Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bag Lunch Series Part 2: Niçoise Salad

Somehow, salads have gained a reputation for being the food of the fanatical health nut. Or worse yet, being a "lady's" lunch, thus excluding all male parties from partaking in this easy and inexpensive lunch. But salads can include any combination of "manly" ingredients (that 's a code word for filling) so you don't have to worry about grabbing at your stash of quarters for the vending machine.

One of the best examples of a filling salad is the niçoise salad, which includes a good amount of protein, the key to making it satisfying. With just a few ingredients on hand, and very little preparation, you could assemble this salad for lunch the next day. Or better yet, roast potatoes and steam green beans for dinner the night before, and use leftovers to make this salad.

Shopping List
Red skinned potatoes
Green geans
Mixed greens, spinach, boston, or butter lettuce
Green or Kalamata olives
Canned Tuna (or fresh if you want to follow Elise's recipe)
Olive oil
Shallot or garlic
Fresh or dried thyme, basil, and oregano leaves
Dijon or other mustard

Ingredients for 2 salads
2 small-med red skinned
2 handfuls of green beans, with tips cut off and cut into bite sizes
2 hardboiled eggs
1-2 cans of tuna
1 large tomato, cut into wedges or 1/2 cup grape tomatoes
8 olives
2-4 cups of greens

Ingredients for 2 servings of dressing
1 teaspoons of mustard
Juice of a lemon (or apple cider vinegar if you don't have a lemon)
2 minced garlic cloves, or 1 minced shallot
1 teaspoon of dried herbs (thyme, basil or oregano) or 1 Tablespoon of fresh herbs
1/4 cup olive oil

Preparing your salad the night before
1. Cut potatoes into bite sizes. Place potatoes in a pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Alternatively you can roast them at 400 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes or until tender.
2. Remove the potatoes to cool but keep the water. You can now boil your green beans for 5 minutes. Any longer and they will be stringy.
3. Hardboil your eggs.
4. Whisk together your dressing ingredients and divide into two containers to take to work.
5. Once your cooked items are cool, all you have to do is divide up all the ingredients among two containers to take to work. Putting the greens in last make keep them from getting wilted.

The salads don't have to stop here! Here are some other salad-y ideas:
  • Tex-Mex salad: Greens, tomatoes, salsa, canned black beans, frozen or canned corn, avocado, queso fresco, leftover steak if you have it
  • Mediterranean: Greens, tomatoes, olives, chopped cucumbers, feta cheese, chopped leftover chicken or fish, chopped red onion, chopped bell pepper, leftover roasted eggplant, store bought pita bread
  • Autumn: Roasted beets and butternut squash or sweet potato cubes, bleu or goat cheese, greens or arugula, toasted walnuts or other nuts, sliced apples or pears, dried fruits, side of cottage cheese
  • Alternatives to dressing: Try to keep your dressing splashing to a minimum. If your salad is drenched, you may be eating way more calories than you think. Instead of oil and vinegar, try balsamic vinegar by itself. Try salsa instead of dressing, or have a scoop of cottage cheese next to your salad. This combination is extremely delicious, although it may sound weird.
One last thing. . .  no iceberg.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bag Lunch Series Part 1: Grain Salads

Quite a while ago my friend asked me to do a post on taking your lunch to work. My usual default mode as far as lunch is concerned is to make leftovers at dinnertime, then pack them away before Sean can eat them, so we have them for lunch the next day. First of all, not everyone likes leftovers, not everyone cooks dinner every night, and not every dinner is good the next day. So, I have been doing some thinking on the matter, and have decided that one post will just not do. Taking lunch to work is a multi-faceted process that takes time and planning, so I have decided to do a bag lunch series, instead.

There are several different ways to approach bag lunch. You can:
  • Make a batch of something over the weekend, freeze it and cook it at work
  • Make a food that can be in the fridge for 2 or more days and have it several times that week
  • Have several supplies on hand to assemble the meal each morning, or the night before
  • Have leftovers and throw in a salad or side
Today's recipe to kick off our series is a grain salad. These keep really well, and can be very hearty and healthy choices. They require very little cooking, so all you have to do is assemble them the night before.

