Thursday, April 29, 2010

lamb and morels. best lunch ever.

Today, I ate the best lunch ever. My friend Paul found morels on his new farmland, and we bartered - some graphic design work for these delicious wild things. I love bartering.
I didn't save them for a special dinner party.. I didn't share them at all actually.. It was my first time even trying them - and they were SO GOOD! ah!

The other best part of my lunch was some grass-fed lamb that I get from Susie, the lamb lady at the Columbia farmers market. She makes different pre-seasoned packs of ground meat - this one is the gyro style. I don't buy "convenient" foods normally.. but I am completely ok with this one.

Well, I guess fruits and vegetables are pretty convenient.. and so is chocolate.. I've been eating a lot of good chocolate lately. It helps me work when I don't want to.

So! Here's what I did to prepare lunch:

-Soak morels in salt water for some hours to get rid of the bugs..
-Chop veggies (I had some leaves of kale and a zucchini)
-Mince garlic (I think I added 4 cloves.. yes. for 1 serving)
-Make patties out of ground lamb meat

In a big pan, sauté morels, veggies, and garlic in a lot of olive oil for 5-7 minutes.
In a different smaller pan, place the lamp patties and cook for a minute on each side.

Done! YUM! I want it again tomorrow...

irises amaze me

She and about 20 others are in my backyard! And it's my first spring in this apartment.. What a beautiful surprise.

guac and carrots - quick food

I haven't been posting lately because school's been so busy and I'm eating quick things like this, and I'm also eating out at cafes and restaurants - a lot.. because it saves time from grocery shopping, planning, cooking, and cleaning and putting away the dishes.. and I need every last minute for working on my school projects right now. I guess that's the other reason I haven't been blogging.. it takes time too!

Ok. enough.. Here's a quick and filling and healthy and delicious snack/side.

Serves 1-
1 avocado, mashed
1 green onion stalk, chopped
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

Mix and mash! I use a potato masher and it goes super fast. You can't really mess up guacamole.. I just used what I already had in the house.. try adding tomatoes, lemon juice, yellow onions, red onions, garlic.. you name it.

1 carrot, peeled and sliced diagonally into chips :) or however you like your carrots.

Dip! and enjoy :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

banana chips

Bananas were about to go bad so they were on sale.. and I could only freeze so many. It's cram time for school - just 1 1/2 weeks before the end of classes.. and I'm totally into snack food right now. Here's a super sweet (crazy how my taste buds have changed), chewy/crunchy treat.. It's almost too sweet.. for me.

Bananas (super ripe)
lemon juice
A dehydrator (or oven with super low setting)

-Peel the banana.
-Slice the banana into 1/4-inch(ish) pieces.
-Place the banana slices in a bowl of lemon or pineapple juice for about 5 minutes. (This helps prevent the bananas from turning brown. It will not affect the taste.)
-Place the banana chips into a food dehydrator. Be sure the bananas are not touching. (I also recommend lining the dehydrator with parchment paper.. it took me a long time to remove the banana chips when they were done.
-Dry on medium heat for 12 to 24 hours until they are pliable. Turn off the dehydrator and leave the chips on the trays to cool.

Enjoy on the go, in your lunch box, after dinner.. or stick a few in your jacket pocket to forget about until tomorrow. Is that gross? Hope not. That's what I did.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

confession. (2)

I went to Natalie's birthday party tonight.. and I knew I shouldn't eat the dessert - so I even brought some cut up apples with honey and cinnamon, all wrapped in foil - which I put in the fire for a while. But.. once the apples were gone.. I gave in to my craving for the thing everyone else was enjoying. S'mores. We were sitting around a campfire... come on..

cilantro lime cod

I didn't get a clear photo of the fish after it was done cooking.. It's too difficult to make everyone wait while I take the perfect picture for the blog. Here's how I've been preparing my fish lately..

You'll need:
cod, or other white fish.. ok, or maybe any fish.
olive oil
lime juice
salt & pepper
and fresh cilantro (yeay spring and fresh herbs!)

I prepared this dish for a barbecue, so it's shown in foil.. but you can also bake it in a baking dish.

So.. pour olive oil and lime juice all over the fish. Rub on plenty of fresh garlic, cumin, salt and pepper, then sprinkle with some cilantro (save some cilantro to garnish with after it's cooked)
Either cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or wrap in foil and barbecue for 30-40 minutes.


sunrise blood orange

It was just so pretty, I had to take a picture.

carrot and apple charoset

I know Passover's been over for a while.. but I'm not done with charoset. Here's my mom's regular charoset recipe plus a large addition of shredded carrots. Why carrots? Why not? Oh! and if you don't know what charoset is.. here's the answer thanks to wikipedia:

"Charoset, haroset, or charoses (Hebrew: חֲרֽוֹסֶת [ḥărōset]) is a sweet, dark-colored, chunky paste made of fruits and nuts served primarily during the Passover Seder. Its color and texture are meant to recall the mortar with which the Israelites bonded bricks when they were enslaved in Ancient Egypt. The word "charoset" comes from the Hebrew word cheres — חרס — "clay."

The amounts of each ingredient are totally changeable depending on your individual taste buds.
You can't really go wrong. Here's what I did:

4 red delicious apples, peeled, and shredded (what did people do before food processors?)
4 big carrots, peeled, and shredded
1-2 cups of walnuts, chopped
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup lemon juice (add a little at a time.. and stop when you think it taste perfect)
1/2 - 1 cup sweet red wine (Manischewitz, if you want play kosher)

Mix all ingredients together. Make enough to have leftovers. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

soaked quinoa with carrots, mushrooms, and fresh herbs

mmmmmm! This turned out good! The recipe was inspired by this one on the Gluten Free Goddess.

I can't remember if I've talked about soaking quinoa before.. It's important to soak quinoa for at least 12 hours. Then rinse and rinse and rinse. This removes the saponins. Saponins produce a soap-like foam in the water, and you'll know when you've rinsed the quinoa enough when the soap-like suds are gone. (fyi - saponis are found in certain plants, and their job may serve as anti-feedants, and to protect the plant against microbes and fungi. I know you have the internet too.. but - hey. Now you know) If you don't have a fine mesh strainer.. I would recommend adding one to your kitchen collection. I use mine almost everyday.

So - once you've decided the day before that you want to make this.. add your quinoa to jar and fill the rest with water. Mine sat for around 18 hours..

1 1/2 cups quinoa

the next day..
quinoa, rinsed and strained
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup water (If you're only making 1 cup quinoa, use 1 cup of water... etc. It needs less water than other recipes call for because it's soaked)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt

Pour the oil in a pot, heat over medium heat. Add the quinoa to toast a little bit. Then after a couple minutes, add the water, garlic, and salt. Simmer covered until all the liquid is evaporated (about 15 minutes.. ok actually I don't remember how long this took.. but the quinoa will be translucent, and you should be able to fluff it with a fork.)

While that's going on.. you'll need:
olive oil, as needed
1/4 red onion, diced
2 clove garlic, minced
1-2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 big carrot, chopped
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

Heat a tbsp or 2 of olive oil in a large skillet and over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and stir for a minute or too. Add in the garlic; stir. Add the mushrooms. Season with sea salt and ground pepper. (Add a splash of white wine. optional) Stir and cook until the vegetables are tender.

When the quinoa is cooked, fluff with a fork and add it to the skillet mixture. Now add:

Fresh chopped parsley
Fresh chopped mint
Fresh chopped curry (I just got this plant from the farmers market.. it's an awesome addition to the standard herb garden)

Serves 4-7. (Depends whether it's a side or the main course) Enjoy!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

why do your walnuts taste so good?

A friend asked me this question when I shared some with her during our personal finance class. Here's the answer..

I soak all my nuts in salt water, then dehydrate them. This removes the tannins, so there is no longer a bitter aftertaste, and it also releases enzyme inhibitors, so you get all the nutritional benefit of the nut.

Different nuts need different lengths of time to soak.. the more dense the nut, the more time needed. There are many different websites explaining different lengths of time.. here's one helpful and information-ful web page. Kimi, from the Nourishing Gourmet also talks about soaking nuts.

To make delicious walnuts.. use this ratio:

4 cups of nuts
2 teaspoons sea salt
filtered water

Soaking time: 7 or more hours (can do overnight)
Dehydrating time: 12-24 hours, until completely dry and crisp.

Walnuts are susceptible to becoming rancid so they should always be stored in the refrigerator.


my herb garden

Yeay! my herb garden makes the walk up the stairs to my apartment so happy.. :)

simple salmon

If you're not comfortable cooking fish yet.. please just try this recipe. It's too easy.

wild caught salmon
lemon juice
olive oil
salt & pepper
fresh rosemary

Oven! 350. Pour lemon juice and olive oil over salmon generously in a baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and rosemary. Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes (well.. ok, this depends on the amount of fish and the size of your oven. (I have a small oven and cooked almost 1 lb of salmon.)
Done :) Serve with something green.. like steamed asparagus.. mm

Thursday, April 8, 2010

a main squeeze date

I met my friend Jeni at Main Squeeze for a date this morning :) It's probably my favorite place to eat in town. Outside of my apartment.. well.. maybe more - I don't have to do any dishes there...

