December 30, 2013

International Dumplings

This is a rich and nurturing time of year where you can slow down, enjoy the company of friends and family, and prepare one of these delicious dishes.
Be well in the new year!

Golabki
From the Polish and Lithuanian traditions courtesy of Anjali Budreski

1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 pound ground tukey, beef OR ¼ cup toasted walnuts
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 head green cabbage

Place a skillet over medium heat and coat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Sauté onion and garlic for about 10 minutes, until soft and translucent.
Add the meat or walnuts and sauté until cooked, about 15 minutes.
Add parsley, then take it off the heat.

In a large mixing bowl, place the egg, the cooked rice, and the onion mixture. Toss the filling together with your hands to combine, season with a generous amount of salt and pepper.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Remove the large, damaged outer leaves from the cabbages and set aside. Cut out the cores of the cabbages with a sharp knife and carefully pull off all the rest of the leaves, keeping them whole and as undamaged as possible.

Blanch the cabbage leaves in the pot of boiling water for 5 minutes, or until pliable.
Run the leaves under cool water then lay them out so you can assess just how many blankets you have to wrap up the filling.

Next, carefully cut out the center vein from the leaves so they will be easier to roll up. Take the reserved big outer leaves and lay them on the bottom of a casserole pan, let part of the leaves hang out the sides of the pan.
Put about 1/2 cup of the filling in the center of the cabbage and starting at what was the stem-end, fold the sides in and roll up the cabbage to enclose the filling. Place the cabbage rolls side by side in rows, seam-side down, in a casserole pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For the Polish version, drizzle rolls with olive oil, cover the casserole pan, bake for 30 minutes and serve with sour cream and applesauce.

For the Lithuanian version, pour tomato sauce over the rolls, cover the casserole pan, bake for 30 minutes and serve.

***
Moon Pies
Adapted from an Amish recipe by Emily Hershberger

1 cup flour (spelt for a wheat-free dough or white rice for a gluten-free dough)
½ teaspoon each: allspice, cloves, cinnamon
Pinch salt
Mix these ingredients together. Then, add 2 Tablespoons butter OR coconut oil, hardened and diced into small cubes. Let the flour coat the cubes.

Slowly add enough cold water to make a dough. Place in fridge to cool for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare the filling: 1 cup applesauce; raisins if desired.

Make golf-ball sized balls from the dough and then roll out each ball between 2 pieces of waxed paper.
Fill one ¼ of each circle of rolled dough with a spoonful of applesauce.
Fold over the dough into a half moon shape, pinch the edges closed, and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until edges are browned. 


*** 
Rice Wrapper Rolls
Adapted from a Vietnamese recipe for Goi Cuon

8 rice wrappers (8.5 inch diameter)
For the filling:
2 ounces thin rice noodles
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 carrots, grated

For the dipping sauce:
4 teaspoons tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 inches ginger root, minced
1 Tablespoon tamarind paste
1 teaspoon finely chopped peanuts or cashews

Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Boil rice vermicelli 3 to 5 minutes, or until al dente, and drain.

Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one wrapper into the hot water for 1 second to soften. Lay wrapper flat.
In a row across the center, place a handful of vermicelli, basil, mint, cilantro and shredded carrots, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side.
Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper.
Repeat with remaining ingredients.

In a small pot, heat Tamari with 4 Tablespoons water, lime juice, garlic, ginger, and tamarind paste.
Add peanuts or cashews, turn off the heat, and serve as a dipping sauce alongside the rolls.

***
Padan Nasi
Sweet or savory dumplings I learned to make in Bedulu, Bali

You will need to set aside 1 cup cooked brown rice.

For savory dumplings, mix together in a large bowl:
1 Tablespoon tamarind paste
1 Tablespoon tahini (roasted sesame seed butter)
2 Tablespoons ume plum vinegar
1 teaspoon each: salt, cumin powder, coriander powder
½ teaspoon each: cinnamon, turmeric root powder
Fresh green onions or chives, minced

Add the rice to the bowl, incorporate with sauce, and shape balls with your hands.
If you like, you can roll the finished dumplings in toasted sesame seeds before serving.
These make a great appetizer!

