I learned to cook as a founding member of the Greenhouse Commune where each adult was responsible for the evening meal for 10 adults and eight children once every two weeks. Since then I have occasionally developed recipes and collected others that I particularly like.
Will's Thai Paella
This recipe was inspired by a Thai recipe that I modified and then realized that it could be seen as fitting into the more general category of Paella. This recipe serves eight.
- 1 pound shrimp (one package Trader Joe's large cooked shrimp with tails off, 50 to 70 count)
- 1 pound smoked sausage (one package Pederson's Natural Farms, Sweet German Brand Smoked Sausage)
- 1 pound chicken (boneless chicken thighs)
- 2 ounces dried Chinese mushrooms (one package sliced dried Shiitake mushrooms)
- 1.5 cups Basmati rice
- 3 cups water (from water used to soak the mushrooms)
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 5 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger root
- 1 tablespoon Tom Yum Paste (one 1.06 oz. package of Lobo, Tom Yum Paste)
- 1 teaspoon lemon grass
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- Soak the dried mushrooms in water until soft and filled out. Drain the mushrooms and save the mushroom water.
- Thaw the shrimp. Slice the sausage. Cut the chicken breast into thin strips.
- Wash and drain the rice
- Place the oil in a skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, add the garlic and ginger and fry, stirring long enough for the flavors to come out; then add the sausage. When the sausage is hot and fragrant, add the chicken and stir until lightly cooked. Add the shrimp, mushrooms and rice and mix everything until warm.
Note: We use a 12" skillet for the whole process. If you do not have this large a skillet, transfer everything to a pot to proceed.
- Add the Tom Yum Paste to a cup of the mushroom water and heat in the microwave until warm enough to easily dissolve the paste when stirred.
- Add the cup of the mushroom water and Tom Yum Paste, two more cups of mushroom water, the lemon grass and lime juice to the skillet or pot and thoroughly mix together.
- Place on low heat, cover and cook for 30-35 minutes.
- When the rice is done, remove from the heat and let stand for a time in the covered skillet or pot.
- Spoon onto plates and serve with pineapple or cabbage and spring onions.
My mother made this dressing that she learned from my father's mother. It is part of my kid's memory of their Nana. The dressing is good but more importantly it brings back memories of family, love and joy.
- 16 cups of bread cubes (2 loaves of good white bread)
- 2 cups celery chopped
- 2 cups white onion chopped
- 2 cups butter (2 Sticks)
- 2 tablespoon poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon sage
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chipolte pepper (this is my addition)
Open the loaves of bread and spread the slices out on some surface. Turn the slices periodically. Depending on the humidity and freshness of the bread, it may take 24 hours or more for it to dry. The bread should be firm to the touch.
Once the bread is dry, cut each slice into cubes. I stack four slices at a time, trim off the crusts and cut them into 20 cubes (4 by 5).
I use a 12" 5 qt skillet to prepare the stuffing in two halfs. Place the following in the skillet and cook until the onion is clear:
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 1 cup white onion chopped
- 1 cup butter (1 Stick)
- 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon sage
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chipolte pepper (this is my addition)
Add half the bread cubes (8 cups) and turn until the cubes are warm and coated with the butter and spices.
Repeat with the other half.
Stuff the turkey.
To make the stuffing without the bird, put the bread mixture in a 3 quart baking dish.
Pour 2 cups of chicken or turkey stock over the dry stuffing.
Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes.
We built a raised bed and planted a garden this summer that included tomatoes and red peppers. In late August we find ourselves overrun with both. The following recipe helped us make good use of the bounty.
Cut up and place the following ingredients in a large blender like a Vita-Mix.
- 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes
We use a combination of Cherokee Purple and San Francisco Fog tomatoes from our garden
- 1 Cucumber (.5 pounds)
- 1 Red Pepper (small to medium)
- 1 Green Onion
- 1 Bearss Lime (preferably from the tree in your back yard)
Cut two slices from the middle and put them in the blender with the juice from the remaining lime
Add the following to the blender
- 1 teaspoon smoked salt
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 2+ tablespoons of sherry vinegar (adjust as desired—it controls the bite)
Blend until smooth
- 1/2 cup olive oil (add at the end of the blending process)
Refrigerate to chill if you can wait. Pour into a glass and enjoy.
Farmers Market Beans
This recipe was inspired by the bags of mixed beans and chipotle peppers that we used to buy at the San Luis Obispo Farmers Market. I researched recipes and developed this personal variation. It is really good.
- 1 lb. of mixed beans (Pinto Beans, Small Red Chili Beans, Great Northern Beans)
Bring the beans to a rolling boil and then turn off the heat and let them stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans and put them in a Crock or Instant Pot. Add the following ingredients.
- 4 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons of McKay's Chicken Style Instant Broth and Seasoning (this specific brand is important)
- 2 teaspoons of sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground Chipotle Chili Pepper (Spicely Organic)
- 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke (Wright's All Natural Hickory Seasoning Liquid Smoke)
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- 1 cup diced sweet onion (one medium sweet onion)
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro minced (can substitute 1 table spoon dry cilantro)
Crock Pot Cooking: Cook on high until the beans are done (about 5 hours). Do not let the beans get mushy.
Instant Pot Cooking: Cook at high presure for 45 minutes then vent naturally for 30 minutes.
The basic recipe has no meat but about 1 pound of finely chopped precooked smoked turkey thigh added after the beans have been cooked is a great option.
SLOBC Bean & Corn Salad
Gail Vanderlinde brought this salad to a SLOBC potluck and shared her recipe with us. This is the variation on Gail's salad that Janis and I created.
