Monday, July 6, 2020

Miso Glazed Cauliflower

If I had to pick a favorite flavor, it would be a choice between Salty and Savory/Umami because I love them both. And some wonderful ingredients are both - like Miso. Besides making Miso into a delicious soup, I find it to be a wonderful glaze for roasted vegetables. I previously posted a recipe with Eggplant, but my son Stephen helped me create a more traditional Japanese style sauce. This sauce uses both Sake and Mirin, but if you only have Mirin, just reduce the amount of Sugar that you use. The little bit of Sugar is important though, as it what is needed for the sauce to caramelize a bit so don't leave it out. This is a very easy dish to make. All you have to do is roast the Cauliflower and while it is cooking, you whip up the sauce. Then for the last few minutes, you toss the Cauliflower in the sauce and put it back in the oven on the broiler setting until it is just beginning to char on the edges and even and the glaze is bubbly.  It's wonderful!

Miso Glazed Cauliflower

1 large head of Cauliflower
4 Tablespoons Miso Paste
2 Tablespoons Sake
2 Tablespoons Mirin (or double if not using Sake)
2 Tablespoons Sugar (use only 1 T if only using Mirin)
2 Tablespoons Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 425 degrees

Separate the Cauliflower into florets, cutting off the tough part of the stem. Rinse and drain. Place in a mixing bowl and toss with the Oil and sprinkle with Salt and Pepper. Pour onto a sheet pan and place the oven. Cook for 20 - 25 minutes or until the florets are just starting to turn brown.

In the meantime, put the Miso, Sake, Mirin and Sugar into a small pan. Stir and heat until the mixture just begins to bubble and the Sugar is melted. Take off the heat and cool.

Remove the Cauliflower from the oven. Turn the oven on to broil.  

Put the Cauliflower back into the mixing bowl and pour the glaze over. Toss lightly to coat. Put the Cauliflower back onto the sheet pan and put into the oven. Cook for about 3 minutes or more until the sauce is bubbly and the ends of the Cauliflower start to char. Serve hot or cold.

Five Element Analysis

Miso is a salty and savory condiment that belongs to both the Water and Metal Element. Cauliflower is one of the few Metal vegetables, so this is a mostly Metallic dish. However, the Fire Element shows up in the Sake and Mirin. And because the Mirin is also sweet along with the Sugar, it brings in the Earth Element too. Only the Wood Element is missing so be sure to serve this with another dish that incorporates Green Vegetables and whatever main dish you like to create a balanced meal!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Sunflower Seed and Brown Rice Veggie Burger

I've always had a fondness for Veggies Burgers (except when they contain Cheese) and I had one particular favorite - Sunshine Garden Burgers. I've been ordering them during the lockdown from my local Health Food Store, but in the last order, they were out. I thought maybe I could replicate them and I did!  I'm quite happy with the results so I may not be ordering them much anymore. I checked the website for the ingredients of their Veggie Burgers and I had the ingredients except for Chives, so I replaced them with Onions and I think I might even like them better. I made the Brown in a regular Rice Cooker which takes a long time, but you could also easily cook the Rice in an Instant Pot in about 20 minutes. If you use freshly cooked Rice, the extra Water may not be needed. But if you use Rice that has been stored in the refrigerator, you will probably need to use the extra Water since refrigerating Rice dries it up. Other than that, you just process it all in a food processor and it takes no time at all to come together.

I don't bother putting them in a bun as I like to eat them straight out of the oven or out of the pan and I don't even use any condiments  Both cooking methods work but the oven method makes them a bit drier and gives them a more even crispiness, while the pan fried method keeps the burger much softer with a harder, crisper crust. I did cook them both ways, just to test it out. And, personally prefer the oven method. I'm so happy with these Veggie Burgers!

