Sunday, October 26, 2008

Orange Jicama Salad

Just made this for a Whole Foods Meetup I went to last night. It appears that it was liked by all (except the person who didn't like cilantro).

3 cloves garlic
1/2 t sea salt
Juice from 2 limes
6 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t dehydrated cane juice
1/2 t cracked pepper
1 small onion, minced

8 naval oranges
1 lb jicama
1/2 c packed cilantro
1/2 c sliced feta cheese or fresh goat's cheese
1/3 c sunflower seeds

Mince the garlic and mash with the salt. Whisk together rest of dressing ingredients. Let sit for at least 1 hr at room temperature to allow onion to take on flavor of ingredients.

Cut oranges to make "chunks" of orange pieces (no pith). Cut jicama into small "matchbook" slices. Chill.

Just before serving place all salad ingredients in bowl, whisk dressing final time and toss together.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Making Powdered Sugar

If you have a blender, you never need to buy powdered sugar again. Just "buzz" regular sugar (or dehydrated cane juice) for a few seconds and "poof!" instant powdered sugar.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Veggie Burger Trials Begin

I have ideas of many different recipes in my head - from desserts to main dishes to soups. One thing I will be experimenting on over the next few weeks are various veggie burgers. I not only want to come up with ones I like, I want to find ones my kids will like PLUS I want to find ones that will freeze well.

I have been a big fan of bulk cooking and freezing so that ready made meals are waiting in the freezer. I figure that, based on the ingredients used, these will lend themselves very well to freezing.

So. . .things I will be experimenting with include various types of beans (kidney, black, lentils, garbanzo), carrots, cornmeal, potatoes, onions and rolled oats. I probably will experiment with tofu too, but I don't think you can freeze tofu (can you?). None of us like mushrooms so I know I won't experiment with those. Only my daughter likes olives, but I don't think I'll experiment with them either.

If you would like to put comments of what you like best - please do! I'm hoping to come up with 3 or 4 really good combinations when I'm done experimenting.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Black Bean, Corn and Chorizo Soup

I haven't yet tried this recipe, but was trying to think of a combination of ingredients to put together for a soup that would work well with tacos. I may add a little chili powder - undecided about that yet. Instead of the tomato sauce, I will probably use some of the stewed tomatoes I canned earlier this summer. I will be making this for someone in a little over a week - I'll update how they liked it.

Update 10/31/2008: Tried it and I think it came out great. Waiting to hear their feedback. I did add 2 T of chili powder (modifying the recipe now). Instead of the banana peppers I used 2 seeded fresh jalapenos (forgot to put on disposable gloves before I did and my fingers were burning all afternoon!) and a dozen or so slices of pickled jalapenos. I used 2 quart jars of stewed tomatoes I canned instead of the cans of tomato sauce.

If you try this, please let me know it worked for you. I will be putting it in a crockpot instead of simmering for the last 30 minutes. This way the soup is ready when they are ready to eat - even if it is 3 or 4 hours later.

1-1/2 lbs chorizo sausage
2 large carrots, diced small
1 large onion, diced small
4 banana peppers, minced
7 cups chicken or turkey broth, strained (can substitute canned broth)
1 lb (dried weight) soft-cooked black beans or 3 cans
2 lbs kernel corn
2 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 T ground cumin
Juice of 2 limes

In a frying pan, combine sausage with casings removed (the sausage I bought didn't have a casing), carrots, peppers, and onion. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until the sausage is browned and crumbled in small pieces. Drain excess grease from sausage (I blotted a couple of paper towels over the top to absorb the grease)..

Put meat mixture in a pot and stir in broth, beans, corn, tomato sauce, ground cumin, and lime juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a half hour, stirring from time to time.

Garnish with sour cream and cheese.

Optional: Garnish with diced scallions.

If you prefer a little more heat, you may substitute the banana peppers with 2 or 3 seeded jalapeño peppers.

Many times I cook chicken (and every time I cook turkey) I cook the bones with some meat on it together with some veggies to make my own broth. I strain it and freeze it for future use.

Cooking Dried Black Beans

Cooking with dried beans is easy and economical. Black beans can be used in so many recipes that it pays to always have them on hand. If you aren't successful with having tender beans, it may be because the dried beans you have aren't fresh. DO NOT ADD ANY SALT! Salt and tomatoes will cause the softening process to stop.

This method can be also be used when cooking chickpeas/garbanzo beans and kidney beans.

1 lb. dried black beans
1 quart water

Soak beans overnight. Rinse well. Put beans in a large pot or Dutch oven; cover with cold water and boil 1 hour. Skim any foam that may appear on the top. Rinse. They are now ready to use in your recipes.

Note: If you are making black beans and rice you may wish to omit the last rinse and use that water.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fried Rice

Whenever I cook rice, I always make a bunch extra and freeze it. Rice is very versatile to use in many recipes or to toss in soup. This is a great recipe to whip together if you want something quick and light. If you keep peas and carrots in the freezer it makes it that much quicker.

