Sunday, December 24, 2017

Gluten Free Nuts and Bolts

Nuts and Bolts is a recipe that once graced the back of the Cherrios Cereal box. It was a special treat to make for the holidays and of course I proudly made it at Christmas time. I was feeling nostalgic the other day and my son Stephen and I decided to make it again. But,  I wanted it to be Gluten Free and more flavorful than the original recipe. Like it's sister recipe, Chex Mix, it does include Chex Cereal and I used Rice and Corn Chex but not the Wheat Chex.  It also includes Pretzels, which are now easy to find Gluten Free and we added Pecans and left out the Cheese Crackers.  We used a bit less Butter and upped the amount of Worcestershire Sauce and doubled the Garlic and Onion Powder. We also used a small amount of Lawry's Seasoned Salt as we used unsalted Butter. Oh my, it was so good!  Not just for nostalgic reasons, it was delicious. So, I promptly made some more to give as gifts. It's about time I brought this recipe back for Christmas, or anytime!

Gluten Free Nuts and Bolts

3/4 - 1 cup unsalted Butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
2 teaspoons Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Celery Salt
1/2 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt (omit if using Salted Butter)
3 cups Corn Chex
3 cups Rice Chex
2 cups Cheerios
2 cups Pretzel Sticks
1/2 cup Pecans

Heat oven to 250 degrees.  In a large bowl, put in the Corn Chex, Rice Chex, Cheerios, Pretzel Sticks and Pecans.  Then in a small frying pan, melt the Butter and then add in the Garlic Powder and Onion Powder, Celery Salt and Lawry's Seasoned Salt. Turn off heat and mix thoroughly.  Pour over the Cereal Mixture and toss with a big spoon.  

Pour the mixture onto 2 half sheet baking pans. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove and cool completely before putting into tins or plastic bags or serve.

Five Element Analysis

There are so many ingredients in this snack mix that you know that several elements will be present. The Butter, Garlic and Onion Powder and Rice Chex contribute the Metal Element.  The Water Element is present in the Pecans, Worcestershire Sauce and Salts. The Earth Element shows up in the Corn Chex. The Pretzels add even more Earth as they are made of Potato Starch and Tapioca Starch along with Rice Flour so a little more Metal. Because all the cereal is so crispy and you bake this snack, I think the Fire Element is present too. So, only the Wood Element is missing so be sure to add some vegetables later in the day.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Buckwheat Soba with Scallion Oil Sauce

Scallion Oil is one of those simple sauces that is so outstandingly good that you just can't believe how easy it is to make.  It is usually served with Chinese alkaline wheat noodles, but I like it best with Buckwheat Soba made with only Buckwheat flour so it is gluten free. I buy the Eden Foods brand at my local health food store. Buckwheat has a earthy taste and the savory Scallion Oil Sauce compliments it perfectly. All it takes to make this dish is to boil the noodles and while they are cooking, you sauté some cut up Scallion pieces in oil until they are just starting to brown. Then you add some Salt, a pinch of Sugar and a bit of Tamari.  You pour this sauce over the drained noodles, stir and serve. It is really delicious and you are just going to have to try it to see for yourself!

Buckwheat Soba with Scallion Oil Sauce

1 package (8 oz) Buckwheat Soba or other noodles
4 large Scallions, washed, ends trimmed and cut into small pieces ( about 1/2 cup)
1/3 Vegetable Oil (I used Safflower)
2 Tablespoons Tamari
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Sugar

Cook noodles according to the package directions. Drain and put into a serving bowl

In a small frying pan, heat the Oil and add in the Scallions. Cook over medium high heat until most of the Scallions are beginning to brown. Take off the Heat and add in the Tamari, Salt and Sugar. Stir to combine.  Pour over the Noodles and toss to combine.

