Low Carb Green Goddess Dressing

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I recently heard from a friend who told me that her husband had gastric bypass surgery as a way to deal with both diabetes and kidney disease. Wow! This is a tricky combination because not only does he now need to lower his carb intake, but protein as well. Most successful diets depend on the “Lean and Green” approach meaning increase protein, lots of low-glycemic veggies and no carbs from grains or sugars. According to website Obesity Coveragepatients who have gastric bypass surgery are encouraged to eat small amounts of protein throughout the day. Eggs, skim milk, chicken and protein shakes are recommended in the Gastric Bypass Diet Guide. But, if one also has concerns for the kidneys, proteins need to be decreased a bit.

According to the Nephron Information Center, Americans consume over 100 grams of protein a day which is more than double what our bodies require. Excess protein in the body puts the kidneys to work – overtime! For a person with kidney disease, they still need protein to ensure good health, but a lot less. A 200-pound man only needs a little over 50 grams of protein a day and a 150-pound woman about 40. High Biologic Value foods (HBV) have about 7 grams of protein per ounce. These are the foods that come from animals and are a complete source of the essential amino acids and cause the least waste. A person with kidney disease needs just a couple of grams fewer than recommended, but enough to keep the body functioning. I would suspect that for gastric bypass patients on a low-calorie diet, the body will tap into the protein for energy and malnutrition is a risk. This is all very complicated!

So, what do you eat if you can only have small amounts of food that are low carb and low protein? Well, that got me thinking about my dressings, slathers and dips. Personally, I am happy with lots of low-glycemic veggies if I can top them with full-flavored foods like herbs, garlic and onions. My post gastric bypass friend is probably too sensitive to these intense foods right now, but hopefully eventually, he can enjoy foods with BIG herbal plant-based flavor.

Most of my salad dressings rely on raw honey to create that fabulously luscious combination of fat, salt and sweet that can quickly lead to weight gain if the daily carb load is too high. So, in the spirit of cutting out a bit of the carb from the dressings, I thought I would try using tofu to create a creamy herbal concoction.

The garden is brimming with cilantro and basil, and with the scapes I still have in the fridge, “Green Goddess” was on the docket today. This recipe makes about 1 pint of dressing/dip. I served it on a mixed green salad, but it would make a great dip for carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumbers or roasted potato wedges. It would also be a flavorful sandwich spread.

Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces tofu
  • 1 large bunch cilantro
  • 1 large handful fresh basil
  • 5 garlic scapes or 2 cloves raw garlic
  • 1 Tbs. lemongrass (optional)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • dash of salt

Directions: Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.

 

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Garlic Scapes GO OUT for Pizza!

It seems ubiquitous that when one has copious quantities of garlic scapes – or even ten – that they be turned into pesto! I’m just never sure what to do with so much of the stuff, but today, pizza seemed to be a great idea. It’s the Fourth of July Weekend, not too hot and the perfect time to practice my pizza making skills! The great thing about making pizza is to leave the toppings out and have everybody make their own. This allows for a long relaxing meal on the deck because we can only do one pizza at a time. They each take about 8 minutes in a 500 degree oven, so just enough time for salad and conversations with guests as some are in the kitchen and others on the deck. It’s my secret weapon for really making entertaining relaxed!

Some of you are probably wondering why I am doing the pizzas in the oven. Well, we sold our property where we built our last pizza oven and have yet to make our wood-burner at the farm. That project is in queue!

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Last year I left a few onion sets in the ground over winter to go to seed this year. We have these very architectural beauties decorating the garden beds, and the seed heads, like garlic scapes, carry the flavor of their parent plant. Onion flowers have a mild onion flavor that is great on salads, pizza or enchiladas. Here you can see the little white flowers along with a few of the green onions chopped up and tossed on top of the pie.

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This is the same crust recipe that I have used in the past, however I was out of the sprouted wheat, so used only white flour. This crust was good, but didn’t have the chewy texture I get with the sprouted variety. I am no expert, but flour really makes a difference to a good pizza dough. In five years of making dough, I don’t think the dough was ever the same twice. There is something about humidity and water flour ratio that can really have an impact. The most important thing to remember with this cold fermentation dough is to leave it just a tad bit stickier than bread dough. Here’s the recipe with the sprouted wheat.

