Tag Archives: barley

Orange is the New….

Fight off the flu with veggies & fruit.

Fight off the flu with veggies & fruit

Spring colds & flu have been rampant lately (fell victim myself), so be sure to pump yourself full of antioxidants in whatever way you can. I’m fighting back with blueberry & super green powder smoothies, lots of spinach & kale and juicy oranges.

The next 7 weeks of DDoW Menus features, in fact, lots of orange-colored dishes to herald spring and boost our Vitamin A levels, ranging from Ethiopian Millet & Sweet Potatoes to Butternut Squash Soup. And green too, of course.

Orange ya glad I said orange?

Without further ado, here’s the menu cycle. To order any of those weeks’ dishes, go to the Order Form on the Order page. Learn more about DDoW.

DDOW MENU FOR MARCH 24 – MAY 12

Mar 24 – 29 – PALEO WEEK

A 'spiralizer' makes awesome noodles out of veg & fruit!

A ‘spiralizer’ makes awesome noodles out of veg & fruit!

Carrot Coconut Soup  Vegan, gluten-, soy-free, no added sugars, Paleo. Thai flavors such as lemongrass & ginger make this basic combo interesting. I was inspired by a pumpkin soup recipe in a Martha Stewart’s Everyday Living mini-mag. 

Veggie Noodle Salad in Ginger Peanut Dressing  Vegan, gluten-free, no added sugars, Paleo; contains GF tamari and peanuts. Lovely crunchy No-Carb salad with ‘noodles’ made of carrots, zucchini and daikon, plus bean sprouts, in everybody’s favorite dressing.

Mar 31 – Apr 5

"Appetite for Reduction" by Isa Moskowitz.

“Appetite for Reduction” by Isa Moskowitz.

Scarlet Barley. Vegan, soy-free, no added sugars; contains gluten. A brilliantly hued beets & barley dish from Moskowitz’ Appetite for Reduction vegan cookbook. Factoid: beets have 6 times the iron of carrots. Women, eat your beets!

Black Bean Veg Salad. Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, no added sugars. Spiked with citrus & crunchy veg to complement the earthy barley dish.

Apr 7 – 13

Ethiopian Millet & Sweet Potatoes.  Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, no added sugars.   Another dish adapted from Appetite for Reduction cookbook. This millet pilaf has an interestingly spiced tomato sauce, reminiscent of an Indian curry but not quite. Sweet potatoes add sweetness and moisture. Not spicy hot. [Millet dries out fast, so sprinkle some water on it before you reheat.]

Green Beans & Lentil Cassoulet.  Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, no added sugars.   A lightly braised combo in a light broth with a bit of ginger that won’t overwhelm the Millet dish.

Apr 14 – 20

Garbanzo Piccata w/ Spinach (my photo).

Garbanzo Piccata w/ Spinach (my photo).

Garbanzo & Mushroom Piccata.  Vegan, soy-free, no added sugars. Also from the Appetite for Reduction cookbook. Guess it’s Moskowitz Month!  I was very happy with this dish last year — substantial yet not heavy, in a light wine sauce brightened with lemon, capers & parsley. This time I’m adding mushrooms.

Green Rice.  Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, no added sugars. Eco-farmed brown rice mixed with chopped organic spinach & green peppers.

Apr 21 – 27  PALEO WEEK

Butternut Squash Soup w/ Red Chile & Mint (Splendidtable.com)

Butternut Squash Soup w/ Red Chile & Mint (Splendidtable.com)

Butternut Squash Soup w/ Red Chile & Mint. Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, no added sugars, Paleo. Got this lovely and interesting recipe from the Splendid Table newsletter with which to use up my stock of Sno-Pac frozen organic squash. 

Cabbage & Carrot Slaw in Grapefruit Ginger Vinaigrette Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, no added sugars, Paleo. A light, crunchy & refreshing complement to the silken soup and, packed with vitamins and fiber.

Apr 28 – May 3 

Sweet Red Pepper Soup – Paleo.  Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, no added sugars, Paleo. This popped up in my inbox from Vegetarian Times newsletter. More orange & red!  And only 120 cal per serving. It’s meant to be garnished with a swirl of basil cream, but I’ll do a basil pistou instead. You can add some basil pesto, cream or yoghurt yourself.

