Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Spiced Cranberry Pear Compote

This version of cranberry sauce was inspired by a wonderfully fragrant pear from Smit Farms at the Little Italy farmers market.

1 pear, peeled, diced
zest of an orange or tangerine
1 1/2 cups apple cider
3 cups fresh cranberries
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup rapadura sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1/4 teaspoon clove, ground
a pinch of allspice, ground
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, ground

Stir all ingredients in large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 5 minutes, until all cranberries burst. Uncover, reduce heat to simmer until the pear is soft and the raisins are plumped, 15-20 minutes. Cool to serve at room temp. Can be kept frozen for several weeks or canned to be shelf stable.

Makes about 3 cups.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Simple (dairy-free) Pineapple Coconut Ice Cream

I don't eat tropical fruit often because of issues with sustainability.  I never buy bananas, but I do pick up bruised ones from the co-op free bin (perks of working at an organic grocery store) and if I get really lucky, I trade with a neighbor for lovely locally grown ones!

2 ripe bananas, frozen
1 can coconut milk
1/4-1/3 cup agave or local honey, to taste
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pineapple, finely diced

Peel bananas, chop into several pieces, and blend in a food processor for a couple minutes, until creamy.  Add the coconut milk, honey and vanilla; blend until smooth.  Pour into an ice cream maker add the pineapple and let it do it's thing until the consistency of soft serve.  Transfer to a container to freeze.  Enjoy when it's firm enough for you.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Not-Mooncakes-Not-Pumpkin Buttercup Pie

Okay, so originally this was an attempt to make super-blood-harvest-eclipsed mooncakes, but that turned out to be too ambitious for that already busy weekend.  So then I had copious amounts of filling sitting in the fridge for over a week, which turned out to be great, cuz some of the liquid evaporated out leaving a very thick puree.  Also, buttercups tend to be dense and more dry, and this one was a bit sweet. As for the rest of the puree, I'm freezing it for Thanksgiving.  Forever searching for the best pumpkin pie recipe, here's my latest:

Make the pie crust.  This would also be good with a graham cracker or ginger cookie pie crust.

1 & 1/4 lbs Buttercup squash from Solidarity Farm (will make about 1&1/2 cups roasted puree)
2/3 cups evaporated cane sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream

Make the filling:
Cut the squash in half, remove seeds and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast at 400 degrees until they are tender and can be easily pierced with knife, about an hour. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin.  Add butter, sugar, spices & salt and puree. Cook to thicken or keep in your fridge for a few days with a slightly askew lids for the liquid to evaporate.

Stir in the eggs and sour cream.  Pour into a partially baked pie crust.

In an oven pre-heated to 350, bake until the center is not wobbly, about 45 minutes.

Of course, I'm serving it with heavy cream whipped up with a bit of maple syrup.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Chipotle Pickled Veggies

This week, I'll spend a few days in the California central coast wine country for my brother-in-law's momentous birthday.  It's going to be a stellar bash with many friends and family staying together in a huge estate on a 64-acre ranch.  There are several events planned for this occasion and a few I'll help with in the kitchen.  My sis asked me to pickle some veggies intended for bloody marys (make mine a virgin):

1/2 head of whole garlic cloves from Schaner Farm, peeled
a handful of small pearl-type onion bulbs from Sage Mountain Farm, peeled
1 cup red okra from JR Organics Farm
6 small carrots, cut in half
1 cup fresh green beans from Suzie's Farm
a dried chipotle chili
4 sprigs fresh parsley
a bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup spring water
1/4 cup evaporated cane sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt

Stuff the herbs, veggies & spices in a quart-sized jar.  In a small sauce pan, bring the vinegar, water, sugar & salt to a boil.  Pour into jar to cover vegetables, leaving a bit head space.  Screw the lid on tight and allow to cool.  Store in the refrigerator for at least a few days before eating.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

POG Lemonade!

