Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Christmas Dinner

I know we're a couple of days out, but wanted to share with you what we had for Christmas dinner.  The whole family, grandparents included, took a field trip out to Marin Sun Farms the Thursday before to pick up our pre-ordered  dry-aged standing rib roast.  It was a beautiful drive out, we had a great lunch while at the store and took a lovely walk in downtown Pt. Reyes Station.  The sunset was stunning out on Tomales Bay as we drove a little farther up to Marshall to take in the view.

As it was just the 6 of us for dinner, we kept it rather simple.  I didn't even do a horseradish sauce as I didn't even think of it until literally setting the meat at the table.  We were all so caught up in the beauty of the roast we just forgot and it really didn't matter as we all agreed it would have interfered with the taste of the meat.  In fact, "Gumpa" declared it was the best piece of prime rib he had ever tasted (!)  The man is 80 and has had TONS of prime rib in his life, so I was pretty pleased with myself.

To be honest, this is only the second time I've attempted this dish.  I didn't have a meat thermometer so I had to wing it after reading several different cooking methods.  This is what I came up with:

Standing Rib Roast
For a 7-8 lb. roast--adjust cooking time approximately 20 min. per pound of meat

We received our roast quasi- "frenched" and tied.  The fat and bone was not removed completely but left attached for easy cutting when everything was done. I followed Marin Sun Farms dry rub method:

1/2 cup coarse sea salt ( I used Grey Sea Salt)
1/4 cup garlic powder granules
3 TBSP. fresh cracked pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne or ground chili flakes

24 hours before starting the cooking process, rub roast liberally with the spice blend and refrigerate. 

Pull the roast out of the refrigerator about 2.5 hours before you want to eat.

Set your oven to 325.  Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the roast and I added dried rosemary and thyme to the rub --you can add your own herbs to your taste.  Allow the roast to come to room temperature.  Heat a large skillet with some more olive oil.  Get it hot but try not to let it smoke.  Sear the roast on all sides getting it nice and brown.  Transfer to a baking pan and put in the oven for 1 hr fat side up.  After 1 hour, you can add roasted vegetables to the pan, turning and coating the veggies with the pan juices adding a little salt.  We used nantes carrots from Tomatero Farm, yukon gold potatoes, shallots, and cipollini onions.  The carrots were cut into 2 inch chunks, the shallots and cipollini peeled and left whole.  I chose the smallest yukons in the bin and halved them.  Put the pan back in the oven for 45 minutes.  If you have a meat thermometer, check the temperature.  110 will get you very rare, 120 gets you to medium rare, and 130 will get you to medium.  I pushed on the meat with my finger and it was pretty resistant so I pulled everything out and this is how it looked:

Mostly medium, the end cuts more well done and nice and salty, with a couple of medium rare pieces toward the middle of the roast.

I served this with a basic Waldorf Salad:

3 tart apples of your choice.  I used 1 pink lady, 1 granny smith, and 1 fuji. I got them all from the Chinchiolo Farms stand at the farmer's market.
1 cup local organic grapes sliced in half
1 cup walnuts
1 cup organic celery
1-2 TBSP. mayonnaise
1 tsp. honey (optional)
juice from 1 lemon

Chop the apples into 1" chunks and squeeze the lemon over them.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Start with 1 TBSP of mayo and go from there if you need more.  Add sea salt to taste.  This kept for the next day, too.





 


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tourtiere

We had this for Christmas Eve dinner.  It was the first time I made it and I tried out an almond flour crust that came out pretty good.  I have a few notes that will make this truly outstanding the next time out but wanted to share it with you overall as it was a nice meal for a busy evening of wrapping presents, attending service, and trying to quell the force of a 7 year old really embracing the spirit this year.

Tourtiere
from Maggie Rogers via AllRecipes.com
 
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1 large baking potato (I used japanese yam and kept it in small chunks)
1 large onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 dash ground allspice
1/2 cup water
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust deep dish pie
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon paprika

The pastry I used was this tart crust recipe from Elana's Pantry.   I made three separate batches since I made a 12 inch pie with 2 lbs. of ground pork from Prather Ranch.  The crust held up beautifully but was a little on the thick side for the bottom of the pie.  I pressed it int with my fingers but next time I'm going to try to smooth it out more using a small glass jar or something to keep it more even.  I refrigerated the amount I wanted to use for the top and rolled it out between 2 sheets of wax paper.  It cracked a little when I went to cover the pie, but i just put some extra bits over the cracks and it worked well. 

