Friday, November 27, 2009

One Grain at a Time

A truly remarkable grain from Ethiopia, teff is a nutrient dense food. Super small in size and ranging in color from ivory, light tan to deep brown or dark reddish brown purple, depending on the variety. Teff can be used in virtually any recipe because it is so small. It has a mild, nutty, and a slight molasses like sweetness. The white teff has a chestnut-like flavor and the darker varieties are earthier and taste more like hazelnuts. Teff is very low in gluten, so low it has been approved for those with celiac disease.

Traditionally, teff is prepared by fermenting for three days and made into a spongy crepe-like flat bread called injera. Ethiopian’s use this bread to pick up bites of food instead of forks and spoons. In this picture, the injera is what the food is served on and also folded up along side.

20 cents a serving at $2.00 per lb.
1 lb = 2.2 cups dry = 8 cups cooked = 4 cups flour

To Cook:
1 cup grain to 4 cups water
Simmer 10 minutes, soaked
Simmer 25 minutes, unsoaked

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 and popped grains; 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:
-Use flour for thickening sauces and gravies
-Flour may be added to baked goods.
-Cook to make a hot breakfast cereal.
-Add to soups
-Blends well with ground beef
-Use as a substitute for poppy seeds
-Sprout for salads and sandwiches

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Carbohydrates 73.1 g
Dietary fiber 8 g
Fat 2.4 g
Protein 13.3 g
Thiamin 0.4 mg 26%
Riboflavin 0.3 mg 16%
Niacin 3.4 mg 17%
Vitamin B6 0.5 mg 24%
Pantothenic Acid 0.9 mg 9%
Calcium 180 mg 18%
Iron 7.6 mg 42%
Magnesium 184 mg 46%
Phosphorus 429 mg 43%
Potassium 427 mg 12%
Zinc 3.6 mg 24%
Copper 0.8 mg 41%
Manganese 9.2 mg 462%
Selenium 4.4 mg 6%

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Spinach, Fig and Prosciutto Pizza

A pizza for the winter season. I have loved getting feed back on my pizza creations, as unusual as they are. This one was inspired by the local restaurant Le Grande Orange. It is so perfect for this time of year; the lemons are just starting to ripen and the spinach will soon be flourishing (that is if I can keep the rabbits off of it). I have never tried it with fresh figs, but would imagine that would be good too. Prosciutto is a dry cured ham, it is super flavorful, a little goes a long way. I have found the best place to get it is Trader Joe’s.

Pizza is just the thing to mix up those thanksgiving-dinner leftovers. Spread the dough with cranberry sauce or gravy, add turkey, maybe a little dressing or potatoes and top with cheese! Mmmm. It’s really good, trust me. So there you go, a two for one on this thanksgiving eve day.

Per Medium Pizza:
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup fresh spinach
4 dried figs, sliced
1 slice prosciutto, thinly sliced and cooked
1/2 fresh lemon

Preheat oven and pizza stone to highest setting (mine is 550) Roll out the dough and place on parchment paper. Sprinkle ¼ of the cheese evenly on dough. Lay spinach leaves as flat as possible on cheese. Layer figs on spinach, sprinkle with cooked prociutto and remaining cheese. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until crust is brown. While still hot, grate lemon zest on top of cheese and sprinkle lemon juice over entire pizza.

This post is part of  Whole Foods for the Holidays, Real Food Wednesdays.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Red Quinoa Coconut Sweet Potatoes

For years I worked with Chef Brad, a local chef who has a passion for whole grains, and he really got me hooked on red quinoa. It can be hard to find, but is slowly becoming more widely available. It has the texture of white quinoa, so that would be the best substitution, but the flavor is pleasantly nutty and is worth getting your hands on.

Yams and sweet potatoes are very different tubers. You will not find an authentic yam at a regular grocery store, even chain health food stores have them mislabeled. Instead we see an orange variety and an orange-red variety, sometimes you may come across a whitish yellow variety. They are all very similar in texture and even flavor and nutrition, so find the one that suits your taste.

This is a recipe from Chef Brad that I adapted many times over as my food knowledge expands. Again I urge you to try using slightly less sugar each time you make sweets, you will notice more flavor and crave less sweetness in all your meals. This dish goes perfectly with Thanksgiving dinner and with many fall season meals. We have this for dessert on most days. The sweetness is a happy medium, I could do with less, but for a big family gathering I use more.

I like that there are no oats to worry about soaking and such, still the nuts give a nice crunch. I use this same topping for apple crisp on the apples from my apple turnovers. Save time by making a double batch of topping and refrigerate up to a week to use on a fruit crisp.

