Watermelon You Waiting For?

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Hi, friends!  It’s been a coon’s age since I’ve written a post, but now that the whole graduate school thing is over, I have a little more time to do the things I used to do enjoying, like making fancy food and taking pictures of it.  I was elated when I found a discount watermelon at the co-op, and could not to make one of my favorite summertime treats when I saw it:  watermelon gazpacho!  This recipe showcases all the bounty of summer and warm soil, namely the sweet heirloom tomatoes, the bold basil, the spicy garlic, all elevated by a little salt and the tang of lime.  The amounts of all the ingredients are simply a guideline.  Feel free to experiment to please your particular palate.  Enjoy!  

Watermelon Gazpacho:

Serves 8-10

  • 1 small sugar baby watermelon (or 5 c. watermelon puree)
  • 3 medium heirloom tomatoes (or 4 c. tomato puree)
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 c. loosely packed basil
  • 1 c. lime juice
  • 1 onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • fresh cracked pepper 

1)  Put all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend to desired consistency.  

2)  Enjoy!  

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Spring has Stung!

Ahh…Springtime in the Northwest…Aside from asparagus and strawberries that will soon grace your plates, there are also treasures to find in the fields and forests during spring.  I’m talking about foraged delights such as morels and stinging nettles!  Stinging nettles are not only absolutely delectable, but they’re also chockfull of protein, vitamins A & C, potassium, calcium, manganese, and iron!  They taste similar to spinach for those of you poor souls who have not tried them (yet).  PLEASE wear gloves when harvesting and preparing them as they, as the name implies, sting.  Stinging nettles have little hollow barbs full of irritating chemicals that will give you a stinging burning sensation that will last for days.  (I speak from experience!)  Here is a recipe that celebrates the stinging nettle.  HAPPY SPRING!

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Stinging Nettle Fritters:  

Makes 6-8 small fritters

  • 1 1/2 cup of stinging nettles, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp – 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup shredded zucchini
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1 tsp lemon balm
  • 1/2 tsp lovage
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp flax meal
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Olive oil

1) In a small bowl, combine flax meal and water.  Set aside.

2)  In a medium sized bowl, mix nettles, herbs and spices, and salt.

3)  Add flax meal mixture.

4)  Mix in flour.

5)  In a skillet over medium with about 1/4″ of oil, (skillet is ready when small bit of batter bubbles when added to the hot oil) add fritters by heaping tablespoons and flatten with spatula, flipping until golden brown on each side.

6)  Cool on rack.

7)  Enjoy!

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Wrap your truffles in dreams…

These truffles ARE dreams and…you can eat them for breakfast!  These little numbers are packed full of protein, good fats, low-glycemic carbohydrates, and just a tiny touch of sweetness that will keep you satisfied for hours without a sugar crash.  This recipe is partly inspired by the delicious carob-almond butter squares I used to get at Whole Earth Center, a wonderful natural foods grocer in Princeton, New Jersey, when I lived in that area.  It is also partly inspired by the brief time I followed the raw diet and often made coconut haystacks from raw chef Matt Amsden’s book, RAWvolution.  Mmm.  Get creative with this recipe!  Perhaps add some slivered almonds, and a bit of fresh orange peel if you want to make these for a fancy dessert?  Dust these babies in a bit of smoked salt, chili, and cocoa powder?  Have fun!  Yum.

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Breakfast Truffles!

Makes 16 truffles – serves 4

Ingredients:  

–  1/4 cup cocoa powder

– 1/4 cup carob powder

– 1/4 cup peanut butter

– 1/4 sunflower butter

– 1/4 cup coconut oil

– 1/4 cup flax seed meal

– 2 tbsp water

– 1/4 cup honey or agave nectar

– 2 cups of rolled oats

– pinch of salt, or to taste

– cocoa powder, for dusting (optional)

Directions:

1)  In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients until well blended.

2)  Make each truffle by rolling two tablespoons of mixture into a ball.

3)  Optional:  In a small bowl with a bit of cocoa powder, roll truffles lightly until coated.

4)  Chill until firm.

5)  Enjoy!

Eat Curry, Be Happy.

When it’s 7 degrees like it was here in Montana today, I want something spicy to warm me up.  The answer to my craving for such things was a warm sweet potato spinach curry burger with a little dollop of chili garlic mayo (Vegenaise, of course) and some more fresh spinach, with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, all atop a crispy homemade corn tortilla.  That did the trick.  These curry burgers are laced with the warm flavors of smoked paprika, curry, and fresh ginger, and have a slight sweetness from the sweet potatoes, and a little tangy from the sun dried tomatoes.  Not only will these curry burgers warm you up on a chilly winter day, they also give your body a health dose of protein from lentils, quinoa, and brown rice flour, not to mention a slew of other vitamins and minerals.  Mmm.  P.S. You might want to cut this recipe in half, as it will make about 30 burgers!

