Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I didn't invent this dish, my husband did. He did most of the cooking in his family as a teenager. Did I mention that he has 7 younger siblings? How to get kids to eat their beans and rice night after night.

Here it is. I've changed it up a lot, and I don't apologize for it because in his version the only flavor came from the cumin butter, which meant that everyone needed a lot of it to enjoy their meal. I wanted less fat, etc, so I insist that the beans have flavor cooked into them. Also, olive oil. MMM.

Start with rice, white brown, sticky, leftover, it doesn't matter really. Heap it in a pile in the center of the plate. Smooch a hole in the center. This is your volcano.

Now, take some dark green stuff; parsley, cilantro, kale, broccoli, raw green beans, avocado, etc. Stick them in your rice mountain on the slopes. These are your trees.

You will also need some cooked black beans. These can come from a can, or you can cook them from dry in a crockpot or stockpot. Add cumin, lots of it, salt, pepper, oregano/thyme, I like a bit of creole seasoning as well. and some onion or garlic powder if you wish, but not too much, The main player here is the cumin. These are your lava rocks. Pile them on top of your volcano.

Now a little tomato or spaghetti sauce. Or hot sauce for the grown ups. Pour it over the beans. This is your lava.

Now the finisher. Take melted butter mixed with cumin, or olive oil, or a bit of both, and pour it over the whole pile. You don't need much. This is your volcano erupting. This part is what makes all the other flavors mix together into melt in your mouth goodness.

Let your kids build it, and demolish it. You'll be surprised how much they will eat. To this day I have a boy who insists that he doesn't like black beans, but he always eats his volcanoes. Go figure.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Summer Pizza

The first time I had a "pizza" like this, I was attending one of those in-home parties for gourmet kitchen gadgets. It's a tasty appetizer or light meal, that can either be slightly sweet by topping with fruit, or a fun alternative to salad by topping with raw vegetables. I fell in love with the concept, and sought to adjust the ingredient list into something wholesome and nourishing.

Start with a plain baked crust, using my basic dough recipe. When the crust has cooled, spread "pizza sauce" over top. There are two different variations, depending on whether you are using fruit or vegetables.

For a vegetable pizza, use about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of sour cream with plain yogurt to taste. You can stir in salt and pepper, dill or other herbs if desired.

For a fruit pizza, mix a softened 8 oz block of cream cheese with vanilla yogurt. If using plain yogurt, also stir in a little sweetener, like honey, maple syrup, raw cane crystals, or xylitol.

Now comes the fun of garnishing with your fresh fixin's! Children especially enjoy decorating the pizza with sliced or minced fruit or vegetables.

Fruit ideas: kiwi, strawberry, banana, raspberry, blueberry, pineapple, mandarin oranges, etc.

Vegetable ideas: cucumber, sweet green or red peppers, broccoli, peas, carrot, spinach, etc.

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