Just Chana Masala–No Politics

You might think that I am about to hand you a recipe for a bowl of black beans, but I’m not. I’m here to do a couple of things:

  1. try out some black chickpeas I got for Christmas (long story)
  2. hack the way we all cook beans (unless you are from India, then I’m pretty sure this is just how you cook beans, but anyway…)
  3. show you how we make chana masala at this house

I can’t properly credit this recipe because I have compiled ingredients and techniques from various places over the years and I’m way too lazy to list them all here; just know that it came from somewhere other than me.

Ingredients
1.5 cups dried chickpeas (we used black chickpeas for fun)
1 tsp baking soda
2 black tea bags
oil as needed
1 cup thinly sliced onions
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 tsp garlic
cloves
cardamom seeds
cinnamon stick
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup potatoes
1 green chili
1 1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp turmeric
1-2 cups vegetable broth

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Behold the black (desi) chickpea. These are similar to the lighter chickpeas, known as kabuli chickpeas common in the canned bean and bulk food area of the grocery store, but they are smaller, with a rough and tough outer skin, and obviously, they are black. Note: there seems to be a stray kabuli in the batch, but I let him stay  because I liked his attitude.
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Before you can do anything with dried chickpeas of any color, you need to soak them for 8-10 hours. Use a large bowl because they will double in volume as they rehydrate.
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When it was time to cook the beans, I put them in a pressure cooker and added just enough water to cover them along with some cardamom and cloves. I also added 1 tsp of baking soda and 2 black tea bags because I read that adjusting the PH levels of the water will better penetrate the skins of the beans and help them hydrate all the way through.
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The bean science worked and these beans were firm but not dry. They also had a complex flavor because of the mix of spices and the black tea.
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Now, sauté your onions and garlic for 3-5 minutes or until they just begin to brown.
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Add your tomato and a teaspoon or so of salt and continue to sauté for another 3 minutes.
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Then, add your turmeric and chili powder. Cook this all together for 2-3 minutes.
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Remove it from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
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Blend it into a smooth paste in your food processor and set aside.
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Now, back to the skillet. Add a tablespoon of oil, a cardamom seed, a few cloves, and a small cinnamon stick. Sauté for 1-2 minutes to wake them up.
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Then, add your potatoes. Most recipes call for more chopped onions at this stage, and it doesn’t really matter too much what you use because we are just adding bulk to the sauce. I chose potatoes, because I just didn’t want to eat that much onion in one meal. But it is up to you.
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It is now time to add the paste you made in the food processor. Stir until all the ingredients are well combined.
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Add the garam masala and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
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Add your beans and 1-2 cups of vegetable broth. I used all 2 cups because I like my beans saucy. Stir until well combined and sauté until heated through.
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Serve over white rice with sliced green chili and yogurt. The kids and I didn’t use the green chili because palates just can’t handle anything spicy but we add it for my husband, for whom nothing will ever be spicy enough.

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com.

This Week In Yoga News

Because I do yoga and somehow the internet knows this, every electronic media feed I see is infused with yoga-related news and products–facebook, instagram, google, every web site I visit. Unfortunately, if the Internet has not identified you as a yogi, there is no way you are getting enough yoga news. So, I have compiled a round up of what is trending for those of you so dangerously out of the loop.

Yoga Journal wants us to keep our shit together this holiday season

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“From healthy holiday recipes to yoga-inspired gift ideas and stress-melting asana sequences, YJ has you covered for a calmer holiday season.”

 

 

Goat Yoga Is Trending

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This story about Goat Yoga was in at least 5 major media outlets this week. Looks fun, but I might just go and play with some goats and do yoga some other time.

Photo: Aimee Denise Photography

Cellulite–Let’s Love It! Um okay, if we have to.

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Erin Motz, aka The Bad Yogi, a yoga blogger I follow, started a good conversation about cellulite and why we have it and should love it. Check her out here

News Flash!! Celebrities do yoga

The internet wants to make sure my list of celebrity yogis is ALWAYS current. So here is the latest list and a picture of Adam Levine in tights.

