Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Breakfast Cereal

Aevryn won't eat breakfast. Well, Aevryn won't eat most food. But breakfast is particularly bad. Her willingness to actually ingest food increases as the day wears on. She likes to have access to everything, and she will put anything in her mouth (including dirt, rocks, leaves, bugs, etc). The problem is, she will not swallow most things. Right now her list of "acceptable" food stuffs includes: rice; avocados; rice pasta; brown rice chips; potato chips; raspberries; blackberries; blueberries, only if they are frozen; tapioca pudding; pate on rice cracker. Everything else gets spit out, all chewed and mangled.

However, the last time we were at the health food store, we picked up a box of Perky O's. They are made by our friends at Enjoy Life Natural Brands. This morning she actually ate an entire handfull and asked for seconds. Yay!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Homemade chips.

Since the eggplant chips were such a success, we tried the recipe again with sweet potatoes. Very good. Very, very good. Ever since we got our mandolin slicer our batches of homemade chips and fries have turned out so much better - way more consistent.

We've also (in the past) made chips out of eggplants, carrots, rutabagas, turnips, regular potatoes, squash, and zucchini. The only ones that didn't turn out well were turnips. Thinking about root veggies, the law of completion says I need to try parsnip chips when they come available. Oooh, and beet chips, those would be great (and are currently in season, locally).

We've tried deep frying in oil (in our cast iron skillet) and roasting in a 400*F oven. By far, the best results have been obtained from the oven. I just can't control the frying in the same way. With the oven, I find rubbing oil and salting each side prior to baking and then flipping over each piece after five or so minutes is the best (and easiest) approach for our crazy house hold.

I've considered getting a deep fryer for making chips, fries and chicken tenders, fried zucchini, etc. Now that I've written it out, I don't know why I haven't yet. Heh. But, in reality, we really don't eat fried foods all that often enough to warrant an entire machine devoted to their production. Although, if we had the deep fryer we'd eat fried foods more often, I'm sure. Yet another good reason not to get one, I suppose.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Eggplant chips

Since Dave's parents are out of state for the week, we got their CSA box. It was full of lots of yummy veggies. We've eaten the tomatoes and the zucchini (see the Turkey Tacos from a few nights ago). I'm going to make arugula pesto (recipe to be posted upon its completion in a few days). We've had salads. We, sadly, had to give away the beans (we're off all legumes for the time being). Yesterday we had eggplant chips made from the outline of the recipe provided by the farm. Here is my implementation of that recipe.

  • eggplants
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  1. thinly slice eggplants.
  2. arrange in a single layer on ungreased cookie trays.
  3. rub tops of slices with olive oil. sprinkle with salt.
  4. turn over and rub other side with olive oil. sprinkle with salt.
  5. place both trays into a preheated 300*F oven.
  6. bake for five minutes on one side.
  7. turn them over.
  8. bake for another 5-10 minutes on the other side.
You will know they are done when they are browned and crisp and wrinkly, edges up off the tray.

Yield: we only had two small eggplants from the farm, so it only produced two cookie trays full of eggplant slices. it was a nice little snack for the girls and I. Next time, I will make it with way more eggplant for a larger yield.

  • experiment with different oils.
  • experiment with different spice blends.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

5 minute quinoa veggie soup

Everytime I roast a chicken or cook any chicken cuts with bones, I make homemade bone broth. I have 2 quart- and 6 pint-sized jars of stock in my freezer currently. And a chicken carcass in the fridge waiting to be turned into broth (should yield roughly 3 quarts, total). I put bone broth in everything I can, since it is such an easily assimilated source of calcium, gelatin and protein. It's great for healing a damaged gut, as well. Therefore, at any given moment, I have soup ingredients on hand. The other day, the kids were hungry and ready to mutiny. I felt like I had "nothing" in the house for lunch (translation: no left overs, or anything easy or ready-made). I pulled a jar of bone broth, grabbed some veggies & quinoa flakes and we had a lunch in 5 minutes.

  • 1 pint of bone broth
  • veggies - we had broccoli & cauliflower
  • sea salt
  • coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flakes
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • fresh cilantro
  • fresh minced ginger, about 1 tsp
  • thinly sliced onion stalks
  • coconut milk, a few tsps in each bowl
  1. in a saute pan, saute ginger & veggies in coconut oil with sea salt.
  2. add bone broth, bring to boil.
  3. add cilantro leaves and steams.
  4. add quinoa flakes, turn down heat and simmer for several minutes - quinoa will thicken.
  5. add sliced onion stalks.
  6. remove from heat and allow to cool.
  7. pour in a little bit of coconut milk into each bowl and stir.
Yield: lunch for two hungry kiddos and their mama. obviously, very easy to double, triple, etc.