For the pie filling: 

Bake the potato until done, 30 - 45 minutes in a preheated 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) oven. Peel and mash the potato, or cut into small dice.

Place the potato, ground pork, onion, spices and water in a large frying pan and simmer until very thick, for about one hour. 

Meanwhile, prepare your pastry. 

Line a deep-dish pie plate with pastry. Spoon in filling, spreading evenly. Cover with top crust. 

Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Cut steam vent. Bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). If edges brown too fast, cover with a strip of foil. Serve warm. 


I served this with a salad of pomegranate, pear, and pommelo, dressed with a blood orange infused olive oil and tangerine balsamic vinegar from Del'Oliva. (Thanks, Tara!)


Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Free" Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are free of most allergy triggering ingredients (except nuts).  There are no eggs, grains, or dairy.  The chocolate chips are vegan and gluten free.  Most importantly they taste really good, nice and chewy with just enough sweet.  This is a good one to make with your kids, too.   There are very few ingredients and the whole batch took 20 min. to come together.  I let one child pull together the wet ingredients and one pull together the dry and they both were able put them on the cookie sheet with minimal squabbling.

This recipe is straight from Elana's Pantry


Chocolate Chip Cookies (Dairy Free/Gluten Free)

2 ½ cups blanched almond flour
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup agave nectar
1 cup dark chocolate chips
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Stir together wet ingredients in a smaller bowl
  3. Mix wet ingredients into dry
  4. Form 1/2 inch balls and press onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet
  5. Bake at 350° for 7-10 minutes
  6. Cool and serve
Here's a variation that yields a more full-bodied cookie.  It does have egg in it:


2 ½ cups blanched almond flour
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup coconut sugar
2 eggs
1 cup dark chocolate chips
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Stir together wet ingredients in a smaller bowl
  3. Mix wet ingredients into dry
  4. Form 1/2 inch balls and press onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet
  5. Bake at 350° for 10-13 minutes
  6. Cool and serve

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Nut Butter Cups

If you can manage to box these up before the family eats them all, they make a lovely hostess gift.  I stole these directly from Elana's Pantry and changed only one thing by using organic raw almond butter versus roasted.  It was gratifying to see that they came out exactly as hers did.  She has a great link to how to temper chocolate properly, too.  I used the "seed" method and it worked perfectly.

Nut Butter Cups

 ⅓ - ½ cup Vanilla Almond Butter (chilled for 24 hours)
1 tablespoon golden flaxseed meal
1 cup dark chocolate chips--I used Callebaut Dark Chocolate that I got in bulk at Whole Foods.
  1. Stir flaxseed meal into Vanilla Almond Butter
  2. Melt chocolate in a small pan over very low heat; you can use a double boiler if you wish and temper the chocolate
  3. Using a small paint brush, coat the bottom and sides of a nut butter cup mold with chocolate (they have these at Cake Art in San Rafael--maybe at Sur la Table, too)
  4. Place mold in freezer for 10 minutes to allow chocolate to harden
  5. Remove mold from freezer
  6. Fill each chocolate lined nut butter cup with the vanilla almond butter just short of the top
  7. Paint chocolate over the nut butter to cover and make final layer
  8. Place in freezer for 10 minutes to harden
  9. Remove from freezer, turn mold upside down and pop nut butter cups out of mold
  10. Serve (if any left)
Yields 11 cups (depending on your mold)
I had a fair amount of flavored nut butter left--great to dip apples in for a later day.


Holiday Pecans

I know this may not look like it, but these are not super sweet!  Highly tasty though...
This recipe is taken from Nourishing Traditions

Holiday Pecans
2 cups pecans, soaked and roasted
2 egg whites
pinch fine sea salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1.5 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat egg whites with salt in a clean bowl until stiff.  Slowly beat in maple syrup and vanilla.  Fold in pecans until well coated.  Spread on two buttered (I used coconut oil--but it still stuck to the pan), stainless steel baking pans and place in a warm oven (no more than 150--mine only goes down to 170 and it worked fine) for several hours until the egg white coating hardens.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  You can double this recipe too.




Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mayonnaise


This mayonnaise took me less time to make than it would to walk into a grocery store and find it on the shelf.  Plus I didn't have to buy a product that had soy or canola products and does not suffer from pasteurization which kills the enzymes in it.   Be sure you find a good source of PASTURE RAISED eggs.  Just because they are organic does not mean that they were "free-range."  At the supermarket, you'll start to see them more frequently in our area.  They run about $7 to as much as $9 a dozen.  If more of us buy them, the price will go down.  I got them as low as $5.99 at Whole Foods the other day.   They were from Vital Farms so not local but I felt good about buying them.  A lot of chickens will stop laying eggs around this time of year, so getting them at farmers markets will start to get more difficult. 

When using oil, I don't recommend doing it with olive oil entirely.  It'll be very strong in flavor, better to mix it with a lighter oil such as avocado oil.

Mayonnaise (from Nourishing Traditions with a few tweaks as I've come to make it over the last couple of years)

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
Sea salt, a generous pinch
Lemon juice from one half lemon
About a tsp. Dijon mustard
2/3 cup oil of choice.  I used half Extra Virgin Olive and avocado oil. 
Optional--1 Tbsp. whey which will extend the life of the mayo considerably--several months--as opposed to about 2 weeks if you leave it out.


 
In a food processor place egg, egg yolk, mustard, salt and lemon juice and optional whey.  Process until well blended about 30 sec.  VERY slowly, add the oil while the processor is going--a micro thin stream is what you are going for.  When all the oil is incorporated, check the taste--does it need more lemon? Salt? Mustard?  Add it in and blend for a bit more.  This whole process should not take more than 3-4 min. The mayo will be a little more liquid than you see at the market. If you put whey in it, let it sit at room temperature, well covered, for 7 hours before refrigerating.  If no whey, put it into a container in the fridge right away, it will set in a few hours.  It makes about a cup and a half, which we sometimes get through in 2 weeks, sometimes not. The batch pictured above turned out on the thicker side.  I used only 2 egg yolks and I have an emulsifier attachment on my mini-prep food processor.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Moroccan Beef Brisket


I have never successfully made a brisket before.  The time involved always
scared me off.  The one or two times I attempted it, I never got the crucial
step until I read this book, Jewish Cooking in America by Joan Nathan, and
realized that it was a step repeated in almost all the recipes listed in the
book-- it's a great read other than the recipes by the way.  The kids loved
this dish, too--olives included. (okay we had to dare Leo to eat one and if
he didn't like it we'd give him a dollar, he said he liked it just fine--we
gave him the dollar anyway.)
 
If I were to do it for guests I would do the first 2 parts the night before and finish it up just before guests arrived to make the timing easier.  When I made this earlier in the month, I started at 9:30 with the first part, did the 2nd at about 1:30, then started the final part at 4:30 to get the dinner on the table by 5:45 so Steve could get to a meeting at 6:30.

Moroccan Brisket with Olives from Jewish Cooking in America:

1 5-6 lb. brisket of beef, Marin Sun Farms or any grass-fed pasture raised beef
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp. turmeric or a few strands of saffron
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
2 large Spanish onions (the white ones)
1/4 cup chopped celery with leaves
1 small carrot, peeled and sliced in paper-thin rounds
2 large fresh tomatoes peeled and diced
1 lb. green olives (I got these at the olive bar at Whole Foods and only
used 1/2 lb. which was plenty.  I chose the least seasoned green olive and
got the pitted ones, it was very simple)
1/2 cup water
Juice of 1 lemon

Part 1: Preheat the oven to 350. Sprinkle the brisket with salt and pepper
and rub in the garlic.  Sear the meat on all sides in a little bit of the
olive oil in a heavy roasting pan or Dutch oven with a cover.  Remove the
meat from the pan and turn the heat down.  Add the remaining olive oil,
turmeric or saffron, ginger and onions and sauté until limp.  Add the celery
and carrots and sauté a few minutes more.  Finally, add the tomatoes and
mix.  Remove about a third of the mixture and place the brisket back on top
of the mixture already in the pan and cover with the remaining mixture.
(This process should take no more than 30 min.)
Cover the pan and put everything in the oven for about 3 hours or until the
fork goes in and out easily.

Part 2:  REMOVE and REFRIGERATE (this was that crucial step I was talking
about).  It should get cold--mine was still a touch warm when I needed to
get going on it so I would count on refrigerating for at least 4 hours.

