Tuesday, April 26, 2011

RAW "pasta alfredo"

This recipe is dairy-free, un-cooked, nutrient packed, and friggin delicious. I ain't kiddin. I understand the skepticism, but by now you should all trust my tastebuds!!

So there is a Raw revolution happening in this country. Many people have no idea what this means, and many more are very skeptical. I am not endorsing an all-raw all-year lifestyle, but I firmly believe that having at least a 50% raw diet will help you feel and look much much better.
When you cook food the minerals stay, but many of the vitamins leave... food for thought.

Raw "alfredo sauce"
1 c cashews
1/2 c pinenuts
1 1/2 c water
thyme (or oregano, parsley, basil)
red pepper flakes
sun dried tomatoes
1-2 T lemon juice

Place all ingredients in blender or food processor.

This is a pretty standard recipe among raw foodists. Buy the nuts from your grocer's bulk section to save money. Dont buy them toasted or salted.

The noodles are made from zucchini. If you dont have a fancy spiral slicer like me, you can just slice thin strips off your squash with a peeler.

You could also top this with marinated mushrooms, steamed broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, etc.

Strawberry Salsa

We have already gone through several pints! Most fruits can be turned into delicious salsa, I also love to use fresh cherries, mangoes, papaya, pineapple, peaches... yeah!

This recipe has standard salsa ingredients, plus strawberries

1pint strawberries
1 small tomato
few T finely chopped red onion
olive oil (just a drizzle)
2t balsamic (or to taste)
1-2 jalapenos
lime juice

you could do variations on this.. add kiwi, orange juice, or garlic, or bell peppers, or agave nectar/honey... Enjoy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Herb Fest 2011

top row: dill, bay leaves, tarragon, unknown, thyme, chives and chervil
bottom row: spearmint, peppermint, lemon thyme, sage, rosemary, marjoram, oregano & summer savory

chopping up garlic to add to the herb butter
a salad with organic edible flowers

herb & flower butter

Its Herb Fest at work.. which doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot. I mean, it isn't a "festival" like one would imagine. We are just selling more varieties of herbs and products featuring herbs this week. But there was one perk.. I got to bring home all these glorious herbs and find ways to use them!! The Foodies were given several BOXES of herbs to demonstrate uses for, in the store, but we couldn't possibly use them all. Thank goodness.

Herb & Flower Butter
-1 tub Earth Balance Buttery Spread
-summer savory
-lemon juice

I am going to freeze this in an ice cube tray, or else I'm afraid it will get yucky. I'll thaw out one at a time and use it as needed. You wouldn't friggin believe how good it is. I gave Anna a little bit on a cracker, and the first thing she said was, "you should bottle it and sell it."


Morels & Squash Blossoms

Morel Mushrooms. If you've ever had these, chances are you're mouth is watering right now. They're pricey.. Ive seen them range from 20$/lb to 70$/lb. They are extremely seasonal, and the best way to find them is in the woods with friends, rather than the store!
Squash Blossoms. These beauties usually get fried, stuffed, or lightly sauteed. Tonight we're frying.
Soaking Morels to remove any dirt.. or bugs

frying breaded morels in high heat oil

Fried Morels, Fried Squash Blossoms, roasted potatoes with butternut gravy & roasted asparagus

The Roasted Potatoes & Gravy Recipe can be found on the previous post.

Make sure that you soak Morels, if you can find them, because they sometimes contain dirt and bugs!!
I made a gluten free "breading" for these suckers by cleaning out my cabinet and throwing all my old tortilla chips into the food processor. yay!! It was a very pretty breading because Anna and I always keep several bags of Food Should Taste Good chips on hand, and the chips come in different colors, natural coloring of course. Click on the pic of the morels frying and you'll get a close up of the pretty colors.
If you are making your own breading from scratch it is always a good idea to season it, at least with a little salt.

squash blossoms
crumbs +salt
frying oil

So, all I did was soak em. Then made an eggwash, 1 egg beat with a little almond milk.
I dipped morels & blossoms into the eggwash, into the cumbs and into the HOT oil. When frying it is crucial to get the oil hot before putting anything into the pan.. or else you will end up soggy rather than crisp.

The asparagus was rolled in olive oil, salt & pepper then stuck under the broiler until it was slightly crisp & bendy. Then I drizzled on a bit of balsamic vinegar. People often overcook their asparagus into mush... don't do it!!

Roasted Potatoes & Butternut Gravy

Red and Yukon Potatoes Roasted with garlic, spring onions and herbs

Sauteing onions and garlic in olive oil, agave nectar and thyme

melting butternut squash broth ice cubes that I saved from soup-making last month

whisking the broth into the onions & garlic

You can make gravy with any stock, broth, water, milk... etc. All you really need is a thickener, usually a roux, but in this case arrowroot powder.

I love to freeze leftovers in ice cube trays. I reserved squash cooking liquid from several weeks ago, knowing that I love to make this gravy. For a quicker version, just make some broth with a bouillon cube/paste & some water.