  • try onions or other aromatics in addition to or in place of ginger.
  • add chicken meat.
  • use pre-cooked grains (buckwheat, quinoa, millet, rice, etc) instaed of quinoa flakes.
  • use pre-cooked rice noodles instead of quinoa flakes.
  • try various veggie combinations.
  • spice it up with cayenne pepper or minced hot peppers.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tortillas & turkey taco filling

In the past, I've made buckwheat tortillas with moderate success. I've both fried them and baked them. I think the baking turned out the best, I think, but I was totally winging it. I had just mixed buckwheat flour, oil and water together and went for it. That's the basic recipe, I do believe for genuine tortillas. I did find this link for authentic corn tortillas and I'm going to follow it with buckwheat flour (or possibly a half and half of buckwheat and sorghum).

I will try them this afternoon and then post an update this evening or tomorrow. Wish me luck.

UPDATE: I used Bob's Red Mill buckwheat flour - it's dark and very finely ground. It is not my favorite buckwheat flour, but it was what we have available to us, since we are trying to avoid bulk-bins (i.e. gluten contamination). I've heard there is a pre-packaged "light" buckwheat flour, so I will have to look into it. My point is, when I started making the dough based on the corn recipe, the dough was way too sticky. I added probably another cup of flour and it was still too sticky. So, I added some tapioca flour. That helped at first, but then it made it sticky in a different way. Good for holding the tortillas together; bad for allowing them to transfer from wax paper to frying pan easily. Adding even more buckwheat flour as I was flatening then (with my hands and fingers, not a roller) seemed to help. I fried them on high heat in palm oil shortening. The dash of baking soda I added to the flour helped them bubble and rise.

They were chewy and fabulous. But also very time consuming. I think it took me an hour to make a dozen. [Dave had 4; I had 4; Aevryn had 1; Lily had 3. That alone tells you how good they were.] I knew it was going to take awhile, so I had pre-chopped my veggies so I was able to just let the filling simmer while I did the tortillas. I'm not sure how these would be if I made them ahead of time, put them in the fridge or freezer and then warmed them for dinner. I wonder if I'd lose a lot of the flexibility these had.

For the sake of completeness, here is what we had for dinner last night, to go with our tortillas.

Turkey Taco Filling:
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 4-5 tomatoes
  • 1 lg zucchini
  • bone broth
  • fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
  • sea salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, coriander, allspice, clove
  1. Brown turkey.
  2. Add 1 cup bone broth & spices. Let simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Add finely chopped veggies. Simmer some more until veggies are soft.
Yield: enough filling for 12 small tortillas, plus lettuce cups. roughly 6-8 servings.

Taco Toppings:
  • avocado
  • green salsa
  • lettuce
  • black olives

We're back!

Okay, so we didn't *go* anywhere. Whatever. I needed some time to devote to kids, family, the house, etc. I will hopefully get back to once-a-day recipes starting with my next post. Also, consider this an invitation to comment on recipes or to share what has worked for your family. My email address is on the sidebar to the right and I'd love to hear from you. Reader submissions are always welcome.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I need a break for a few days. I'm working on some new recipes and will post again next week. Meanwhile, check out my 2 dozen or so recipes already on the site.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Tortilla Strata

Our brown rice tortillas fill a nice niche. They allow us to have taco-esque meals with a modicum of normality. Just a scootch, however, since they will. not. roll. At least, not without breaking. As stated before, Dave just gives up and eats them with a fork. Lily rips them up and makes "mini tacos." I somehow hold them together at the perfect tension until the last few bites when they fall apart spectacularly.

I like the ease of having a "convenience" food available to us (there are so few), so that I'm not stuck cooking every single ingredient from scratch every single night. In theory, I'd love to do that. In practice, some evenings, the kids just are just glued to me and every second spent in the kitchen is torture to them. Or so one would assume from the constant, blood-curdling screams. Or that could just be my kids.

So, while I like their convenience, I do not like their uncooperative nature. The enchiladas helped by softening the tortillas, but I still had to roll them first (which, of course, resulted in breakage). Also, I think I would like to make a better enchilada sauce next time. In the mean time, I thought I would work with the round shape of the tortillas instead of trying to convince them to bend smoothly. I decided that layering tortillas and filling in a round cake pan would do just the trick. And it worked!

