Sunday, October 21, 2018

Simple Green Tomato Relish

We had a wealth of Tomatoes from our garden this summer, but the last ones on the vine just aren't going to ripen anymore so it was time today to pick the Green and semi-red Tomatoes off the vine  They were all too small to make good Fried Green Tomatoes (a previous post) so the only thing to do was to make Green Tomato Relish.  This is something that my Pennsylvania Dutch Grandmother would make and I've always loved it. Of course, she canned it so that it would be available all winter long, but I made just enough for one quart jar and I think it will go fast. It's a sweet and sour and tangy condiment with just a hint of Allspice to liven things up. It's great with Sausages  or Hotdogs - it's kind of like a Green Ketchup and it's also wonderful on Cheese. There's a certain satisfaction with making your own condiments using up your homegrown produce and it is delicious too!

Simple Green Tomato Relish

2 pounds Green Tomatoes and partially Red Tomatoes
1 White or Yellow Onion
3/4 cup - 1 cup Sugar (use less if you have more Red Tomatoes)
1 cup White Wine Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar
1 teaspoon Salt
1/3 teaspoon Allspice

Cut off the stem of the Tomatoes and chop into rough pieces and then chop the Onion. Add to a sauté pan along with the Sugar, Vinegar, Salt and Allspice. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Take off the lid, increase heat to medium and stir frequently for another 10 minutes. Let cool and spoon into a quart Mason Jar.

Five Element Analysis

Tomatoes are usually a Fire Food and the red ones still are, but because they are sour when Green, they also bring in the Wood Element. The Vinegar adds even more of the Wood Element. The Sugar contributes the Earth Element and the Onions and that little bit of Allspice bring in the Earth Element. Only the Water Element is missing, which is why it's so good with Pork Sausages, which are a Water Food.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Roasted Parsnips and Celery

I truly love my Sheet Pan and try to use them whenever I can. I also love roasted vegetables and tonight I roasted Parsnips and Celery together. Both of these vegetables don't often get enough credit for being delicious and they are! When you roast them together, the Parsnips get caramelized and chewy-crisp and the Celery gets soft, yet stays juicy. It's a wonderful combination!  I very simply drizzle them with Olive Oil and since I love to roast Celery when I roast a Chicken, I used Chicken Salt that I brought back from Australia to season them. But, you can use any Seasoned Salt or just Salt. The secret to this dish is to roast the vegetables for nearly an hour and then put them under the broiler for the last several minutes. They are a perfect combination for me!

Roasted Parsnips and Celery

4 Parsnips, ends trimmed, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
4 - 5 stalks of Celery, washed, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Chicken Salt or Seasoned Salt or Salt

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle a sheet pan with 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil and then put on the Parsnip and Celery pieces.  Drizzle with the remaining Olive Oil and sprinkle with Salt. Place in the oven and roast for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn over all the pieces with a spatula. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 25 minutes. Then turn the oven to broil and cook for an additional 3 - 4 minutes or until the Parsnips start to brown.  Serve hot or warm. 

Five Element Analysis

Parnsips are a combination of the Metal Element because they are a white food, but also grow in the ground so they embody the Earth Element too. Celery is part of the Wood Element as is the Olive OIl. Roasting these vegetables brings in the Fire Element. The Water Element is the only one missing so this would be a good side dish to Pork or Fish or another Water vegetable like Eggplant. 

Friday, October 19, 2018

Tomato Sauce with Chicken and Arugula

You know those days when you don't know what to cook and you need to cook something fast? That's when I check out what's hanging out in my refrigerator and my cupboards and then I throw something together. I'm almost always surprised when it turns out really well and this Sauce is a prime example. I had a bunch of Roma Tomatoes, a single Chicken Breast and some wilting Arugula, so I knew I could make a Pasta Sauce. And, I found Cauliflower Gnocchi (which is technically a dumpling) from Trader Joe's in the freezer that I had forgotten that I bought.  This Sauce turned out so wonderfully that I decided to share it here and so I remember how I made it!  The one thing that I did that was unusual was to puree the cooked Tomatoes with the Shallot and then I pushed it through a stainer so that it was a completely smooth sauce before I added the Chicken in. You can skip that step if you want or you can just peel the Tomatoes before chopping them up. If I hadn't found the Gnocchi, I would probably have served it with Fusilli. I discovered that I love cooked Arugula, maybe even more than in a salad so it may become a staple in my Pasta Sauces!