This particular recipe is one of my favorite recipes ever! I clipped it out of one of the dentist's magazines. What? He is not going to use it. He is too busy making people cry. Stupid crowns. Anyway, it is super delicious. I just now realised that it is also vegan. But trust me, you won't even know, that is how tasty it is.

Sweet Potato and Grain Salad for 3-4 lunches

Shopping List
Box or bag of whole grains, such as farro, sweet brown rice, barley, or another nice chewy grain. Farro cooks in only 15 minutes!
Bag of frozen, shelled edamame
2 med-lg. sweet potatoes
1 onion, red or yellow
2 med carrots
Box of golden raisins (or raisins or dried cherries)
Bag of fresh organic spinach
Garlic clove
Balsamic vinegar, wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil

For the salad
1 cup of the grains, cooked according to package, then cooled.
1 cup edamame, cooked according to package, then cooled
2 sweet potatoes cooked in microwave 7-10 minutes until soft, cut into bites
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion (optional)
2 carrots, grated (If you have a grating attachment on your food processor, use it. Such a time saver!)
1 cup golden or regular raisins
1 cup packed spinach, torn into smaller pieces

For the dressing
1 minced garlic clove
1/4 cup vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

Assembly the night before
1. Combine grains, edamame, sweet potato, carrots, onion, and golden raisins.
2. In 4 lunch containers, divide the dressing among the containers. (You can leave the dressing separate, but remember to divide it into 4 servings.)
3. Divide the grain mixture among the containers.
4. Add a handful of fresh spinach on the salad that you will take that next morning, otherwise, it may get more wilted than you like.
5. When you get to work, shake or stir the dressing on the bottom into the rest of the salad.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mint and Lavender Iced Tea

Wow, how time flies when you are looking for a job, and not attending to your blog!

I made this wonderful tea. It is just perfect for summertime. It is a refreshing and calming brew, and doesn't need any sweetening. If you are in Las Vegas and you have more than sand in your backyard like me, you might just have some mint and lavender, which you pretty well here, surprisingly. I just steal my parents' leafy herbs, because they have a 30 year jumpstart on that whole making-things-stay-alive-in-your-garden thing.

Use lavender flowers, not leaves, or it may be too bitter. If you try the dried herbs, you may want to cut down on the quantity a bit, maybe half. If you do let me know how it goes.

Mint and Lavender Iced Tea

Half cup or tight handful each of fresh lavender flowers and fresh spearmint leaves
Boiling water
Half Gallon Mason jar

Pour boiling water over the herbs and let sit, covered (so you trap in the volatile compounds), overnight or for 6-12 hours. When it cools down you can put it into the fridge. Strain with a fine mesh strainer. You want it to be a little strong because you are going to add ice for iced tea.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer Melon Salad

When you live in Las Vegas, you have to come up with a few summer coping mechanisms, like walking around with a lifetime supply of water, making friends with the neighbor who has a pool, and getting used to wearing very little, if any, clotthing. Our move back here from California was nothing short of shocking. All you want to do is sleep and drink water and complain. Not really anything like SLO where it rarely gets above 80 degrees and you can bike for miles and miles without feeling like you are going to pass out. So magical.

Here in our new place, we have a lovely fig tree, whose figs became fig jam the moment I saw them. Here is the recipe I always use for fig jam (I cut down on the sugar and up the spices), which  employs a microwave, because I would sooner stab myself with an icicle than stand over a hot stove right now.

Avoiding cooking is a very hard thing to do when you pour over cookbooks for leisurely reading. So, I have been sticking to cooling and raw foods. According to Ayurvedic herbalism, green vegetables, sweet fruits and milk are cooling. So I have my spinach shake for breakfast. And just yesterday, I concocted this super delicious salad from the fruits that we picked at Gilcrease Orchard. If you shave the fruits, it makes the salad look pretty fancy.

