Thursday, March 15, 2012


Colcannon Pancakes over Caraway Roasted Cabbage

I chose Once (2006) for my Irish (St. Patricks day) movie because I have such a strong affection for it. It's a beautiful understated film set in Dublin, Ireland that follows a Czech immigrant and a street musician who meet one evening and begin to write songs together. We see over the coarse of a week how their unique love develops.

I paired this movie with an Irish classic called Colcannon, which is essentially mashed potatoes mixed up with curly kale and scallions. So here's the special recipe I made for this classic.

Colcannon Pancakes

Makes about 3 good servings (12 small pancakes)

4 russet potatoes
1 bunch of curly kale
1 bunch of chopped green onion
1 cup vegenaise
roughly 2 and 1/2 Tablespoons of fresh grated horseradish (optional but recommended)
1 tsp sea salt (to taste)
safflower oil
1/2 cup flour of choice on a plate

Peel and cut potatoes into small pieces and boil until soft (about 15 minutes). mash the potatoes with sea salt and vegenaise (and horseradish if opting for it). Cut kale into manageable, bite size pieces and steam, boil or braise. I sauteed the kale with a bit of safflower oil then braised in some leftover pot liquor. This is also how I cooked my green onion. I realize not everyone just happens to have some pot liquor in their fridge, but maybe look at the ingredients ( in Baby Doll post) and see if you can't throw some of that together for a braising liquid.

Stir in the kale and green onion. Coat a frying pan with safflower oil, form colcannon into palm sized patties, coat in flour and pan fry on medium until golden brown on both sides.

Roasted Cabbage

One head of green cabbage, sliced
safflower oil
sea salt
1 Tablespoon of caraway seeds

coat cabbage with oil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Sprinkle caraway seeds over the cabbage. Bake at 400 for about 40 minutes, flipping half way in between.

"I don't know you, but I want you all the more for that"

"Words fall through me and always fool me and I can't react"

"What's the Czech for 'Do you love him?"

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Baby Doll - Pot Liquor Grits with Collard Greens & Caramelized Leeks

Baby Doll is a nineteen year old girl living in Mississippi, married to Archie, a middle-aged man who owns a cotton gin business. When Silva Vacarro brings an updated cotton spinning machine into town, it pushes Archie out of business which leads him to burning down Silva's new machine. When Silva suspects Archie of the arson, he conducts a plan to seduce Baby Doll.

It's a Tennesee Williams story, so you'll get a lot of southern drama, but also themes that were very shocking for the time. Baby Doll was a very controversial film and there were strong efforts to ban it for it's "indecency." Well, don't expect anything too taboo by today's standards, but look at it through the lens of 1956 and you might just get a touch of the vapors!

Pot Liquor Grits w/ Collard Greens & Caramelized Leeks

There's a scene in the movie that I love, where Baby Doll and Silva are eating collard greens and he teaches Baby Doll about "pot liquor" which is the cooking juices from the collard greens. He told her, you dunk your bread in the pot liquor, she tried it and she said in her deep southern accent, "I looove pot lick-uh!"

So I had to have some pot liquor somewhere in the recipe, because I also looove pot lick-uh. So I just decided to put together a dish more southun' than a june bug on pokeweed...

Greens & Pot Liquor

Pot liquor is essentially a bunch of fat, smoke and salt with some flavoring from the greens. How this was traditionally accomplished makes me sad :,( so this is my kinder way of making pot liquor.

2 bunches of greens ( I used a mixture, 1 bunch of collards, one bunch of kale)
about 10-12 cups of water
2 Tablespoons liquid smoke
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
1 cup of stout or porter beer
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tsp white miso
1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
* if using some of your pot liquor to dunk your bread in, put some earth balance butter in there. I didn't do this because I wanted to save the butter to top off my grits. (and didn't have bread).

Chop the greens roughly into manageable pieces and throw them in a big pot with the rest of the ingredients. Boil and bring to a simmer for about 30 minutes.


6 cups of pot liquor
2 cups of polenta cornmeal

Bring pot liquor to a boil , then add cornmeal, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a simmer and continue to whisk frequently to avoid lumps. Simmer until creamy and fully cooked (about 5 minutes)

Caramelized Leeks

2 stalks of leeks- sliced thin- stop at the dark green part.

Coat the pan with olive oil and put sliced leeks in. Add a heavy pinch of sea salt and sautee until soft and sweet.

Scoop out grits into a bowl, top with earth balance butter and salt (if needed), then top with greens and caramelized leeks.

Makes about 4 servings

Everything's Gone Green - A Piece of the Green Pie

"Everyone's in on a scam, or creating something nobody really needs, to sell to people who are too stupid to care or notice. Whatever happened to just being real. Why aren't we content to just be middle class."

Ryan is a corporate underling, cubical jockey, but loses that job around the same time he hears news of his parents winning the lottery. Ryan calls in the winning lottery ticket, only to find out that his parents mistook the numbers and didn't win after all. On the bright side, Ryan gets offered a job at the lottery bureau interviewing and photographing new lottery winners. Through his new job, he's tempted by a shady offer and gets caught up in a Japanese mafia money laundering scheme. As he acquires more and more money, he becomes less and less desirable, especially to the woman of his affection.

I love this movie, I've seen it at least a dozen times now. And it's the perfect time to recommend it. The movie has such an accurate depiction of the affluence of money and what it does to the spirit. I love how it illustrates money as a curse, which is why I think it's a great topical post to do right now. Occupy Cinegrub!

From Canada, Everything's Gone Green- 2006, currently streaming on Netflix!

A Piece of the Green Pie, otherwise known as Spanakopita...

Phyllo dough (thawed) - (freezer section, read the ingredients to make sure it's vegan! They usually are though.)
2 lbs frozen spinach
1/4 cup fresh chopped dill
1/4 fresh chopped parsley
1 bunch chopped green onion
3 chopped garlic cloves
2 tsp salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup pine nuts
1 tsp nutritional yeast
pinch of salt

Thaw and sqeeze out water from the spinach. saute the spinach in the olive oil with the green onion, add garlic, salt and nutmeg. Stir in about 1 and 1/2 cups of cashew chz until blended. Remove from heat and allow to cool off. Add the dill and parsley. In a mini food processor (or crush with the back of your spoon), grind the pine nuts, nutritional yeast and salt, with a bit of fresh squeezed lemon if you have it on hand.

To fill your pies, first brush your sheet of phyllo dough with olive oil, then place a scoop of spinach mixture on the bottom right corner, top with a few pieces of cashew chz, sprinkle with pine nut mixture and fold. To fold your pies- look to diagram for instructions. Bake 350 for 20-25 minutes.

"Yesterday, life was so average and boring. Now today it's like a mystical experience. It's like life is somehow better."