Archive for February, 2012

Chinese New Year

Anise and I went to the San Francisco Chinese New Year Festival in Chinatown for the year of the water dragon (sponsored by Southwest Airlines), which went from January 14 to February 19. Unfortunately, we missed most of the street fair performances but had some amazing food, and the the parade was fantastic. My thought is also that we can always see the street performances next year now that we know more about the event and where everything is.

First, we went to the Great Eastern Restaurant for a lunch of delicious dim sum. Before you ask, yes, I took my allergy pills first. Further details will have to wait for another blog post. Thankfully after lunch we still had time to visit the farmers market at the Ferry Building Marketplace. We walked back to Chinatown and went to the wrong section but found some really neat shops. I even got two pairs of neat shiny metal chopsticks; yea for being dishwasher-safe! I also found a new love for coconut juice with pulp. It’s scrumptious and full of nutrients and electrolytes.

After walking around for a while, we found ourselves hungry again but didn’t want to sit down to eat at a restaurant. We wanted something we could eat on the go, something to snack on, so we went on a search for more dim sum! That way we’d have more time to find the perfect spot at the courtyard/park by the Chinese Cultural Center on Kearny Street, or at least that was the goal. We stopped at a little hole-in-the-wall place, called Grant Palace Restaurant, on Washington Street. They had huge eye-catching menus plastered to the windows with quite an impressive selection of dim sum. We got huge pot stickers that were two to three times the size of regular ones, almost the size of my fist! chinatown gateThe little BBQ pork steamed buns were tasty and cute. It was perfect.

We got back to the park with lots of time to spare, but apparently that was the place to see the parade if you didn’t want to pay for a $30 seat on cold aluminum bleachers, or so everyone and their children thought. The spot kind of made me feel claustrophobic, we couldn’t see very well (remember I’m short) and standing in place on concrete even in good shoes was rather foot-pain inducing, therefore we decided to take a walk up the parade route. I’m glad we did. We got to see and experience so much more. The walk was good, less pain inducing and helped us work off all of the dim sum we ate that day. (So much dim sum!) Some of the time we actually got really close to the floats and parade SF Chinatowngroups. It was great to see all of the costumes, displays, martial arts katas, dance routines, school bands, community groups and adorable children. Those kids did such a great job and were real troupers for performing non-stop for three hours. Amazing!

We will definitely have to go back to explore more of the trade and import shops. 😉 I know there was a ton of stuff we missed as we tried to wade through the crowds of people and navigate the unfamiliar streets. There are so many more Chinese restaurants to try out! We want to visit the fortune cookie factory; that line wrapped around into the alleyway. I also want get more pictures of the architecture.

San Francisco Farmers Market at the Ferry Building

Earlier this month while Anise Ferry Building Farmers Marketand I went to  the San Francisco for the Chinese New
Year celebration
, we also decided to peruse the Saturday Ferry Building Farmers Market before heading over to the street fair. Below are some of the farm merchant booths that we visited. There are also market days on Thursdays (which we attended last time) and Tuesdays. Every time we we go, we have a ton of fun smelling and tasting food and looking at all of the beautiful flowers. There are all sorts of neat and beautifully made crafts and goods. It’s always a ton of fun to visit this market.

Mariposa Baking Company They carry many gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free and vegan delectable baked goodies, and I can never resist buying something from them to snack on. Please read my blog entry on them for more information. See my previous entry.

Sweets Collection was amazing. All of their edible fruit gels were not only gorgeous but super tasty. I will post more information later in a separate entry. My previous entry is here.

Scream Sorbet Delicious gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free sorbet in 6 or 8 very intriguing and interesting gourmet flavors that routinely get changed out. Very good! I usually try them all, except for the coffee flavors. Last time I bought two huge scoops!

Here I am enjoying Scream Sorbet at the SF Ferry Building farmers market.

Anise enjoying Scream Sorbet at the SF Ferry Building farmers market.

