May 31, 2012

Summer Delights

Summer is here! The upcoming full moon is known by many as the 'strawberry moon', and for good reason! These delightful little berries are growing ripe in my garden alongside a huge patch of rhubarb.

I love making this recipe, which I have adapted from the Fields of Greens cookbook.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Wash 1 pound of rhubarb, cutting off any brown spots or leaves still on the stalks. Cut stalks in half lengthwise before slicing ½-inch thick so that all of the pieces are approximately the same size.

Wash 1 pint strawberries. Cut them into halves or leave whole if small.
Toss the fruit with 1/3 cup maple syrup, 2 Tablespoons flour (spelt, rice,or millet), and zest of 1 orange.

Place in an 8-inch square baking dish or a 9-inch round cake pan.

Make the topping by combining 1 1/2 cups flour (spelt, rice, or millet), pinch salt, 1 Tablespoon baking powder.

Cut in 4 Tablespoons coconut oil OR unsalted butter.

Add 2 Tablespoons maple syrup and 1 cup milk (almond, rice or cow), and mix lightly, just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Cover the fruit with tablespoon-size dollops of topping, using all of it.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the topping is browned and cooked through and the fruit is bubbling.

*It's just as delicious made simply with strawberries. You’ll need 3 baskets of berries, about 5 cups washed, hulled, and cut into halves or left whole if small. The berries are so sweet that you’ll need only 1/4 cup maple syrup. Toss them with the maple, 2 tablespoons flour, and the chopped zest of an orange. Assemble the cobbler and bake as directed.

May 21, 2012

Simple, Healing Meal

To soothe your spirit, cleanse your organs, and prepare yourself for the transition into summer, try to eat this meal for lunch and/or dinner for a week.

Kitchari means mixture, usually of two grains. In Ayurvedic medicine, which originates in India, food is considered medicine. This recipe comes from that tradition and is particularly nourishing and easy to digest. I like to prepare the rice and lentils separately and mix them in my bowl.

For the rice:
Rinse 1 cup long grain brown rice.
Bring to a boil with 2 cups water. Reduce heat to simmer and cook , with lid askew, for 30 minutes.
In a skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon ghee or coconut oil with:
            1 teaspoon salt
            1 teaspoon each: mustard seed, cumin seed, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder
When seeds start popping, turn off heat and slowly pour mixture into cooking rice.

You can add zucchini, summer squash, peas, cauliflower, broccoli or asparagus to the rice.

For the dahl:
Rinse 2 cups yellow split lentils. Drain and bring to a boil with 5 cups water.
Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Skim off any white foam that develops and discard it.
In a skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon ghee or coconut oil with:
            1 teaspoon salt
            1 Tablespoon each: cumin powder and garam masala
            1 teaspoon each: turmeric and coriander
Add vegetables such as beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, collards, kale and spinach to the skillet. Add 1 cup water, cover, and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Mix into the lentils, stir, and enjoy!

May 18, 2012

Different kinds of burgers

Would you like to put something other than meat on your barbecue grill? 
Try these options:

Portobello Black Bean Burgers
1/2 pound portobello mushrooms, wiped clean
1 small can black beans, rinsed and drained (I like Eden Organics)
1 teaspoon each cumin and coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
Vegetable oil for cooking
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a food processor, chop mushrooms into extra fine pieces. Saute on medium heat with vegetable oil for 15 minutes. Return to food processor.
Add beans, spices, salt, and egg; process until fully combined. Liberally coat a large nonstick baking pan with vegetable oil. Form 4 patties, then gently place onto baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flip with a spatula, and bake for 10 more minutes. 

Garnish with avocado slices and enjoy with salad and sourdough bread!

