December 9, 2012 § Leave a comment
These past few months I’ve been away from home nearly as much as I’ve been at home. My stove could’ve been featured in a magazine — unsmudged, only used to boil water for endless cups of coffee. But in the last few weeks, my work pace has slowed down a little and I’ve re-donned my canvas cooking apron. I’d like to share my favorite experiment of late — a grain-free “fried rice” recipe inspired by my kitchen partner-n-crime, Gina. (You can check out her beautiful photographs and inspiring grain-free recipes over at her blog.)
I’ve made this recipe for all kinds of eaters — for folks with food allergies and those without. It’s enjoyed by all, but definitely worth noting that this meal is an exciting addition for those on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Candida diet, Paleo diet, among others. It is also nut-free, gluten-free and can be easily veganized if you omit the eggs.
In this dish, rice is replaced by blended cauliflower florets. Cauliflower, on its own, has such a mild flavor that in this dish, it takes on the taste of whatever you put into it. I’ve trial-ed this recipe many times: Sometimes I’ll flavor it with Middle Eastern spices (turmeric, garam masala, curries); other times I’ll veer toward a south-of-the-Border taste (adobo and ancho chile powder). Every version has been delicious.
Below, you’ll find the Starting Point. This is the bare bones ingredient list for any fried rice recipe that you like. It’s perfectly good as is, but you can also spice it to your liking, depending on what you’re serving alongside this “rice” dish.
1 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup carrot, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
1 tablespoon garlic, roughly chopped
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup scallions, chopped on diagonal
1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
additional spices (optional)
1. Chop, mince and grate all vegetables and set aside. In a food processor, blend cauliflower in one or two batches until florets break down into granule-size bits.*
*Be mindful not to overstuff the food processor or the bottom will puree and the top will remain un-chopped.
2. In a large skillet, begin by sauteing the onion for several minutes until wilted and translucent. Add carrots and peppers and saute an additional few minutes until slightly tender. Add cauliflower, garlic and ginger and cook and additional few minutes. Add additional spices if you’d like to; adjust salt and pepper seasoning.
3. Just before adding the egg to the fry pan, stir in scallions and cilantro. Saute until heated through; add eggs. Stir constantly until set. Remove from heat and taste for seasoning.
Serve as a side dish to any meal where you’d normally serve rice. My favorite lunch of late has featured this rice stuffed inside of romaine lettuce wraps, garnished with a little tahini dressing and toasted sunflower seeds. The “rice” keeps in the refrigerator for several days in an airtight container.
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.
1 bunch kale, stemmed and ripped into large pieces
3-4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
sea salt, to taste
few teaspoons olive oil
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
July 19, 2012 § 1 Comment
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.
sea salt, to taste
a few teaspoons olive oil
spices, to taste (optional)
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
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.
tomatoes sliced 1/4 – 1/2″ thick (cherries cut in half)
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
April 29, 2012 § 2 Comments
In college, I had an across-the-hall-chum who was borderline obsessed with lentils. She piled them on top of mammoth salads and claimed they were nature’s most perfect food. When she’d go up for seconds, I’d roll my eyes and crunch through another bowl of frosted mini wheats. Suffice it to say, I found these little legumes entirely underwhelming.
Fast-forward to 2012: In a turn-of-the-new-year cleaning frenzy, I began sorting through the pantry dregs. I found a couple of gems: unsweetened Scharffen Berger chocolate; a quart of dried, Mexican oregano! I also found hoards of lentils in little baggies, nicely twisty-tied. (Several years ago I tried to perfect a lentil soup recipe; clearly, I didn’t get very far.) After a day of lentil pondering, I decided it was time for two recipe experiments: I set out to make a savory lentil burger and a springtime lentil salad. As I type, Trial Two of the lentil burger is in the oven. As for the salad, after four different trials, this Mediterranean bowl — punctuated with a little dill, citrus, scallion, garlic, winter greens — is down-right wonderful. Just be sure to season it as you go; salt is key! And the silver lining, you can make a huge batch and freeze it. It thaws perfectly.
Ingredients for the Lentils:
2 cups lentils, raw*
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
1.5 cups purple cabbage, shredded
2 cups winter greens (kale/collard greens/brassica leaves/etc.)