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Sweet Potato Spinach Curry Burgers

Ingredients:

2 cups lentils

1/2 cup quinoa

1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1/4″ cubes

3/4 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup chopped mushrooms

3/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

2 cups fresh spinach

1 cup unsweetened dried coconut

1/2 cup unsalted vegetable broth

1 cup flour (I used brown rice flour)

1 bunch of green onions

1 1/2″ piece of fresh ginger, grated

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp smoked paprika

2 Tbsp curry powder

1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp salt, or to taste

Directions:

1)  Cook lentils and quinoa.  Transfer to very large bowl or pot and set aside.

2)  In a large skillet, add a bit of oil, and cook sweet potato until little browned and slightly soft.  Transfer to bowl of lentil and quinoa mixture.

3)  Add onions, mushrooms, and sundried tomatoes to skillet and cook over low-medium heat until onions are transparent.  Add to bowl of lentil mixture.

4)  Chop the two cups of spinach.  Add to bowl of lentil mixture.

5)  Add the remaining ingredients to lentil mixture, making sure to add the flour gradually as to avoid lumps.

6)  When all ingredients are well combined, form patties from 1/4 cup scoops of burger mix

7)  Add patties to a well-oiled skillet and cook until browned on both sides.

8)  Enjoy!

Auld Lang Pie

Hi friends!  I apologize for not posting any good eats for a few weeks.  ‘Twas finals week, but I guess all that hard work paid off:  4.0, yo!  And my wonderful boyfriend from Texas moved up to the Great Northern Yonder.  Anyway, I’m back and ready to lay it on thick with recipes.  Because I have time to read these days, reading of books of my choice, without deadlines, I have been reading all kinds of things.  As it’s harder for me to keep off weight now that I am not a construction worker any longer, sweating all the time in Texas, or biking nine hours a day, I thought it would be wise to read up on nutrition and keeping a healthy weight until I can get the heck back to Austin when I’m done getting learned up here in Montana.  I’m learning so much about the many minerals we humans need.  Magnesium, for one, is an extremely important mineral that of which about half of people don’t get enough.  This mineral is essential in over 300 cell reactions! (101 Recipes You Can’t Live Without from Prevention by Lori Powell)   Amazing.  I’m a pretty healthy eater (my carb-laden recipes on here do not reflect my very healthy diet) but there’s always room for improvement.  I suggest to all of you, that you get your vitamins and minerals in your food.  Don’t swallow them with a gulp of water.  Getting your nutrients from your food is the most absorbable and bioavailable form of everything you need to keep your body functioning and healthy.  Eating colorfully, seasonally, and with variety is a great way to ensure that you’re getting everything you need.  The following recipe should not be necessarily a staple of your diet, but a treat that is gluten free and contains some good nutrients.  Let’s talk about the star of this pie:  Chocolate!  

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Chocolate contains polyphenols, an antioxidant, in the form of flavonoids.  Flavonoids, have shown anti-cancer activity as well as help in stroke prevention as it reduces the blood’s ability to clot.  (Mayo Clinic)  Chocolate also contains some magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium.  Almonds also are quite present in this recipe.  Almonds are rockstars when it comes to anticancer properties.  They are also full of protein, several B vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium, and are one of the best sources of vitamin E.  (The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, Wood)  Secondly, flax has minor role in this recipe.  I mostly use flax seed as a staple when it comes to replacing eggs, which has its benefits.  Firstly, flax seeds are cholesterol-free and also contain “good fats,” in the form of omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3s are used for the prevention and treatment of coronary disease and may even serve to keep your brain young and help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.  (101 Recipes…, Powell) When I’m not eating the omega-3s from flax meal from this delicious pie, I make sure to sprinkle 2 tablespoons on my steel cut oats every morning and enjoy 2,400 mg of omega-3 (1,000 milligrams is the recommended daily amount), 3 grams of protein, 2% of your daily calcium, 4% of your iron, and a whopping 15% of the fiber you need for the day.  Another fatty acid in this pie is in the form of coconut oil, which I use for everything, and you should too.  Here’s why:  Although being high in saturated fat, it is over 50% medium-chain fatty acids.  This type of fat is never stored as fat but is instead metabolized by the body into the form of energy.  It also contains lauric acid, which helps improve brain and immune system function.  This pie also contains tofu which is full of calcium and iron, essential for bone and heart health, and keeps muscles functioning well and energy levels high, respectively.  So aside from the healthful new you, ring in the New Year with a rich and chocolatey (vegan and gluten-free) pie that’s a real crowd pleaser!  Happy New Year!!      

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Chocolate Dream Pie: 

Crust:

Ingredients  

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp agave or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal + 3/4 cup water (combine and let sit for a few minutes)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds

Directions:

1)  Work coconut oil into almond flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  

2)  Add unsweetened coconut.

3)  Add flaxseed meal mixture and mix until well-combined.

4)  Add remaining ingredients and add slivered almonds last.  Knead until a wet dough forms.

5)  Pat pie crust into greased 9″ pie pan and bake in 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.  