Farmhouse Culture They make sauerkraut of all kinds. Our favorite, by far, is the dill pickle kraut. It’s delicious and mostly tastes like pickles. It’s great by itself but especially on sandwiches. You can also buy shots of sauerkraut juice, which is kind of like taking a shot of wheat grass juice. It was actually pretty tasty. When you buy the sauerkraut, you can get it in a really nice ceramic jar with a rubber gasket-type cap top. That way when you go back to buy more, you can just get a refill. Unfortunately this last time we not only forgot to bring our jar but also forgot to buy more sauerkraut. There were so many neat booths filled with marvelous looking distractions.

Flying Disc Ranch grows a wide variety of dates sorted according to their degree of sweetness. Medjhool dates are the ones that you most commonly find in grocery stores and are one of the sweetest kinds, a bit too sweet to me, whereas I sometimes have found deglets noor dates in organic markets, a much less sweet but dry kind. I use both of these in making recipes from raw food books but do not really eat them otherwise except on rare occasion. I wanted to try something different, so I got three about a pound of dates recently, half a pound of unpollinated derrie (not actually formed into a date) and half a pound of zahidi. These are two of the least sweet varieties with excellent flavors. I found out that dates have to be hand-pollinated by humans (and have been for centuries), since pollinator insects won’t go near them. Flying Disc also had date coconut rolls, date nut bars and date paste, but I resisted the urge to buy any with the rationalization that I can make my own for probably cheaper. Wow! “Dates are a cross between a grain and a fruit. Dates contain one of the highest nutritional food value of any food! Protein and minerals abound.” “Dates are a cross between a grain and a fruit. Dates contain one of the highest nutritional food value of any food! Protein and minerals abound.”

Blue Bottle Coffee Company Anise bought some of their coffee for herself and her mom. (I’ll leave this for her to review, since I am not a coffee drinker.) I will tell you though that they have some really neat coffee pots by Chemex and amazing looking coffee siphons by Hario (in Bonmac boxes). They look like really cool chemistry or mad-science equipment.

After the farmers market, we went across the street to the Arts and Crafts Market at Justin Herman Plaza next to the Embarcadero Center. There are so many really talented artists and craftsmen there. There were more than a few items that we liked. They have all sorts of great items there, like cute hair clips, stuffed animals, scarves, sweaters, jewelry, trivets, sculptures, nick-nacks, decor, paintings, hats, gloves, etc. I never know what treasures we’ll find. Image Source

Mariposa Baking Company

Whenever I go to the San Francisco Ferry Building farmers market (granted I’ve only been a couple times), I cannot help stopping by the Mariposa Baking Company and buying something tasty. All of Mariposa’s goodies are gluten, dairy and/or egg free, but they taste like they are “normal” and full of allergens. You know, the glutenous, full-fat, refined-sugar kind. The textures are great, too, not flat, super dense or too sticky. The “mouth Feel” is of “normal” airy fluffy baked goods, too. Did I mention that all of their items that I have had so far are very impressive and scrumptious! Mariposa  makes all sorts of things, from cupcakes and cookies to bread and pizza crusts. I just glanced at their website and discovered they now carry pecan pie, too!

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On Tuesday,I went to Oliver’s Market in Cotati to pick up some things I needed on the way home from work.  Not only did they have bunches of asparagus for $1.69 per pound, which I bought for dinner, but also Mariposa goodies in the gluten-free breads section with a whole bunch of other locally made cookies, brownies, muffins and breads. I’m so excited! I somehow resisted the urge to get any coconut lemon bars or “cream”-filled Penguinos. Next time I may not be so lucky.

Vegetable Chicken Sausage Medley with Quinoa

Recently my husband and I made dinner together. It’s great when he has actual food ideas, even herbs and spices. He suggested something with chicken apple sausage, broccoli and cauliflower and Italian spices. He pulled out the breakfast sausage, which I happened to be eager to try. The maple went very well with the other flavors we used, too. It’s wonderful when that happens with my food concoction experiments. I took advantage of this time to use up the last of some of my vegetables that were just waiting to be made into tasty dishes, like carrots, and I felt very fortunate to have come across the asparagus on sale at Oliver’s for two dollars off the regular per pound price.