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As for the pesto, garlic scapes make it simple. No peeling garlic needed. You just toss a bunch of the scapes in a food processor with all of your other pesto ingredients and voila! This spread can not only add flavor to pizza, but is a great sandwich spread or veggie dip. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 garlic scapes
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup almonds, walnuts or pine nuts
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil to bring together
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced

Learning to Love Radish Salad

 

Radish Salad with Curry Vinaigrette

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Let the truth be told…radishes have often found their way into my compost bin! Of course, that was a long, long, long time ago when I didn’t know better! Now that I understand how much work goes into vegetable gardening, I wouldn’t dream of gifting them to the kitchen gods quite so often. Even so, I can only eat so much radish. I like them. I like them a lot, but one or two a year seems to be quite enough for me! Well, after they exploded from the garden the other day, I realized I would soon have quite a number of radishes having dutifully companion planted them with my beans and carrots. Not only would the challenge be to create a highly palatable radish dish, but hopefully use the greens as well.

IMG_1405The last few years I have been making quite a lot of fermented veg, so of course, using the radishes in that manner was the first thing that came to mind, but I am the only one in the house who will eat them. Thinking about the fermenting process reminded me of making kimchi – specifically of grating the veg and soaking it in salt water. This is a great trick for removing the “bglahh” from some of our more bitter friends!

I also pondered a dressing that would highlight the earthy nature of the green knowing that those, too, must be included in the salad. It also occurred to me that a long time ago I used to make dressings with dijon mustard, but have forgone that option for my simple oil, vinegar and honey concoctions as of late. And so, this salad was born!

I grated the radish with a bit of carrot, salted the mix for about an hour. Then I rinsed it and squeezed out the excess water. This was added to the finely chopped radish greens, tossed in the dijon curry vinaigrette and topped with toasted almonds. It is quite delicious if I might say so myself!

The next week… I made the version below with white icicle radishes, massaged collard greens, a few leftover red peppers, the same curry dressing and a sprinkling of mustard flowers.

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Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch fresh radishes, grated
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • radish leaves, finely chopped
  • toasted almond slivers
  • kosher salt to sprinkle

Curry Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 Tbs. rice wine, apple cider or red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Grate radishes and carrots. Sprinkle the grated veggies with kosher salt, mix together and let sit for an hour.
  2. Finely chop the radish leaves, cover and refrigerate.
  3. Mix all ingredients for vinaigrette. Taste and adjust as needed – some like more salt, more vinegar, more oil, more sweet.
  4. Once the salt has pulled much of the water from the veggies, rinse under cold water in a colander then squeeze extra water out.
  5. Toss greens, grated veggies and vinaigrette. Top with almonds right before serving. This salad can marinate in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

Plum Galette

Do you ever wonder what happened to good old-fashioned pie? Do you occasionally crave it, then find the slice that sits in front of you to be woefully inadequate? What happened to that thick slice of pie chock full of fresh fruit with a richly flavored, not-too-dry yet flaky crust?  I sometimes dream of that pie, but so often forget it can’t be found in a bakery. We can all find lots of mediocre pie at chain restaurants and grocery stores but if you want to find the real thing, you might be looking forever. Perhaps some nice old Finish lady in Northern Minnesota could hook you up, but if you’re looking in a store or pastry shop, you’re probably out of luck. I feel bad for kids these days because I don’t think they’ll ever know what pie really is. There is just something about old-fashioned pie that can’t be replicated in the bakery kitchen.

Having grown up with a nice old Finish lady to show me the ropes, there are a few things I know. First, butter is a must. I am a practicing vegan except when it comes to pie – no margarine allowed. The dough has to be cold, cold, cold so leave it in the fridge for a good long rest before you roll it. And finally, don’t roll your crust too thin. It’s just a beautiful thing to eat a slice of pie from tip to crust – to end with a generous chunk of flaky dough lightly kissed with caramelized fruit juices and sugar. Mmm mmm!

