Monday, March 30, 2009

Vegetable Korma

Indian curries--Yummm. A curry is a loose term for vegetables and/or meat in a spiced vegetable-based sauce. Traditionally served with basmati rice and a flat bread called "naan." My first experience with this dish was in California, since then I have found that state has a lot of GREAT Indian food. This korma was inspired by a little restaurant in Ventura, CA called The Taj Cafe. It is creamy and sweet and so different than anything American. It is even better left over, when the flavors have time to marry and mellow. If you like some heat, which typically comes with Indian fare, add a sprinkle or two of cayenne. I leave it out so the kids will like it.

This recipe does not freeze well. The sauce separates, the vegetables get rubbery and the potatoes fall apart and are gritty. The vegetables are your choice, just leave out what you don't like, you could even add chicken if you desire. There is an Indian restaurant on Gilbert and Baseline called Guru Palace, it is one of my favorites. I have enjoyed every curry I have tried there except, ironically, their vegetable korma.

Want an easy, tasty naan recipe? I just use day old pizza dough. The slight sourness give the same effect as the yogurt in traditional naan. Roll it really thin, cook it on a 500 degree skillet on the stove top, 45 seconds per side and brush it with garlic butter. For the rice, I just put 1/4 cup of the korma sauce and salt with the rice and water as it cooks.

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
2 teaspoon grated ginger
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh green beans
1 cup chopped potatoes or cauliflower
1/2 cup green peas
1/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup cashews
1/2 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
1 teaspoon honey
salt to taste

Saute onion in oil and cook until tender. Mix in garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute. Stir in tomato sauce, cayenne pepper, turmeric, coriander, garam masala, 1 tsp. salt and cayenne if desired. Place mixture in blender, pour in water, blend until smooth. Pour sauce into a pressure cooker or stove top pot. Mix in carrots, potatoes, pepper and beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Or pressure on high for 4 minutes, natural release. Stir peas, raisins, nuts, cream and honey into the pot with the vegetables. Heat through. Season with salt to taste.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pot Roast

I have been lazy in the kitchen lately. I've sort of slipped into a cooking depression since the loss of my recipe files. It is overwhelming to start all over, but I am coming out of it, slowly but surely. Pot roast is my easy pleasy go-to recipe when I am feeling extra dull. There is no creativity involved and the pressure cooker makes it a brainless task. The rest of my family absolutely loves this meal, they will snack on the left over roast straight from the container in the fridge. This is why I even bother to post it.

My favorite cuts of meat to use are shoulder roast and chuck roast. Pressure cooking tenderizes meat, so you can just buy anything on sale. I love that I don't have to calculate and exact time for cooking, anywhere between 1 and 3 hours is good for a 3-4 lb. roast. You can use any size that will fit in your cooker, and even throw a frozen one'll want at least 90 minutes if you go that route. My favorite is homemade gravy over my whole plate. No store bought for me, those packets and jars make me squirmish. Depending on the cut of meat, a fat separator may be needed to keep the gravy from being down right greasy. This tool is very useful. Just fill with all the cooking liquid, the fat rises to the top and the container pours from the bottom.

1 pot roast, 3-4 lbs
2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Spike seasoning
Red potatoes, quartered
Carrot, cut

Heat cooker to high, brown all sides of meat, 45 seconds each. Pour stock and vinegar over roast and sprinkle with seasoning. Pressure on high for 45 minutes, quick release. Add potatoes and carrots, pressure on high for 4 minutes, natural release.

1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
2-3 cups beef broth
1/2 cup pineapple juice
salt and pepper to taste
water if needed

Cook flour in butter and oil over medium heat for 2 minutes, add broth and juice. Season and thin if needed. Remember gravy thickens as it cools, so be sure to thin it more than needed so that it is not globby at the table.
Pot Roast on Foodista

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hand-rolled Meatballs

Store bought meatballs are easy and tasty, but have you looked at the ingredients? Yuck. So many additives and tons of fat. Most homemade meatballs are dense, greasy and tasteless because they are thrown together with ground chuck and a little seasoned salt. These meatballs are tender, flavorful and quite healthy. Be sure to grate the onion, even mincing finely upsets the texture.

