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Something From Nothing ~ Week 16

While trying to use up what I had here in Pixie-land one day, I decided that grilling would be a wonderful way to do so. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other ideas.....

This was our little April 23rd surprise! I was NOT amused. Now, faced with wanting something hearty, instead of a Spring barbecue - looked at the following beautiful bunch of collards from the fridge...

I knew I must use them soon....before they turned into a wilted mess, but what to make? Well, if you remember when the Pixie kitchen was located in a certain, frigid locale (which I won't mention - to tell you the truth, I think I've blocked it), I was looking for something hearty, but healthy to make my Vegan friend, Happy Aly. I was looking at the lovely Susan V's vegan site, and decided to make these. Now, back then, I just showed a picture of the final product. Today, I'll show you how simple, and easy this dish is to make!

First, we assemble our ingredients, of course....surprisingly, this dish calls for less than a dozen ingredients! I know, I tend to overdo it, but I promise....I've got simpler, more kid-friendly recipes coming! On to the dish.

From far left - celery, the collard greens, rice, kidney beans, thyme, pepper, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, grape tomatoes, garlic, onion, and bell pepper.

First, I set one cup of rice and two cups of water a-steaming, and forgot about it....easy enough, right?

Then, I prepped the leaves by cutting off some of the tough stem, and blanching them for a few minutes in some salted, boiling water. I deviate from the recipe here, because I don't blanch them one at a time, I just put them all into the boiling water, and let them go for about three minutes....like so,

Now, a little prep...oh, and I have been remiss....I also include a little liquid smoke, since I was using fresh grape tomatoes, vs. canned "fire roasted" ones, and some hot sauce, because, well, you know that's how I roll. :)?

Clockwise, from left, about a half an onion, diced, chopped grape tomatoes, hot sauce, kidney beans, liquid smoke, the herbs & spices, the garlic, celery and bell pepper, all chopped. We lay out our blanched collard leaves, and begin to make the dish.

We saute' the onion in a little olive oil on med-low heat, until tender...?

Then, get our chopped tomatoes into a bowl, to mix with some of the onion mixture....

When the onions have softened, and become translucent, we add our bell pepper and celery....after about ten minutes. Saute' this mixture for another five minutes...

Then, add in the chopped garlic. You want to add the garlic last, so that it does not burn and become bitter while you are cooking the rest of the vegetables...

Then, you take a few Tablespoons of this mixture, and toss it with your lovely chopped tomatoes.

Now, the fun part. We mix our rice (which has cooked by now, and is awaiting use), with the onion mixture and the kidney beans, in our skillet...

Now we build our little bundles of yum...we coat a baking dish with a little olive oil, and put some of the tomato mixture on the bottom...a little "raft" to support the rolls, if you will...

Then, we begin building our rolls. Spoon the rice mixture on to the leaves like so...

Roll in the sides....and roll up from the bottom..

Place in your baking dish, and continue until all your leaves are used up. Feel free to snack, um..."quality control" on any extra rice mixture....I did.

Spoon the rest of the tomato mixture over the top, cover, and bake just until everything is nicely warmed through, and the tomatoes are starting to soften....thirty to forty minutes at 350. Here's mine about to go into the oven.

Now, I took some liberties with the recipe, since I used white basmati rice, did not have "smoked" paprika (hence the liquid smoke), and tweaked it in a few other, minor ways. But......the results? I sprinkled a little cayenne and parsley over the top for looks, and a little zing.....

Quite tasty, indeed! I bet they freeze well, too! Not that I have ever had any left to freeze! I thought I would be good, and eat just the one....but NO. The second one, cut in half, and with a little lemon squeezed over it, was even better! My only regret, is that I have not previously squeezed the lemon over them before - it brightens up all the flavors! It is not in the original recipe, but from now on, it is going to be in my version of it! Just delicious, and I did not miss having any meat, that's for sure!

I went to ask the Kitchen Angels what they thought - and what do you think those fun-loving gals were up to?

That's right, enjoying our little "Spring Surprise" - meanwhile, as you can see in the background, this Pixie has been running around desperately trying to cover her newly-planted tomatoes! Those girls are sometimes no.....help....at....all!

What surprising dish did you cook up this Spring?

Eat well, my friends and stay tuned for more interesting eats on the road...and what could potentially be the biggest announcement of the year from Pixie-Land!

Love and kindness to all,

Pixie

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