Yummy at Home, Recipe 6: Dominican Fusion Comfort

Listen, I’m scared, too. The US death toll is climbing fast, thanks to Trump. (Yep, I’m mad as heck at how he’s mishandling this pandemic.) As a friend pointed out, Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, is egalitarian. So do yourself a favor and stay home and cook, read and exercise. If you’re not working or taking care of others, stay put. We don’t even know if we’re secret spreaders of this thing. It is through my pain and uncertainty that I continue to cook and read and share. This is what I have to give. This is my medicine:

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Dominican food is hard to find in California unless you make it at home. A staple at our house is red beans (Habichuelas) and rice–main Dominican fare. Slow cook unsalted beans with water, garlic, onion, bay leaf, dried oregano, basil and pepper. This takes about 3 hours, so you can substitute can beans if you don’t have the time. Once the beans break open you can salt and season them with tomato paste, cumin/fresh cilantro and paprika. Allow the vegan beans to thicken and serve over steamed rice.

As a modification, you can turn these Dominican-style beans into a modified chili base by adding for favorite meat: ground chicken, turkey, beef or lamb, and vegetables: green, red or yellow peppers, corn, carrots, potatoes, olives, peas or/or green beans. (Frozen or canned veggies will also work!) Be sure to add additional spices for each additional ingredient. Don’t lose flavor.

We ate our with maduros, ripe, fried plantains. Of course, greens, collards and broccoli are always welcome at our table.  Serve hot, and as Her Royal Highness Princess Diandra says, “Yam.”

Stay Woke, Adapt and Wear a Mask!

I cried most of the day yesterday. If you haven’t had a day like that yet, you will. Give yourself permission to feel all the powerful emotions that COVID-19 Pandemic has unleashed on the world. This is a reality check. Find hope. Stay connected, and pay attention. Now more than ever, we need to watch our leaders. Apparently, it’s power-grabbing time for many. We need to be the ones that drive the direction of our nation. Personally, I want to live.

After his incredibly idiotic mishandling of the early days of Coronavirus, when a few measured words would have changed the outcome for every human being within the borders of the United States, President Trump continues to misuse and abuse the power of his office. When we most need compassionate leadership, we are cursed with an abusive, immature and xenophobic hate-monger. He’s as bad as Kim Jong Un, sending missiles over South Korea to get attention in the middle of a global pandemic. Shameful! Is this our collective karma? Let us remember Trump’s words–he documents himself on Twitter and endless press opts. Let’s do this in order to hold Trump accountable for his actions. He’s costing lives and behaves unethically at every possible opportunity. Read about what he’s up to with the oversight of the COVID-19 Funding: (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/03/us/trump-inspector-general-intelligence-fired.html).

Even though Trump doesn’t seem to “believe in” Social Distancing or wearing a mask, we know better! We know because we can see the numbers for ourselves by looking at the Coronavirus Dashboard (https://ncov2019.live/data). We need to learn from South Korea’s efforts and try to imitate their best practices. We don’t need to make every mistake to learn. We can learn from the mistakes and triumphs of other nations–especially imperative when we pay with lives. Use a mask! The CDC recommends it, and it is at least a part of the solution in South Korea.

Do this so that more of us will live.

Leading with Love: Mayor Garcetti Heals the City of Angels

It’s hard to feel energetic in the mornings knowing people are getting sick. Our lives are disrupted. It’s spring but we must stay home. Besides cooking, exercising and checking in with friends all over the world, I’ve found some comfort in my new hometown. These days, Mayor Garcetti’s five o’clock briefing is uplift hour at my house. That’s when I turn on KPCC and listen to Mayor Eric Garcetti‘s update.

When Mayor Garcetti speaks, I know this is what compassion is. In the middle of the most confusing time of our lives, a global pandemic that few expected and fewer understand, when violence has grown intimate and our national leadership has flagged, Garcetti is solving homelessness in order to save as many people as possible. His message to “Stay at home” comes with the energy and commitment to galvanize LA city residents to protect the lives of some of the most vulnerable people among us.

Mayor Garcetti easily slips into my portfolio of heroes: People like Harriet Tubman, Dr. King, Jesus, John Brown and Ernestine Rose. I don’t have a problem including him on my list. I want someone to imitate. I need to believe in goodness at a time like this. Here is a man talking about CoronaVirus and using words like, “us,” “we” and “love” to talk about what’s a stake and what we must do to heal and stay safe. He urges us to engage with our best efforts and most positive outlook while providing concrete guidelines for behavior that mitigates risk to our families. He reminds us to stay home, take care of each other and advises us on what the city is doing to curtail the spread of COVID-19. Hearing him is healing my heart.

