Thursday, May 21, 2015

Kiesser's Seed and Nut Bread - Gluten Free

My husband is currently doing a no grain diet and the Seed and Nut Bread that I have been making has oats in it. So, I decided to make my mother-in-law's Seed and Nut Bread instead. It is a combination of many different seeds - Sunflower, Pumpkin, Flax and Sesame Seeds with a few sliced (or chopped) Hazelnuts and Almonds. It is held together by eggs and a bit of olive oil and salt. It turns out as a dense, yet easily sliceable bread, although it is best to let it cool before you try to remove it from the pan.  I used a long and narrow bread pan to make the slices higher instead of so long. This bread is delicious by itself, but I like it slathered with good Danish butter for breakfast.

Kiesser's Seed and Nut Bread

4 cups mixed Seeds and Nuts -  used 1 cup Sunflower, 1 cup Sesame, 1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds, 1/2 cup Flax Seeds, 1/2 cup Chia Seeds and 1/4 cup each of chopped Hazelnuts and Sliced Almonds
5 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons Salt
1/3 cup Olive Oil or melted Coconut Oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the inside of a bread pan. In a large bowl, mix together the seeds and nuts.  Add in the eggs, salt and Olive Oil (or Coconut Milk).  Mix thoroughly and pour into the pan.  Let sit for 30 minutes.  Then bake for one hour.  Let sit until cool before removing from the pan and slicing

Five Element Analysis

Seeds belong to the Water Element and so do the eggs, so this is a very Watery bread.  The Hazelnuts and Almonds contribute the Earth Element and the Olive Oil brings in just a hint of the Wood Element.  But in order to create a Five Element balance, it needs to be served with Tea or Coffee for the Fire Element and some fruit preserves would be good for the Earth Element and add a Wood Food, like citrus to create balance.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Root Vegetable Soup

Oh my I have been traveling so much and staying in a lot of hotels. Therefore I've had no time to cook until now and I am so happy to be back at our little beach cottage in Denmark with a fully stocked refrigerator! One of the things that comforts me most is having a big pot of soup on the stove. So today, I got a wonderful soup recipe from my mother-in-law who got this recipe from her mother-in-law. It is a mixture of various root vegetables - celery root, carrot, parsnip, potato and onions combined in a vegetable broth with a bit of tomato paste. I got this recipe in amounts based on the number of vegetables, not by other measures and it is quite adaptable to additions of things like broccoli stalk or cabbage. It cooks up fast and has a rich taste. It can be pureed for a thick, creamy soup, but I like it with a broth and little chunks of vegetables. I topped it with Chervil straight from my mother-in-law's garden, but any number of different herbs could be used instead. I like chervil because it is beautiful and tastes like a combination of parsley and anise. This is a very grounding soup and full of nutrients. Just right for reentry into (temporary) normal life.

Root Vegetable Soup

1/2 large Celery Root - peeled and diced
1 large Parsnip - peeled and diced
2 medium Carrots - peeled and diced
1 large or 2 medium Russet Potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large onion, chopped
Vegetable Broth - about 10 cups (I used water and 3 Vegetable Bouillion Cubes)
3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
Small Handful of Chervil for Garnish - can also use Basil or Tarragon - chopped if desired
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, combine vegetables.  Add Water to cover the vegetables by about 1 inch (or one knuckle) and Bouillion Cubes (or use Vegetable Broth).  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. Taste to see if vegetables are tender and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour into bowls and top with the Chervil. Serve immediately.

Five Element Analysis

With all these root vegetables, you know that there is a lot of Earth in this soup. And, because it is a soup, it automatically belongs to the Water Element.  Luckily, the Onions and Chervil bring in the Metal Element and the Tomato Paste contributes the Fire Element. Only the Wood Element is missing, which can be added by serving it with some greens or with some Wheat Bread to create a Five Element Balance.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Deirdres' Purple Cauliflower and Avocado Salad

I was down in San Diego teaching for two weeks and didn't cook very much so I haven't posted lately. While I was there, my good friend Deirdre made a salad that I just loved and as soon as I got home, I made it and I am sharing it with you today.  She's a great cook - once a professional chef - and makes food that is super healthy. She's also an acupuncturist and teaches about Chinese food therapy.  So, you know this salad has got to be good for you too! 

It's a simple salad that combines wonderful textures and colors. Deirdre used a head of Purple Cauliflower and it's beautiful!  She added in cut up pieces of Avocado and Red Onion and dressed it with some lemon and salt. The avocado makes a smooth dressing that contrasts so well with the crunchy Cauliflower. My son's comment was that it was weirdly delicious!  This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Deirdres' Purple Cauliflower and Avocado Salad

1 head Purple Cauliflower, leaves and stem removed, cut into small pieces
3 ripe Haas Avocados, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped Red Onion
Juice of 2 small of 1 1/2 Large lemons
1 teaspoon Salt
pinch of Cayenne Pepper

Combine Lemon Juice, salt and chopped Onions.  Let sit for about 5 minutes.  Add in the Purple Cauliflower and toss to coat. Then mix in Avocado.  Serve immediately.

Five Element Analysis

Cauliflower is usually considered a Metal Food because it is white. But Purple Cauliflower that has white below adds in a little more of the Water Element.  The Haas Avocados have a very dark outer shell, which is also considered Watery, but since the flesh is green, it is fruit that is also considered part of the Wood Element.  The Lemon Juice adds even more Wood.  The Onions contribute the Metal Element and the pinch of Cayenne adds a hint of the Fire Element. In order to create balance, be sure to serve this salad with another food that's Fiery. the Earth Element is missing, so the easiest way to create balance is to make sure you have a sweet dessert too!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Quick Cucumber Kimchi

I am obsessed with making various types of Kimchi and my latest experiment has been with Cucumbers. Usually Cucumber Kimchi involves slicing the sides of the Cucumber and stuffing in the seasonings, but I like my vegetables to be in bite sized pieces. And, it also takes longer to ferment that way. I didn't feel like waiting several days before I could eat it - I only lasted until the next morning to try this version and it was so good that I am going to go ahead and post it. I'm sure it will get more authentic as the days go by - if it lasts that long!  I have to admit though, I like how crunchy the cucumbers are this way and I didn't make it too spicy either. It basically is a salad until it ferments. Either way, this would make a lovely side dish to a Korean meal of Bulgogi or a Tofu Hotpot.  As with all Kimchi recipes, the only exotic thing is to buy Gochugaru, which is coarse Korean Red Pepper Powder. You can get it at an Asian Market and I've even found it on Amazon. Anyway, I will let you know how it turns out when it actually ferments a few days from now.  But in the meantime, try this, I think you'll like it too.

Quick Cucumber Kimchi

1 pound Persian Cucumbers cut into slices about 1/4" thick (can also use regular Cucumbers - peeled, cut in half and deseeded and then cut into slices)
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
3 Green Onions, stem removed and cut into small pieces
1 heaping Tablespoon Gochugaru - Korean Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Tamari
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
1 Tablespoon minced fresh Ginger
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Sugar

Put the Cucumbers in a bowl and sprinkle them with the Salt. Let them sit for about 15 minutes.  Then add the Garlic, Green Onion, Korean Chili Powder, Tamari, Fish Sauce, Ginger and Sugar.  Toss to coat and place in a glass container.  Put in the refrigerator and let sit overnight (at least) before serving. Will keep for several weeks and ferment as time goes on.

Five Element Analysis

Cucumbers are an Earth food so that element is covered and the Napa Cabbage and ginger add even more and some of the Metal Element too. The Garlic and Onions contribute even more of the Metal Element.The Water Element is represented by the Fish Sauce and  Tamari and the Wood Element is seen in the fermentation process. The Korean Chili Powder contributes lots of the Fire Element so this dish becomes perfectly balanced!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Chinese Beef Noodle Soup

Whenever I was feeling a little tired and weak when I was a child, my mother would make me Beef Noodle Soup. She would cook beef shanks for hours to make a rich, homemade stock flavored with garlic, ginger and green onions, soy sauce and rice wine. This soup was made to build my blood and I swear it did. My favorite thing about it was that she would add some Rock Sugar and then give us little bits.  Once the broth was done, she would chop up the long cooked beef, add in some noodles, Bok Choy and Shitake Mushrooms and serve it with a sprinkling of green onion and cilantro. It was divine!  

It's been a long time since I had it, so I decided to make it again, but this time I changed things a bit to accommodate my particular dietary restrictions. Instead of soy sauce, I used Tamari and instead of wheat noodles, I used Japanese Buckwheat noodles. But it still had that wonderful rich beef taste that comes from long simmering shanks and gave me instant energy once again. 

Chinese Beef Noodle Soup

2 pounds Beef Shank (with the bone in)
10 cups Water
3 teaspoons Salt
1 2" piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thin
8  green onions, root end removed, bottom half left whole and top green part sliced and reserved
1 small onion, cut in half
4 - 6 Garlic Cloves
1 cup Rice Wine
1 cup Tamari (or Soy Sauce) + more later if desired
2 Tablespoons Sugar (or chunk of Chinese rock sugar)
2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
4 - 5 bunches Baby Book Choy, Stem end removed and cut into bite size pieces
8 - 10 fresh Shitake Mushrooms, stem end removed and sliced or use dried, rehydrated in boiling water 
1 pound Noodles (Buckwheat Soba, Rice Noodles, Wheat Noodles) cooked ahead
1 - 2 Tablespoons Chili Bean Sauce, Chili Garlic Sauce or Sriracha

Place Beef Shanks in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and skim off the foam.  Then add the Salt, Sugar, Ginger, white part of Green Onions, Onion, Rice Wine and Tamari.  Bring to a boil again and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for about 3 hours or until the beef is soft.  

Remove the beef from the broth, cut it into small pieces and reserve. Take marrow out of the center of the bone and add to the meat. Strain the broth to remove all of the seasonings. Return beef back to the soup. Taste and add more Tamari if desired and Chili Bean Sauce or Chili Garlic Sauce. Bring back to a boil and add the Bok Choy and Shitake Mushrooms. Cook for  3 - 5 minutes.

Put cooked noodles into bowls and ladle soup in making sure there is some Beef, Bok Choy and Mushrooms in each bowl.  Sprinkle with Green Onion pieces and sprinkle and drizzle a small amount of Sesame Oil over each bowl of soup to serve.

Five Element Analysis

Beef is an Earth food and this soup is very good for building blood. The Ginger adds both Earth and Metal. The Garlic, Onion and Green Onion all contribute even more of the Metal Element. The Tamari, Sesame Oil and Shitake Mushrooms and the fact that this is a broth soup make sure that the Water Element is present.  The Rice Wine and Chili Sauce make sure that the Fire Element is present too. Buckwheat Noodles (made for a seed) add more Water, Rice Noodles add more Metal and Wheat Noodles add more Wood.  But even without noodles, this soup is balanced in a Five Element way!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Veal Stew with Turnips

I had a desire to make Osso Bucco and went to my local butcher shop to buy some veal shanks, but they were all out. Apparently there was a big run on them for Easter. So, I decided to just buy veal stew meat instead and make a stew with the flavors of Osso Bucco.  Now, what’s missing is the bone and the marrow inside as Osso Bucco means hole in the bone and frankly it's a little bit fatty. So what’s present in this stew is leaner meat with all the same flavors that makes Osso Bucco so delicious. I started with a Mirepoix of carrots, celery and onions and then browned the meat slightly. Then, I added in some White Wine and Chicken Broth and only a small amount of Tomato Sauce. I cooked it for 1 ½ hours and then added in the cut up turnips and cooked it for another 1/2 hour and finished it with a little butter to smooth out the sauce. It was an amazing stew!  Light and delicately flavored, the turnips  have a special texture that complimented the veal perfectly. I loved this dish and will definitely make it again!