Filling:  

Ingredients

  • 1 cup organic and fair trade dark chocolate chips
  • 1 16 oz package of silken tofu, beaten until smooth
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 of egg replacer (corn starch, flour, or flaxmeal can also be used but the texture may be slightly different) + 6 tbsp water, mixed and set aside for a few minutes
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla

Directions:

1)  In a double boiler (or because I don’t have a fancy double boiler, a large pot filled with a few inches of water with another pot on top, allowing some steam to escape), melt the chocolate chips.  

2)  Add melted chocolate chips to beaten silken tofu.

3)  Add cocoa powder until no lumps remain.

4)  Add remaining ingredients.  

5)  Add mixture to medium pot and cook over low heat until hot being VERY CAREFUL not to scorch mixture as this will ruin the pie.  

6)  Pour filling into crust and chill until firm.  

7)  ENJOY!  

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When life hands you (too much) mashed potatoes….

MAKE BISCUITS!

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I now have THREE different types of biscuits in my recipe arsenal.  But this recipe was imperative as I probably took home ten pounds of mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving!  They have a slight potato flavor, they’re fluffy, and they’re hypoglycemic’s nightmare.

Mashed Potato Biscuits:

(makes 12 large biscuits)

Ingredients:

–  3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (make all cups of flour all-purpose flour if you want extra light, fluffy biscuits)

–  2 Tbsp baking powder

–  1 Tbsp salt

–  1 1/2 cups Earth Balance

–  1 1/3 cup unsweetened soymilk

–  1 Tbsp mild tasting vinegar (like rice vinegar) or lemon juice

–  2 Tbsp flax meal

–  3 cups mashed potatoes

Directions:

1)  In a large bowl, add flour(s), salt, and baking powder.

2)  Add melted butter to large bowl with flour mixture and combine until coarse crumbs form.  Set aside.

3)  In a medium bowl, add soymilk and vinegar or lemon juice and stir.  Let sit for a few minutes.

4)  Add flax meal to soymilk mixture, stir, and let sit for a few minutes.

5)  Add mashed potatoes to soymilk mixture and whisk until combined.

6)  Add mashed potato mixture to flour mixture and mix until combined.  Do not overmix as this will turn your fluffy biscuits into hockey pucks.

7)  Scoop dough by 1/2 increments (I used a dry measuring cup, which acts as a nice biscuit mold) onto a greased sheet pan.

8)  Bake at 425 deg F for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned.

9)  Eat and be thankful you don’t have to eat a few spoonfuls of cold mashed potatoes, as if you were eating out of an ice cream container, each time you visit the refrigerator as I have for the past week…

Who’s Got the Herb[ed Lentil Patties]?

What to do now that Thanksgiving has left, and you’re left with the leftovers:

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A fraction of the Thanksgiving table at my very Montana Thanksgiving celebration with friends

If you’re like me, and have twelve pounds of mashed potatoes, a few pints of gravy, one entire pie, and half of a squash all left over from Thanksgiving, and on top of that, live by yourself, you are probably wondering what on Earth to do with all of this food.  I am trying to come up with solutions.  I actually made the following recipe for Thanksgiving, but because this dish was next to the turkey and people thought they were some weird cookies, I pretty much went home with all of these patties.  They are delectable with a ladleful of gravy and will quickly deplete your gravy supplies.  If you do decide to make them, I would advise adding some extra water or unsalted broth as they were a bit dry, probably because they slowly baked in the oven.  Better yet, if you’re feeling particularly unabashed about additional calorie consumption this holiday season that is bound to happen (you’ll be better about this come January 1st, right?  Probably not…Right!), I would FRY these patties.   I often forget how much I like lentils.   They take a lot less time to prepare than their other leguminous brethren (no soaking, and about 30 minutes to cook!) and they’re flavorful and versatile to boot.  Did I mention this recipe is gluten-free?  It can also be made with wheat flour, if you are not concerned about gluten.  Top these with some gravy and serve them with some mashed potatoes (if they are not nauseating to you by now), some slow-cooked collard greens, and you’ve got a comfort meal for a cozy night in.  Alternatively, top these suckers with some homemade sauerkraut, a spicy smokey tabasco mayonnaise, all in a crusty sourdough bread, and you’ve got yourself a nice sandwich for lunch.

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Herbed Lentil Patties:

Ingredients:

2 c. lentils

4 cups of water (or unsalted broth)

2 Tbsp flax meal + 6 Tbsp water (let sit for a few minutes)

3/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free or wheat flour

1 Tbsp rosemary

1 tsp celery salt

1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 tsp smoked salt

1 tsp ground pepper

1 tsp tarragon

1 cup water (added 1/4 cup at time until mixture is slightly wet – add more than 1 cup if necessary)

Directions:

1)  Cook lentils until tender, about 30 minutes.

2)  Remove lentils from heat and transfer to a larger bowl.  Mash lentils with ricer.

3) Add remaining ingredients until well combined, and add water 1/4 cup at a time, mixing, until mixture is slightly damp.

4)  Form into patties by the 1/4 cupful.

5)  Fry in 1/2 – 1″ of hot oil until lightly browned, or bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes (Flip patties at 15 minutes)

6)  ENJOY.