“LA Love” is a theme I can get behind, especially when it comes with direct action. When he tells us about getting manufacturers to make masks for public workers, or sadly explains why our beaches are closed or how new regulations will be implemented, it’s full of hope. He’s even raising money for locals who are unable to work or need extended shelter until the danger passes. Garcetti emphasizes the unity of Angelenos and is raising money for people who may need help.

I’m grateful for Mayor Garcetti’s leadership at this time. It reminds me to be still and step up when I can. We can all use some hope these days.

YAT, R.5: Eggs and Greens

Hope that you’re able to get some exercise at home, friends. When I wake up feeling sad or depressed, both inevitable in the midst of this pandemic, I try to do ten burpees. If you feel ridiculous, fall down or laugh at yourself, you’ve done it right! People are getting sick, but we still deserve to thrive and be healthy. Give yourself permission to shed whatever you can.

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That brings us to our next yummy-at-home recipe. This one’s Hal’s, the egg master at our house. It’s quick and easy and super delicious for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Cook and prep time about 15-20 minutes. Add one or two eggs per adult. Substitute egg-whites for a low-cholesterol alternative or scrabbled tofu for a vegan option.

Saute garlic with thinly sliced poblano, red or yellow peppers for 3-5 minutes. Wash and strip your greens. We used dinosaur kale but collards or curly kale will also be fine. Add to peppers and garlic and cook until tender about 3 minutes. Start the toast.

Take your eggs or egg substitute and add Colby or cheddar cheese. We also added hot-smoked salmon to the eggs. Warm the pan and add your scrambled egg mix to the protein. Stir constantly until eggs are firm and cheese melts. Serve hot with all your favorite fixings.

Yummy at Home (YAT), Clam Chowder Soup-Up, R.4

Staying at home seems to be working against the virulent Coronavirus, so we need to keep up the good work. I’m still making magic in the kitchen, sharing my favorites with all my friends. If you want to share a recipe, send it through Karma Compass submissions. This recipe is for my friends with a stocked pantry of canned items. By personalizing these items, you add love and stretch the provisions so you don’t have to go out too much. The best way to make art of this meal is to think of the canned soup as your soup base, and simply augment it with fresh or frozen goodies.

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I started with two cans of Progesso Clam Chowder as a base; add additional cans of soup, stock or water (for a lighter soup use one cup) for extra people. Add salad shrimp or diced prawns or one can of salmon or crab meat. Drop in red-chili flakes, garlic powder and black pepper. Simmer in a pan on low heat. (Do not scald the soup!)

Chop one head of broccoli into small pieces and florets and season to taste. Place into a separate pan for steaming. Steam covered broccoli on high for 3 minutes. You can also add any on the following fresh, frozen or canned ingredients: peas, carrots, potatoes, corn and/or green beans. Cook potatoes until tender. Add cooked vegetable to the soup, or canned items directly. Stir frequently on low heat until it’s hot.

Serve with warm bread or rolls and a green salad. It’s totally yummy and only takes about 15-20 minutes to make it yummy at home.

Be safe, my friends.

 

Yummy at Home, Recipe 3: Wasabi-Ginger Fish with Mashed Potatoes

Another day of battling the shared grief we all feel over the loss of our regular lives and routines. Even though this is the most important event of several generations since our last World War, the newest Coronavirus manifestation as COVID19 is testing us all. Yet, I’m committed to making this time magical for my family as we navigate these unknown paths. Please feel free to share your recipes or ask for more details. We’re in this together!

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Bring two potatoes per person to a boil in lightly salted water for 20-35 minutes. (You can also use boxed mashed potatoes!) Leave the skins on and/or substitute sweet potatoes or yams for all or some of the mashed and for diabetic-friendly alternative. When you can stick a fork in easily, they’re ready for a mash! Mash them using a little salt and pepper, water/sour cream/butter or vegan spread.

While the potatoes cook, prepare your veggies. We used sliced asparagus, but you can also use, broccoli, green beans or canned veggies. Set aside.

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Peel and slice a nub of ginger and garlic clove. Throw those in a skillet with sesame oil. heat the ginger and garlic with hot-pepper flakes and black pepper. Add the fish or chicken or tofu with a teaspoon of wasabi paste and cover on high for 3 minutes. Stir or flip the fish and add veggies to the pan. Pour about 1 tablespoon of soy sauce for each portion of protein. Cover for 3 minutes, then stir until the desired tenderness. (Give extra time for chicken to cook thoroughly!)