Kids love to get their hands in the food, this is a great chance for them to "help" in the kitchen. Let them squish the meat and form the balls. Great with spaghetti (I prefer Gia Russa Whole Wheat Linguni from Sprouts) and on sandwiches. I love a good homemade marinara, but for quick prep check out Trader Joe's Tuscano Marinara, it's good stuff. You can freeze these after baking on a cookie sheet, once frozen place in a large Ziploc. They thaw quickly and reheat well.

What do your kids like to "help" with in the kitchen?

1 small onion, grated
1 large egg
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
8 ounces lean ground beef, bison or venison
1 cup cooked steel cut oats
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

Whisk the first 7 ingredients in a large bowl to blend. Mix in the beef, oats and bread crumbs. Using about 2 tablespoons of meat for each, shape the meat mixture into 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-inch-diameter meatballs. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
links; WFMWWhole Foods for the Holidays

Friday, March 13, 2009

One Grain at a Time

Tasty, mildly sweet and slightly nutty, millet sustains one third of of the world's population. The growing season is very short, 65 days from seed to harvest and does well in arid climates. This gluten free grain is the least allergenic and most digestible grain available making it the perfect first food for babies. Did you know that whole grains contain essential fatty acids AND lots of phytochemicals? Millet is common in health food stores.

about 11 cents per serving at $1.25 per lb.
1 lb = 2.2 cups dry = 5.5 cups cooked = 3 cups flour

To Cook:
1 cup grain to 2.5 cups water
Simmer 30 minutes or Pressure 8 minutes on high, natural release.

To Store:
-Dry- indefinitely in an air tight container in a cool, dry place. For long term storage freeze for 48 hours before storing.
-Cooked - refrigerate for up to 10 days. Or freeze up to 6 months.

To Use:
-Grains give crunch to granolas and baked goods.
-Cooked grains can be used by adding to soups , salads and breads.
-Cooked grains can be served as a breakfast cereal hot or cold.
-Cooked grains also make great pilafs and rice dishes.
-Add cooked grains to any recipe with ground beef .
-Use flour in nonyeasted baked goods
-Use up to 1/3 the amount of total flour in recipes for yeasted breads.
-Cook the flour with water for baby food.
-Sprout whole grains for sandwiches and salads.

Nutritional Value per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
Calories 378
Total fat 4.0 g
Dietary fiber 8 g
Protein 11 g
Carbohydrate 73 g
Thiamin 0.4 mg 28%
Riboflavin 0.3 mg 17%
Niacin 4.7 mg 24%
Vitamin B6 mg 19%
Folate 85 mcg 21%
Iron 3 mg 17%
Magnesium 114 mg 29%
Phosphorus 285 mg 28%
Potassium 195 mg 6%
Zinc 1.7 mg 11 %
Copper 0.7 mg 37%
Manganese 1.6mg 82%

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Grains as a Side--The Formula

In most meals I am able to incorporate grains into the main dish. However, on occasion I need the grain to stand alone, like here with my simple preparation of salmon (Costco's vacuum packed Wild Alaskan Salmon). Inspired by True Foods Kitchen's Farro and Fig side dish, I came up with a formula to follow that allows for variety in matching a specific dish, your specific taste and the kitchen's specific supply.

Start off by sauteing a grain (I chose 2 that cook similarly, black quinoa being mostly for looks). I have divided the grains I cook with into 3 groups for easy reference. The long cooking grains generally cook like brown rice...pressure on high 15 minutes, 2.5 cups water to 1 cup grain OR simmer 45 minutes, 3 cups water to 1 cup grain. The short cooking grains generally cook like white rice...pressure on high 7 minutes 2 cups water to 1 cup grain OR simmer 20 minutes, 2.5 cups water to 1 cup grain. The other grains listed will be covered in a later post and are cooked by other methods then stated in these general categories. When combining grains you MUST choose 2 from the same cooking time category OR cook one through first and add it into the finished product.

Long cooking grains:
Brown rice

Short cooking grains:
Hulled buckwheat
Pearled barley
Steel cut oats

Alternate methods/non cooking grains:
Flax seed

Second, choose a liquid. I am a fan of chicken stock, I always have plenty on hand, it is flavorful and healthy. You could choose water, potato water, juice, vegetable broth, beef stock or any combination.

