Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cilantro Lime Corn



I am all about quick and easy lately in the kitchen. I find that the flavors seem to pop and speak for themselves a little louder when there aren't too many other ingredients elbowing them for room. This corn side dish might seem a bit out of season, but was actually made from corn frozen from the summer's harvest, which makes it extremely simple to put together (I knew there would be a time when all of the prepping and freezing would pay off!)

The prominent flavors are cilantro and lime, both fresh and zippy, with a touch of raw honey and salt to round it all out. That is it: no oil, no garlic, no heat. Like I said, quick and easy. The results are extremely light and bright, but could be tamed with the addition of some cumin, red pepper flake or chipotle if that is your aim. Or sauteed in a bit of coconut oil for a hot side. You get the picture.

This week it accompanied a Cowboy Bean Quinoa Burger with a Spicy Avocado Mole Spread and some Toasted Cumin Roasted Roots. There is also a Pistachio Goji and Coconut Truffle finale, but I will save those pictures and recipe for another time (sounds good, right?). Yum.


Cilantro Lime Corn
Serves 6

Ingredients
3 cups corn kernels, blanched if fresh, or thawed if frozen
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup cilantro stems and leaves
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. raw honey

Directions

In a large bowl, mix corn kernels and lime zest. In a blender, blend lime juice, cilantro, salt and honey until smooth(ish). Pour over corn, mix and serve. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Spinach and Pomegranate Salad



This is a post about repeating themes (are you flashing back to High School English class yet?? What were you wearing??)

This salad is not unlike the Arugula, Orange and Fiery Pumpkin Seed Salad posted back in September. And the seeds are a bit similar to those found in the Rubbed Kale Salad from November. Sometimes, repetition is key.

The art of creating in the kitchen (or in layman's terms: cooking) often comes down to finding a formula that works, and altering the ingredients to generate something new and brilliant. Because of my love for all things salad, this post is meant to be a guide for creating a delicious and interesting salad, customized for any season or occasion, using a simple formula and a good dose of creativity. 

And so here are the building blocks:

Fresh Greens: Baby Spinach, Mesclun, Leaf Lettuce, Shredded Cabbage, Torn Kale, Arugula, Dandelion, Frisee, etc. 

Crispy vegetables: Thinly sliced cucumber, Cherry tomatoes, Grated beets and carrots, Snap peas, Scallions, Radishes, Blanched asparagus, Sprouted French Lentils or Alfalfa Seeds etc.

Sweet Element: Apple chunks, Roasted squash, Orange segments, Dried cranberries, Currants, Quartered figs, Pomegranate seeds etc.

Savory Booster: Spiced Nuts and Seeds, Blue Cheese crumbles, Spice-rubbed Goat Cheese, Slivered Manchego, Homemade Croutons, Smoky Shitake Slices, Herbed Tofu, Olives etc.

Complimentary Dressing: Herbed Dressings, Fruity Vinaigrettes, Vegan Creamy Ranch or Caesar etc. 

Go forward and be bold! Want a salad to match an Asian meal? How about shaved Napa Cabbage, shredded Daikon Radish, Avocado Chunks, Ginger Toasted Sesame Seeds and a Miso Sesame Vinaigrette? Latin? Try Red Leaf Lettuce, Cherry Tomato Halves, Kalamata Olives, Goat Cheese, Fiery Pumpkin Seeds, and a Cilantro Lime Dressing. Indian? Baby Spinach, Roasted Eggplant Cubes, Chickpeas, Slivered Red Onion, Cashews and a Toasted Cumin Tahini Dressing sounds nice. 

You get the idea. The possibilities are endless, but the pattern simple. 


So here is this week's "Italian holiday" creation. To take it up a notch, I would throw in some roasted winter squash (I'm thinking delicata) and a few crumbles of the best blue cheese you can find (for those Vermonters out there, have you ever tried Boucher Blue?? NO? Please run, don't walk, to you nearest gourmet cheese supplier now. You can thank me later. Hunger Mountain Co-op is one such purveyor.) But this might push it into the category of a "meal in a salad", so it depends on how far you want to go. This time I served it with a Polenta Torta with eggplant, fire-roasted tomato sauce and tofu pesto ricotta, as well as garlicky Cannelini beans in a vegan cream sauce. I don't think the squash or cheese were missed. 



