Tag Archives: parsley

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….!

Soup’s On!

When it’s damp & cold like today all I want is a big bowl of hot soup. The great thing about soup is you can throw all the ingredients in a crockpot overnight or while you’re at work. Here are 3 of my faves, all vegan, low-fat and high-fiber. 

Kale & Yam Soup, above, and Parsnip-Celery Soup, below (my photo).

The Parsnip Celery Soup will be featured in my upcoming community education classes, “Healthful Holiday Dishes”, being offered at both Inver Grove Heights Community Center and Robbinsdale Middle School, Sat Nov 3 11.30am and Wed Nov 7 6.30pm, respectively. Register now! (I’ll post links and lesson plan later today.)

PARSNIP & CELERY SOUP. Vegan, Gluten-free, Paleo-friendly. Made this last spring for St Patrick’s Day and it’s a winner. Incredibly comforting and kid-friendly. I didn’t find a recipe that was perfect (ie dairy-free) after looking online for 5 minutes, so I combined two similar recipes for Parsnip Soup w/ Leeks & Parsley and Celery & Parsnip Soup with Green Onion & Dill Matzo Balls. I wanted to combine celery & parsnip b/c one has starch and the other has fiber, and parsnips have more complex carbs than potatoes. They’re also naturally very sweet.  I also wanted to stretch parsnips which shrink when cooked.

These recipes follow a basic formula for making pureed soup: saute, boil, puree. That’s why I know I can combine them. To customize, I’m skipping the leeks and matzo balls — so it’s a gluten-free soup — and retaining the parsley coulis. I substitute olive oil for butter and skip the cream. You don’t miss the cream at all.

KALE & YAM SOUP. Vegan, Gluten-free, Paleo-friendly. A thick green pureed soup with, count ‘em, 2 Super Foods in a bowl. A nice hot immune-system booster (vs cold smoothies). Flavored with sage & caramelized onions, this is from the “Love Soup” cookbook. I certainly Love that book. The author recommends Japanese yams which are particularly sweet & fragrant, but regular are fine, too. The extreme green-ness may put off some picky people but some clients adore this. It makes you feel healthy and fills you up.

Posole soup with plenty of crunchy garnishes is a hearty Meal in a Bowl (photo from a website).

MEXICAN POSOLE WITH HOMINY & BEANS. Vegan, Gluten-free, fairly Paleo-friendly. Posole is a terrific pepper-based soup/stew with hominy, to which I’m adding beans for protein. Medium spicy. Absolutely life-giving on a wet day. Unlike the 2 pureed soups above, it’s full of texture and bright spices. It’s traditionally made with pork (so good!) but this vegan version is great IMO. Ground guajillo pepper is the main flavoring agent. You can find this in cellophane pkgs along with other spices, herbs & whole dried peppers in a Hispanic grocery/deli, or the Hispanic aisle of a big inner-city regular grocery or Asian grocery. Little Hispanic grocery stores are found in a lot of Mpls & St Paul neighborhoods and are fun to explore. For example, you’ll find cheap RIPE avocadoes that you can actually eat right away!

About pureeing soup: you’ll need a blender or a food processor. I love my immersion blender cuz it’s one less thing to wash, and having to keep depressing the button strengthens my grip. Ha ha.

Earth Day Dinner De-brief

Wednesday was a whirlwind, with two special events back to back — and extra deliveries on Tues to compensate. In the morning, at the Active Aging Info Fair held by Inver Grove Heights Community Center, I handed out last week’s DDoW, Kamut Salad in Orange Mint Vinaigrette, to all sorts of people, and had my Whole Grains & Beans Kit on display. This is a compartmental craft box that I’ve filled with 40 kinds of dried whole grains and legumes, instead of nails or beads. It’s useful to see what the dried stuff looks like, esp if you want to go find & buy. FYI, I’ll be teaching a couple classes at IGH this summer. 

Then I packed up my demo and went to cook the Earth Day dinner I mentioned last week, for 50 eco-minded folks, at First Universalist Church in Mpls. Kind volunteers peeled and chopped half a peck of parsnips for the Parsnip Celery Parsley soup. I added some white beans for protein and pureed ginger for zing. We ended up not pureeing it as planned (using an immersion blender on such a large quantity takes a good 30 min), and it was just fine. Parsnips are even sweeter than carrots. The soup was a bit too sweet, in fact. Next time I’d add chopped kale and potatoes or turnips for counter-balance.
We made croutons w/ left-over frozen wheat bread for the soup; gluten-free crackers were also on table. Fresh croutons, very nice!
tracy yue

“Aunty Oxidant” demos fresh raw salads.

Then, when attendees arrived, I presented a brief Aunty Oxidant demo and got the assistance of a third-grader and a teen. I demo’d Beet & Carrot Slaw in Balsamic Vinaigrette — just like my go-to Firecracker Slaw but with a Balsamic instead of a Chipotle Vinaigrette. The girls chopped up the fresh beet greens to add to this salad-vaganza. 

Then, for another salad, I combined more White Beans, assorted fresh veggies and Orange Mint Vinaigrette. See how this mix & match approach works? You get more variety and efficiencies. 
Another organization donated a huge almond cake remaining from another party, so of course, we took it. Waste not!  This meant I had to make only one small gluten-free chocolate cake (from mix). I also served Vegan Chocolate Pudding (from mix, w/ silken tofu base) and Organic Coconut Date Rolls, to cover the no-dairy no-soy base. This sounds like a lot of work, but these terrific mixes make it a snap. OK, maybe that was one dessert too many, but, is there really such a thing?
FYI, I use Simply Organic brand GF cake mix (both the Yellow and the Devil’s Food Chocolate are excellent) and Mori-Nu brand vegan chocolate pudding mix w/ Mori-Nu silken tofu. I order the addictive coconut-date rolls and I think you can buy them retail from the co-ops. Lovely as a snack and as dessert. 

Jan – Feb Menus

Jan 15 – 21
1) Green Tamale Casserole. Vegan, gluten-free. You asked and you shall receive! The most popular dish of Fall 2011 is back. Presented in a foil loaf pan, this layers beans & chopped kale stewed in a tomatillo sauce with steamed corn tamale dough made from Bob’s Red Mill organic masa flour. Kid-friendly. Add a little cheese on top when reheating if you wish. Keeps and freezes well.

2) Colorful Cabbage Slaw in Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette. Vegan, gluten-free. A crunchy, satisfying raw salad that is perfect with tamales, soup, meats, beans and especially in tacos & burritos. Eat a cup or more a day to keep the doctor away. You can also mix it with plain rice or quinoa for a piquant pilaf, or, throw it in ramen/pho or tom yung gang soup.

Jan 22 – 28
1) Mafe Stew with Sweet Potatoes, Kale and Red Beans. Vegan, gluten-free; contains peanuts. Mafe is a delicious West African dish made with tomato sauce & peanut butter (called ground nuts). Sounds funny but the nut butter adds richness and balances the acidity of tomatoes, as do the sweet potatoes. It just tastes like a creamy tomato sauce. Kids love it. Addictive and extremely comforting.

2) Mafe w/ Chicken, Sweet Potatoes and Kale. Gluten-free. This dish fits the Paleo diet profile, substituting chicken for beans.

3) Millet with Caramelized Onions & Carrots. Vegan, gluten-free. Millet is dry and bland all by itself, so I like to make it with soft moist veggies. It will continue to dry out in the refrigerator, so sprinkle a little water each time you reheat. A very mild dish that kids might like.

Jan 29 – Feb 4
1) Curried Barley Salad with Cranberries & Coconut. Vegan; contains gluten. A very popular catering dish that gets better as it sits. Chewy satisfying barley is wonderful in grain salads, especially with chopped crunchy veggies. Not spicy.

2) Mulligatawny Lentil Soup. Vegan, gluten-free. A slight twist on the classic Anglo-Indian curried soup that has apples, lots of veg and fresh parsley. Both of this week’s dishes have ‘curry’ spices — guess what I’m craving — but I will make them different enough. Add sliced almonds or almond butter for a fancy touch.

Feb 5 – 11
1) Garbanzo Thai Coconut Curry. Vegan; Masaman curry paste contains gluten so pls notify far in advance if you want a gluten-free green curry instead. With greens and some squash, this is a very comforting one-pot meal w/ rice. Mildly spicy.

2) Laab TVP Salad. Vegan, gluten-free; contains soy. Same as the Laab Noodle Salad served this summer but without noodles. Just lots of crunchy raw veg like cabbage & radishes layered with marinated TVP in a bright, Thai, lime-juice dressing. Will have a bit of Thai-pepper kick.