“You can't just eat good food. You've got to talk about it too. And you've got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food.”

― Kurt Vonnegut

Sunday, June 23, 2013

GF grain free almond lemon blackberry crumble (Vegan if coconut oil is used in place of butter)

3/4 cup of sugar (or other sweetener of your choice)
6 heaping cups of blackberries or other fruit of your choice
juice and zest of 1 large lemon
a big splash of bourbon vanilla
2 tablespoons oat flour
crumble topping
1 cup almond or coconut flour
1 cup GF oat flour 
1 cup of brown sugar (or other sweetener of your choice)
1 egg or egg substitute (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 stick of butter or 1/2 cup coconut oil plus four extra tablespoons of butter or coconut oil 
(or a combination of the two)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or slivered almonds (optional)

mix filling ingredients in a rectangular baking pan large enough to fit all of the ingredients, spread out evenly. in a separate mixing bowl combine crumble topping ingredients until well incorporated and crumbly. Spread evenly on top of fruit filling. Dot with remaining butter or drizzle with remaining coconut oil. bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour (covered for the first half hour so the topping doesn’t burn) and until filling is thick and bubbly. eat warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

summer rainbow veggie soba noodles with fermented bean curd, crunchy seaweed topping & almond miso dressing

1 small red cabbage shredded
1/2 red onion diced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced or grated
1 small bunch cilantro roughly chopped
1 cup multicolored baby bell peppers diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced radish
16 oz. tofu cut into 1/2 in cubes
1 pound of buckwheat soba or other gluten free noodles cooked al dente, drained and tossed in 1tablespoon of sesame oil in a large bowl
juice of 1/2 lemon or 1 whole lime
juice of 1/4 orange
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
dash of ume plum vinegar
1 tablespoon of good miso
2 tablespoons raw almond butter
1 to 2 tablespoons of hot noodle water reserved
2 tablespoons black and white sesame seeds
1 cup toasted almonds or walnuts
1 tablespoon raw extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
1/2 cup crunchy dry roasted seaweed
braggs liquid aminos or fish sauce to taste
sriracha for heat
cucumber, chopped fresh basil and mint for garnish

add and toss all ingredients until well combined with the sesame coated noodles in the large bowl, adjust liquids and add seasonings. salad ingredients can be varied according to seasonality.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The BEST healthyish, protein filled & most versatile Gluten Free Quick bread recipe (perfected in my laboratory home kitchen) plus, some goat whey in your eye & Spanish black radish......

Gluten Free apple blueberry quick bread with nuts...with a nice moist crumb!

here's the basic recipe which can be baked as muffins or a loaf...

1 cup organic nut or flax meal (we usually use almond, but hazelnut is nice too, this ingredient is optional)
1 cup organic quinoa, GF oat, rice or millet flour
1/2 cup organic coconut flour
1/2 cup organic almond flour
1 cup organic raw sugar (I like date & coconut sugar or rapadura in this)
1/4 cup organic coconut oil
1/4 cup organic pastured butter
3 large organic pastured eggs
3 cups total of chopped, pulped or shredded organic fruit or veggies (bananas, persimmon pulp, cherries, apples, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, pumpkin puree, shredded carrot, zucchini, beets etc.)
1/2 cup organic chopped or shredded dried fruit (optional)
1/2 cup organic chopped nuts (optional)
1/4 cup organic whole milk yogurt (optional, but this ingredient is important if you are using a drier fruit such as apples)
2 tablespoons organic molasses
1 tablespoons baking soda
1 tablespoons aluminum free baking powder
1 teaspoon organic vanilla or almond extract
1 teaspoon each of the following organic dried spices;
a dash of clove

mix dry ingredients separately from wet, combine without over mixing...blah blah blah...you know this part...
bake 1 hour on 350 degrees...if your making muffins you don't need to bake them a full hour (just until a toothpick comes out clean)...

eat warm with organic cream cheese!

suggestions & variations...

use goat yogurt and butter if you want to eliminate the dairy in this recipe, add whey to this to up the protein content even further. Vary the spices and don't be shy about playing around with the 2 cups of flour you use, you can experiment with many different types of GF flour, though not all are as high in protein as quinoa, coconut and almond!

Friday, February 15, 2013

repurposed French mustard vinaigrette, a classic kitchen tip with added nutritional musings...