Five Element Analysis

Buckwheat is a seed that is dark in color and is considered a Water Food.  The Tamari adds even more Water.  The Green Onions contribute the Metal Element but the other Elements are missing. So be sure to serve this with some other dishes to create a balanced meal. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Baked Creamed Baby Spinach and Baby Kale

I have this ability that is a little unusual. I somehow can pick up a favorite food of a person who is coming to visit and I end up making it for them.  It's not something I try to do, it just comes to me and it always makes me happy. I had a friend visit the other day and was inspired to make Creamed Spinach and Baby Kale, which was perfect because Creamed Spinach is one of her favorite foods. It's a really simple dish and perfect as a side dish to a steak or roast. The Baby Kale gives the dish a depth of flavor that Spinach alone doesn't and the Parmesan Cheese brings in a savory note that is a counterpoint to the sweetness of the Cream and the hint of Nutmeg.  It's a rich, unctuous way to cook greens and can easily be prepared ahead to pop into the oven while the rest of the dinner cooks.  I am sharing it with you in the hope that you love it too!

Baked Creamed Baby Spinach and Baby Kale

2 Tablespoons of Butter
1 5 ounce package Baby Spinach
1 5 ounce package Baby Kale
1/4 teaspoon Salt
A very light sprinkling of Nutmeg
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a frying pan, melt the Butter and add in the Baby Spinach and Baby Kale. Cook just until the greens are wilted and take off the heat. Sprinkle on the Salt and Nutmeg and pour in the Cream, mix to combine. Then put into a heat proof ramekin or baking dish. Smooth the top and sprinkle the Parmesan Cheese over the greens evenly. If serving later, cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Place in the oven and cook until it is bubbling and the Cheese is browned.  This takes about 15 - 20 minutes. It will take slightly longer if it has been refrigerated. Serve immediately.

Five Element Analysis

Since this dish is composed primarily of leafy green vegetables, it is definitely a Wood Element food. The Cream, Parmesan and Nutmeg also bring in the Metal Element. So this is a very good side dish for Steak or a Beef, which are from the Earth Element or Lamb from the Fire Element. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Hawaiian Style Chili

Zippy's Chili is a Hawaiian favorite. I've even seen it sold here in Seattle in the freezer at Uwajimaya. Of course, I've had it in Hawaii but I've never bought the frozen version because I learned how to make a copycat version from my Hawaiian friends. For those of you who have never had Zippy's Chili, it is very mild and has an unusual creamy texture. There are many theories a to what makes it creamy, but the consensus amongst the people I know who live in Hawaii is that you add a bit of mayonnaise at the end. I know that sounds weird, but it works perfectly and creates the perfect texture. This Chili incorporates little pieces of Portuguese Sausage too and requires a relatively small amount of Tomato Sauce so it's somewhat thick. I used Kidney Beans in keeping with the color of the Chili although Pinto Beans or both would be good as well. This Chili is very easy to make and is meant to be eaten over Rice. This is a really delicious Chili and I encourage you to make it!

Hawaiian Style Chili

1 pound ground Beef
1 Red or Green Bell Pepper, destemmed and cut into small pieces
1 small Onion, minced
1 16 oz can Tomato Sauce
1 - 2 teaspoons Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1  Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 Beef or Chicken Bouillon Cube, crushed
Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
1 16 oz can Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup Water, if needed
2 - 3 heaping Tablespoons Mayonnaise, depending on how creamy you want it
Optional: 1 cup Portuguese Sausage, cut into cubes. Add in with the Tomato Sauce 

Cook the ground Beef, Onion and Red Pepper in a large frying pan until the Beef is no longer pink. Spoon out extra fat. Add in the Tomato Sauce and spices , Bouillon Cube and Wocestershire Sauce and stir to combine. Then add in the Kidney Beans. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for 30 minutes and add more Water if too thick. Then stir in the Mayonnaise and serve. over Rice.