4 T Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 C finely chopped onion
2 C basmati rice
1 C peas
1 C carrots, finely diced
3 L eggs, beaten
4 T soy sauce

Heat oil over high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent and slightly browned. Add carrots and rice and cook until rice is golden, about 4 minutes. Add peas and toss to combine. Push to side. Add eggs and scramble well. Mix eggs into rice mixture. Stir in soy sauce.

For a little variety in taste, you might want to try peanut oil of instead of the EVOO.

Makes 2-4 servings.

Pumpkin Roll

The fall is the perfect time to take advantage of the easy availability of pumpkins - they are both nutritious and tasty. I am experimenting with recipes using pumpkin pureé and grated pumpkin. Each year I try to cook up about 5 pumpkins (I use the regular large ones) and freeze some pureé to use over the next several months. Based on what I have done so far, I would estimate that I will probably do around 10 this year.

3 eggs
2/3 C honey
1 C pumpkin pureé
1 t lemon juice
1-1/2 C soft white wheat flour (or 1/2 hard wheat and 1/2 oat)
1 T baking powder
2 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1 t ginger
1/2 t salt
1/4 C Sucanat® w/ honey (to sprinkle on towel before rolling), buzz briefly in VitaMix for fine crystals (making powdered Sucanat)


1/2 C honey
4 T butter
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 375°F. Gently scramble eggs; gradually add the honey. Add pumpkin and lemon juice. Mix all dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Turn mixer to the slowest setting. Add the dry ingredients slowly. Spread evenly on a stone sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 15 minutes. Do not overcook! Turn out on a towel sprinkled with the powdered Sucanat. Roll the towel up from short end. Cool.

Cream together the filling ingredients. Caution: don't overdo it! Chill the filling while the rolled cake is setting.

Unroll cake and spread with filling. Roll again without the towel. Cover in plastic and chill.

When completely chilled, serve by cutting in pinwheel slices.

Makes about 10 slices.

If you pureé your own pumpkin and cook it by steaming instead of baking the pumpkin, you may need to add a little bit more flour. If you are using frozen pumpkin pureé you also may need to add a bit more flour.

Note: Above reflects modified recipe - 10/22/2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Citrus, mango and cranberry relish

Every fall I try something new with fresh cranberries since I'm always able to find them at a good price. I'm in Florida so I thought something with citrus and mangos would be appropriate.

The Sucanat® (dehydrated cane juice) has a naturally high molasses content so I am going to try some Sucanat® with honey (dehydrated cane juice w/molasses pulled out and honey added) - I think the molasses flavor would be too strong to go solely with regular Sucanat®.

I haven't yet tried this, but based on other recipes I have made several times using orange juice, I think this should work out great!

3 C fresh cranberries
1/2 C Sucanat®
1/4 C Sucanat® w/honey
1/2 C orange flesh (should be about 2 oranges - remove pithy part, need the zest - see below)
1/4 C lemon flesh (should be about 1 lemon - remove pithy part, need the zest - see below)
1 large mango, peeled and chopped
3/4 C red onion, chopped small
zest from 2 oranges, 1 lemon and 1 lime
Juice from 1 lime

In a heavy saucepan, cook the cranberries and cane juices, together with the flesh from the lemons and oranges, and stir until the mixture thickens and the cranberries begin to split open. Lower the heat and add the mango, onion and lime juice, and simmer occasionally for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in zest. Chill and serve.

Note: The grain co-op I am in has switched from Sucanat® to Savannah Gold®. There shouldn't be any difference except that the Savannah Gold® Molasses Granules is the same as Sucanat® and the Savannah Gold® Honey Granules is the same as Sucanat® w/honey.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chocolate Mint Sandwich Cookies

I use dehydrated cane juice w/honey and "fluff" it in my VitaMix instead of buying powdered sugar. It isn't as white (but it isn't chemically processed or bleached).

1 cup softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup cocoa powder
1 egg white
3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt (or you can toss regular sea salt in the VitaMix for a few seconds)
1-1/2 cups hard white wheat flour (or combo of hard white wheat and oat flour)

Cream filling

2+ cups powdered sugar, sifted for silkiness
10 - 15 drops peppermint extract
1/4 cup water

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.

Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and continue to cream, scraping the sides of the bowl a time or two. Stir in the vanilla extract, cocoa powder, egg white, and salt and mix until the batter is smooth and creamy and the consistency of a thick frosting. Add the flour and mix just until the batter is no longer dusty looking (it still might be somewhat crumbly).

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, form it into a ball, and knead it slightly - until smooth. Separate into two 1" thick patties and place, covered, in the freezer to chill.

Remove one patty at a time from the freezer. On a well-floured surface roll it out very thin - about 1/8" thick. Stamp out cookies in whatever shape you like. Place on pre-heated baking sheets, sprayed with non-stick spray, and bake for 7-10 minutes, depending on the size of your cookie.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Filling: Using a mixer, whisk together the sugar and water until nice and fluffy. The filling should be thick, but not runny. Add small amounts of powdered sugar at a time to thicken and add a few drops of water at a time to thin. Whisk in the peppermint extract a bit at a time, until you are satisfied with the taste (don't make too strong).

