Today, for winter standards in New York City, it was a warm day. But not everyone must have felt as warm as I did. I have a big jacket on and food in my belly. Shelter over my head. The ability to hop into a cab when it's too cold to walk, and pop open an umbrella when it starts to rain. That's why I decided what I was cooking today for the blog to share with all of you, would go to a hungry homeless man, and it did.
Kasha varnishkas means a lot to me. I was a really picky eater, and this is something I liked. My grandmother, who was from Poland, would always make this dish for me, and eating it reminds me of her every time. Kasha, also known as buckwheat, has a very nutty flavor, and the aroma it leaves behind in my apartment brought me back to my days spent in my Polish grandmother's kitchen as a little girl. It always smelled like kasha.
I handed this homeless man the bag of food, and said here you go, a warm meal, happy holidays. He looked in the bag, looked at me, and said, is it good? I couldn't help but laugh. I said, I made it sir, I think I'm a pretty good cook. He took it, smiled, and said thank you so much.
Always put a lot of love into your cooking because you never know how it's going to affect the person who will eat it. I'm happy this man had a warm meal.
This is my version of kasha varnishkas, healthified. Buckwheat is naturally gluten free. The traditional Polish version is made with bowtie pasta, tons of butter, chicken fat, eggs, sometimes with mushrooms sauteed in butter, and a bit more butter to top it off.
1 cup buckwheat
2 cups water or homemade vegetable stock
2/3 cup brown rice pasta or quinoa pasta
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Heat a large stovetop pan with coconut oil. Add the onion and sautee until just brown. Remove the onion and place aside. Add the buckwheat and toast for about 5 minutes. Add back the onion to the buckwheat and 2 cups of water or vegetable stock (chicken stock is ok too.) Bring to a boil and cook for 10-12 minutes.
In another pot, boil water and add the pasta. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, until just al dente. When the buckwheat is finished cooking, add the pasta, and mix in the cumin, paprika, sea salt and dried oregano. Mix in the olive oil and top with sage.
Perfect as a side dish for any meat, mix it with roasted vegetables as a min, or eat it with coconut oil and sauteed berries for breakfast!