Wheat Berry & Veg Salad. Vegan, soy-free, no added sugars; contains gluten. A toothsome marinated salad featuring chewy wheat berries, crunchy veg and some dried cranberries.

May 5 – 11  

Chicken Mafe Stew w/ Spinach. Sub beans for meat.

Chicken Mafe Stew w/ Spinach. Sub beans for meat.

Black-eyed Peas & Green Beans in Mafe Sauce. Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, no added sugars; contains peanut butter. A traditional West African stew in a tomato-based sauce that is mild and comforting. Mafe sauce has been repeatedly approved by kids, so if your kids can get over the beans & veg, they’ll like it.  Not spicy.

Millet & Greens. Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, no added sugars. Millet is a staple of Africa and therefore the perfect complement to Mafe Stew. And, it’s very high in protein. If you’ve never cooked millet, try it! It comes out like a nutty-tasting couscous. 

May 12 – 18

Potato, Leek & Minted Pea Soup – Paleo. Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, no added sugars, Paleo. Here’s a nice comfort soup with a twist — a nod to spring in anticipation of the beginning of our harvest season. Unfortunately, it won’t have locally grown peas and mint b/c it will be too early. 

White Beans w/ Carrots, Kale & Sage. Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, no added sugars.  A simple mixture w/ orange & green veg, aromatically seasoned with sage.

May 19 – 25  VACATION 

To order any dish, submit the easy form on the Order page. 

Advertisements

Utilitarian Does Not Mean Boring

This is why those dishes I choose to share here and link to on my FB page lean toward the utilitarian and not the drool-inducing “gourmet” ones, gorgeously illustrated in all those columns/blogs/newsletters that I receive weekly from Splendid Table, Mark Bittman (NYT), etc. My cookbooks lean that way, too.

Of course, those recipes & photos make me sigh with desire. But, sorry, I am not going to run out to the store for artichokes, broccoli rabe, hazelnuts or creme fraiche. So if they call for such ‘fancy’ ingredients, I use them for inspiration instead of following them exactly. 

9764006-spices-and-herbs-in-small-glass-bowls-food-and-cuisine-additivesConsequently, my take on utilitarian has become more broad yet still economical through keeping many spices & herbs on hand and trying different recipes with basics like rice, barley and beans. Whether you’re eating vegan or Paleo, you’ve got to keep it interesting.

See Spice is the Variety of Life blogpost for 8 easy, different rice-based dishes.  Another example: at this week’s Paleo Basics class at Mazopiya Natural Foods Market, I demo’d Moroccan Chermoula paste, a “pesto” of fresh herbs, garlic, lemon, ground cumin & paprika. Then I gave the students samples of it with sauteed collards, with chicken AND as a creamy dressing thickened with avocado. One great condiment equals oodles of combos!

I also stock up on organic, frozen pre-cut veggies from Sno-Pac, a MN company, which I buy wholesale via my Buying Club. (You can do this, too — contact me to find out how.) Having these veggies on hand saves me much time and money, and besides, they’re organic. 

Several dishes in this Delivered Dish of the Week menu cycle is based on this Sno-Pac supply. In general, I hope the dishes described below give you some ideas about cooking basics in versatile ways!  Order here. More about DDoW service.

DDOW MENU FOR FEB 17 – MARCH 24

Feb 17 – 23

Barley Roast Carrot Pilaf  Vegan, soy-free, no added sugars. Contains gluten; you can order Brown Rice for GF option. Simple and hearty, with rosemary.

Super Green Split Pea Soup Vegan, gluten-, soy-free, no added sugars.  Another green soup, it will look like last week’s Kale Yam soup but features split pea & spinach and sports a “meaty” flavor courtesy of smoked paprika.

Feb 25 – Mar 1

Cooked Kasha

Cooked kasha, aka buckwheat groats.