Summer Melon Salad
Romaine chopped, or use spinach
Zucchini or cucumber, sliced thin or shaved
Cantaloupe or honeydew sliced thin or shaved
Apple, sliced or shaved
Grapes, sliced in half
Juice of half a lemon or lime (I especially like lime)
Olive oil (Just a little if you just have to have it)
Black pepper (Try a little before you call me crazy)
Plain yogurt

As for measurements, I do about 1 part each of the fruit and zucchini over a bed of lettuce. Then you can drizzle on just a tiny bit of oil. Sprinkle on the yogurt and juice. Finish with the pepper. Everything is optional. Let me know if you come up with your own combinations.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cappucino Ice Cream

Naughty, naughty, naughty post! I tried to stop it and it just wrote itself.

This is what happens when you combine free time with an  ice cream maker and the need to clear out your pantry because you are moving.

This recipe comes from Marcella's book called Marcella's Italian Kitchen. In case you haven't figured it out yet, I love Marcella. Her ingredient lists are so simple. This ice cream is just coffee grinds, milk, sugar, and egg yolks. Since there are so few ingredients, it is important that they are good ingredients. For example, be sure that you are using fresh coffee ginds(unbrewed) that would make a coffee you would want to drink. Don't go grabbing at any old preground, flavoured, canned business you find at the store or you'll regret it.

Cappuccino Ice Cream
Adapted from Marcella's Italian Kitchen
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh, usused coffee grinds
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

Combine milk and coffee grinds in a pan and bring to a gentle simmer for 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks until pale yellow and slightly frothy. Beat in sugar and cocoa if you are using it. When the milk is done, strain out the coffee grinds. In a thin stream, whisking constantly, add the hot milk to the egg yolks. Whisk thouroughly. Let cool and then place in the fridge to get completely (completely!) cool. Add to ice cream machine according to manufacturer's directions, or you can follow David Leovitz's version of ice cream without the maker!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Everyday Sushi

I could eat sushi everyday. That's right. I said everyday. You could eat sushi all the time if you wanted to. It is waaay easier than you think. And the best part? It is blazing outside, and sushi is cool as a cucumber. In fact, cucumber is actually a cooling vegetable according to Ayurveda. (So is celery, in case you need some insurance.)

I would love to go buy sashimi grade fish, and eat raw salmon all the time, but that is a little hard, budget-wise. So instead, i keep it simple. Trader Joe's has a can of crab for 2 dollars. I get avocados at the farmer's market. And i try to buy organic cucumbers there, too. Cucumbers are high on the list of foods found with a lot of pesticides. I bought a giant bag of nori, which i am trying to use quick, because nori can go bad if you keep it too long, or in a humid place.

Then there is the rice.I get short grain brown rice. I used the rice specifically for sushi, also. But the reasons I don't buy it all the time are related to lack of nutrients and price. Although the brown is not as sticky, I think it works nicely and adds a little chewiness, which I like.

Everyday Sushi
For 2

6 or more sheets nori
1 cup short grain brown or sushi rice
1 1/2 cups water (just 1 cup for sushi rice)
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt or soy sauce
1 cucumber
1 carrot(optional)
1 apple(optional)
Horseradish or scallions(optional)
6 oz can crab meat
1-2 avocados
Sesame seeds

Wash your rice until the water is no longer cloudy. Combine water and rice, and bring to a boil Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30-40 minutes until rice is tender. Turn off heat, and let rice sit for 10 minutes, covered. Pour rice into a very large and wide bowl, or onto a flat, clean area, like a cutting board.

Combine vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce or salt. Sprinkle the vinegar mixture over the rice. With something to fan the rice, begin to fan and fluff or toss the rice with a fork. Do this for several minutes until the rice hascooled down quite a bit.

