Posts tagged ‘Carrots’

Carrot Pineapple Cake Bars

Thankfully, I have my own walnut tree, which I have luckily been able to reshape into an actual tree rather than letting the local “arborists” continue to butcher it into a sad, ugly twig-like thing. For a while, it alternatively looked like an overgrown shrub with leafy English walnut branches on the top and black walnut on the bottom until I learned out to properly trim it. Two years ago, we got only six walnuts and thirteen the following year. Last autumn, I picked over five gallons worth (about two minus husks). Unfortunately due to holiday preparations and other obligations, I could not take care of all of them before they started getting buggy, so I left the unprocessed ones out for neighborhood crows. (I do not recommend this. Leaving the nuts out was a big mistake, since the crows have chased away many other birds. I sincerely hope they have not crammed walnuts between my roof shingles and buried more in the backyard. Note to self: Make time in autumn to process all of the nuts. I might have to minimize the work with a walnut shucking party.)

Double Walnut Tree

As black walnuts are readily available during the autumn harvest season and I had not worked with them before, I was feeling daring and thought I would give them a try. If you are up for a challenge, go for it, but be forewarned: black walnuts are much harder to open than their English cousins, and I recommend using a vice to avoid powdering the meat when trying to remove it from the shells. The labor and time are well-worth the tasty flavor provided by this native variety. Alternatively, you can also buy shelled chopped black walnuts at the store when they are in season. If you are lucky enough to end up with lots of nuts, you can always freeze them for later.

I made a delicious carrot pineapple poke cake as an alternative to chocolate for a friend’s recent holiday party. The original recipe was very glutenous and scrumptious, but I have included a gluten-free vegan version below. If you want frost the cake bars, please see the frosting recipe link below.

Carrot Pineapple Cake Bars

Carrot Pineapple Poke Cake Bars
Adapted from Carrot & Spice Bars in The Great American Cookie Cookbook by Publications International.

Yields 40 – 50 Bars

Ingredients
1 C Unsweetened Plain Non-Dairy Milk
1/4 C Earth Balance
1 C Oat Bran
2 T Flax or Chia Seeds, course ground
6 – 8 T Filtered Water or Pineapple Juice, room temperature
2 1/2 C Pureed Carrot
3/4 C Grated or Pureed Carrot
1/3 C Chopped Raisins
1/3 C Crushed Pineapple, optional
1 tsp Orange Zest
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 C Gluten-Free All Purpose or Oat Flour
2 tsp Xanthan Gum
3/4 C Evaporated Cane Juice or Sucanat
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 C Pineapple Juice
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting, optional
1/4 C Prepared Chopped Black or English Walnuts

Directions
In a small bowl, thoroughly beat the ground seeds into six tablespoons of the juice. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes to prevent clumping. If the “eggs” are too thick, stir in more juice or water, one tablespoon at a time.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and dust 9-inch by 13-inch glass baking dish. Set aside.

In a sauce pan over medium-low heat, simmer the non-dairy milk and spread until the spread completely melts, stirring often. Remove from heat. Stir in the oat bran and set aside for 5 minutes to absorb some of the liquid. Whisk in the “chia eggs.” Add the carrots, raisins, zest, crushed pineapple (if desired), and vanilla.

Combine the flour, gum, sugar, soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add in the carrot mixture, using an electric mixer to thoroughly incorporate the ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula.

Bake the cake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and the cake edges come away from the sides of the dish. Remove from heat. Poke the cake across the top with a fork in one-inch intervals. Pour on the juice evenly over the top. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Frost if desired. Sprinkle on the nuts, and lightly press them into the cake. Slice the cake into bars about one by two inches big. Serve and enjoy!

This cake is very moist. Store it in a well-sealed container in the refrigerator.

Carrot Cake with Almond Flour

I love the almond flour recipe book by Elana Amsterdam! It contains so many great recipes (including almond flour pancakes) and inspiring pictures. She also wrote Paleo Cooking and Gluten-Free Cupcakes, which look equally amazing. Elana was diagnosed with celiac disease at least 10 years ago, which caused her to completely change her diet and become gluten-free.

Carrot Cake with Almond Flour Unfrosted

The other day, I happened to stumble upon her website while looking for a gluten-free carrot cake recipe for a girl friend’s birthday. I wanted to ensure there was something I could actually eat and not merely drool over from afar. The carrot cake on her website looked amazing and very similar to the spice cake in her almond flour cookbook but contains raisins rather than chopped prunes. I also really enjoy spice cake, too, by the way, so I shall have to try out this recipe later but with either her Creme Patissiere (also in her almond flour book) or the vegan cream cheese frosting I used on my red velvet cake, not the creme fraiche or the whipped cream that she recommends (I’m allergic).