Five Element Analysis

Tomato Sauce, the Red Pepper and Chili Powder all belong to the Fire Element. The Beef contributes the Earth Element and so does the Brown Sugar. The Metal Element is represented by the Onion, The Mayonnaise, the Spices and the Rice. The Water Element is found in the Kidney Beans, the Portuguese Sausage and the Worcestershire Sauce. Only the Wood Element is missing so be sure to serve this Chili with some green vegetables to create a Five Element balance.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins

I much prefer Pumpkin in a cake than in a pie and I wanted to make something Gluten Free, so today I made Pumpkin Muffins. It's based on a recipe from Epicurious and I literally just substitute Bob's Red Mill 1 for 1 Gluten Free Flour for the regular AP Flour. And, I changed the amount of spices as I like Cinnamon more than Nutmeg and Cloves. As with many sweet breads, it is usually better the next day so it will be my dessert after the Thanksgiving meal. I will offer Whipped Cream on the side, but I top these with Candied Walnuts, which is sweet enough for me. They can get very brown in the oven so watch them carefully. They do come out looking a little bumpy and lumpy, but they taste wonderful. If you should choose to make them with regular flour, they will turn out smooth and cupcake like. And, of course, you could also eat them for breakfast. They are full of the traditional Pumpkin Pie Spices and they are delicious!

Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Candied Walnuts

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 16-ounce can solid pack Pumpkin
3 cups Gluten Free Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill 1 for 1)
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground Cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional) glazed with 2 Tablespoons Butter, 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar and ½ teaspoon Cinnamon - cook in a small frying pan until you can smell the fragrance of the nuts and most of the sugar syrup has been absorbed.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Put cupcake liners in muffin pan.  Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Stir together the Gluten Free flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt into another large bowl.

Spoon batter into muffin pans, top with walnuts and bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until the muffins are set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Repeat with remaining batter.

Makes 24 muffins

Five Element Analysis

Pumpkin belongs to the Earth Element and this is a sweet bread, so it is definitely primarily Earthy. The Eggs and Safflower Oil add the Water Element and the Spices contribute a hint of the Metal Element and the Rice Flour in the GF Flour brings in even more. The Fire Element is missing so be sure to serve this with some Tea or Coffee and the Wood Element needs to be found in the meal to create a balance.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Raw Cashew Cheese Dip

One of my students, Pam, gave me the recipe for a wonderful Raw Cashew Cheese that she made in a Raw Food cooking class here in Seattle. When I tried it, I couldn't stop eating it. I'm sorry to say that I don't know the name of the school so I can't give credit for the recipe, but I will find out. I decided to test this dip today for a Thanksgiving Day appetizer, as there are going to be several Vegan family members coming. And you know that I had to change it up a little bit. I used Red Jalapeño instead of Green as I think the flavor is sweeter and I used more Onion, more Garlic and more Tahini. I also added more Water so that the Dip would be thinner. I'm going to serve it with Tortilla Chips (my favorite) or Rice Crackers and lots of Veggies to dip, like Carrot Sticks, Cucumber Spears and Celery Sticks. The Nutritional Yeast gives it that cheesy taste, but it can be omitted if desired. This dip is so delicious that I am quite sure that everyone will love it!

Raw Cashew Cheese Dip

1 cup Raw Cashews
1 large Red Pepper
1 small Red Jalapeño, deseeded and membranes cut off
1/3 cup minced Red Onion
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
3 Tablespoons Tahini
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/4 - 1/2 cup Water 
Optional:  1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Soak the Cashew Nuts in warm water for at least one hour up to overnight.  

When ready to make the Dip, drain the Cashews. Place the Cashew Nuts in a food processor or blender and add in all the other ingredients. If you want a thicker dip, use 1/4 cup of the Water and if you want the dip to be thinner, use up to 1/2 cup. Puree until completely smooth.  Refrigerate for at least one hour up to several days before serving. Serve with Carrots, Celery, Cucumber Spears and Crackers.

Five Element Analysis

Cashews belong to the Water and Earth Elements and the Tahini, made of Sesame Seeds brings in even more Water. The Wood Element can be found in the Lemon Juice, while the Red Pepper and the Red Jalapeño contribute the Fire Element. The Garlic and Red Onion make sure that the Metal Element is also accounted for and the Nutritional Yeast, being so savory adds even more. The Earth and Wood Elements needs a bit more support, so be sure to serve this Dip with Carrot Sticks, Cucumber Spears or Tortilla Chips for more of the Earth Element and some Celery Sticks for Wood, and/or with some Rice Crackers for more Metal.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Asian Poached Salmon

As you may recall, I still have a freezer full of fish and although I am making headway, in using it up, there's still a lot left to cook and eat. So, I"m always thinking up of a new and different ways to cook it and tonight I poached some Salmon in an Asian flavored broth. I've always loved Poached Salmon as the fish stays soft and succulent instead of dried out. And usually when I poach fish, I do it in a classic Court Bouillon of Fish Stock and Lemon Juice, Carrots, Celery, sometimes Fennel, Parsley and Bay Leaf. And, I usually serve it with some kind of sauce as well. But for an Asian broth, I used Chicken Broth, Green Onion, Ginger, Tamari and Rice Wine. I debated about putting in a piece of Star Anise and may do that next time, but I wanted to keep the flavors subtle. I made the poaching liquid ahead of time so that it had time to meld the flavors and did a cold poach, which keeps the Salmon more tender. When the Salmon was done, and it cooks fast, I dressed it with a drizzle of Tamari and sprinkled some Green Onions on top and served it with Rice and Sugar Snap Peas dressed in Sesame Oil (previous post). It was delicious!

Asian Poached Salmon

1 piece of King Salmon, cut into 4 equal size pieces
2 cups Chicken Broth
1/4 cup Tamari + 2 Tablespoons more for serving
1/4 Chinese Rice Wine
2 slices of fresh Ginger
2 Green Onions, cut into 3 inch lengths (small part of the green tops reserved and cut into small pieces)

Put the Chicken Broth, Tamari, Rice Wine, Ginger and Green Onions in a small pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool before using.

Place Salmon in the cool Broth and put on the stove. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Turn of the heat and let the Salmon sit for another 5 minutes.  Remove to a plate, Drizzle each piece with 1 teaspoon Tamaria and sprinkle with Green Onion pieces.

Five Element Analysis

Salmon belong to the Water Element and the Tamari adds even more. The Chicken Broth brings in the Wood Element, the Rice Wine contributes the Fire Element. The Ginger adds a hint of the Earth and Metal Elements and the Green Onions bring in more Metal. Served with Sugar Snap Peas and Rice adds more of the Earth and Metal Elements and hot Tea rounds out the Fire Element for a balanced meal.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Blueberry Flaxseed Muffins

There is a brand of Flaxseed Muffins that I used to pick up at PCC and the other night, I decided to replicate them. The muffins remind me a lot of the dense bran muffins I used to eat when I was eating gluten. I love a hearty muffin for breakfast and I also don't like them to be too sweet. The very first try yielded the perfect replica!  I combined Flaxseed Meal with Gluten Free Flour, added Applesauce along with Eggs and a bit of Almond Milk and Vanilla Extract. I was going to add Butter, but I forgot and they turned out so good that it was a lucky mistake. Flaxseed Meal has a lot of oil in it I guess so you don't need any extra oil. I ground my own in a little spice grinder although you can buy it already ground up. I used fresh frozen blueberries - I freeze them after a few days in the fridge if no one is using them. I like to use frozen Blueberries because they don't break down when you stir them in. I baked them until they were springy on the top when pushed down lightly. Of course I ate one right away and it was good, but the next morning, they were delicious!  I may be making these once a week as I have them three mornings in a row now. I love these muffins!

Blueberry Flaxseed Muffins

1 cup Apple Puree (I used Organic Applesauce or you can puree Apples in a food processor or blender)
1 ½ cups Gluten Free Flour Mix 
1 1//2 cups Flax Meal
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
2 large Eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup Almond Milk (or Soy Milk or Regular Milk)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup Frozen Blueberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees and put liners in a muffin pan.

In a large mixing bowl, ix Together the GF Flour, Flax Meal, Sugar, Baking Soda and Salt.  In a smaller bowl, mix together the Milk, Eggs and Vanilla Extract.  Pour the Milk and Egg Mixture into the Flour Mixture and stir to combine (mixture will be very thick. Stir in the Blueberries and fill Muffins ¾ full.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until the top lightly springs back when touched and a toothpick comes out clean.  Repeat with remaining batter. Cool for at least 10 minutes. Muffins are even better the next day.

Five Element Analysis

Flaxseeds are part of the Water Element being seeds and also dark in color. and the Eggs and Blueberries add even more. The Applesauce contributes the Fire Element. The Brown Sugar adds in the Earth Element along with the Almond Milk. The Metal Element is represented by the Rice Flour in the Gluten Free Flour Mix along with the Baking Soda and Vanilla Extract. Only the Wood Element is missing, so I served them with Chicken Breakfast Sausages for a balanced breakfast!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mushroom Pate with Almonds

I read an article the other day about how good mushrooms are for your health - particularly for anti-aging, which is good, because I love them! And, I had a big bunch of mushrooms in my refrigerator needing to be cooked. So, I made Mushroom Pate. I've made a version before with Sunflower Seeds (previous post) but I was out of them, so I went with Almonds instead. I toasted the Almonds and Sauteed the Mushrooms in Butter with Onion and Garlic and Thyme. I pureed it all together and refrigerated it to let the flavors meld. It was so delicious! I love snacks and spreads and this one is definitely elegant enough for a party. I might even make it again and bring it to our Friendsgiving next week!

Mushroom Pate with Almonds

1 cup Slivered Almonds 
1 clove Garlic
1 large Shallot, cut into chunks
1 pound of Button and/or Cremini Mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
3 Tablespoons Butter (or Oil if you want to make it Vegan)
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Place Garlic and Shallots in a food processor and chop. Add Mushrooms and pulse into chopped into small pieces.  Melt the butter in a large frying pan and then add the Mushroom mixture, Salt and Thyme. Cook until soft and almost all of the liquid has been cooked off.  Remove from heat.  

In the same frying pan, toast the Almonds until lightly browned. Put into the food processor and pulse until ground. Scrape downy the sides and add in the cooked Mushroom mixture. Puree until smooth. Scrape into a serving bowl, smooth down the sides and top with a few extra almonds. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Serve with crackers.

Five Element Analysis

Mushrooms are very Earthy so this is a primarily Earth Appetizer. The Onions and Shallots and Thyme bring in the Metal Element and the Crackers you serve it with will add either Wood, if using Wheat Crackers, or Metal, if using Rice Crackers. So serve this Mushroom Pate with some other appetizers that include the Water and Fire Elements.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Quinoa Salad with Italian Flavors

Awhile back, a family member visited who is Vegan so I made a delicious Quinoa Salad with Italian flavors. I've been meaning to post it ever since, but life has been more eventful lately than I wanted it to be. That's gotten me really behind in posting and I plan on catching up this week. 

For this salad, you cook the Quinoa in Vegetable Broth and then toss it with a combination of chopped Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Basil. I used Black Quinoa.  Then you dress it with a small amount of Vinaigrette made with Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil and Garlic. I put it in the refrigerator for several hours to let the flavors blend and then I topped it with Pine Nuts as a garnish. it was a big hit and I loved it! This is a great Quinoa salad that will be added to my list of salads to keep making.

Quinoa Salad with Italian Flavors

1 cup Quinoa
1 1/2 cups Vegetable Broth
1/3 cup Chopped Cherry Tomatoes
1/3 cup Chopped Persian Cucumbers
5 Basil Leaves, cut up into small pieces
3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon of Sugar
1/4 cup toasted Pine Nuts for garnish 

Bring the Vegetable Broth to a boil. Add in Quinoa, stir and cover reducing heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.  Remove cover and cool.

In a small bowl, mix together the Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Salt and Sugar. Stir to combine. 

Place cooled Quinoa in a serving bowl and add in the Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Basil. Pour over the Vinaigrette and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to serve, sprinkle with Pine Nuts.

Five Element Analysis

Quinoa is a seed and the black color and the Pine Nuts makes it even more of a Water Food.The Olive Oil and Vinegar contribute the Wood Element and the Tomatoes bring in the Fire Element. The Cucumbers bring in the Earth Element and the Vegetable Broth contains Carrots, Cabbage and Potatoes that adds even more and supplements the Fire Element too with more Tomatoes. The Basil leaves add just a hint of the Metal Element, which could use some support in the meal. I served Tofu, which made it a more balanced meal.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Quick Cock-A-Leekie Soup

Cock=A=Leekie is a Scottish Soup made of Leeks and Chicken (traditionally an old Rooster), Bacon and either Rice or Barley. I used Rice to keep it Gluten Free. And, instead of cooking a whole chicken, I made it quick by using Chicken Broth and cut up Chicken Breast. It is believed that the original recipe for this soup came from France and used Onions, but the Scots substituted the more available leeks.

Cock-A-Leekie is a soup with a lovely combination of flavors and is always served on St. Andrew's Day, which is November 30th.  I'm a little early for that celebration, but it's delicious any time.  And, since my son is living in St. Andrew's, it makes me think of him when I make it. There are two secret ingredients - one is a splash of white wine, which makes it a more sophisticated soup and the other is sliced rehydrated Prunes which adds a sweet note. With so many soups in the world, this one is relatively unknown and it's definitely one I love to make!

Quick Cock-A-Leekie Soup

1 large Leek (or 2 small), root end and darker green part cut off, quartered and sliced into thin strips
6 cups Chicken Broth (preferably homemade)
1 Tablespoon Butter
4 slices of Bacon, cut into small pieces
1 small Chicken Breast cut into small pieces (at least one cup diced)
1 ounce (2 Tablespoons) White Wine
1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tablespoon minced Parsley
1/4 cup Long Grain Rice
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Black Pepper to taste
Optional:  4 Prunes, rehydrated in water, seed removed and slice thin.

Wash the Leek pieces in a colander and shake to dry.  In a soup pot, melt the Butter and add in the Bacon pieces.  Cook until the Bacon is no longer pink, but no crispy.  Add in the Leeks and cook, stirring until the Leeks soften. Add in the Wine and then the Chicken Broth and add in the Thyme and Bay Leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. Then add in the cut up Chicken, the Parsley the Rice and the Prunes if using.Turn heat up and bring back to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cooking for an additional 15 minutes. Serve immediately. If making ahead, cook only for the first 15 minutes. Cool and refrigerate. When ready to use, reheat to boiling and then add in the Chicken, Rice, Parsley and Prunes..Sprinkle with Black Pepper to serve.

Five Element Analysis

Soup is part of the Water Element and the Bacon adds even more Water.  The Chicken and Chicken Broth contribute the Wood Element. The Fire Element is represented by the Wine the Prunes and the Black Pepper. The Leeks, Rice, Bay Leaf, Thyme and Parsley bring in the Metal Element.  Only the Earth Element is missing so be sure to serve dessert!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Lemony Collard Greens


Well I certainly meant to post sooner but iI was in Europe and I'm sorry to say that most of the hotels I was staying at had very poor internet service so I decided until I got home and recovered from jet lag. Before I left, I made a lovely Pork Tenderloin Roast and I was cleaning out my fridge before leaving, I cooked every vegetable that was in there. I had a bunch of Collard Greens that I was going to make into soup but I sautéed it instead and made it wonderfully tart with lemon. It was so delicious!  It's a great side to serve with a fatty meat, like Pork and it was my favorite side. Like most vegetables, you don't have to do much to make it delicious. A quick sauté with Red Onions, a pinch of salt and sugar, a small amount of Chicken Broth and a squeeze of a fresh Lemon. That's it and it is wonderful. I will be making this version of Collard Greens more often!

Lemony Collard Greens

1 bunch Collard Greens, washed
1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1/3 cup Chicken Broth
Juice of 1 small Lemon
1/4 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt

Pull the leaf part of the Collard Greens off of the stems. Roll up each leaf and slice (Chiffonade) finely into ribbons. Cut in half lengthwise if they are too long to manage 

n a large frying pan, heat the Oil and add the Red Onions. Cook until they become soft.  Add in the Collard Greens and sauté until soft. Sprinkle with the Salt and Sugar and add in the Chicken Broth. Cook, stirring until the Chicken Broth is mostly absorbed and sprinkle on the Lemon Juice. Serve immediately.