My mom just had her 60th birthday and we celebrated in the park, potlucking and jamming with her musician friends and family.  She requested carrot cake cupcakes.  I also made a 7-layer dip with beans and salsa from scratch.  I had quite a lot of locally grown fruit on hand (from the farmers market and Solidarity Farm's CSA) and a tree dripping with guavas (it LOVES all the grey water it's getting from our shower). And with a few of my family members having recently been to Hawaii, I was inspired to make POG (passion fruit-orange-guava, for those who have not been blessed enough to taste this juice blend) lemonade... and OMG, yum!  I think it's my best lemonade yet:

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup evaporated cane sugar (or agave or sweetener of your choice)
1 small guava (I think mine are strawberry guavas but honestly I have no idea what variety), peeled and seeded
juice of 1 orange
2 passion fruits

I make a simple sugar first, heating the sugar in a couple cups of water, stirring just until it dissolves; pour into my half-gallon mason jar and allow it to cool in the fridge.

I squeeze my citrus into another container, add the guava and blend until very smooth. Add it to the cooled simple syrup.  Cut the passion fruit in half and scoop the goopy flesh and seeds into the juice.  Add water to fill the half-gallon container, screw the lid on and shake stir.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Easy Berry Sorbet or Sherbet

I froze most of my mulberry crop this year and I froze a ton of blueberries that I bought in bulk from a local farm for a great price at the peak of the season a few weeks ago. And I keep lots of seasonal fruit handy. So when my little sister asked if we could make something in the ice cream maker, she had her pick of flavors. She chose a mix of berries: strawberries, blackberries, mulberries, and blueberries.

3 cups berries
1/4 cup spring water
1/4 - 1/2 cup evaporated cane sugar
a tablespoon of zest of a lemon, lime, or orange

Boil water with sugar until dissolved. Allow to cool slightly. Puree berries and sugar syrup well in a blender. Press through fine sieve to remove seeds if desired. Stir zest into puree. Refrigerate until cold if using fresh fruit instead of frozen. Freeze in ice cream machine for about 25 minutes. 

Use 1&1/2 cups fruit and 1&1/2 cups plain whole Strauss yogurt for a creamy sherbet
Instead of berries: try peaches or nectarines
Garnish with lemon basil chiffonade or mint leaves, thin crisp cookies, and edible flowers
Garnish with granola & carob chips
Instead of sugar: use agave, maple syrup, or honey and omit or decrease the water

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Simple Summer BBQ

Enjoying the beautiful sky and cool breeze, tis the season for summer bbqs.  Here are my simple favorites:

Roasted Corn on the Cob
Peel back the husks, brush off all the silk and tie the husks back together as a handle, using a strip of the husk.  Put them straight on your grill until warm and slightly charred, just a few minutes. I love corn mexi-style: slathered with butter and sour cream, drizzled with a squeeze of lime juice, sprinkled with salt and cayenne.

Potato Salad with Homemade Mayo
This recipe's the most complex of the bunch here, but I just can't leave it out.  I'm using potatoes from my CSA farm, Solidarity.
Variation: sub plain whole yogurt for half of the mayo.

Caprese Salad
a few medium-sized heirloom tomatoes from Suzie's or JR Organics Farm, sliced
a large ball of mozzarella from the Cheese Store (or make your own!), sliced
a bunch of fresh basil from the Schaners
olive oil from Farmer's Daughter
an aged balsamic vinegar
Murry River sea salt from Salt Farm
freshly ground pepper

On a platter, layer by alternating a slice of tomato, a slice of moz, and a basil leaf.  Drizzle with oil and vinegar, sprinkle with salt, and a few cranks of pepper...voila! Serve with sliced baguette from the Prager Brothers.

Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade

Finish simply with fresh strawberries from Sage Mountain Farm & sliced watermelon from Suzie's Farm, and sliced nectarines from Smit Farms.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day Dinner

Mom, do you have any requests for dinner? Will I make strawberry shortcake?  Yeees (ish).  And a salad?  I can work with that.  And that horchata I used to make?  Sounds like a plan:

Build Your Own Taco Salad
a head each of romaine & butter lettuces, torn into bite-sized pieces, from JR Organics and Solidarity Farm
1 cup dried tiger eye beans cooked from scratch, from Suzie's Farm
a bag of tortilla chips
a pint of sour cream
2-3 avocados, cubed, from Solidarity Farm
8 oz jack cheese, shredded
a pint of heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in half
a chopped and sauteed nopale, from a friend
a few radishes, sliced thin, from Suzie's Farm
roasted tomatillo salsa
chipotle hot sauce

Top Your Own Corn Soup
(let me suggest adding roasted poblano chile, avocado & tomato)

Orange Limeade
1 cup fresh juice of limes from Schaner Farm
zest & juice of 2 oranges from Solidarity Farm
1 cup evaporated cane sugar or agave, to taste
spring water

Make simple syrup by dissolving the sugar in 2 cups of water in a pot on medium heat, stirring.  Allow to cool.  Add all ingredients into a 1/2 gallon container and fill with spring water.