  • 1 package (6 count) brown rice tortillas
  • 1/2 cup bone broth or water
  • onion, diced
  • 2-3 bunches kolrabi greens (from my garden!)
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled & seeded
  • cilantro
  • olive oil
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • handful of paprika
  • handful of cumin
  • large pinch of coriander
  • small pinch of allspice
  • small pinch of clove
  • black olives
  • 1 avocado
  • shredded (raw) cabbage
  1. Saute onions in olive oil, with sea salt.
  2. Add tomatoes, zucchini, broth & spices, including cilantro.
  3. Simmer for a few minutes, until tomatoes & zucchini are soft.
  4. Add kolrabi greens, simmer until they turn bright green and soften.
  5. Blend everything in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  6. Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of a round cake pan (or square casserole dish larger than the tortillas).
  7. Place the first tortilla in the pan.
  8. Add 2 or 3 spoonfuls of sauce and spread around to edges.
  9. Repeat, layering tortillas and sauce.
  10. The last tortilla will set on top. Spread with a little bit of olive oil.
  11. Garnish with olives & cilantro leaves.
  12. Bake at 350*F for 15 or so minutes.
We ate ours with shredded raw cabbage, diced avocado, and black olives. If we'd had fresh salsa ready, we would have eaten that, too.

Yield: 8 slices. Enough for our family of four. If there was another side, it would easily serve four adults.

  • Add meat or grains or beans or potatoes.
  • Try different greens.
  • Add mushrooms.
  • Add broccoli or peppers or other vegetables.
  • Serve with shredded lettuce instead of cabbage.
  • Serve with salsa.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Roasted Chicken & Turnip Greens over Penne with Sweet Potato Fries

We had a potluck picnic to attend last night. Prior to our all consuming allergy situation, I would have brought hummus and pita, potato salad, tuna pasta salad, chips and salsa or cheese and crackers. Basically, your traditional summer picnic fare. Now, however, I have a bit of a challenge. I need to think of things that I can make in advance, that travel well and that are easy to eat in public. And are yummy and nutritious. Of course.

Yesterday, we settled on pasta, since my kids will eat it no matter what. I don't know about yours, but my children almost abjectly refuse to eat unless they are sitting in their chairs at home (or strapped into the carseat - something about the car makes them both suddenly starving). It doesn't help that the picnic was at a park with two fantastic play structures and a nice paved bike path. Lily is very into her big wheel right now, so she spent most of her time riding back and forth on one section of the loop. Here is the recipe that enticed her off of her big wheel, if only for 3 minutes.


  • Roasted chicken - 1 breast, 1 thigh, 1 drumstick - chopped up
  • Turnip Greens
  • Brown Rice Noodles (Penne)
  • 1/2 cup, approx, chicken bone broth (or water)
  • Onion
  • Parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Spices, several pinches of each, to taste: sea salt, pepper, sage, fennel, thyme, rosemary, basil, marjoram*
*the idea here was to mimic the flavor of an italian sausage - hence the sage & fennel

  • one large sweet potato, cut into fries or wedges or chunks
  • coconut oil (roughly 2 Tbsp)
  • sea salt

  1. Saute onion in olive oil with sea salt.
  2. When onions are translucent, add remaining spices (including parsley) and the bone broth. Simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Add roasted chicken pieces.
  4. Add rinsed & chopped greens.
  5. Stir greens while sauteing. When they are ready, they will turn bright green and wilt slightly.
  6. Stir in prepared pasta. Add more olive oil and sea salt if necessary.
Yield: Many. This would serve the four of us plus leftovers more than enough for lunch the next day. Perhaps 4-6 adults, depending on side(s) served?

  1. Cut sweet potato(es) into whatever type of small pieces to you like - traditional fries, wedges, or chunks.
  2. Coat with melted (if not already liquid due to it being 80+ degrees outside) coconut oil & sea salt.
  3. Place in a single row on two baking sheets.
  4. Bake at 400*F for 10 minutes. Turn over and bake for an additional 7-10 minutes. You want them golden and slightly crispy, but not burnt.
Yield: 4-6 as a side dish. Obviously the more sweet potato you use, the more you can serve.