Indian-style Kasha & Cabbage Vegan, gluten-, soy-free, no added sugars. Kasha is a common term for Buckwheat Groats, a gluten-free grain. It’s like an earthy brown rice. Here I flavor it heavily with Indian spices cumin, coriander & mustard seed, and add lightly braised shredded cabbage for sweetness and texture. It’s terrific with spicy roasted almonds. 

4-Jewel Dal w/ Spinach  Vegan, gluten-, soy-free, no added sugars.   A lovely recipe from cookbook queen Madhur Jaffrey that uses a variety of dal legumes including small brown lentils, split yellow lentils and split white pigeon peas. Each adds a slightly different texture.

Mar 3 – 9

Basic garbanzo & veg salad. This week's will have only or mostly cukes. (Photo by Brad Dahlgaard.)

Basic garbanzo & veg salad. This week’s will have only or mostly cukes. (Photo by Brad Dahlgaard.)

Turkish Tomato Wheat-berry Stew   Vegan, soy-free, no added sugars. Contains gluten; choose no wheat-berry for GF option.  Thickened with red lentil dal & eggplant and brightened with fresh mint & parsley. Very popular!

Garbanzo Cuke Salad  Vegan, gluten-, soy-free, no added sugars. A substantial marinated salad flavored with Middle Eastern zatar spice mix and lemon juice. (I got the zatar at Holy Land Deli grocery in NE Mpls, a mecca for interesting spices.)

Mar 10 – 16

Veg & Bean Mole Stew  Vegan, gluten-, soy-free, no added sugars.  Organic red bell peppers & beans dominate this rich concoction. I discovered online a passable, much simplified recipe for mol-eh sauce based on raisins, cacao and tomato paste. I first made it with the kids at the Arboretum Cooking Camps last summer and they liked it.

Quinoa Corn Salad in Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette Vegan, gluten-, soy-free, no added sugars. A light refreshing complement to the hearty mole stew, with organic quinoa and organic sweet corn.

Mar 17 – 23  PALEO WEEK

You can quickly make zucchini 'noodles' with a spiralizer. It's a great pasta substitute.

You can quickly make zucchini ‘noodles’ with a spiralizer. It’s a great pasta substitute.

Carrot Coconut Soup  Vegan, gluten-, soy-free, no added sugars. Thai flavors such as lemongrass & ginger make this basic combo interesting. I was inspired by a pumpkin soup recipe in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Living mini-mag (I think). 

Veggie Noodle Salad in Ginger Peanut Dressing  Vegan, gluten-free, no added sugars; contains soy (tamari). Lovely crunchy No-Carb salad with ‘noodles’ made of carrots, zucchini and daikon, plus bean sprouts, in everybody’s favorite dressing.

Mar 24 – 30

Ruby Barley Vegan, soy-free, no added sugars; contains gluten. A brilliantly hued beets & barley dish from Moskowitz’ Appetite for Reduction vegan cookbook.

Black Bean Veg Salad Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, no added sugars. Spiked with citrus & crunchy veg to complement the earthy & soft barley dish.

 

Inspiration & Perspiration

I’ve been so remiss about blogging!  I have about 10 backlogged topics I could easily expound upon– and hope to one day– such as

  • stories of teaching the Arboretum Cooking Camps to the nicest bunch of 8 – 12 year olds;
  • cooking for a family with Alkaline diet needs;
  • how the government shutdown affected nutrition of low-income women & children;
  • all the catering I’ve been doing, from board retreats to a large wedding dinner;
  • new cookbooks I just picked up, like “Viva Vegan”; etc.

But that is for another day. Today I’m announcing the next 6 week-cycle of Delivered Dish of the Week (DDoW), which takes us up through Thanksgiving.

Bonanza haul from Farmers' Market, Sept (my pic).

Bonanza haul from Farmers’ Market, Sept (my pic).

I find inspiration everywhere, from my own archive of dishes and cookbooks to newsletters and restaurants.

I’m always inspired by the Farmers Markets these days. I also like to peruse the aisles of grocery stores and see what catches my eye. If I like the name of a bottled salad dressing or a sauce, I take a picture of the ingredient list and try to incorporate its flavors into something.

