Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Yellow Split Pea Dal and Roasted Cauliflower

Lily and Connor pretty much licked their plates clean with this dish.  To serve four people you need at the very least two heads of cauliflower, although three would be best. Core, cut into florets, slice lengthwise, wash, and then roast on a baking sheet with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast at 375 degrees, turning at least once, until golden and delicious.  If you don't like cauliflower, you will once you try it roasted.

For the yellow split pea dal you will need a slow cooker, otherwise I think you'd have to soak the split peas over night and then cook them on the stove top.  Roughly the ingredients and proportions are:

2 T coconut oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 c finely chopped carrot
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 - 1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 - 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 c dried yellow split peas
2 cans coconut milk
1 c vegetable broth

Fresh lemon, for serving
Fresh cilantro, for serving

Saute onion and carrot until soft, add garlic until fragrant, add spices until fragrant, add coconut milk and broth.  Taste, adjust seasoning and add salt to taste.  Stir in yellow split peas and put mixture in slow cooker and cook three to four hours, until split peas are soft.  This with more broth if desired, serve over roasted coconut.  It would be ideal to make this the day before and then roast the cauliflower the day you are eating it so that the flavors have more time to meld.  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fruit salad. For real.

This is a serious fruit salad, meaning that the ingredients include fruit.  And only fruit.  You might be skeptical about the presence of fresh (tart!) cranberries and the absence of sugar, but the dates and other fresh fruit and just enough sweetness.  It passed the 4/3 year old taste bud test with flying colors.

1 pkg fresh cranberries (I had leftover fresh cranberries that I had stashed in the freezer, so I just rinsed them in a strainer to thaw and tossed them in the bowl)

2 c frozen wild blueberries

5 oranges, peeled and chopped

2 oranges, juiced

1 lime, juiced

4 to 8 oz fresh dates

4 to 6 Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped

Add the juice of 1 orange and 1 lime to the dates in a food processor or blender, and process until combined.  It is perfectly fine if it isn't completely smooth.

In a large bowl combine the cranberries, blueberries, chopped oranges, chopped apples and juice of 1 orange.  Mix to combine.  Add the juice/date puree and mix thoroughly.  That's it.  cover it and refrigerate until ready to serve

You can substitute tangerines or clementines for the oranges, firm but ripe pears for the apples, you could add fresh ginger or shredded coconut.  Or, you can just make it this way.  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The secret to great black bean burgers.

Green olives.  That's the secret.  Not lentils.  Not mushrooms.  Green olives.  This is how I make them.

Soak dry black beans in water for 8 hours or overnight.  Drain, rinse, and put in a large pot with enough water to cover them by about three inches.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender.  Skim off the scum as it cooks, and after about 20 minutes add seasoning - salt, garlic powder, and oregano.  Lots.  Trust me.

Cook a bunch of brown rice.  I made a triple batch.  Be sure to salt your water.

Chop up a bunch of good green olives.

After the beans have cooked puree about 1/3 of them.  It doesn't need to be completely smooth.  Mix the puree with more beans, rice, olives and seasoning (salt if needed, onion or garlic powder) until they are holding together when you try to form a patty.

I use an ice cream scoop to portion them out and flatten them to about 1/2 to 3/4 of a inch thick on a baking sheet.  I refrigerate them or freeze them until ready to use.  Bake anywhere from 375 to 425 degrees, turning once so they crisp up on both sides.  No oil is needed, just use parchment paper or a silpat or something.  Or you can spray your pan with cooking spray.  They take about 20 to 30 minutes total.  We like them on sandwich thins rather than buns (way too much bread in a hamburger bun), with ketchup, mustard and pickles.  There must be pickles.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Black-Eyed Pea Cakes over braised beet greens with spicy chipotle sauce. And chocolate coconut almond pie for dessert.

Oh my.  This was such a good meal.  Dairy, egg, and oil free.  Completely delicious.  Let's start with dinner.

Some thoughts a day later:

  • The chocolate pie is best the day it is made.  Don't put the coconut almond topping on until you are ready to serve.  It is still good the next day, but not amazing like the first day.  
  • The black eyed pea cakes are still delicious the next day, even cold.  I just smeared them with leftover sauce and had them for lunch straight from the fridge.  Now you know.

I adapted this recipe: which I found when I was looking for black-eyed pea ideas.  I made a few substitutions:

  • I used black eyed peas that I'd cooked rather than canned
  • I used leftover polenta instead of the greek yogurt that I had made with veg stock and rice milk
  • I sauteed the onion and garlic with three stalks of celery, and left it whole rather than pureeing it with the beans as indicated in the recipe
  • I omitted the onion powder, nutritional yeast, and liquid smoke
  • I used chipotle hot sauce
I baked these in a muffin tin.  While they were baking I made this sauce, which looks like hummus but tastes amazing:

In a blender puree about 1 cup of garbanzo beans, juice from half a lime, salt, veg stock, and chipotle hot sauce or canned chipotle peppers with some of the sauce.  Adjust seasoning to your liking.  That's it.

I chopped my beet greens and braised them with some veg stock, minced garlic, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper until tender.  Put braised greens on the plate, top with black-eyed pea cakes, top with sauce.  So good.

Now for desert.  Prepare yourself.  I am not a Paleo diet follower by any means, but this pie crust recipe is amazing.  The only substitution I used was using regular sugar, but other than that I followed the recipe as outlined here:  I baked it for 25 minutes in a tart pan with a removable bottom and let it cool.