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Frosted

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
Adapted from Elana Amsterdam’s carrot cake recipe from her website, Elana’s Pantry.
Elana topped her carrot cake with coconut cream frosting, but I topped my cake with the same cream cheese frosting that I spread on my red velvet brownies.

Yields 12 Servings

Ingredients
5 T Chia Seeds, course ground
1 C Pineapple Juice
1/2 C Warm Filtered Water
3 C Almond Meal or Blanched Almond Flour
1 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 T Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4 C Unsweetened Apple Sauce
2 T Grapeseed Oil
3 C Raw Carrot Puree
1 C Thompson Seedless Raisins, chopped or pureed
1 C Prepared Chopped Walnuts or Pecans, optional
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting, optional

Directions
Mix the chia meal, juice and water together thoroughly with fork in medium bowl. Set aside for 15 so 20 minutes to allow seeds to gel, stirring every five minutes to prevent clumping.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour-dust a glass 9″ X 13″ baking dish.

With a fork, mix the flour, salt, and spices in a large bowl, breaking up any lumps.

Mix two tablespoons agave, the apple sauce, and oil into the chia “eggs.” Add in the puree, raisins, and nuts (if you are using them). Mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Add up to the last remaining two tablespoons of agave to achieve your desired level of sweetness.

Pour the batter into the baking dish. Bake the cake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 35 minutes of baking will provide moist, bread pudding-like consistency, whereas cooking off more liquid will lend to a more cake-like confection. Cool completely on a rack away from heat. Frost the top of the cake as desired for a sweet dessert, or exclude the frosting for a delectable anytime treat. Serve and enjoy!

Garlic Pepper Pork Nabe

I have intended to make another hot pot style soup for a long while now and actually have not made any since the time I cooked the shrimp & vegetable nabe for my folks during the summer of 2012. Recently, the pork tenderloins were on sale at our local grocery store, and I was trying to think of another way to cook the meat beyond sauteing, grilling or roasting. Why not cook it in a nabe dish? Though I love my cute donabe, which I was luckily able to buy at Shiki, Inc., an amazing pottery shop in San Francisco Japantown’s West Mall (I absolutely love that store) where I bought my mom’s. I actually had not used my hot pot in who-knows-how-long and was feeling quite guilty for letting it just collect dust. I was got the idea of cooking the pork in my glazed clay donabe at when my husband and I decided to have dinner at Honey BBQ in Rohnert Park (check out my review from last week). The pork bibimbop was very inspirational; I will have to try my hand at making it in my pot later.

Fishy Donabe

Whole Grain Red and Black Rice

Adapted from “Japanese Rice for Shime” from Japanese Hot Pots by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat.

Yields 2 cups of rice

Ingredients
2 C Filtered Water
1 tsp Gluten-Free Tamari Soy Sauce
OR 1 tsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1/2 C Himalayan or Bhutanese Red Rice, uncooked
1/2 C Wild or Chinese Black Rice, uncooked
1 C Hot Filtered Water

Directions
Rinse the rice in cool water. Strain the rice through a fine mesh and set it aside. Bring two cups of water to boil with the tamari in the donabe. Stir in the rice and cover. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 40 minutes. Add a cup of hot water to prevent the rice from burning to the bottom of the pot. Cook another 20 minutes or until tender. Remove from the heat. Drain off the excess liquid, reserving it for later. Set the rice aside in a covered dish.

First arrangement of the nabe.

Garlic Pepper Pork Nabe
Adapted from my Shrimp & Vegetable Nabe recipe. This recipe makes a lot of soup, so you may want to use a larger pot. Keep in mind that not everything may fit in the pot; add the vegetables, broth and rice in batches. Include more meat if desired; my husband wished there was a greater amount in the meat to vegetable ratio.

Yields About 25 Servings

Broth Ingredients
5 C Filtered Water
2 T Minced Garlic
1 tsp Black Peppercorns
1 – 2 tsp Grains of Paradise
1 T Dried White or Yellow Chopped Onion
Remaining Rice Water
Meat and Vegetable Ingredients
Marinated Garlic and Peppercorn Pork Tenderloin
2 C Coarsely Chopped Collard Greens
2 C Coarsely Chopped Mustard Greens
3 Scallions, trimmed, cut into 4″ lengths
6 Inner Leafy Celery Stalks, cut into 1/2″ thick 3″ lengths
2 Large Carrots, cut into 1/2″ thick 3″ lengths
2 Medium or 1 Large Head(s) Broccoli, cut into bite sizes
1 – 2 Broccoli Stalk(s), cut into 1/2″ thick 3″ lengths
1 Small Head Cauliflower, trimmed, cut into bite sizes
Cauliflower Leaves, stems cut into 1/2″ thick 3″ lengths
1 C String or Green Beans, trimmed, cut into 3″ lengths
Cooked Whole Grain Rice (See Above)
1 C Enoki Mushrooms, separated from roots, cut into 3″ lengths, optional
1 C Bean Sprouts, cut into 3″ lengths, optional

Directions
Bring the broth ingredients to a boil in the donabe for 5 minutes over medium high heat.