Third, choose a dried fruit. This is optional of coarse, but the added sweetness is nice. You could choose dried fruit because it holds up well when cooking. You could choose cranberries, cherries, figs, dates, apricots, apples, pears, raisins...

Next the veggies or aromatics if you will. Just enough to give an extra level of flavor (this hardly counts as a serving of vegetables.) You could choose onions, celery, carrots, peppers, even olives, sun dried tomatoes or peas. While you are at it choose an herb. Fresh can be added at the end, while dried should be added with the vegetables.

Sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I don't (but I never feel like an Almond Joy or Mounds.) So there you have it all my mad scientists - THE FORMULA - have at it! Don't worry, I included a recipe to get you started.

1 tablespoons butter
1 cup millet
2 tablespoons black quinoa
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
5 dried pear halves
1 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoon pine nuts
handful parsley

Sautee millet in butter 3 minutes. Pressure 5 minutes on high with quinoa, water, pears and stock. Quick release. Sautee onions and pepper, add to cooker. Pressure 2 minutes on high, Garnish with pine nuts and parsley.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Herbed White Chicken Pizza

I've met some health foodie gals in Gilbert and we recently met up at a local restaurant, Liberty Market. I have been by there before, but judging by the sign had no desire to stop and dine. Let me tell you, I am so glad I did. The place was charming, had delicious food, helpful waiters, interesting bathrooms, a friendly chef who grows produce out back and puts the leftovers out in a cold case for customers to enjoy (and that I did). I had the Farmer Sandwich, recommended by a Liberty Market regular (Shari). It was pretty much the perfect sandwich.

A big menu item is pizza, specifically the highly recommended "White Pizza." I have a problem ordering pizza at restaurants because I make such fabulous pizza at home. My mom, in all her wisdom, gave thought to my lovely husband at home with the kiddos (wish it had been my idea). So we tried a nibble and the combination was almost perfect...chicken, bacon, pine nuts with a little (too little) bit of arugula. Those greens tantalized me until every leaf was gone. Yes, I ate all that peppery goodness rationalizing to Mom that it won't save well (we had a 30 minute drive you know).

Back to the combination...if I had arugula on hand I would have piled it high. Sadly, I didn't in my last minute urge to create, but when I spotted the red peppers I knew could make this work. I started with a basic white sauce and kicked it up with herbs from the garden. If I didn't have fresh sage on hand I would have used dried thyme, dried sage is yucky.

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/2 cup parmesean cheese, grated

Cook butter and flour for 2 minutes on medium heat. Add garlic and herbs, cook 30 seconds and add milk. Stir constantly and add salt, pepper, nutmeg and cheese until melted. Add more milk to thin if needed.

Once the flavorful sauce was under control I focused on the toppings. I had some procuttio ready to go from last week's pizza, so I used that in place of the bacon. I sliced red peppers and heated a pan really hot, sprinkled with a little sugar (sucanat for me) and salt. Sizzled those for about 2 minutes in a bit of oil. (This is a great way to soften and brown vegetables for a flavorful, less watery pizza topping. Then just chopped up some chicken, sprinkled on the pine nuts and mozzarella and baked to yummy perfection. And yes, I reuse my parchment paper until it falls apart.

Friday, March 6, 2009

One Grain at a Time

One of the first grains to be grown by early farmers, spelt hasn't changed through all these years. It is a distant cousin of wheat, but more pure in it's form. It contains the amount of gluten necessary to bake yeasted bread, many people with wheat sensitivities can handle spelt as a great alternative. Baked good require less water in their preparation and have a deep, robust flavor. Spelt has a super tough hull that protects the kernel and aides in retaining nutrients and maintaining freshness. It is a hearty grain that is easy for organic farmers because it is highly resistant to diseases, insects and grows well without fertilizers.

about 15 cents per serving at about $1.50 per lb.
1 lb = 2.3 cups dry = 5 cups cooked = 3cups flour

To Cook:
1 cup grain to 3 cups water.
Simmer 45 minutes or Pressure 15 minutes on high, natural release.
Strain and rinse.