Holiday Spinach and Pomegranate Salad
Serves 6

Ingredients
1/2 lb. baby spinach
1 pomegranate, deseeded
1/2 cup currants

1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 tbs. maple syrup
1 tbs. tamari
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
a dash cayenne

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
juice and zest of 2 large lemons
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp mustard
1 tsp. white miso
1/2 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
black pepper to taste
2 tbs. fresh sage leaf

Directions

To remove the seeds of the pomegranate, cut in half and carefully use your fingers to release the seed pockets, picking out any pith that tried to hang on. Don't mind the blood splatter pattern on your cutting board, it will come out. 

Heat a medium cast-iron pan to medium heat. Toss in the sunflower seeds and toast, stirring frequently for a few minutes until they begin to brown. Add maple syrup through cayenne and continue to cook for one minute. Remove from heat and cool. 

In a blender, combine olive oil through sage leaf, and blend until smooth. 

To assemble, toss spinach and currants with dressing, using just enough to coat the leaves without over-dressing (you may have some leftover). Place in serving bowls, and top with pomegranate and spiced sunflower seeds.


 Relax. Eat Well.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Raw Parsnip Rice Curry Bowl



Since the weather seems to be stalled at a balmy 50 degrees or so each day, I am prolonging the raw food movement in my life for a bit longer. 

I am often asked my opinion on "the raw diet", and always have to pause to collect my thoughts before responding. To sum it up: I fully believe in the importance of raw food within our diet. Fresh ingredients, prepared with intention in their raw state, provide us with energizing enzymes and abundant nutrients easily digested and assimilated. Just try a glass of fresh juice (juiced within minutes of consumption), full of fresh, organic colorful veggies and experience for yourself the rush that ensues. You can literally feel the energy pumping through each and every vein. 

That being said, I am not sure I am fully on board with eating completely raw, all the time. At least not for myself, especially in the climate I happen to call home. In my (professional?) opinion, the take home message here is: Include more raw food in your diet, on a daily basis, at every meal if possible. In menu planning, I always strive for at least 1 raw dish out of three, and often times a raw dessert. I am sure you will make the final judgement for yourself, but I urge you to pay a bit more attention (especially at breakfast!) and see what happens. 


This main dish is a fun and easy raw food preparation, including no fancy equipment (dehydrators, juicers etc.). The results are quite filling, and satisfy the need for savory often absent in raw food menus. 


Raw Parsnip Rice Curry Bowl
Serves 6

Ingredients

1/4 cup dried hijiki seaweed, soaked in orange juice for at least 30 minutes
6 medium parsnips

2 tbs. raw almonds, soaked for at least 4 hours if possible
½ lime, juiced
2 tbs. thai red curry paste (try the homemade version in this post for AMAZING results)
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. tamari
2 tbs. coconut milk

1 tbs. coconut oil

1 cup shelled edamame, thawed if frozen
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 tbs. pickled ginger
1 avocado, chopped
1/4 cup raw cashews, chopped

Directions

Set hijiki to soak in enough orange juice to cover by 2 inches, as it will grow impressively. Drain and rinse. 

Wash parsnips well and cut into large chunks. Place in a large food processor fitted with the S blade (the most common one) and pulse until it resembles a rice.           
In a blender, process almonds through coconut oil to make the sauce.              

To serve, place parsnip rice in large bowls. Drizzle with sauce and toss to coat. Top with rinsed hijiki, edamame, red pepper, avocado, cashews and pickled ginger. 


Relax. Eat Well.



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Caramelized Brussel Sprouts


I still have a hard time believing my despise for Brussels when I was a kid. What was I thinking? These days, they are like candy, especially after the frost bites and their sugars come out. Scrumptious. I was in heaven the other day when I spied a bag in the Lacroix Farm refrigerator while picking up my eggs. After a delicious dinner, I promptly emailed to request another 5 lbs. set aside for me. This week, my CSK members (hopefully) enjoyed these treats as part of Monday's dinner. 

Of course they are good for you (our childhood taste buds told us that), but even more importantly, they are unbelievably tasty! At the sad time of year when our fresh local produce suddenly seems quite sparse and monotonous, these sprouts are a welcome treat. 

I highly recommend using coconut oil in this recipe, as it definitely contributes to the character of the resulting dish. It is my favorite oil for medium to high heat situations, as it is relatively stable with a higher smoke point than most other virgin unprocessed oils. And the flavor: lip-smacking good.