I know that one problem with pie is that it seems too difficult. So many of us just don’t have the time anymore, so I made a galette instead of pie. Galette is a fairly easy alternative allowing for free form rather than fussing with a pie pan and crimping edges. Fortunately, with a galette, we still get that old-fashioned sense of the pie!

Ingredients:

Crust: For a really clear and easy-to-follow recipe, see Elise’s directions at Simply Recipes.

Filling:

  • 6 red plums
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1 beaten egg
  • turbinado sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the plums either into small chunks or thin slices. Place them in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add flour, sugar, nutmeg and lemon juice and mix.
  4. Roll out the pie crust to about 1/8 inch and place on parchment covered cookie sheet.
  5. pour plum mixture into center of pie crust. Push all the plums together into a tidy flat circle.
  6. Fold the pie crust up over the plums crimping the dough where it doubles over itself.
  7. Brush the dough with the egg wash and then sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  8. Bake for about 50 minutes until the dough is browned.

Frozen Organic Strawberries

Rumor has it there is a bumper crop of strawberries coming out of Florida lately, so prices are running a little lower than last year. Bad news for the farmers – great news for those of us crazy for smoothies! The warm weather has also reportedly upped the sugar content making the berries sweeter than in the past. Frozen strawberries add a luscious creamy texture to smoothies and when combined with pineapple, banana and spinach, it’s pure delight!

All winter I waited patiently for Spring’s delivery of this lovely fruit, so when organic strawberries began to arrive at Costco a few weeks ago, I knew what I had to do – buy in bulk and freeze so I could enjoy the berries all winter long! This is definitely a cost-saving measure as organic frozen berries run about $4.00 per pound compared to these at $2.80.

The process is really quick and easy:

  1. Wash the berries and cut the stems off,
  2. Place the berries on a cookie sheet,
  3. Allow them to dry to avoid freezer burn,
  4. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for a couple of hours,
  5. When they are frozen, place strawberries into freezer bags,
  6. label and store for up to one year.

Honey Balsamic Dressing

This is the salad dressing we serve on arugula to top the pizzas. It’s is a crowd pleaser. It’s a great all-purpose dressing that tastes great with any green, can be used on sandwiches or as a bread dip for appetizers.

I make this in a large bottle and store it in the pantry – no need to refrigerate. Makes approximately one quart.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 3 tsp. salt

Mango Banana Pear Smoothie

Nothing like a little taste of the tropics on a frosty fall morning in Minnesota! A friend of mine started juicing and making smoothies a few weeks ago and made an interesting comment. She said, “It’s like this stuff just wants to burn fat!” So true and so amazing. All the enzyme action of the fresh fruit and veg will have the pounds melting off before you know it. What are you waiting for? Let’s take on this obesity epidemic with some really simple and delicious foods.

Don’t forget “smoothie” means you make it in the blender. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 mango
  • 1 banana
  • 1 pear
  • 2 cups Vitacoco coconut water
  • 6-8 ice cubes

Honey Brittle Nut Bars

These bad boys fall into the dessert category for me, so I wouldn’t normally encourage anyone to have such treats around the house, but my dad’s honey is just the most amazing thing, and I wanted to come up with a way to really highlight its sweetness.

In an effort the last few months to stay away from grains, raw almonds have found their way into our pantry along with a few other nuts and seeds like cashews, pumpkin and sunflower. Apparently when eaten in small quantities, these powerhouses of life provide healthy fats, omega-3 as well as a myriad of other vitamins and minerals. That is when they are raw. Turning them into dessert by toasting them probably diminishes much of the health benefits. Regardless, these brittle bars are a really tasty snack made from all whole foods. If anything, they are a good source of energy for your average marathoner or long-distance biker. Since Jeff completed 72 miles this morning, I think I’ll encourage him to have a few of these!

Once these cool, they do become brittle, however as they rise to room temperature the honey begins to soften. I would recommend cutting them and storing them in the freezer in an airtight container.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs. coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups whole almonds
  • 1 cup whole cashews
  • 1 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup large flake coconut
  • 1 tsp. flaked kosher salt

Directions:

In a non-reactive sauce pan slowly melt the coconut oil. Add the honey and bring it to a simmer. Stir frequently and allow the mixture to simmer for about ten minutes.