Meanwhile, drain the marinade from the pork, reserving up to half a cup, and set aside. Thinly slice the pork about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick rounds with a very sharp knife. Be careful not to cut yourself. Add the marinade and pork to the broth. Cook covered for about 5 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink. Transfer the broth and meat to another covered dish.

Arrange the cut vegetables on a large platter in groups in order to add them to the soup easily.

Inside the donabe, cover the bottom with the dark greens. On top of the greens, arrange about 1/3 of the vegetables in clustered groups around in a circle, leaving the middle open. Spoon about half of the rice into the center, piling the meat on top. Make sure not to stack it above the lower lip of the pot. Pour in the broth up to the lower lip of the donabe. Cover and cook the soup for 5 minutes on medium heat. The greens should wilt a bit, providing more room. Add more vegetables and meat into their designated sections, pushing them under the broth with a large wooden spoon. Cook another 5 minutes and repeat. When adding the last of the broth, I made sure to pour the grains of paradise and peppercorns onto the center on top of the meat instead of garnishing the each bowl of soup as I would with a shichimi togarashi or furikake. Do not over fill the pot; you do not want it to over flow during cooking.

Carefully bring the pot to the table with hot pan holders or oven mitts to rest it on a trivet set on top of a thick towel if you are serving the soup tableside. Serve the soup in bowls, making sure to get a bit of everything. Garnish if desired.

Remaining vegetables added to the nabe.

There is now more room in the donabe. Add leftover vegetables, meat, rice and or hot broth to the soup. Recover the pot to preserve the heat and allow the fresh ingredients to cook.

Paleo Carrot Coconut Muffins

Coconut Paleo Cornbread Muffins 1

The other day while browsing Facebook, I ran across Lauren’s paleo cornbread muffins. The muffins looked really good from their description, and the title seamed rather interesting. I mean, what are cornless cornbread muffins anyway? Well, these tasty treats are actually cornbread-style coconut muffins. I know that may sound strange, but the muffins are very tasty. The flavors blended nicely, covering up any potential coconut flavor almost entirely (if you want a more pronounced coconut taste, I’m sure it’s not too hard to adjust the flavors).

Savory Coconut Muffins

These muffins looked like they would go perfectly with the chili from the recipe I recently posted, but they also taste great on their own. The muffins contain honey without being overly sweet, especially since I swapped the originally listed apple sauce with carrot puree. I was bothered by the amount of oil that the recipe called for, which was equal to the flour measurement. My stomach doesn’t usually handle oily foods very well (it just sinks to the bottom of my stomach and lingers). I halved the oil, substituting it with more carrots. If you want, you can lower the fat even more by completely substituting the oil with puree; I plan to do this next time as an experiment.

Cheesy Savory Coconut Muffins

To increase savoriness, I added Daiya pepperjack cheese to half of the muffins by sprinkling it on top, but later realized that I should have put the cheese in the middle (I did include instructions for that below) to prevent it from so firmly sticking to the liners.

What do you put in your cornbread muffins? What do you eat them with?

Coconut Paleo Cornbread Muffins 2

Carrot Coconut Muffins
Adapted from Lauren’s Paleo Cornbread Muffins at Empowered Sustenance
The recipe below is a doubled adaptation of the original version. I have also included vegan options.

Yields 1 Dozen Muffins

Ingredients
1/2 C Coconut Flour
1/4 C Coconut Oil, melted
1/4 C + 2 T Raw Pureed Carrot, room temperature
4 Eggs, room temperature
OR 4 Chia Eggs (1/4 C Chia Seeds + 3/4 C Filtered Water)*
2 T Creamed Cinnamon Honey or Wildflower Honey**
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
Filtered Water, as needed, room temperature
Daiya Pepperjack Style Shreds, optional

Directions
For vegan muffins, finely grind the seeds in a spice grinder. Mix the chia egg ingredients together with a fork in a medium bowl, adding up to 4 more tablespoons of filtered water if necessary to create an even egg-like consistency. Set aside for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line the muffin tin with muffin papers. Set aside.

