-based coating – and didn’t use breading and replaced the oregano with rosemary. It came out differently – but still good! Because, my mom explained, Ellen had provided such an excellent recipe. This ability to make something new out of something else also means that we’re never at a loss for new dishes. This is one such dish – with mom’s comments included. I made it too – added in 2 zuchinnis, replaced the vegetable stock with a quarter of that amount in black bean soup, made a few other tweaks. It came out great. Make it for yourself – any which way – and you’ll see that it’s a recipe that really can’t be beat.

 

AFRICAN GROUNDNUT STEW

6 servings        Prep.:  30–40 mins.

2 T. (peanut) oil -I used olive or canola                                       14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes -sometimes I chop into smaller pcs.
3 c. diced red onion – I used yellow, < 3 c.                                  4 c. veg. stock
2 cloves minced garlic                                                       3/4 c. peanut butter -I used almond butter, and less.
3 T. minced ginger -I put a chunk in a coffee filter closed w/ twist tie to not overwhelm diners.
1/2–1 t. cayenne pepper -I used less                                      3/4 c. roasted peanut halves -I used 1/2 c.
1/2 t. cinnamon                                                                    1 c. chopped fresh spinach -I used arugula, can use > 1 c.  
pinch salt and blk. pepper                                                  3 c. diced sweet potato, 1/2 inch cubes -I used mostly butternut
(turban) squash

Heat oil in lg. pot over med./high heat; add onion and saute 5 mins., then add sw. potato/squash, garlic, ginger, and spices and cook about 3 mins.  Add diced tomatoes and stock, bring to a boil and simmer, covered, 15 mins. or until the potatoes/squash are soft.  Stir in the peanut butter, peanuts, and spinach, season w/ salt and pepper, simmer to desired thickness and serve.

Suggestions: serve over rice or grain of choice.  I added tempeh.  For more ‘kick’:  Harissa or sriracha sauce.  Hotcha.

Yum!!

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