Slice the cucumber, avocado, carrots, and apple into thin sticks. Place the first sheet of nori shiny side down, and spread a thin layer of rice over about two thirds of the sheet. Lay the vegetables and crab meat along the edge of the nori with the rice, and begin the tightly roll the sheet away from you. Allow it to sit seam side down for several minutes for the nori to soften, and it will be easier to cut. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Slice the nori log with a serrated knife, into small bites. Do not press down with the knife, or you will squish your sushi. Just saw. :)

Add a little sriracha and soy sauce to a small bowl to dip your sushi. Enjoy!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Broccoli and Noodles with Peanut or Cashew Sauce

I have one of Lorna Sass's vegetarian cookbooks called Complete Vegetarian Kitchen. I stole this from my sister a few years ago. Really, I prefer the term indefinite borrowing. And I am infamous for it. Well, when it comes to cookbooks. Think of it as a compliment. I just couldn't part with this book. She discusses all of the interesting grains you might ever want to try in your life: quionoa millet, teff, bulghur, amaranth, etc. I don't think I have made a recipe out of this book that I am not in love with; this broccoli and noodle dish was the first.

Alright, I have something I need to tell you. This  book is not just vegetarian; it's vegan. Stop scrunching your nose at me! You eat vegan all the time, and don't even notice: chips and salsa, beans and rice, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, even Bacon Bits!!

Let's discuss the anatomy of this dish, shall we? Well, it has noodles, and broccoli... uh-huh. You can cook those in your sleep. But, I don't advise it. They might get all mushy and overcooked. Then there is our peanut sauce. Delicious: check. Protein: check. Flavour: double check! There is no added fat; just the fat from the nuts you use. I made cashew butter from cashews this time around, because I didn't have any peanut butter in the house, and it was a wonderful substitute!

 Peanut or Cashew Sauce
Adapted from Complete Vegetarian Kitchen

1/2 cup of peanut butter or cashew butter
2 cloves garlic, fresh or roasted
2 inches fresh ginger
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoons Rice vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
Dash Cayenne

Blend it all in the food processor with just eough water to get it moving.

Broccoli and Noodles with Peanut or Cashew sauce
1/2 or 1 recipe peanut sauce
1-2 large heads of broccoli
8 ounces pasta (noodles, especially buckwheat soba work best, but any kind will do)
Cook pasta according to directions. Drain pasta, saving some water to cook the broccoli. Chop the broccoli into bite size peices. Toss in with the water and cover over medium heat, turning the broccoli over in the pan a few times to cook evenly. Cook for just a few minutes, but don't let it get mushy.  Toss with the broccoli. Toss the sauce over the noodles and broccoli. You can use half the recipe, here, is what Lorna says, but I usually use the whole thing and double the broccoli in the dish. Happy Eats!

My homegrown broccoli!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Easy Rhubarb Jam

Sean is obsessed with rhubarb. He won't even let me put strawberries or cherries with it. It has to be alone.

I don't remember the first time Sean had rhubarb, but it must have been at my house. I don't imagine many Mexican homes having a lot of rhubarb. In the Pennsylvania Dutch home, however, it is synonymous with pie. That is why it is also called pie plant. Although very tart tasting right out of the ground, when cooked down with a little sugar, rhubarb is quite delicious. I think anyone could like it. It doesn't have a strange flavor at all, so I find it odd when people say they don't like it. Of course when I hear "I don't like that," what I really hear is "I could like it if you would just make it for me." This inevitably leads me into all kinds of trouble between me and Sean, where I cook up the offending food in every tasty manner possible, and insist he try it. And you know what? It usually works, but he is pretty easy. (I am still working on coconut flakes.)

I can remember saying I didn't like green olives, and then I had them in Spain. I remember saying I didin't like collards, and then I bought some and cooked them for a brief period of time. I didn't like brussels sprouts either, until I had them roasted! Here is my philosophy on this matter: if there are entire cultures of people enjoying the food you loathe, do you really think they are the crazy ones? The trick is to try, try, try again.

What foods do you love to hate???

Easy Rhubarb Jam
6 cups or 2 pounds of rhubarb, chopped fine (remember to remove the leaves as they are very poisonous!)
2 cups of sugar
2 tablespoons honey
Juice from half of a big lemon
Zest from half a lemon (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Stir all the ingredient together in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 4 hours or overnight in the fridge. Liquid will seep from the rhubarb.