I also look to organic food sources such as Azure Standard (Oregon), boutique producers like Purcell Mountain Farm (Idaho) and Sno Pac Foods (from southern MN). Purcell offers heirloom beans, so I tried some last cycle. This week I was able to order cases of frozen organic ‘sweet beans’ (fresh shelled edamame) from Sno Pac, so these will be featured in December.

Perspiration is what transpires between the photo above and the photos of dishes below. I don’t always love the process but often, I find chopping and stirring rather satisfying.  I let my hands take over, while my mind listens to MPR podcasts and wanders. And, I love the results.

DDOW OCT 21 – NOV 28

OCT 21 – 26

1) Pureed Celery Parsnip Parsley Soup. V, GF, Paleo, soy-free & no added sugars. Exactly what it says, with a bit of potato added to counter the sweetness of the parsnips. Fresh parsley and lemon juice brighten it up. Very mild and comforting.

2) Barley Mushroom Lentil Pilaf. V, soy-free & no added sugars; contains gluten. A very earthy, autumnal and toothsome dish. Wonderfully chewy, in contrast to the pureed soup.

OCT 28 – NOV 1

Beautiful Beet Soup (my photo)

Beautiful Beet Soup (my photo)1) Zombie Blood Soup, aka Gingery Beet & Cabbage Borscht. V, GF, Paleo, soy-free & no added sugars.  Several clients love this and always order extra. And, if a delicious nourishing soup doesn’t do it for you, throw in some hard-boiled eggs for floating eyeballs and scare the kids.

1) Zombie Blood Soup, aka Gingery Beet & Cabbage Borscht. V, GF, Paleo, soy-free & no added sugars.  Several clients love this and always order extra. And, if a delicious nourishing soup doesn’t do it for you, throw in some hard-boiled eggs for floating eyeballs and scare the kids.

2) Rat Hot Dish, aka, Polenta Ratatouille Casserole. GF,  soy-free & no added sugars.  Reprise of ratatouille layered with smooth polenta in a loaf or pie pan, with the addition of white beans. Polenta will have butter and parmesan/romano cheese unless you indicate the no-dairy version. Probably really good with Fritos on top.

NOV 4 – 8

Diff kinds of red beans: (clockwise from top) kidney, Spanish Tolosna, Giant Scarlet Runner Beans (my pic).

Diff kinds of red beans: (clockwise from top) kidney, Giant Scarlet Runner Beans and  Spanish Tolosna (my pic).

1) Creamy Kidney Bean, Carrot & Collard Mafe Stew. V, GF, soy-free & no added sugars; contains peanut butter. Option of almond butter if you have peanut sensitivities. West African Mafe is one of my top 10 comfort foods. It becomes more than the sum of its simple parts ( tomato sauce, peanut butter, some spices) and morphs into a rich creamy sauce. Excellent with any ingredients– in this case, hearty veg. Serve over a grain or with crusty bread.

2) Millet & Sweet Potato Pilaf. V, GF, soy-free & no added sugars. Fluffy millet with roast sweet pots and caramelized onions. A staple in Africa, millet is a high-protein gluten-free grain. People ask me why mine is fluffy while theirs comes out gloppy. I use the same amount of water as with brown rice, no more, and, after taking it off the heat, I let it steam in the pot. However, millet tends to dry out quickly, so when you reheat this dish, you must sprinkle a bit of water on top beforehand.

NOV 11 – 15

Firecracker Slaw  (my pic).

Firecracker Slaw (my pic).

1) Pureed Pumpkin & White Bean SoupV, GF, soy-free & no added sugars.  Ordered a case of organic pumpkin puree for this fiber-licious thick soup. White beans add protein, mire poix adds depth, and a little lime juice & cayenne adds kick. For a treat, add a dollop of sour cream that has been mixed with lime juice.  Perfect with a tart salad…like a slaw.

2) Firecracker Slaw in Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette.  V, GF, Paleo, soy-free & no added sugars. My standby all-star dish for demonstrations and holidays. Its bright colors, lively tang and considerable crunch will wake you up. Eat all you want, it’s zero points.

NOV 18 – 22

1) Caribbean Butter Bean Stew w/ Steamed Plantains. V, GF, soy-free & no added sugars. This was a big hit when I first served it in May. A light coconut sauce binds it all together. And hey, plantains are good carbs! From the terrific, must-buy “Appetite for Reduction” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

2) Jamaican Jerk Quinoa Pilaf w/ Corn.  V, GF, soy-free & no added sugars.  Instead of the stew being spicy, this time it’s the grain. Just for fun. If you want to cool it down, add yogurt.

NOV 25 – 29 THANKSGIVING WEEK
Bring these dishes to a holiday meal and be prepared for profuse compliments!

Braised Collards, Bell Peppers & Raisins (my photo).

Braised Collards, Bell Peppers & Raisins (my photo).

1) Braised Collards w/ Red Bell Peppers & Raisins.  V, GF, Paleo, soy-free & no added sugars.  Another holiday favorite! There are many nice variations of this dish– Soul Food has one with orange juice — but my friend Carol is the source for this particular knock-out, for which I am forever thankful.

2) Roasted Tempeh & Potatoes in Chermoula SauceV, GF, no added sugars; contains soy. Savory Moroccan Chermoula herb paste does wonders for meats, beans, roots and grains. Here, it perfectly enhances nutty soy tempeh. This was a hearty vegan entree I served at a fall wedding.

Note: Please be aware that this week’s dishes will be priced slightly higher than usual.  Processing fresh collards take forever and organic tempeh is pricier than beans.

TO ORDER:  fill out & submit the online Order Form on this blog. You can order a bunch of dishes in advance or return to the form once a week, as you wish. Deadlines are Saturdays for deliveries the following week. See general info on Delivered Dish of the Week service.

PS: The Online Form lists the week, the name of each dish and its ingredients. These fuller Dish descriptions above are archived on the DDoW Menu Archive page in case you want to find them again. Or, search this blog for “DDoW”. 

Old & New World foods for June & July

Oh, the wonders of the internet!  I’ve ordered some speciality food items online to play with. From the New World, native blue corn hominy and New Mexico Green Chile powder. From the Old World, heirloom dried beans, most of which originated in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Big, dappled Spanish Tolosna beans (pic from Purcellmountainfarm.com).

Big, dappled Spanish Tolosna beans (pic from Purcellmountainfarm.com).

I’m particularly excited to try patterned  beans that hold their color & shape when cooked, and that apparently have distinctive flavors.  Hefty bags of dark fat Scarlet Runner, purple-brown-white Appaloosa, dappled Spanish Tolosna and inky Black Beluga Lentils are in transport this very minute. We’ll see how they cook up! 

California’s Rancho Gordo restaurant & celeb chef is the leading US gourmet heirloom bean proselytizer. Its retail site has very useful detailed descriptions of each bean’s taste. North Bay Trading Co in Wisconsin — yay, a local regional source! — sells organic beans, dried fruit & veg in bulk as does Purcell Mountain Farms in Idaho, which also carries lots of other products.

So here are the DDoW dishes for the next few weeks. It’s your turn to shop online — order DDoW right here. 

[GUIDE:   V= vegan, GF= gluten-free, and P = paleo. 99% dishes have no soy or added sugar.]

June 17 – 21

Roast Parsnip Carrots w/ Rosemary ready to be delivered to DDoW clients (my pic).

Roast Parsnip Carrots w/ Rosemary ready to be delivered to DDoW clients (my pic).

1) Roast Parsnips & Carrots w/ Rosemary (V, GF, P).  Enjoy hot, warm, or cold. Great for breakfast (why not?), on salad greens, mixed with a grain, topped with a fried/poached egg. Extend by adding to a soup or stuffing into burritos & quesadillas.
2) Quinoa & Spring Veg Soup w/ Fennel Pistou (V, GF, P).  A light lemony soup made with whatever’s avail at the Farmers Market such as peas, asparagus, spinach. Pistou is herb garlic paste.

June 24 – 28

An heirloom bean ordered from Purcell Mountain Farms.com  (their pic).

Appaloosa heirloom bean from Purcell Mountain Farms.com (their pic).

