Blazing hot sunny days therefore time for easy light salads with some protein too!
1 medium fennel bulb, cut into thin slices
3 medium celery stocks, chopped
1-2 c of snap peas, cut into chunks
5 green onions, chopped
1 serrano pepper, including seeds, chopped
1 can organic black beans, well rinsed
1 c or so of cooked quinoa
1 avocado, sliced
1 lime, squeezed, as dressing
Chop all the vegetables except the avocado, rinse the beans, and mix all together well in a glass container with airtight lid. Dress with fresh lime and refrigerate until ready to serve. I’ll add the avocado right before serving… perhaps with a cold IPA at a picnic dinner.
Dinner and dessert at my friend Sharon’s house led to my discovery of the Living Candida Free cookbook by Ricki Heller, PhD, RHN…. and thus to this, my first attempt making my own modified version of her Carrot Balls recipe. Yum! My guests and I devoured these fast, and I think even my hardcore chocolate loving, non-vegan, non-gluten free, unabashedly desert centered sister would like these. A lot.
3/4t fresh ginger root, finely chopped
1 c raw unsalted sunflower seeds
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/8 t cardamon
2 t ground flaxseeds
2 T coconut for balls, plus additional 6-8 T coconut for rolling balls in.
1 T plus 1t lemon zest
2 t lemon juice
2 t blackstrap molasses. Or 1 t blackstrap molasses plus 1 t maple syrup
1-2 t water, as necessary or skip the water and increase the lemon juice
6-7 T fresh finely grated carrot
Using a food processor, finely chop fresh ginger root, then add sunflower seeds, spices, ground flaxseeds, and coconut. Process until medium fine. Then add finely grated lemon zest, lemon juice, and molasses until it just comes together as dough– it will be rather heavy. Add carrot and pulse to mix evenly. Don’t be frightened by its dense texture! Form into small balls, then roll each ball in a small bowl of the additional coconut to coat well. Refrigerate in an airtight tupperware type container until firm and chilled. Makes 18-20 balls, with 2-4 balls being a perfect dessert serving.
I made these using 1t molasses plus 1t maple syrup, and thought they were just a little too sweet when I tasted the dough after the second step, so I threw the 2 lemonquats I happened to have on hand into the food processor too! Next time I’ll try using just molasses and more lemon juice but no water to make them with a bit more zing. My guests and I all thought these were a great dessert. I think they’d be wonderful too for a light breakfast snack if I need a little energy before going to an early morning yoga class.
A phone call this morning with invitation to a Seder celebration makes me think to look up this recipe from long ago, from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts, which I modified a bit many Passovers ago. Some of my favorite childhood memories at the beach include the best ever chocolate macaroon cookies from Seaside Bakery. I was so sad they quit using the same fabulous recipe when the bakery was sold years ago. The magic of those macaroons was that they were made without either flour or sugar, were instead sweetened and moistened by chopped dates… as are these macaroons too.
5 oz Trader Joe’s 72% dark chocolate plus 1T butter. (She calls for 4 oz Baker’s German’s Sweet chocolate plus1 oz unsweetened chocolate)
3 egg whites, from grade large or extra large, at room temperature
pinch of salt
10-12 dates, chopped very fine (use food processor to turn to paste, a generous 1/4 cup of date paste (she calls for 1/2 c granulated sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract- or 2 if needed to adjust moisture. Or plus
1 teaspoon almond extract
7 oz (or about 2 to 2 and 1/4 cups, loosely packed) shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350F with two racks adjusted to divide oven into thirds for even baking. Break up chocolate and melt it with 1T butter in top of double boiler over moderate heat, covering until partially melted. Then uncover and stir until completely melted and smooth– but do not overcook. Remove the top of the double boiler and set aside uncovered to cool to room temp.
In a small bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until they hold a firm peak when the beaters are raised. Add the vanilla and finely chopped dates, beat until the meringue is stiff but only just so. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and efficiently beat in the cooled chocolate, softly only until mixed. Then using only the spatula, gently mix or fold in the coconut. Batter will be rather crumbly, a little dry as you are mixing all together well. But it shouldn’t be too dry, so add the coconut judiciously.
Using a moderately rounded teaspoonful of the mixture for each cookie, form 12-16 small ball cookies on each parchment covered cookie sheet. This is when you could top each with a single almond sliver if you’re so inclined. Bake for about 10-12 min, reversing the sheets top to bottom and front to back once mid-way to ensure even baking. When the macaroons are done they should look just-edge-of-dry on the outsides, but remain soft in the centers! With a wide spatula transfer the macaroons to raised racks to cool so the bottoms will cool to be firm and dry, but the cookies will be still moist inside.
Indeed I’ve got a wee bit of Irish heritage. Of course cooking a big pot of food to share is a fine thing to do, for a gathering of friends at St Patrick’s Day or any other time…
4-5 medium sized red potatoes, cut into chunky cubes
1/2-1 head green cabbage, chopped into 1/4″ ribbons
1 yellow pepper, chopped
12 oz tempeh, cubed
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 t black mustard seeds
1 c walnuts
1 c or so fresh cranberries
Saute cubed tempeh in a large heavy bottom frying pan in 2 T olive oil until lightly browned and crispy outside but still moist inside. Set aside in a large serving bowl with lid. Add another 1-2 T olive oil to the pan, add the mustard seeds, then as they begin popping add the red potatoes, onion and garlic to saute until lightly browned; then add 1-2 T water, cover and steam on reduced heat until the red potatoes are soft but not mushy. Set aside with the tempeh. In the same frying pan over medium heat, saute the chopped green cabbage and yellow pepper for about 3 minutes, only until it brightens and softens just a wee bit. Add these to the other ingredients in the serving dish, mix all together well. When ready to serve, heat the 1 c fresh cranberries in just a little water in the microwave briefly or over low heat on the stovetop, only until they brighten and soften just a bit, slightly warmed. Serve these and walnuts generously as garnish. This will keep covered in the refrigerator well for a day or two, although likely there will be no leftovers.
Cooking the cabbage a bit reduces its goitrogenic factor when serving this to those who have low thyroid function. The tempeh and walnuts increase the protein sufficiently for vegetarians making this a “one pot” meal. I buy and freeze cranberries when they are plentiful and on sale during the holidays, then pull them out of the freezer for recipes such as this, to add a pop of tangy flavor and vitamin C.
Given that I love words, on any given day I find myself briefly referring to my dictionary app. Yesterday’s word of the day on Dictionary.Reference.com has long been one of my favorites. Today I’m thinking about how succorance is evidenced in my life… also how our food preparation choices can support or sabotage the dietary, health, and weight goals of our family, friends and colleagues when we share food with others.
With one friend sick with a snotty head cold and another who is facing down a career challenge coming over for lunch, it’s time to make a big pot of carrot ginger root soup and some comforting muffins. Some days simply deserve a treat! I served these warm, with sunflower seed butter or cream cheese as options. Some fresh ginger root tea and pumpkin muffins– if any are left over– make a great breakfast to clear away a cement head. My pets love pumpkin too, so the rest of the can of pumpkin will be heartily enjoyed, with the fiber great for their digestive tracks.
3 T butter
1 1/2 T molasses
1 1/2 T maple syrup
1 c pumpkin
1 large egg
1/8 c or so milk, as needed
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c oat flour
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/8 t clove
1/4 t sea salt
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 c or so fresh frozen cranberries
Preheat oven to 375F. Melt butter over low heat, adding in the molasses and maple syrup. Measure flours and other dry ingredients and mix well together in a large measuring cup. Beat together the egg and pumpkin, then add in the melted butter mixture. Beat all together well. Add the dry ingredients, and stir decisively but briefly, to mix all together well. Be minimalist in stirring. Using unbleached muffin cups or buttered muffin tins, fill each 3/4 full, then depending upon size of fresh cranberries, tuck 3-5 cranberries into each muffin. Bake about 20-22 minutes until toothpick comes out clean, then cool on rack. Makes 12.
It’s January again, and the gym is rocking full as so many earnestly begin their New Year resolutions to lose weight and live more healthfully. Days are shorter and work seems harder after leisurely time off over Christmas. So friends ask me more often at this time of year, “How do you eat a good fast lunch at work?” and “How do you get a good dinner on the table fast after work and the kid’s team practices?”, as well as the standard “How do you manage to get enough protein not eating meat?” My answers are simple– cook ahead larger batches of simple whole foods with their own natural bright flavors. Keep basic staples in your cupboards and fridge. Include legumes, seeds and nuts in your diet daily. Try new ingredients, in new combos. Eat mostly local foods, in season, but allow yourself to enjoy too the occasional ingredient that may be from afar- or a season afar- if that makes your recipe pop. Enjoy!
After many days of winter root based soups, and potatoes or yams with dark greens combos, now that the sun is out and it’s clear and cold, I wanted something savory and bright…so decided to go to the Mediterranean for a sunny and heart healthy fava bean salad…
16 oz frozen fava beans
1 small yellow onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 can artichokes
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
3/4 cup bulgur
olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Place bulgur in large casserole dish with lid. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil, then stir into bulgur, cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Drain off any residual water, fluff with fork. Place frozen fava beans into saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil then turn down heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, until beans feel soft and you can readily peel away the inner skin. Drain, rinse in cold water, then enjoy popping each bean out of its inner skin. Place a couple tablespoons olive oil into a large skillet, then saute the chopped onion until it starts to become translucent. Add garlic, chopped celery and peppers, also peeled fava beans and artichokes (first drain the artichokes, then rinse and drain again); stir all together as the peppers cook just enough to turn bright and begin to soften. Remove from heat. Add finely chopped fresh basil, bulgur, and juice of 1/2 squeezed lemon. Stir all together well, add black pepper to taste, also dress with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Serve warm or room temp for lunch at work, topped with feta cheese. Stores well in refrigerator in a casserole dish with airtight lid for several days.