Take the cooled cookies, put on some filling and cover with a second cookie.

Makes about 3 dozen 1-1/2" sandwich cookies.

Black Bean Brownies

These are so awesome! These are moist and chocolaty (is that a word?). You'd never know they were made with beans. To make a mint-chocolate version, replace the vanilla extract with peppermint extract.

4 oz squares unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate
1 C softened butter
2 C canned or soft-cooked black beans
2 T vanilla extract
1-1/2 T instant coffee granules
1/4 t sea salt
3 eggs
1½ C honey
1 C mini chocolate chips (or small chopped chocolate pieces)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with non-stick spray.

Melt the chocolate with the butter in microwave-safe bowl, making sure not to scorch the chocolate, stirring every 20 seconds or so until melted. Place black beans, vanilla extract, and ONLY 2 T of the melted chocolate mixture in food processor until beans are a paste-like consistency.

In a separate bowl stir the remaining melted chocolate mixture, instant coffee, and salt. Mix well and set aside. In a third bowl, beat the eggs almost until soft peaks form. Add the honey just until incorporated.

Add the mixture from the food processor to the chocolate and coffee mixture and stir until blended well. Add the egg mixture and mix together well. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 35 minutes or until the brownies are set. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares. They set up best (and taste best!) if refrigerated.

Makes 3 dozen brownies

You can replace the honey with agave nectar.
You can add toffee pieces at the same time as (or in place of) the chocolate chips

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Basic Homemade Crackers

Be creative - top with freshly grated cheese, artisan salts, cornmeal, dusting of fav spice blend, seeds, or a wash of your favorite flavored or infused oil.

Note: I'm working on a living foods variation that is "cooked" in a food dehydrator.

1-1/2 C hard white wheat flour
1 C Spelt or Kamut® Flour (or additional wheat flour)
* ½ C Flax Seed
* 1 t sea salt
1 C warm water
1/3 C extra virgin olive oil

Whisk together the flours, flax seed, and salt. Add the water and olive oil. Using the roller attachment on the Electrolux DLX (or a mixer with a dough hook), mix the dough at medium speed for about 5 - 7 minutes. In the alternative, mix and knead by hand on a floured countertop. The dough should be just a bit tacky - not too dry, not too sticky to work with. Add a bit more flour or water until it is the right consistency.

Shape the dough into a large ball then break into twelve equal-sized pieces. Gentry rub each piece with a bit of olive oil, shape into a small ball and place on a plate. Cover with a clean dishtowel or plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 - 60 minutes.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450° F. If using a stone, place in oven to heat.

When dough is done resting, flatten one dough ball. Using a rolling pin, shape into a flat strip of dough. Cut into sizes that you would like using a pizza cutter - or for even more fun, use cookie cutters.

Set dough on a floured or cornmeal dusted parchment-lined baking sheet, poke each cracker with the tines of a fork to prevent puffing, add any extra toppings, and slide parchment into the oven (onto the stone). Repeat the process for the remaining dough balls, baking in small batches. Bake until deeply golden, and let cool before eating.

Makes a dozen extra large crackers, or any number of smaller ones.

* Toss in the VitaMix for a few seconds, finely grind in coffee grinder, or crush with mortar and pestle

Rosemary Garlic Toasts

Super easy if you don't have time to make homemade crackers. . .

(2) mini loaves of whole wheat bread, cut into thin slices
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 T sea salt
2 T fresh rosemary, crushed
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

Heat oven to 350°F.

Mix garlic, sea salt, rosemary and EVOO together in a shallow bowl that is wide enough to accommodate the bread slices. Dip bread in mixture and spread the seasoning mixture over the bread with your fingers to distribute as evenly as possible. Spread ingredients on stone. Sprinkle the remaining seasoning mixture on top of the bread.

Bake for 10-20 minutes until nicely browned.

This is a great recipe to double, triple, or more and bring to your next gathering. Great with a hummus or lentil paté - or just as a snack!

Lentil Walnut Paté

I like hummus but from time to time I like a little change. . . sometimes I don't want the crunch of the walnuts so I leave them out.

2 cups dried lentils (try red lentils for a change)
1 2-inch piece of wakame (seaweed - a kind of kelp)
4 cups water
1 T tamari (a dark and rich type of soy sauce)
1 tsp. sea salt
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t basil (fresh is best)
1 1/2 cups walnut pieces, lightly roasted
1/4 cup parsley, minced
2 Tbl. umeboshi plum vinegar (a tangy, slightly salty vinegar)
2 Tbl. balsamic vinegar

Place lentils and wakame with water in a pot and boil for 10 minutes on medium heat, uncovered. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 10-20 minutes longer, or until lentils are creamy. Season with tamari and sea salt. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring, until soft, adding the basil during the last minute of cooking. Put all ingredients into food processor (or use immersion blender) and blend until smooth.

Serve with homemade crackers .