Caramelized Brussel Sprouts
Serves 6

Ingredients
1 tbs. coconut oil
3 cups brussel sprouts, washed and halved
1 tbs. maple syrup
course salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
In a large skillet, melt coconut oil over medium heat. Add brussel sprout halves, cut side down, in a single layer. This may require batches if your pan is not big enough. Turn down the heat slightly, cover and cook undisturbed until the bottoms are golden brown and the sprouts are tender when tested with a fork. Drizzle with syrup, stir and remove from heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately. YUM.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rubbed Kale Salad in a Lemon Tahini Dressing



Like many people, my love for raw kale was not immediate. Let's face it, the stuff can be bitter and a tad much to get through. It took some experimenting and advice-searching to discover the techniques to making raw kale salads go from "blah" to "aaahh", but in my kitchen (and head), the switch has been turned. 

Here is the secret: to break down the rough and tough leaves, dress the kale and then rub or massage it for a few minutes with your fingers. It's fun, really. You'll notice the leaves start to turn a deeper green and lose a bit of their structure. Add your toppings and then let your entire salad sit for 15 minutes or so before serving. The result is a heady salad that tastes just as delicious as it does healthy. I swear, I can feel the chlorophyll energizing my cells before I can even put down my fork.


This salad comes along with maple toasted sesame seeds, tiny dried currants and diced crystallized ginger for a warming fall dish. Chewy, zesty with little bursts of crunch, the flavors and textures both run deep. 



I probably don't have to convince you how healthy kale is, but here is a bit of information to help you enjoy every bite. High in fiber, Vitamin K, iron and omega-3 fatty acids, it is considered a "hearty green" in the cruciferous family. This particular family (think broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage etc.) has been connected to a myriad of health benefits, including lowering the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and auto-immune disorders while promoting blood sugar regulation and decreasing inflammation. To top it all off, the sesame seeds in this dish provide additional iron and calcium along with healthy monounsaturated fats. 

Rubbed Kale Salad
Serves 6

Ingredients

1 large head of kale

1/2 cup unhulled sesame seeds
1 tbs. maple syrup
2 tsp. tamari
1/2 tsp ginger 

1/4 cup tahini
juice and zest of 2 lemons
1 tbs. olive oil
1 large garlic clove
1 tsp. maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, minced

Directions

Remove kale stems, tear leaves into bit-size pieces and wash and dry thoroughly. 

Heat a medium cast-iron pan over low-medium heat. Add sesame seeds and toast, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until seeds begin to brown. Add syrup, tamari, and ginger, tossing to coat. Continue to toast for another minute, remove from pan and let cool. 

In a blender, combine tahini through salt to make the dressing. Blend until smooth. 

Pour dressing over prepared kale and toss to coat. Using your finger tips, massage dressing into the kale until leaves begin to turn dark green and lose some of their structure. Test for texture and flavor, adjusting seasonings as necessary (you may want to add additional salt). Toss in currants and minced crystallized ginger. Set aside to let the flavors marry for about 15 minutes before serving. 

Relax. Eat Well.



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Arugula, Orange and Fiery Pumpkin Seed Salad


I love salads in the summer, but this particular one just shouts fall. When you start to find juicy oranges at the market, when arugula beats out mesclun and when hot gingery seeds provide that grounding effect we all seek this time of year. It tastes like red maple leaves fallen on a dirt road. Well, (thankfully) not literally.

The dressing is light and sweet with bursts of lemon zest and cilantro, while the greens are a bit spicy, bitter and in your face. I think it is important to strive for some opposites along with some compliments in a dish that combines so many individual ingredients. The orange segments offer a nice juice-factor, but a ripe pear would also compliment with the pumpkin seeds nicely. 

Pumpkin seeds are high in the mineral magnesium, which acts as a natural relaxant in our system. Particularly good for those of us with high blood pressure, heart disease or muscle cramps, magnesium works in conjunction with sodium and potassium to ensure flexible, hydrated cells.  I like to use them in granola and seeded breads as well as salad toppers.

Arugula, Orange and Fiery Pumpkin Seed Salad
Serves 8

Ingredients
1 lb. arugula (or for a less intense salad, use 1/2 lb arugula and 1/2 pound mesclun)
2 oranges
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tbs. tamari
1 tbs. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
a pinch of cayenne

1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
juice and zest of 2 lemons
1 tsp. mustard
1 tsp. mellow miso
1 tsp. maple syrup
stems from 1 bunch of cilantro, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more as needed

Directions

Cut rind off both oranges and slice each into 8 pieces. Cut each slice in half.