I decided that since the sausages were pretty small, we needed more protein without using up more sausage. I was thinking of using something like a grain but didn’t want to eat more carbohydrates than those in the vegetables, especially since this was an evening meal. (You’re supposed to eat larger meals and carbs during your most physically active time of the day.) I was dissatisfied with the way the quinoa turned out when I cooked it for dinner at my folks’ house. It was time to try it again, since I overcooked it last time by about three minutes. I also forgot to let it set for five minutes before fluffing it, which is very crucial.

Originally the salmon with aioli and quinoa recipe called for red quinoa, but that’s not what we had on had. I used the white variety instead. Yesterday I went to Community Market and did a little nutrition label reading at the bulk bins. I found out that actually white unsprouted quinoa has a significant amount of more vitamins and minerals in it than the red. On the other hand, red quinoa has more fiber and protein. I wonder if the red part is the seed’s skin…. Anyway, you can also get sprouted white quinoa, which has less iron but more calcium than the regular white variety. I have seen a few organic food companies sell a mixture of red and white quinoa. Maybe that’s why; with mixed you’d get the benefits of both of the unsprouted varieties.

Vegetable Chicken Sausage Medley
Ingredients
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or enough to coat the pan)
1/3 C Garlic, minced
1 Small Yellow Onion, peeled, chopped
8 oz pkg al fresco Chicken Apple Maple Sausage, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Mixed Peppercorns, ground
10 Stalks Asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
1 Head Broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces, stems included
1 Head Cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces, stems included
2 Carrots, chopped
2 tsp Dried Marjoram Leaves, ground
1 tsp Roast Vegetable & Fries Spice Blend* or make up your own
1/2 Filtered Water

*Salt, onion, paprika, red bell peppers, sugar, mustard, garlic, soy bean, celery seed, black peppercorns, coriander, oregano, cumin, sage

Directions
Start the quinoa. Saute the garlic and onion in a large pan on medium-low until the onions are tender and clear. Add the sausage, salt and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes.

Turn the pan down to low. Add the vegetables, remaining seasonings and water. Turn everything in the pan with a large wooden spoon a few times to mix the vegetables, meat and seasonings. Cover and cook for about 8 minutes or until the carrots are tender crisp.

Remove the lid and transfer the meat and veggies to a large mixing bowl. Stir the meat and vegetables to get rid of heat and excess water while the quinoa sits for 5 minutes.

Italian Herb Quinoa
Ingredients
2 1/4 C Filtered Water
1 C White Quinoa, rinsed
1/4 tsp Smoked Alderwood Sea Salt (from Savory Spice Shop)
1 – 1 1/2 T Italian Seasonings

Directions
Mix together the quinoa, salt and water in a medium cooking pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid. Cook the quinoa for about 7 minutes. Mix in the herbs and recover with the lid. Cook another 5 or 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and place it on a trivet. Do not remove the lid. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Uncover the quinoa, and fluff it with a fork to get rid of excess moisture.

Plating
Serve about 1/4 cup of the meat and vegetable mixture over 1/4 cup of the quinoa.

Sweets Collection

When I was at the San Francisco Saturday farmers market last, the Sweets Collection booth drew me like a magnet. Not only are their creations gorgeous but edible, too! Somehow they craft beautiful desserts that look like iced and decorated cakes and glass paperweights filled with realistic 3-D multicolored flowers out of milk-based and water-based gelatin. They even use various glass stemware to provide different looks. The gel confections were so stunning, I was afraid to ask for a morsel to try but I did, and it tasted delicious.

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Black Bean Chocolate Brownies

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Brownie Bars                                           Image Source

Adriann made these for one of the gathers at Fudgy Black Bean Chocolate Browniesmy place. They were so delicious and moist. I think I ate a third of the pan by myself, only to pay for it the next day. It was extremely difficult to taste the beans in them at all unless I was really looking for their flavor. Even then, I only found it in slight hints, since these brownies are so chocolaty. Thankfully she gave me the recipe, so now I’m sharing it with you all.

I have, of course, adapted them to have lower fat and sugar contents. I really like using sugars with lower glycemic index values and swapping out at least some oil for fruit puree. I have yet to use many vegetable purees,  other than zucchini or pumpkin.

Black Bean Chocolate Brownies
Adapted from Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients
15 oz Black Beans, drained, rinsed
OR 1 1/2 – 2 C Dried Black Beans, cooked, drained, rinsed (cooked are better than canned)
3 T Golden Flax or White Chia Seeds (really any color is fine)
9 T Filtered Water
3 T Smooth Apple Sauce
3/4 C Sucanat
1/2 C Unsweetened Cacao Powder
1 – 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 Pinch Sea Salt
1/2 C Vegan Dark or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, divided*
1/2 C Roasted Walnuts or Pecans, chopped, optional

*For more chocolaty brownies, add 1/2 cup more chocolate chips! Just make sure to divide all of the chips in half.

Directions
In a spice grinder, powder the seeds. Mix the seeds and water with a fork in a medium sized bowl to form the “eggs”. Set this mixture aside for 15 minutes. You want a thick egg-like consistency, so adjust your water to seed ratios accordingly. Mix in more ground seeds if the the “eggs” are not thick enough.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a glass 8 inch square baking pan or dish. You can also dust it with a flour of your choice or cacao powder if you like. Set the pan aside.

In a food processor, puree the beans until they are smooth and creamy. Add in the seed “eggs”, canola oil or apple sauce, sucanat, cacao powder, vanilla extract, baking powder and salt and mix until the batter is smooth. While pulsing the processor a few times, add in the nuts and half of the chocolate chips until they are incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and evenly distribute it. Smooth the top of the batter out with the back of a large spoon or a rubber spatula. Sprinkle on the remaining half of the chocolate chips over the top of the batter.

Bake the batter for 30 to 35 minutes or until the brownie edges shrink away from the sides of the pan. Test for doneness with a toothpick. If it comes out from the center of the pan clean, the brownies are done! Remove the brownies from the oven, and cool them in the pan for at least 15 to 30 minutes on a wire rack before cutting into 2-inch squares and serving them.

Chicken & Dumpling Soup with Salad & Mustard Vinaigrette

It’s nice to call up a friend, who you expect to just hang out with, and ask what they want for dinner. That’s kind of what happened the other day.  After a few suggestions to each other, B and I  came up with this soup and salad combo. I went to Whole Foods three times to get all  of the ingredients; thankfully the one I went to is located in a shopping mall. Really it was more like three trips to my car and back; I just got in some extra exercise. 🙂

I have to say all of the flavors went very well together. No, actually the flavors were perfect. We were both quite proud of the outcome, even with our gluten-free dumpling experiment. The dumplings and dressing were most impressive and delicious. We were on a roll that night; we even stayed up late to make cookies afterward. I’ll include that series of recipe experiments in a later post.

Chicken Kabobs Ingredients
1-1 1/2 Pounds Chicken Breast, skinned, boned, cut into 1-in cubes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 C Lemon Juice
3 T Dijon Mustard
1/4 tsp Mixed Peppercorns, ground
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
6 Bamboo Skewers

Directions
Preheat your grill (we used our George Foreman). Mix the oil and seasonings in a large glass glass bowl. Add the chicken, and toss the meat to coat it. Cover and marinate the chicken for at least 20 minutes or overnight. Discard the marinade, and skewer the meat, but do not tightly pack the pieces together. You can to make sure that the meat cooks evenly. Reserve the left over meat for the soup. Grill the meat for 4 to 6 minutes or until the juices run clear and meat is no longer pink inside. The internal temperature should read as 180 on a meat thermometer.

Chicken Vegetable Soup with Gluten-Free Dumplings
Ingredients
1-3 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 C Onion, peeled, diced
3/4 C Celery, diced
3/4 C Carrot, diced
1/2 tsp Citric Acid (Sour Salt)
2 Bay Laurel Leaves, optional
2 qt Chicken Stock
2 qt Vegetable Stock
1 Large Parsnip, peeled, cored, diced
Remaining Chicken (from kabobs)
2 1/2 tsp Dried Rosemary
2 1/2 tsp Dried Marjoram
2 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
Kosher Salt, to taste
Mixed Peppercorns, ground, to taste
8 Kale Leaves, stemmed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
4 Scallions, trimmed, sliced
Dumplings (see below)

Directions
Saute the onion, carrot and celery in a lightly oiled stockpot until the onions are tender. Mix in the citric acid and bay. Pour in the stock and stir. Add the parsnip and chicken. Simmer the soup until the chicken is no longer pink inside, stirring occasionally. Season the soup. Pipe and cut in the dumplings. Mix in the kale and scallions and continue to simmer until the kale wilts and the dumplings are done.

Gluten-Free Dumpling Ingredients
1 C No or Low Sodium Chicken Stock
6 T Earth Balance Spread with Olive Oil
1 tsp Kosher Salt
5 1/2 oz Gluten-Free Flour
1/8 oz Xanthan Gum
1 Large Free Range Egg + 2 Egg Whites

Directions
Boil the stock and spread with salt over medium-high heat in a medium pan. Add the flour, and mix it into a dough. Remove the pan from the heat. Mix the dough with a sturdily motored immersion hand blender (we killed the motor on the Kitchen Aid one, since the dough was so sticky), mezzaluna or bladed dough blender until the dough is broken into fine pieces; you want to get more air into the dough. Integrate 1 egg at a time into the dough until it becomes smooth. Transfer the dough to a 1-gallon plastic zipper bag. Make sure to remove all of the air from the bag. Cut off one corner of the bag about 2/3 inch from the tip. Cut the dumpling dough into 1/2-inch pieces as you pipe it into the boiling soup (not a rolling boil).

Green Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
Salad Ingredients
2 Large Handfuls Mixed Salad Herbs Greens
2 Large Handfuls Spinach, stemmed, torn into bite size pieces
1/2 C Heirloom or Golden Tomatoes, chopped
1/2 C Organic Cucumber, sliced
1 Large Carrot, diagonally sliced
2 Stalks Celery, diagonally sliced
1/2 C Enokitake Mushrooms, cut into 2-inch sections

Directions
Arrange salad ingredients into a large serving bowl with the lettuces on the bottom.

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette Ingredients
These measurements are estimated. Please adjust the amounts to your liking.
1 T Spicy Brown Mustard
1 T Dijon Mustard
1 T Yellow Mustard
1 T Local Wildflower Honey, to taste
1/4 C Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 tsp Mixed Peppercorns, ground, to taste
1/2 tsp Pinch Kosher Salt
1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions
Add all of the ingredients except the oil into a lidded airtight container. Shake it to mix the ingredients. Add the oil. Shake the heck out of it to emulsify the dressing. Drizzle on your salad.

Making Food and Food To Make

I’ve been making a lot of edibles lately. The most frequent are:

Rice Milk (the secret is cheese cloth for the right texture)

-Things with sautéed crimini mushrooms (spaghetti squash “pasta”, breakfast burritos, whatever)

– Fruit Smoothies with rice based protein powder and strange things like chia seeds, ground flax seed, and hemp seed (for my husband’s breakfasts)

Things I want to make are:

-My own fruit leather (like a really amazing fruit roll up)

-Maybe coconut “yogurt” since So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk doesn’t come in large containers and is kind of expensive

-Persimmon bread with pecans, chia seeds, flax seed, canned peaches, and oatmeal (because I’ve had those persimmons in the freezer for awhile and they are all thawed out now)

Image Source

Steelhead with Fenugreek Aioli and Quinoa

Whenever I visit my parents without my hubby, I try to make or eat at least one homemade fish dish, since he’s allergic. This last time in Modesto, I went to the store with my dad and brother with a plan. A plan to buy fish! At first we looked at the salmon, which looked okay but not great. Plus it was from Chile. The steelhead (technically a trout, not a salmon at all), however, looked much nicer, was less costly and from the USA. Hurray! It has a softer soother texture with a richer texture anyway. Yum! For the holidays I got my parents a bunch of fun food gifts of all kinds, two of which were quinoa (Costco-sized quantity or buy in bulk at a local organic market, like Community Market or Oliver’s) and fenugreek (from Savory Spice). What better time and way to introduce them?!

