September 1, 2012 § 4 Comments
Last week I ate a gallon ziploc big of kale chips that packed a balsamic vinegar punch. K-chips with chile/adobo powder are an extremely good idea. A couple days ago I read an article about chocolate kale chips (I’m not holding my breath on that one). This three-ingredient version is my favorite.
This recipe has undergone seven trials in the past two weeks; each time, I’ve whittled away at a list of ingredients that was, at one time, double in length. But as I reduced and tasted, I felt that this simple-dimple blend was just as good as the previous versions touting extra spices and peppery add-ins. (Okay, with a caveat: If you’re a garlic lover, go ahead and add a few minced cloves to this recipe — it’s terrific.) But rest assured, this combination below is simple and good, no garlic or spicy-heat necessary.
There are only three things to keep in mind when setting out to bake a batch of crispy kale chips: (1) Make sure the kale leaves are completely dry. If they’re at all wet, they’ll steam instead of crisp. (2) Don’t be tempted to pile kale onto the sheet pan. Spread the kale in a single layer and when making a large batch, use two or three sheet pans. (3) Keep a close eye on the chips during the remaining 3-5 minutes of baking. They crisp-up quickly and can burn easily.
1 bunch kale, stemmed and ripped into large pieces
3-4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
sea salt, to taste
few teaspoons olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stem kale leaves and rip into large pieces. Wash and spin until dry; pile in a large bowl. Toss with a few teaspoons of olive oil to coat, nutritional yeast and sea salt to taste (be generous).
2. Spread kale leaves in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 15-22 minutes, tossing half way through, until crunchy and slightly golden-brown around the edges.
Diet Notes: SCD-safe, gluten-free, nut-free, vegan
July 19, 2012 § 1 Comment
Many store-bought, pre-toasted and -salted nuts and seeds are processed and coated with starches to help salt/spices adhere to the nuts/seeds. If you are steering away from added starches in your diet, or if you simply would like to have more control over the ingredients in the food that you eat, try buying the raw materials and then dressing them up yourself — it’s a resourceful, creative alternative to what’s commonly available in a standard supermarket.
I like to roast/salt/season big batches of nuts and seeds at a time. They’re wonderfully shelf-stable and then I have them at-the-ready. Included below is the simplest recipe for roasting pepitas (pumpkin seeds), but feel free to dabble. You can try roasting them with a little tamari (or soy sauce) or toss them with dill and nutritional yeast. I enjoy pepitas out-of-hand, a-top mammoth leafy salads, soups and pasta or brown rice dishes.
sea salt, to taste
a few teaspoons olive oil
spices, to taste (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a sheet pan, toss pepitas with a little olive oil – just enough to cover all the surfaces. Sprinkle with salt (and spices) to taste.
2. Bake for 15 minutes; stop and stir half-way. Cool completely before packaging.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, SCD-safe, nut-free, vegan
June 5, 2012 § 4 Comments
Today is the fifth of June and down in the southwest, we’re harvesting tomatoes in full swing. In fact, we’ve been popping sweet cherries into our mouths for the last month. In light of this fact, and given that we have several more months of lycopene-glory ahead, it’s never too early to start preserving these suckers. Canning recipes are coming, but for now, I thought I’d start with a dehydration recipe. Don’t worry if you don’t own one of these mammoth electrical appliances. If you’re eating tomatoes now, your backyard is an oven.
tomatoes sliced 1/4 – 1/2″ thick (cherries cut in half)
Slice tomatoes in thick slabs and remove seeds. Arrange evenly on a dehydrator (or mesh screen for outdoor use). Sprinkle generously with sea salt. Dehydrate at 135/140 degrees for 10-16 hours (depending on thickness) or until chewy and crinkled. If dehydrating outside, keep a fine mesh cloth (ie. cheese cloth) over the tomatoes to keep bugs and debris at bay. When cool, store in an airtight container. Will keep for several months.