For sweet dumplings, mix together in a large bowl:
¼ cup pitted dates, soaked in hot water and drained
2 Tablespoons brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, cardamom
Pinch salt
2 Tablespoons shredded coconut

Add the rice to the bowl, incorporate with sauce, and shape balls with your hands.
If you like, you can roll the finished dumplings in coconut before serving.
These make a delicious dessert or snack!

December 19, 2013

Favorite Holiday Recipes

It's time to gather in with friends and family, enjoying the warmth of the season. Take this time to slow down and let thoughts of work and life responsibilities take the back burner. Nourish your own heart, hearth, and the seed of your deepest desires for the year to come.

These recipes have graced holiday tables in places where I have traveled.
Enjoy! I have put a healthy spin on each of these traditional dishes. 

Switzerland: Rosti

1 large yellow onion
3 large russet potatoes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon each of these seeds: coriander, caraway, fennel

Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain potatoes, and set aside to cool for about 20 minutes. Grate potatoes using the large holes on a cheese grater; set aside.

While potatoes are cooking, chop onion. In a deep skillet, saute it on medium low heat, with spices and butter/coconut oil, for about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a cookie sheet with butter/oil.

Add onions and spices to the grated potatoes. Mix well to incorporate.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto the cookie sheet and flatten with the back of a fork all around the perimeter.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until crispy and golden.

Enjoy with cooked winter greens, cranberry sauce and hard cheese as a holiday brunch!

***
Tuscany: Cranberry Hazelnut Farro Bread


1/2 cup cooked farro (spelt berries)
1/2 cup hazelnuts, ground into flour in a spice grinder


1½ cup flour (spelt or millet)
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda
pinch salt
½ cup dried cranberries
1¼ cups milk (almond or cow)
¼ cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil

Cook farro in twice as much water. Cook extra for a hearty winter dinner salad if you like.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a loaf pan with olive oil.

In a large bowl, mix hazelnut meal, flour, spices and cranberries.

Make a well in the center and add milk, honey, oil, and eggs. Whisk these together, then incorporate into dry ingredients.

Fill loaf pan, bake for 35 minutes, and let stand to cool about 15 minutes before turning out onto a cutting board, slicing and serving.

***
Bali: Banana Pancakes


1¼ cups rice flour
¼ cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon each: cardamom and cinnamon
pinch salt
2 Tablespoons rice syrup
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup rice or cow milk
1/4 cup cashew butter
1 medium very ripe banana, mashed (about ½ cup)

Mix flour, spices, and coconut in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, mix well, and saute on medium heat in a stainless steel or cast iron skillet. Oil the skillet with coconut oil between round of cooking.

Serve with extra banana slices, a dollop of cashew butter and a garnish of shredded coconut.

***

New Mexico: Pinto Beans with Poached Eggs and Corn Tortillas

1 cup dried pinto beans, soaked overnight

1 teaspoon each: cumin, oregano, paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 small green chiles (if desired)
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
8 eggs
Fresh cilantro leaves and corn tortillas for serving

Drain and rinse the beans. Bring to a boil in a stock pot with in 3 times as much water. Cook on medium high for 25 minutes. Skim off any foam that rises to the top.

Rinse and drain again.

Meanwhile, chop all vegetables. Saute together in a wide, deep skillet on medium heat for 15 minutes. Add spices, reduce heat, and add beans once they are cooked.

Add 1 cup water and stir to incorporate.


Crack eggs in a circle over the surface of the beans and vegetables. Cover and cook on low heat for 10 more minutes.

Heat corn tortillas for 2 or 3 minutes in a 200 degree oven. Place 2 tortillas on each plate, cover with beans and eggs, and serve with a garnish of cilantro.

Do you have a food tradition that you love and appreciate? Research it, prepare it and serve it this holiday season. Email me and let me know how it turns out!

December 12, 2013

Food Allergens

Food is such an emotional topic in our lives. We need it to live, we feel good, bad, or somewhere in between when we eat it, and its nutrients, or lack thereof, deeply impact the well-being of all living beings, including the planet.

I believe that cooking my own food is a radical and revolutionary act. I try to grow some of my own food, too, which requires a profound lifestyle shift. It is neither the way of convenience nor of instant gratification.

The more I research processed food, the more I realize its potentially harmful health impacts. Here are my latest findings.

In summary:
Read the labels on packaged foods.
Try to cook more of your own, additive-free food.