I am always looking for ways to use up what might otherwise go to waste in my kitchen, attempting to up-cycle small amounts of leftover ingredients and reinvent them in ways that complement or round out my next family meal. It's a silly little kitchen game I play with myself and I always feel like a winner when I end up with something clever and fancy. Well, making French mustard vinaigrette with the little, grainy bits of mustard that cling for dear life to the sides and bottom of the mustard jar and would otherwise be rinsed down the drain is certainly nothing new. To be sure, efficient French housewives have been practicing this yummy culinary trick for ages, but I still feel like a super resourceful cook when I "saisir l'occasion" and follow in their time honored and well dressed footsteps. Plus, this is such a brainy kitchen tip, it stands regular repeating and reminding. Besides, what could possibly be more classy than making something absolutely fabulous from practically nothing? I like to doll my version up with a few savory nutritional food additives for good measure. This dressing technique has the added benefit of being super fast to make since you just simply add all the ingredients to the practically empty mustard jar and shake, shake, shake your dressing to combine. It helps the finished product if you choose to stock your pantry with nice quality mustards. Bottled dressing is full of nasty oils your not supposed to be consuming, strange sounding multisyllabic food additives, chemical preservatives, Gluten (which for some in my household is equivalent to poison) and it's stupid expensive to boot, so don't be afraid to just go all French dressing on everyone's ass and DIY with quality ingredients from scratch at home.

The following recipe yields approximately 1/2 cup of dressing which can be easily doubled or tripled used on all your fabulous Spring greens, shredded slaws, steamed vegetables (I love this on fresh asparagus and with wild salmon), whole grain and pasta salads, to soak bread in or spread onto sandwiches, as a marinade for proteins or for any of your other dressing needs. It will keep in the fridge for a good long while.

repurposed French mustard vinaigrette (with a few savory, non-traditional & nutritionally beneficial additives)

1 almost empty mustard jar with a nice tight fitting lid

to that add the following...

1/4 cup vinegar (I used a combination of apple cider and red wine, but champagne or a little balsamic might be nice. You could also experiment with adding Ume plum or some other far flung vinegar you might have laying around collecting dust in the pantry)

1/2 cup local extra virgin olive oil, preferably raw and unfiltered

1 teaspoon finely minced shallot, garlic, red onion or chive

1 teaspoon finely minced turmeric root (used dried, ground Turmeric if you can't find any fresh at your local Asian market. Turmeric is full of curcumin which is not only tasty but also a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cancer fighting foodstuff.)

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh or dried herbs, I like some combination of French tarragon, lemon thyme, parsley, dill, oregano or chervil in this dressing...visit the page below for extra herbal inspiration... 


a healthy squirt of lemon juice, about a tablespoon

a hearty squirt of Braggs liquid aminos, about a tablespoon

1 tablespoon brewers yeast

1 teaspoon gray, pink or sea salt with it's essential minerals

freshly ground pepper to taste, a goodly but not ungodly amount.

a bit of prepared horseradish if your so inclined...or
a pinch of chile flakes or a dash of hot sauce if you like it like that!

Now just put the lid back on the jar nice and tight (cover it with a towel if your suspicious of the seal), and you know what to do. Shake, shake, shake...shake your dressing...on the kitchen floor...make sure to incorporate all the mustard that is no doubt still stubbornly sticking to the side of the jar. You could certainly experiment with this basic formula and create all kinds of interesting fusiony combinations by swapping out ingredients here, in fact, really there is absolutely nothing to stop you from replacing the lemon with other citrus juices, foregoing the liquid aminos for tamari, worcestershire or hoisin, adding a little miso or fish sauce instead of the salt, changing up the EVO oil with sesame, walnut or avocado oil, substituting finely minced ginger for the turmeric or switching up the herbs a hundred different ways. You could even add raspberries or sun-dried tomatoes to this. The sky is the limit and once the basic principle is understood you can really get jiggy with it.

o.k. enough already...in the words of Tracy Ullman...go home...and Julia Child respectively, Bon APPETIT!

Friday, January 25, 2013

the diet project...