Diet Notes: SCD-safe, gluten-free, nut-free, vegan
April 29, 2012 § 2 Comments
In college, I had an across-the-hall-chum who was borderline obsessed with lentils. She piled them on top of mammoth salads and claimed they were nature’s most perfect food. When she’d go up for seconds, I’d roll my eyes and crunch through another bowl of frosted mini wheats. Suffice it to say, I found these little legumes entirely underwhelming.
Fast-forward to 2012: In a turn-of-the-new-year cleaning frenzy, I began sorting through the pantry dregs. I found a couple of gems: unsweetened Scharffen Berger chocolate; a quart of dried, Mexican oregano! I also found hoards of lentils in little baggies, nicely twisty-tied. (Several years ago I tried to perfect a lentil soup recipe; clearly, I didn’t get very far.) After a day of lentil pondering, I decided it was time for two recipe experiments: I set out to make a savory lentil burger and a springtime lentil salad. As I type, Trial Two of the lentil burger is in the oven. As for the salad, after four different trials, this Mediterranean bowl — punctuated with a little dill, citrus, scallion, garlic, winter greens — is down-right wonderful. Just be sure to season it as you go; salt is key! And the silver lining, you can make a huge batch and freeze it. It thaws perfectly.
Ingredients for the Lentils:
2 cups lentils, raw*
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
1.5 cups purple cabbage, shredded
2 cups winter greens (kale/collard greens/brassica leaves/etc.)
8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
sea salt, to taste
dressing (see below)
1/3 cup scallion, sliced on diagonal
3/4 cup ricotta salata grated (or feta) **
1/2 cup dill
*If following the SCD-diet, soak lentils 24 hours prior to cooking and rinse well.
**If following the SCD-diet, use a hard cheese like Parmesan.
Ingredients for the Dressing:
4 tablespoons meyer lemon juice
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar*
3-4 tablespoons fruity olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dill, chopped
3/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
sea salt, pepper
*If following a strict SCD diet, swap balsamic vinegar with apple cider vinegar.
1. In a large pot, boil lentils until al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a wide-brimmed pan, saute onion in a little olive oil. Salt and saute until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add cabbage and saute an additional few minutes, until slightly softened. Add garlic and winter greens and stir until wilted. Remove from heat.
3. Prepare dressing; whisk and set aside. In a large serving bowl, combine lentils, sauted mixture and dressing. Taste and add dressing and salt as needed. Top with scallion, dill and cheese. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, nut-free, SCD-safe (see asterisks)
February 26, 2012 § 3 Comments
A third of this batch has disappeared in the last 48 minutes. There are only two of us in the house. In my dad’s words, “These are the best [crunch] spiced [crunch] nut-things [crunch] I’ve ever had [crunch, crunch]!”
If you have a hankering for spicy food, up the amount of red pepper flakes and pepper. Just don’t skimp on the fresh thyme.
3 cups almonds, raw
1.5 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup thyme, fresh
2 tablespoons Mexican oregano, dried
1 teaspoon dried garlic flakes
1/2+ teaspoon sea salt
10 cracks pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees on convection. In a large bowl, toss almonds with honey and olive oil. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and toss until thoroughly coated. Line a sheet pan with a Silpat mat or grease thoroughly. Bake for 18 minutes, stirring half way through. Cool completely before packaging.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, SCD-safe
February 11, 2012 § 2 Comments
While farms (and farm stands) bring us crunchy winter delights like cabbage and sweet apples, I wanted to share my early February lunchbox favorite. This recipe unites an odd assembly of players — dried cherries and purple cabbage, balsamic vinegar and ginger — but they bring more than the sum of their parts to the table. This salad is both sweet and savory and it’s hardy enough to stand alone. While it’s very good at any temperature (I’ve tried ‘em all), it’s unequivocally tastiest warm or at room temperature.
1/2 red onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ginger, minced (or more, to taste)
3 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt, pepper
4 cups red cabbage, shredded
3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup dried cherries (no sugar added)
4 small sweet apples, thinly sliced
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1. Shred cabbage and set aside. In a large, high-rimmed pan, saute onion and olive oil on medium-high heat until wilted (about five minutes). Add garlic and ginger and season with sea salt and pepper. Stir until fragrant (an additional minute or two).