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Coming Soon to a Studio Near You!

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Yoga studios in Denver are submitting for permits to allow weed on premises.  Seems like you could just smoke it before you enter the studio but I see a growing trend toward marijuana asana and yoga marijuana retreats, so here we go!  Photo: The Internet

The Internet will not rest until I own these

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Yogis at Standing Rock

The yoga world had a lot to say about the situation at Standing Rock. Seane Corn is a well known activist and yogi who dedicated her time and resources to Standing Rock.

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Tao Porchon-Lynch is making us all look like pansies

This 98-year-old yoga master  has been in the news for a few months now and she should be; she is a great example for all of us.

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(Photo: Tao Porchon-Lynch)

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com. 

Barley-Stuffed Peppers from ThugKitchen

These Barley-stuffed peppers from ThugKitchen have become a staple at our house. I have wanted to get them up on the blog for a while. So here you go.

A note about this recipe: In our humble opinion, it needs cheese. So, we add 1/4 cup of shredded parmesan to the actual stuffing mix and then we sprinkle shaved parmesan as a garnish. Obviously, doing this makes the recipe “non-vegan” but we are cool with that.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup pearled barley
1 tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
4 bell peppers, whatever color you find cool
1 1/2 cups cooked kidney or white beans
1/4 cups chopped fresh parsley

 

 

 

 

 

 

1–In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it starts turning golden, about 3 minutes. Add the celery, carrot, garlic, thyme, and oregano and cook for another 2 minutes. Throw in the barley, tomato, and vinegar and stir. Add the broth, salt, and pepper and let it come to a low simmer. Cook, uncovered, until all the broth is absorbed and the barley is tender, about 15 minutes.

2–While the barley is simmering, heat your oven to 375° F. Cut the tops off the bell peppers and scrape out the seeds. Place them in an oiled pie place or loaf pan, something where their asses won’t be sliding around once they’re stuffed.

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Grease a baking dish and squeeze them in there.
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More cheese!! Then cover them with aluminum foil for baking.

3–When the barley is done, fold in the beans and turn off the heat. (This filling can even be made a day or two ahead of time, no fucking problem.) Fill the bell peppers up to the top with the filling, cover them tightly with foil, and bake until the peppers are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let them rest for 5 minutes after coming out of the oven, ’cause those fuckers are hot. Top with the parsley and serve.

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More cheese, then eat.

Thanks to ThugKithen for the recipe. We didn’t technically ask them for permission to publish their recipe, but those assholes can just fucking get over it.

This article originally published on http://www.groundingup.com.

Ways in which real life is NOT like a yoga retreat

This is my seventh full day in the real world since returning from the Haramara Yoga Retreat in Sayulita, Mexico. I have spent the last week acclimating to my surroundings and reflecting on just how much my actual life is not at all like a yoga retreat.

I did yoga everyday, all day.

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Because yoga went all day; 8:30 am-9:00pm

I slept through the night, every night.

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I got a solid 9 hours of sleep every night; no 2:30 am negotiations with a toddler about the circumstances under which he will agree to go back to bed.

I walked.

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This was the walkway down to the beach from the upper trail and it is a great example of the walking you do at this retreat center. In real life, I spend 2 hours a day commuting by car; not here. Haramara is set on a 12 acre mountainside parcel with a beach at the bottom. Hike uphill you will if you want to eat, get to the pool, or do yoga.

I peed alone.

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My casita did indeed have a beautiful bathroom just for me as well as some strategically placed restrooms throughout the property. I used those bathrooms without a toddler accompanying me or my 10-year-old chatting me up through the bathroom door.

I ate in peace.

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I should do a BLOG post solely about the cuisine at Haramara. Not only was it world class, but I ate it without getting up to cut someone’s food in to tinier pieces, clean up spilled milk, or to do the dishes.