Transfer the contents of the bowl to a big pot. Turn on the heat to medium and allow to simmer stirring occasionally, until it has thickened like the picture above. Don't wander, this will happen quickly. Pour into jars. (I usually do not can things because I am lazy, so just throw these in the refrigerator after they have cooled. It will last quite a while in there.) 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rose Petal Beads

When you are into DIY, it can be fun. And then you can be halfway through somehing and wonder "what the heck am I doing?" I guess I just really love rose petals. I like their smell, and the way they taste. Not many rose blooms get by me without a good sniff.

The white roses in the front house are shedding their petals all over the ground, and I saw this recipe and couldn't resist. So what is the deal? Well, you gather up enough rose petals to pack into your food processor. Add enough water to get is whizzing, and it will start to look like this:

So you throw them in your cast iron pan, and cook them for just a bit. I have read that boiling is bad, but I do not really understand why. Mine boiled a bit, just to get out a little water.

Each day for 2 or three days, you heat up the pan, stir the mush around, and it starts to look like clay.

 And when it is dry enough, and acts like clay in your hand, form little pieces into beads. They will shrink as they dry, and they will crack too, so be sure that they are rolled compactly. Push a pin through them.

I used my dehydrator because I am terribly impatient, but I bet you could just let them sit around or stick them in a cork board, or even heat them gently in the oven. It is hard to know when they are completely dry. I would estimate several weeks. Mine are dry on the outside, but I can tell they are still squishy inside.

And if you are thinking I am crazy. Well . . . I am.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Overnight Oats

Happy 4th of July!!

I learned about overnight oats from a fellow intern. Since then, I can't tell you how many times I have made it. I know you might have made crockpot oats overnight. They are hot and ready in the morning. Well, these are cold. Cold? Yes, cold!

Well, who would want to eat cold oatmeal? Me. And you too, if you have the guts to try it.

This simple preparation has saved me a few times when I am headed out the door 20 minutes late with no food for luch and zero prospects.It is ready in just a few hours.

What I really like about this, it that sometimes you want a cold breakfast that fills you up. Not that air popped cereal, where even the fourth bowl makes it seem like you just sat down to eat. And when the city is ablaze at 8:00 in the morning (Thank you Las Vegas) this really hits the spot.

KP's Version of Overnight Oats

1 part rolled or steel cut oats
2 parts milk
1 part yogurt
A few spoonfuls of chia seeds or ground flaxseed
Honey or Maple syrup to taste
Fresh fruit and/or dried fruit

You can  put all the ingredients together, including the fruit, stir it up, and leave in the fridge overnight. Or you can just leave out the fruit and sweetener and do that in the morning. The flaxseed helps to thicken it up but is optional, and is packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, as are chia seeds. 

Friday, July 1, 2011


Oh, Canelé! Right when you think that you have heard of all the variations on butter, sugar, eggs, and flour that could possibly have been created, out comes another. I came across these when I was looking for ideas to use my vanilla beans, and my interest was piqued. Of course, it was a fine fiasco making them. They have a shatteringly crisp exterior that just looks burnt. So, if you are baker, you can see the dilemma. You have to be a bit of a hawk the first few times you make them. The inside is slightly cakey, but more custard-like. They are wonderful little treats.

Here is a video from Chow about Canelé made in San Francisco. The restaurant mentioned in the video became a bit of a mecca for me yesterday, when we made the pilgrimage to the ferry building. It is not often that we get to San Francisco, even though we live a short 4 hours away.

Here it is!!

If you want to try the recipe out, here is Paula Wolfert's, the one I used. I know you can buy the silicon or copper molds for this treat, but I think that muffin tins work fine, and give the pastry an interesting shape, albeit not the pretty one they are known for.

If you try to make them, let me know how it goes! And if you ever have enjoyed one, tell me about it!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Whey to go!