2. Add cabbage and gently toss. Drizzle balsamic vinegar and cook for 6 minutes, until cabbage has heated through and is al dente. Meanwhile, slice apples.
3. Add apples and dried cherries and saute until heated through (but not cooked). The apples should still have “crunch” and maintain their shape. Remove pan from heat and fold in feta cheese. Serve warm.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, nut-free
January 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
When I set forth to make this wrap, I combined a hodgepodge of recipes and aimed to make a falafel-like ball with crunch and Mediterranean flavor. Instead of relying on dried coriander and cumin to amp up the taste, I wanted to use garden-fresh cilantro and scallion. I wanted to see what would happen when I incorporated a whole grain into the mix (quinoa) and fresh vegetables (spinach) for nutrients and eye-popping color.
Before supper one night, I happened upon Green Kitchen Stories saffron-falafel recipe. I liked their idea of using flappy cabbage leaves as a wrap (a pita would be good, too) and tahini as the base for a bright dressing. I experimented with a few simple four-ingredient tahini dressings. The one below was my favorite.
Ingredients for the Chickpea-Quinoa Balls:
1 cup quinoa, cooked
2 cups garbanzo beans, cooked
2 cups spinach, fresh
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup scallion
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon flax meal
4 tablespoons brown rice flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1-2 tablespoons water (if necessary to thin)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees on convection (or 400, standard). In a food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse until pureed. The mixture should be sticky, but not so sticky that it doesn’t hold a form or stay together. (In the event that there is too much liquid, add extra brown rice flour, a little bit at a time. If too dry, add water a tablespoon at a time.) Scoop into balls, uniform in size, and bake for 20 minutes. Flip over and bake an additional 15 minutes.
1/4 cup tahini
2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
generous pinch sea salt, pepper
2 tablespoons water, to thin
Whisk together and drizzle on top of wrap.
Diet Notes: gluten-free, vegan, nut-free
November 17, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Quick pickles are my go-to recipe when the cucumber crop goes gang-busters. But it wasn’t until this past fall, when I cooked side-by-side with Cammy at Super Chilly Farm, that I added apples into the vinegar brine. We made this recipe six times in three weeks and since coming home to Arizona, my mom has kept the crisper drawer stocked with cucumbers.
Two things to note:
(1) Use the very best apple cider vinegar you can find. If you can, seek out a local apple orchard and buy vinegar in bulk (we buy gallon jugs). The cost isn’t prohibitive (in fact, it’s often comparable to grocery store prices, or cheaper when purchased in larger quantities); it only requires a bit of extra effort. While I lived in Maine I tracked down Sewall’s cider vinegar. I brought home a bottle for my mom who tried it and said it tasted like wine and was the best she’d ever tasted.
(2) At Super Chilly Farm I was fortunate to have a stock pile of heirloom apples at my disposal. With each batch of pickles, I sliced up different kinds of apples — softer, crisper, sweeter, tarter. My favorite pickle batch used sweet, only slightly acidic, very crisp crab apple varieties called Chestnut and Pipsqueak. Close runner-ups were Red St. Lawrence and Garden Royal apples. (Photographs here.) I suspect that this recipe would be quite good with the conventional varieties Pink Lady, Fuji, Braeburn or Gala. Or, if you live in apple country, visit an orchard growing out apples native to your area and try out a couple that strike your fancy.
4 medium-sized pickling cucumbers, thinly sliced
4-5 small/medium apples, unpeeled, cored
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 early onions/shallots
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup honey (or more, to taste)
1 cinnamon stick
1. Prep cucumbers: Cut off ends, discard, and thinly slice with a cabbage shredder, mandolin, food processor or sharp knife. Place cucumber slices in a colander and toss with sea salt. Let sit for 20 minutes. Prep apples and onions using the same slicing utensil—aim for uniform thinness and size.
2. In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, water and honey until full incorporated. Add cinnamon stick and pour dressing over apples and onions.