I socialized.

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In general, if I’m not working, I’m wrangling kids, which doesn’t leave much time for actual adult socialization. Our retreat group consisted of people from the ThreeDogYoga studio in Santa Rosa, CA so we were starting with familiar faces rather than complete strangers. It took me a day or two to remember what people talked about if it wasn’t kid or work related.

I watched an entire sunset.

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Start to finish.

I thought deep thoughts.

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While not a “silent” retreat, the immersion program included some strategically placed times of noble silence. This is the thing I miss most now that I’m back in the fray–time to process without the background noise or competition for my attention.

I appreciated.

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Being away from my people made me appreciate my people. For a parent, it is really hard to pursue personal interests or maintain a level of sanity without solid support. I was able to escape to Mexico only because my sweet husband was willing to keep the trains running on time while I was gone. A week without the chaos of everyday life gave me time to reflect on just what an amazing partner he is and how much I truly love the life we have together–but next time, I’m bringing him with me, because I mean, just look at him;-)

Studio Review: Thunderbolt Power Yoga

I have always had huge admiration for well put together southern ladies. Growing up, I spent quite a lot of time in Atlanta with family and friends and never once did the South fail to make me feel like a rough neck Yankee.

As I’ve grown and matured into a professional woman, wife, and mother I have managed to sand off many of my rougher edges; however, I still can’t rally to the idea that I can or even should aspire to the qualities of a true southern lady (no matter how desperately my mother would like me to).

Southern hospitality, cultivation of beauty, strength, grace, and excellent comportment are not in my toolbox and at 40, it is probably time for me to be okay with that. But, how or if these qualities might show up in a southern yoga studio setting didn’t occur to me until I checked in at Thunderbolt Power Yoga in Buckhead, GA.

Thunderbolt Power Yoga was established in 2014 by studio owner and operator Carly Grace Hinchman. I was in Atlanta for a work thing and on the hunt for a good power yoga class. Thunderbolt Power Yoga came highly recommended by actual yogis as well as Yelp and I heard there were several Baptiste trained instructors there, so I thought I would give it a try.

The Studio Space
This studio has a strong feminine vibe. The color palette, decor, retail area, and facilities were most certainly designed with women in mind. I mention this because I found it slightly curious; where do men in the south practice yoga? In Northern California, our studio membership is about 50/50 men and women and most studios are decidedly gender neutral when it comes to design and decor. Overall, Thunderbolt has everything a yogi could ask for including great parking and a huge selection of K Deer Activewear.

The Instructor
I attended the Heated Power Flow class led by Elizabeth Beggs (instagram: @beggsyoga.com). The class was well attended by students at a wide variety of levels. Elizabeth led an organized and creative flow class, which included a fun little flow from shoelace pose (yin yoga) to tripod headstand and back again. She closed the practice with cool essential oil infused towels during savasana (because southern hospitality, duh!) and an OM with a beautiful Tibetan singing bowl.

This is an excellent studio and I can’t wait to go back. Here in Northern California, we take our yoga a little more “earthy.” The feminine niceties and southern hospitality offered at Thunderbolt were what I needed so far away from home.

And yes, Mom, I did get an emergency manicure and  pedicure after I saw how nicely all those yogis were put together.

This article was originally published on www.groundingup.com

Cool Beans

Yesterday, we hit the Berkley Bowl, a famous independent grocery mecca in Berkley, CA. This grocery specializes in offering a huge variety of organic and natural products. The produce section alone is mind-blowing. But we spent our time in the bulk food bins on this trip.

These beautiful Orca (aka Calypso) Beans caught my attention; so we brought them home to see what we could do with them and how they would compare to our standard black beans.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

BLACK BEANS–1 Cup Cooked
Calories 227
Fat 1g
Carbohydrates 41g
Fiber 15
Protein 15

ORCA BEANS–1 Cup Cooked
Calories 240
Fat 1g
Carbohydrates 46g
Fiber 28g
Protein 24g

 

 

 

 

Clearly, the ORCA beans dominate when it comes to fiber and protein, but that’s not where it ends. These beautiful beans cook twice as fast as black beans and don’t require any overnight soaking. But how do they taste and how do we serve them?