Five Element Analysis

As a leafy green. Collards belong to the Wood Element and the Chicken Broth and Lemon Juice adds even more  The only other major ingredient is the Red Onions which contribute the Metal Element so this is a good dish to serve with Pork or Fish, which are Water Foods. The meal should also have some Earth and Fire foods to create a balanced meal.  

Monday, October 9, 2017

Milk Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I’ve been meaning to post more recipes for several weeks now, but life just got incredibly busy. I now have a backlog of recipes to start posting and today I will begin with the sweetest!

When I was a child, I rarely ate cake since I have a Chinese Mother and she didn’t like sweets. I remember her trying to bake cakes with recipes from her neighborhood friends but she never used frosting because she thought it was way too sweet.  I grew up thinking that cake was supposed to be served without frosting and my friend’s birthday cakes were strange with all that frosting on top.  That kind of frosting from a can made my teeth hurt!  That was before I had frosting made from scratch.  Whipped Cream frosting is still my favorite but a homemade Buttercream Frosting is really good too. 

Last month, it was my friend Kelly’s birthday and it occurred on the day of a class. So I made cupcakes for us all. I knew that her Mom used to make Yellow Cake with Chocolate frosting. I also know that her favorite kind of chocolate is Milk Chocolate so I made cupcakes from Gluten Free mix for Yellow Cake and surprised her with Milk Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.  It was delicious. And to satisfy the Dark Chocolate lovers, I grated Dark Chocolate over the frosted Cupcakes. I like to lightly frost cupcakes so there was plenty left to spoon into a bowl for those frosting lovers who spread it on the bottom half of their cupcakes. This recipe was a winner with Kelly and me!

Milk Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

4 – 5 ounces high quality Milk Chocolate
2 sticks unsalted Butter (8 ounces) at room temperature
2 ½ cups Powdered Sugar
¼ cup heavy Whipping Cream
½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Optional:  2 ounces Dark Chocolate grated or Chocolate Sprinkles

Place a heatproof bowl over a small pan of boiling water. Add in the Chocolate and stir with a spatula until melted.  Remove and set aside.

In a stand mixer or a large bowl with a hand mixer, put in the softened Butter and Powdered Sugar. Mix until light and fluffy.  Then add in the melted Chocolate, Whipping Cream and Vanilla Extract.  Mix until thoroughly combined. Use immediately or refrigerate and bring back to room temperature to frost cupcakes.

Once frosted, use a microplane grater and grate the Dark Chocolate on top of the frosted cupcakes.

Five Element Analysis

This is a very sweet dessert topping so you know that it belongs to the Earth Element and the Powdered Sugar and Milk Chocolate are the Earthy ingredients although the Chocolate also contributes some Fire.  The Butter, Whipped Cream and Vanilla Extract all belong to the Metal Element.  The Gluten Free Cake mix is primarily made of Rice Flour, which is also Metallic.  So be sure to serve these cupcakes after a meal that is composed of some Water and Wood foods and some Fire foods too.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Riced Cauliflower Pilaf

I hesitate to call this dish Cauliflower Rice because I don't think it tastes anything like Rice, but it is a very delicious way to cook chopped up Cauliflower that looks like Rice.  And, since ricing is considered a process of making things into small pieces about the size of rice, Riced Cauliflower just seems like a more authentic name. In any case, I was at Trader Joe's this week and I saw a bag of Riced Cauliflower and had to buy it. I considered making a salad out of it (previous post) but I wanted to make a side dish for a roast, so I cooked it Pilaf style, which means that I sautéed it in butter along with Green Onion and shredded Carrots. Then I steamed it very quickly with some Chicken Broth. It cooked so fast that I was astonished - a total of 5 minutes of steaming and it was done! It was wonderful and also beautiful. I have to admit I like the convenience of buying the Cauliflower already cut up, but if you do it yourself, start with one big Cauliflower and chop it up by hand or in a food processor. It's a very tasty way of serving Cauliflower!

