Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sole Baked in Parchment

I've always loved steamed fish, but don't seem to make it very often. Until I remember to use parchment paper to bundle up some fish and some savory seasonings and then bake it in the oven. It's such a delicate way to make fish and it is so good! For this particular recipe, I seasoned the fish with butter, salt and lemon and added in some onions and sliced fennel along with some fresh dill. All that is required is that you wrap up the bundle, tying the ends of the parchment like a candy wrapper and then bake it in a hot oven for about 10 - 15 minutes. Then you unwrap (or cut) the wrapper on your plate and the wonderful steamed fish is revealed. Cooking fish this way creates a lovely sauce and it's like a lovely present.  Serve it with a leafy Kale or and Tomato Salad and you have a perfect light summer meal.

Sole Baked in Parchment

2 pounds Dover Sole Filets
4 Tablespoons Butter
1 small Onion, sliced
1/2 Fennel Bulb, sliced
One Lemon cut into 4 wedges
Salt to taste

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut Parchment Paper from the roll into 4 large sheets (or use the precut kind for cookie sheets). Place one sheet on the cookie sheet and fill with 1/4 of the fish. Cut the Dover Sole Filets into 3 inch pieces. Top with 1/4 of the onion slices and the fennel.  Squeeze one lemon wedge over it and top with the side of butter.  Season with salt.  Bring up two opposite sides of the paper together and fold over about 1/2 inch and repeat until you nearly reach the top of the fish.  Then take one side and wrap tightly, like a candy wrapper, then the other side. Then wrap the remaining fish.

Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes (10 minutes for thinner fillets, up to 15 minutes for thicker pieces).  Serve immediately giving each person a packet on their plate with a pair of scissors to cut them open.

Five Element Analysis

Steaming is a Watery method of cooking and fish of all kinds belongs to the Water Element, so this dish covers that element thoroughly. The Onion and Fennel contribute the Metal Element. The lemon adds just a hint of Wood so adding a leafy Kale Salad with Tomatoes contributes some of the Wood Element and the Fire Element. Add a sweet dessert and you  have a balanced meal.

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!