Friday, August 22, 2014

Danish Red Berry Pudding with Whipped Cream

I just got married and we had a reception with both Danish and Asian foods. Later that night, we realized that we had forgotten to make one of the desserts! So I made it today instead in my quest to master Danish food.  This is a rather thin pudding, full of fresh berry flavor that is eaten with cream. To me, it is more of a soup and it is a rather unusual dessert, but I have fallen in love with it. The problem is that I can't say it as it is one of the hardest phrases in Danish - Rødgrød med fløde.  

What looks like an o with a line through it is pronounced as if is an o and an e together. And, the d is not pronounced like it is in English - instead it sounds like a cross between a th and an l. This phrase was supposedly once used by Danish border guards to determine whether someone was truly Danish as it is quite difficult to say properly!  The good news is that it is also a delicious dessert made with assorted berries lightly cooked with a little sugar and cornstarch and served with a dollop of whipped cream. So even though I can't say it well, I can now make it. 

This is a dish that uses up the abundance of summer berries and can also be made with frozen ones too.  Make this dessert ahead of time because it needs to chill and try serving it in a Martini glass or other decorative glass bowl, because it is a really beautiful dessert too.

Danish Red Berry Pudding with Whipped Cream

4 cups mixed red berries - Strawberries, Raspberries and Red Currants along with blackberries, blueberries and /or rhubarb - I used 2 cups of Strawberries, 1 cup of Raspberries, 3/4 cup Blackberries and 1/4 cup of Blueberries
3 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch + 1 Tablespoon mixed with 1/3 cup water
Serve with very lightly whipped and lightly sweetened Whipped Cream

Wash berries and put them in a medium sized pot.  Add sugar and water and cook for about 15 minutes.  Strain through a fine meshed sieve.  Return to the pot and add in cornstarch. Cook, whisking constantly until it becomes thick - about 8 minutes.  Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap - be sure to push it down onto the surface so it won't create a skin.  Chill for at least one hour.  Scoop into glass serving dishes, glasses or bowls and top with a dollop of Whipped Cream.

Five Element Analysis

Well, the name of this dish "Red Berry" tells you exactly what element is dominant - the Fire Element. Strawberries and Raspberries even look like little hearts. But I also added in some Blackberries and Blueberries because they contribute the Water Element. The Metal Element enters in with the cream and the Earth Element is represented by the sugar and cornstarch. Plus it is a dessert and the texture is thick and creamy. Only the Wood Element is missing.  So, serve it with a meal that includes some green vegetables and you will find a Five Element balance.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Scrambled Tofu

As you know, I've been trying to come up with some more interesting breakfast dishes and I drew one recipe out of my memory bank - Scrambled Tofu. This is a dish that goes back to the Hippie Days, which I just missed, but a lot of vegetarian restaurants continued to serve this dish and I was always quite delighted to find it. The last time I had it in a restaurant was in Fairhaven, Washington, which is near Bellingham.  I cooked it often when my kids were little, but it's been such a long time since I've made it.  And, I had a package of tofu languishing in my fridge, so I decided to make this dish and was once again delighted at how it turned out. The tofu becomes quite yellow because of the Turmeric and it's designed to make the tofu look like scrambled eggs and I've had versions where they have used Curry Powder instead, but I like the simplicity of these mild flavors. It's very filling and I find it very nourishing too. I know some people will be thrown off by the idea of eating tofu for breakfast, but this dish is full of protein and in Chinese Medicine, tofu is considered cooling, which is great for these hot days and it detoxifies the body. Plus, when it's cooked right- it's delicious too!

Scrambled Tofu

1 pound firm Tofu, drained
2 Tablespoons Oil
1/2 small Onion, minced
1 Carrot, peeled, and cut into fine mince
1 Celery Stalk, trimmed and cut into fine mince
1 teaspoon Turmeric (or Curry Powder)
1/2 teaspoon each Onion Powder and Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 - 2 Tablespoons Tamari

Optional:  Minced Red Pepper, Chopped Tomatoes, Minced Green Onion, or Minced Zucchini

In a large frying pan, heat oil and add onion, carrot and celery (and any other vegetables you like).  Cook until it just starts to brown (about 4 minutes) and add in Turmeric.  Then add Tofu, crumbling it with your fingers.  Add Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Salt and Tamari. Cook until tofu is hot, stirring frequently. Serve with Toast or Hash Browns.

Five Element Analysis

Tofu is a Metal food and the onions and the Turmeric, Onion and Onion Powder and Garlic Powder add even more.  The Celery adds the Wood Element, the Carrot contributes the Fire Element and the Tamari and Salt bring in the Water Element. The Earth and Fire Elements are missing in this version so be sure to add an Earth ingredient, like the Zucchini and a Fire Ingredient like Tomatoes or Red Pepper or serve with some potatoes or toast with jam or sweetened berries to add both elements at once.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Breakfast Pasta with Sausage and Sage

I like savory food for breakfast and I often get a bit tired of what most people consider traditional breakfast foods. In other words, some people like breakfast for dinner but I like to eat dinner for breakfast! Today I wanted to share with you a breakfast pasta that I made for my kids, because like me, they don't like muffins or pastries that much and eggs are a sometime thing, not an everyday thing. Besides serving this for breakfast, I also use Breakfast Sausage in this dish and this sauce is served with my sons' favorite pasta shape - Fusilli or corkscrews pasta. This sauce can best be describe as a cross between Sage with Brown Butter and Carbonara.  It's another Italian mashup and it is delicious!  Pork and Sage go wonderfully together and the creamy sauce made from the butter, parmesan cheese and egg yolks coats the pasta and gives it a wonderful creamy texture. This pasta dish can also be served for lunch or dinner too if you like, but for us, it's a wonderful breakfast treat that keeps breakfast from getting too routine!

Breakfast Pasta with Sausage and Sage

8 oz Fusilli Pasta (For a Gluten Free Version - use DeLallo Corn Pasta)
8 oz Breakfast Sausage (1/2 of a roll or 1/2 lb ground pork seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder)
1/2 cup minced onion (1/2 of a medium onion - I used a red onion)
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 teaspoons fresh Sage Leaves, minced or 1 teaspoon dried Sage
2 egg yolks
3 Tablespoons Cream
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese + more for serving

¼ cup Pasta Water

Boil the water for the past and be sure to add in plenty of salt. Add the pasta when the water is boiling and cook for the required time. Be sure to save 1/4 cup of the cooking water before you drain it.

In a large frying pan, put in the butter and cook until just starting to brown.  Add in the sage and cook for a few moments longer.  Pour into a small bowl and put aside.  Add the breakfast sausage and the onion into the pan.  Break the sausage into little pieces and cook until no longer pink. Stir in the butter and sage. Mix together the egg yolks, parmesan cheese and cream in a small bowl.  

Add the pasta into the frying pan and stir in the egg mixture quickly so the egg yolks don't turn into scrambled egg pieces.  Add in some of the pasta water to thin down the sauce and keep tossing. Serve immediately with additional Parmesan Cheese.

Five Element Analysis

Pasta is made from wheat, which is part of the Wood Element so that element is covered if you use traditional pasta. The Sausage adds the Water Element and the Egg Yolks bring in even more.  The Metal Element is represented by the Sage, Onions, Cream and Parmesan Cheese.  The Fire and Earth Elements are missing, so serve this dish with some Fiery and Earthy foods or beverages - things like Tea or Coffee or sweetened red berries or pastries . If you use the Corn Pasta, it adds the Earth Element but then the Wood Element is missing so orange juice or a green smoothie would b a good addition to create a Five Element balance.