  • Try different greens, or a mixture of greens.
  • Try turkey or bacon or salmon, or actual sausage (then go easy on some of the sausage spices).
  • Experiment with different noodle shapes.
  • Serve over rice or buckwheat or millet or quinoa instead of noodles.
  • Add other veggies - zucchini, broccoli, carrots, etc.
  • Try 1/2 sweet potatoes, 1/2 carrots.
  • Try different oils.
  • Add spices like cayenne pepper & paprika for cajun fries.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Avocado-Banana-Coconut-Zucchini Bread*

* Not as gross as it sounds. And isn't THAT an apetizing way to begin a yummy breakfast bread recipe. Ha!

This recipe was born in response to a Dave-issued challenged. I was lamenting that we don't have any good egg replacers for baking. We can't do eggs anymore, apparently. Xanthan gum comes from corn, so we're avoiding that for now. Flax seed meal gel is out because we are avoiding all seeds and nuts for the now. Bananas are our only option really, and even then it's not always an appropriate or complementary flavor. So, Dave suggested avocados. And I scoffed. So he googled (avocados and baking to prove that other people do it) and here we are. I am only brave enough to try it mixed with bananas right now. Another time, perhaps I'll try just avocados.

I admit that it is still in the oven, so I will have to update when we've actually tasted it. However, I did taste the batter (of course) and that was super good. It had the consistency of cake batter, so I'm very interested to see the texture of the bread when it's ready.

Okay it's out of the oven and cooled. It is GREAT. Very creamy. Pretty much half way between traditional banana bread & cake. It puffed up quite nicely and the edges are golden and perfect. I think I'll take a picture before we eat it all. The girls love it. It's very rich, so next time I might take out most of the coconut oil - avocados are pretty fatty, I forgot just how much. It's pretty sweet, too, so perhaps only 1/4 cup brown rice syrup... Also, I might make it as two thinner cakes, or perhaps as small muffins (so it will hold together a bit better). I also recommend letting it cool completely before cutting into it, or it will just tear apart.

  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup sorghum flour
  • 2/3 cup tapioca flour (AKA tapioca starch)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 med banana
  • 1 med avocado
  • 2 small (or 1 med) zucchini, peeled & grated
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil*
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup**
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
[This time, I really did measure everything out, just for this blog. Also, in case it was a disaster, then I would have a starting point from which to add or subtract ingredient amounts. There's nothing like pubicly experimenting with baking.]

* Next time I would omit most of this oil - maybe a half TBSP just for flavor.
** Reduce to 1/4 cup sweetener

  1. Mix flours, soda & salt. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, mash banana & avocado.
  3. Add grated zucchini. Blend with a hand blender or in a food processor.
  4. Blend in coconut oil, brown rice syrup & coconut milk, one ingredient at a time.
  5. Slowly add avocado mixture to flour mixture, gently stirring.
  6. Pour batter into a round cake pan.
  7. Bake at 350*F for 30-45 minutes. You will know it's done when the edges are golden brown and a knife tip comes back clean after you poke it in the center.
Yield: 1 single-layer cake. Theoretically, it should serve 8. In our house, it will be gone by breakfast tomorrow.

  • Use honey or maple syrup instead of brown rice syrup.
  • Use a different oil - say palm oil shortening - instead of coconut oil.
  • Use rice milk instead of coconut milk.
  • Add corn-free vanilla extract (1 tsp).
  • Sprinkle coconut on top before baking.
  • Add allergy-friendly chocolate chips.
  • Try different flour mixtures and ratios.
  • Add spices - cinnamon, clove, allspice, nutmeg... to get a spiced zucchini bread taste.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tart Cherry Tart

This is probably one of the best desserts I've made since we cut out "everything". It was unbelievably simple and quick. I put it in the oven while we were eating and it was ready by the time we were done. That fact that the Cherries were hand-picked by the children (and myself & Dave's mom) in a local orchard makes it that much better.

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • approx 1/4 cup palm oil shortening
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups (pitted) tart cherries
  • approx 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • approx 2 TBSP maple syrup
  • approx 3 TBSP GF breadcrumbs

  1. Mix flour, soda & salt.
  2. Mash shortening into flour mixture with a fork, until crumbly.
  3. Press "dough" into the bottom of a pie pan.
  4. Prick with a fork all over.
  5. Pre-bake at 400*F for 10 minutes or so (will start to look "golden").
  1. Mix cherries, coconut oil (melted if it's not already melted due to ambient temperature), maple syrup and 2 Tbsp of bread crumbs.
  2. Pour cherry mixture over pre-baked crust. Spread evenly.
  3. Sprinkle remaining breadcrumbs (~1 Tbsp) over top.
  4. Bake at 350*F for 15-20 minutes.
The tart will be gooey. It may not come out of the pie tin in nice, whole pieces. However, it is fantastically good, even if it starts to resemble more of a crumble or cobbler than a pie or tart.