For the topping I simply made a caramel with sugar and a bit of water and added chopped almonds and unsweetened shredded coconut and stirred it until the coconut was toasted.  I did toast the almonds a bit in the oven before, but I don't think that is absolutely necessary.  Then I let it cool.

For the chocolate pudding I used a combination of light coconut milk and rice milk, although I would have used all coconut milk if I'd had enough, but I only had one can.  I used arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch because I had it for the pie crust, and unlike cornstarch arrowroot (which you dissolve in some of the milk) must be added at the end, after all of the other ingredients have been brought to a boil.  You can use more cocoa powder and fewer chocolate chips.  I was using a recipe as a guide and it only called for 3T of cocoa powder which is why I ended up using so many chocolate chips because it just wasn't chocolate-y enough. But after the addition of chocolate chips it was amazing.

3 c coconut milk (I used light)
1/4 c arrowroot powder
1/3 c sugar
4 T cocoa powder (taste and adjust, adding more sugar or cocoa powder as desired)
pinch of salt
1/2 to 1 c semi sweet chocolate chips (Trader Joe's are my favorite right now)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine arrowroot and 1 c coconut milk in a bowl, stir to dissolve and set aside.

In a saucepan combine remaining milk, sugar, cocoa powder and salt and bring to a boil.  Add arrowroot mixture and whisk constantly until thick and immediately remove from heat and add chocolate chips and vanilla.  Stir until smooth and then poor into prepared pie crust.  Let cool at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, then refrigerate until ready to serve.  Top with almond coconut mixture and prepare to be blown away.  This is like an almond joy bar times a million.  So good.  Bryant said it was his favorite chocolate dessert of all times.  That's high praise for something that is dairy, oil, egg and grain free.  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Health-ish carrot cake with whipped coconut cream

I made this recipe up the other night as I opened my fridge and saw a million rainbow carrots from our CSA that were continuing to accumulate.  Carrot cake seemed like the obvious remedy.  I had a few eggs left that I used up but they could easily be replaced with 2 mashed ripe bananas and then this cake would be both dairy and egg free.  And still completely delicious.

Whisk together dry ingredients:

2 1/2 c oat flour
1 1/2 c brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom

In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients:

1/4 c coconut oil (or canola or grapeseed)
4 eggs (or 2 bananas, mashed very well)
3/4 c crushed pineapple

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until moistened.  Fold in:

4 c shredded carrots
1 c toasted and chopped walnuts (or you could use pecans if you'd prefer)
1/2 c toasted coconut (untoasted is also fine, but toasted gives it more flavor)

Pour into a greased 9 inch spring form pan and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.  Serve with whipped coconut cream

Put a can of coconut milk upside down in the fridge overnight or in the freezer until thoroughly chilled but not frozen, maybe 30 minutes?  Flip the can back over, open, and scoop out the solids that have separated from the liquid.  Place in a bowl with 2 to 3 tbs powdered sugar, 1 tsp orange zest, and 1/2 to 1 tsp vanilla and whip as you would cream.

Serve with a completely cooled cake.

***You can change the spices to fit your preference, substituting cloves and nutmeg for the ginger and cardamom if you'd like.  You can add vanilla or orange zest or both to the cake batter.  You could try substituting maple syrup for the brown sugar.  This makes a very moist, very delicious carrot cake full of the things I want in a carrot cake - lots of carrots, pineapple and walnuts.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Easy peasy salad dressing.

Ever week we get a bag of mixed greens, which always includes radish and sunflower sprouts.  And they are delicious.  This is our go to vinegrette recipe now that we live in the land of maple syrup.

Equal parts (to serve al 4 of us I usually do 1 tablespoon of each):

Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Maple syrup

That's it.  Whisk well and season with salt and pepper. 

Probably my best loaf of whole wheat bread. Ever.

Super easy, but it only makes one loaf.  That is the bad part.  I really didn't want to dig under the sink to pull out my wheat grinder (our new kitchen has zero storage) so I decided to just grind the wheat in m blender.  But I was impatient and tried to grind to much at once, so it was much coarser than I had wanted.  But I think that is partially what made the bread so delicious. Because of the less than fluffy consistency of my ground wheat I decided to add a cup of all purpose flour to the dough as I was kneading it.  So here's the recipe, I just made it in a stand mixer.  I was feeling lazy this morning, which might have something to do with being awakened at 5am by a little girl named Lily.

1 1/2 c warm water mixed with 1 pkg yeast
3 c whole wheat flour (mind you, mine was just ground so you may need to adjust the amount if you use store bought flour because it will have settled)
1 c all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1/4 c maple syrup
2 T coconut oil (I love coconut, therefore I love coconut oil, but you don't taste it in the final product)

Mix the whole wheat flour and salt.  Add the proofed yeast/water mixture and maple syrup and oil and beat with the paddle attachment (or mix with a wooden spoon if doing by hand) until combined.  Add additional flour until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. Change to dough hook attachment to knead for an additional 8 minutes or so.  Place in a greased bowl, cover with a towel, and set aside to rise.  Punch down, shape, put in greased bread pan and let rise again.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Reduce heat to 375 when you put the bread in and cook for 30 minutes or until it makes a hallow noise when you tap on it.  Devour.