In a large food processor, combine the flour, oil and 1/4 cup puree until well combined. Incorporate the eggs fully until the batter no longer has any lumps. Mix in the remaining puree, sweetener, baking soda and vinegar. Add more water as needed to achieve proper muffin batter thickness.

Pour about 1 tablespoon of batter into the muffin cups. Sprinkle about 1 to 2 teaspoons of cheese on top if desired. Pour another spoonful of batter over the cheese.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the muffins on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn out the tin onto a rack or plate. Cool until they are warm to touch and ready to eat.

Store in an airtight container. They will last longer if chilled.

*You can make flax “eggs” instead of chia ones with the same seed to water ratio and instructions.

**For lower sugar content, use 1 tablespoon blue agave nectar or about 6 to 9 drops of liquid stevia in lieu of honey.

Note: If you want to leave out the sweetener entirely, just add more carrots. You can also add minced bacon, red bell pepper, chiles or scallions.

Red-Label Curry no Ohji-Sama

I finally made S & B’s red box of Curry no Ohji-sama with chicken and mixed vegetables. It tasted so good! This variety is a Japanese sweet curry roux mix that was originally intended for children, but I don’t see why adults shouldn’t enjoy it, too. S & B also makes a blue-box version of this curry, too, which has a different flavor (from what I can tell based on the listed ingredients). What exactly the blue-labelled box mix is supposed to taste like is still a mystery to me, but it looks good. For more information, please read the sections I wrote on both varieties here  or here.

Thankfully, both flavors are gluten-free, as they include corn starch and white sorghum as thickeners in lieu of wheat. The directions call for the addition of meat, but you can substitute it with beans, tofu, nuts, seeds or whatever protein you prefer. The package instructions also call for potatoes and carrots (two sources of carbohydrates), which I felt were not inclusive enough. I didn’t just want to use a boring brown or yellow potatoes and a red onion (the sweet yellow and white cultivars carry less sulfur), and I decided not to serve the curry with rice but to add more colorful vegetables instead. I felt as though that the more colors I included, the healthier and tastier the meal would be, so my curry was a rainbow of yellows, orange, purple, red, whites and greens.

Each box comes with two curry roux blocks, enough to either make the curry twice or cook a double batch. The bricks are sealed individually, so you can cook one and save the other for later, preserving the flavor and moisture and preventing spoilage. As soon as I pealed back the wrapper on the roux, I knew I was in for a treat from the pleasant aromas and yellow curry color of the savory spices and slight sweetness of fruits and vegetables. I could already smell the wonderfully enticing scents of cumin, coriander and turmeric, and for some reason my mind went to cinnamon as a complimentary flavor. Maybe next time I should make a cinnamon infused dessert.

Cooking the Chicken & Vegetables

As usual, I made many of alterations to the recipe, but the dish turned out quite scrumptious, much to my delight and satisfaction. My husband liked it so much, he went back for seconds. He’s a pretty picky eater, so that’s certainly saying something. Please keep in mind that this is a sweet mild curry, so you may have to adjust the flavors to more of your liking; check out Sadie’s blog entry on the blue-box curry roux for some suggestions. Surprisingly with all of the extra meat and vegetables, the curry sauce was still rather thin in consistency. I used the same cooking techniques as described in the directions and decided not to add a thickener (like corn or arrowroot starch) on the first try, since the mix already contained some. Another option is to let some of the water evaporate rather than cooking the meat and vegetables so long with the cover on. Regardless of the outcome, the meal was a success and a learning experience.

Red-Label Curry no Ohji-Sama with Chicken & Mixed Vegetables
Adapted from the instructions on the back of the package
As stated above, this dish already includes enough carbohydrates, so do not serve this with a white rice. If you want to serve it along side or over something, I suggest something with fiber, for instance more vegetables (broccoli or cauliflower) or a seed-like “grain” (quinoa, millet or buckwheat) as a side.