12 butternut squash broth ice cubes, melted
1/4 of an onion finely minced
2 cloves garlic
a couple drops agave nectar (or any sweetener)
olive oil
arrowroot powder (kudzu & cornstarch work too)

heat oil and saute onion until translucent & soft. Add garllic, thyme & agave & continue to cook for another minute. Stir in broth, but reserve 2 T. Mix the 2T broth with 1 T arrowroot and whisk in this mixture. Continue to whisk until the gravy thickens.

Serve over Roasted Potatoes & Onions. or whatever!
Make sure to slice the onions very thick so that they cook evenly with the potatoes.

Stuff that I make

Straining the Green Onion Oil through a fine mesh seive
Green onion oil in a pan.. ready for potatoes! We used to drizzle it on Pizzas @ Broadway Brewery
Fresh Strawberry Sauce & Green Onion Oil

Fresh Strawberry Sauce on Nada Moo Coconut Ice Cream

Fresh Strawberry Sauce
-1 pint strawberries
-agave nectar
-balsamic vinegar
-lemon juice

Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend the ingredients so that there is still a somewhat chunky consistency.

I would use this with breakfast or dessert!

Green Onion Oil
-Tops of 2 Spring Onions or 1/2 bunch scallions
-1 c high heat oil (Safflower, Canola, Grapeseed..)

Place onion tops & oil into a blender or food processor & puree until smooth. Then press through a fine mesh seive to separate the flavored oil from plant fiber.

I would use this to re-heat roasted root vegetables, on a salad, in a dressing, potato salad, on a pizza, in pesto, drizzle over.. well, most things savory!Link

1st CSA Box

CSA- Community Supported Agriculture

A CSA is usually run by a farm, or by a group of farms to bring local people fresh seasonal produce. Members will pay weekly, monthly, or annually depending on the CSA, and recieve a box of whatever is growing that week. Prices range from 25-50$ per box.

I worked for a CSA in Columbia, Missouri, run by the Root Cellar. Chances are there is one or more near you!
Anna and I recently joined Farmhouse Delivery in Austin Texas. YES!!!

The first box included:
4 oranges
1 bag mixed greens
1 bunch purple radishes
1 bunch beets
2 bunches mustard greens
2 bunches kale
1 bunch spinach
2 pints strawberries
4 spring onions

Tempeh Reuben

If you live in Columbia, MO and are reading this post, there is a good chance that this sandwich sounds familiar. This is a slightly different version of an item on Main Squeeze's menu on 9th st.
If you are in town, GO GET THIS SANDWICH. I worked there for one year, but ate there for many, and this was my favorite menu item. Honestly, mine wasn't as good as theirs.


Sandwich Sauce

Sandwich layers
Cherry Tomatoes (halved)
Sweet Onion

I bought the sauerkraut and the sprouts at the Austin Farmers Market.
If you have never had Tempeh before, do not be afraid. I am serious. It sounds scary.. depending who you are.. it is fermented soy beans, which forms into a thick cake.. so it kind of looks like a whole bean cake.
You eat lots of fermented foods. Fermented foods contain a living bacteria (culture.) Cheese, yogurt, sauerkraut, meade, European style butter, and sourdough bread are some examples.
I did a demonstration of using tempeh on a sandwich at Central Market. Many many "normal" people, Texans infact, enjoyed it very much. In fact, at least 100 people tried it, and I got no complaints! So do not be afraid, I bet you'll love it!

Brussel Sprouts & Roasted Garlic Polenta

Local Brussel Sprouts, picked this morning!
Covered in oil, salt & pepper

Stirring plenty of roasted garlic into the polenta


I had never made brussel sprouts before. So, before getting started I briefed a chef at work about the process. He said that most people don't like brussel sprouts because they aren't prepared properly and are often overcooked. The problem is that the stem-end is tougher than the blossom end. So he told me to slice off as little as possible, just the tiniest tip of the stem end.. barely an 1/8 of an inch. Then take the knife and carefully slice a cross-section in that end, like an X into the stem, that way the entire brussel sprout will cook more evenly. At this point, you can leave them whole or cut em in half.

I tossed them in oil and roasted them until they looked, smelled and felt done. Meanwhile I was roasting garlic and making polenta. I added an entire head of roasted garlic into my polenta. Polenta is basically a blank canvas and can be sweet (ex. oranges, vanilla & marscapone) for breakfast and savory for any time. You can also enjoy it plain, simply seasoned with salt & pepper. I generally like mine creamy, but you can add more cornmeal/less liquid if you want it solid. It hardens in the fridge, but is still quite tender. You can even use cookie cutters to make fun shapes!

1 c fine cornmeal
3-5 cups liquid (water, stock, milk)
salt pepper
roasted garlic

Heat the liquid and just before it boils, start whisking in the cornmeal in a steady stream. For the next 15-20 minutes whisk frequently. You can add more cornmeal or water to reach your desired consistency. For thick cornmeal continue whisking/cooking until the polenta starts to pull away from the sides of the pot. Season to taste & stir in roasted garlic and butter/oil. Then scrape into container to let cool/harden. For creamy polenta, cook until it reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes.