Friday, April 18, 2014

How to Peel a Hard-boiled Egg & the Tick's Battlecry

Justin Chapple, Food & Wine test kitchen chef, demonstrates a brilliant trick for peeling hard-boiled eggs with a spoon. I would have loved using this technique after boiling dozens upon dozens of hard-boiled eggs for my signature creamed eggs on biscuits, which was served as one of our B&B's special breakfast selections.



Which reminds me of my favorite battlecry, "Spooon!"

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Orange Millet Pilaf

My friend, Larry Fried, the owner of Natural Choice Directory, has shared his recipe for Orange Millet Pilaf. He's made it for years and is one of his favorite dishes to take to a potluck. I made it the other night for my family, including my five and three year old grandchildren. They gobbled it up, saying "I love it, Nana!" I bet you will too.

For those of you making the transition to more of a plant-based diet, I encourage you to read Larry's article "For My Heart: A Personal Perspective on Eating a Plant-Based Diet."


 

Ingredients: 

1 cup Millet (rinse)
4 medium Oranges
1/2 cup Cashews
1/2 Raisins
zest of 1 Orange (above)
1 tablespoon of Agave Nectar or to taste
Water (see below)

Directions:
  • Juice 3 oranges
  • Add water to the juice for a total 2 1/4 cups total liquid
  • Put millet in saucepan with liquid
  • Cover pan
  • Bring to boil, then turn down to simmer, and cook until liquid is gone (about 20-25 minutes). DO NOT STIR
  • Turn off, let sit for about 5 minutes, then fluff lightly with a fork

While the millet is cooking, combine:
  • The zest of final Orange
  • The juice of that Orange
  • Cashews
  • Raisins
  • Agave
After fluffing millet, add the above mixture, stir in with the fork, and serve.

Pilaf can be eaten hot (best) or cold.

[Note: Before I cooked the millet, I dry-toasted the grain for 4 minutes or until slightly golden, on medium heat, for a nuttier flavor. Be very careful not to burn.]

For information about millet and it's many benefits. click here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Homemade Italian Seasoning

Most stores carry an Italian herb seasoning, but it's easy and perhaps less expensive to make your own blend from the collection of dried herbs you already have in your kitchen spice cupboard.

Here are two options for blending your own dried herbs to create  homemade Italian Seasoning.

Measure, mix together and store in an airtight container:

Five Herb Blend

2 Tablespoons Basil
2 Tablespoons Marjoram
2 Tablespoons Oregano
2 Tablespoons Rosemary
2 Tablespoons Thyme



Seven Herb Blend

1 teaspoon Basil
1 teaspoon Marjoram
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Rosemary
1 teaspoon Thyme
1 teaspoon Sage
1 teaspoon Savory

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Snap! Our Gluten-Free Gingersnaps - the Best Ever!

Tuesdays with Nana - Bake a Cookie Day

Today, we baked Gingersnaps, gluten-free gingersnaps. Decidedly the best gingersnap cookies any of us have ever eaten. Seph helped with gathering and blending the ingredients and mixing the dough, but both helped with rolling them in granulated sugar before baking.


Papa photobombed us while the gingersnaps were cooling, then tried to snitch one from off the cooling racks before we had a chance to test them ourselves. We caught him red-handed in the kitchen and made him put his cookie back, and wait five more minutes until our "Cookie Party" with Mama.


 We all watched as Mama dunked her gingersnap in coconut milk. Mama said, "Nice and crispy, lots of flavor... the best gluten-free gingersnap cookie I've ever had!"


Sephira and Leif thought the cookie dough had such great taste, they quickly dunked their cookies into rice milk, goggling them down posthaste. They didn't fall apart; crispy on the outside with the slightest bit of chewiness in the center. Perfect!



Even Papa agreed that he'd never tasted a finer gingersnap cookie, and well worth the wait.


You too can enjoy our Best-Ever Gingersnaps Cookies!

Ingredients

3/4 cups Butter or Earth Balance (our non-dairy preference)
1 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Molasses
1 Egg
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground Cloves
1 teaspoon ground Ginger

Directions
  1. Cream together the butter and sugar.
  2. Add the molasses and egg; beat well.
  3. In another bowl, using a fork, thoroughly blend the flour and dry ingredients.
  4. Add the dry mixture to the butter mixture, and mix until a well-blended doughy consistency.
  5. Roll the gingersnap dough into small balls (heaping teaspoon), then coating with granulated sugar.
  6. Place the sugared, gingersnap dough balls two inches apart on a greased baking sheet or on a Silpat baking mat (our preference). 
  7. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Our's baked for 11 minutes and were perfect.
  8. Slide them off the Silpat onto cooling racks.
Enjoy! And don't forget to dunk!

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap. - Barbara Jordan

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sweet Potato, Lentil and Kale Burgers

For me, 2014 is the Year of Change. I'm in the midst of moving from the shores of Washington's Puget Sound, where fresh seafood is abundant and shellfish is easily harvested, back to a place in Oregon that is beautifully situated between the Cascade Mountain Range and a city where a river runs through it.

I'm also starting off this new year transitioning towards more of a plant-based diet, eliminating the fish and shellfish that have been a part of my pescetarian diet for the past number of years.

I've tried this before and failed, but now I have the support and encouragement of family who are also discovering and enjoying the benefits of vegetarian and vegan cuisine, which makes it easier for me to stick with my resolution to eliminate seafood and more. I haven't entirely eliminated eggs and the occasional sheep and goat cheeses, yet.

Ever wondered what to call yourself while you are transitioning to a plant-based diet?

  • A vegan is one who does not eat meat, eggs or dairy of any kind. Some vegans avoid such foods as gelatin, honey... or eating or buying anything that has some form of animal-based ingredient used in the process of making the product.
  • A flexitarian is one who has a mostly vegetarian diet, but sometimes eats meat. 
  • One who is a vegetarian but also eats eggs is called an ovo-vegetarian. 
  • One who is a vegetarian but also eats dairy is a lacto-vegetarian. 
  • One who is a vegetarian but also eats dairy and eggs is called a lacto-ovo vegetarian. 


This past weekend,  I attended a vegetarian/vegan potluck. Everyone brought something for the "Burrito Bar" - tortillas, beans, corn, tempeh, tofu, homegrown sprouts, salsa, spices and condiments. One brought black bean brownies and another black bean pudding for dessert.

The theme of our discussion was beans. I tossed out the idea of having a bean burger "bake-off" with a prize for the best bean burger recipe. I am not posting my bean burger "bake-off" entry recipe until after this event happens, IF it happens.

Although this is not a bean burger, here is one our family's favorite ovo-vegetarian burgers. There are only a few changes to the original recipe, which is on page 79 of Luke Volger's cookbook "Veggie Burgers Every Which Way."



 This recipe will make six 4-inch burgers, so we recommend doubling or tripling the recipe, cooking and freezing what you don't eat right away to reheat for later meals. Remember to never double or triple the salt when making more than one batch of anything with salt as an ingredient; increase salt to taste.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup French Lentils (small, green)
1 bunch Kale (remove tough stems)
1 medium Sweet Potato (approx. 8 ounces), peeled and chopped into 1" pieces
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, diced
1-1/2 teaspoons Garam Masala
1-1/2 teaspoons Curry Powder
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon ground Coriander
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Squeeze of fresh Lemon Juice
3/4 cup Oatmeal (gluten-free), lightly ground
1/4 cup Almonds, ground to a meal-like consistency (using spice grinder with slivered Almonds)


Sort through the lentils and rinse. Bring lentils to a boil in a small sauce pan in 3 cups water. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. When tender, drain and transfer to a large bowl. Coarsely mash lentils with a potato masher.


Steam the kale, by what ever method you prefer, for 5-8 minutes. Remove and cool, then wrap in a clean kitchen cloth towel and squeeze out any excess liquid. Finely chop and set aside.


Steam the sweet potato for 8-10 minutes, or bake until tender. Add the sweet potato to the lentils, mashing and blending with a potato masher or fork.





Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a saute pan on medium heat. Add the onion, garam masala, curry powder and cayenne pepper. Cook until the onion is translucent, 8-10 minutes. Then add the chopped kale and minced garlic. Cook and toss to combine for 2 minutes. Note: If a crust forms on the base of the pan, add 2 tablespoons water and scrape up the browned mixture with a wooden spoon.


Combine the kale-onion and lentil mixtures together. Stir in the eggs, coriander, salt and lemon juice. Blend in the ground oatmeal and almonds. Adjust seasoning according to your taste. Shape into 6 burger patties.


In an oven-safe skillet or non-stick saute pan, heat another 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat. Once hot, add the patties and cook until browned on both sides, 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, until firm to the touch and cooked through.



Serve hot on a toasted bun, or room temperature in a lettuce wrap, with your favorite condiments. Freeze and reheat leftovers.

Recipe adaptation, meal preparations, and photos by Effie.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Savory Vegan Stuffed Bell Peppers

I love stuffed peppers, and didn't think it was possible to serve up a vegan version as good as the meat-filled and cheese-topped peppers my mother served up when I was a kid, or those I served my family in years past. I've since changed my tune and share my recipe with you here.



Ingredients

4 medium green Bell Peppers
1 single package of unflavored Tempeh
1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/4 cup fresh Onion, minced
1/4 cup organic Catsup
1 cup soft gluten-free Bread Crumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried Basil Leaves
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Herbamare (vegetable salt)
1/4 teaspoon rubbed Sage
1/4 cup Water

_____

1/4 cup hot Water
1/2 teaspoon Better than Bouillon Vegetable Stock Paste
 _____
Shredded Diaya brand Mozerella Cheese (non-dairy)
Paprika

Directions


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash peppers. Leave them whole, but cut off the tops, and removed the pulp and seeds, and rinse seeds from cavity.
  3. Steam the peppers upside down in a steamer or on the stove in a covered pot with a small amount of water to steam for five minutes.
  4. Brown the crumbled tempeh on medium heat in hot oil, adding onions, catsup, water, bread crumbs, basil leaves, salts, herbs and seasonings. Adjust salt, herbs and seasonings to taste.
  5. Fill the peppers with the tempeh mixture and place in a square or round glass baking dish. 
  6. Dissolve vegetable stock base in 1/4 cup hot water and add to the bottom of the baking dish.
  7. Cover the baking dish with foil, then bake the peppers at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
  8. Uncover the peppers, top with shredded cheese and paprika for another 10 minutes. If you want the cheese to bubble and brown a bit, you can broil for a few minutes.
Serves 4





Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Recipe for Happiness... and Chai Tea

My amazing friend, Laura Lavigne, founder of the Happiness Sprinkling Project, recently shared a recipe from her yoga friend Pam. Making homemade Chai Tea... what an aromatic scent to fill one's home with in the process of brewing a batch. Then again by a crackling fireplace breathing in and sipping a steaming cup of Chai while curled up reading a good book. This year, my favorite of the culinary books I read was Yes Chef a true story with a happy ending. If interested, check out a book I read this year that continues to have the greatest impact on my life and sustaining level of happiness.



And if not now but later, when you are back here at your computer with your second cup of Chai Tea in hand, please take time to watch and enjoy this delightful 16-minute video presentation"Go for Joy!: Laura Lavigne at TEDxSkagitValley."



Join Laura Lavigne along with a host of others around the country, and soon around the world, to be a Happiness Ambassador in your community! Gathering and making friends to sprinkle happiness wherever we go, now don't you think this is the best recipe for happiness there is?


"Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more." - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.