Part 3:  A few minutes before you pull the meat from the fridge, put the
pitted olives in a pan and cover with water and boil on the stove for a
couple of minutes.  Drain, rinse and repeat.  This will remove some of the
saltiness and really make the olives fruitier.  Take the brisket out of the
pan, remove any fat that has congealed, and slice against the grain.  Return
to the heavy pan covering with the reserved onion mixture.  Squeeze the
lemon and add the water--sprinkle the olives over the sliced brisket and put
back in the oven for another hour and a half, braising the meat at least once during the cooking time and serve.

Friday, December 16, 2011

5 Spice Calamari

The whole family really likes fried calamari.  Lucky for us it's in season right now and I was able to get my Monterey calamari at Fish. in Sausalito.  Check with your favorite fish monger, it's really worth it.  Unfortunately, most places use dairy in their fried calamari, and then those that don't obviously use regular flour.  I stole the "5 spice" part from a recipe posted on Epicurious and then modified it to suit our needs.  I did make the dipping sauce, which turned out excellent, and then served it with a green salad and some very simple mashed combo sweet potato and hannah yam.  I only added olive oil and salt to the mash and it turned out great as well.

Dipping sauce
2 tablespoons organic sesame oil
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon honey (get raw and local to your area)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons Bragg's Liquid Aminos
2 teaspoons fish sauce (nam pla)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup mayonnaise--if you can't make your own, use one without canola or soy products.

Calamari
Sunflower oil or Grapeseed oil (for frying)
1 cup all almond flour (Bob's Red Mill is okay but Honeyville's version is finer and costs less in bulk)
1 tablespoon organic chinese five-spice powder  check out the FDA's guidelines (in the condiment section) for what is allowed into regular packaged spices
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2-3 egg whites whisked--you can omit this if you have egg allergies
 15 ounces cleaned calamari, tentacles left whole, bodies cut into 1/2-inch rings 
For dipping sauce:
Combine all ingredients except mayonnaise in processor. Blend well. Transfer to bowl. Stir in mayonnaise. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Whisk before serving.)
For calamari:
Pour oil to depth of 1.5 inches in heavy large pot. Heat to 350°F. Use a candy/fry thermomater keep an eye on the temperature. Whisk next 4 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Dip the calamari in the egg wash. Working in batches, remove calamari; dredge in flour mixture, but don't let it sit in the flour, it will get goopy. Fry until just crisp, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Serve warm with sauce. Season with salt.

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Five-Spice-Calamari-with-Dipping-Sauce-105150#ixzz1glUoAV6D

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Treats

I love cake.  And cookies.  And candy.  This is in direct contradiction to achieving optimal health.  But.  I really like sugar.  I have left it behind these past couple of weeks because of this cleanse I'm almost done with, and I'm not sure absence has made my heart grow fonder.  I'm really looking forward to not loving sugar so much, as it really does nothing good for you.  ANYWAY.  I bake over the holidays, always have, always will.  Now, however, there is a bunch of great product out there that make holiday treats a little less devastating.  Take these Linzer Cookies.  I used the recipe from Elana's Pantry.  She has great sourcing information and the nice thing about this recipe is that it is ridiculously easy, with only 6 ingredients,  and it looks like I'm some kind of pastry whiz.  I have a couple more tricks up my sleeve this week and I'll be sure to share them with you as I turn them out. 

Linzer Hearts
2 ½ cups blanched almond flour
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
½ cup grapeseed oil
¼ cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup raspberry jam
  1. In a large bowl, combine almond flour and salt
  2. In a smaller bowl, combine grapeseed oil, agave and vanilla
  3. Stir wet ingredients into dry
  4. Chill dough in freezer for 30 minutes
  5. Between 2 pieces of parchment paper, roll out dough 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick
  6. Use a cookie cutter to cut out 2 shapes of the same size--I used a linzer cutting set
  7. Take a smaller same shape cookie cutter to cut out the center of one of the hearts
  8. Press your thumb into the solid heart to make an indentation, then fill this spot with jam
  9. Place the hollow heart on top of the jam covered heart
  10. Bake hearts at 350° on a parchment lined baking sheet for 5-7 minutes until brown around the edges
  11. Cool and Serve
  12. You can skip the sprinkling of powdered sugar, I thought it looked more festive...
Makes 24 cookies
The trick to making these is to divide the dough into 4 parts; take one part of chilled dough out of the freezer at a time to roll and cut out cookies. The rest of the dough will stay cold in the freezer. Keep in mind, the dough is much easier to handle when it is chilled.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What not to Eat