Heat a medium heavy bottom (I like cast-iron) pan over medium heat. Toss in pumpkin seeds, and stir until beginning to brown and becoming fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add tamari, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger and cayenne and stir to combine. Cook for an additional minute or so, until liquid is evaporated, and remove from heat.

To make dressing, combine all ingredients in a blender. Season to taste with salt. 

To assemble the salad, toss the arugula with 1/2 cup of salad dressing. Test and add more dressing to reach desired taste. Place salad in individual bowls, top with orange segments and pumpkin seeds and serve immediately.



Relax. Eat Well.




Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chocolate Cashew Truffles


This is another one of the posts without the best visuals, but you will have to be patient. My cameras drowned in the flood a few weeks ago, so I am without capturing abilities for a bit. Except for my words and your imaginations, so lets work with those for now.

These past few weeks have been a true test of spirits, not only for my family, but for my entire community. And what an amazing community has shown up to play, in so many ways, from so many corners: I feel nothing but blessed.  SO much thanks and love to you all.  For those of you who were also affected by good ol' Irene, I hope that you have been able to find your place of security in this shattering experience. For me, it has been an opportunity to re-evaluate what I attach myself to, identify with, and rely on in order to find my place of shelter in this space and time I call home. Not an easy road, but worthy none the less.

But back to chocolate. These truffles benefit from the rich density of pureed tree nuts, without having a distinctly "nutty" flavor. Although they can be tinted with a variety of flavors, they always manage to satisfy my cravings for true CHOCOLATE (I am a girl, ok?), while avoiding those annoyingly obvious healthy undertones found in some of my desserts. I promise, these will be a crowd pleaser no matter who you are surrounding yourself with these days. I might even bring some down to the construction crew sometime soon. Ok, that might be a going a bit too far. 

I hope this week you indulge in what makes you happy, surround yourself with positive energy, and take the time to appreciate the raw nature at your front door. I don't think I have ever enjoyed the crisp and cool fall air as much as I have this year.

Chocolate Cashew Truffles
Makes 15 medium truffles

The cashews can be replaced with almonds or walnuts. If using walnuts, omit the coconut oil, as they will be oily enough without it. Although I have not tested it, I would bet it would work with peanut butter (3/4-1 cup) or sunflower seeds as well, if tree nuts are an issue. 

Ingredients
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
½ cup cocoa
¼ cup raw honey
2 tbs. ground flax
1 tbs. coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. salt
Optional garnishes: ground raw walnuts, toasted shredded coconut, cocoa powder

Directions:
In a food processor or high powdered blender, blend cashews and cocoa into a smooth butter. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth and blended. Remove to a small bowl.

Place desired garnishes in separate bowls. Taking 1-2 tbs. of truffle batter at a time, roll into a small ball and roll in desired garnish. Place truffles on a flat plate or baking sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving. 

Relax. Eat Well.





Monday, August 22, 2011

Creamed Kale


I used to eat the same thing for breakfast every day: A big bowl of Amaranth Porridge. But lately I have been mixing it up, and often find that I crave protein (egg!) in the morning. I also have noticed that I feel energized when I get my green fix in before noon. For a long time I would make a Green Smoothie with spirulina, banana, flax, ginger, almond milk and a handful of kale. But with my new found love for a poached (or fried) egg, as well as my overflow of Red Russian Kale from the garden, I have created a new breakfast of champions involving "creamed" kale, egg and somedays even a slice of multi-grain bread. Yum. 



Kale falls into the cruciferous vegetable category, which are touted for their numerous health benefits. Extremely high in vitamins K, A and C, as well as manganese, fiber and iron, it is a nutrition powerhouse. Lately, kale has been most prized for it's anti-cancer properties due to to its incredible antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory abilities. Although it can be consumed raw, its nutrients are easier to digest and assimilate if lightly steamed or blanched, as in the recipe below. I love it for it's chlorophyll rich leaves, that seem to give me an extra lift whenever I need it most. 