Serves 6Curry no Ohji-Sama With Chicken & Vegetables

Ingredients
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Medium Yellow Sweet Onion, peeled, trimmed, coarsely chopped
1 Head Garlic, peeled, trimmed, coarsely chopped
2 Medium Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into 1″ cubes
2 Medium Carrots, trimmed, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
2 Purple Potatoes (any variety), coarsely chopped
1 – 2 Chioggia or Red Beets, trimmed, coarsely chopped
2 Stalks Celery, diagonally sliced into 1/2″ pieces
1 Broccoli Head and Stem, trimmed, coarsely chopped
2 C Baby or Dinosaur Kale, stemmed, torn into bite-size pieces
2 C Carrot Greens, stemmed, optional
1/4 – 1/2 C Enoki Mushrooms, trimmed, left long or quartered
2 1/2 C Filtered Water
1/2 pkg Red Label Curry no Ohji-Sama Roux, finely chopped
Rice Wine Vinegar, optional
Sweet Paprika, to taste, optional

Directions
Saute the onions and garlic until the onions are soft and translucent in a large lightly oiled pan over medium heat (I used my Misto to spray on the olive oil). Mix in the carrots, beets and potatoes, stirring occasionally. Cook this mixture until the carrots are slightly soft.  Add the water, broccoli and celery. Bring the liquid to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the mixture for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables become tender. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the kale, greens and mushrooms. Fold in the curry roux, half at a time. Cover and return the pan to the heat. Simmer the curry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the roux is evenly distributed. Taste the dish, add more paprika (and or other spices) to taste. Serve the curry either on top of an accompanying vegetable in bowl. Be sure to ladle on some extra sauce if you like.

I served this dish along side a tossed green side salad drizzled with a tasty miso sesame dressing.

Cooking the Chicken & Vegetables

Marinated Spaghetti Squash and Vegetable Noodles

I had four spaghetti squash I received for volunteering at the National Heirloom Exposition that, as well as and two bunches of enoki mushrooms I bought from Sam Kim of Bohemian Well-Being Farm. They were just waiting for me in my kitchen, but I was having trouble figuring out what dishes to make with them. In the end, I decided to a mild Asian fusion vegan noodle dish that was versatile and could be served as a side or as an entree with a wide variety of mix-ins blended in to compliment the flavors, especially since I knew I would be eating the spaghetti  squash alone. My husband had no interest at all in eating it with me, as he is not a fan of eating squash in any form, except in pumpkin pie.

Marinated Spaghetti Squash & Vegetable Noodles
Adapted from Kelp Noodles with Marinated Carrots & Daikon Radish

Ingredients
3 Medium Carrots, trimmed
3 Stalks Celery, trimmed
1 Daikon Radish, trimmed
1 Medium to Large Spaghetti Squash, flesh of, cooked
5 Scallions, trimmed, sliced perpendicular or parallel
1 Bunch Enoki, trimmed, separated
2 Sweet Yellow Onion, skinned, trimmed, grated
2 T Garlic, peeled, trimmed, minced or finely grated
1 Inch Fresh Ginger, finely minced or finely grated
1 – 2 Lemons, zest and juice of
1/4 – 1/2 C Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, optional
1/4 C Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

Directions
Grate the carrots, celery and radish with a vegetable peeler into thin noodle-like strips. Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients thoroughly from bottom to top so the shredded vegetables become fully distributed and do not clump together. Marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight, mixing half way through. Give the ingredients one final stir. Serve with your protein of choice.

Patty Pan Squash

Petit pan (patty pan) squash

Patty pan squash, also called scallop squash and patisson, are cute little white, light yellow or green round squat variety of scallop summer squash that kind of remind me of flowers, since the edges look like petals. Here are a few methods of preparing the squash. You can also bake them after scooping out the centers and stuffing them, like in this recipe or this one. These squash are really healthy for you. They are low in calories, and high in fiber and vitamin C and have lots of folate, vitamins B6 and A, magnesium and potassium. I also read that patty pans are great for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as preventing certain cancers. Just like with many foods, make sure you don’t indulge in patty pans too often, since they contain a significant amount of oxalates, which can accumulate in you body and interfere with calcium absorption. For additional  information about scallop squash and their health benefits, please visit Live Strong’s webpage.

When I got home from the Cotati farmers market recently, I started planning what to make with all of my new veggies. I set some things aside for salads or other particular dishes, but there were some I wanted to cook with right away. The recipe that I listed below is a guide of sorts; you don’t have to use all of the spices if you don’t want to. I just created the dish as I went along, making rough measurements by sight and taste. If you are afraid of cooking without specific amounts, start by smelling and tasting the seasonings together to figure out scrumptious combinations; choose which spices and herbs you think will work best for what you are aiming to create. Just start in small increments. Sometimes I like to put a little bit of spices and herbs in mini prep bowls or the spice containers’ lids, carefully tapping or sprinkling in a bit at a time.