What Food Safety Experts Won't Eat

Thanks to friend Curtis for posting this handy info.  Although I have used canned tomatoes in the past, I'll just make do with fresh--next Fall looks like I'll be learning how to put up summer veggies.  Maybe we should have a canning party?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

We have the cousins in town for Sophia's big debut as a "Golden Egg" in her ballet school's production of The Nutcracker.  It's been pretty chaotic running back and forth from rehearsals, cleaning the house, etc. so I thought, "great night to plan for a crock pot dinner."  Still on my cleanse though, I needed it to be with poultry so I found this recipe here but modified it like this:

cooking spray (I use sunflower oil)
2 lb ground turkey--I used 1lb. dark and 1 lb. white plus I added 3 boneless chicken thighs that I cut into cubes
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 small organic onion, chopped
3 organic garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chili powder, to taste--I used chipotle chili powder and a garlic chile sauce
2 bay leaves
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
*1 lb. of white northern or navy beans, soaked for 6 hours--I used Barlotti beans from Rancho Gordo
15 oz. can organic pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 anaheim chiles, chopped
6 cups chicken stock
chopped cilantro and chives for garnish (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

*If you are not doing beans, you can omit this, maybe sub in some cubed japanese sweet potato

Heat a large skillet on med high and spray with cooking oil.  Brown the turkey meat and chicken, in two batches if you have to.  Put the meat in the crock pot.  Put the remaining ingredients in the pot.  Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A word about GMO

This is a great, non-ranting, concise article about GMO's.  I think you should read it.

Just Label It




Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sturgeon with Celery Root Smash

Really wanted fish, so went to Fish. in Sausalito see what was what.  Yes, they have gorgeous crab, but we've got a shellfish allergy in the house, so I went with the California Sturgeon at 21.99/lb.  I got four 6oz. "fillets".  I put that in quotes because of one of the many cool things about this fish is that it has no bones!  I looked up several recipes for this fish, and decided after reading several sauces and such to make with it, I would just go old school and put a little olive oil and sea salt and pepper and grill it on my grill pan. 

Heat your pan to medium high then cook the fish 5 min. a side.  It was perfect, the kids ended splitting one fillet and that was enough for them, Steve and I were happy with one 6oz. portion each and I had the leftovers today for lunch.

You can see some Sweet Potato Waffle Fries from Alexia.

Celery Root Smash (from Jamie Oliver's Happy Days with the Naked Chef)
1 large celery root
organic olive oil
2 -3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. fresh thyme
1/4 cup stock or water

Peel the celery and dice into uniform size cubes about 1/2 inch.  Heat about 3 TBSP. olive oil until hot but not smoking.  Add the celery root and brown about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and thyme and saute another 5 min.  Add stock, cover, and simmer for another 20 minutes until easily pierced with a fork.  Smash it up in the pan leaving it a bit chunky.  Season with salt and pepper.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Kale and Cauliflower Salad

I walked into a Walgreen's today after my workout to buy a bottle of water.  At the checkout, the cashier asked me, "Do you want to buy some candy with that?"  I looked at her crooked and said, "No, thank you."  Alarm bells going off in every way possible in my head--which must have shown on my face, I'm a pretty easy person to read.  She then says to me, in a low voice, her eyes darting to the back of the store, "It's terrible, I know, I have to ask every customer if they want candy when they check out.  It's bad, right?  I have to ask the parents when the children are standing right there."  I told her, yes, that's too bad she had to do that and that I hoped she hung in there.

The opposite of having candy with your water purchase is this salad.  I tailor this to every season, keeping the kale and dressing constant and varying the bits that garnish it. It's a raw salad, but the preparation allows the kale to get tender and very easy to eat.  The best thing about eating this salad is that you feel like you are really doing something great for your body while eating it.  This does take several hours to cure, so this is one you need to plan ahead on.