Plate the mashed potatoes and top with fish and veggies and sauce. Serve family style!

 

Yummy at Home, Recipe 2: Red Quinoa with Salmon and Spinach

Many of us have extra time at home and a full house. That means move people to feed.  This fun, beautiful recipe takes about 40-60 minutes to prepare, with the quinoa being the most intensive.

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Quinoa needs oil, broth or bullion, white wine or white wine vinegar and minced garlic. Saute the quinoa on high with the garlic until they are shiny and hot. add one cup of broth and a quarter cup of wine to get steam. Cover and turn it down to simmer, stirring occasionally while you get the other items going. In about 20 minutes, add another cup of water until it evaporates.

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Slice Poblano peppers (These have been gorgeous and abundant at my market; add whatever peppers you have), fresh garlic and dried basil. Add to a hot pan with a little oil for about 10 minutes or desired tenderness. Add salted and peppered fish fillet (Salmon or trout) directly to the same hot pan and cover for 3 minutes on each side. Add an handful of spinach to the second side for texture and color.

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Presentation for this can be very beautiful. Put a generous bed of spinach in a platter. Top with warm quinoa. Add diced or halved cherry tomatoes and cubed feta cheese mixed with olive oil and olives if you like. Put the mixture on top of the quinoa. Lastly, Place the hot salmon and peppers on the pile. Serve hot and fresh!

Alternative ingredients:

  1. Rice (Quinoa)
  2. Green salad or steamed broccoli (spinach)
  3. Canned tuna, salmon or sardines
  4. Vegan: Roasted Beets (fish)
  5. Cucumber (tomatoes)

 

 

Yummy at Home (Recipes from Our Table, Part I)

Just Because COVID-19 has us shut in, doesn’t mean we can’t thrive. In fact, since we’ve been staying home, we’ve eaten well, including a beautiful take-out dinner from our local sushi restaurant. During this ordeal I’ll be sharing recipes from our table made with anything and everything we happen to have in the kitchen from the pantry to the freezer. Staying safe has never been this delicious!

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Our first recipe is a Teriyaki style one-pan medley can be prepared vegan or otherwise. This dish can take 30-50 minutes depending on the number of helpers prepping and chopping. It’s okay to modify with whatever vegetable you have at home, including canned or frozen. We started with our herb and fruit basket and found:

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Garlic, fresh

Onion powder

Poblano peppers

Broccoli, with hearts

Asparagus

Prawns (Substitutes: tofu or fish)

Carrots

Sesame oil

Black pepper

Red chili flakes

Soy sauce: ¼ cup or so

Cook on high and stir constantly. Top with a ¼ cup of Trader Joe’s Soyaki or some Soy Vay if you have it. We paired ours with coconut rice and La Crema Chardonnay.

Enjoy my friends!

Why I’m Staying Home

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Coronavirus is nothing I want to play with. I’m giving it a pass altogether. I remember watching Star Trek as a girl and seeing them analyze compounds with their Tricorders and read engineering reports on their mini-computer pads. Sound familiar? Way right. Everybody I know has one now. That’s why I’m scared of this virus. Every respectable Sci-Fi prophet has predicted our total decimation by disease, mostly viral.

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I’m not laughing. I’m staying home. This a global pandemic.

What makes my decision to self-isolate easy is how susceptible I am to illness–basically, I have a lot of ACEs. From my breached-birth trauma through adult-Black-woman trauma, I’m on that list of compromised individuals. I’ve gotten sick from just riding the BART in San Francisco. I hosted Strep Throat and earaches for most of childhood and adolescence. Coronavirus is looking for someone like me. This is serious. I’m not going out.

It terrifies me to think of all the people who haven’t been vaccinated for anything, waiting to cook up a fresh mutation with their virgin immunity. All I see is a sinister weapon unleashed by Mother Earth to spank our asses for our careless negligence; she deploys a handful of crowned-halo beads who scurry off with the voice and words of Smeagol: “Give it to me raw.”

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Those of us undergoing immunosuppression, transplants, poor health (hypertension, obesity), and/or recent hospitalization are likely to be susceptible to COVID19. If you have a loved one in any of these categories or even grandparents, you can carry it to them with along with all of your best intentions—all with nothing more than a mild temperature to show for your contribution.

Don’t be the one to open the door to this fast-moving virus. Take these simple precautions:

        • If someone needs help, drop it off at their door.
        • Wash your hands as soon as you walk into your home.
        • Don’t hug or shake hands for a few weeks.
        • Vaporize beneficial essential oils.

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Let’s live to tell the story. Stay in tonight.