Combine the following in a bowel and mix
- 2 cans of Black Beans - rinsed
- 1 16oz. bag frozen cut White Corn
- 1 chopped Red Pepper (bean size)
- 3 diced Roma Tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped Celery (2 stalks)
- 4 Green Onions sliced thin
- 1 cup chopped Cilantro
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Lime juice
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
- 1 teaspoon Chipotle
Drizzle the dressing over the ingredients as you mix them.
Marinate for few hours stirring periodically. Chill and serve.
Watermelon Tomato Gazpacho
One of my favorite summer dishes is gazpacho. In fact it is my favorite anytime. This elegant recipe is from Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis.
Seedless watermelons are not a good as ones with seeds so get a good one and take the time to pick out the seeds. Pure the watermelon in a blender and place in a large bowel. Add the following to the pure.
- 1 cup seeded watermelon, diced small
- 1 cup tomato, diced small (2 medium tomatoes)
- 1 cup peeled cucumber, diced small (about 1/2 English cucumber or 1 or 2 whole Kirbys)
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced small
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (preferably from the tree in your back yard)
- 1/8 cup cilantro leaves sliced thin (hold the bunch together and slice until you have a wad)
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1/2 small jalapeño, seeded and minced (increase to taste)
- 1 green onion, minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
Stir and refrigerate to chill if you can wait. It will be best with a little time to marinate. Serve and enjoy.
When I was talking with Janis about which recipes to include she said that she married me because of these biscuits.
Preheat the oven to 375°
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowel and then add the following.
- 1 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 cup milk added gradually to check for consistency
Mix the ingredients together. The mixture should be very moist.
Spoon the mix onto a greased cookie sheet (should make about 8 to 10)
Bake for 16 minutes
Winter Solstice Pancake
I made this for breakfast Christmas day 2012. It is a version of a German pancake. One will serve 2 or 3.
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup milk warmed
- 3 tablespoons butter melted
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- powdered sugar
- whipped cream or lemon juice
- Place a 10" cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°
- Break eggs in a large mixing bowel and beat until pale in color
- Add flour, milk, butter, vanilla and salt to the eggs and beat until smooth
- Remove heated skillet from the oven and coat inside with shortening
- Pour batter into skillet and place back in oven
- Cook for 20 minutes or until golden brown
- Remove from oven, coat with butter, sprinkle on powdered sugar and add blueberries
- Add whipped cream or lemon juice if desired and enjoy
Cottage Cheese Pancakes
I do not remember where I found this recipe but it is a good one that all the kids loved.
- 6 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups small curd cottage cheese
- 2/3 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Dash cinnamon
Mix ingredients and cook on a buttered skillet. The pancakes will be thin.
Top with a dollop of sour cream with a tablespoon of raspberry preserves in the middle. Substitute your favorite preserve. So good.
From "Grace and Good Eats"
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons butter melted
- Melt the butter in microwave for 30 seconds, set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
- Stir milk, vanilla and egg together.
- Create a well in the center of the flour mixture.
- Pour the butter and milk mixture into the well.
- Use a wire whisk to stir everything together until just combined. It will be slightly thick and lumpy, but should be well incorporated.
- Allow the batter to rest while heating a lightly oiled skillet or griddle to medium high heat.
- Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.
- Cook each side for 3-6 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
Sweet Thanksgiving Cornbread
From "The Girl Who Ate Everything" website.
- 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
- 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 1/4 cups fine cornmeal (found by the flour) (works with medium ground cornmeal)
- 2 3/4 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease a 9x13 baking dish.
- Melt the butter in microwave (my suggestion)
- In a large bowl, cream/blend the butter and sugar.
- Add the eggs, vanilla and salt and mix until combined.
- Add the buttermilk and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Add the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix to incorporate.
- Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake until golden. START checking it for doneness at 25 minutes and bake longer until golden if needed (up to 35 minutes).
- Serve warm with butter obviously
This one was developed from many and scaled it up to serve 20. You can tell this recipe was developed before there was such a thing as organic or raw food cookbooks.
- 2 large cans of V8 juice (chill the cans over night and pour into a large pot)
Add the following to the pot.
- 12 large tomatoes, diced
- 6 medium cucumbers, peeled and diced
- 3 red bell peppers, diced
- 2 red onions, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 8 ounces pimento, diced
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 5 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
Stir and chill before serving.
Greenhouse Hot & Sour Soup
This was my most requested meal at the Greenhouse. I developed this after reading and experimenting many recipes and scaled it up to serve 20.
Place 2 ounces of Tree Ears and 1 ounce of dried Chinese mushrooms in water to soak.
Place a large pot on the stove and add the following as it heats.
- 6 quarts of water
- 1 cup wine vinegar
- 1 cup rice wine
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 24 chicken bullion cubes
- 2 tablespoons hot sesame oil
- 1 table spoon salt
- 2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 table spoon sugar
- 2 thick boneless center cut pork chops cut into short thin strips
- 6 green onions sliced into small sections
- 19 ounces bamboo shoots
- 20 ounces bean curd cut into 1/4" cubes
- 2 ounces of Tree Ears drained and diced
- 1 ounce of dried Chinese mushrooms drained and diced
Once it has come to a boil, reduce heat to produce a slow boil for 10 minutes
Add 1 cup of corn starch to 1 cup of cold water and gradually stir the mixture into the soup.
Let it slowly boil for 20 minutes
Beat 4 eggs together and slowly stir them into the boiling soup. They should instantly cook into feathery strands.
Serve and enjoy.