Improvised ∞∞∞ Jazz Cooking ∞∞∞ Whole Meal In One
Since this site is dedicated to healthy nutrition, we highly recommend buying, cooking and eating certified organic foods to avoid the toxic chemicals in fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and other substances being used in ‘conventional’ (as opposed to ‘organic’) farming—for the sole purpose to increase revenues for ‘factory farms’ and ‘conventional’ growers. Which is, unfortunately, done at the expense of consumers’ health, as well as environmental destruction—through the pollution of air and waterways (from such farms’ chemical runoffs) and soil erosion that causes irreparable damage to increasing stretches of once fertile land, by killing its ability to grow or sustain plant life.
- Use mostly cruciferous vegetables (i.e., anti-cancer cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage)—but feel free to kick up the flavor, texture and immune-protection by mixing in ‘dino’-kale, carrots, bok-choi or any other vegetables your culinary instinct suggests. (I added a cup of sweet peas while in my ‘creative trance’ with this recipe, and liked the combination.)
• Depending on the number of portions planned, prepare one or two whole eggs, a cup (or less) egg-whites and half to 2-3 cup of goat (Chavrie) cream cheese—the latter to be softened by warming it up for a minute with a squirt of spring water.
• Half a medium to large red onion and 6 to 8 cloves of fresh garlic.
•. Half a cup or more of dry cranberries.
•. Herbs and Spices—again, let your taste buds and dish size guide the quantities: Fresh or dry basil and parsley; powdered: sage, red-sweet paprika, cayenne pepper (careful to use just a touch), ginger and turmeric.
• Half to 2-3 cup of olive oil.
•. One to two tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar.
• Pink Himalayan salt to taste. (For health reasons, my husband is used to and enjoys eating completely salt-free dishes.)
• As many handfuls of organic Italian herbed breadcrumbs as it takes to cover the casserole ingredients once they are spread in the baking dish.
DIRECTIONS & PREP-WORK
•. Cut veggies into bite-sizes (or larger, if you prefer) and place them into a bowl large enough to make the eventual mixing of all the ingredients easy.
•. Chop onion and garlic to any size you prefer and add to veggies.
•. Rinse the dry cranberries and add to veggies.
• Mix the spices and (dry) herbs (fresh herbs are cut up and added to the bowl of veggies at the start) and set aside.
•. Beat eggs and egg-whites in a bowl; • soften goat cream cheese as directed above and add to the eggs; • add Worcestershire Sauce, olive oil, Balsamic Vinegar, herbs-and-spices mix and beat lightly until all the ingredients in this bowl are completely blended.
•. Pour this blend evenly onto the bowl of vegetables and mix well—using your hands if needed.
• Prepare a baking dish—my preference is the oven-to-table tempered glass Pyrex—pour the rest of the olive oil and coat the dish well with it.
•. Ladle or pour the entire veggie mix into the baking dish.
•. Cover the ingredients with a layer of breadcrumbs.
•. Set oven to ‘Bake,’ at 385 degrees—after 40 minutes turn heat up to 400 degrees and bake until the breadcrumbs are toasted light brown and the eggs show the casserole ingredients being held together in a semi-solidified state.
It is best to test small amounts of the dish before removing it from oven, to make sure both taste and consistency are to your liking.
Hope that my JAZZ example of ‘flying without a net’ will inspire you to invent your own improvised recipes, using whatever ingredients you have at hand—especially those you want to rescue from spoiling or wilting in your refrigerator.
Dina Eliash Robinson