While the honey simmers, toast the nuts separately as the small ones will burn if you try to toast them together. After each batch is toasted pour them out onto plates to cool in a single layer.

Once the nuts are all toasted and the honey has simmered and evaporated for ten minutes, pour the honey mixture over the nuts and mix well.

Pour the mixture out into a 9×9 square baking pan lined with parchment paper. The bars will be about an inch thick in this pan. Use another sheet of parchment on top to press the mixture firmly together.

Place in the refrigerator to cool.

Cut into squares and store in airtight container in freezer.

Sesame Slaw with Golden Beets and Kale

The only way to get my son to run errands with me is to bribe him. As you can imagine, this can sometimes be costly and frustrating! But getting him to the coop is easy and free…all I need to do is remind him of the samples! He usually lingers by my side in the fresh foods area picking out bananas and other fruits, but as soon as we turn the corner, he beelines to the deli for samples of cheese, spreads, crackers and salads. The other day he came running up to me with a little cup filled with some sort of a kale salad.

“Here Mom, this is for you. I thought you’d like it. It has kale.”

“What is it?”

“It’s a kale and golden beet salad from the deli.”

“Did you try it?” I asked incredulously thinking the coop had cast some sort of spell over the boy who hates vegetables.

“Of course not! It has kale. I got it for you.”

What a sweet boy and what a sweet salad. I knew from the first taste, something like it would need to come out of my kitchen. The coop salad had the same general flavor devised with sesame oil, sesame seeds and ginger that my recipe includes, but did not have raisins. Somehow a little sweet seems like a good pairing for the beets and carrots. I think some fresh fruit like chopped nectarines, mangoes or apples would also cut the bill. (What does that mean, anyway?)

Ingredients:

  • 3 large carrots grated
  • 1 large golden beet, peeled and grated
  • 1 bunch curly kale, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • a few splashes of rice vinegar (2-3 Tbs.)

Directions:

Long grate the carrots by cutting them just the length of the food processor feed tube. Empty into mixing bowl. Next grate the beets the same as the carrots. I chose to quickly saute the golden beets in about a tablespoon of sesame oil as they were a titch bitter when raw. Leave them a little crunchy to the bite.

Mince the garlic, jalapeno and ginger in a food processor and add to carrots and beets in mixing bowl.

Remove the stems from the kale and chop the greens into fine pieces. The kale can be massaged to soften, steamed or sauted.

Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and season to taste. Serve at chilled or at room temperature.

Cold Winter Curry

Oh, the flavors! Oh, the warmth! Oh, the kale! I can’t get enough of the stuff! I’ve consumed four large bunches and another of swiss chard this week – almost entirely on my own! Once I started eating it, I couldn’t get enough! The same happened with beets, and I think sweet potatoes must be right up there in the Gotta Have It department. While the rest of you “Master” cleanse, juice and go raw, I’m focusing on ROY G. BIV and powerful spices warmed to perfection!

In this recipe:

  • Red – tomatoes
  • Orange – sweet potatoes
  • Yellow – cauliflower
  • Green – kale
  • Blue/Indigo/Violet – last seen in Beety Tweety Bird Nests
  • Powerful Spices: Ginger, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, hot peppers

Ingredients Chickpea Curry:

  • 2 Tbs. coconut oil
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, mince
  • 1 Serrano pepper, minced
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, blended
  • 3/4 can light coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. whole brown mustard seed
  • 2-3 tsp. Garam Masala
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups chickpeas, pre-cooked
  • 1 bunch kale, finely chopped

Directions: Cook chickpeas or use canned. On medium heat, melt coconut oil. Add red onion and saute until translucent. Add cumin, brown mustard seed and Garam Masala to the oil for a quick toast. Next add garlic, ginger and chile pepper. All these ingredients should be cooked for a minute or so, just until the aromas are released. Next, add the pureed tomato, coconut milk and chickpeas. Allow to simmer on very low heat for about 5 minutes. Right before serving, mix in the kale cooking it just past raw to bright green.