Kale and Cauliflower Salad

for the dressing:  
1 TBSP. extra virgin olive oil 
1 1/2 TBSP. organic rice wine vinegar
pinch of sea salt and pepper each

whisk together ingredients and set aside.

for the salad:
1 bunch organic kale (I used lacinato kale from Tomatero)
1-2 organic lemons (you can use meyer lemons or eureka lemons based on your tartness preference)


1/4 head cauliflower--(this pic was from Tomatero yesterday) cut into little bitty florets
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup dried cherries (Neufeld had both Rainer and Bing) cherries and I liked the color contrast although their flavors are similar.  You can skip the fruit if you are watching your sugar intake, but they do provide a nice break in the overall flavor of the dish

Wash and dry the kale.  Chop it horizontally in 2 inch strips.  In a large non-reactive bowl start tearing the pieces of kale down removing the thicker stems as you go.  Get them down to bite sized pieces, not confetti.  Do this with your hands, don't chop it.  The actual action of tearing the pieces starts to release the nutrients in the kale and allows you better access to them.  Squeeze the lemons over all the kale, grabbing, squeezing and tearing it for about 1 min.  The color should change from a bright green to a darker green.  Add the remaining ingredients, add the dressing, and toss to coat.  Add a little salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours.  Even better overnight, but not more than 2 days.  It'll get very stinky if you let it go too long.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pancakes and Sausage

Steve ran the 50 miler in the North Face Challenge yesterday.  He was very hungry this morning.  Usually, on Sunday, I bail on the family and head to the farmer's market.  This morning he asked me to make him pancakes and I didn't have the heart to run out on him.  I really wanted to do these with almond flour but my order hasn't come in yet, so I used this recipe from Living Without.  I didn't have sorghum flour so used oat flour instead and for sugar I used sucanet.  This didn't take very long, I'll still be able to get to the market with plenty of time...

The sausage is Fra'Mani Mattinata Breakfast Sausage

Gluten Free Pancakes:
¾  cup brown rice flour
½  cup sorghum flour (I subbed oat flour successfully here)
¼  cup tapioca flour
1  teaspoon xanthan gum
1  tablespoon baking powder
2  large eggs (check our site for egg substitutes)
1  teaspoon vanilla
3  tablespoons sugar
1  cup milk of choice (plain-flavored rice, almond or coconut--I used almond)
1  teaspoon sunflower oil

1. Mix together flours, xanthan gum and baking powder with a whisk in a mixing bowl.
2. Add eggs, vanilla and sugar. Add milk slowly, until batter is desired thickness. Do not over-mix or batter will become thick and stiff.
3. Heat oil in a heavy skillet or non-stick pan. When skillet is sizzling hot, pour in batter or drop by serving spoonfuls to make pancakes. Spread batter out in pan if needed. Cook until pancakes have bubbles throughout and bottoms are lightly browned. Flip with a spatula and cook briefly until done.

Friday, December 2, 2011

"Creamy" Roasted Mushroom Soup


This isn't your typical "cream of mushroom" soup.  It's really not particularly creamy, either--I used coconut milk instead of heavy cream--but wow, is it good!  You can get creative with this one.  I used mini-portobellos, oyster, and chanterelles from Solano Mushroom Farm.  These mushrooms were so fresh they literally bounced on my kitchen counter when I poured them out to clean them.  I made this with beef stock tonight, but you can use vegetable or chicken.  The original recipe also called for flour as a thickener.  I used arrowroot powder instead. 

1 pound portobello mushrooms, stemmed, dark gills removed, caps cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps cut into 3/4-inch pieces
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups chicken, vegetable or beef stock
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Madeira (you can use brandy too)
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 cup coconut milk
3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with foil. Divide mushrooms between prepared baking sheets. Drizzle mushrooms on each sheet with 3 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Cover with foil. Bake mushrooms 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until mushrooms are tender and still moist, about 15 minutes longer. Cool slightly. Puree half of mushrooms with 1.5 cups stock in blender until smooth. Set mushroom puree aside.
Heat 3Tbsp. olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is tender, about 8 minutes. Add Madeira and simmer until almost all of liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Add arrowroot powder; stir 2 minutes. Add remaining broth, cream, and thyme. Stir in remaining cooked mushroom pieces and mushroom puree. Simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving, thinning with additional broth if necessary.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chinese Chicken Salad

I struck out trying to find organic napa cabbage and red bell pepper from California today at Whole Foods, but got lucky at Paradise Foods.  They had both so game on!

