Crunchy Kale Chips

September 1, 2012 § 5 Comments

Last week I ate a gallon ziploc big of kale chips that packed a balsamic vinegar punch.  K-chips with chile/adobo powder are an extremely good idea.  A couple days ago I read an article about chocolate kale chips (I’m not holding my breath on that one).  This three-ingredient version is my favorite.

This recipe has undergone seven trials in the past two weeks; each time, I’ve whittled away at a list of ingredients that was, at one time, double in length.  But as I reduced and tasted, I felt that this simple-dimple blend was just as good as the previous versions touting extra spices and peppery add-ins.  (Okay, with a caveat: If you’re a garlic lover, go ahead and add a few minced cloves to this recipe — it’s terrific.)  But rest assured, this combination below is simple and good, no garlic or spicy-heat necessary.

There are only three things to keep in mind when setting out to bake a batch of crispy kale chips: (1) Make sure the kale leaves are completely dry.  If they’re at all wet, they’ll steam instead of crisp.  (2) Don’t be tempted to pile kale onto the sheet pan. Spread the kale in a single layer and when making a large batch, use two or three sheet pans. (3) Keep a close eye on the chips during the remaining 3-5 minutes of baking.  They crisp-up quickly and can burn easily.

Ingredients:
1 bunch kale, stemmed and ripped into large pieces
3-4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
sea salt, to taste
few teaspoons olive oil

Method: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Stem kale leaves and rip into large pieces.  Wash and spin until dry; pile in a large bowl.  Toss with a few teaspoons of olive oil to coat, nutritional yeast and sea salt to taste (be generous).

2. Spread kale leaves in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 15-22 minutes, tossing half way through, until crunchy and slightly golden-brown around the edges.

Diet Notes: SCD-safe, gluten-free, nut-free, vegan

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DIY: Toasted Pepitas

July 19, 2012 § 1 Comment

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Many store-bought, pre-toasted and -salted nuts and seeds are processed and coated with starches to help salt/spices adhere to the nuts/seeds.  If you are steering away from added starches in your diet, or if you simply would like to have more control over the ingredients in the food that you eat, try buying the raw materials and then dressing them up yourself — it’s a resourceful, creative alternative to what’s commonly available in a standard supermarket.

I like to roast/salt/season big batches of nuts and seeds at a time.  They’re wonderfully shelf-stable and then I have them at-the-ready.  Included below is the simplest recipe for roasting pepitas (pumpkin seeds), but feel free to dabble.  You can try roasting them with a little tamari (or soy sauce) or toss them with dill and nutritional yeast.  I enjoy pepitas out-of-hand, a-top mammoth leafy salads, soups and pasta or brown rice dishes.

Ingredients:
raw pepitas
sea salt, to taste
a few teaspoons olive oil
spices, to taste (optional)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  On a sheet pan, toss pepitas with a little olive oil – just enough to cover all the surfaces.  Sprinkle with salt (and spices) to taste.

2.  Bake for 15 minutes; stop and stir half-way. Cool completely before packaging.

 

Diet Notes: Gluten-free, SCD-safe, nut-free, vegan

Preserving Summer’s Bounty: Dried Tomatoes

June 5, 2012 § 4 Comments

Today is the fifth of June and down in the southwest, we’re harvesting tomatoes in full swing.  In fact, we’ve been popping sweet cherries into our mouths for the last month.  In light of this fact, and given that we have several more months of lycopene-glory ahead, it’s never too early to start preserving these suckers.  Canning recipes are coming, but for now, I thought I’d start with a dehydration recipe.  Don’t worry if you don’t own one of these mammoth electrical appliances.  If you’re eating tomatoes now, your backyard is an oven.

Ingredients:
tomatoes sliced 1/4 – 1/2″ thick (cherries cut in half)
sea salt

Method:

Slice tomatoes in thick slabs and remove seeds.  Arrange evenly on a dehydrator (or mesh screen for outdoor use).  Sprinkle generously with sea salt.  Dehydrate at 135/140 degrees for 10-16 hours (depending on thickness) or until chewy and crinkled.  If dehydrating outside, keep a fine mesh cloth (ie. cheese cloth) over the tomatoes to keep bugs and debris at bay.  When cool, store in an airtight container. Will keep for several months.

Diet Notes: SCD-safe, gluten-free, nut-free, vegan

Thyme-Spiced Almonds, with a kick

February 26, 2012 § 3 Comments

A third of this batch has disappeared in the last 48 minutes.  There are only two of us in the house.  In my dad’s words, “These are the best [crunch] spiced [crunch] nut-things [crunch] I’ve ever had [crunch, crunch]!”

If you have a hankering for spicy food, up the amount of red pepper flakes and pepper.  Just don’t skimp on the fresh thyme.

Ingredients:
3 cups almonds, raw
1.5 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup thyme, fresh
2 tablespoons Mexican oregano, dried
1 teaspoon dried garlic flakes
1/2+ teaspoon sea salt
10 cracks pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees on convection.  In a large bowl, toss almonds with honey and olive oil.  In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and toss until thoroughly coated.  Line a sheet pan with a Silpat mat or grease thoroughly.  Bake for 18 minutes, stirring half way through.  Cool completely before packaging.

Diet Notes: Gluten-free, SCD-safe

Quick Bread & Butter Apple Pickles

November 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

Quick pickles are my go-to recipe when the cucumber crop goes gang-busters.  But it wasn’t until this past fall, when I cooked side-by-side with Cammy at Super Chilly Farm, that I added apples into the vinegar brine.  We made this recipe six times in three weeks and since coming home to Arizona, my mom has kept the crisper drawer stocked with cucumbers.