Cauliflower and Sweet Potatoes in Madras Peanut Curry Sauce:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 can coconut milk
  • 2 Tbs. creamy peanut butter
  • 1 Tbs. Madras style curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Warm the coconut milk and the peanut butter in a small pot. When the peanut butter begins to melt, whisk the two ingredients together. Add spices and mix well. Toss in cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Allow to steam on low heat for a few minutes until vegetables are tender.

Note: I tried roasting the veggies with the sauce at 450 degrees. They cooked, but did not crisp at all. I love the idea of serving the cauliflower roasted like I did here. Next time.

Plantain Soup

It’s the time of year that my mind wanders off to Honduras, Ecuador and Mexico. I dream of warm weather, tropical foliage and platanos! Platanos are particularly important in the diet of Coastal Ecuadorians, and I don’t believe I ever had a meal that did not include them in some form. They usually eat the plantains green either fried, baked or mashed to make empanada dough. My favorite way to eat the platano is fried and smashed in what they call, “Patacones.” In other parts of Latin America fried and smashed plantains are called, “Tostones.” They are an acquired taste as they tend to be quite dry, but the minute I tasted them topped with hot and spicy Aji, I couldn’t get enough. Aji is a hot chile, cilantro and lime condiment served everywhere in Ecuador.

An Ecuadorian custom from the highlands  is to serve a light soup as a first course for the mid-afternoon meal, and it’s common to see a few platanos floating around the broth with diced potatoes and a sprig of cilantro. Slices of avocado, toasted hominy and Aji were always served with the soup.

Today’s recipe combines an Ecuadorian platano fetish with my never-ending quest for maximum nutritional value. Here you will find copious quantities of kale! And don’t even think about eating the soup without the Aji. Yes, it’s a condiment to be served on the side, but it without it, you’ll feel like you’re eating mashed potatoes without the gravy.

Ingredients:

Soup

  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large sweet potato, diced
  • 1 large Yukon gold potato, diced
  • 2 plantains, peeled and sliced
  • 1 bunch curly kale, deveined and chopped
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 Tbs. cumin
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • avocado and lime as garnish

Aji

  • 4 Serrano peppers
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • salt to taste
  • splash water

Blend together in food processor or blender.

Directions:

Be careful not to overcook this soup. Serve immediately.

Heat oil in a stock pot. Add onions and cook until they are crispy. Next add the garlic and stir it until fragrant. Add water, cumin, salt, potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are almost tender. Add plantains and cook for a few minutes until the potatoes and plantains are tender. Add the kale just before serving. It should just wilt and turn bright green. Serve with Aji, avocado and lime on the side.

Vitamin Supplement Number Two – Beety Tweety Bird Nests

Last week when I went for groceries, the goal was to make the cart look like a CSA box. Midwinter legumes, grains and soups have been great, but this time of year you may feel your body craves the vitamins from more rainbow-colored foods. At the grocery two things particularly caught my attention: beets and greens. I bought four hefty deep purple roasters as well as mounds of kale and swiss chard. Last week’s Beet Sweet and Kale Soup was so satisfying, I’m loving the look of the ruby-red long grated strands, so having two of the beets already roasted in the fridge made this warm salad really easy to make. I filled the nests with a Greek yogurt seasoned with salt, pepper and a bit of minced ginger, but can imagine them stuffed with sautéed mushrooms and goat cheese, humus, or just shaved pieces of Pecorino Romano.

This will make approximately two dozen nests depending on how large the beets. The beets I had were big ones – about four inches in diameter!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large beets roasted then grated
  • 1 inch chunk fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. minced red onion
  • salt/pepper
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions: Preheat oven 425 degrees.

Mix all ingredients and spoon into greased muffin tins. Use the back of a spoon to form an indentation in each mound of beets. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove the nests immediately from the muffin tins or they may stick.

Vitamin Supplement Number One – Beet, Sweet and Kale Soup

Enough of the death dirge already!  I hear you. A few of my “fans” have been concerned that the black shroud and “Mock Chicken” was a sign of death to the blog. Perhaps I was one of those bloggers not quite willing to come right out and wrap it up, you thought. Truth be told, I never intended to be away so long, but in all my moments of cooking, have had little to motivate. Summer’s end brought me back to work with no weekly CSA and little motivation. The family plate reverted to our standby Mexican stuffed burritos with a variety of salsa, simple soups or stir-fries. Not much that was blog-worthy, I’m afraid.