Chinese Chicken Salad: 
Don't buy bottled dressing, they always use canola oil and put way too much sugar in it.  Salad dressing can be an excellent way to get the right fats into your diet.  In fact, tonight, I skipped the honey and Bragg's Liquid Amino's and added lemon juice--it came out great!

Make Dressing first (this is mostly taken from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions):

4 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
2 Tbsp. Bragg's Liquid Amino's (takes the place of soy sauce)
2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
2 tsp. green onion/chives finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and mashed
1 tsp. raw honey (I use even less than that, more like 1/4 tsp.--Rob Berkemeier's honey is nice from Santa Rosa at the Civic Center market, his pricing is fair and the honey is wonderful, he typically sets up across from the food trucks at the back of the market)
2/3 c. EV olive oil (I like my dressing more acidic so I use a little less)
2 tsp. expeller-pressed flax oil

Put in a jar and shake.  You may use the whole jar for this salad, if not, keep in the jar on the counter--it will last a couple of days.  I'll probably use it as a marinade.

For the salad:

1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed
1 lb Napa cabbage, cored, then cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-wide strips (about 6 cups)
1 (1-lb) head of romaine, torn into bite-size pieces (about 8 cups)
6 cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken (from a 2 1/2-lb rotisserie chicken)
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup almonds, toasted, halved
1/2 red bell pepper sliced thin
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Make salad:

Toast sesame seeds on heavy bottom skillet on stove top at medium heat.  Give them a shake every couple of minutes until they turn golden.  Set aside to cool.

Cook snow peas in a 4-quart pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then drain in a colander and pat dry. Cut diagonally into 1-inch-wide pieces and put in a large bowl with cabbage and romaine.

Toss chicken and scallions with 1/3 cup of dressing in another large bowl. Whisk remaining dressing (it will separate), then add cabbage mixture, cilantro, almonds, and sesame seeds to chicken and toss with enough remaining dressing to coat.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cleaning Up for the Holidays

Winter Citrus Fennel Salad
I've started a cleanse this week.  The recipes over the next few weeks will reflect this with more vegetable laden presentations.  This cleanse is meant to detoxify my liver so no red meat, processed foods, including sugars not already in fruits and vegetables, no caffeine, alcohol, etc.  Basically, I'm giving my body a vacation from all the stuff that will drag me down for the holidays.  Yay me! 

Winter Citrus Fennel Salad
I was looking through Lidia's Italy to get some ideas and came across this recipe for a fennel salad and I can't wait to make it with blood oranges in January, but there are some organic navel oranges from California at Whole Foods right now along with Satsumas, also organic from California, so I went for it.  It was outstanding! 
Turkey Meatballs with Lemon Coconut Cream Sauce

Turkey Meatballs with Lemon Coconut Cream Sauce over Spaghetti Squash
So.  I'm going to put in "notes" on the sauce as it didn't turn out perfect, but the flavor was there so when I get it down I'll let you know.  Or if you figure it out, let ME know in the comments section or directly and I'll be sure to amend it!
  




For the Meatballs:
1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey ( I used Diestel's Heidi's Hens dark meat)
1 egg
1 TBSP. organic tomato paste
2 TBSP. each fresh chopped parsley, lemon thyme (or regular), oregano

Preheat oven to 375.  Combine all ingredients with your hands, folding everything together with 1 TBSP. sea salt until well combined.  Roll into uniform size balls about 2 in. diameter and place on a baking sheet.  Bake for 10 min. then turn over and go for another 10-12 min.  You can make these ahead and refrigerate for a day or freeze for later meals if you want to make a huge batch.

For the sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup Coconut Milk from a can (I'm betting it would be better with creamed coconut if you can find it)
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
Juice from 2 lemons

Heat the olive oil gently in a pan, add the garlic and saute gently for 5 min but do not brown it.  Add the coconut and chicken stock and simmer for about 15 min.  Add the meatballs into the pan and let them soak up the sauce.

Spaghetti Squash:

1 large (8-12in) squash (Durst Organic Growers from Whole Foods)

Heat oven to 375.  Cut squash in half lengthwise, scrape all the seeds out as you would when preparing pumpkin and place cut side down in a baking dish or baking sheet.  Bake for 45 min. or until fork tender.  Cool slightly before scraping out squash.