Veal Stew with Turnips

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 pounds Veal cut into cubes and patted dry with paper towels
2 stalks of Celery
2 Carrots
1 large Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
1 cup White Wine
3 cups Chicken Broth (+ more if needed up to 2 cups)
½ cup Tomato Sauce
Sprig of Rosemary - several inches long or 1 heaping Tablespoon of Rosemary Leaves
6 large Turnips, peeled, stems removed and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 Tablespoons Butter

In a large enameled iron pot, put in the olive oil and heat.  Add in the Veal and brown on one side and then the other. Remove from the pot and reserve.  Then add in the Celery, Carrots and Onion and cook until softened.  Pour in the White Wine and scrape the fond (the brown bits) off the bottom of the pot with a plastic spatula or wooden spoon. Then add in Chicken Broth and Tomato Sauce.  Return the Veal to the pot and add the Rosemary.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Check every half hour to stir and add more chicken broth if necessary (add one cup at a time). Cook for 90 minutes total. 

Add in cut up turnips. Cook for an additional 30 minutes. Stir in the butter. Serve with a sprinkling of parsley on top.

Five Element Analysis

Veal is an Earth meat with a bit of Metal added too. So the Earth Element is covered and the Carrots add even more. The Metal Element is represented by the Onion, Garlic and Rosemary and especially the Turnips. The Water Element is missing, but the Celery and Chicken Broth contribute the Wood Element and the Fire Element is seen in the Tomato Sauce and Wine. So, to balance this meal out, be sure to add a Water Food on the side. I served a Lacinato Kale Salad with Seeds (previous post) to balance the meal.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Green Tahini Sauce and Dip

I went to a lovely engagement party on Saturday night and I brought this dip and it was such a big hit that I thought I would share it with you.  It's very similar to the Tomato Tahini Dip that I previously posted, but the difference is that you load it up with fresh herbs that makes it a wonderful green color.  I put a little of each herb chopped up on top so people could see what was in it. I liked it best with Red Peppers and Carrots, but I also served it with celery sticks, Pita Bread and Rice Crackers.  I've been told by my friend Karine in Israel that it is fabulous on grilled fish. In that case, make it even thinner by adding more water. Several people, including me, found this dip to be addictive!

Green Tahini Sauce and Dip

1 cup Sesame Tahini
1/2 cup cold Water + up to 6 Tablespoons more
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Parsley Leaves
1/2 cup Cilantro Leaves
1/2 cup cut up Chives
2 Garlic Cloves
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt (depending on whether the Tahini is salted or not)
Optional:  Fresh Dill, Mint, Green Onion tops and/or Chervil

Put Tahini into the Cuisinart and add the 1/2 cup of water and blend. Then add in the Lemon Juice, Parsley, Cilantro and Chives along with Garlic Cloves and 1/2 teaspoon Salt.  Process until smooth. Check consistency and if necessary, add in more water, 2 Tablespoons at a time to achieve right texture. Taste and add more salt if desired.

Serve with cut up vegetables like celery, carrots and red pepper or toasted Pita Bread triangles or Pita Chips. If you want to go gluten-free, it goes really well with Rice Crackers too.

Five Element Analysis

Sesame Tahini belongs to the Water Element. The lemon juice contributes the Wood Element and the fresh herbs add some Wood and a lot of Metal. The Garlic adds even more of the Metal Element. Pita Bread brings in more Wood and Rice Crackers adds more Metal. Serving it with Red Peppers brings in the Fire Element and Carrots add the Earth Element making it a balanced snack!