8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
sea salt, to taste
dressing (see below)
1/3 cup scallion, sliced on diagonal
3/4 cup ricotta salata grated (or feta) **
1/2 cup dill
*If following the SCD-diet, soak lentils 24 hours prior to cooking and rinse well.
**If following the SCD-diet, use a hard cheese like Parmesan.
Ingredients for the Dressing:
4 tablespoons meyer lemon juice
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar*
3-4 tablespoons fruity olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dill, chopped
3/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
sea salt, pepper
*If following a strict SCD diet, swap balsamic vinegar with apple cider vinegar.
1. In a large pot, boil lentils until al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a wide-brimmed pan, saute onion in a little olive oil. Salt and saute until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add cabbage and saute an additional few minutes, until slightly softened. Add garlic and winter greens and stir until wilted. Remove from heat.
3. Prepare dressing; whisk and set aside. In a large serving bowl, combine lentils, sauted mixture and dressing. Taste and add dressing and salt as needed. Top with scallion, dill and cheese. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, nut-free, SCD-safe (see asterisks)
April 18, 2012 § 3 Comments
This is a straightforward, easy-peasy recipe that has four ingredients and comes together in a minute flat. Thanks to the avocado, I like to think of this creamy, vegan shmear as a hybrid pesto and alfredo sauce.
A note about the above photo: South Tucson greenhouses are teaming with ripe, cherry tomatoes and zucchinis. As the bounty of winter brassicas and greens wanes, I’ve started loading my canvas bags with these (Sonoran) spring fruits and vegetables. My latest kick? Zucchini pasta. That’s right. I’ve been cranking one of these suckers. I’ve dabbled with many different “noodle” preparations, but here’s my favorite method that yields flavorful, al dente “noodles”: Saute a half-cup early onion/scallion with a lot of garlic and a generous pinch of salt in a wide-brimmed sauce pan. Saute until wilted and fragrant (just a minute or two) and add zucchini “noodles.” Toss until heated through and coated with oil, garlic and onion. Remove from heat; add sauce; serve warm.
2 cloves garlic
2 cups basil
juice of a lemon (about 1/4 cup)
Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until combined. Add additional lemon juice to thin, if necessary. Toss with zucchini or grain-pasta and serve immediately. Leftovers keep two days.
Diet Notes: SCD-safe, vegan, gluten-free, nut-free
March 16, 2012 § 3 Comments
About a month ago, I came across this video by Sarah Britton, blogger of one of my top three favs: My New Roots. Since then, I’ve watched this little flic nine more times. I’ve graduated from a noodle strainer to a cheesecloth to a fine mesh “nut milk” bag. I’ve drunk a few gallons of nut milks.
Why go to the trouble? Certainly, there are plenty of health benefits: Nuts are spankin’ healthy. Also, in most packaged almond, rice, oat, hemp and some soy milks there are added ingredients like carrageenan, a thickener (seaweed derivative) that can be rough on sensitive tummies and may have longer-lasting detriments.
These are good reasons to buy a few cups of raw nuts and dust off the blender. But I like making nut milk for two other reasons (the purported health benefits being a mere kick in the pants). First, making this drink makes me feel delightfully resourceful. Second, you can make oodles of variations. I spice each batch differently, depending on my mood. For instance, if I want a sweet nut milk, I’ll add medjool dates (soaked in water for a half hour to soften) or a tablespoon of honey to the blender. If I want a plain milk, I won’t add any spices; it’s still creamy, the flavor is more subtle. Below, I’ve put my favorite combo of late. I use the leftover nut “pulp” to make cookies like these. I nibble on one or two for an afternoon snack with a cold glass of almond milk.
1 cup raw almonds
8 medjool dates, pitted
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
1/2 teaspoon vanilla, optional
fine mesh bag
air-tight jars for storage
1. Pour raw almonds into a large glass bowl and cover with water. Soak for a minimum of 8 hours, up to a day. A half hour before blending, add dates to soften. Drain almonds and dates and place in a blender with 4 cups of water and spices, if using. Blend.
2. Place a fine mesh bag or cheesecloth in a pitcher. Drain and squeeze the almond pulp. Reserve pulp for a fun recipe. Pour almond milk in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Diet Notes: SCD-safe, vegan, gluten-free