To Store:
-Whole - indefinitely in an air tight container in a cool, dry place.
For long term storage freeze for 48 hours before storing.
-Flour - up to 2 weeks in an air tight container,
Or freeze up to 1 year.
-Cooked - refrigerate for up to 10 days,Or freeze up to 6 months

To Use:
-Cooked berries can be used by adding to soups and salads.
-Cracked berries can be cooked for a breakfast cereal.
-Flour for breads and pastries
-Flour for homemade pastas
-Whole Berries can be sprouted

Nutritional Value per 100 grams (3.5 oz.)
carbohydrates 70 grams
dietary fiber 10.7 grams
fat 2.2 grams
protein 14.6 grams
iron 4.2 mg
thiamin 0.65
riboflavin 0.23
potassium 385 mg
calcium 38 mg
copper .62 mg
zinc 3.4 mg
niacin 2.3 mg
manganese 3.0 mg
phosphorus 110 mg

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Store to Store

When Fresh and Easy Market's popped up all over the place I was very excited. I heard it was like Trader Joe's so my expectations were high. My first experience was a huge letdown. I left without buying a thing, I was revolted by their packaging and the "cafeteria food" look everything had. Their produce was expensive and the grocery section was VERY limited, I've seen gas stations with better selections. It was all very ordinary from Heinz Ketchup to Honeycombs Cereal.

I thought I would never be back, but then I started hearing things like $2.99 for a case of 24 water bottles - that's cheap! And cans of beans for a great price with nothing added- not even salt! I heard about their discounted produce and was a little skeptical because I am a freshness freak and didn't want wilted lettuce and brown bananas. But I found things like pears and avocados that were perfectly ripe. Why not let them ripen on the store shelf instead of my counter?

The best part are the coupons that are EVERYWHERE. Most of them end up being twenty percent off if you spend the right amount. This makes each water bottle only ten cents a piece and perfect for food storage. Now that I go back fairly regularly I have learned to accept the store's quirks and embrace the good deals. My latest find is their organic heavy cream. I love to whip fresh cream for waffles and the only kind I liked was at Trader Joe's- a ways away for me to skip on by. The Shamrock Farms and store brands all have a nasty plastic taste to me. Fresh and Easy has pint sized carton of cream that tastes great and is comparable in price to the plastic kind.

Please leave a comment if there is anything else I should be checking out at this green market chain. If there is a place where you have come across some great finds, shoot me and email, I will check them out and report back.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Coconut Rice

11.7.09 I revised this recipe to involve a traditional soaking method that breaks down anti-nutrients found in whole grains, yielding a nutrient superior end result.

We have this bowl of delish for breakfast weekly. It reheats well and makes a great snack or even dessert (think rice pudding without so much pudding). I am a HUGE coconut fan and it happens to be really good for you too. In the summer I use coconut oil almost exclusively. I have been missing it, but am not going to wish hot weather on us yet. Coconut oil liquefies at 75 degrees making it pourable and easy to use. When it is below 75 degrees it solidifies and taking the time to melt before using takes too much forethought some days. I buy it in a 5 gallon bucket from Nourishing Traditions, it is great food storage since it lasts for years. Coconut oil is great for your skin, inside and out. Try using it as a natural moisturizer.

Any rice, nuts, fruit and sweetener would work here, but I am partial to this particular combination.
Blueberries and walnuts are both super foods, how great to start the day like that? Frozen blueberries warmed through are my choice over fresh because they add a little sauce to the mix. The kids like the berries straight from the freezer to act as little ice cubes, they always prefer their food cold.

6 cups water
3 tablespoons kefir (lemon juice or apple cider vinegar)
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups brown basmati rice
1 can coconut milk
2 cups blueberries
3/4 cup
soaked and dehydrated walnuts, coarsely chopped
½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Soak rice in 3 cups water plus 3 tablespoons kefir overnight (6 to 12 hours). Strain and rinse rice. Bring 3 cups water to a boil, add salt and stir in rice. Pressure for 6 minutes on high, natural release or simmer 20 minutes. Stir in coconut milk. Serve up in bowls and top with blueberries, shredded coconut, and maple syrup to taste.
Related Posts with Thumbnails