1) Heirloom Bean Salad (V, GF). Mottled Appaloosa and other colorful legumes plus purple cabbage in a Dijon Tarragon vinaigrette.
2)  Chermoula Potato Salad (V, GF). My favorite Moroccan paste transforms bland potatoes. It’s not hot-spicy but has such an in-your-face intensity you can’t call it mild, either.  See recipe (scroll down a few recipes).


July 1 – 5  INDEPENDENCE DAY HOLIDAY

Imagine blue hominy & white beans swimming in a deep red stew!  (photo from web.)

Imagine blue hominy & white beans swimming in a deep red stew! (photo from web.)

1) Red White & Blue Posole (V, GF).  Medium-spicy pepper & tomato-based stew with blue corn hominy and white beans! 

2) Firecracker Slaw w/ Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette (V, GF, P).  Same as my regular Firecracker Slaw except w/ a different vinaigrette. Lots of shredded crunchy veg & apples makes the perfect picnic side. No dairy means it can sit out for hours, and, it’s low-fat.


July 8 – 12

1) Sesame Barley & Veg Salad (V, contains gluten.)Barley is wonderfully chewy and nutty. Sesame dressing may contain a little peanut butter, too.
2) Minted Daikon & Edamame Salad (V, GF, P, contains soy).  Fresh mint, garlic and rice vinegar make a terrific vinaigrette for refrigerator pickles and green salads. Maybe Kohlrabi if it’s avail.

July 15 – 19

Arroz con gandules, a Puerto Rican staple.

Arroz con gandules, a Puerto Rican staple (pic from Wikipedia).

1) Arroz Con Gandules (V, GF). Puerto Rican national dish of rice & beans punched up by capers & olives. I may substitute another legume for the traditional pigeon peas.
2) Market Surprise.  Green Beans? Cukes? Cold Cucumber Soup? With this late onset of summer, it’s hard to tell what will be at market.

Coming Next: Chile Verdura featuring authentic New Mexico Green Chile, Black Beluga Lentil & Beet Salad, another funky heirloom bean dish, Turkish Tomato Wheatberry Soup….

Decisions, Decisions!

I’m working on March’s menus for Delivered Dish of the Week and having a hard time choosing only eight dishes! I guess I’ll move some into April, then.

My process is the same as how you might plan meals at home.

First, I look at what bulk items I have in stock and want to use up: garbanzo beans, fava beans, oat groats & barley, brown rice, quinoa, tofu and TVP; left-over beets, frozen organic green beans and butternut squash. I note that I haven’t featured collards or carrots in a while.

Second, I come up with a list of dishes that include those. Here I take care to choose a wide variety of flavors, balance the carbs between whole grains, beans and root veg, and balance cold dishes with hotThirdI make sure vegetables are in all dishes. Some dishes are heavy on protein (beans), some are heavy on carbs, and some are mostly vegetable (therefore, paleo-friendly). 

Must-buy "Mediterranean Fresh" by Joyce Goldstein

Must-buy “Mediterranean Fresh” by Joyce Goldstein

Right now I find scads of inspiration from the drool-worthy and incredibly useful cookbook Mediterranean Fresh: A Compendium of One-Plate Salad Meals and Mix-and-Match Dressings, by Joyce Goldstein. I want to eat every single thing in it!  In fact, the mix-and-match method is exactly how I cook and eat. And, I adore her repertoire of Italian, Spanish, Tunisian, Moroccan, Turkish and French dishes. They are intense and authentic. Her Moroccan Chermoula Dressing has become a staple, and is reprinted on my Recipe page.

My cooking lesson students learn this mix-and-match method hands-on. For instance, with just brown rice, a pantry of spices & herbs, plus a few vegetables and/or beans, you could make a different hearty rice dish every night of the week (and still not have exhausted the possibilities).  See Nov 2012 post “Spice is the Variety of Life” for details.

How else would I be able to come up with 24 different vegan dishes for a 3-month seasonal menu?

OK, so back to March menu options list. It includes some of my tried-and-true, and recipes from Goldstein.

Blanched Carrot & Kale Salad in Orange Ginger Vinaigrette. Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free.