Strawberry Horchata 2
1 cup brown rice
1 cup oats
1-inch stick of canela mexicana (ceylon cinnamon), special ordered from OB People's
about 6 cups spring water
3/4 cup agave, maple syrup, or evaporated cane sugar dissolved into a simple syrup, to taste
1 Tblsp vanilla extract
1 pint strawberries from JR Organics Farm

Put the rice and oats and cinnamon in a 1/2 gallon container, fill the pitcher with water and refrigerate overnight.  Blend the mixture for several minutes until it has a gritty, oatmeal texture.  Stain through a fine sieve, pressing on the solids to remove the liquid.  Return the liquid to the pitcher and compost the solids.  Add the agave, vanilla, and enough strawberries to mostly fill up the pitcher.  Blend with an immersion blender until smooth.

Slightly Simplified Strawberry Tres Leches Cake
1+1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 stick butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup evaporated cane sugar
2 backyard eggs
1/2 tsp homemade vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
about a cup cajeta made runny - stop cooking when it reaches the consistency of thick cream (30-45 minutes)
1 cup heavy cream 
3 Tblsp powdered sugar
1/2 inch of vanilla bean
1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered, from JR Organics Farm

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides of a 9"-round cake pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper and flour the sides.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Place the softened butter and the sugar in a mixing bowl. Using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each until just combined. Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk in 3 stages. Mix until each addition is incorporated, taking care not to overbeat. Scrape the cake batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown, the sides pull away from the pan and chop stick poked in the center comes out clean. Poke holes all over the surface of the cake. Slowly pour on the cajeta, allowing it to be absorbed.  Allow cake to cool completely.

In a separate bowl, whip cream to soft peaks, add the powdered sugar, scrap in the vanilla seeds and whip to combine.
To serve, top each slice of cake with a pile of strawberries and a heavy dollop of whipped cream.

Serves 8-12

Adapted from Rick Bayless.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mini Crustless Quiches

These make a great brunch dish.  One recipe fills a 12-cup muffin tin.

4 backyard chicken eggs
1 cup goat's milk from my friend
a few goodly pinches of sea salt
a few cranks of fresh ground black pepper

veggies and/or cheese of your choice, such as:
  • 1 ear corn, 1 medium tomato, 1/2 onion, 1 small summer squash, a handful of chopped cilantro & 4 oz shredded jack cheese
  • 1 julienned small leek, 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms, a handful of snipped fresh chive & 3 oz crumbled goat cheese
  • a small bunch of greens (chard, kale, spinach...) cut into ribbons and a handful of fresh chopped parsley
Saute your veggies (except for tomatoes, corn or herbs) and set aside (this can be done the day before).

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sea salt and pepper and set aside.

Butter muffin tins very well.  To each cup, add a spoonful of veggies, a bit of grated or crumbled cheese, and/or fresh chopped herbs.  Pour egg mixture to fill each cup almost but not quite full.  Bake at 350 degrees until golden, about 40 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly and run a knife around the edges before removing from the muffin tins.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Wraps for a Birthday

I was very happy to help with my niece's b-day bash, especially since I got to make some favorites with my sister from the cafe we used to have...

Thai Peanut Wrap
whole wheat lavash (available at OB People's)
1 or more leaves of lettuce, mustard greens, bok choy, or greens of your choice
handful shredded carrot
4 slices cucumber and/or a few sugar snap peas
1/4 - 1/2 avocado, sliced
layer of sunflower sprouts from Sungrown or Suzie's Farm
thick layer peanut sauce
2 springs cilantro
1 Tbsp green onion, thinly sliced on a diagonal
several mint leaves

Layer ingredients along the short edge of the wrap, roll it up and cut in half on a diagonal.