Today, the sun is shining brightly over Minnesota, and this winterized body is craving some vitamins. A stop at the grocery, and the fridge is filled with chard, kale, beets, broccoli and a variety of fruits. Here’s what I came up with for Vitamin Supplement Number One:

Ingredients:

  • 2Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 large beets, peeled and grated
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated with beets
  • water to cover veggies
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 Tbs. Garam Masala
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch curly kale, deveined and sautéed in olive oil
  • Slivered almonds, toasted

Directions:

1) Wash and devein kale. Chop and saute in a splash of olive oil. Cook until just wilted and still bright green.

2) Grate sweet potatoes and beets. Place in large stock pot with olive oil and water to cover. Add salt and pepper, vinegar, honey, garam masala. Bring to slow simmer and cook until beets are just tender.

3) Toast slivered almonds in a dry skillet. Keep the almonds moving, and toast until the edges start to brown. Turn the toasted almonds out onto a cool plate.

3) Serve in large bowls with greens and toasted almonds on top.

Mock Chicken

I’ve often wondered how mock duck was made. I knew what it was – wheat gluten – but never knew what the process involved. I finally decided to do a little research only to realize that mock duck is basically a dumpling. It’s also very easy to make. I found a recipe on a site called,  Ma Cooks! and used this as the springboard for this recipe.You’ll notice by the garlic, cumin and oregano, that this mock duck is destined for a Latin American theme. In fact, I hope to use it to make green chile enchiladas.

Jeff returned yesterday from a conference in Albuquerque and upon my most pointed request, carried with him five giant tubs of frozen chiles. If you have never used frozen New Mexican chiles before, I highly recommend urging any friend traveling to the Southwest to traffic for you as much as they can carry. The Bueno Foods website will deliver six small containers for $25 dollars plus a $50 dollar delivery fee! I’m sure there are many New Mexican transplants who are willing to pay this exorbitant fee.

Ingredients:

Stock:

  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. hot pepper flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Mix the gluten, rice flour, salt and water together. Knead briefly until the gluten strands develop. Let the dough rest while you prepare the stock.

Use a stock pot to saute onions in the canola oil until translucent, add garlic and spices. Cook for a minute until the spices and garlic are lightly cooked and giving off aroma.

Add four cups of water to the stock pot and bring to a boil.

Lightly knead the mock duck dough and break into six to eight pieces. Once the stock comes to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, place the mock duck dough into the water, cover and slowly simmer for about an hour.

Once it is finished, it can be sliced and added to any dish calling for chicken. I would caution you not to use it in really wet dishes as the texture gets a little mushy.

Garam Masala Vegan Dip

Living the vegan lifestyle is a concept that I both accept and deny. I love vegetables and cannot imagine eating animal flesh, yet when in comes to the satisfying creaminess of cheese, ice cream and other dairy products, the thought of giving them up, causes my head to involuntarily shake out a most-emphatic, “NO!”

I’ve found with a pizza oven in the back yard, dairy product consumption is at an all-time high around our house, and has given me a little pause. And although we’re still topping our little wood-fired babies with fresh mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, and Gorgonzola, I’ve begun to wonder about vegan alternatives to cheese.

I’m not yet ready to take the dive, but thought I would start experimenting with vegan cream sauces. This recipe has as it’s base walnuts, olive oil and tahini and when mixed with a little soymilk, turned white and creamy and sweet. I was surprised by how sweet my plain soymilk made the dip, so to make it savory for the cucumber sticks, I added garlic, white wine vinegar and Garam Masala. As you can see I served it with vegetables, but it’s very satisfying spread on crackers as well. I might try it another time, sans savories, as the cream filling for a chilled fruit tart.

Ingredients:

Sweet:

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup plain soymilk

Savories to add to Sweet:

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Garam Masala

Directions: Mix all ingredients together in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Add more or less soymilk depending on how thick you want the dip.