Mixed Late Summer Vegetable Saute with Seeds
Serves 4

Ingredients
5 T Chopped or Minced Garlic
1 Sweet Yellow Onion, coarsely chopped
4 Patty Pan Squash, trimmed, cut into bite-size pieces
4 Purple Potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
1 C Collard Greens, stemmed, torn into bite-size pieces
1 C Russian Red or Green Curly Kale, stemmed, torn into bite-size pieces
1 Bunch Carrot Greens, coarsely chopped, optional
1 Large Carrot, cut into bite-size pieces
2 Large Stalks Celery, diagonally sliced
1 Head Broccoli, coarsely chopped
1 – 2 C Green String Beans, trimmed, broken into bite-size pieces
1 Scallion, green parts only, cut into 2″ lengths
Cumin Seeds, ground
Himalayan Sea Salt, ground
OR Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt, optional
Smoked Hickory Flavoring (infused barley flour)
Fresh or Dried Thyme, stemmed, ground
Fresh or Dried Sage, stemmed, ground
Fresh or Dried Marjoram, stemmed, ground
Mixed Peppercorns, ground
1 C Filtered Water, as needed
Italian Seasoning, optional
Herbs de Provence Seasoning, optional
Poultry Seasoning, optional
Raw Hemp Seeds, sprouted, dehydrated
Raw Pumpkin Seeds, sprouted, dehydrated
Raw Sunflower Seeds, sprouted, dehydrated

Directions
In a large lightly oiled pan, saute the onions and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the onions become translucent (or caramelized, depending on your flavor preference), add the tubers; cook until the carrots become slightly tender. Add in the water to steam the vegetables.* Lower the temperature to a simmer. Mix in the squash, broccoli, beans, celery and spices. Cook with the cover on until the broccoli stems start to soften. Add the fresh herbs and greens, stirring occasionally. Cook until the carrots and broccoli stems are tender and the greens have wilted. Remove the pan from the heat completely. Transfer the seasoned vegetables to a large bowl. Stir the them together with a large spoon to cool and get rid of excess water (keep an eye on the general moisture to prevent the vegetables from drying out too much) until the vegetables are cool enough to pick up with your fingers. Fold in the seeds. Serve and enjoy.

*If you are using dried herbs, they need to be rehydrated. Let them sit in a cup of water for 20 minutes; this also infuses flavor into the water. Use this water to steam the vegetables by carefully straining it out into the pan, using a fork to prevent the herbs from going in to early. Add the rehydrated herbs when you mix in the fresh ones.

Shrimp & Vegetable Nabe with Shichimi Togarashi

With the donabe, I also wanted to give Mom a hot pot cookbook as a gift for Christmas last year, so she could learn about authentic ingredients and cooking methods, as well as gain some inspiration for cooking different dishes. When Anise and I went to Japantown, the bookstore was closed, so I looked at the local new and used bookstores in Petaluma and Santa Rosa. Nothing.

I also poked around online looking for hot pot recipes and found Harris Salat’s Japanese food blog, which has entries featuring some of the recipes (or similar ones) from the book that he and Tadashi Ono wrote, called Japanese Hot Pots: Comforting One-Pot Meals. It’s the best donabe and hot pot cookbook I found; it has lots of inspiring, colorful pictures and descriptions of the recipes and ingredients that will make you hungry. I highly recommend this book as a wonderful resource.

Shrimp & Vegetable Nabe with Wild Rice and Shichimi Togarashi
Adapted from “‘Strawberry’ Hot Pot” or
“Ichigo Nabe” from Japanese Hot Pots
by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat
Serves 8 to 10

Whole Grain Gohan Ingredients
Adapted from “Japanese Rice for Shime” from Japanese Hot Pots

Ingredients
2 + 1 C Filtered Water
1 tsp San-J Gluten-Free Tamari Soy Sauce
OR Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1/2 C Brown Rice, uncooked
1/2 C Wild Rice, uncooked

Directions
In the donabe, bring the 2 cups of water and tamari to a boil. Stir in the rice. Reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot, and cook the rice for 40 minutes. Check the water level, and add about a cup of water as needed. Return the lid. Cook the rice for 20 more minutes or until tender. Drain the rice, and set it aside in a large bowl.

I also used Ming Tsai’s instructional video on You Tube to make sure I knew how to cook the rice in the donabe without burning the grains to the bottom. His video is for sushi rice, which normally has to be rinsed to get rid of excess starch. I did not soak my rices, since they are a completely different variety. I also didn’t really worry about excess starch, since starch adds a slight sweetness to broths naturally when they are included. As you may have noticed I do not have a special rice cooking donabe, but my rice turned out perfect with the book’s recipe. I just added a little more water than the package directions called for, which did not adversely affect the grains, since the rice had to stay in the pot to lend to the other soup flavors.