Hummus Wrap
whole wheat lavash
1/3 cup cilantro hummus
thin drizzle lemon balsamic vinaigrette
light sprinkling za'atar
handful shredded carrot
4 slices cucumber
3 slices tomato (or light layer sun dried tomato from Terra Bella or Sage Mountain Farms, depending on the season)
a few thin slices of red onion
1 large romaine leaf, break in half, or greens of your choice

Layer ingredients along the short edge of the wrap, roll it up and cut in half on a diagonal.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

LOL! Marmalade

In San Diego, loquats are ubiquitous and largely ignored, even when heavy with their delectable, unique fruits.  I grew up eating them off my English immigrant grandma's and my Mexican-American great-grandma's trees.  Each spring I was treated to their yellow appearance on the branches and would wait with joy for them to turn slightly more orange so I could seek out the perfectly ripe specimen.  I have trees of my own now but while every where else in SD the fruits are abundant, this is the second year that mine haven't beared at all!  I'll spend some time trying to remedy this for next year but in the meantime, I have friends with a plethora of extra fruit.  So this marmalade is courtesy of the Coopers:

Loquat Orange Lime Marmalade
I like making marmalade because it produces it's own pectin; I don't have to add extra, non-organic ingredients.  That an organic pectin is not available is shocking to me. And I like cutting the marmalade with another fruit (I've also made a strawberry- and a mulberry-meyer lemon variety!) because that helps temper the sweetness of all the added sugar and the stiffness of the pectin.

4 cups loquat (after being peeled, seeded, membranes removed) from the Coopers
2 pounds (about 8 small) cara cara oranges from Smit Farms at the Little Italy farmers market
2 pounds (about 3 large) navel oranges from Solidarity Farm
4 limes from the Coopers
5 1/3 cups local spring water
4 cups sugar (I like organic evaporated cane)

Prep the loquats: I had a ton of fruit so I peeled them after blanching using this method.  Then I removed the seeds and the stringy membranes around the seeds by hand.  (You could also freeze the fruit at this point to use in other future recipes.)

Scrub the citrus fruit clean. I do not use soap (yuck); just rubbing and water.

Cut oranges in half and juice (you need 2 2/3 cups of juice), saving all the seeds & membranes in a muslin bag or cheesecloth (cuz we're making our own pectin!).  Scrape the white pith (and save in the bag) from the oranges (this is the the most time consuming active part of this recipe).  Julienne the peels.

Cut the limes in 8ths, lengthwise.  Remove seeds and membranes and add them to the bag.  Slice the lime sections into thin triangles.

Put the juice, peels, lime triangles, water & muslin bag (closed tight, let the string hang over the edge but don't let it catch on fire) in a medium/large-ish, heavy bottomed pot.  Bring to a boil and boil on medium heat, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so the fruit and bag doesn't stick to the bottom and burn.

Remove from heat.  Transfer bag to a bowl and allow to cool.  Measure the marmalade mixture and for every cup, add a cup of sugar.  When the bag is cool enough to handle, squeeze the pectin juices into the marmalade mix (and then compost the bag contents).

Heat the marmalade back up to a rapid boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.  Secure a candy thermometer in your mixture, making sure it does not touch the pot.  You want to get the temp up to 220-222 degrees so it will jell (this step also takes awhile).  Then stir in your loquats, return to a boil, and remove from heat.

Fill sterilized jars (that you've been keeping in hot water) leaving 1/2 inch head room, scrape down side to remove any air bubbles, clean head space & outer threads with a clean, damp cloth, add lids & rings (that you've been keeping in hot water), not super tight, and process in water bath covering the topd of the cans by an inch of water just below a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the water bath and let sit, undisturbed overnight.  Next morning, check to make sure they've sealed and tighten the rings.

Makes about 10 1/2 cups.

There are many resources for more complete instructions on jamming and canning.  Check out your local library, co-op, or homesteading groups.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Thai Peanut Pasta Salad

I'll be taking this big bowlful to a potluck tonight...

1 pound whole wheat penne, cooked in salted water
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 small head bok choy or other greens from Solidarity Farm, sliced into ribbons
1/2 pound carrots from JR Organics Farm, julienned
1/2 pound sugar snap peas from Sage Mountain Farm, chopped
a handful of sunflower sprouts from Suzie's Farm
2 green onions from Schaner Farm, sliced thin
a handful of fresh cilantro from Solidarity Farm, chopped
a handful of fresh mint leaves from Honeymoon Ranch, chopped

Cook and drain the pasta, saving some of the water for the sauce.  Toss the hot pasta with the sesame oil to prevent from sticking and allow to cool.  Prep all other ingredients, include the sauce below, and toss to combine. Garnish with chopped peanuts and nasturtium blossoms, which are just starting to bloom in my yard.