I really can't believe my internship is finally over. It was such a long and hard process. While I should be studying for the exam (and I will get to that), I have been doing a lot of exciting things this past week. Like what you ask? Well, it is like Sean and I are the official DIY couple this week. I made my own dress from a pattern Sean gave me for my Birthday. Take a look. It is a novice's work, but its charming.

And then I made some Thank you cards for my grandparents and parents.

Oh and we can't forget the fiasco with the beer making last night. that was Sean's little project. he has been talking about it for the past few years, and finally after watching Alton Brown make it seem so easy, the bee was in his bonnet. He went to the local home brew supply store and picked up the equipment and got to work. Now there is beer fermenting in my closet.

But not only did we have beer fermenting. I took the liberty of making some yogurt. An incredibly large amount of yogurt. Just heat up the milk to 180, cool to 110, add some plain yogurt in a sanitized bowl, and let it sit in a pilot lit oven. Easy enough to find a recipe online, but I got mine from the Good Stuff Cookbook. And it is indeed good stuff. The only thing I noticed about my yogurt was the amount of whey coming off of it. I don't like my yogurt too soupy so I let the yogurt sit it a strainer overnight and the whey drained off. It is a greenish clear liquid that is quite tangy. So far, I have been using it just like buttermilk. I made some waffles with it, where I used a tablespoon of flaxseed mixed with water in place of the egg, and they were fantastic! (Maybe that was because I added cocoa powder to the mix. Yum!)

If anyone has any other ideas for what to do with whey, let me know. I was thinking of souring some wheat flour with it to make sourdough. Not too sure if that would work. :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blog about Saag (and Naan)

Just in case you were wondering, Saag does rhyme with blog. And though it looks a little funny, it is just absolutely marvelous! I have made this several times, not really measuring too carefully and it always comes out just right. The only precaution I would say is to not be too overzealous with the turmeric, as I am. I tend to be heavy handed with it, because I know that it has very powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is very healing. Amazingly, there is research to back that up, and I say amazingly, because so much of herbal medicine is often dismissed due to a lack of research. Anyhow, adding too much turmeric can cause a numbing on your tongue, that is not unpleasant, just a little weird. So just stick to the amount here, and if you need to have more turmeric, perhaps have some golden milk (1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon turmeric, heat with honey to taste).

I have been so excited about eating more spices, herbs, and healing foods now I am done with my course on culinary herbalism, but I am far from testing all of the delicious recipes that we were given. (Just you wait!) Almost all of them have an Indian theme to them because the teacher, K.P. Khalsa, teaches Ayurvedic medicine. So if you are a fan of Indian food, you must try this delicious saag. And if you are feeling crafty, try the naan too. It is fairly easy to make. I think I made it on a Wednesday when I was still an intern. But then again I think I made tamales once on a weekday too. It is called cooking therapy for the stressed.

Saag with Spinach and Rainbow Chard
Adapted from K.P. Khalsa's recipe

2 big bunches of greens, chopped (such as spinach, kale, fresh rainbow chard, etc.)
2-3 inches fresh ginger root, peeled, cut small chunks
5-6 cloves garlic, whole, peeled
2-3 tablespoons butter or ghee or olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced narrow short strips
1 rounded tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. cayenne or to taste
1 rounded tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. freshly ground coriander seeds
1-2 medium tomatoes, chopped (or 1 cup canned tomatoes)
salt to taste

1. Put 2” of water in a stock pot. Bring to boil. Add chopped
greens. Add ginger and garlic. Let simmer together uncovered turning over a few times, until greens are wilted.
2. Heat  butter in a 12”-or-larger iron skillet or heavy frying pan.
3. Add onions and fry on high heat, stirring occasionally to evenly sizzle.
4. When onions are starting to brown (about 10 minutes), make a little pool in the middle.
5. Add turmeric and cayenne to center and let sizzle for about 30 seconds. Then stir in with onions.
6. Add other spices and continue to cook on medium-high heat, stirring as needed.
7. Pour off some broth from greens into onions and keep cooking onions in pan. Keep cooking greens in pot.
8. When broth has cooked out of onions, add chopped tomatoes. Cook this onion and spice mixture until very well done and unified and thick.
10. Drain remaining broth from greens. Reserve to use in another soup.
11. Transfer drained greens & ginger, and onion mixture into food processor bowl and process. Or you can add the greens to the onions and use your immersion blender.
13. Served with rice or bread. Add a little tofu cubes for some protein if you like.