my humble kitchen

First of all a little update on where the hell I’ve been the last few months and why I’ve not had the time to post about all the glorious recipes I’ve been tweaking and the tasty unmentionables I’ve been making in the kitchen this winter. Things I said I would be posting about quite frequently mind you. Well, I could blame it all on the fact that in the early Fall I was too busy writing an article about chicken soup and getting published in my own name for the first time in my food writing career in the Fall/Winter edition of Edible Shasta-Butte (http://www.ediblecommunities.com/shastabutte/online-magazine/winter-2013/chicken-soup-for-the-bowl.htm yay me!) to keep up with the blog, or that I have embarked on an exciting new food ad-venture with my friend, business partner in crime, fellow mom, foodie and beautiful garden fairy Michele Cave (she’s also a really smart and enlightened Nutritionist who offers classes and consultations http://www.familynutritionconnection.com/about-fnc.php) or that I have been completely overwhelmed with my busy domestic routine and the daily requirements of my relationships, pre-existing commitments and other active pursuits, and it would all be true. But still it would just be excuses. The truth is dear reader, that I am struggling with the blog format for writing because I really hate the routine of it and can’t quite get past this idea that I’ve got stuck in my noggin that in order to be a “real” food blogger I must be documenting every damn thing I am doing in the kitchen with relation to food 24/7 complete with professional quality food porn photography. Obviously, I feel pressured by only myself to keep up with the “joneses” here which is both stupid and neurotic, but daily blogging (heck, even weekly blogging) is also just a really big commitment for a wanderlust Sagitarrius/Scorpio rising girly girl like myself. I think my eyes were bigger than my stomach so to speak when I tried to tantalize you by describing all the lovely things I would display before your very eyes as they entered into being over the Fall/Winter and the reality is I just can’t seem to keep up with all the things I want to show and tell and now I’ve run out of time because Spring is almost here! Yikes! And also, it’s just plain annoying to have to stop the making and the doing in the kitchen every second to write and photograph it all, and I'am not tech savvy enough to make it go super smoothly and effortlessly the way "some people" make it seem. I need like a whole teched out foodie blogger A-Team (Mr. T would pity my technological foolishness in the kitchen fo sho) to pull up in that funky ass van and assist me to that end, or perhaps a nice passive clone of myself...I guess I am still finding my groove.
So, anyway, another detering factor in posting regular updates to this blog is that in addition to other demanding things in my life, I am busy again with classes toward my Culinary Arts certificate this semester and am required to take a Nutrition class as part of the certification process which I will be using this blog to write about and document, including a Diet Project in which I journal about my daily food and exercise habits starting now. Talk about drama. Buckle your seat belts folks, your in for a wild ride! I am looking at this as a good opportunity to get away from teaching myself the fundamentals of fatty, carb and meat rich traditional Latin and Mediterranean cookery for awhile and focus on healthier gluten free vegetarian and vegan family meals which as you know I also love to make (I am no purist and certainly not picky when it comes to good tasting food) and perhaps trim some phat off the old hourglass at the same time. We’ll see how that part goes. 

A little less animal protein in my system is probably not a bad thing after all...

good incentive to eat less meat!
Lets just start out by saying that I have issues with Nutrition as a legitimate field of science. I think it's history is sketchy at best and it's modern usage by industry and government to legitimize extremely questionable food stuffs makes it even less convincing which is not to say that there isn't much science to be learned from it's study, but just that as a field it is often antiquated, highly malleable and prone to political and corporate agendas and institutional bias, therefore, in the past I have often chosen to take it with a grain of salt...


Good, I am glad I got that off my chest.

We will see if my opinions can be changed throughout the course of the semester. I could elaborate on why I feel this way for hours, but you would probably be better off reading better writers on the topic

Michael Pollan for starters... 

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/28/magazine/28nutritionism.t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 )

Suffice to say that it is the compartmentalized and industrially propagandized nature of modern nutritional science in bed with giant corporate industrial agricultural monopolies and the powerful financial elites who control our federal government which has led us common folk to accept as truth that the food products pictured below actually contain nutrients and may be included as part of a healthy diet. These are the same people that in the past have told us that these foods, so long as they are lower in calories and fat are healthier to eat than the farm fresh whole food organic milks, butters, eggs, cheeses and pastured meat products that people have been consuming for thousands of years and without the skyrocketing rates of modern nutritional diseases we experience today since the inception of modern Nutritional science and the manufacturing and consumption of foods like these. Needless to say, I am ever so slightly suspect of the "nutritional value" in these foods...

only 1 gram of carb!
zero grams of trans fat!

part of a healthy breakfast!