Riced Cauliflower

1 16oz bag of Riced Cauliflower - or about 4 cups chopped florets
4 Green Onions, chopped into small pieces
1 small Carrot, shredded
3 Tablespoons of Butter or Ghee
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
scant 1/2 teaspoon Salt if desired (I used low salt Chicken Broth so needed more)

Melt the Butter in a large frying pan (with a lid) on medium high.  Add in the Green Onions, Carrots and Cauliflower and stir until you can smell the Green Onion fragrance. Then add in the Chicken Broth and Salt. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes or until the Cauliflower is barely soft.

Five Element Analysis

Cauliflower is one of the few Metal Vegetables and the Green Onions and Butter add even more so this is a very Metallic dish. The Chicken Broth brings in the Wood Element and the Carrot contributes some Earth. So this would be good side to a meal that has Fire foods (like a salad) and perhaps a Water Element main like Fish to create a balanced Five Element meal.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Salisbury Steak

Remember TV Dinners? I used to have to eat them when my parents went out and we had a babysitter.  The only one I could stand was Salisbury Steak, usually served with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. For some reason, I really like gravy and it can clearly cover up a multitude of flaws in a dish. Then one day when I was a few years past needing a babysitter, I was reading a cookbook (I read them for fun then and now), and I discovered a recipe for Salisbury Steak that I just had to make. I remember it being so good that my Father asked me to make it again and I was so  proud of myself for making another dish that he liked!  I've made it many times after that but it's been such a long time since I made it. I was telling my son about it the other day, so we made it. He thought it was like the Hawaiian plate lunch Loco Moco, minus the Rice, the fried Egg and Macaroni Salad. Add those and it will be pretty authentic, as well as being Gluten Free! My son declared it delicious and this dish will now be back in the rotation after a very long break. It's definitely comfort food!

Salisbury Steak

1 pound Ground Beef
1 ½ teaspoons Lawry’s Seasoned Salt (or use regular Salt and Garlic Powder)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon Tamari or Soy Sauce
1 Egg
1/3 cup dry Gluten Free Bread Crumbs
1 large Onion, grated and divided 2/3 and 1/3
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
2 Tablespoons Sweet (Sticky) Rice Flour, often called Mochi Flour
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 1/2 cups Beef Broth (you can use Water and Bouillon Cubes)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the Ground Beef, Seasoned Salt, Worcestershire and Tamari along with the Egg, Bread Crumbs and 1/3 cup of grated Onion with your hands until fully mixed.  Shape into 4 oval Salisbury Steak Patties.

Heat a large frying pan on medium high heat and add in the Oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Then place the Salisbury Steak patties on the pan and cook on one side until browned and turn over and cook until browned on the other side (they will still be very pink in the middle). Remove and place in a  8 or 9 inch square baking pan.

Turn down the heat to medium and add the Butter and put in the 2/3 cup of grated Onion. Cook until Onion gets soft and caramelized, about 5 minutes, being sure to scrape up all the browned bits. Then sprinkle on the Rice Flour and stir in - it will clump. Then add the Beef Broth smooth out the lumps and cook until the sauce has thickened and made a thin gravy.

Pour the Gravy over the Patties and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake for one hour. Serve with Potatoes, Noodles or Rice a Fried Egg and Macaroni Salad if you want it to become Loco Moco.

Five Element Analysis

This recipe is very Earthy as Beef and Beef Broth are both from the Earth Element and if you serve it with Potatoes, it gets even Earthier. The Worcestershire Sauce, Tamari and Egg contribute the Water Element.  The Onion, Rice Flour (or Rice if you serve it) and the Gluten Free Bread Crumbs (made mostly out of Rice Flour) and the Butter add the Metal Element.  The Fire Element is missing so it would be good to serve this dish with a Lettuce Salad with Tomatoes and also be sure to add some the Wood Element to the meal by also serving a green vegetable like Green Beans or Broccoli too to create a Five Element balance!