Sunflower Seed and Brown Rice Veggie Burger

1 cup Raw Sunflower Seeds
1 cup cooked Brown Rice
3/4 cup of chopped Carrots
½ cup chopped Celery
½ cup chopped shallot or Onion (if using Chives use ¼ cup less)
1 teaspoon Salt or Seasoned Salt
1 – 2 Tablespoons Water if needed
4 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil divided
Optional:  1/4 cup minced Chives

Turn the oven to 375 degrees

Process the Sunflower Seeds into a meal in the food processor. Then add in the Brown Rice, the Carrots, Celery, Onion and Salt.  Pulse until the mixture is fairly smooth. Check the texture. It should be a bit soft but sticks together when you try to make a ball. If it is too dry, add in 1 Tablespoon of Water, stir and check again. Add the additional Tablespoon of Water if necessary.

Drizzle a baking sheet with 2 Tablespoon of Vegetable Oil. Using a 3 - 3 1/2 inch Ring mold, fill the ring mold to make 6 Veggie Burgers.  Brush the tops with the remaining Vegetable Oil and place in the oven.

Cook for 15 minutes and turn over. Cook for an additional 15 minutes. Serve with the condiments of your choice and in a bun if you want.

Or pan fry one or two at a time on medium high heat for about 5 - 6 minutes per side.

You can also freeze them, but place parchment on the baking sheet (don’t use the oil). When they are frozen solid, you can place them into freezer storage bags.  When you want to cook them, follow the directions above, but cook for another few 3 - 5 minutes.  

Five Element Analysis

White Rice belongs to the Metal Element, but Brown Rice adds in the Earth There is more Earth added from the Carrots. The Sunflower Seeds contribute the Water Element and the Onion brings in the Metal Element. The Celery makes sure that the Metal Element is also present. It’s a pretty balanced little Veggie Burger. Only Fire is missing, which can easily be added by serving this Veggie Burger with a side salad or a glass of Iced Tea.  

Friday, June 5, 2020

Rhubarb Compote

One of the things I look forward to in the Spring is Rhubarb. I hear it's quite easy to grow, but I've never tried. I just wait until it shows up a the grocery store and today I got some delivered. I got more than I needed - I ordered 4 stalks, thinking they would be small and they were very large. So, I cut them up and made them into a simple compote that has a number of ways it can be used. 

Remember never to eat Rhubarb leaves, so be sure to trim any of those off. Then just trim and cut the Rhubarb into chunks, add some Sugar and some Water and let it stew for about 10 - 15 minutes. If you like the Rhubarb in chunks, leave it as it is. Or, you can mash the Rhubarb to make it smoother. 

My German Grandmother once told me that for every pound of Rhubarb, you need 1 cup of Sugar. I have friends who like their Rhubarb very tart, but like my Grandmother, I like it sweet too. So you can play with the amount of Sugar to suit your own tastes. You can use this Compote in place of Lemon Curd to make Cookie Bars, you can layer the Rhubarb with Whipped Cream in pretty glasses, or use it to make a Trifle. I like to mash up the Rhubarb a lot and eat it just like it is, kind of like a pudding. - warm or cold. It's so good, so easy and so delicious!

Rhubarb Compote 

1 pound of Rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1" chunks
3/4 - 1 cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons Water

Place the Sugar and Water in a pot and add the Rhubarb. Turn the stove on to medium heat. Cook, stirring until the Sugar melts. Then turn down the Heat and cook for 10 minutes. If you like the Compote to be smooth, mash it with a Potato Masher. Spoon into individual serving bowls and refrigerate or pour into a container and refrigerate to use later. 