Quinoa is great! You can use it in all sorts of ways, as a ground flour, in place of rice or couscous, on salads, however you like. I actually really want to get a quinoa cookbook. (If you don’t want to buy a book there are plenty of recipes on the internet.) As an ancient “grain” from Bolivia, it is a traditional food of the Incas. Actually it’s a non-grain seed and gluten-free. It actually has lots of protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Supposedly quinoa helps eliminate migraines and headaches. It has a low glycemic index of 35 (especially important for diabetics and those cutting calories), compared to brown basmati rice at 50 and white at up to 87. Nutritious and delicious! Here’s some more information.

Fenugreek has a whole boat load of medicinal benefits (please check with doctor or herbalist first; I’m neither). In my herb and spice cabinet I have the leaf and seed, because they smell and taste so marvelous! Although it does contain some phytoestrogens (so don’t eat too much of it), they really just effect breast feeding mothers from what I can tell. Due to its natural slightly sweet maple-like flavor, it’s used to make imitation maple syrup. Fenugreek helps with blood sugar regulation and lowers cholesterol, which is good for diabetics. It’s a great digestive aid for people like my brother and me with digestion problems and acid reflux, which is another reason I got it. Amazing! It also reduces tissue inflammation, pain and swelling and can be used as a sore throat gargle or in poultice on your skin.

Salmon with Fenugreek Aioli and Quinoa
Adapted from Marla’s recipe.
Serves 4

Quinoa Ingredients
1 C White, Black or Red Quinoa, rinsed
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, optional
2 C Filtered Water or Vegetable Broth
1 tsp Dried Basil Leaves
1/2 tsp Coarse Ground Garlic Powder with Parsley

Directions
Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until the water running through it turns clear. Remove as much water from the quinoa as possible. If you like, toast the quinoa (to bring out a nutty favor) in a lightly oiled pan over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Bring the grains and water to a boil in a medium pot. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Start soaking the fenugreek. Cook the quinoa for 15 minutes. During the last five minutes, start cooking the fish. Remove the pot from the heat. Start making the aioli. Though you may be tempted, do not uncover the quinoa yet! Let the grains rest for 5 minutes. Remove the lid. Fluff the quinoa with a fork to get rid of excess moisture and mix in the basil and garlic. Add more seasonings if necessary, like I did.

Fish Ingredients
2 lbs Steelhead Trout (4 Filets in 4 oz portions)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cooking Spray
1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/4 tsp Garlic Salt
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Garlic Seasoning Blend

Directions
Place the oven rack on the rung closest to the heating element. Preheat the broiler to low heat. Rise the fish and thoroughly pat it dry. Lightly coat the broiler grill with oil. Brush both sides of the filets with oil. Season the flesh with paprika, garlic, salt and Mrs. Dash to form a crust of sorts. Add more seasonings if necessary. Place the fish on the broiler pan flesh side down. Cook the fish for 4 minutes. Carefully turn the fish over with a long metal spatula. Cook the fish another 5 to 6 minutes, depending on your oven’s temperature. Remove the broiling pan from the oven. Loosely tent the pan with foil.

Aioli Ingredients
2-2 1/2 T Dried Fenugreek Leaves
4 T Filtered Water
3 oz Vegan Mayonnaise with Canola or Olive Oil
1/2 Lemon (4 tsp), juice of
1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/4 tsp Garlic Salt
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Black or Mixed Peppercorns, ground

Directions
Mix the fenugreek with water in a small bowl. Tightly cover and soak the herbs for 10 minutes. Squeeze the leaved with your fingers to make sure the leaves are fully saturated. Strain the leaves, reserving the liquid. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or in a medium bowl with a fork. While mixing, slowly add the reserved infusion to the aioli to thin it into a sauce. Adjust other seasonings to your liking.