Two things to note:

(1) Use the very best apple cider vinegar you can find.  If you can, seek out a local apple orchard and buy vinegar in bulk (we buy gallon jugs).  The cost isn’t prohibitive (in fact, it’s often comparable to grocery store prices, or cheaper when purchased in larger quantities); it only requires a bit of extra effort.  While I lived in Maine I tracked down Sewall’s cider vinegar.  I brought home a bottle for my mom who tried it and said it tasted like wine and was the best she’d ever tasted.

(2) At Super Chilly Farm I was fortunate to have a stock pile of heirloom apples at my disposal.  With each batch of pickles, I sliced up different kinds of apples — softer, crisper, sweeter, tarter.  My favorite pickle batch used sweet, only slightly acidic, very crisp crab apple varieties called Chestnut and Pipsqueak.  Close runner-ups were Red St. Lawrence and Garden Royal apples.  (Photographs here.)  I suspect that this recipe would be quite good with the conventional varieties Pink Lady, Fuji, Braeburn or Gala.  Or, if you live in apple country, visit an orchard growing out apples native to your area and try out a couple that strike your fancy.

 Ingredients:
4 medium-sized pickling cucumbers, thinly sliced
4-5 small/medium apples, unpeeled, cored
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 early onions/shallots
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup honey (or more, to taste)
1 cinnamon stick

Method:

1. Prep cucumbers: Cut off ends, discard, and thinly slice with a cabbage shredder, mandolin, food processor or sharp knife.  Place cucumber slices in a colander and toss with sea salt.  Let sit for 20 minutes.  Prep apples and onions using the same slicing utensil—aim for uniform thinness and size.

2. In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, water and honey until full incorporated.  Add cinnamon stick and pour dressing over apples and onions.

3. Rinse cucumbers and lightly dry.  Add slices to bowl with apples and stir well.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Diet Notes: SCD-safe, nut-free, gluten-free

Farmer Cheese Frittata

October 21, 2011 § 1 Comment

For the last two months I’ve been collecting eggs from (very vocal) chickens roosting up the road, and harvesting baskets of veggies from the gardens surrounding my house. With these ingredients at my disposal, frittatas are a farmhouse standby.

Frittatas are exceptionally versatile (ie. chuck in whatever you have in the garden and it’ll taste terrific) and they’re minimal-fuss.  At the farm, we start our frittatas on the stove, sauteing whatever veggies we have handy, and once we add the eggs and cheese, we pop our cast iron into a preheated oven and let it do the rest of the work.

Frittatas are hearty, delicious hot, room temperature and cold, and are out-of-this-world-good when drizzled with a little salsa.  Below I’ve shared my favorite recipe, but I’ve left some wiggle room for you to add whatever vegetables are in season in your neck-of-the-woods.  (If Delacata or Butternut squash are popping up in your gardens or hitting the farm stand, give those a try!)

Ingredients:
1 small onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 cup roasted vegetables (eggplant, bell pepper, red onion, zucchini, winter squash, etc.)
4 eggs
1/4 cup pesto
1/3 cup farmer cheese
1/4 cup sharp cheddar/parmesan reggiano, shredded
pepper, to taste

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a cast iron pan (or alternative cooking/baking, oven-safe receptacle) heat olive oil or butter on medium-heat.  Add onions and cook for 5-7 minutes, until wilted and beginning to carmaelize.  Add roasted vegetables and cook until heated through, another minute or two.

2.  Meanwhile, whisk eggs, pepper and pesto.  Remove cast iron from heat, add egg mixture and dollop with farmer cheese.  Sprinkle with cheddar or Parmesan and finish cooking in the oven.  Bake until set, between 15 and 20 minutes.  In the last minute of cooking, place under the broiler for 30-45 seconds to lightly brown the top of the cheese.

3.  Let sit for at least five minutes before serving.  Serve hot, warm or cold.  Top with salsa or avocados and fresh tomato wedges.

Diet Notes: SCD-safe and gluten free.

Mango Margarita

August 28, 2011 § 1 Comment

Tomorrow I jet eastbound to southern Maine (Irene, permitting)!  The following morning I’ll don my faded farming pants and begin a short term apprenticeship on an heirloom apple orchard/homestead.  I’ll be photo-documenting my first real-deal FALL (!) this October and in the coming months I’ll post a photo or two, along with some apples recipes.

But before I head out, it’s time to whip up a final batch of margaritas.  Akin to the semi-annual Fitz BBQ or Grandma’s wintertime delivery of peanut butter fudge, no drink sings of “home” more than this tequila-lime slurry.  My dad tweaked his tried-and-true blend to fit the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  While this version is not as authentic as its original counterpart, it’s lip-smackin’ good.

One important note: In addition to the mangoes, my pops adds one frozen banana or a pineapple core to impart a bit of sweetness, but not so much banana/pineapple that the flavor of either becomes detectable.  Alternatively, feel free to add additional honey or your preferred sweetener.

Ingredients:
1 cup lime juice
3/4 cup tequila
2 large mangoes, peeled and pitted
1 frozen banana and/or pineapple core
2-4 tablespoons honey
3 cups ice, crushed
sea salt

Method:
Combine all ingredients in a blender.  Taste and add additional honey if necessary.  Spread sea salt on a plate, about 1/8″ thick.  Dip the rim of each glass in a bit of the margarita liquid and place glass rim-side-down in the salt.  Twist until entire rim is coated.  Fill each glass and serve immediately.

Diet: SCD-safe, gluten-free, nut-free

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