4 cups cooked sweet potatoes
1/4 cup honey
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups soaked and cooked red quinoa
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup roasted or soaked and dehydrated walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup sucanat
½ cup sprouted flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon nutmeg

Mash sweet potatoes and mix with sweetener, milk, butter, eggs, vanilla and salt. Spread evenly in a 9x9 dish. Layer quinoa over potato mixture. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and sprinkle on top of quinoa. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

If you need to free up some oven space and cooking time on thanksgiving day, may I suggest this cold, make ahead side. For more great ideas on thanksgiving sides go to this gallery.

Red Quinoa Coconut Sweet Potatoes on Foodista

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Oldie but Goodie

I have edited my Coconut Rice recipe to include the traditional method of soaking. Two simple extra steps, soak and rinse. Soaking with the acidic solution breaks down phytic acid and the rinsing washes away the sour flavors. So the breakfast tastes the same, but is more nourishing.

To learn more about soaking, Lindsay has a great post on Passionate Homemaking of the how's and why's.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Apple Turnovers

When it rains, it pours! I seem to be accumulating apples these days. I had ordered a 30 pound box of honey crisps at the beginning of October, soon after I came across a really good deal on organic granny smith’s and thought I needed to have them for baking. Every week since then, I have gotten a bag of apples in my bountiful basket. Therefore apples have made their way in my tummy for the last 30 some days, and I am not complaining.

There are so many apple recipes out there, some things to watch out for are;

1) too much cornstarch, apples have a natural pectin that helps them “set up” so they are naturally not as watery as cooked peaches, plums or berries. A dab will do ya, less you end up with a gooey, hard to swallow mess. I have replaced cornstarch with arrowroot powder for a healthier alternative.

2) too much sugar, I can’t stand an overly sweet dessert. Learn to appreciate the natural sweetness of foods and just enhance the sweetness slightly when it comes to desserts.

3) too much spice. Cloves, ginger, all spice, nutmeg, cinnamon even cayenne pepper, all go nice with apples, just not all at once. Keep spices simple and let the apple flavor be the star.

This is an easy dessert that has a grand presentation for guests. I talk a bit about puff pastry here. Turbinado sugar is not much better than white sugar, but I use it for the unique crunch in lends. You could use white sugar in a pinch, but don’t even think about insulting my dessert with cool whip!

2 lbs. apples, peeled and diced/sliced (whatever you like)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup sucanat
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2-10x10 sheets of puff pastry
1 egg beaten with a tablespoon of water
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

Place apples, lemon juice, sucanat, cornstarch and cinnamon in a sauce pan and simmer until apples are slightly tender and create a thick sauce. Let cool to room temperature. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll pastry sheets out to 12x12. Place side by side on a sheet pan with one of the corners of each sheet hanging over the two short sides of the pan. Spoon half the filling onto the inside halves of the pastry sheets. Dab egg wash on two sides of each pastry. Fold over into a triangle and pinch the seams to seal. Brush the top of each turnover with the egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Cut 2-1 inch vents in the top of each pastry and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and delicious. Cool 15 minutes before slicing. This recipe makes 4 hearty servings, 6 regular servings and 8 dainty servings.
links;  Whole Food for the Holiday's

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sweet Potato Oven Fries

I tried growing sweet potatoes this year, all the leaves that were growing on top of the dirt made me think they were doing well. After 120 days in the ground, I decided it was time to dig some up and see what was down there. Lots of roots, that’s about it. I was bummed.

I have been making sweet potato fries for years and had found a way that yielded pretty good results, but it involved carefully slicing into sticks and arranging on a baking sheet in a single layer with no two sticks touching. It was a high maintenance side dish that never was quite as crisp as I'd like. I admit to buying frozen packages of pre cut and fried sweet potatoes from Trader Joe’s for convenience. They use cheap oils and give me a tummy ache.

This recipe evolved from regular potato oven fries when I decided to give sweet potatoes a try. PERFECTION. It helps to shop for potatoes with good shape and like in size. You know when a recipe calls for sucanat, you can substitute brown sugar, right? Probably works better because it will dissolve in the oil. I choose to avoid white and brown sugars where ever possible so I always list my alternative sweetener in my recipes.

3 lbs sweet potatoes or baking potatoes
1 tablespoon sucanat
1 dash cayenne
1 teaspoon homemade taco spice mix or chili powder
2 tablespoons corn starch
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, it helps to use convection. Wash and cut potatoes (no need to peel) into wedges of equal size. Combine sucanat, cayenne, taco seasoning, cornstarch and coconut oil (it will be clumpy, that’s okay), toss the wedges in mixture. Lay wedges on sheet pans in a single layer and bake for 20 minutes. Turn over with a spatula and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve. We usually do a “fry sauce” (mayo and ketchup) with a little horseradish. I am ready for a change. Please post a link or a recipe in the comments section for me to try.

links; Whole Foods for the Holiday's
Sweet Potato Oven Fries on Foodista
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