The wild card in this recipe might be the umeboshi plum paste for most of you. Don't worry, it is completely optional. However, if you are feeling adventurous, spring for a jar at your local health food store and I guarantee it will last you a good year at least. Umeboshi plums are a traditional Japanese ingredient used to strengthen and boost the immune system while detoxify the body with their extreme alkalinity. Try adding a teaspoon of this tangy condiment to your next batch of hummus, salad dressing or veggie burger dough. 

This dish can be made days in advance and stored in the fridge for an easy weekday breakfast. Oil a cast-iron pan lightly with some coconut oil, add a few spoonfuls of creamed kale, crack your egg on the side and you are in business. Doesn't get much heartier than that (in the lightest way possible). 

Creamed Kale

Ingredients
1 large bunch kale
1 tbs. red miso
1 tsp. umeboshi plum paste (optional)
¼ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup soymilk
1-2 garlic cloves
a pinch nutmeg

Directions
Remove stems and blanch kale in a large pot of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain, rinse, and squeeze dry.  Transfer to food processor or high powered blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend until well pureed. Wonderful served with eggs and toast.


Relax. Eat Well.




Thursday, August 18, 2011

Maple Seed Brittle


Ok I have to admit, the recipe I am about to dish out is not pictured above. The last time I made this brittle, I created two versions, one loaded with nuts as well as seeds, and the other solely seeded (tree nut free). The results were not what I would have predicted: I enjoyed the seed-centric version so much more!  Of course, it is not the one I photographed, but oh well, I am sure you are all imaginative folk.

This brittle is a wonderful breakfast, snack or dessert really. Healthy enough to span the day, yet sweet enough to satisfy any craving. I love the orange zest and cinnamon combination, slightly reminiscent of aromas you might encounter walking in a Moroccan market. Or so I would imagine. The trick is to roll it out extra thin for a crispy toasty finish.

Seeds are one of those under appreciated pantry (or freezer, really) staples that offer a myriad of health benefits. High in monounsaturated fats, they promote healthy hair and skin, good cholesterol and reduce inflammation. I particularly enjoy the pumpkin seeds in this recipe, which are great sources of magnesium, a mineral that acts as a relaxant helping to combat hypertension as well as muscle cramps. The sesame seeds are another winner in my book, high in both calcium and iron. But my favorite thing about seeds? They are cheap (sorry, economical)! Compared to nuts, organic seeds can be half the price tag. Not a bad deal.

Maple Seed Brittle
Serves 12

To make the nutted version, replace the pumpkin seeds with almonds, half the sesame seeds with cashews and throw in a few pecans if desired.

Ingredients
2 cups raw sunflower seeds
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup flax seeds, partially ground
2 tsp. cinnamon
zest of 1 orange
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup maple syrup

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. Taste, and add more maple syrup if necessary.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and empty seed mixture on top, spreading evenly. If necessary, split mixture in half and use a second parchment lined baking sheet to avoid cramping. With another parchment paper on top, roll mixture thin using a heavy rolling pin. The thinner the better, without creating gaps. Remove top parchment.

Bake brittle for 10 minutes, check, rotate pan and continue baking for another 10-20 minutes, until edges are crispy and middle is beginning to brown. Pay close attention to avoid burning. Remove, let cool and break into pieces.

Relax. Eat Well. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Whipped Walnut Dream




I am a pretty die-hard fan of cashew cream, but this walnut cream makes me reconsider my loyalty. It was one of those dishes I made for the CSK, stuck the leftovers in the fridge and didn't give much thought to after that. Until I picked a thousand blueberries and scooped a dallop on top for dessert one night.... and then proceeded to gobble down the rest of the jar with nothing but a spoon. Spectacular. 




I believe it is the silken tofu that ends up imparting a very "whipped cream" texture: light, fluffy and a bit airy. Rich but not heavy, earthy and nutty, I can see this working on most pies or cobblers. I originally made it as a dip for dehydrated bananas, but next time might freeze it a tad and re-whip it in the food processor as an ice cream alternative of sorts.





Walnuts are one of the richest vegetarian sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, an essential fat we must source from our diet (our body is not able to produce it itself). Additionally, they are high in Vitamin E and fiber, as well as monounsaturated fat. This type of fat helps us feel full and satisfied without the inflammatory effects that more damaging saturated and trans fats can wreak. 

Whipped Walnut Dream
Serves 12

Ingredients
1 carton silken tofu
1 cup raw walnuts, soaked overnight
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup honey
pinch of salt
¼ cup water, plus more as needed

Directions
Drain and rinse walnuts. In a large food processor (or better yet, very powerful blender) blend all ingredients until creamy, adding additional water as needed to reach a “whipped cream” consistency.


