Thin and lacy, or thick and crusty? If you're not from Rhode Island, you might never understand the fierce allegiance people have to jonnycakes, our indigenous white cornmeal pancakes. Those who live east of Narragansett Bay prefer thin cakes made with milk. On my side of the Bay, we like them thick, made with water, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Both types taste best with a pat of real butter and a splash of pure maple syrup, though you can go in a completely different direction with the addition of some roasted green chiles or sun-dried tomatoes. Jonnycakes are a popular fixture at church breakfasts throughout Rhode Island, and a delicious gluten-free alternative to pancakes. Use yellow cornmeal if you can't find the "real" thing, Kenyon's white cornmeal ground right here in the Ocean State.
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Here in Rhode Island, when snow is on the way, everyone runs to the store for milk and bread. My pantry always holds a full complement of Asian condiments, plus several types of rice to steam up in my little rice cooker, so I run to the store for fresh ingredients to mix and match in enough stir-fry dishes to see us through any storm. This recipe takes one of my basic stir-fry sauces and gives it a twist with the addition of peanut butter. The amount of Sriracha makes this moderately spicy, so adjust for your own heat tolerance. These days, you can find Sriracha in most grocery stores, but if you don't have it on hand, a few red pepper flakes will stand in nicely.
Continue reading "Recipe for tofu and green bean stir-fry with spicy peanut sauce" »
One convenient thing to know about canned black beans:
There's not much difference in the nutritional value of canned black beans and dried beans you cook yourself. The canning process requires long cooking time at a high temperature, which lowers the nutritional value of many canned vegetables, but beans require long cooking time anyway, so they hold most of their goodness through the canning process. The ultimate convenience food, canned black beans keep for years in the pantry, ready and waiting to turn themselves into soup or stew or a quick quesadilla filling.
Continue reading "Canned black beans (Recipe: vegan black bean and sweet potato stew)" »
One important thing to know about preserved lemons:
A condiment used extensively in North African cuisine, preserved lemons don't taste like fresh lemons at all, and you really can't substitute one for the other. Preserved lemons, pickled in a salty brine, taste most like capers -- a mildly fruity and floral flavor that adds a surprising bite to soups and stews -- and you can slip them into dishes that usually call for capers. Best of all, It's incredibly easy to make them in your own kitchen. All you need are lemons, kosher salt, a glass jar, and a little bit of patience.
Continue reading "Preserved lemons (Recipe: slow cooker lentil and brown rice soup with preserved lemons and garlic sausage)" »