We got:
a wheat grass shot.. why we don't plan wheat grass on our lawns, I don't understand.
a calico ball.. made of cocoa, peanut butter, and honey, and rolled in coconut shavings. the original trinity truffle.
a ginger tonic.. a juice made of apple, celery, lemon, and ginger
a berry berry good smoothie.. made from grape juice, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries

ta ta for now :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

got hemp milk?

"Seeds of the plant cannabis sativa, hemp seed, contain all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life. No other single plant source has the essential amino acids in such an easily digestible form, nor has the essential fatty acids in as perfect a ratio to meet human nutritional needs." -Lynn Osburn

I know I'm not supposed to be playing with my food.. because I need to crack down on school work - but I don't think I'll really be able to change my ways for this last month of class. I felt like a sweet snack in the middle of my work - but I don't have much time to make a mess.. that and I don't have very many groceries right now. The best combination of circumstances to be creative.

This is sweet drink is really simple:

1/4 cup shelled hemp seeds
1 cup water
1 frozen banana, chopped
(optional: vanilla, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg...etc.)

First blend the hemp seeds with the water (add a 1/4 cup at a time) to make a hemp cream, then add the banana and any other ingredients that would satisfy you. The frozen banana was all I thought it needed.

Ok! I can go back to work now..

spicy honey lemon salad

Day 2 of millet.. I'm enjoying it now cold.. in my salad of spinach, red onion and carrots.

Here's the recipe for the spicy honey lemon dressing I mentioned the other day. It's from the Anti-Inflamation Diet and Recipe Book:

2/3 cup lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
1/2 cup honey (or a vegan sweetener)
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp salt
generous pinch of cayenne pepper

Mix! Done! Goes wonderfully over spinach.

soaked millet

School's almost out, and I'm crazy busy trying to finish everything before I graduate, so I'll be making versatile dishes that can last me the whole week.. for the next 5 or 6 weeks. This week: Millet! This super healthy grain-like seed is full of nutrients and is easy to digest.. Especially when pre-soaked. Here's what to do:

Serves 5-6
Prep by adding 1 cup millet to a jar with enough water to fully cover it. Let it soak for at least 8 (and up to 24) hours. Then rinse!

Add to a pot with 2 - 2 1/2 cups of water and anything else you have/like. I added a chopped up stalk of celery, carrot, green onion, garlic, red bell pepper, salt, parsley, and cumin. Oh - and a little curry powder too. Let it simmer and you'll know when the millet is finished because the dark yellow color will become opaque.

That's it :) I had it for lunch day 1 with steamed broccoli on a bed of spinach.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

spring is here! but spring break is over :(

Spring is here!! I returned to Missouri from my vacation in LA to dreamy weather.. Birds, baby leaves, flowers, and bumble bees welcomed me back. What I don't understand is the timing of spring break... how am I supposed to get back to work with weather like this?

Here was lunch - amaranth with carrots and herbs on a bed of spinach with spicy lemon honey dressing, and a cup of hemp milk. I will post the recipes later.. and I'll probably be eating quick and easy meals like this for the next 6 weeks, until I graduate and will have more time to spend cooking.

Carving out time and space from working.. for food :( I wish it was the other way around!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

passover in los angeles

The farmer's market in my hometown in southern California can't be compared to the farmer's market of my current address in Missouri.. beautiful artichokes, 6 different kinds of oranges at one stand and strawberries as big as my hand.. in March. Ah.. at least there's no traffic in Missouri. 1 point...

Here are the vegan macaroons I made for both Seders my family hosted.. they couldn't compete with all the other sugar-y, egg and gluten-full desserts people brought to share.. So I ate most of them :) I was ok with that. Especially when I dipped them in dark chocolate :)

You need:
bananas, dates, and shredded coconut.. you can also add cocoa powder and vanilla extract..
Taste as you go.. don't worry about adding too much coconut.. you can't :)

Blend all ingredients then put into a cake decorating bag, with a large star tip. Then squeeze and twist for the perfect macaroon shape :) Bake at 350 for 20 minutes to so they are dry to the touch and let them sit out to cool all the way through.
Dip in dark chocolate for an extra treat.

Happy Passover! May you all be reclining and enjoying the company of your family..