Naan with Cilantro and Spearmint
Adapted from Joy of Cooking
2 cups of whole wheat flour or all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup warm water, at 110 to 115 degrees
1/2 cup plain yogurt, buttermilk, or whey from yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons melted butter
Cilantro and mint leaves

Foam the yeast with the sugar and warm water for about 5-10 minutes.
Stir together dry ingredients and add yeast mixture. Then add buttermilk.
Knead for about 10 minutes until elastic. Let rise 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down, knead briefly, form 4 balls, and allow to rest 10 minutes.
Flatten into a disk. Place a few sprigs of cilantro and mint onto the dough and bring the edges up to the center to cover the herbs.
Roll out very thin.
Heat up a frying pan(or the oven at 475).
Add a little of the melted butter to coat the pan.
Add the rolled out naan. when it begins to form bubbles on the surface, flip it over. Both sides should be browned lightly. Brush the finished naan with melted butter to keep them soft.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Blackberry Caviar Sushi

Last night our neighbor knocked on the door. Apparently, they were cleaning their house, which I assume doesn't happen that often, because they are a very lively group of boys with a ping pong table in their kitchen. But thank goodness they did, because Sean's holiday bonus check somehow ended up in their mailbox, and a short 6 months later, found its way to us. Finally, I can have that sleigh bell sweater I always wanted. Or we could just have some sushi. With organic blackberries. Now,  that,  is fancy.  

I have Juliano's Raw: The Uncook Cookbook. I stole it from my friend a few years ago, and have been getting through a recipe at a time ever since. I know it is so easy to be turned off by the idea, but the flavor combinations are amazing.  Reminds me of the first time I ever had a funnel cake, and what a revelation it was.

This sushi is made with nori and vegetables as you may expect, but the really delicious factor that puts it all together is the creamy nut mixture that you spread on the nori sheets. Give this one a try!

Do you see the caviar???

 Blackberry Caviar Sushi
Adapted from Raw: The Uncook Cookbook

5-6 sheets of nori
2 carrots, sliced in thin sticks
1 cucumber, sliced in thin sticks
1 apple, sliced in thin sticks
1 avocado cut into wedges (optional)
1/3 cup blackberries
fresh chives
horseradish sticks or grated (optional but delicious)
1 recipe nut cream, to follow

Lay out one sheet of nori and spread with a few tablespoons of the nut cream on the nori, covering at least half the sheet in the very thin layer. Lay a few of each of the vegetable and fruit sticks parallel to one of the sides of the nori. Dot a few blackberries along the side. Roll it up tight!

Let it sit for a few minutes so the nori will get soft from the moisture. Then slice the log with a serrated knife. Repeat with the remaining nori.

Nut Cream
This is also a great dip for vegetables!

1 1/2 to 2 cups any combination of soft nuts, including pine nuts, walnuts, cashews (I did 1 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds, almonds work too but you will want to soak them for 4 to 8 hours)
 1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3-4 tablespoon of soy sauce or 1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup parsley (optional)

Blend everything in a food processor with just enough water to make it turn over. Blend until creamy Keeps 2 days in the fridge.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cinnamon Toast

I know what you are thinking. Pfft, a piece of toast? But really, this is awesome for breakfast, with a nice egg or better yet, a green shake! Sometimes you just want a little something sweet in the morning, but you don't want the 800 calorie stack of french toast, and you don't want to take that much time making it.

I will have to give my brother in law his due for this one. It is a preferable alternative to the cinnamon toast made with butter and sugar. This one uses olive oil and honey, with lots of cinnamon on top. The oil and honey caramelize during baking, making it so, so good! You only need one or maybe two pieces for breakfast to be satisfied.