Relax. Eat Well.




Monday, July 25, 2011

Gluten Free Multigrain Bread

I have grown to absolutely love this bread. It is light, earthy, and delicious. It makes a nice loaf, great burger buns, and next week I am going to try to make it into garlic bread sticks. I'll let you know how it goes.





I have been grinding my own grains now that I splurged on a Vitamix blender a few months back. It is wonderful to be able to take a whole grain, grind a flour and use it immediately to produce a bread. I usually stay away from bread because I don't like the idea of flour that sits on the shelf exposed to air and high temperatures for who-know-how-long. But this bread I feel good about. It showcases grain diversity, using millet, brown rice and amaranth, as well as a healthy does of omega-3 rich flax seeds.



I highly recommend grinding your grains and flax freshly if possible. If not, you can find many of these flours by Bob's Red Mill at your local co-op. This is how I purchase my tapioca flour, which is not possible to grind fresh. For optimum shelf-life and nutrition, store flours in the freezer to minimize oxygen, heat and UV exposure. The other possibly-unrecognizable white powders in this recipe include arrowroot (a less refined cornstarch alternative) and xanthan gum (a thickener often used in gluten free baking). Both can usually be found in the bulk or gluten free section at any natural food store.

Gluten-Free Multigrain Bread
Serves 8

Ingredients
1/4 cup water (105-115 degrees)
2 1/4 tsp. yeast (one packet)
1 tsp. unrefined cane sugar

1 egg
1 egg white
2 tbs. olive oil
2 tbs. apple cider vinegar
2 tbs. honey
1/2 cup water

3/4 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp. unrefined cane sugar
1/4 cup arrowroot
1/4 tapioca flour
1/4 amaranth flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup ground flax seed
2 tsp. xanthan gum
3/4 tsp. salt

Directions

Mix 1/4 cup warm water, yeast and 1 tsp. sugar in a small bowl. Stir until sugar is dissolved and let sit in warm spot for 10 minutes, until foamy. If mixture does not foam, the yeast is not active and should be replaced.

In a medium bowl combine egg, egg white, oil, vinegar, honey and water. Stir to combine.

In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients (flours, arrowroot, sugar, flax, xanthan gum and salt), stirring to combine.

Add wet ingredients and yeast mixture to dry mixture. Using a large fork, stir briskly for 4 minutes.



Place dough on a parchment lined baking sheet. Shape into a rustic loaf, or 8 circular buns. Alternatively, you can use an oiled loaf pan to make a structured loaf. Let rest in a warm place, covered, for one hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. If baking a loaf, bake for 65 minutes, placing tin foil over the top after 45 to prevent over-browning. If baking buns, bake for 20-30 minutes, checking after 15.

Let cool, slice and enjoy!




UPDATE:


Here are some pictures of my garlic breadstick experiment. I followed the same recipe, except the day before I slow baked a head of garlic cloves in 1/2 cup of olive oil (I stuck it in with my slow roasting tomatoes, fennel and leeks at 250 degrees) for an hour or so. I used that garlic infused oil as well as chopped the golden garlic and threw that in as well. Shape them into long oblongs instead of buns, sprinkle with a little extra garlic salt and you are in business.



Relax. Eat Well.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Simple Summer Recipes


It has been so (soggy) hot here lately, that I have been constantly trying to keep cool in the kitchen, and the oven off whenever possible. This Basil Cucumber Ginger Water keeps you hydrated and refreshed, while this Dark Chocolate Granola Bark keeps the smile on your (slightly dewy) face. 


Store bought granola is often packed full of excessive sugar and damaged oils, after sitting on the shelf or bulk bin for who-knows how long. The good news is that it is easy (and economical) to make at home with high quality ingredients. I used the Cherry Pecan Granola recipe I posted back in March, using pumpkin seeds, almonds and raisins in place of the dried cherries and pecans. But I am pretty sure this would work with any of your favorite recipes and fruit/nut combinations, so go nuts! (OK, bad pun).

Here is the technique for a quick and healthy dessert:

Buy the best dark chocolate bar you can find (I used Nutty Steph's Single Origin Chocolate). In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. To prevent seizing, make sure NO WATER comes into contact with the chocolate. 