Optional: Whipped Cream for serving

Five Element Analysis

Rhubarb is technically a vegetable, as it is the stalks of a big bush. It has a very tart flavor, which makes it part of the Wood Element, but the bright red color brings in some Fire too.  The Sugar adds in a lot of the Earth Element too. So, it's a good dessert to serve with Whipped Cream, which adds the Metal Element. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Simple Roasted Potatoes and Onions

Potatoes and Onions are one of those classic food combinations that I love. Of course, I put them together often in many dishes - stews, soups, hash, etc.  But one of the ways I like to make them most is to roast them. The problem with roasting them together is that Potatoes take a lot longer to cook and by the time they are done, the Onions are usually burnt. This recipe solves that problem. Just roast them on separate sheet pans, remove the Onions when they are nearly done and then add them back when the Potatoes are done and crips them up together under the broiler for the last few minutes. The Roasted Onions will flavor the Potatoes wonderfully with only the hint of char on a few pieces of Onion from broiling them to finish them off. This is the perfect side dish and it's so easy to make and is incredibly delicious too! 

Simple Roasted Potatoes and Onions

4 large Russet Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 large Yellow Onion, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil, separated
1/2 teaspoon, divided

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. 

Heat a pot of Water and add in the Potatoes when it is boiling. Cook for 10 minutes. Drain and place the Potato chunks onto a large sheet pan. Drizzle with 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil, sprinkle with most of the Salt, toss lightly and place in the oven. 

Place the Onion chunks on a smaller sheet pan and drizzle with the remaining Olive Oil and Salt. Please in the oven.

Cook the Onions until they are browned (but not charred), about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Continue to cook the Potatoes until they are browned and crisp. Then take them out, add in the Onions and toss together. 

Heat the oven to broil, put the Potatoes and Onions and cook for another 2 - 3 minutes or until late Potatoes get a bit more browned, but be careful not to burn the Onions. Serve immediately.

Five Element Analysis

Potatoes belong to the Earth Element and the browned, slightly caramelized Onions add in even more. The Onions also represent the Metal Element and the Olive Oil contributes the Metal Element. While this is not balanced by itself, it makes a really good side dish for a meal that contains both Fire and Water foods.  

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Butter Braised Kohlrabi

I got another surprise ingredient in my order the other day and it was great big purple Kohlrabi. I'm used to the small green bulbs of Kohlrabi that taste very much like Broccoli stalks. But these big purple ones tasted much more like Turnips to me. So, I braised it in Butter as a side dish and it was delicious! It was so big that it was enough for 2 people as we had another side too. 

The Kohlrabi was pretty easy to peel with a vegetable peeler, except for the ends and I had to pull out the paring knife. I cut the Kohlrabi into little chunks and sautéed them in Butter and then finished it with just a bit of Vegetable Broth, although you could use Chicken Broth instead. Next time I might add in some Garlic. The Kohlrabi was delicious! 

Butter Braised Kohlrabi

1 large or 2 smaller Kohlrabi
2 Tablespoons Butter
1/3 cup Vegetable or Chicken Broth
a pinch of fresh ground Pepper
Optional:  1 large Garlic Clove minced

Cut the stem ends off of the Kohlrabi and then peel with a vegetable peeler and/or a paring knife. Cut the Kohlrabi into small chunks.

Heat the Butter in a frying pan over medium high heat and add in the Kohlrabi pieces. Sauté for about 4 minutes or until they are just beginning to turn a very pale golden color. Add in the Broth and cook until the Broth disappears. Sprinkle with Pepper to serve.

Five Element Analysis

I usually classify Kohlrabi as a Wood Vegetable, but this one being Purple also brings in just a bit of the Water Element. The Vegetable Broth (I used Swanson's) brings in more of the Wood from the Celery and some Earth from the Carrots and Cabbage, and a bit of Fire from the Tomatoes/ Fire is also added from the Pepper in the recipe. The Metal Element is represented by the Onions in the Broth and the Garlic, if you use it. This is still mostly a Wood side dish but it has a bit more of other elements than I expected.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Easy 3 Ingredient GF Peanut Butter Cookies