The details:

Xantham Gum:
A polysaccharide secreted by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris 
used as a food thickening agent and a stabilizer. It is produced by the fermentation of glucose, sucrose, or lactose. It may be derived from a variety of sources that are common allergens, such as corn, wheat, dairy, or soy. Anyone with known sensitivities or allergies to these foods is advised to avoid it

Tapioca Starch:
This root vegetable is native to Brazil and spread throughout the South American continent by way of Portuguese and Spanish explorers. It is now cultivated worldwide. In Brazil, the cassava plant is call mandioca while its starch is called tapioca. The name tapioca is derived from the word tipi'óka, the name for this starch in the local Tupí language. This Tupí word refers to the process by which the starch is made edible. Today, the commercial process of extracting starch from cassava root is highly chemical and requires class 3 solvents akin to rubbing alcohol. Over time, the residues of this starch can affect overall health, both of the human body and of the groundwater surrounding processing plants. 
What questions do you have about other strange and mysterious ingredients? Email me at lisa[at]harmonizedcookery.com and I will research them for you.


December 6, 2013

Home-Made Food Gifts

Delight yourself and your loved ones with the gift of nourishment this holiday season.

Dried Fig Compote

2 pounds dried black mission figs, stemmed and quartered
¼ cup bourbon
8 whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed
pinch salt
Peel of 1 lemon, plus ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tablespoons raw honey

Place figs, bourbon and 4 cups boiling water in a large, heatproof bowl; cover surface with a plate to submerge figs. Let sit until figs are plump, about 1 hour; set aside.

Heat cardamom pods in a saucepan over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add figs with their soaking liquid, salt, lemon peel, and juice.

Bring to a boil and cook, stirring often, until mixture has thickened, 20-25 minutes.

Add honey.

Divide finished compote into prepared half pint jars, apply clean lids and rings and place in an oven, heated to 180 degrees and turned off immediately before adding jars.

Let stand in closed oven overnight. Voila! These will last on the pantry shelf for 8 months.

***


Nut and Grain Crackers
 
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
In a spice grinder, grind:
        1 cup sweet nuts (almonds or pecans)
        1 cup savory nuts (walnuts or hazelnuts)
        1 cup seeds (pumpkin or sunflower)

Mix together in a bowl with1 cup leftover oatmeal, quinoa, rice, or millet. Make sure you have cooked the grains down into a porridge-like consistency before mixing them in with the nuts and seeds.

Add ½ teaspoon salt and any spices you like.
Try one of these combinations: cumin, coriander, turmeric OR thyme, coriander, oregano.

If mixture is a bit dry, add a few splashes of olive oil. Mix well before adding any additional oil – the nuts already contain oil.

Grease a cookie sheet with oil and spread mixture in a thin layer.
Bake at 200 degrees for 1 ½ hours. Allow to cool completely before breaking into cracker pieces and storing in plastic bags.

***
Healing Morsels

based on a recipe by Rosemary Gladstar

1 cup tahini (roasted sesame seed butter)
½ cup cashew or almond butter
¼ cup honey (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom powder
3 Tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
½ cup coarsely chopped almonds
2 oz unsweetened shredded coconut

Mix tahini, nut butter and honey until smooth.
Add coconut and nuts - mix in well.  Mix in enough coconut to make dough thick.
Roll the dough into small balls. You can also spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and cut into squares.
Store the balls in baking tins in a cool place. They will last for 3 weeks.

***
Nutty Paté

Chop 2 large yellow onions.
Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a skillet that has a matching lid.
When oil is hot, add onions, stir briefly with spatula, and turn burner down to medium-low.
If you have leftover red or white wine, add a couple splashes. If not, just add a splash of apple cider vinegar. Then, cover the skillet.

Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add thyme, salt and black pepper. Simmer for 15 more minutes, until onion starts to brown.
Add water if onion is sticking to the bottom of the skillet.

While onions are cooking, place ½ cup walnut halves/pieces in a skillet.
Toast on medium heat, tossing often with a spatula, for about 3 minutes or until walnuts are lightly browned.

Once onions and walnuts are cooked, place them in a food processor and add 3 Tablespoons olive oil.
Blend at highest speed for 2 minutes. Taste for salt.

Keeps in fridge for 5 days.

Enjoy with biscuits, on toast or as a dip for carrot and celery sticks. This makes a lovely appetizer with nut and seed crackers.

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