Plating
Carefully transfer a fillet of fish to your plate with a long or wide spatula. Spoon the aioli onto the side of your plate, onto the fish or into an accompanying serving bowl. (It’s so good you may want more.) Get yourself about 1/4 of the quinoa.

Instead of a salad, we had a variety of vegetables for dinner; my mom’s allergic to asparagus. Plus, it’s always better to have at least 2/3 of your plate covered in nutrient-rich vegetables. No, potatoes do not count, since they are so starchy.

Greek-Seasoned Turkey and Vegetables with Gluten-Free Pasta

I made this with my mom when I was down in Modesto, visiting my family recently. I spotted the new Sunset Best Recipes issue and was instantly drawn in by the delicious looking cover. I am already subscribed to their “Living in the West” series of the magazine. I picked it up and started thumbing through it with my mom while we were waiting in line. The recipes all looked really good, so I told her, “If you aren’t going to buy this, I will.” Needless to say, she bought it for me. (Thanks, Mom!) The while in line still, I decided to make the Greek-inspired pasta dish, which was originally with chicken and not nearly as flavorful.

Yes, I know bamboo shoots are not Greek, but they taste good and also sounded good at the time. The magazine called for only one garlic clive, but since I was making the dish within the Wharton household, my dad peeled and minced eight for me. What can I say? We love garlic. Originally the recipe called for feta cheese, but I left it out due to my allergy and intolerance. Once plated, my mom added Parmesan, which smelled fantastic will all of the other flavors. At home I have Daiya mozzarella vegan shredded cheese, and I’m pretty sure it would taste great on the pasta, too.

Greek Turkey Pasta Adapted from Sunset, May 2011; Sunset Best Recipes, 2012
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients
6 oz Brown Rice Spaghetti Pasta
1 1/4 lb Turkey, ground
1 Batch Greek Seasoning (see below)
1-3 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 C Red Onion, peeled, chopped
8 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 C Pinot Grigio or Other Dry White Wine
1 C Kalamata Olives, pitted, vertically sliced
1 C or 13 oz Marinated Artichokes, chopped, marinade reserved
2 8-oz Cans Bamboo Shoots
1 C or 4 1/2 oz Pine Nuts, roasted
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Black Peppercorns, ground
8-12 oz Baby Spinach
3 oz Parma! Vegan Parmesan or Parmesan Cheese, grated, optional
OR 3 oz Feta Cheese, crumbled
OR 3 oz Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds

Directions
Cook the pasta according to the package. Mix the meat and Greek seasonings. In a very large saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the onions and garlic in the oil until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the wine, olives, artichokes, reserved marinade, bamboo, nuts, pepper and salt, and continue to cook the turkey and vegetables 4 minutes. (I kept ours separate, since we had two different types of pasta available. We mixed ours together on the plate.) Drain and rinse the pasta with hot water, and return it to the pot. Cover the pasta to reduce cooling. Remove the meat-vegetable mixture from the heat, and stir in the spinach and pasta. Plate the pasta, and garnish it with cheese if desired.

The Sunset magazine version of the recipe doesn’t call for the Greek seasonings, but I thought the pasta needed an extra something. The herb mixture below is something that I just could not pass up on. I liked it so much I made a whole jarful for my parents. Thankfully I found an extra glass spice jar as I was going through their herb and spice collection.

Greek Seasonings Mix Adapted from the Taste of Home Test Kitchen recipe
Ingredients
1 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Dried Thyme
1/2 tsp Dried Basil
1/2 tsp Dried Marjoram
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Coarse Garlic Powder

Directions
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients with a fork. Store in an airtight glass jar in a cool dark dry place for up to 6 months.

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