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.