3. Rinse cucumbers and lightly dry. Add slices to bowl with apples and stir well. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. Refrigerate for up to two weeks.
Diet Notes: SCD-safe, nut-free, gluten-free
October 31, 2011 § 1 Comment
I’ve had a couple days to rewind my September and October in Maine. My two month stay at Super Chilly Farm — a homestead and genetic bank for apple diversity — served as an indoctrination into the technique, science and delectability of food preservation. (I’m hooked.) I saved tomato seed and studied biennials. I pressed grapes and drank cider; I canned tomatoes and made apple pectin. I also read great big books about apple identification; I’m now somewhat versed in biological lingo like “mucronate” and “emarginate.” I even helped resurrect an outhouse wall; I used my first power tools! (Vrroom! Vrroom!) Puttering around my cozy, Tucson home, I tend to perseverate on my unfettered access to electricity, running water and plumbing. These conveniences seem somewhat extraordinary to me, and I’m a little embarrassed about my feeble comprehension of their mechanics.
I left Super Chilly Farm with a 50-pound (on the nose!) suitcase, bursting at the zippers with canned salsa, jam, apple molasses and a small bag of heirloom apples–Blue Pearmain, Sweet Sixteen, Black Gillyflower, Grimes Golden and Wagner among them. Upon arriving at my southwestern doorstep, with no water to pump or chicken eggs to scrub, I felt a little bit stalled, unsure of how to spend my time. I jump-started this slightly static homecoming by donning my cowboy hat, grabbing a pair of scissors and heading out to the garden. I clipped basil (for drying) and dehydrated tomatoes, lemon rind, banana, grapes and fruit puree (for fruit leather). That evening I made this salad; I shredded cabbage and chopped up the Sweet Sixteen and Black Gillyflower into thin matchsticks, giving my family a little taste of Super Chilly, here at home.
When Priya of “muffins on sunday” invited me to post one of my favorite fall recipes on her blog, this one surfaced to the tippy top of my arsenal of tested apple dishes. If you’re in the mood for a seasonal, sweet and savory salad, please head over to her site for the recipe. Be sure to scroll down and read her witty and laugh-inducing posts about killer pasta salads, soups, cookies and lip-smacking jams. Priya recently posted a muffin recipe on my blog and in the last week and a half, I’ve made five batches. She’s good, you guys… real good.
One final note: If you try out this slaw recipe, I’d love to hear how you liked it and if you have any recommended tweaks. I’ll share your suggestions with my Super Chilly gang back in Maine; I know they’d love to hear from you.
Diet Notes: SCD-safe, gluten-free
August 28, 2011 § 1 Comment
Tomorrow I jet eastbound to southern Maine (Irene, permitting)! The following morning I’ll don my faded farming pants and begin a short term apprenticeship on an heirloom apple orchard/homestead. I’ll be photo-documenting my first real-deal FALL (!) this October and in the coming months I’ll post a photo or two, along with some apples recipes.
But before I head out, it’s time to whip up a final batch of margaritas. Akin to the semi-annual Fitz BBQ or Grandma’s wintertime delivery of peanut butter fudge, no drink sings of “home” more than this tequila-lime slurry. My dad tweaked his tried-and-true blend to fit the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. While this version is not as authentic as its original counterpart, it’s lip-smackin’ good.
One important note: In addition to the mangoes, my pops adds one frozen banana or a pineapple core to impart a bit of sweetness, but not so much banana/pineapple that the flavor of either becomes detectable. Alternatively, feel free to add additional honey or your preferred sweetener.
1 cup lime juice
3/4 cup tequila
2 large mangoes, peeled and pitted
1 frozen banana and/or pineapple core
2-4 tablespoons honey
3 cups ice, crushed
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Taste and add additional honey if necessary. Spread sea salt on a plate, about 1/8″ thick. Dip the rim of each glass in a bit of the margarita liquid and place glass rim-side-down in the salt. Twist until entire rim is coated. Fill each glass and serve immediately.
Diet: SCD-safe, gluten-free, nut-free