Shrimp & Vegetable Nabe
Sauce Ingredients
4 C Filtered Water
1 tsp Ajinomoto Hon-Dashi
1/4 C San-J Gluten-Free Tamari Soy Sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1/2 C Kikkoman Aji-Mirin
1 T Sake
1 Fresh Lemon, juice of

Meat & Vegetable Ingredients
1 tsp Grated Fresh Ginger
1 T Minced Garlic
1 Fresh Lemon, zest of
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 lb Large Prawns, shelled, deveined, uncooked
1 – 1/2 lb Kale, stemmed, torn into bite-size pieces
5 oz Shiitake Mushrooms, stemmed, sliced
5 oz Baby Bella Mushrooms, stemmed, sliced
6 Stalks Celery, sliced into 1/2″ by 4″ sticks
4 Medium Carrots, sliced into 1/2″ by 4″ sticks
6 Scallions, trimmed, halved
1 – 1/2 lb Spinach, stemmed
Whole Grain Gohan (see above)
Shichimi Togarashi, optional garnish (see below)

Directions
In a medium pot, dissolve dashi in boiling water. Stir in the tamari or Bragg’s, aji-mirin, sake and lemon juice. Heat the sauce ingredients through. Set aside.

In the donabe, saute the ginger, garlic, zest, salt and prawns over medium heat until the flesh turns pink and white and is no longer translucent. Move the meat aside in the pot.

Cover the bottom of the donabe with the kale. In separate sections over the kale, arrange the shrimp, mushrooms, celery, carrots, onions, spinach and rice. Pour the sauce on top. Cover and cook the soup for 7 to 10 minutes over medium-high heat, pressing the top ingredients into the broth after 5 minutes. Turn off heat.

With an oven mitten or hot pan holder for each of your hands, transfer the hot pot to a trivet set on half of a plush towel (so that there’s also room to set the lid while serving) at the dining table. Ladle the soup into bowls, making sure to get a bit of each soup section of meat and vegetables. Garnish each bowl of soup with shichimi togarashi. Make sure you keep a hot pan holder or oven mitten at the table with the donabe in case you have to lift the lid and anyone wants a second helping of soup. When you are done serving your bowls of soup and have more room in the donabe, you can add more vegetables that you couldn’t wedge in before. As long as the lid stays on, the remaining broth and other soup ingredients will cook the newly added vegetables.

Shichimi Togarashi Inspired by “Shichimi Togarashi” in Japanese Hot Pots
This is a customizable garnish made from seeds and minced dried spices and herbs that can be sprinkled onto most anything, like furikake. Just pick ingredients to match the soup flavors. Get creative.
Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients
1/2 tsp Poppy Seeds
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp White or Black Sesame Seeds
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning Mix
1/2 tsp Lemon Pepper
1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Garlic Blend
1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash Original Blend
1/2 tsp Whole Cumin Seeds, roasted

Directions
You can mix together any or all of these ingredients into a small seasonings shaker container.

Make sure you smell or taste your seeds and seasonings first before mixing them in to make sure they are not stale or rancid; if they are, throw them away. I threw away poppy seeds, sesame seeds and fennel seeds. Also when shopping for ingredients you know you may not use very often, purchase small containers of them so you don’t end up wasting money.

Breakfast for Dinner!

It is a rare occasion when my husband actually asks me to make something specific for dinner; Wednesday he asked for an egg scramble. At first I felt a bit hesitant, since I can’t generally have eggs unless I only have the whites of cage free or organic ones. It was also strange that he requested red bell peppers, since he usually loathes every variety. He also wanted meat mixed in with possibly some cheese, too. So since he was being decisive ;), I decided to go all out. Yes, I might suffer because of it, but at least it would be delicious and healthy. I have pills for these instances anyway, which take care of most of my issues (just not the sulpher). I really don’t like being an unnecessary pill-popper on a regular basis.

I added lots of herbs though for flavor without a plan in mind; I just chose whatever sounded good and aromas complimented each other. I kept track of what and how much I was adding as I went along though. I don’t usually think about it, but herbs and spices contain many health benefits, like antioxidants, digestives, anti-inflammatory elements and all sorts of good stuff. Using food as medicine is an age old tradition that really works and tastes amazing. McCormick and Fitness Magazine even have webpages on them.

I’ve been wanting to try purple potatoes for a while, ever since I spotted them on Leanne Vogel’s Monster-Mashed Potatoes on her blog, Healthful Pursuit. The color is amazing even after they are cooked. Yea for flavanoids! If you have higher blood pressure, these beauties will really help you lower it. For recipes and more information about purple potatoes, check out the Specialty Produce website. If you have generally low BP like I do, be careful not to eat potatoes too often.