Thai Peanut Sauce (most ingredients from OB People's)
3 tablespoons namu soyu (soy sauce)
3 tablespoons fresh juice from limes from a friend
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons agave
3 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger (dry measure)
4 garlic cloves from Schaner Farm, peeled
rounded 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons hot pasta water
3/4 cup peanut butter from the bulk section, measured by displacement of the liquid

Blend with immersion blender until smooth. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Raid Your Healthy Pantry for DIY Beauty

I've stopped buying beauty products kind of in general, and especially those with long lists of ingredients that may or may not be pronounceable and probably not good for my skin anyway. More and more, I use simple, natural, whole products of one ingredient or make my own. I'm so grateful to have access to wholesome products from my co-op to make artisan, all organic, custom beauty products!

A Few Uses for Coconut Oil 
(Please always use fair trade; let's not support slavery.  My fav is Dr. Bronner's whole kernal virgin)
Hair conditioner or styling
Lip balm
Shaving cream
SPF 7 sunscreen
Deep face and body moisturizer
Make-up remover
Sooth burns, rashes, dry skin, and bug bites
(and here's many more)

A Few Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar
(I make my own by naturally fermenting fresh, raw cider from Smit Farms from the farmers market or I buy Bragg's organic)
Dilute a tablespoon in a cup of water and:
- use as a hair rinse for soft, shiny locks or to control dandruff, itchiness, greasiness, or irritation)
- use on your face as an astringent, as an overnight spot treatment for blemishes, or as after shave
- soak a washcloth and apply to sooth a sunburn
Wipe it on your feet to control foot odor
Dilute with 2 parts water and use as a mouthwash for better breath and whiter teeth
(and here's some more)

My Face Moisturizer & Hipster Beard Oil

DIY Hair Pomade

Gentle Foaming Cleanser
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp water
¼ tsp lemon juice, apple cider vinegar (oilier skin), or plain yogurt (drier skin)

Combine ingredients and use as any cleanser. Rinse with water.

Detoxifying Facial Mask
1 tsp bentonite clay
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp honey

Smooth onto skin, let dry to 10-15 minutes, then rinse with warm water.

Smoothie Facial Masks
¼ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup chopped fresh fruit/veggies
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp dry milk powder (optional)

Combine in a blender or food processor until smooth. Apply to face and leave on for five minutes, then rinse with cool water. Stays fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Choose your favorite mask blend…
for most skin types: cucumber (soothes blotchiness and irritation), banana, watermelon, persimmon
for oily skin: peach, apricot, tomato, grape (not concord)
for dry skin: carrot, cantaloupe, avocado, honeydew
for acne: an egg white

Astringent or Toner
apple cider vinegar or lemon juice diluted with green or chamomile tea

Body Scrubs
3 Tbsp course salt, sugar, or oats
2 Tbsp oil and/or honey
¼ tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Combine & scrub in the shower or bath to exfoliate & cleanse. Makes skin super soft and leaves an awesome scent!
If using oats, first pulverize them in a food processor until powdery.
If using oil, careful in the tub: it’s slippery!

Skin Moisturizer
avocado oil, olive oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, or shea butter

DIY Toothpaste

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Piano Recital Menu

My sister is a piano teacher but she used to own a tiny little vegetarian cafe with me. So when she asked me to cater her recital I was quite happy to oblige. And with children's palates in mind, I head to the Co-op and Little Italy farmers market:

Spring Hill cheeses & brie with Prager Brother's baguette, crackers, Farmer's Daughter honey, balsamic mulberry jam & Terra Bella real raw almonds

seasonal fruit from Smit Farms & JR Organics with creamsicle dip

crudités from Suzie's Farm with artichoke boursin dip & hummus

olives & pickled vegetables

pink hibiscus lemonade & citrus white iced tea

Creamsicle Fruit Dip
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
zest of 2 oranges
1 vanilla bean

Whip the cream until you have soft peaks, then add the rest of the ingredients (split and scrape vanilla seeds into cream, then add the pod to your homemade vanilla extract) and whip to slightly stiff peaks.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Adaptable Whole Grain Recipe for Lunch or Dinner

Here's a recipe for an entree or salad based on whole grains with healthy doses of veggies that can easily be adapted to use your preferred or on-hand ingredients. Customize to match your health goals, taste preferences, the changing season, or make it gluten-free - make it yours! Please your palate and stretch your culinary skills. Using recipes that teach us how to cook and use what's on hand have the important bonus of increasing our kitchen efficiency and decreasing food waste (good for our planet and our pocketbooks)!