Recipe: Simple Orca Bean Bowl 

Ingredients:
2 cups of dried orca (calypso) beans
5 cups of water
1 teaspoon of salt
3 teaspoon olive oil
1 cube Knorr Vegetable Bullion
1 cup onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

1–Rinse beans and remove any rocks or other strange items that may be lurking. Boil them with 4 cups of water for 1 hour with a teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of the olive oil.

2–While the beans boil and in a large pot, add 2 teaspoons of olive oil, onion, garlic, basil, and parsley. Sauté that for 3 minutes or until the onions become translucent.

3–When the beans are finished boiling, rinse them and add them to your sauté pot with 1 cup of water (or more if you like your beans soupy) and the cube of vegetable bullion (hint: dice up the bullion cube before you toss it in so that it dissolves faster). Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally so the beans don’t stick to the bottom of your pot.

Now, make your bowl:

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We live on bowls around here. Our standard is to layer greens, then mixed grains, then get crazy. In this case, we added carrots, celery, an heirloom tomato, tiny roasted potatoes, and of course, our beautiful new beans. Oh and we sprinkled all that with goat cheese, because it is goat cheese.
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What, 2 cups of dried beans makes a TON of cooked beans? Exactly, put the rest in 8 ounce containers and freeze them for next time.

This article was originally published on www.groundingup.com.

Because the chicken sees.

Years ago, when I first started yoga, I noticed that most of the “serious yogis” I met had some fairly specific diets. They were vegan or vegetarian and anti-GMO and pro-biotic. They did detoxes and cleanses and only ate natural unrefined sugars. But why? Was it because they were health and fitness enthusiasts or was there something about yoga that was doing this to them?

I had to do a lot of reading and research to get to an answer that made sense to me because there are a lot of elements involved in answering the question, “what is the yoga diet and, OMG, why?

I came across this story Ram Dass tells while I was researching the yoga diet as prescribed by the old traditional yogis. They believed that a sparse diet consisting of fruits and a few nuts was required to achieve spiritual enlightenment (or hunger hallucinations which may have been mistaken for the astral plane).

The story goes something like this:

A holy man gave two men each a chicken and said, “Go kill them where no one can see.” One guy went behind the fence and killed the chicken. The other guy walked around for two days and came back with the chicken. The holy man said, “You didn’t kill the chicken?” and the guys said, “well, everywhere I go, the chicken sees.”

There seem to be 5 straight forward rules when it comes to eating like a yogi.
1–Don’t eat too much.
2–Eat light, healthy, unadulterated foods which are easily digestible.
3–Eliminate foods with strong flavors and smells and reduce consumption of stimulants like caffeine and booze (um, okay).
4–Be aware of where your food comes from and how it is prepared. Avoid foods that involve violence in the sourcing. Obviously, meat requires some killing but this also applies to harvesting fruit or vegetables from a plant before it has fallen to the ground of its own accord.
5–Consecrate the food before you eat it.

The first three rules seem like what the American Heart Association has been telling us for decades–eat healthy portions of a balanced diet and you will be all set. But in yoga, it is more than that.

Those first three rules are about maintaining the physical body so it is ready and able to complete the eight limbs or stages of yoga in the quest for enlightenment. Inherent in those rules are directions for abstinence, austerity, discipline, generosity, and a breaking of bad habits with the idea being that a self-controlled person can better attain spiritual freedom.

The last two rules about awareness and consecration are clearly spiritual in nature. Most of us are good with consecrating our food before we eat it; in Christianity, that is the equivalent of saying grace at the dinner table. Amen. Done. Let’s eat.