The brown eggs are from local cage-free, free-range chickens; they are healthier and taste better. I chose some leftover Thanksgiving spiral-sliced black forest ham; I eat sulphate and nitrate-free meats, since I can’t digest those chemicals. The kale and carrots were locally grown and bought at the farmers market. The beautiful potatoes were bought at a local organic market. I know the ham and eggs are not vegan, but you can substitute the ham with lentils or something to make the dish vegetarian. I cooked the two dishes simultaneously, but since I knew the eggs required more cooking time, I started them first.

Ham & Eggs with Kale
Serves
6

Ingredients
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Sweet Yellow Onion, peeled, chopped
3-4 T Garlic, peeled, minced
1 Red Bell Pepper, cored, seeded, chopped
2 C Spiral-Sliced Black Forest Ham, cooked, chopped*
¼ tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
¼ tsp Black or Mixed Peppercorns, ground
1 C Curly Kale, stemmed, torn into bite-size pieces
1 C Red Kale, stemmed, torn into bite-size pieces
½ C Vegetable Broth, low or no salt
6 Large Eggs, cracked, beaten
1 tsp Herbs de Provence Seasoning
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 Large Bunch Carrot Greens, stemmed (about 1 C)
4 oz White Cheddar (Dairy or Non-Dairy), optional shredded garnish

Directions
Heat the oil in a large pan (I love using my cast iron) over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until the onions turn clear. Reduce the heat to low. Add in and blanch the bell pepper, ham, salt and pepper. Stir in the broth. Add the eggs and kale, and cover to cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover and mix in the seasonings and carrot greens. Stir the mixture frequently to evaporate the liquid in the bottom, increasing the heat to medium if necessary. Serve and garnish the ham and eggs with cheese.

*You can use beans, lentils or some other protein, if you want to make this vegetarian.

Herbed Carrots & Purple Potatoes
Serves
4

Ingredients
2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Medium Carrots, chopped
4 Purple Potatoes, chopped
¼ tsp Black or Mixed Peppercorns, ground
¼ tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
½ tsp Mesquite Smoke Flavoring, without salt
½ C Vegetable Broth, low or no salt
1 tsp Fenugreek, dried
2 T Parsley, dried
1 tsp Poultry Seasoning
2 tsp Sage & Savory Stuffing Seasoning (Sage, Savory, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Rosemary, Ground Black Peppercorns, Ground Ginger, Marjoram, Red Bell Pepper, Coriander, Allspice & Oregano)
4 Scallions, sliced

Directions
Heat the oil in another (cast iron) large pan over medium heat. Add in the carrots, potatoes, salt, pepper and mesquite, and saute and stirring them for about 1 to 2 minutes, until they become blanched.

Turn the heat down to low, and mix in the broth and dried herbs. Cook the carrots and potatoes with the lid on for about 10 minutes or until they start to soften, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid, and add the scallions. Cook the mixture until the potatoes are soft.

I after sprinkled the cheese on my ham and eggs, I mixed both dishes together on my plate to blend the flavors together. It’s tasty this way, but you don’t have to mix them. This is not normally how I scramble eggs; mine usually involve lots of garlic (of course), spinach, fresh or dried cilantro or basil, salsa and Pepper Jack-style rice “cheese”.

Thanksgiving

Before I forget, the amazing cheese Sarah and I had a few posts ago is called Delice do Bourgogne.  Its the creamiest, most delicious soft white cheese I’ve ever had.

In other news, I made my favorite stuffing this morning for Thanksgiving.  It’s a recipe I got from Raley’s Grocery Store’s magazine, “Something Extra”.  I baked bread, “Italian Herb Bread” we’ll call it.  The highlights of it are the Parmesano Reggiano cheese, dried basil, dried thyme, and dried minced onion in it.  Delicious on its own.  Cube that, toast it in the oven, put it in a big bowl.  Fry about 6-8 pieces of bacon.  I like to cut it up into little pieces first, its easier than crumbling.  When thats done, pour out most of the grease, add some butter, and saute leeks, carrots, and celery about 10 minutes or until soft.  Mix the veggies, bacon, and bread with some thyme and 3 cups of chicken broth.  Bake in a greased 9×13 pan on 350 for 30 minutes.  I love how chunky and bright this dish is, not just in color, but in flavor.  I know everyone has their own preferences on stuffing, as my Grandma Joy said this morning, what she “thinks of as moist, most people probably think is soggy”.

However you like your Thanksgiving meal, I hope your Thanksgiving Day is full of loved ones and gratitude.

Love,
Adriann