I prefer my grains chewy and al dente, requiring less cooking time. Others might prefer their grains cooked with more water for a little longer to make them softer and less toothsome. Cook times vary so taste your grains until they are as tender as you like. If they’re too tough, add more water if needed and continue cooking; if they’re done before the liquid is all absorbed, drain away the excess. To decrease cooking time, increase nutrient availability, and improve digestibility, you can presoak your grains in their cooking liquid for a few hours or overnight, then add more liquid if needed before cooking.

3 cups cooked whole grain of your choice or whole wheat pasta (see below for cooking instructions)
¼ cup chopped, fresh basil, parsley or other herbs
1 cup chopped fresh tomato, or other fresh or roasted vegetables
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion, shallot or green onion
1-3 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
2-3 tbsp Balsamic vinegar or other vinegar or lemon juice
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or other finishing oil
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds, or other nuts
sea salt 
freshly ground pepper

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy warm as an entrée or side dish, or allow to cool and serve as a salad. Makes 4-6 servings. It will keep beautifully in the refrigerator and travels well; this is a good one to keep around for packed lunches, a picnic or potluck.

Serve on a bed of sautéed greens, fresh greens sliced into thin ribbons or fresh lettuce.
Add a cup cooked garbanzo or other beans or lentils.
Add ½ pound tempeh, cubed small and baked in a tablespoon each of olive oil, tamari, and balsamic vinegar.

Flavor Combos to Try
bulgur + cucumber + mint + dill + lemon juice + red onion + romaine lettuce

wild rice + roasted winter squash + pepitas + aged Balsamic vinegar + lacinato kale

penne + roasted romanesco cauliflower + garbanzo beans + pine nuts

Kamut + beets + parsley + sunflower seeds + shallot + red wine vinegar + mixed greens

farro + tomato + artichoke + olives + parsley + red onion + balsamic vinegar + spinach

buckwheat soba noodle + cilantro + mint + carrots + sugar snap peas + green onion + rice vinegar + toasted sesame oil + peanut + crushed red pepper + bok choy

Cooking Whole Grains Cheat Sheet (adapted from the Whole Grains Council)
For about 3 cups of cooked grains:
Add water or broth:
Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for:
Amaranth, 1½  cup
2¾ cups
20-25 minutes
Barley, hulled, 1 cup
3 cups
45-60 minutes
Berries (rye, spelt, or wheat), 1 cup
3 cups
Soak overnight; cook 45-60 minutes
Brown rice, ¾ cup
1½ cups
35-45 minutes, depending on the variety
Buckwheat groats, ¾ cup
1½ cups
20 minutes
Bulgur, 1 cup
1½ cups
10-12 minutes
Couscous, 1 cup
2 cups
Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes
Farro, 1 cup
2 cups
25-40 minutes
khorasan wheat (Kamut), 1 cup
4 cups
Soak overnight; cook 45-60 minutes
Millet, 1 cup
25-35 minutes
Oat groats, 1 cup
2½ cups
40-45 minutes
Quinoa, 1 cup
1 ½ cups
12-15 minutes
Wild rice, ¾ cup
2 cups
45-55 minutes or until tender

Thursday, January 8, 2015

DIY Toothpaste

This recipe uses ingredients I have around for other purposes. I use bentonite clay mixed with a little water as a face mask. Coconut oil has a plethora of uses. By making my own toothpaste, I can eliminate waste and packaging while customizing for taste, texture and health benefits.

2&1/2 tablespoons coconut oil (organic and fair trade)
2 tablespoons baking soda
a pinch of fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon bentonite clay
20 drops essential oil (peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon, clove, tea tree, myrrh, sage...)

In a glass or ceramic bowl, gently heat the coconut oil in a double boiler or water bath until soft and stirable (not liquidy). Add baking soda, salt, clay and essential oil and stir (with plastic spatula or wooden spoon) to combine well. Pour into the small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Organic ingredients can be found at OB People's Organic Market

Adapted from Live Simply