However, remember the dudes with the chickens? Well this is where the vegetarians and vegans get on board. Yoga says that GOD is everyone and everything. He is you and me and the apple tree in the front yard–and that chicken.

In yoga, a violent act is a violent act against GOD, and the chicken sees.

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com.

 

 

Basic Maple Granola Recipe

We like to keep granola on hand, not because we eat it for breakfast, but because it is a great snack and a way to quiet down our sweet tooth without feeling guilty later. So when we came across this granola while cooking our way through the ThugKitchen Cookbook, obviously, we had to try it.

And because this is our little corner of the Internet, we are going to give you our opinion about it, which is that it is way too sweet. Everything else about the recipe is fantastic; but when we make it next time, we will reduce the maple syrup a bit, up the salt, or get crazy and do both.

Ingredients
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds*
1/2 cup almonds*
1/4 uncooked millet**
1/2 cup maple syrup***
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)****

* Basically, 1 cup of whatever nuts you prefer.
**No millet? Fuck it, just add more oats.
***Legit syrup can get kinda fucking expensive. But so can granola. Save up for the good shit.
****Or use any dried fruit you like.

1  Heat your oven to 300°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with some parchment paper.

2  Mix together the oats, seeds, nuts, and milled in a large bowl

3  In a medium glass bowl, stir together the maple syrup, oil, and vanilla. Pour this all over the oat mixture and stir that shit around until everything looks coated. Add the cinnamon and the salt and stir.

4  Pour all of this evenly over the baking sheet and stick it in the oven for 40 minutes. Stir it every 10 minutes so that it cooks evenly. You’ll know this shit is done when everything looks kinda toasted and the oaks feel crispy instead of damp. Stir in the dried fruit now if you’re using any. Let that all cool on the baking sheet and then store it in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

5   Want to mix it up? Try these nut and fruit combos; almonds and chopped, dried apricots or strawberries; walnuts and dried pears or figs; pecans and dried cherries; peanuts and dried apples or bananas. Just use whateverthefuck sounds good to you.

Thanks to ThugKitchen for the recipe. We didn’t technically ask them for permission to publish their recipe, but those assholes can just fucking get over it.

This article was originally published on www.groundingup.com.

Yoga Towel Hack

Years ago, when I first started doing power yoga, I purchased a yoga mat towel, used it once and then never again.

Why, you ask? Because it required constant straightening and fussing throughout the practice. I don’t need to add annoyance to my life; I have more than enough.

Ideally, your yoga practice will have as few distractions as possible because you are doing mental as well as physical work. Yoga is for minimalists; technically, you don’t even need a yoga mat. Regardless of what the yoga industry wants your wallet to believe, yoga requires no gear.

Now, with that said, I will admit that 40 minutes into a power yoga practice, when your mat is good and sweaty, a mat towel seems like an excellent idea. Particularly when it is time to lay down for floor work.

So how could I have my yoga mat towel without the fussing and straightening? And then, years of pondering this question and my husband’s obsession with office supplies led me to a Savasana-induced epiphany.

Behold!!!

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These are 1 inch binder clips securing the yoga towel. I have one at the top, middle and bottom of the mat on each side; which may or may not be overkill depending upon how much of a foot-dragger you are. (Note: a yoga foot-dragger is not the same as the foot-dragger in the urban dictionary. So calm down)

 

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You may want to experiment with clip sizes; fortunately, we have all the sizes at our house for some inexplicable reason. If you need some, just drop us an email:-)

This article was originally published on grounding.com.

Thug Kitchen Cookbook

Is this racist? Can a vegan cookbook even be racist? I found myself asking that question earlier this week as I thumbed through my latest amazon.com acquisition.

You see, in an effort to shake up our vegetarian cuisine routine in the kitchen, my husband purchased the #1 New York Times Bestselling cookbook, Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give Fuckbecause it came highly recommended and we do indeed give a f%@k about what we eat.