Blanched Carrot & Kale Salad in Orange Ginger Vinaigrette (my recipe). Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free.

  • Garbanzo, Peppers & Capers salad w/ spicy Harissa dressing  GF, V
  • Fava bean Zahlouk Salad (cauliflower, chermoula, moroccan olives) — a rice version was FAB. GF, V
  • Potato, Cauliflower & Artichoke Salad w/ Harissa dressing  P, GF, V
  • Potato & Green Bean Salad w/ Lemony Horseradish Vinaigrette  P, GF, V
  • Curried Barley/Oat Groat & Veg Salad w/ craisins (very popular)  V
  • Quinoa, Carrot & Kale Salad w/ Citrus Ginger dressing (see Recipe pageGF, V
  • Hearty Kale Salad (avocados + Tahini dressing) — Superfood Kitchen by Julie Morris  P, GF, V
  • Jambalaya w/ spiced TVP, Garbanzo and peppers  GF, V
  • Butternut Fava Bean Thai Curry  GF, V  
  • West African Mafe Stew w/ beans, turnip greens (tomato & peanut butter sauce)   P,GF, V

    Chicken Mafe Stew w/ Spinach. Sub beans for meat.

    Chicken & Sweet Potato Mafe Stew w/ Spinach. Sub beans for meat.

  • Braised Collards w/ Raisins & Butternut Squash  P,GF, V
  • Beets w/ either Harissa or Tarator dressing (tahini + nuts)   P, GF, V
  • Cauliflower Squash Red Lentil Soup — thanks Denise!   P, GF, V
  • Green Parsnip Soup  — b/c I love it   P, GF, V 

    And then there’s the Paleo list featuring animal protein: 

  • Corned Beef and Roasted Cabbage P, GF, V
  • Cauliflower, Collards & Bacon (pasture-fed)  P, GF, V
  • Sweet Potato Frittata  P, GF, V
  • Salad Nicoise w/ tuna mayo dressing P, GF, V   (first ate ‘tonnato” sauce on cold beef in Florence, sigh….)


P = Paleo-friendly, ie no grains or beans
GF = Gluten-free
V = Vegan

See what I mean?!  Decisions, decisions….!

Down the Rabbit Hole

It is so easy to slip down the Rabbit Hole into the dizzying Wonderland of Starch.

That goofy Alice with her yo-yo weight issues. First, it’s the quick-fix “Drink Me Potion” aka liquid diet food substitutes. She drops pounds immediately but doesn’t have strength or energy to even turn the doorknob. Now Alice is hungry and feeling deprived and, in a typical rebound, scarfs a box of “Eat Me Cakes” (not likely the whole-wheat applesauce kind). She bloats and balloons to giant size and again, can’t get out of the house. She gets head-aches.

This woman needs to get herself to a meeting of Cake-eaters Anonymous.

Moreover, what does the schizo Mad Hatter serve at tea? Pastries & cake. “Off with their heads!”, orders Wonderland’s Queen of Hearts, another unstable personality. What did infamously unsympathetic queen Marie Antoinette say about her starving French masses? “Let them eat cake.”

Crabby, confused, hyper-sensitive, prone to over-emotional fits and angry flare-ups. Obviously, these poor people are in the throes of processed flour & sugar addictions!

[Oh, I hear you, sister. And the dang holidays are approaching!]

So, what to do? Learn to love chewy, satisfying, low-glycemic whole grains. Go beyond brown rice. I’m talking about wheat berries, oat berries, barley; and on the gluten-free side, quinoa, millet and buckwheat groats aka “Kasha”, and different red and red-brown combo rice.

Autumn is the perfect season for cassoulets & stews with different kinds of whole-grain pilafs. And now the heretical: Refrain from serving bread on the side. I know, it’s so nice to mop up sauce with crusty bread, I get it. I’m not saying never eat it.

Case in point: I have a client who wants to better control her carb intake. Cake is not her “eat me” temptation, it’s pasta and bread. In a recent coaching session, we discussed “scaffolding down” from these processed carbs, and substituting whole grain pilafs and salads. She’s never cooked grains, so, in our next cooking lesson, we’re going to make 3-4 kinds for her to try. I’m bringing my pressure cooker.