Lentil Carrot Burgers
1 cup brown lentils
2 cups water
1 Tbsp cooking oil
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup grated carrots
1 tsp each: cumin, paprika, salt
Fresh black pepper to taste
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup quick oats
1 Tablespoon tahini (roasted sesame seed butter)
1/4 cup minced fresh basil or parsley

Soak lentils in hot water for 2 hours. Drain and rinse lentils.
Place drained lentils in a 4 quart pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer, un-covered for 1 hour. Skim off any foam that rises to the top.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Remove lid and turn heat up to medium, stirring occasionally, until remaining liquid has been absorbed. Mash lentils with a potato masher or immersion blender.
Chop onions and garlic. Grate carrots.
Sauté onion and garlic with oil in a frying pan until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add spices and stir to incorporate.
Add oats, sunflower seeds and grated carrots.Cook for 2 more minutes. Turn off heat.
Add minced basil or parsley and tahini.
Place in a bowl and knead briefly with your hands to make a stiff mixture. If it does not seem stiff enough, add a few more oats.
Grease a baking sheet with vegetable oil. Shape the lentil mixture into patties and place each one on the baking sheet. 
Bake for 10 minutes, flip with a spatula, and bake for 10 more minutes. 

Garnish with pesto and goat cheese and enjoy with salad and sourdough bread!

May 13, 2012

Chocolate avocado tart: a hint of summer

The brilliant green leaves and fragrant blossoms inspire me to bring some refreshing sweetness into my life. Enjoy this simple, nourishing and delicious recipe!

Chocolate Avocado Tart
It's true! Avocados are fruits. They pair so well with chocolate. No wonder that both grow in tropical climates.

For the crust:
1 cup nuts (mix of almonds, pecans, walnuts)
handful of dried, pitted dates
pinch salt
1 Tablespoon coconut oil

Soak the dates in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and place in a food processor with nuts, salt and coconut oil. Blend and press into a pie dish.

For the filling:
In the same food processor (no need to wash it), place:
4 ripe avocados
1/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
a pinch each: salt and cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup maple syrup (or honey)
Blend well, pour over nut/date crust, and enjoy!

You can cover it with ripe berries and/or kiwi slices if you like.

This tart keeps well in the fridge for 5 days.

May 7, 2012

Brighten Your Life!

Spring is here!
Brighten your life by simplifying your food choices and cooking methods.

Here are a few suggestions:
Steam your vegetables: carrots, sweet potatoes, daikon radish, bok choy, collards, kale, turnips, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, celery.
Choose less wheat/yeasted breads and more sourdough/spelt breads.
Enjoy oats, rice and quinoa instead of pasta and cereal.
Make savory sauces with fresh cilantro, scallions, parsley, and lemon.
Eat more beans and less meat.

Try to make sushi once this month. This traditional food of Japan is makes a delicious meal. It is a fun way to cook with others, feed many people with simple ingredients, and gently cleanse your system. 

Vegetable Sushi

You will need:
  • 2 cups short grain brown rice
  • 4 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • nori wrappers
  • sesame seeds for sprinkling (if desired)
  • avocado (if desired)
  • steamed vegetables cut into long strips: scallions, carrots, bok choy, daikon radish, turnips, beets, asparagus
  • tamari for dipping
Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer.
Place it in a stock pot with 4 cups water.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook, with lid askew, for 35 minutes.
Add salt and vinegar. Cook for 5 more minutes, or until all the water is consumed and you see small air bubbles opening on the surface of the rice.
Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop and steam vegetables in a simple steamer until just tender (5 minutes or less). Remember to layer the green vegetables on top of the more dense root vegetables. Let these cool for 5 minutes.

Now you are ready to wrap! 

Spread cooled rice over 1/3 of a nori wrapper. Make sure that the wrapper's ridges run perpendicular to the rice. You will use these ridges as a guide for slicing sections of sushi. 
Add a layer of vegetables, sesame seeds and avocado if desired.
Roll tightly and moisten the edge of the wrapper with water. 
Slice with a wet knife into 6 sections or so. 
Display each section on a plate.
Repeat the process until you have used all of your filling.

Sit down with the plate of sushi, friends and family, and some tamari for dipping. Enjoy!

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