Friday, June 12, 2015

Jicama Peppermint Patties

The other day I was munching on some fresh jicama sticks. I tried dipping them in coconut oil and chilling them. It made a nice candy-bar texture over the cool, crunchy inside and my imagination started spinning with the possibilities. What about peppermint patties?

I peeled a chilled jicama and cut it into quarters and thin slices. Then, with a fork, I dipped each slice in a dish of liquid coconut oil infused with a few drops of peppermint oil and laid them all out on a wax paper lined cookie sheet which went in the fridge to chill.

Then when they were chilled, I gave them a second dipping in melted chocolate (Mine was a mixture of unsweetened baking chocolate melted with a small amount of organic coconut sugar and coconut oil. You could use any favorite dark chocolate.) and returned them to the wax paper sheet and chilled again.

The result was convincingly scrumptious.

Things I want to do differently next time. 

1.) Use less coconut oil in the chocolate mixture - it melts too quickly out of the fridge. So you have to eat them really fast - which isn't difficult - but I want something a little sturdier.
2.) Let the chocolate dip be not too warm when coating the slices for the second round because the coconut oil melts off and dilutes the chocolate mixture.
3.) Make more to share - they are too good to keep to yourself. My husband ,who'd rather have a sugary fully-loaded dessert or none at all, and declines most of my healthy creations, declared these to be really good.

Come over and have one before I eat them all.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Simply Delicious Chayote

1 large chayote squash

Wash and dry chayote. Cut in half along crease, remove inner seed and cut each  seeded half crossways into halves. Cut pieces into 1/4 inch thick slices.

In large skillet, melt on medium high heat:
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tablespoons ginger, minced

When ginger and garlic are golden, add chayote slices and cook, stirring till all pieces are coated with oil. Reduce heat slightly and cover, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or till squash is translucent and crisp-tender. When chayote is nearly done cooking, add and stir in:
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Dash of ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped walnuts.

Cook 5 more minutes, or till walnuts are golden. Remove from heat and add
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley.

Delicious served with roasted chicken.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Leftover Chicken Collard Wraps

Leftover roast chicken has many wonderful uses, but it can also become wonderfully ho-hum if you eat chicken often. This tasty wrap filling takes advantage of leftover chicken's tendency to turn to mushy shreds as it forms a creamy filling for collard leaves.

Simmer in small saucepan till tender:
1 large carrot, grated
2-3 Tbsp. water or broth
2 Tbsp. coconut cream or coconut butter
 -- you could try subbing in 1/4 cup coconut milk for the two above ingredients - I find coconut cream easier to keep on hand and dilute as needed

1 - 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 Tbsp. sesame butter
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, cinnamon, chili powder to taste - depending on how your chicken leftovers were seasoned and what you are in the mood for.
Dash of broth or coconut milk as needed to prevent sticking.

Stir chicken and carrots in sauce, cooking on medium low heat until simmering and thick, and resembling something like tuna salad (but much better smelling!). Remove from heat and  allow to cool slightly. Stir in some chopped fresh parsley or chives if they're handy.

Prepare 2 or 3 collard leaves for wrapping. Wash, pat dry and remove fat stem from lower end. For small leaves, cut upwards an inch or so into the leaf to remove as much stem as possible without compromising the leaf's wrappability. For large leaves, simply cut leaf in two sections on either side of the stem for two stemless wraps.

Place 2 or 3 Tablespoons of filling in each leaf and wrap as for egg rolls or burritos. The warm filling wilts the leaf just enough to make it soft and easy to eat. Enjoy immediately.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

No-Nightshade Marinara-Style Hamburger - or - Tomato-less Spaghetti Sauce

Brown in large skillet:
1 lb. ground beef
1 Tbsp. minced dry onion
1 tsp. salt
Dash black pepper
1 cup cooked red beans

For sauce, puree in blender:
1 cooked red beet, peeled and roughly chopped or sliced
1 1/2-2 cups cooked butternut squash or pumpkin
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 cup fresh parsley (I saved out some leaves to add chopped after blending and pureed the stems)
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder (this balances out the pink color of the beets - not necessary for flavoring purposes)
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 cup liquid - broth, stock, water or combination of water and broth (I used 1/2 cup cold chicken broth and added 1/2 cup hot water for easier blending)
1 1/2 tsp. ume plum vinegar, if you have it, otherwise 1/2 tsp. salt

Pour blended sauce over meat. Add parsley leaves and stir. Heat till bubbly and colors meld and soften. Tastes great on its own in a bowl, no pasta needed. A romaine lettuce salad on the side is nice.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Simple Plantain Waffles

Here is a recipe for some no-fuss, budget-friendly, gluten- and grain-free waffles that you can make in your blender. They are crisp, golden and savory with a flavor reminiscent of potato hash browns. The best thing about them (if you have experimented much with grain-free baking) - they don't fall apart!

You can find green plantains at most large supermarkets, Aldi, or international food stores. The skin is thick and fibrous and best removed by scoring and prying off with a sharp knife.

Simple Plantain Waffles

1/2 cup water or non-dairy milk
2 large, green, plantains, peeled and chunked
2 large eggs
1/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Preheat waffle iron. Place all ingredients in blender and process till smooth. Pour onto waffle griddle and cook according to your waffle-iron directions until waffles are golden. (Isn't 'waffles' a delightful word?) Serve hot with butter or gravy.

Optional batter add-ins:

Chopped walnuts
Caraway or cumin seeds
Minced dry onion
Garlic powder
Sesame seeds

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hearty Spice and Flax Cookies - grain and milk free

I've found the trick to getting coconut flour products to be fluffy and light - flax meal, baking soda and vinegar. Having just pulled some of these gorgeous plump, brown cookies, steaming with spicy aroma out of the oven, here's an attempt at remembering what I put into them:

In a blender, grind: 
1/4 cup flax seed
Add to blending flax seed and continue to process until creamy-looking:
1/2 cup water

Add and continue to process after each addition:
1 large yellow plantain, peeled and cut into chunks
1/3 cup oil or butter, soft or melted
2 eggs
1-2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger root
1-2 tsp grated fresh turmeric root (optional)
1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Sift into a small mixing bowl:
2/3 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a large baking sheet. 
Add wet ingredients from blender to flour mixture in bowl. Add an additional 1/2 cup of water to blender jar and whirl briefly to rinse out and collect remaining batter before adding to mixing bowl. Stir with a spoon or heavy whisk until mixture becomes a stiff batter or soft dough. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet, about 3/4 inch apart. Bake at 350 for 15ish minutes or till puffy and golden brown. Remove immediately to plate or rack and enjoy warm or cold.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fresh Marinated Red Beets

After living most of my life unacquainted with the beauties of raw beets, I finally discovered them last month and I'm hooked. Not only are they bursting with nutrition and enzymes when raw, but you are also saved the time and energy (and mess) of cooking them. If you've ever nibbled a bit of raw beet by itself, you might have thought what I did - This is rather unpleasant, and I'll have them boiled and buttered, thank you. However, marinating the fresh beets gives the starchy roots a great improvement and they are as good as your favorite pickle, so give it a try. Here's what's marinating in our fridge right now:

Marinated Fresh Beets:

Combine marinade in medium glass or metal mixing bowl:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp dry minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dry dill weed

Add to marinade and toss:
1 very large red beet (or 2 small) peeled, quartered and sliced as thinly as possible

When well combined, pack the beets and marinade into a quart mason jar or other glass storage container, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or 1 week. Serve as a side dish or mid-day snack.