Recently, I have been taking a course about how to use food and herbs for their medicinal benefit. There is research to support cinnamon as having properties that control blood sugar. While it will not replace an insulin pump, it is an easy thing to add to the diet for a little extra boost. I am thinking about trying other spices on this toast too, such as pumpkin pie spice, fennel, aniseseed, garam masala, cardamom, etc, all of which have healing properties of their own. Many of the spices that we may think of as sweet spices, like cinnamon, cloves, ginger are also digestive aids. If you have ever been to an Indian restaurant, you may have noticed a plate of fennel seeds on the way out the door. Fennel is a well know carminative, meaning that it releases gas. Try chewing on a teaspoon of these the next time you have indigestion. It may seem strange at first, but it works like a charm every time.

 In addition, spices are full of antioxidants that are rejuvenating to the cells. Take a look at the Spice Hunter website if you are curious about the different spices and their antioxidants.

Cinnamon Toast

1 piece of whole grain bread or homemade bread
1 teaspoon olive oil or canola oil
1-2 teaspoons honey
A few dashes of cinnamon, or other spices

Preheat the oven, or the toaster oven to about 350 degrees F. Drizzle the olive oil on the toast evenly, followed by the honey and then the cinnamon. Bake in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes. Really keep an eye on it. If you like you can also try this under the broiler, but I find that baking the bread doesn't cause the underside to get soggy like it does in the broiler.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Okinawan Stir-Fry

 If you are into nutrition, you might already know that Okinawa is hailed as one the most healthy diets in the world. This is no surprise when you realise that the Okinawan diet continues to be a traditional indiginous diet. If I had my way, everyone would be consuming some kind of indigenous diet, and there wouldn't be any question about what the science says about omega-3 fatty acids or polyphenols. Or if this canned soup is better than that canned soup.

This recipe comes from a book called "The Jungle Effect." Dr. Daphne Miller has the recipes from the book online, but you should definitely check the book out! Apparently, Okinawans eat about 7-10 % fat in their diet. The American Dietary Guidelines call for about triple that, so it is quite a difference. What was most interesting to me, was that their carbohydrates were very high, not because they eat a lot of rice, but because of they eat the Japanese sweet potato, a purple skinned, white-middled sweet potato. They eat virtually no sugar or processed food.

Anatomy of this dish: I like this recipe because you can use virtually any vegetables you have lying around, and the longest part is cutting the vegetables, so it's quick. I always feel so great eating this many vegetables at once! The turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, so don't leave that out. It only calls for 2 tablespoon oil for 6 cups of vegetables - wow! I try to avoid salting because the miso is nice and salty, and as much as salt is magically tasty, your taste buds should try and do some work now and again. It will be good for your heart.

Okinawan Stir-Fry adapted from "The Jungle Effect"
2 tablespoons sake or water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar or honey
1/4 to 1⁄3 cup miso paste
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1⁄4 pound cooked pork shoulder or chicken thinly sliced (optional)
1 block extra-firm tofu
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
6 cups chopped vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower zucchini, eggplant, carrots, fennel bulb, onions, daikon, cabbage,  or bok-choy)
4 scallions or chives, chopped (I usually don't have them lying about so they are optional here)
1 egg, beaten

Mix the miso, water, vinegar, and honey together in a very large bowl that will accommodate the rest of the ingredients from the stir-fry. Set aside. Heat one tablespoon oil in a skillet on medium-high heat - add the meat, if you are using it, and the tofu. Add the turmeric and stir ingredients to coat. Once it is heated through, add it to the miso mixture.

Add another tablespoon oil to the now empty skillet. Add the vegetables that will take longer to cook, like the broccoli, carrots, etc. Cook them on medium-high for a few minutes, stirring a few times. Then add the other vegetables. Sometimes I do this in batches since my pan is not big enough for all of them. The vegetables should not be overcooked. Slightly crunchy is good! Add the scallions. Crack the egg into the vegetables and stir it in until it is all cooked. Add the vegetables to the miso mixture and stir to coat. This is good with the Jushi Rice she lists on page 50.