A few years back, an anonymously written BLOG called ThugKitchen, featuring vegan recipes and healthy eating tips, where “you can be verbally abused into a healthier diet,” became poplar, prompting the spin-off of a series of cookbooks. Hence, our new cookbook and this BLOG post.

So what is racist about it? Well, the anonymously written content suggests a black male humorously intimidating the reader into preparing a healthy meal. As it turns out, a young white couple living in Los Angeles is standing behind the counter at Thug Kitchen.

This revelation came to light in 2014 prompting the debate: is this harmless inauthenticity designed to encourage healthier living or is it cyber blackface for profit? Is it wrong for two white people to pretend to be black people writing about food?

I’m not going to take a formal position; people can make up their own damn minds. And, while the concept of the cookbook does raise an eyebrow (unless you Botox), it also serves up some really stellar information and recipes in favor of healthy eating for everyone, no matter who you are.

So while the Internet debates just HOW racist this cookbook is, we have decided to try some of the recipes.

Warning: if foul language offends some of your more delicate sensibilities, this cookbook, including the recipe below, is not for you. Turn back now.

TEMPEH PEANUT NOODLES WITH BLANCHED KALE  

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Our notes: This cookbook offers simple recipes that don’t require obscure ingredients, take forever to prepare, or trash your kitchen.

PEANUT SAUCE
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter*
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
1 teaspoon maple syrup or agave syrup
1 teaspoon chili-garlic paste or Asian-style hot sauce (optional**)

NOODLES AND VEGGIES
12 ounces noodles***
6 cups kale, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon grapeseed or refined coconut oil
8 ounces tempeh (Tempeh is not our thing; next time we will use sprouted tofu)
1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sliced green onions

* Don’t buy peanut butter that has anything other than peanuts, a little oil, and salt listed   as ingredients. Anything else is unfuckingnecessary.
** Optional but you should suck it up and do it.
*** Soba, udon, spaghetti, whatthefuckever.

1–First make the peanut sauce. In a medium glass bowl, whisk together the peanut butter and water until it looks creamy. Add all the other ingredients and keep stirring until everything is incorporated. Simple shit.

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Our notes: We used our stick blender to mix this sauce because that is the only way to emulsify anything in a reasonable amount of time.

2–Now cook the noodles according to the package directions, but use a larger soup pot than usual. In the last 30 seconds of cooking the noodles, add the kale to the pot and stir it into the water to make sure it’s all covered. After 30 seconds, drain the pasta and kale and run it under cold water to stop the cooking process and keep the kale green. That’s called lazy-ass blanching. Some people might say to do that shit in separate pots, but those are usually the motherfuckers who don’t wash their own dishes, so fuck them.

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Our notes: This is a picture of lazy-ass blanching and it is our new favorite kitchen hack. This cookbook paid for itself with this one tip. Sorry for the crappy picture; I’m not a photographer, I work for an insurance company, and I don’t know how to photograph steam.

3–Grab a big wok or skillet and heat up the oil. Crumble in the tempeh in bite-size pieces and saute it around until it starts to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and garlic and cook it for 30 seconds more. Turn off the heat and add the noodles and three-quarters of the peanut sauce. Mix it all up to make sure everything is covered and that the tempeh is blended into the noodles. Taste it and it isn’t saucy enough for you, add the rest of the sauce now. Otherwise, hold on to that shit because the noodles really absorb the sauce as they sit, so it’s nice to have extra for leftovers. Top with the green onions and serve warm or at room temperature.

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Our notes: This is the finished product. We garnished with chopped peanuts and limes in addition to the scallions because they made it prettier.

Overall, we loved this recipe and will work it into our menu rotation; however, the tempeh, which is fermented soy beans, was a little to funky for us (because it is fermented soy beans), so we will make this recipe using firm sprouted tofu next time. Otherwise, enjoy!

Thanks to www.thugkitchen.com for the recipe. We didn’t technically ask them for permission to publish their recipe, but those assholes can just fucking get over it.

This article was originally published on www.groundingup.com.