Tomato Sauce with Chicken and Arugula

1 boneless, skinless Chicken Breast half
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
1 Shallot, minced
6 Roma Tomatoes, stem removed and chopped coarsely
1/2 cup dry White Wine
3 cups loosely packed Baby Arugula
1/2 teaspoon Sugar

Cut up the Chicken Breast into thin slices about 1 inch long.  Season with Salt.

Then heat 1 Tablespoon of the Olive Oil in a sauté pan and add the Shallots. Cook until softened. Then add in the Roma Tomatoes and cook until the Tomatoes start to get soft. Add in the wine and continue to cook until a sauce is formed. 

Puree the Sauce in a Food Processor or Blender and strain to make smooth, if desired.

Add the additional 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil to the sauté pan until hot and add in the Chicken. Cook until it is no longer pink. Then add the Sauce back in and bring to a boil.  add in the Arugula and take off the heat, stirring until the Arugula wilts. Serve with the Pasta of your choice or Gnocchi.

Five Element Analysis

Tomatoes are part of the Fire Element and so is the Wine. Chicken belongs to the Wood Element and the Olive Oil and Arugula add even more. The Metal Element is represented by the Shallot. I served it with Cauliflower Gnocchi, made of Cauliflower and PotatoThe Cauliflower brings in more Metal and the Potato adds the Earth. This then ends up being a family balanced meal!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Butternut Squash Muffins

I'm trying to incorporate more orange foods into my diet because they are so good for you. Orange foods belong to the Earth Element in Chinese Medicine and they support the Spleen, Stomach and Pancreas. They are considered very grounding and good for regulating blood sugar. I have to admit that Orange foods aren't my favorite foods in the ways that they are usually cooked. I'm quite fond of Sweet Potato Fries but mostly I like my orange foods to be desserts or sweet breads. I made some Roasted Butternut Squash the other night for a Salad and had enough left over to do something else with it. Luckily, I didn't season the Squash much when I roasted it - just a little Vegetable Oil and Salt. So, I decided to make Butternut Squash Muffins and lowered the Salt in the recipe to compensate. I also added Oats and used Pumpkin Pie Seasoning because it's that time of year and it works perfectly with Butternut Squash. The Muffins were wonderful - really delicious and not too sweet! They are just perfect for a quick breakfast on the go.

Butternut Squash Muffins

1 cup Gluten Free Flour Mix (I used Cup 4 Cup)
1/2 cup Rolled Oats
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 cup cooked Butternut Squash (steamed or roasted)
1/3 cup Almond Milk
1/4 cup melted Butter
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 large Egg
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with Oil (I used a Silicone Muffin Tin)

In a mixing bowl, combine the Gluten Free Flour Mix, Rolled Oats, Baking Powder, Salt and Pumpkin Pie Spice. Then add in the Butternut Squash, Almond Milk Oil, Brown Sugar, Egg and Vanilla Extract. Stir until blended.  

Fill Muffin cups 3/4 full - it should make 12 muffins. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until tops are brown and spring back lightly when touched or a toothpick comes out clean when poked. 

Five Element Analysis

Butternut Squash is part of the Earth Element and the Oats, Almond Milk and Brown Sugar add even more. The Egg contributes the Water Element. The Butter, Pumpkin Pie Spice and Vanilla Extract along with the Gluten Free Flour (that is mostly Rice Flour) bring in the Metal Element. The Fire Element is not present so be sure to serve these muffins with some Tea or Coffee and later have some of the Wood Element in another meal for balance.