On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, spread your granola out in a single layer. Drizzle melted chocolate on top, using a spatula and light strokes to spread. With any granola that did not get choc-o-fied, cover the top. Optional additional toppings can include toasted coconut, cocoa nibs, peanuts etc.
Place entire baking sheet in the freezer for an hour or so. When hard, break into pieces and enjoy! 


And now on to the Cucumber Basil Water. This idea was born from Sun Tea, which uses solar energy to brew tea outside during the hot summer days. I am growing tulsi basil in my garden this year, so that is what I used this time. Tulsi basil is an adaptogen that targets and aids any part of the system that needs it at that moment. An all around immune booster for sure. If you don't have tulsi basil, italian basil will be delightful as well, with a slightly different flavor. 

Here we go:

Place 10 basil leaves, 10 thin slices of cucumber and 5 thin slices of ginger in a half gallon mason jar. Fill with water and place out in the sun for the day (up to 24 hours). Chill overnight in the fridge and enjoy! I don't usually strain as I pour, but feel free if floaters bother you. 


Relax. Eat Well.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Black Sesame Soba Noodles


So I gave you my favorite tofu recipe, now I have to show you how to use it, right?? This is a great example of a nice dish that turns fantastic with the addition of our little soy friend.

I am a fan of the one-dish dinners (especially on those nights where I was already in the kitchen all day). You know the ones, that offer complex carbs, loads of vegis and protein all in one... here we go. Although I did make it for the CSK tonight accompanied by Ginger Lime Edamame, Cooling Cucumber with Peanuts and Raw Chocolate Date Truffles. Not a bad combination, if you want to get fancy.




The first step is to make a paste out of soaked black sesame seeds, which set out to soak in water the night before (covered in your fridge if it happens to be fruit fly season!). Soaking nuts and seeds (as well as grains and legumes) neutralizes their natural phytic acid content, which can block the absorption of important vitamins and minerals as well as inhibit proper digestion and assimilation. Think of it as the first step in bringing the seed back to life (sprouting), which activates all those working enzymes and starts the antioxidant push. It works well in this dish as you are making a paste, and the seeds will actually blend up a bit easier when bloated.



A great dish for this season, look now for local broccoli, kale, radishes and scallions (or chives) popping up at the neighborhood farm stands (or your garden!) I actually used a combination of kale, bok choy and chard freshly picked from my backyard this morning. Soba noodles are usually a combination of buckwheat (gf) and wheat, although you can get 100% buckwheat soba for a pretty price tag. Another option for a gluten free adaptation would be long grain brown rice.




Black Sesame Soba Noodles
Serves 4-6

Ingredients
1/4 cup black sesame seeds

2 tsp. sunflower seeds

2 tsp. natural cane sugar

2 tbs. tamari

1 tsp. mirin
 or sweet white wine
1 tbs. toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar

1 tbs. dark miso (red, barley or adzuki bean varieties work well)
pinch of red pepper flakes

Fine-grain sea salt

12 ounces buckwheat soba noodles
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tbs. tamari
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ginger powder

14 oz. block extra-firm tofu, diced
2 tbs. nutritional yeast 
1 head broccoli, in bite-size florets
1 head of kale, thinly sliced
1 watermelon (or rainbow) radish, thinly sliced in half moons
1 sheet toasted nori, thinly sliced in 2 inch pieces

3 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced

Directions
Soak sesame seeds in enough water to cover for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse well.
Toast the sunflower seeds in a large skillet over medium heat until golden, shaking the pan regularly, using your nose to test when they start to smell toasted. Remove from the heat and transfer to a food processor. Add sesame seeds and process for several minutes until seeds and minced. Add the sugar, tamari, mirin, sesame oil, brown rice vinegar, miso, and red pepper. Pulse several times until combined. 
Bring a large pot of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Add soba noodles and cook for 4-6 minutes, until noodles are soft all the way through. Drain, saving water. Return hot water to the large pot, add broccoli and kale, stir and blanch 2 minutes, until bright green. Drain and return to pot with soba noodles.
In a large skillet, bring stock, tamari, ginger and garlic powder to a simmer over medium heat. Add tofu and cook for until liquid has been absorbed. Turn off heat and toss with nutritional yeast.
Add tofu and sesame paste to the soba pot and toss well. Taste and adjust to taste with additional tamari, sesame oil or hot sauce. Transfer to a large bowl and top with nori strips, scallions and radish slices.
 Relax. Eat Well. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Garlic Ginger Tofu


I can't believe I have never posted about this before. This is one of those staples in my house that comes about once a week. I make slabs that go on Gregg's sandwiches and cubes that are tossed over quinoa or used in Pad Thai. Definitely my go-to tofu preparation, that can take on endless variations with grace. Try replacing the ginger with dried thyme for an Italian twist or fresh curry powder for an Indian profile.