We were not off to a very good start in my conversion process when during a question and answer session around phytonutrients my instructor replied to my query about whether the enzymes in raw foods had a positive affect on overall digestive health definitively stated that “foods do not contain enzymes, only the human body makes enzymes”. I shit you not. I guess this person does not eat plants like I do. I quickly found another instructor to guide me through this decidedly murky scientific realm who seems to be much less steeped in industrial/government science/propaganda and much more focused on traditional foods and diets and I’m really hoping this new class will be healthier and more educational for me and not a total waste of my time and money and I won’t have to raise my blood pressure heatedly debating among other things the finer points of why I do not believe that “organics are a new trend in the food world” or that “moderation can and should be applied in consuming fast foods”. Imagine a Nutritionist in this day and age condoning the consumption of any fast foods at all, it's preposterous! My instructing chef in the Culinary Arts classes I am taking won’t even lower himself to that level and he is a fellow hedonist and lover of pure animal fat after all! 
To make this long, angry run on rant short, frighteningly, this College level instructor seemed to know little about actual real food and also could not explain the difference between American and European wheat products (Americans refine their wheat much more highly) which means she had also not read Julia Child (or the current research in her own field) which is frankly unacceptable to me. Yes, this was not a match made in heaven dear reader, and I am glad that I will be sparing you from further documentation of this prime example of the incredible mediocrity our overly institutionalized public education system is capable of when it puts it’s collective mind to it. Enough said about all off that jazz already, there will most certainly be more opinion in future Diet Project posts, but for now lets get down to brass tacks and talk about what I cooked and ate today...
The Diet Project...entry #1, January 24, 2013
When I woke up this morning I decided to immediately get some rice going in my zojirushi rice cooker http://www.zojirushi.com/ which I love. Normally when I make rice in the morning I make short grain brown rice (I like Massa organics http://www.massaorganics.com/ ) but since it is getting towards the end of the month (we get paid on the last day of every month so the cupboard starts to look a little bare this time of the month) and the grocery money is running low so I need to use up what I already have I grabbed the bag of white Japanese sushi rice that usually just collects dust on the top shelf of the pantry instead. My kids were delighted. They are not as enthused about brown rice as I am though I do make them eat it all the time (try freshly steamed brown rice in homemade chicken stock with a little tamari and furikake http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furikake sprinkled atop presented simply in a porcelain bowl with a dainty side of cucumber salad to introduce and get them hooked on it, I find that my kids prefer new foods presented simply). The rice will stay around all day in the cooker and serve as a staple food for the next couple of days. Plus I will plan the dinner meal around it. 
I proceeded to eat about a serving of it topped by one organic pastured egg fried sunny side up in a little coconut and a tiny bit of sesame oil in a bowl with a little tamari and some of that yummy furikake ( I love to eat all the seaweed I can consume as it supports my thyroid and my endocrine system and leaches heavy metals out of the system and the high levels of iodine help protect against radiation damage to cells, a very real concern in these post industrial days of spiking cancer rates and nuclear melt downs complete with radioactive Westerly breezes). The dark yellow runny egg makes the sticky rice even better...delicious! Only kimchee would have improved the meal which at the moment I am fresh out of...note to self...make more kimchee this week. I absolutely cannot eat enough fresh kimchee. I also ate some sliced apple and drank some filtered lemon water.
O.k so a decent breakfast followed by eating nothing for the rest of the day. Not good. 3pm rolled around and I realized I hadn’t had any coffee so I rolled up to Dutch Bros. and ordered a ER-911 which is six shots of espresso in a frozen sugary blend of irish cream syrup and god knows what else. Real healthy right? This level of honesty is a little embarrassing... 
Feeling guilty about all that I proceeded to plan, shop for (I only had to pick up a few items as I had most of what I needed already) and make a healthy gluten, dairy and meat free vegetarian and almost completely vegan (save for the fish sauce) supper meal for my family...

this is what we ate...
A raw chopped slawish salad of romaine hearts & kale chiffonade, thinly sliced cauliflower, red bell pepper & beets, cilantro, minced celery, slivered almonds and raisins tossed in a delicious tangy Southeast Asian inspired dressing/marinade of lemon and lime juice, fish sauce, a little palm sugar, chili, turmeric and Vietnamese cinnamon...
I also put that sushi rice to good use and made some Japanese hand rolls. Toasted sheets of Nori were filled with rice, fresh avocado, thinly sliced carrot, red bell pepper, and green onion, basil leaves, fried tofu and chili mayo (a yummy dipping sauce made by mixing organic mayo with Sriracha, lime or lemon juice, tamari, rice wine vinegar and ginger) and topped with black sesame seeds.

I served Jasmine tea sweetened with a little raw local honey too...

Lastly I juiced all the vegetable parts leftover from making dinner (beet greens and stems, celery tops, cilantro stems, green onion tops, lemon rinds plus some apples) in my masticating Omega juicer http://www.omegajuicers.com/
and made a beautiful garnet colored tasty phytonutrient and enzyme packed flu fighting super beverage... 
I ate too much dinner and got only a little exercise today. I also drank only one glass of water when I should have had eight...I did take my GLA and herbal thyroid support but couldn't take my B-Stress tabs or extra flu fighting C because I am out of those and need to buy more...I also need to remember to take my fish oil tomorrow...I am going to drink more water right this second...see you tomorrow faithful food diary...
Ganesha’s bowl of Modakas - may my nutritional obstacles be overcome and may my life be full of sweetness!