Yield: realistically, this yields a modest after-dinner dessert for four adults. (Or two adults and two small children with enough for two adults to snack on after said children are in bed. Ahem.) You could easily double (or triple, etc) the recipe, use two pie pans (or glass casserole dishes, whatever you have) and have enough for lots of people. Or lots for a few people.

  • Add 1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract in the crust.
  • Use coconut oil in place of palm oil shortening in crust.
  • Try adding toasted coconut to the crust and/or to the top of the tart.
  • Try allergy-friendly chocolate chips mixed into the filling and/or on top.
  • Try different flours: quinoa flour is especially finely ground and makes great cookies and pie crusts. It does have a particularly unique (read: strong) flavor.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Fried Zucchini Slices

So, it's late summer. That means: zucchini. And lots of it. Creative, allergy-friendly, non-boring zucchini dishes are always welcome in our repertoire. Since I found an allergy-friendly bread crumb at the co-op the other day, I thought I'd try my hand at fried zucchini & pattypan squash slices. They were a hit!

  • a few medium-sized zucchini
  • several pattypan squash
  • 1/2 cup (ish) palm oil shortening
  • a few pinches of sea salt
  • a few handfuls of bread crumbs
  • a few handfuls of nutritional yeast
  1. In a large bowl mix sliced zucchini & squash with bread crumbs, salt & nutritional yeast.
  2. Heat up a skillet of shortening (you can pretty much use any frying oil you want - we made it last night with palm oil shortening, but this afternoon we used rendered chicken fat).
  3. Pour bowl of zucchini into the skillet. Let it fry for a few minutes and then stir while frying a few more. The bread crumbs and yeast will brown and the zucchini & squash will get tender. Don't over cook, or your veggies will get soggy & mushy.
Yield: easily serves four as a side dish.

  • Add spices to the bread crumbs: basil, oregano, rosemary
  • Add some aromatics: onions, garlic, ginger
  • Serve with some chicken and/or baked potato wedges for a full meal

Monday, August 4, 2008

Condiments - BBQ sauce

My love for ketchup lives side-by-side with my love for BBQ sauce. It makes almost everything taste better. And, it's a dipping sauce that tastes vaguely like bacon. Genius!

  • 1 cup ketchup (commercial or make your own)
  • 1 cup prepared mustard (commercial or make your own - recipe coming)
  • 1 cup vinegar (grain-free options include: apple cider vinegar or brown rice vinegar)
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke (hickory flavor)
  1. Mix molasses and mustard.
  2. Add honey.
  3. Add vinegar.
  4. Add ketchup.
  5. Add liquid smoke.
Yield: I'm not sure on actual volume. I think 1 quart or 2 pint jars would be enough to store, if you're not going to use any right away.

  • Try different kinds of vinegar.
  • Try different smoke flavors.
  • Try adding powdered spices - onion, garlic, cumin, turmeric, etc.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

coconut-molasses stir fried veggies

We have hit harvest time, the time of abundance. Fresh veggies are coming out our ears, so it seems. What better way to enjoy lots of veggies at once than a quick & easy (and of course, delicious) stir fry.

We just had this for lunch. Lily just told me that she's "not really a big fan of this stir fry." When I asked her what didn't she like, she said the "taste of all of it." Well, then. Aevryn and I thought it was great. Aevryn is also currently eating a wedge of lemon. Make that, Aevryn is currently spitting out a wedge of lemon. So, perhaps her palette is suspect. Lily and I just had a conversation about when you don't like something, the cook isn't going to jump right up and make you a brand new meal. I offered to let her forage in the fridge for a meal or she could try her stir fry again. Guess who's decided the stir fry is good after all (once we took out the onions)? Gotta love my houseful of negative first responders.

  • Whatever veggies you have on hand. We used: cauliflower, broccoli, onions, green onions, cilantro, left over shredded cabbage, left over shredded kolrabi
  • roughly 1/2 cup or so of bone broth (we freeze ours in pint-sized jars so that we always have broth on hand). You can easily sub water.
  • roughly 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • coconut oil
  • juice of half a lemon
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • 1/4 cup or so nutritional yeast
  • 1 TBSP molasses
  • I would have added ginger, were it in the house. I thought it was when I started gathering my ingredients. Oh well. Blame it on the kitchen gnomes.
I feel compelled to make it known that I really don't measure out my ingredients. I do pinches and handfulls and drizzles and squeezes. My measurements here are really just approximations.