Tofu is not my favorite soybean product since it is pretty white and processed, but sometimes it does just hit the spot. High in protein, low in carbohydrates, it is a versatile medium for a variety of flavors. I have never had much luck with cold marinades, but I love it simmered in a sauce, which seems to help infuse the flavor.

I love this tofu served as part of a macrobiotic meal with plenty of whole grains and vegetables, since it is essentially pure protein on it's own. It is important to consume nutrients together as they are not processed well in isolation within our system (it is all about the synergy!). It is wonderful with a peanut sauce over sauteed kale and fluffy basmati rice, or as part of a sushi bowl with creamy avocado, crisp vegis and a wasabi dressing.



Garlic Ginger Tofu

Serves 6

Ingredients

14 oz. extra firm tofu ( I love Vermont Soy, if you are from the area)
2 tbs. tamari
¼ cup water
1 tsp. ginger powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbs. nutritional yeast, or more as needed


Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine water, tamari, ginger and garlic powder in a large skillet. Drain tofu and cut into cubes (about 24). Add tofu and bring to a simmer. Stirring occasionally, simmer until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Add nutritional yeast and toss to coat. Sprinkle with more if necessary.

Place coated tofu cubes on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring half way through. 



Relax. Eat Well.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tempeh Sausage


So I created this (in my opinion) amazing tempeh sausage yesterday (Gregg said they needed to have more sausage in them!). But somehow I failed to take any pictures!! Luckily I have a few creations today using the sausage, so that will have to be your eye candy this time around. I have been doing recipe tests for this sausage on and off for a year now, but this is my favorite version yet. The flavor is all there, and with sparse liquid and the addition of cooked rice, the texture satisfies as well.

Tempeh is a fermented soybean product, meaning it has live beneficial bacteria and is easy to digest and assimilate (believe it or not, soybeans can be hard for many people to digest). (I just realized I use a lot of parenthesis). (Moving on...). Made from whole soybeans, it is extremely unrefined and PACKED with both protein and fiber. Around these parts, we are lucky to have a local company producing tempeh from VT soybeans. I love Rhapsody Tempeh, and often buy the large 2 lb block and freeze what I don't need that week.




A few more local spotlights worth mentioning: I have been loving The Lacroix Farm's fresh eggs and rumor is they will creating a farm stand this year with local produce as well. Can't wait! Find them on Rt. 100b between Moretown and Middlesex, a wonderful farm and even more amazing family, Keith and Rae-Anne are the real deal. This strata gets it's bright yellow hue from their delicious eggs.




Kingsbury Market in Waitsfield produces amazing naturally leavened (sourdough) breads and pizzas. I have been buying their pizza crusts to make special homemade creations, featured in the above pizza Gregg made today with the tempeh sausage, red onion, sundried tomatoes and wild ramp pesto. Their greens are wonderful (and clean!) as well.

I am only going to post the tempeh sausage recipe, but the strata was a improv creation using homemade gluten free bread chunks (you could use any stale crusty bread you have around), broccoli florets and tempeh sausage steeped in whipped eggs, soymilk, salt and a dash of nutmeg. Topped off with a thin layer of cheese, soaked overnight and baked at 400 degrees for about 55 minutes covered. Simple, easy and scrumptious!


Tempeh Sausage

Serves 6

Ingredients
2 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup onion, minced
1 8 oz. package tempeh, crumbled
1 cup rice, cooked
1 tbs. fresh sage (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 tbs. fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 tbs. fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 tbs. tamari
1 tbs. ketchup or raw apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. chipotle powder
1 tbs. ground flax seed soaked in 3 tbs. water
½ cup apple, minced

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In large food processor, mince onion and garlic. Add rice and tempeh and pulse until well processed and beginning to form a ball. Add remaining ingredients and continue to pulse until combined.

Shape mixture into patties and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flip and continue for another 5 minutes, or until golden brown.  

Relax. Eat Well.