You have no doubt seen this recipe if you've ever searched for Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies online. It comes from the manufacturers of JiF Peanut Butter and it's amazingly simple. It uses just three ingredients - Peanut Butter, an Egg and some Sugar. They come out soft, chewy and delicious. But, I thought the recipe called for too much Sugar - 1 cup. So, I have been making them for a long time with half as much Sugar. They still turn out great and I think they taste better. I'm posting this recipe because I was talking to a friend that also cooks them this way and she thought more people should know about this version. Now, I actually do use Jia Peanut Butter because I like it - it's a childhood thing. I also like to use the Extra Crunchy one because I like little bits of crunch in my cookie. But of course you can use the creamy one instead and I'm pretty sure you can use a different brand of Peanut Butter. But if it's unsalted, you may want to add a pinch of Salt as that savory note is important to balance the taste. Anyway, when I'm in the mood for a quick cookie, this is what I make and they are wonderful!

Easy 3 Ingredient GF Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup Jif Peanut Butter (Extra Crunchy or Creamy)
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Egg

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a sheet of parchment on a baking sheet. In a mixing bowl, whip the Egg slightly and add in the Peanut Butter and Sugar. Mix thoroughly. Shape into walnut sized balls and place on a baking sheet. You will make about 10. 

Press down lightly on each cookie with moistened hands and then take a fork and draw a crisscross pattern across the top.  Place in the oven and bake for 12 - 15 minutes or until the cookies are very lightly golden brown. 

Five Element Analysis

Peanut Butter is a very Earthy food. Not only do Peanuts grow underground, they also become very pasty when made into Peanut Butter. The Sugar adds even more Earth.  The Egg contributes the Water Element and baking is a Fire way of cooking. So, this cookie is by no means a balanced treat, but it can definitely add some Earth to the end of a meal!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Deconstructed Polish Stuffed Cabbage (Soup)

In my shopping delivery today, I was given a Savoy Cabbage instead of the regular head of Green Cabbage, so I decided to make Polish Stuffed Cabbage. But then I looked at the time and I realized that it would take way too long to make it and bake it. Since I had all the ingredients - Cabbage of course along with Ground Beef, Onion, Garlic, Canned Tomatoes. Beef Broth and cooked Rice -  I turned it into a Soup that took only 20 minutes!  

I learned how to make Polish Stuffed Cabbage many years ago from my then husband's Grandmother and I always loved it. My friend Barbara often takes dishes and deconstructs them and that's what happened with this Soup. I have to tell you that it was delicious and with our sudden turn back to cold weather, it was just what I needed. I cooked the Rice separately (and it would also be even easier to use leftover Rice). as it would get really mushy if cooked in the Soup. And it would also need a lot more broth. Since I'm not cooking for so many people any more, I made a relatively small amount but this recipe can easily be doubled. If you are a fun of Stuffed Cabbage, you will love this soup too!

Deconstructed Polish Stuffed Cabbage (Soup)

1/2 pound of Ground Beef
1 Tablespoon Oil
1 small Yellow Onion or 1/2 of a large Onion
1 large or 2 small Garlic Cloves
1/2 head Savoy Cabbage, core removed and chopped (about 2 cups)
1 can (14.5 oz) Diced Tomatoes
6 cups Beef Broth
1 Bay Leaf
1 teaspoons Salt (if needed)
fresh ground Pepper to taste

To Serve: add cooked Rice, about 1/3 - 1/2 cup per bowl

In a medium pot, heat the Oil over medium heat and cook the Onion and Garlic until you can smell the fragrance strongly. Add in the Ground Beef and use a spatula to break it into small pieces. Cook until it is no longer pink. Add in the Cabbage, Tomatoes, Beef Broth and Bay Leaves. Sprinkle with the Black Pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, taste and add Salt if needed. Cook for an additional 10 minutes and serve over cooked Rice.

Five Element Analysis

Cabbage belongs to the Earth Element as does Beef, so this is a mostly Earthy dish. The Tomatoes add the Fire Element, the Garlic, Onion and Rice bring in the Metal Element. As a soup, it naturally is part of the Water Element and the only thing missing is a Wood food but this is such a filling soup, you might want to eat a Wood dish , like some LGreens, at another meal.