  1. Saute onions (& ginger).
  2. Add bone broth, veggies (including herbs), coconut oil. Season with salt & pepper.
  3. Simmer until veggies are tender. (When the broccoli turns bright green, you know it's done!)
  4. Add molasses, coconut milk, nutritional yeast. Stir well.
  5. Simmer until liquid is mostly absorbed and a thick sauce remains.
Yield: lunch for one adult (with an admittedly healthy appetite) and two small children.

  • Serve over rice or rice noodles.
  • Add seafood or chicken or beef.
  • Try honey instead of molasses.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Rhubarb-Spinach Chicken Salad with Rhubarb dressing

As we head into August and the days (and nights) are hitting their peak hottness, I find myself preparing lots of cooling meals. Nothing that requires an oven for certain; even better if you can make it ahead of time and serve it cold. And so, various traditional summer fare, including salads, are heavy in our meal rotation.

When rhubarb was coming into season, I decided that there must be something to do with rhubarb, aside from bake it into a pie. As it turns out, I was right. This rhubarb-spinach chicken salad is a light, yet filling, summer dinner.

  • 1 lg bunch of spinach
  • several rhubarb stalks - amount will vary depending on length and thickness - approximately 1 lb
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp safflower oil
  • salt & pepper
  • Roasted chicken
  1. Cut rhubarb into small chunks. Put into a saucepan and cover with about an inch of water.
  2. Add honey or maple syrup
  3. Bring to a boil and boil for one or two minutes.
  4. Strain rhubarb - set aside & return liquid to pot.
  5. Add vinegar, salt & pepper.
  6. Simmer until liquid volume is roughly reduced by half
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Whisk in oil.
Serve with rhubarb spooned over chopped spinach leaves. Add chopped roasted chicken. Pour dressing over top. Enjoy! We usually serve some cut up raw veggies on the side. Veggies + "dip" (i.e. dressing) = children will eat plenty. I've recently made some homemade dill pickle slices that would go fabulously as well.

Yield: Serves four. There will be plenty of dressing left over. We use it as a regular salad dressing or as a veggie dip.

  • (vegetarian & vegan): replace chicken with brown rice. Sprinkle nutritional yeast over top.
  • Add minced raw red onion either to dressing or over salad
  • Replace chicken with bacon.
  • Add fresh herbs to salad - dill, mint, parsley, etc
  • Substitute in-season berries for rhubarb - strawberry, cherry, raspberry...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Cultured Veggies - Dill Pickle Slices

You know me and my fermented foods. I love them. Well, I'm growing to love and appreciate them. Food enzymes useful for digesting said food are destroyed when exposed to the heat of cooking. Eating fermented foods with your non-raw meals are a way to naturally supplement enzymes to help digest your food.

You can also take enzyme supplements in the form of fizzy powders and capsules. We currently do a capsule of digestive enzymes with any meal containing meat or grains. I would love to eventually stop taking the pills and to rely solely on fermented foods. Just a 1/4 to a 1/2 cup of fermented veggies (sauerkraut, salsa, pickles...) can help your digestion immensely.

Fair warning: at first, you may experience gas or bloating as your body gets used to having more (enough) digestive enzymes to completely break down the food. Your bathroom habits may change as well (for the better in many cases).

And a final clarification: there is nothing magical about the cabbage in sauerkraut or the peppers in salsa or the cucumbers in pickles. It's the fermentation process (sitting at room temperature for roughly 2 or so days) that creates the lacto-bacteria that help your gut. Going to the store and getting a jar of sauerkraut or salsa or pickles will not afford the same benefits.

  • 8 "baby" or pickling cucumbers
  • handful of fresh dill
  • 1 Tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • juice from one lemon
  • water
  • 1 quart- or 2 pint-sized canning jars with lids
  1. Cut cucumbers into 1/4" slices.
  2. In a large bowl, mix cucumber slices with dill, salt, mustard seeds & lemon juice.
  3. Spoon mixture into jar(s).
  4. Cover with water.
  5. Smoosh cucumbers down, so there is an inch or two between cucumbers and the top of the jar.
  6. Let sit at room temperature for roughly two days before storing the fridge.
Yield: 1 quart-sized or 2 pint-sized jars of pickled cucumber slices.

  • Slice cucumbers length wise into spears.
  • Use larger cucumbers cut up in various ways.
  • Add garlic or onion or hot peppers.
  • Experiment with other herbs and spices - parsley, black peppercorns.