Once she learns the basic method of boil & simmer — it’s the same for all of them — she can start using these instead of white rice and pasta. These pack more nutrients per serving and make you feel more full. Plus, then you’ll have cooked whole grains on hand for other wholesome dishes.

Wheat-berries with Lentils & Collard Greens. Grains took only 15 min in pressure cooker (my photo).

 For instance, Google “wheat berries” and up pops up several nice salads and soups right away. Go to www.vegetariantimes.com’s huge database for more inspiration.

If you love bread, try to save it for sandwiches, where it has a noble and practical purpose.

And then, we’ll treat ourselves to cake.

Cooking Camp in Northern Paradise

Sunset over Cass Lake, from Star Island.

I have a lot of blog-catch up to do!  First of all, I was very fortunate to have spent the last week of Aug leading healthful cooking sessions at Camp Unistar, located on Cass Lake’s Star Island.

The focus for the week was very concrete — make food & bread. Participants did exactly that, every day for 2 hours. The baker, Dee, and I alternated days.  I had 12 – 8 participants who made 4 vegan dishes or so per session, which we then served for lunch & dinner, as part of the meals the kitchen staff had prepared.

The participants were terrific!  They enjoyed themselves under my tutelage. Lots of laughing and smiles! All campers much enjoyed the results of our efforts. I’m gathering feedback and will share soon.

I had a wonderful time myself, as a teacher and as a camper. It’s impossible not to love this camp, tucked away on a small quiet island with no roads, and with clear waters and virgin pine forests beckoning you. And hammocks, too.

Also, Camp Unistar’s gleaming professional kitchen is excellent, as are the staff. When I liaised with the Food Service Director and found out she kept stores of quinoa and barley on hand, I just knew we’d get along! Then she told me about their local farm source and I became even more excited. More about this farm in the next post.

As with all my lesson plans, I focused on versatility of vegetarian ingredients, ease of preparation, and basic skills. Brought along my cute Grains & Beans Tool-Kit to show some of the many kinds of whole grains and legumes that are widely available now. This serendipitously turned out to complement the lectures on grains by baker Dee.

The game plan in a nutshell was:

This is how I would have served the left-over Ratatouille from Day 1, if there had been any left-overs: topped with fried egg, black olives & feta.

Day 1: Veg Raw and Roasted
Raw Beet Salad, Firecracker Slaw, Roast Beets & Lentil Salad, Roast Ratatouille w fresh basil, 2 vinaigrettes.

Day 2: Herb Pestos, Vinaigrettes & Dips; Marinated Salads
Cilantro paste and creamy vegan herb dip; Curried Barley Salad (Curry Vinaigrette); Blanched Carrots & Kale in Orange Ginger Vinaigrette; Minted Asian Cukes & Radish Salad (Mint vinaigrette); Red Quinoa & Porcini Mushroom Pilaf. (Total 4 vinaigrettes & a dip.)

Red Bell Peppers & raisins sweeten sauteed fresh collards or kale, and make a beautiful dish.

Day 3: Beans and Greens
This day we made the entire lunch: Red Lentil & Squash Soup w/ Cardamom & Coco Milk; Braised Kale with Red Peppers & Raisins; Kale & Black-eyed Peas “Masala”; Sauteed Cabbage with Fennel Seeds; Cuke Radish Cilantro Raita (yogurt condiment). Plus, Moroccan Chermoula Marinade for that night’s grilled chicken supper.

As you can see, we cooked all sorts of dishes each day, some planned and some not. “Cross-fertilization” is the point. The Orange Ginger Vinaigrette was in their recipe packet but I had’t planned to necessarily use it. However, since we had extra, fat garden carrots and all that kale on hand, we quickly pulled together a brightly flavored, brilliantly colored Blanched Carrots & Kale Salad. This turned out to be one of the campers’ favorites.

By the way, everything we made was vegan (dairy-free) and gluten-free with the exception of the barley salad. I’ll post more soon about these camp sessions, with photos and recipes.